Grand Canyon University’s innovative doctoral degree programs prepare learners for leadership roles in their professions, communities and society. Our dynamic online learning community, integrated dissertation process, wealth of resources and collaborative environment support a successful and meaningful doctoral journey. We believe earning a doctoral degree is a journey and similar to climbing a mountain—challenging, invigorating and completely rewarding when you reach the top. Our goal is to help you conquer your own mountain and succeed on your doctoral journey. Readers of The Doctoral Journey blog, presented by the College of Doctoral Studies, will find resourceful and knowledgeable posts regarding the doctoral process, research best practices and dissertation tips among other topics from GCU’s doctoral faculty.
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PhD Emphasis Spotlight: Cognition and Instruction

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Are you interested in enrolling in a doctoral program at Grand Canyon University, but unsure of which emphasis to choose? For those who are passionate about psychology and ready to take their education to the next level, consider a PhD in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Cognition and Instruction.

Is This Program Right for Me?

GCU’s cognition and instruction program provides a research-based approach to learning, with the goal of increasing your understanding of mental processes, including reasoning, intelligence, memory, learning and motivation. Courses aim to explore the learning principles in the context of the program, along with the psychological theories surrounding cognition and instruction. Many who choose this program have a background in psychology, and look to further their career as a psychological researcher.

Learners explore the nature, origins and history of psychoanalysis, along with the construction and analysis of psychological tests. Humanistic and existential psychology are important topics in this program, helping learners to expand their knowledge in areas they may already be familiar with. The program focuses on the influence of mass communication on awareness and control, as well as group factors that affect individual behavior.

“The PhD in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Cognition and Instruction provides an excellent foundation in understanding how the mind works when engaged in the learning process at all levels of human inquiry,” explained Program Chair Jim Hadley, PhD. “Potential learners who do not have a background or degree in psychology will benefit by the core, foundational courses which provide breadth and depth into the fascinating field of the human condition.”

Cognition and Instruction vs. Integrating Technology, Learning and Psychology

The integrating technology, learning and psychology program places emphasis on understanding what motivates people to learn as individuals. Learners focus on the development of theories, research and strategies pertaining to their academic field. On the other hand, the cognition and instruction program places a greater focus on research and strategies for improving instruction and how individuals gain knowledge from teachers and others in authoritative teaching positions, primarily in face-to-face scenarios, as opposed to less personal settings.

Quick Look at GCU’s Program

  • Enroll with any MA degree and a college statistics course.
  • Transfer up to three equivalent doctoral-level courses (9 credits) for approval.
  • Research can be quantitative or qualitative. The program provides instruction in both, which are equal in value.
  • All GCU doctoral programs involve learning statistics. The PhD program covers more statistics than the EdD or DBA, resulting in a pre-requirement of some statistics coursework.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies creates a unique experience that connects faculty and learners in a vibrant learning community. To learn about GCU’s doctoral degrees, visit our website or use the Request More Information button at the top of the page.

Written by Jessalyn Johnson, a sophomore majoring in English and professional writing at GCU.