Best Online Psychology Degrees 2021
| TBS Staff
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A bachelor's degree in psychology qualifies graduates for many in-demand jobs, like substance abuse counselors and behavioral disorder counselors.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for these psychology jobs to grow 22% between 2018 and 2028 — much faster than the national average for all occupations.
Students pursuing an online bachelor of psychology take courses on topics like abnormal psychology, human development, and school psychology. Earning this degree builds critical thinking and research skills, and students also explore areas like social, emotional, and behavioral psychology.
The flexibility of an online psychology degree track lets students balance their studies with professional and personal responsibilities. It also allows learners to attend the best psychology schools in the country without needing to relocate. This guide ranks the best online schools for psychology in addition to providing information on common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.
Choosing an Online Bachelor of Psychology Degree Program
Prospective students researching online psychology programs should consider several factors — such as cost, available specializations, and a school's reputation — to find the best online psychology degree that matches their interests and professional goals. For example, students planning to earn a master's or doctorate in psychology may prefer a program with a strong reputation in terms of its graduate placements.
In-state, public schools typically offer the lowest tuition costs. However, many out-of-state, public schools offer tuition discounts to online learners. An online psychology program that accepts transfer credits can also save students time and money on their online psychology degree.
Students should also research whether a program offers specializations aligned with their career goals. Potential specializations include abnormal psychology, social psychology, and school psychology.
Many psychology careers require a graduate degree. After completing a bachelor's degree in psychology, graduates can consider enrolling in one of the best online master's programs in psychology.
Featured Psychology Degree Programs
What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor of Psychology Program?
The curriculum of an online psychology degree covers topics like behavioral development, the influence of social context over behavior, and mental health disorders. The following list outlines several common online bachelor of psychology courses.
- Psychological Foundations of Learning: This course introduces key concepts in human development, including the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. Students explore research related to the most effective teaching methods, educational practices, and environments to encourage student learning. The course may incorporate a field experience that allows learners to directly observe child development and educational practices.
- Social Psychology: Social psychology explores the way social context influences people's thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Students learn about the role of social influence on group behavior and how social environments shape behavioral attributes like aggression and attraction. Students also explore gender norms and apply social psychology research to practical problems, preparing for psychology positions like industrial-organizational psychologists and social psychologists.
- Physiological Psychology: This class covers the connection between the brain and human behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. Students examine the role of neurons in the central nervous system and how neuron communications shape behavior and the understanding of mental health disorders. The course may also cover the influences of biological psychology, gender, and culture on physiological psychology. The class prepares students for advanced courses in neuropsychology and related fields.
- Abnormal Psychology: Abnormal psychology courses explore the causes and treatments of mental health disorders. Students learn how psychologists classify mental health disorders and how classifications evolve over time. Learners also study various treatments for mental health disorders. The course may survey disorders like addictive disorders, eating disorders, and personality disorders. Coursework emphasizes critical thinking, psychology theory, and clinical practice.
- Behavioral Psychology: This course examines the mind-behavior connection. Learners study the development of behavior across the lifespan, various behavioral disorders and treatments, and behavioral research. Students also examine the assessment and diagnosis of common behavioral disorders. Additionally, students learn how to design and implement a behavioral research project. Some behavioral psychology courses incorporate a lab or practicum. The course prepares graduates for research careers and graduate study.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor of Psychology Degrees
When researching prospective schools, students should look at an institution's accreditation status. Degrees from non-accredited schools may not meet licensure and certification requirements, and many graduate programs only admit students with an accredited undergraduate degree. To earn accreditation, schools submit to a voluntary review from an independent accrediting agency, which assesses the institution's faculty qualifications, graduation requirements, and student learning outcomes.
Colleges may receive national or regional accreditation, with regional accreditation considered the more prestigious of the two. Programs within a school can also receive specialized accreditation. While no programmatic accrediting agencies exist for bachelor of psychology programs, several agencies accredit graduate psychology programs, such as the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation, the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System, and the National Association of School Psychologists.
The Best Online Bachelor's in Psychology Degree Programs
UF's online bachelor of arts in psychology is a five-semester program. The curriculum includes core coursework in general psychology, biological science, statistics, and math. Additionally, students must choose electives in subjects like developmental changes, learning and cognition, or biological bases.
