Online Psychology Degree & Program Options

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Finding the right online psychology program requires a big investment in time and energy. However, students don’t have to go it alone. The following page help prospective students interested in pursuing a psychology degree through distance education locate those programs that best suit their needs. First, it provides a convenient way to search for online psychology degree programs from accredited colleges and universities across the country. Second, the page includes an in-depth guide to online learning in psychology, with focus on the degree progression and how to spot a quality opportunity. Find programs and learn more.

Best Online Psychology Degree for 2015-2016

Accredited online psychology degrees provide flexible learning options as well as quality education. Many choose to earn an online psychology degree because it’s a great way to learn the skills needed for a successful career in the field while still maintaining a full- or part-time job and other personal obligations.

While there are several online psychology degree programs from which to choose, there are some that prospective students should pay close attention to. We’ve evaluated hundreds of options and listed the colleges and universities with the best online psychology offerings for 2015-2016.

For detailed information on how we selected the Top Online Psychology Programs, please visit our methodology page.

RANK COLLEGE ScoreStudent-Teacher RatioFinancial AidCost MORE INFO
1 Fayetteville State University 99.7717:196%

The online bachelor's degree completion program in psychology at Fayetteville State University (FSU) delivers the upper division courses required for this major through the Blackboard platform and other instructional technologies. FSU online programs are structured for students who already have college experience, preferably 30 credit hours to transfer. Candidates for this program have earned their associate degree or completed their general education requirements, or they have dual enrollment status with a partner community college. Before applying, students who reside outside North Carolina can confirm that FSU is authorized to offer distance education where they live.

2 University of Wyoming 99.6014:192%

The University of Wyoming offers a bachelor of arts in psychology through its distance education program. The degree completion program provides upper-division requirements for the major. The program is designed for applicants who have already taken prerequisite courses -- for example, math or biology -- at a university or community college. Required courses include statistics and sociology or anthropology.

Courses are delivered via audio conferencing, video conferencing and the web. Students make use of WyoCourses, the university's online course management system. Audio and video conferencing classes are delivered in real time, however students can "attend" from anywhere with the necessary technological resources.

3 Missouri Valley College 99.5014:1100%

Giving students a solid liberal arts foundation and a broad skill set are the goals at this Presbyterian college. The online Bachelor of Arts in psychology is structured to provide a flexible learning environment while students examine the factors that drive human behavior, and learn to think critically and communicate effectively with the knowledge they gain. Courses include the history of psychology, research methods, and personality theories. A total of 128 credit hours are needed to complete the program, 46 of which must be earned in the major. A research project caps the experience.

4 Liberty University 99.2818:195%

An online Bachelor of Science in criminal justice with an emphasis in criminal psychology targets students who wish to begin careers in fields such as criminal psychology, law enforcement, and probation and parole. Students learn to recognize and address the behavior patterns and mental health needs of criminals, as well as how to develop and apply ethical approaches. The program consists of 120 credit hours, 30 of which must be taken through Liberty University. Students may apply previous law enforcement experience and certain military training towards course credits. Applicants must submit official high school and college transcripts, and complete the online application.

5 Brescia University 97.8314:1100%

The online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Brescia University is designed as a foundation degree for students who want to pursue further education or adapt the degree to various career opportunities. In addition to the BA in psychology, the university also offers an online Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science in Addictions Counseling. In the addictions counseling programs, students learn how to provide effective treatment and care to those suffering from various addictions and in need of health care services. All courses are designed with the working professional in mind.

6 Fort Valley State University 97.7620:197%

The online bachelor's degree program in psychology at Fort Valley State University provides instruction using digital tools like the Desire2Learn learning management system. In addition to its undergraduate offerings, the school has a master's program available through distance learning that focuses on rehabilitation counseling and case management. This program is designed to prepare graduates to work with individuals who have physical or emotional disabilities, and field experience is required.

Online advising is available from Fort Valley State University for those who need assistance with choosing courses, majors and the like. Students who are located in a state other than Georgia should contact FVSU before applying for admission to an online program.

7 University of Florida 97.4021:196%

An online bachelor's degree in psychology is offered through the University of Florida's distance learning department. This program requires a background in mathematics, statistics and biology. The curriculum explores both the social sciences and the natural sciences, with subjects such as cognition, behavioral analysis, neuroscience and sociocultural differences. For transfer students, a minimum grade point average of 2.75 is needed in specific prerequisites such as precalculus. At least 18 of the 30 credit hours required for the major must be earned from the University of Florida.

