online psychology degree

Online psychology degreeOnline psychology degree programs range from associate to doctorate level and can take anywhere from two to eight years to complete, depending on the program. Investing in an online psychology degree can lead to high earning potential, with the median wage for psychologists reaching $82,180 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. These programs are suitable for students starting their education or professionals looking to advance their careers and specialize in areas such as clinical or research experience. The article also compares online psychology degree programs to traditional programs and covers costs and requirements.

Can I get a psychology degree completely online?

Yes, it is possible to obtain a psychology degree completely online. Many universities and colleges offer online psychology degree programs at various levels, such as associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate. These online programs typically follow the same curriculum and are taught by the same faculty as their on-campus counterparts. Some online psychology programs may require students to complete supervised clinical hours or fieldwork, but these can often be completed in the student's local area. However, licensure requirements for psychologists vary from state to state, so it's important to check with the licensing board in the state where you plan to practice to see if the online program you're considering meets their requirements.

Why is accreditation for an online psychology degree important?

Accreditation for an online psychology degree is important for several reasons:

  1. Validity: Accreditation ensures that the online psychology program meets certain standards for quality and rigor, providing assurance that the degree earned is valid and credible.
  2. Eligibility for licensure: Many states require that a degree from an accredited institution be held in order to be eligible for licensure as a psychologist.
  3. Transferability: An accredited degree is more likely to be recognized and accepted by other institutions, making it easier to transfer credits if you decide to continue your education.
  4. Financial aid: Most financial aid programs, including government grants and loans, are only available to students who attend an accredited institution.
  5. Employability: Accreditation is a sign of quality that employers recognize and consider when making hiring decisions.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that the online psychology program you are considering is accredited by a reputable accrediting agency, such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Do I need to get a license to practice psychology?

To practice psychology, most states require individuals to have a license. This requirement applies to graduates of both master's and doctorate programs. The licensure process is handled by the state's licensing board, and requirements vary by state. However, it should be noted that certain psychologists, such as those affiliated with a college or university, research laboratory, state or federal institution, or a corporation, may not be required to have a license in some states. To ensure that you meet all requirements for licensure, it is important to check with your state's board of psychology, and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards can provide additional information on licensing fees and requirements per state.

Online vs. Traditional Psychology Degree

Both online and traditional psychology degrees can lead to a career in psychology, but there are some key differences to consider when deciding which type of program is right for you.

Online programs offer flexibility and convenience for students who have work or family obligations that make it difficult to attend traditional on-campus classes. They also tend to be more affordable and accessible to people who live in remote or rural areas. However, online programs may not have the same level of hands-on experience and opportunities for face-to-face interaction with faculty and classmates as traditional programs.

Traditional, on-campus programs, on the other hand, provide students with a more traditional college experience, including access to on-campus resources and opportunities for face-to-face interactions with faculty and classmates. They also tend to have more opportunities for hands-on experience and networking. However, traditional programs may be more expensive and less flexible for students with busy schedules.

Both online and traditional psychology degrees can lead to licensure, but it's important to check with the state board of psychology where you plan to work to see if there are any additional requirements for online degrees.

Ultimately, the decision between an online and traditional psychology degree will depend on your individual needs and preferences. It's important to weigh the pros and cons of each option and to research different programs to find the one that best fits your goals and lifestyle.


Online psychology degree programs offer a level of flexibility that traditional on-campus programs do not. The ability to learn at one's own pace and on one's own schedule is a significant advantage for students who have other obligations, such as work or family responsibilities. However, this flexibility also requires students to be highly disciplined and self-motivated in order to meet course requirements and achieve learning objectives. In contrast, traditional on-campus programs provide students with more structure and support in the form of direct interaction with instructors and classmates. Ultimately, whether you choose an online or traditional program will depend on your personal learning style, goals, and lifestyle.

Enhanced Learning Experience

Online psychology programs offer students the advantage of having more time to reflect on course material and ideas. Unlike traditional programs which may have limited discussion times, online learning allows students to take the time they need to consider questions that may arise while studying. This reflection often leads to additional research, which can enhance the learning process.

Research has supported the effectiveness of online learning in psychology. A study by Aloni and Harrington (2018) found that online discussion boards, which are a common feature of online psychology programs, are an effective tool for fostering critical thinking skills and integrating writing in psychology courses. The study, published in Scholarship for Teaching and Learning in Psychology, highlighted the importance of asynchronous online discussions in developing critical thinking skills among students and enhancing writing skills through exposure to peer models.


Online psychology degree programs are often more cost-effective than traditional on-campus programs. The lower overhead costs of online programs mean that tuition is typically lower for online students. However, it's important to note that earning a psychology degree online is not necessarily inexpensive. Financial aid is still available for online students and may be needed to help cover the cost of tuition. The main difference in cost between online and on-campus programs is that online students do not have to pay for room and board, including meal plans, transportation, and other campus-related fees. This can make online programs more accessible and affordable for some students.

Is an online degree cheaper?

Earning a psychology degree online can be a more cost-effective option than attending college on-campus. Due to the lower overhead costs of online programs, tuition is typically lower for online students. Additionally, online programs often offer accelerated formats which allow students to complete coursework in less time, reducing the overall cost of the degree. Furthermore, online students do not have to pay for room and board, transportation, and meal plans, which can further lower the overall cost of the degree when compared to on-campus programs.

Is an online degree as good as a regular degree?

