Top 2019 Online Psychology Degree Programs and Schools

What is an Online Psychology Degree?

Online psychology degree programs focus on the study of the mind and human behavior. That includes how the brain works and develops over a lifetime, and how different factors shape the way we think and act.

Psychology programs also cover what happens when our thoughts and behaviors go wrong. You could study areas like addiction, criminal psychology, and crisis counseling. And, you could learn how to help people overcome their challenges in order to live happier lives.

Earning an online psychology degree may offer a stepping stone to various career paths. For example, psychologists usually need to earn a doctorate in psychology.

You may also want to study psychology because you’re interested in why people behave (or misbehave) the way they do! In fact, fields like business, healthcare, and education use psychological concepts to understand behavior.

online psychology degree - 3 Things you should know about earning a degree in psychology

List of Popular Online Psychology Degree Programs

Doctorate in Psychology DegreeMaster's in Psychology DegreeBachelor's Psychology Degree
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - General PsychologyMaster of Science in PsychologyBachelor of Science in Psychology - Organizational Behavior
This PhD program is designed to help you build on your knowledge of psychology and pursue independent scholarship. The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and research methods.This program teaches psychology theories, practices, and ethics. Students also choose from concentrations like forensic psychology and applied behavioral analysis.This program focuses on the fundamentals of psychology. You could also learn how principles of psychology apply to leadership and management.

Courses you could take include:

  • Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation
  • Research Design Planning
  • Tests and Measurements

Courses you could take include:

  • Foundations of Professional Psychology
  • Life Span Development
  • Testing, Measurement, and Assessment

Courses you could take include:

  • Group Dynamics
  • Theories of Personality
  • Managerial Psychology

Types of Psychology Degree Programs

Psychology degree programs have become more popular in recent years. This might be because, as a society, we are more open to the principles of psychology than we used to be. We’ve started to get curious about psychology and notice the ways it can inform our lives. As a result, there are types of psychology degree programs to suit many corners of this expanding field.

Online Psychology Bachelor’s Programs

In an online Bachelor's in Psychology program, you’ll start with introductory courses like biology and general psychology. Then, you'll build on the basics through courses like neuroscience, personality theory, and social psychology. The goal is to gain an overview of how the human mind works. Later, you could build on these foundations through further education.

There are two main types of Bachelors in Psychology programs:

  1. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology: An online B.A. in Psychology program usually focuses on the social sciences. You may discover how psychology applies to fields like social work or education. You could even have the freedom to study psychology specializations – like child psychology or forensic psychology.
  2. Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology:An online B.S. in Psychology focuses more on math and science. You could pursue a broad scientific background, taking courses like statistics and cognitive neuroscience. So, this type of degree may appeal to students who want to pursue graduate studies, later.

Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

In an online psychology master’s degree program, you’ll study graduate-level psychology concepts and research methods. For example, you may learn how to design research and analyze your findings. You’ll also learn how to communicate complex ideas about psychology. If your program has a clinical focus, you could even learn how to work with patients in a counseling setting.

In some programs, you might be asked to choose a concentration that interests you, such as:

  • Industrial Psychology:Sometimes grouped with organizational psychology, this concentration means business! You could study how principles of psychology apply to how companies run. And, you may learn to apply methods of research design and statistics as you explore this corner of psychology.
  • Forensic Psychology:This concentration explores ways psychology can shed light on legal cases. For example, you could study the question of sanity in criminal justice, or learn how to assess a victim’s psychological injury.
  • Educational Psychology:This concentration explores how psychology informs teaching and learning. You could study how people learn throughout their lives, and how certain factors impact learning. And, you could learn to use research in the field of educational psychology.
  • Addiction Psychology:Learn how to help those who struggle with addictions like drugs, alcohol, and gambling. In this concentration, you may study how to prevent and treat substance abuse. Often, this concentration focuses on counseling strategies.

Finally, keep in mind the differences between applied psychology and clinical psychology master’s programs. Applied psychology involves using psychological principles to solve problems in different industries. For instance, forensic psychologists apply their professional knowledge within the legal field.

Clinical psychology involves working with patients who have mental health issues. Mental health counselors can help people struggling with addiction or mental illness, for example.