8 Belhaven University 96.3112:1100%

The online Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology at Belhaven University prepares students for future study and work in the field while maintaining a Christian context. Students will need to complete 124 hours of study in pursuit of the degree, including 40 general education requirements, 36 core courses in psychology, and a number of electives. Courses include those in research, counseling theory, statistics for the behavioral sciences, theories of personality, social psychology, applied psychology, and abnormal psychology. Courses require deadlines to be met each week, required posts to discussion boards, and other responsibilities as required by the individual professor.

9 Washington University in St Louis 95.888:155%

Some courses that help fulfill a psychology degree are offered online at Washington; others are typically scheduled in the evenings. Online class sizes are kept small to facilitate better learning and student-faculty interaction. The psychology major requires students to take 30 credit hours of psychology coursework, with introductory classes followed by those covering areas such as social development, personality, the brain and cognition, and applications of psychology. Students will choose six hours of electives. An intensive internship is available for qualified and motivated students; community volunteer work is also encouraged.

10 Southwestern Adventist University 95.8112:1100%

Streamed video lectures and the educational software platform Desire2Learn bring classes directly to students in this online Bachelor of Science in psychology degree program, aimed specifically at adult students. Frequent communication with instructors also ensures students stay on track in their coursework. The degree is structured primarily to provide a basis for advanced study, but graduates should also be prepared to take entry-level positions in the field. Courses offered in the program include: personality theory and development, adolescent psychology, abnormal psychology, and counseling theories and techniques. An internship is optional.

11 University of Memphis 95.3714:197%

A psychology degree from U of M starts with understanding the world-culture, social sciences and natural sciences. Students then immerse themselves in a curriculum to acquire specific skills in psychology that will enable them to make positive changes to the human condition. The degree is available fully online or as a combination of on-campus classes and online courses. Students are assigned an academic adviser to help them understand the degree requirements and stay on track for graduation. Students may take advantage of resources such as library services, financial aid assistance, career preparedness counseling, disability resources, and veteran programs. Degrees from the online program and its equivalent on-campus program are identical in subject matter curriculum and in degree appearance.

12 Toccoa Falls College 95.2314:1100%

An online degree in counseling psychology from this Christian-based school is geared toward students who want to channel their religious beliefs into careers that serve their community, church and families through ministry counseling. The program incorporates principles found in scripture with the practical applications of psychology. Consisting of 126 credit hours, the program offers a variety of religious classes as well as courses that focus on the core fundamentals of psychology. Students benefit from real-world experiences through a focused practicum as part of the program, and are encouraged to develop their own emotional health to be better counselors and professionals.

13 Dallas Baptist University 95.2314:195%

The online Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree program in psychology at Dallas Baptist University requires 120 hours of study, including 30 hours of major courses and up to 51 hours of electives. Additionally, online students also take courses in natural science, religion, social science, and kinesiology. Inverted program students who have already earned up to 42 upper-level courses might be able to simply complete their general education requirements at Dallas Baptist University in order to earn their degree. Like other disciplines at Dallas Baptist University, online psychology students must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in order to graduate.

14 Midway College 95.0113:1100%

The practice of psychology has a variety of professional applications, from counseling and therapy to educational and developmental psychology. Offered online, Midway's Bachelor of Arts in psychology degree is designed to impart the foundations psychological theory as well as teach students the practical skills necessary to work in the field. The program consists of 37 general education credit hours, 30 hours in psychology, and 48 electives. In addition to courses such as Research Methods in Psychology, Human Growth and Development, and Personality and Adjustment, students complete a one-semester practicum in a community agency, and a senior-year capstone project involving original research.

15 Chatham University 94.9410:1100%

From counseling to human resources, the job market is full of positions that tap into human psychology. Chatham's online Bachelor of Arts in psychology is a completion degree aimed at students who have some college credit and want to finish their education. Up to 90 credits can be transferred from other institutions, and credits can also be applied from prior work experience. After an introduction to the field of psychology, students delve into more intensive courses covering topics such as human development, cognitive psychology, psychobiology, research techniques, and theoretical approaches to therapeutic treatment.

16 North Greenville University 94.7914:1100%

Exploring the foundations of psychology, and how these can be practiced while applying the principles of the Christian faith, is the goal of this online Bachelor of Science in psychology. Students take classes that examine human growth and development; social, biological, and abnormal psychologies; personality theory; research methods; and counseling. Offered through NGU's College of Adult Professional Studies, the psychology major is paired with a minor in criminal justice, Christian ministries, business administration, or early childhood educational studies. Coursework, communication, and group work is conducted on Blackboard.

