The Best Online Psychology Degrees for 2021

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Online Psychology Degrees

A psychology degree explores the human mind and behavior. While studying abnormal psychology, human development, and social behavior, psychology majors strengthen their analytical and research skills. By earning a psychology degree online, students can advance their education in a flexible format and enjoy new career possibilities.

Psychology majors can choose from various potential career paths. Many work in the social services field, where they specialize in areas like behavioral disorders, community services, or rehabilitation. Psychology graduates also work in education, business, and marketing.

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With graduate training, psychology majors can become psychologists. These professionals earn more than $80,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This high-paying field includes school psychologists, clinical psychologists, and counseling psychologists.

Our list ranks the best online psychology programs to help prospective students find the right fit. This article also examines career paths with a psychology degree, common psychology classes, and scholarship opportunities for psychology majors.

See Our Rankings Methodology

Top 10 Best Online Psychology Degrees

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
3 Ohio University Athens, OH
4 Maryville University Saint Louis, MO
5 University of Minnesota-Duluth Duluth, MN
6 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
7 Gallaudet University Washington, DC
8 Arizona State University Online Scottsdale, AZ
9 Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA
10 Washington State University Pullman, WA

FAQ

Question Answer
What can I do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology? As a versatile social sciences degree, psychology prepares graduates for careers in community services, counseling, and social work. Psychology majors can also pursue careers that require strong research and analytical skills.
How long does it take to earn a psychology degree? Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology generally takes full-time enrollees four years. Transfer students with prior college credit can earn the degree sooner.
What skills do psychologists need? Psychologists rely on their analytical and interpersonal skills to work with clients, diagnose mental health disorders, and create treatment plans.

What Can I Do With a Psychology Degree?



A psychology degree emphasizes critical thinking, research, and analytical skills. By studying the human mind, psychology majors learn to evaluate information, draw conclusions from data, and make persuasive arguments. Psychology majors can use their degree to advance in their current career or begin a new one.

Earning a psychology degree online prepares graduates for careers in many fast-growing industries. For example, psychology majors can work as behavioral disorder counselors, social workers, and correctional treatment specialists. A psychology program’s social science training leads to opportunities in market research, human resources, and community services.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology can also prepare students for graduate-level training. Careers as a psychologist require a graduate degree. Some psychology careers, such as industrial-organizational psychologist, social psychologist, and school psychologist, may require a bachelor’s degree. Most other psychologists hold a doctorate. Foundational undergraduate training in psychology helps graduate students train as psychologists.

How Does College Accreditation Work?

What Are the Requirements for a Psychology Program?



Prospective psychology majors must meet several requirements to gain admission to a college and apply to a school’s psychology program. At most colleges, applicants need a high school or GED diploma. During the admissions process, applicants submit official transcripts and standardized test scores. Some schools also require recommendation letters, a resume, or a statement of purpose.

After gaining college admission, new students may also need to apply to the psychology major. Some programs require minimum grades in prerequisite courses. Psychology students complete coursework in their discipline and any graduation requirements such as a thesis or capstone project.

Courses in a Psychology Program



A psychology program trains students in the science of the mind and mental processes. Enrollees take classes in developmental, abnormal, and cognitive psychology. They build strong analytical skills by examining psychological experiments and research studies.

Psychology majors can often specialize their degree by choosing upper-division electives in areas like neuroscience, animal behavior, or criminology. Many psychology programs incorporate experiential learning through laboratory or internship requirements. Psychology majors may also complete a capstone project or thesis.

This section introduces psychology classes. While each program maintains its own requirements and course descriptions, many psychology programs include the courses below.


  • Introduction to Psychology

    Most psychology programs introduce students to the field with a survey class focused on the psychological sciences. Learners study the history of psychology, the main subfields of psychology, and the discipline’s research methods. Topics can include social development, psychological disorders, and group psychology. In addition to lectures, students may complete laboratory assignments. Introductory courses prepare psychology majors for upper-division courses and specialized electives or concentrations.


  • Developmental Psychology

    Developmental psychology classes investigate how individuals develop throughout their lifespan. Learners explore the stages of development, when qualities like personality and abilities appear, and the role of genetics and the environment in human development. Enrollees also study the major theories for physical and cognitive development, research approaches in developmental psychology, and new research in the field. The course benefits psychology majors interested in working with young children or pursuing careers in school psychology.


  • Psychology Research Methods

    Psychology students learn the major research approaches in the field and how to critically evaluate psychological research. Learners examine statistical techniques while also learning to test psychological hypotheses using various methods. The course introduces experimental research design, correlational research, and lab-based psychology research. Learners also analyze psychological studies and study behavioral research. The course builds strong research and analytical skills, which psychology majors can apply in graduate study or in the workforce.


  • Cognitive Psychology

    Enrollees examine the process of learning and thinking. The course covers experimental cognitive psychological methods and research. Learners study human understanding of memory and perception, how our minds organize knowledge, and the process of making decisions. Depending on the program, enrollees may complete laboratory-based assignments to examine cognitive phenomena. The course prepares learners for advanced training in neuropsychology and neuroscience. It also provides a foundation for roles in educational psychology and the psychology of learning.


