Best Online Bachelor's in Psychology 2021

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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.

Top 5 Online Bachelors in Psychology
School City
1. University of Florida Gainsville, FL
2. Florida International University Miami, FL
3. University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
4. Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA
5. Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH

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.

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.

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.

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.

Psychology Jobs

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.

Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

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.

Substance Abuse Counselors and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

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.

Psychologists

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.

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.

Psychology Professional Organizations

Professional organizations help psychology students and professionals connect with colleagues, stay up-to-date in the field, and transition from a bachelor's track to graduate school or the workforce.

  • American Psychological Association

    The leading professional organization for psychology, APA represents over 120,000 researchers, educators, practitioners, and students. APA publishes research on the profession, hosts 54 topical divisions, and provides news and trends in the field.

    The association's career resources help psychology students understand the requirements for different psychology career paths. APA also accredits doctorate-level psychology programs, setting the standards for quality education in the field.

  • American Mental Health Counselors Association

    A professional association for clinical mental health counselors, AMHCA provides education, training, and professional development resources. The association offers an exclusive job board, publishes the Journal of Mental Health Counseling, and hosts webinars. AHMCA also offers credentials for independently licensed clinical mental health counselors.

    Members receive access to continuing education opportunities, a subscription to AMHCA's magazine and research journal, and discounts on conferences and webinars. The association offers membership discounts to students.

  • Association for Psychological Science

    APS represents and advocates for researchers, educators, and practitioners of psychological science. The association publishes research in several journals, including Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, and Clinical Psychological Science.

    APS also encourages connections between members through an annual convention and a members-only online directory. Members can access the APS Employment Network, which posts job openings, and receive subscriptions to all APS scholarly journals and the Observer magazine.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Psychology Degree Programs

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Rank School Location Apply More Information
4

Eastern Washington University 

Cheney, WA Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
67%
Online Enrollment
28%
5

Southern New Hampshire University 

Manchester, NH Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
68%
Online Enrollment
93%
6

Northwestern State University of Louisiana 

Natchitoches, LA Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
63%
Online Enrollment
81%
7

Lincoln Christian University 

Lincoln, IL Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
71%
Percent Receiving Loans
59%
Online Enrollment
45%
8

University of Louisiana at Monroe 

Monroe, LA Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
40%
Online Enrollment
34%
9

Trine University 

Fort Wayne, IN Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
63%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
Online Enrollment
93%
10

Fort Hays State University 

Hays, KS Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
39%
Online Enrollment
83%
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End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Bachelor's in Psychology Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a degree in psychology online?

Yes — an online psychology degree from a regionally accredited college meets the same educational standards as an on-campus psychology degree.

Are there any APA-accredited online programs?

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.

Is a bachelor's degree in psychology worth it?

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.

What is the best online college for psychology?

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.

Is a psychology degree a BA or a BS?

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.

Can you get a psychology degree in two years?

Transfer students with an associate degree can earn an online psychology degree in as little as two years. Some of the best online schools for psychology also offer accelerated enrollment options.

How much does it cost to study psychology?

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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