17 Eastern Kentucky University 94.7917:197%

Knowledge of psychology gives students a leg up in fields as diverse as business, social services and criminal justice. The online bachelor's degree in psychology from EKU caters to students by encouraging them to tailor the degree to suit their individual interests and goals. Students can choose from a range of concentrations such as substance abuse, autism spectrum disorders, forensic psychology, child and family psychology, workplace psychology, and brain and cognitive science. Online students will have access to online tutoring, degree mapping and personalized student counseling, and opportunities for faculty-student research. Eastern Kentucky's online program is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

18 Greenville College 94.5711:198%

The Office of Professional Studies at Greenville College offers an online program for a bachelor's degree in health psychology, which can potentially be completed in as little as 20 months of full-time study. This program can accept up to 82 transfer credits in lower-level courses, while 38 credits must be taken from Greenville College.

Some online courses encourage students to take advantage of live class discussions, including sessions scheduled in the evenings that could last up to 90 minutes. The college uses Brightspace by D2L as the learning platform on which courses are completed.

19 Mercy College 94.4318:195%

Those interested in psychology can earn their bachelor's degree online through Mercy College. Over 50 different courses in this discipline allow students to tailor their educational experience to suit their individual goals. Program participants can explore related fields such as counseling, community health and behavioral science.

Full-time students can generally complete their online degree with 120 credits over the span of four years, while transfer students may be able to apply up to 75 credits from a two-year institution or 90 credits from a four-year institution. Only 18 of those transferred credit hours can be from courses in the major, and the rest must be taken through Mercy College.

20 Caldwell University 94.3611:198%

The online bachelor's of psychology at Caldwell University requires students to complete 120 hours of study through seven and eight week sessions throughout the school year. These accelerated courses allow students to take advantage of full-time status in order to apply for financial aid. Distance learners will complete 49 courses in the liberal arts core, 30 courses in the psychology core, and 41 credits in open electives. Examples of required courses include general psychology, psychology of personality, psychopathology, philosophical and historical trends in psychology, and experimental psychology. Keep in mind that online degrees through Caldwell University are available only to residents of New Jersey.

21 Northeastern University 94.2813:177%

The curriculum for this online Bachelor of Science degree in psychology centers on the various facets of psychological theories and practices, along with the future outlook of the field. A strong liberal arts component rounds out the degree requirements, preparing students for careers in a wide range of fields including education, social work, medicine and business. Full-time students can complete the required 160 quarter-hour credits in four years, while part-time students typically earn the degree in seven years. Applicants will fill out an online application and submit proof of high school graduation or a completion of an associate degree. The university's college of professional studies can help students secure funding by assisting with grants, loans, and even employer reimbursement.

22 Lesley University 94.2811:197%

With a psychology degree, graduates have a deep knowledge of human behavior that better equips them to manage, lead and excel in their fields. The courses in the online Bachelor of Arts in psychology program from Lesley University are offered in eight-week sessions six times per year and are conducted via online discussion boards and email. The program consists of 36 core credits, 42 general education credits, and 42 free elective credits. Students are required to complete one lab course and one internship for the program, and may choose from electives that cover topics in child psychology, women's psychology, and psychological principles affecting power and politics.

23 Tiffin University 94.1418:198%

The online Bachelor of Arts in psychology at Tiffin is specifically geared to those who wish to work in human services. With this goal in mind, students work to understand how to apply psychological strategies to the problems facing individuals and society today, in preparation for careers such as social workers or professional caregivers. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the program integrates traditional coursework with internships and independent study, requiring 121 total credits. All online courses are offered in seven-week terms, with start times staggered throughout the year.

24 Limestone College 93.9919:1100%

Students can pursue a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in psychology online, preparing them for careers as psychologists, parole officers, social service professionals, or counselors specializing in areas such as rehabilitation or substance abuse. Coursework will differ somewhat between the BS and BA programs, but may include subjects such as statistics, research methods, behavioral disorders, current issues in the psychology field, and biological and evolutionary influences on psychology. Both programs require 123 credit hours. Upon completion, students should be prepared to continue on to graduate studies, begin careers in non-clinical roles, or receive certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

25 Wilmington University 93.9214:187%

Online learning offerings at Wilmington University in Delaware includes a Master of Science degree in the Administration of Human Services. This degree is designed for students that have completed undergraduate work in psychology, social work or behavioral science and are seeking advanced positions as a program director or development manager. The program requires 33 credits and can be completed at an accelerated pace in as little as a year. The university emphasizes affordable tuition, award winning online course curriculum, expert faculty, and a military friendly environment. The online program utilizes tools such as Blackboard and video conferencing to encourage student collaboration and faculty interaction.