  • Abnormal Psychology

    Students explore mental illness and the process of categorizing and identifying abnormal psychology. The course introduces learners to theories of psychopathology, the diagnostic process, and the treatment of different mental disorders. Topics may also include the major categories of mental illness, identifying abnormal psychology in children, and evidence on the origins of mental disorders. By introducing students to the diagnosis and classification of mental disorders, the class prepares majors for graduate programs in psychology and clinical training.


Professional Organizations for Psychology Students



Professional organizations help psychology students prepare for careers in the field. These organizations offer information on graduate programs in psychology, career paths without a graduate degree, and job openings. Professional organizations also connect psychology majors with mentors, research and networking opportunities, and scholarships and grants.


  • American Psychological Association APA represents more than 121,000 psychologists and students. As the largest psychology professional organization, APA provides information on different specialties within psychology, hosts a psychology help center with resources, and creates publications and databases. The association also provides educational resources and career information for psychology students.

  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology Founded in 1974, SPSP advocates for social and personality psychologists. The society hosts educational events, connects psychologists and students through networking opportunities, and promotes research in the field. SPSP also offers mentoring opportunities for future personality and social psychologists. Members can read scientific journals to stay current, attend conventions and meetings, and access continuing professional education resources.

  • National Association of School Psychologists NASP represents over 25,000 school psychologists and students interested in the profession. The association promotes the best practices for improving students' mental health and learning. NASP offers resources on school psychology as a profession, certifications, research and policy information, and professional development resources.

  • Psi Chi An international honor society for psychology, Psi Chi dates back to 1929. Students can become lifetime members to receive publications and apply for awards and grants. The society hosts over 1,150 chapters and awards more than $400,000 each year to members, including in research grants, travel funds, and scholarships.

Scholarships for Psychology Students

Psychology majors qualify for many scholarships. Professional associations, private foundations, and colleges all offer scholarships to support psychology students. Online learners must typically meet scholarship requirements if they attend an accredited college or university. In addition to the following scholarships, psychology majors can research opportunities based on their career goals or state.

The Gladys Carol Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The program awards scholarships to undergraduates pursuing a full-time STEM program at an accredited institution, including psychology majors. The merit-based award requires a minimum 3.75 GPA and a minimum 1290 SAT or 28 ACT score. Recipients can renew the scholarship for a second year if they meet academic requirements.
Amount: $2,500

Franklin D. Boyce Health Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The John Randolph Foundation offers this scholarship that supports degree-seekers in health occupations, including psychology majors. Applicants must live in certain localities in Virginia and demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA. The scholarship also requires a demonstration of financial need. Both full-time and part-time students can apply.
Amount: $2,500

AP-LS Award for Best Undergraduate Paper

Who Can Apply: Undergraduates can submit a research paper that examines psychology and law to win the award. Applicants must be the major contributor to the project and winners can submit their work at the AP-LS Conference. The award requires submitting a copy of the research paper and a letter of support from a faculty mentor.
Amount: $500

Check Out: Sociology Careers

The Best Online Psychology Degrees for 2021



  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    University of Florida offers an online bachelor of arts in psychology that covers mental processes, developmental changes across the lifespan, and sociocultural influences on behavior. Students specialize in general psychology, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, or behavior analysis. The program prepares graduates for advanced study in psychology and a variety of careers. Possible career paths include human resources manager, mental health therapist, and rehabilitation specialist.

    The psychology major requires 36 credits beyond general education requirements. Students take courses such as principles of behavioral analysis, abnormal psychology, social psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. Degree-seekers can complete an optional senior honors thesis. Online students enjoy the same access to faculty as on-campus students.

    Eligible applicants hold 60 or more college credits with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Prerequisite courses include biological sciences, pre-calculus, and introduction to statistics.

    University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    University of Central Florida offers an online bachelor of science (BS) in psychology that presents students with a foundation in research and statistical methods, psychology history, and terminology in the field. Students choose one of six tracks: clinical, experimental, general, human factors, industrial/organizational, or neuroscience.

    UCF's degree in psychology requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Students engage in research, fieldwork, and internships while they complete their online degree. Many learners also choose to complete a senior capstone project. Graduates with a BS in psychology qualify for careers as counselors, higher education administrators, mental healthcare providers, and psychiatric technicians.

    Eligible applicants hold a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Candidates also submit SAT/ACT scores. Additional admission criteria apply to transfer students depending on how many college credits they hold.

    University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. Ohio University
    Location

    Athens, OH

    Ohio University offers a fully online bachelor of science (BS) in psychology degree that prepares students for possible careers in human services, business, and health services or further graduate study in the field. Even if graduates do not pursue a psychology career, the degree trains students in communication and critical thinking. Ohio delivers most online courses asynchronously, allowing students to work on assignments on their own schedule.

    A BS in psychology requires 35 major credits in addition to general education requirements. Liberal arts college requirements include two years of foreign language credit. Psychology majors take courses such as statistics for the behavioral sciences, physiological psychology, and social psychology.