To pass, students must earn a 2.0 or better in all major classes and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and earn a "C" grade average. If you graduated high school within the last five years, you must submit SAT or ACT scores.
FIU's research-based online bachelor's degree in psychology requires students to complete 120 credits. Among FIU's most popular undergraduate majors, the psychology curriculum reflects the latest trends in psychotherapy. Graduates are qualified to pursue careers in human resources, social services, and statistical analysis.
Students may complete a culminating independent research project or field experience. FIU offers fall, spring, and summer start dates. Applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores.
UCF enrolls nearly 72,000 students annually and offers more than 230 programs across 13 colleges, including a bachelor's degree in psychology.
UCF's bachelor of science in psychology offers students several specialization tracks, including clinical, experimental, industrial/organizational, human factors, or neuroscience concentrations. The 120-credit program explores foundational terminology, physiology, and research and statistical methods used in psychology.
Students can opt to complete a field experience or capstone project. Graduates often pursue careers as counselors, mental healthcare providers, or human resources administrators.
Founded in 1882, EWU enrolls more than 12,000 students annually at its main campus in Cheney and online. Students can choose from more than 150 academic programs, including a bachelor of science in health psychology.
EWU's psychology program is offered entirely online. The curriculum explores how cultural, behavioral, and psychological factors can affect a person's physical well-being. The program comprises 67-68 credits, depending on which courses you take. Requirements include an internship, seminar, or directed study course, culminating in a capstone or senior thesis.
Enrollees may start in the fall, winter, spring, or summer term. EWU offers set, per-credit tuition rates for online learners, regardless of the student's state of residence.
Founded in 1932, SNHU enrolls more than 135,000 students online and over 3,000 on its campuses in Manchester, Nashua, and Salem, New Hampshire, every year.
SNHU's online bachelor of arts in psychology allows students to pursue one of six concentrations: addictions, applied psychology, child and adolescent development, forensic psychology, mental health, or social psychology. The 120-credit program also features an embedded certificate in data literacy.
SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis for enrollment in one of six annual online terms. Applicants do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores or pay an application fee. SNHU charges a set, per-credit tuition rate for online learners, regardless of where they live.
Established in 1884, NSU occupies Louisiana's oldest site continually used for higher education. By contrast, the university's electronic campus, eNSU, is the first and largest in the state.
NSU offers its online psychology degree through the eNSU global campus. The program comprises 120 credits in core psychology, humanities, and elective coursework. Students can explore a concentration in substance abuse counseling or prevention through elective courses. The school also offers a major in addiction studies.
Applicants must submit official high school or previous college transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and immunization records. NSU charges a flat tuition rate for online students, regardless of their residence location.
Founded as a Bible college in 1944, LCU now offers dozens of graduate, undergraduate, and seminary programs. The university enrolls nearly 1,000 students on campus and online.
LCU's online bachelor's degree in psychology explores the anatomy and functions of the human brain and psychology from a Christian perspective. The curriculum includes courses in lifespan developmental psychology, personality theory, and psychology and religion.
Applicants must submit high school or college transcripts with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better. Freshman applicants age 22 or younger must also submit SAT or ACT scores.
ULM enrolls more than 9,000 students every year, from 39 states and 47 countries. Students can choose from nearly 35 degrees offered entirely online, including a bachelor of arts in psychology.
ULM's psychology program requires students to complete 120 credits over four years. The curriculum includes general education courses, required psychology classes, and several electives. Courses explore research methods, statistics, and physiology. The online psychology degree culminates with a capstone course.
Online students follow an accelerated schedule comprising eight-week courses. ULM assigns a set, per-credit tuition rate for online learners, regardless of their residence location.
Trine University offers more than 20 degrees and professional programs, including online programs through TrineOnline. Enrollees enjoy unlimited access to academic tutors and library and career services.
Trine's bachelor of science in psychology covers psychology, sociology, and interpersonal communication courses, totaling 120 credits. Students can choose from subject area concentration coursework in clinical core, social/cognitive core, and developmental core areas. The online psychology degree requires a clinical internship or capstone.