26 University of Georgia 93.7117:194%

Online graduate degrees from the University of Georgia include a master's degree in educational psychology, applied cognition and development. In addition to coursework on motivation and learning, students can choose a secondary area of emphasis. Studies include research initiatives and projects in the field.

Also available are a master's degree (M.Ed.) and a specialist degree (Ed.S.) in educational psychology, with a concentration in gifted and creative education. The Ed.S. program requires a minimum of 31 semester hours of coursework compared to 37 semester credits for the master's degree. Programs include a final written examination.

27 Mercer University 93.5612:1100%

Students can earn their bachelor's degree in psychology through Mercer University's Penfield College. This program is designed for those who have already earned at least 60 credits toward graduation, mostly in general studies courses. Those who have an associate degree, or have earned credits through community colleges, take another 60 hours of credit for a total of 120 hours to complete their bachelor's degree.

The school uses collaboration tools like video chats and blogs as well as course management systems such as Moodle and Blackboard. Course work may include attendance for virtual class meetings scheduled in the evenings, and professors may require proctored tests.

28 King University 93.4212:192%

A fundamental understanding of how people think and why they behave in certain ways comes with a psychology degree, which can be applied in careers ranging from social services to business. The curriculum for King's online Bachelor of Science in psychology is designed to arm students with knowledge that will assist them in serving clients in a variety of situations. Topics include case management for clients who are receiving psychological care or who are on probation, as well as the psychological issues of specific patient populations such as those in child protective services or assisted living. As a completion program, the degree requires students to have already earned 45 college credits; the total of 124 hours typically can be completed in less than 16 months.

29 Touro University Worldwide 93.343:1100%

A holistic approach to achieving well-being and delivering mental health care is emphasized in this online Bachelor of Arts in psychology. The 120-credit hour program encourages students to apply transfer credits in order to expedite the completion of their degree. Students enrolled in the full-time program, which consists of three semesters per year at 12 credit hours per semester, can expect to graduate in 31/2 years. Courses cover subject areas such as developmental psychology, experimental psychology, social psychology, and abnormal psychology. Concentrations are geared toward applying psychology in various settings; students choose from industrial and organizational psychology, elementary education, secondary education, or special education.

30 Hodges University 93.3414:199%

Personalities, cultural differences and social issues all come into play as people interact at work. Hodges University's online Bachelor of Science degree in applied psychology is designed to prepare students to assist their employers in navigating those psychological waters. A solid liberal arts education forms the basis of the degree, with practical and theoretical principles of psychology delving further into the expression of human behavior. Students are trained to develop the professionalism and skills that will prove effective in working in fields such as human services, education, and business. Classes are four credits each, and the degree requires 122 total credit hours, with 42 in liberal arts courses, 24 in psychology, and 16 in a minor field of study.

31 Roosevelt University 93.2711:196%

Specifically targeting adult students who are at least 24 years old and have some life experience, Roosevelt University's online psychology degree encompasses four main goals: to provide students with a broad, overall knowledge of psychology, to train them in applying that knowledge especially as it relates to social justice, to develop critical thinking skills, and to become proficient in conducting and analyzing research. The program is fully accredited, and students meet regularly with academic advisers and faculty to ensure that their selected courses fit within the requirements of the degree.

32 McKendree University 93.2714:1100%

Students may choose myriad career paths or pursue additional education after receiving a psychology degree online from McKendree. Courses include Psychology of Human Sexuality, Sport and Health Psychology, Military Psychology, and Social Psychology, and are designed to give students a variety of perspectives into human minds and behaviors. Courses are delivered through Blackboard and last eight weeks. Students may take as many as two classes per session as they work toward the 120 total hours required for graduation. Support services include tutoring and writing assistance, and an adviser guides students through the entire process.

33 University of Houston 92.9822:187%

Students who wish to obtain an undergraduate degree in psychology can earn either a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts degree through the University of Houston's distance education program. The BA program focuses on mental health and social services while the BS emphasizes applied research, for example, in computer technology, medicine or industry. Studies examine cognitive and emotional development as well as the interaction of human beings with their environment.

Requirements for the major are available online, but to complete the degree, traditional on-campus courses may also be needed. While course content is provided electronically via the Blackboard platform, some instructors may require proctored exams.