Online Psychology Doctoral Programs

Doctoral programs in psychology focus on advanced study, research, and sometimes clinical training. There are two main kinds of a doctoral program in Psychology, each with a different focus. They include:

  1. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology:The Ph.D. focuses on scientific research in psychology. You may study methods for discovering new knowledge – like how to set up studies and analyze the results. Courses on statistics and experimental procedures are typical: While Ph.D. in psychology programs emphasize research, they may also prepare candidates for career paths in clinical psychology.
  2. Doctor of Psychology (PsyD): PsyD programs focus on teaching students to use psychological concepts in clinical practice. You may learn how to deliver services to individuals, groups, and organizations. So, it makes sense that practical learning and examinations are a big part of PsyD programs. You may study how to conduct and apply research, too. Still, PsyD programs appeal to students who are more interested in clinical psychology than research.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Psychology Degree Online?

How long it takes to earn an online psychology degree depends on the degree level. For full-time students, earning an online Bachelor’s in psychology takes about four years. Earning an online Master’s in psychology may take around two years. And earning a doctoral degree in psychology may take from four to six years.

Psychology Degrees That Could Be Earned in 24 Weeks or Less

School# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Northcentral University3052 weekly start dates20
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology37Multiple24
Grand Canyon University36Multiple20

How Much Does a Psychology Degree Cost?

The cost of earning a psychology degree online varies a lot. Psychology majors paid a median in-state public tuition of $7,128 as of 2016. For out-of-state private colleges, they paid a median tuition of $31,890.

Of course, many schools fall between those two extremes. Compare the tuition costs for these schools offering psychology programs:

School# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tutition Cost
Liberty University Online36$565$20,340
University of Hartford36$625$22,500
Purdue University60-75$420$25,200 to $31,500

Top Online Collegesfor Earning a Psychology Degree

Last check, there were 1,757 schools that offer psychology degrees or programs. From those schools there were 172,979 psychology degrees or programs awarded to students. The majority (73.3%!) of these programswere Bachelor’s degrees.

School2016 Total Grads/Degrees Awarded17/18 Tuition*(Out of State Unless **)
Liberty University2,518$21,310**
Capella University1,509$14,250**
Florida International University1,255$18,954
University of Central Florida1,217$22,467
Walden University1,002$12,465**
University of California-Los Angeles918$41,275
CUNY Hunter College857$14,372
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor855$47,476
University of Phoenix-Arizona849$9,608**

*Estimated for full-time, beginning undergraduate students

The Importance of an Accredited Psychology Degree Program

Accreditation helps makes sure that your psychology program meets certain goals and guidelines. These may include program quality and whether students of the program graduate well-prepared.

Plus, accreditation helps address updates to the field of psychology. As the field changes, programs should evolve so students can learn the latest info. Accredited psychology programs usually take part in continuiousreview and keep looking for ways to improve.

Finding Accredited Psychology Programs & Schools

First of all, you’ll want to make sure your college or university is regionally accredited. This helps ensure the entire school meets certain standards. (Currently, the U.S. has six regional accrediting bodies.)

Next, look for program accreditation. The American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation accredits doctoral programs in Psychology. They review programs in the following areas:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • School psychology
  • Combinations of the above areas

Plus, they accredit some doctoral internships and postdoctoral residencies. Take note that the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) does not accredit psychology Masters or undergraduate programs.

Find the Perfect Online Degree For You

What Can You Do with a Psychology Degree?

As of last count (2016), there were2.43 million psychology graduates in the workforce. They were employed in roles like Counselor, Social Worker, and Psychologist. And, employment for psych grads is growing! Between 2015 and 2016 alone, this group saw growth of 4.96%.

So, what does the typical psychology graduate look like? For one, more females (77.8%) earned degrees in this field than males. And, the average age of an employee with a psychology degree was 41.3 years old.

Top States for Psychology Degree Holders
StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Californa18,250$94,910
New York11,380$91,180
Texas6,250$70,060
Pennsylvania4,800$79,280
Illinois3,99076,150

This table shows states with the highest employment levels for Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists. State data varies for psychology degree holders in other careers.

CLINICAL, COUNSELING, & SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST

Psychologists diagnose and treat conditions related to mental health, emotions, and behavior. These use different approaches to help patients – like psychotherapy or behavior modification. Some psychologists focus on a particular population. For example, school psychologists work with students to resolve behavioral and educational disorders.

  • Median Annual Salary: Clinical, Counseling, & School Psychologist: $75,090
  • Job growth through 2026: 14%
  • Typical Entry-level education: Varies

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological principles to the workplace. They may study topics like working style and employee morale. And, they can help managers and executives to develop happier, more productive workplaces.

  • Median Annual Salary: $87,100
  • Job growth through 2026: 8%
  • Typical Entry-level education: Master’s

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists assist people who experience challenges with their relationships. They use different techniques to help patients discuss their feelings and work through their problems in healthy ways.

  • Median Annual Salary:$48,790
  • Job growth through 2026: 23% (Much faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Master’s