Each course in the online program lasts eight weeks. Students may enroll full or part time. TrineOnline students pay a set, per-credit tuition rate, regardless of their state of residence.
Founded in 1902, FHSU enrolls nearly 16,000 students annually, including nearly 7,000 through FHSU Online. Students can choose from hundreds of programs across five schools and colleges, including a BA and BS program in psychology, with both degrees offered entirely online. It is one of the best schools for psychology majors.
Both of FHSU's psychology programs require students to complete 124 credits. Curricula cover the science of psychology, psychology as a profession, and neuropsychology. Students pursuing the BA must take additional foreign language classes, while those in the BS program will need to take a few more math and science courses.
FHSU's program is designed with flexibility in mind and allows students to enroll in 3-18 credits per semester. Online enrollees pay a set, per-credit tuition rate, regardless of where they live.
Online Bachelor's in Psychology Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.
Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.
While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.
Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.
Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
About Our Ranking Factors
Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.
Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.
We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.
In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.
If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.
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A bachelor's degree in psychology prepares graduates for diverse psychology positions, such as substance abuse counselors and behavioral counselors. With additional education, graduates can become psychologists or psychology professors. Learn more about what you can do with a psychology degree by visiting this link.
|Median Salary: $50,090||Projected Job Growth: 22%|
Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help clients manage mental health disorders and life challenges. Marriage and family therapists help couples and families process changes and cope with difficult situations. Mental health counselors treat individuals and groups dealing with issues like anxiety, depression, and stress. These professionals may specialize in working with specific populations, such as children or the elderly.
Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists need a master's degree to practice. As with many psychology careers, they also need a professional license.
|Median Salary: $44,630||Projected Job Growth: 22%|
Substance abuse counselors and behavioral disorder counselors help people struggling with substance use and behavioral disorders. They meet with clients to evaluate their mental and physical health and create customized treatment plans. Through counseling, they help clients modify their behavior and develop new skills.
In addition to providing counseling services, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors may refer clients to support services and lead outreach programs to educate the public on destructive behaviors. These professionals typically need a bachelor's degree.
|Median Salary: $79,010||Projected Job Growth: 14%|
Psychologists observe and interpret people's behavior to understand their cognitive and emotional processes and diagnose and treat disorders. Psychologists may specialize in several areas, such as clinical psychology, which focuses on diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Psychologists may also specialize in an area like criminal behavior or student learning.
Many psychologists need a doctorate, but school and industrial-organizational psychologists only need a master's degree.
|Median Salary: $78,470||Projected Job Growth: 11%|
Postsecondary teachers — also known as professors — educate college students. Psychology professors teach undergraduate and graduate classes on topics like human development, behavioral disorders, and abnormal psychology. They design syllabi, prepare and deliver lectures, and assess student learning through examinations and papers.
In addition to teaching, professors may conduct research and publish their findings in academic journals. They may also present research at conferences and serve on academic committees. Most tenure-track professor jobs require a doctoral degree. However, postsecondary teachers with a master's degree can sometimes work as adjuncts or at community colleges.
Psychology Degree Common Questions
Yes — an online psychology degree from a regionally accredited college meets the same educational standards as an on-campus psychology degree.
APA only accredits doctoral programs in psychology. While the association does not accredit online-only programs, it does accredit doctoral programs with an online component.
Earning a bachelor's degree in psychology prepares graduates for jobs such as substance abuse counselors and behavioral counselors. This degree also meets the educational requirements needed to enroll in psychology graduate programs.
The best online colleges for psychology let students earn their degree in a flexible format. Prospective students can use our ranking to identify the best online psychology degree for their career goals.
Many schools offer a bachelor of psychology as a BA and/or a BS. Students who choose a BA need to complete more humanities and foreign language requirements, while BS in psychology students complete more natural science and math classes.
Transfer students with an associate degree in psychology can earn an online bachelor degree in as little as two years. Some of the best online schools for psychology also offer accelerated enrollment options.
The cost associated with earning an online psychology degree varies depending on several factors, like the specific program, financial aid opportunities, and a student's enrollment status. Choosing an online program can save students money.
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