34 Lee University 92.6218:194%

Teaching students to exercise Christian principles in counseling situations is the mission of Lee's specialized online Bachelor of Arts degree in ministry leadership with a counseling emphasis. In addition to the general and religious course requirements, students will examine personality theory, crisis intervention, theories and methods of counseling, psychology as it relates to human sexuality, and abnormal psychology. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, as well as three years of life experience beyond high school graduation. They must also demonstrate personal character as well as academic aptitude. The program is accredited by the Association for Continuing Higher Education, the Association of Christian Distance Education, and the Christian Adult Higher Education Association.

35 Palm Beach Atlantic University 92.5513:1100%

Christian perspectives influence the curriculum for this Bachelor of Science in psychology degree, a program that emphasizes the field of psychology specifically as it applies to counseling. Professors and students share a Christian outlook and work to combine both secular and biblical principles and strategies in the application of psychology. Students explore a number of specialties in the field, including developmental psychology and industrial and organizational psychology. Classwork is augmented with real-world experience through research and a clinical practicum. Applicants can apply for scholarships offered through the school's MacArthur School of Leadership.

36 Blue Mountain College 92.3313:197%

Understanding the intricacies of the human mind and learning how to interpret them with a Christian perspective are the goals of the online psychology degree from Blue Mountain. The program consists of 120 credit hours designed to prepare students for careers in psychology or for graduate study. In addition to all general class requirements, students will study major-specific subjects such as human development, family psychology, abnormal psychology, and personality theory. Applicants should demonstrate appropriate academic preparation, strength of character, and personal conduct that is consistent with the school's Christian values.

37 Westfield State University 92.2617:188%

Graduates of Massachusetts Community Colleges can enter Westfield State University's online bachelor's completion program to earn a degree in psychology. Students who have completed the Mass transfer compact can finish their degree completely online, while others can take many of the required classes online. An online minor in psychology is also offered.

Classes are available during all semesters, including the summer sessions and the accelerated winter session. Students access course materials through Plato, WSU's online course management system.

38 Dallas Christian College 92.1812:1100%

In the course of earning a Bachelor of Science degree that pairs psychology with biblical teachings, students are trained in the fundamental principles of psychology mingled with Christian theory and counseling from a biblical perspective. Many students who complete the online degree program go on to complete doctoral programs and pursue careers in ministry and family counseling. Coursework includes study of the Old and New Testaments, the relation of Christian thought to psychology, and focused classes in topics such as abnormal psychology, marriage and family psychology, and sports psychology. The program can be completed in as little as two years with classes starting every six weeks.

39 Saint Martin’s University 92.1112:195%

A breadth of psychology concepts, a strong liberal arts foundation, and Benedictine principles come together in this online bachelor's in psychology degree. Traditional, face-to-face classes are replaced by instruction delivered through the online learning system Moodle. Students can complete the degree entirely online, and upon graduation should be prepared to move on to graduate study or to accept entry-level positions in the field. The university is a member of the Voluntary Education Partnership through the Department of Defense, and is dedicated to helping military service members achieve their educational goals.

40 Dominican College 92.0415:199%

Students explore theoretical principles and research findings in psychology to unravel the complexities of human behavior in this online degree program. It is designed to familiarize students with the social and psychological factors that influence current issues in society, and help them develop methods to interpret and analyze the ways that people respond to the world around them. The degree requires 42 credits in psychology, 36 credits in general core classes, and 42 liberal arts credits. The accelerated degree option allows students to complete their degree in as little as 3 1/2 years. Students can pursue careers working for mental health service organizations, advocacy groups, private foundations, and government, adoption and child care agencies.

Online Psychology Degree Search Tool

Online degrees in psychology are a perennial favorite, given the myriad professional opportunities available to graduates of this discipline. Many institutions include psychology in their portfolio of online offerings, providing prospective students with lots of options to consider. Students will also need to ensure their selected program is properly accredited, offers suitable experiential learning opportunities, and provides career counseling. The search tool below takes all of these factors into account to deliver a list of schools adapted to unique student needs.