    Eligible applicants hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Prospective students with more than nine credits of college coursework apply as transfer students and need a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    Ohio University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Maryville University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Maryville University offers an online bachelor of arts in psychology that provides students with a broad foundation in the discipline, as well as opportunities to gain applied psychology experience. Through the program, students gain an understanding of experimental methodology, human development, and the biological and social aspects of behavior.

    Maryville's degree in psychology requires 128 credits and takes four years to complete. Courses include human development through the lifespan, social psychology, and biological psychology. Students also complete a social science research sequence, including courses on research design and statistical inference, that culminates in a senior project.

    Eligible applicants hold a high school or GED diploma. Maryville accepts transfer credits in multiple forms, including CLEP exams, AP courses, and associate degree credits from another institution. Maryville also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program to support tuition costs for active military and veteran students.

    Maryville University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. University of Minnesota-Duluth
    Location

    Duluth, MN

    University of Minnesota Duluth offers an online bachelor of applied science (BAS) in psychology that trains students in foundational psychological concepts and how to apply them to a variety of fields and communities. Students learn to conduct research, analyze and report data, and connect psychological theories to personal, social, and organizational issues. Many graduates with a BAS in psychology gain entry-level employment in fields of behavioral health, case management, and social services.

    The psychology major requires 56 credits in addition to general education requirements. Students take courses such as theories of personality, learning and behavior, and applied behavior analysis. Enrollees complete a research methods course as a capstone in which they design and conduct a study.

    Eligible applicants hold an associate degree from an accredited institution with an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher. High school prerequisites include two years of a foreign language, three years of mathematics, and general psychology.

    University of Minnesota Duluth is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  6. University of North Dakota
    Location

    Grand Forks, ND

    University of North Dakota offers an online bachelor's in psychology that provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the field. Many students tailor their degree further by pursuing a certificate in forensic psychology or behavioral health.

    The 120-credit online psychology degree takes four years to complete. Students take courses in the psychology of learning, physiology of behavior, and cognitive psychology. Learners also complete courses incorporating applied experience in psychology, such as psychological helping skills or instructional experiences in psychology.

    Incoming freshman applicants need a high school or GED diploma with a preferred GPA of 2.75 or higher. UND does not currently require SAT or ACT scores, a temporary policy that extends through the summer of 2022. Students transferring in with an associate of arts from another school receive an essential studies waiver of general education requirements.

    University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. Gallaudet University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Gallaudet University provides an online bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology that provides students with research experience, analytical thinking skills, and an understanding of human behavior applicable to a variety of vocations. All students complete an internship as part of the curriculum. Learners especially interested in research often choose the psychology honors option, which requires an independent research project with a faculty advisor.

    The online BA in psychology requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Students take core courses in lifespan development, abnormal psychology, and social psychology. Enrollees must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA in psychology courses in order to graduate.

    Students at Gallaudet gain access to unique opportunities, such as contributing to the peer-reviewed Chronicles of Psychology journal or the Psi Chi honor society. Eligible applicants hold a high school or GED diploma with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

    Gallaudet University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  8. Arizona State University Online
    Location

    Scottsdale, AZ

    Arizona State University offers an online bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology that equips students with critical thinking skills, qualitative and quantitative research abilities, and cultural competency. Students gain an understanding of various psychological perspectives, including clinical, cognitive systems, cross-cultural, developmental, organizational, and social psychology. ASU allows students the option to participate in internships, service learning experiences, and research with faculty.

    ASU's BA in psychology requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Students take courses in research methods, statistics, memory and cognition, and health psychology.

    Eligible applicants hold a high school or GED diploma with a minimum 2.5 GPA and graduated in the top 25% of their high school class. Competitive standardized test scores include a 22 on the ACT and 1120 on the SAT. Prospective students count as transfer applicants if they hold more than 12 college credits at another university or college.

    Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Loyola University New Orleans
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

    Loyola University offers an online bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology that provides students with a broad liberal arts foundation and specialized insight into human behavior. Online students enjoy access to the same faculty as on-campus students, including experts in cognitive neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, and social and personality psychology. In addition to preparing enrollees for graduate study in psychology, Loyola's psychology program also prepares students for careers in mental health and human service positions.

    The online BA in psychology requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Students take core courses in developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, and research methods. Elective options include psychology of trauma and disaster, cognitive neuroscience, and the psychology of human aging.

    Eligible applicants hold a high school or GED diploma. Candidates also submit transcripts and an online application. Loyola accepts a maximum of 90 transfer credits from other universities.

    Loyola University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  10. Washington State University
    Location

    Pullman, WA

    Washington State University offers an online bachelor of science (BS) in psychology that provides students with an understanding of psychological concepts and research methods. Online psychology students gain access to a variety of extracurricular opportunities, such as the global campus chapter of the WSU and the Psi Chi psychology national honor society. Many online psychology courses at WSU use free online materials that act as alternatives to hard copy textbooks.

    The online BS in psychology requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Core courses cover psychology as a science, elementary statistics in psychology, and experimental methods in psychology. Students then take electives in the following focus areas: neuroscience/cognition, social/motivational psychology, and clinical/counseling psychology.

    Eligible applicants hold a high school or GED diploma. Candidates also submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students need a minimum 2.5 GPA.

    Washington State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

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