Degree Level:
Student Population:
School Type:
see map
Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia Four or more years TUITION
Private not-for-profit
  • Associates of Arts in Psychology
  • Associates of Arts in Psychology - Christian Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Crisis Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Military Resilience
  • Bachelor of Science in Religion - Christian Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Christian Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Criminal Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Life-Coaching
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Addiction And Recovery
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Business
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Marketplace Chaplaincy
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Addictions And Recovery
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Life Coaching
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Christian Ministries
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Discipleship And Church Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Professional Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Marriage And Family
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Executive Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling- Military Resilience
  • Master of Divinity - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Marriage & Family
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Crisis Response And Trauma
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) - School Counselor
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Military Resilience
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Health & Wellness
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Theology
  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Life Coaching
  • Master of Of Arts in Human Services Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Crisis Response And Trauma
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - Addictions And Recovery
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling (Ph.D.) - Counselor Education And Supervision
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling (Ph.D.) - Advanced Clinical Skills
  • Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) - Pastoral Counseling
University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida Four or more years TUITION
  • Psychology B.S.
Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, Texas Four or more years TUITION
  • Master of Education in Educational Psychology ? Learning Sciences
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, Minnesota Four or more years TUITION
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology
University of Florida Gainesville, Florida Four or more years TUITION
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Education And Behavior
Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, Arizona Four or more years TUITION
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Master of Education in Curriculum And Instruction - Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Doctor of Behavioral Health
Florida International University Miami, Florida Four or more years TUITION
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, Indiana Four or more years TUITION
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park, Pennsylvania Four or more years TUITION
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
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A Complete Guide to Online Psychology Degrees

The American Psychological Association defines psychology as the “study of the mind and behavior.” That’s a pretty broad definition. Given the breadth of the subject matter, and the depth of the mind, it’s no wonder that so many people find it a compelling choice as an occupation. With a few notable exceptions, the market for psychologists in the United States today seems well-stocked, with job growth through 2012 expected at just about the same rate as for all jobs in general, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s not to say that good psychology professionals won’t be in demand, but anyone planning to enter the field should be well aware of the importance of a quality post-secondary education, the kind that will provide the necessary foundation for career success. Individuals interested in working in the psychology field must be well armed with the information necessary to make the right career prep decisions.

MEET THE Expert: Alice Melissa Newberry

Melissa Newberry holds a PhD in applied psychology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She specializes in applied social psychology, program evaluation, advanced statistical analysis, and research methodology. Melissa currently works as a research analyst for a Fortune 50 company.

It is important to be passionate about learning about people through psychology. But it is equally important to learn about the types of jobs you would like to apply this knowledge towards.

The Online Psychology Degree Timeline

The psychology field encompasses a broad range of occupations, each with its own set of knowledge and skill requirements. Meeting those requirements takes a formal post-secondary education, and for working professionals or other students who need a flexibility, that could occur online. The key to success, then, starts by matching the right online psychology program to the right career path. The timeline is designed to help students determine what type of online degree best suits their needs and how long they can expect to spend earning it.

Online Associate Degree in Psychology – Two Years

If you are looking to become an actual psychologist the reality is that you will, at minimum, need to earn a graduate degree, most likely a doctorate. There are, however, plenty of individuals gainfully employed after earning either a bachelor’s or associate degree in psychology. Be aware, though, that your options in the field will be severely limited. Most graduates will find themselves applying their educations to jobs outside of the psychology field in areas such as business or education. Those earning a psychology associate degree online do have the option of continuing on up the education ladder by transferring to a four-year college or university, earning a bachelor’s degree and then moving on into a graduate program.

Online associate degrees typically require a two-year time commitment at a local community college. Students complete as much coursework online as possible, and interact with professors and peers in-person on an as-needed basis.

College of Southern Nevada
  • Enrollment: 53,482
  • Tuition: $2,700
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Nevada
  • Associate of Arts With A Psychology Emphasis
Seminole State College of Florida
  • Enrollment: 27,853
  • Tuition: $3,131
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate in Arts Major in Psychology
Vincennes University
  • Enrollment: 23,040
  • Tuition: $4,882
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Indiana
  • Associate of Transfer in Behavioral Sciences - Psychology
  • Associate of Arts in Behavioral Sciences - Psychology
Troy University
  • Enrollment: 22,220
  • Tuition: $6,844
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Alabama
  • Associate of Science in General Education - Psychology
Midland College
  • Enrollment: 11,007
  • Tuition: $3,180
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Texas
  • Associate of Science in Psychology
  • Associate of Arts in Psychology
Gulf Coast State College
  • Enrollment: 9,602
  • Tuition: $2,765
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate in Arts of Psychology

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology – Four Years

The path to a master’s or doctoral degree, however, runs directly through a quality bachelor’s degree program. Fortunately for the distance learner, there are plenty of online psychology degree options available offered by some of the best public and private colleges and universities in the nation. Online bachelor’s degrees in psychology, like most subjects, will require a four-year time commitment, although many distance-learning programs are flexible and allow students more time if needed. Some programs are also flexible at the other end of the time spectrum, offering accelerated coursework that leads to degree completion in three years or less. No matter what the length of the program, all bachelor’s psychology students should expect to encounter coursework in a number of core subjects, such as:

Clinical psychology: Generally speaking, clinical psychology has to do with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness. Courses in clinical psychology cover subjects such as the theories and practices of the major schools of psychology, assessment of intelligence and personality, primary prevention and the effectiveness of treatment.

Developmental science: Developmental science deals with the changes that occur over the course of a lifetime, beginning with birth and infancy and ending with old age and death. Topics include social and emotional development, language and cognitive development and psychobiology.

Cognitive psychology: Cognitive psychology concerns the mental processes. It is the study of how we think, perceive, remember and decide. Course topics will include learning, reasoning, attention and language.

Social psychology: Social psychology studies the way individual human beings think, feel and behave in the real or imagined presence of others. Specific topics include social influence and attitudes, interpersonal processes and group processes and relationships.

Online bachelor’s degree students in psychology will additionally be required to complete a core general education curriculum and courses in math, chemistry, physics, computer science and others.

Liberty University
  • Enrollment: 63,128
  • Tuition: $19,968
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Virginia
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Criminal Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Florida International University
  • Enrollment: 51,334
  • Tuition: $6,417
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
University of Minnesota
  • Enrollment: 44,332
  • Tuition: $13,459
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Minnesota
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology

Online Master’s in Psychology – Six Years

At the master’s level, students will notice that degree titles begin to become more specialized. For example, schools may offer an online master’s degree in clinical psychology, school psychology or other specialized fields. Other schools title all master’s degrees under the general heading of psychology with students picking a specific area of study. Common specializations include child & adolescent development, forensics, industrial or organizational psychology, consumer psychology, applied psychology and many others.

Online master’s degrees are another staple of the distance-learning world. There are lots of them, offered by well-established schools and primarily online providers alike. A number of these programs can be completed fully online while others are offered in a hybrid format that requires some on-campus participation. A master’s in psychology prepares graduates to seek employment in a wide range of areas including education, healthcare, technology, sales and advertising, conflict management, government and human resources.

National University
  • Enrollment: 14,242
  • Tuition: $10,368
  • College Type: Private
  • State: California
  • Master of Arts in Performance Psychology
Texas A & M University
  • Enrollment: 12,008
  • Tuition: $8,250
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Texas
  • Master of Education in Educational Psychology - Learning Sciences

Online Doctoral Degree in Psychology – Eight Years +

As discussed earlier, most individuals with the professional goal of becoming a licensed psychologist will need to complete a doctoral degree program. There are two basic degree options: the PhD in psychology and the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Both options take approximately four to seven years (beyond an undergraduate degree) to complete and require an internship component. All PhD and most PsyD programs require submission of a dissertation. Most importantly, both PhD and PsyD holders are eligible to obtain licensing as psychologists in all 50 states (with the successful completion of other state licensing requirements, of course.) The major difference between a PhD in psychology and a PsyD is that the PhD curriculum focuses more on research while the PsyD curriculum is focused more on clinical training.

Online doctoral degree programs in psychology are fewer in number than bachelor’s or master’s programs, but there are a number available offered by both traditional colleges and universities and primarily distance education for-profit schools.

Georgia State University
  • Enrollment: 9,309
  • Tuition: $8,392
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Georgia
  • Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology
Touro College
  • Enrollment: 9,170
  • Tuition: $30,650
  • College Type: Private
  • State: New York
  • Doctor of Psychology in Human And Organizational Psychology
University of the Cumberlands
  • Enrollment: 3,622
  • Tuition: $5,538
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Kentucky
  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Online Psychology Programs That Stand Out

A simple online search will not help in separating the quality online programs from the less-than-quality ones. To do that will take a little digging. The following is a list of some of the elements that make up a quality distance-learning program in psychology and a few tips on how to locate them:


Accreditation is among the most important elements to consider when choosing any post-secondary degree program. Accreditation assures students that the school and degree program they choose lives up to the rigorous standards set by the accrediting agency.

Colleges and their programs seek two different types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation assesses the quality of the college as a whole and is administered in the United States by six independent regional agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Programmatic accreditation looks at specific academic programs within a school’s curriculum and is administered in most cases by private non-profit professional accrediting organizations. The most prestigious accrediting agency of post-secondary psychology programs in the U.S. is the American Psychological Association (APA). Many schools offering distance learning degree programs in psychology enjoy full institutional accreditation. Regarding programmatic accreditation, however the APA only accredits doctoral degree programs. Additionally there are no APA-accredited programs that use exclusively online methods of instruction.

Student Support and Resources

Success in an online degree program is much more likely when the sponsoring school provides a variety of important outside-of-class resources and services. Support services that all distance-learning students should insist on include career, academic and financial aid counseling, online tutoring, online library services and disability access. Of particular importance to distance education psychology graduate students is access to quality internship opportunities in a student’s geographical area. Some form of internship or other practical experience is almost always a prerequisite to state licensing, so prospective online psychology students should always look for an internship/experience component in their degree program.

Professional Licensure

In almost all cases, professionals in the psychology field will need to acquire some form of state licensure in order to practice in their jurisdiction. License requirements vary widely from state to state. Licensure for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, for example, is mandated for practice in most states. Such licensure typically requires completion of a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, marriage and family therapy or a related subject area as well as 2000-4000 hours of post-degree clinical experience. Additionally, prospective counselors and therapists will need to take and pass a state-mandated examination.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require licensure of anyone practicing independently as a psychologist. Licensure requirements for most clinical and counseling psychologists will normally consist of a doctorate in psychology (from an APA-approved degree program, in some jurisdictions), one to two years of professional experience and passing of the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

The Importance of Psychology Certification

Not to be confused with state licensure is professional certification. While state licensure is an absolute requirement for practicing as a psychologist or other field-related professional, certification is voluntary and not legally required for practice. Obtaining professional certification is often very important to a successful practice, however, and may be required for practice by specific hospitals or clinics.

Certification is typically administered by private non-profit professional organizations and provides acknowledgement of expertise in a particular area or specialty. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) is a major provider of professional board certification in the psychology field offering certification in specializations that include Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Cognitive & Behavioral Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Forensic Psychology, School Psychology and nine others. Certification in most ABPP specializations requires that an applicant submit his or her credentials for review, submit practice samples for peer review and pass an oral examination. Forensic and clinical neuropsychology applicants must additionally pass a written test.

Other organizations that provide certification in the psychology field include the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology.

Interview with an Online Psychology Degree Holder

One of the best ways to learn about distance education in general and psychology programs in particular is to speak with someone who has been there. Students who are currently in or recently graduated from an online degree program can offer real-world insight into the practicalities of distance education. The following is a brief interview with an online bachelor’s degree in psychology student currently finishing up her senior year at the University of North Dakota.

What drew you to psychology in the first place?

I didn’t start out leaving high school knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I took a year off and worked in human resources and then I went to school for criminal justice. I actually have an associate’s degree in that. I noticed in my criminal justice courses that I was more interested in what motivated offenders and what was happening mentally with the victims, so I decided after finishing my associate’s degree that I would go for my bachelor’s in psychology.

Did you go straight from you associate program to your bachelor’s program?


Did you begin your search for a bachelor’s degree course by looking at online programs?

I actually began my bachelor’s degree program in an on-campus course at a small liberal arts college. A family matter caused me to move back closer to home and to begin looking to finish my degree online. I wanted to look for an excellent program in psychology and I found a couple of different programs but ultimately decided on the University of North Dakota.

Was there anything in particular that put UND over the top for you?

The reputation of the school and coupled with the fact that at UND, whenever you take your degree online, they offer in-state tuition. And being able to save a little money that way meant a great deal.

What was the hardest adjustment that you had to make doing online coursework compared to being in a classroom?

One of the biggest adjustments is that you don’t have the network of peers to fall back on that you have with an on-campus institution. When you have an online class, you can rely on emailing or calling your professor and they’re very outstanding about getting back to you. But you don’t have that network of people that sit in the desks around you and that you can look over and say, “I didn’t quite understand that. What do think they meant?”

What’s your study routine?

Mine is probably a little different than a lot of people. I have a two-year-old daughter, so I’m with her during the day. Then whenever she goes to sleep at night, I spend all evening before I go to bed doing as much of my coursework as I can get done. It’s very important for me to schedule out times and deadlines that I plan to have things done by so that I can ensure that things are done early because, as people know, with a toddler it’s very hard to plan for the unexpected.

What has been the most beneficial quality of online coursework for you personally?

The flexibility has probably been the most beneficial thing I’ve found within the program.

How do you communicate with your classmates?

Most classes I’ve been in communicate in a discussion group through Blackboard and through blog posts. They even do a thing called a wiki page where you can develop information and classmates can comment back and forth on.

Do you intend to continue on with your education after you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree?

Yes, I’m intending to go on to graduate school and my master’s in social work. I intend to go online for that, also. I’ve applied to a few different schools but I haven’t really narrowed it down yet. My goal is to go into clinical counseling as a licensed clinical social worker.

If someone came to you and was thinking about earning a degree online, what would be your advice to them?

I would tell them to make sure that they are self-determined and self-reliant. If you have those qualities, I would recommend online education for anyone.