Online degrees from accredited institutions are generally considered to be just as valid and credible as traditional, on-campus degrees. The curriculum and coursework for online programs are typically the same as those offered on-campus, and online degrees are awarded by the same institutions that offer traditional degrees. Employers and graduate programs often view online degrees from accredited institutions in the same way as traditional degrees.

However, it is important to ensure that the online program you are considering is accredited by a reputable accrediting agency. Accreditation is a process by which colleges and universities are evaluated to ensure that they meet certain standards of quality. Attending an accredited institution is important because it means that the program meets certain standards of quality, and it also makes it more likely that your degree will be recognized by other institutions and employers.

It's also important to note that not all online degrees are created equal, some online programs may have more rigorous standards and more opportunities for hands-on experience, networking, and research than others. It's important to research the specific program and institution to ensure that it meets your needs and goals.

Types of Online Psychology Degrees

There are several types of online psychology degrees available, including:

  1. Bachelor's degree in Psychology: This is a four-year undergraduate program that provides a broad introduction to the field of psychology, including courses in research methods, abnormal psychology, and social psychology.
  2. Master's degree in Psychology: This is a two-year graduate program that offers more specialized training in a particular area of psychology, such as clinical psychology or cognitive psychology.
  3. Doctoral degree in Psychology: This is a highly specialized degree that typically takes four to seven years to complete. It is required for licensure as a clinical psychologist or for academic positions in psychology.
  4. Graduate Certificates in Psychology: These are short-term, specialized programs that can be completed in a year or less. They are typically designed for professionals who want to gain specific skills or knowledge in a particular area of psychology.
  5. Online Psychology Degree (Online Bachelor's or Master's degree): This type of degree is the same as traditional psychology degrees, the only difference is that you take the classes online.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Psychology Degree

When choosing an online psychology degree, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Accreditation: It's important to ensure that the program you choose is accredited by a reputable accrediting body. This ensures that the program meets certain standards of quality and that your degree will be recognized by other institutions and employers.
  2. Curriculum: Make sure that the program covers the topics that interest you and will help you achieve your career goals.
  3. Faculty: Look into the qualifications and experience of the faculty members who will be teaching your classes.
  4. Flexibility: Consider the schedule and format of the program, as well as the availability of online resources and support services.
  5. Cost: Compare the cost of the program to other institutions and consider if it fits your budget.
  6. Career Prospects: Research the job market in your area and consider the career prospects for graduates with a psychology degree.
  7. Licensure: If you plan to work as a licensed therapist, ensure that the program you choose meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.
  8. Learning Platform: Familiarize yourself with the online platform the school uses for classes, assignments and interaction with professors and classmates.

What are the psychology degree concentrations offered online?

Online psychology degree programs typically offer a variety of concentrations, which are specialized areas of study within the field of psychology. Some common concentrations that are often offered online include:

  1. Clinical Psychology: This concentration focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.
  2. Counseling Psychology: This concentration focuses on helping individuals, couples, families, and groups to improve their emotional and mental well-being.
  3. Educational Psychology: This concentration focuses on the study of how people learn, including issues related to instruction, curriculum development, and assessment.
  4. Forensic Psychology: This concentration focuses on the application of psychology to the criminal justice system, including issues related to eyewitness testimony, jury selection, and the insanity defense.
  5. Health Psychology: This concentration focuses on the study of how psychological factors affect physical health and illness.
  6. Industrial-Organizational Psychology: This concentration focuses on the application of psychological principles to work-related issues, including selection and training, workplace motivation, and job satisfaction.
  7. Neuropsychology: This concentration focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior, including issues related to brain injury, neurological disorders, and cognitive function.
  8. Sport Psychology: This concentration focuses on the application of psychological principles to issues related to sport and physical activity, such as motivation, performance enhancement, and injury recovery.

These are a few examples of the many concentrations offered, some programs may offer different options, it's important to research the options available in the program you are considering.

How much does an online psychology degree cost?

The cost of an online psychology degree can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of degree (e.g. bachelor's, master's, doctoral), the institution offering the degree, and whether the program is offered by a public or private school.

On average, the cost of an online bachelor's degree in psychology ranges from $10,000 to $40,000.

The cost of an online master's degree in psychology can range from $15,000 to $50,000.

And, the cost of an online doctoral degree in psychology can range from $20,000 to $70,000.

It's important to keep in mind that these are only estimates, and the actual cost of an online psychology degree can vary widely depending on the institution and program. Additionally, some programs may offer financial aid, scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial assistance to help cover the cost of tuition.

It is also important to consider the other costs that come with an online degree, such as books, materials, and any technology required to participate in the program.

Is an online psychology degree worth it?

Whether or not an online psychology degree is worth it depends on your individual circumstances, goals, and priorities. Online psychology degree programs can offer many benefits, such as:

  1. Convenience: Online programs allow you to complete coursework from anywhere, at any time, which can be particularly beneficial for students who are working or have other commitments.
  2. Flexibility: Online programs often offer flexible schedules, which can make it easier to balance coursework with other responsibilities.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: Online programs can be less expensive than traditional on-campus programs, especially when you factor in the cost of commuting and other expenses.
  4. Variety of options: Online psychology degree programs are widely available and offer a variety of concentrations and specializations, allowing you to choose the program that best fits your interests and career goals.
  5. Career opportunities: Many employers recognize the value of online degree programs and are willing to hire graduates of online programs.

However, online programs also have some limitations, such as:

  • Lack of face-to-face interaction: Online programs can limit opportunities for interaction with classmates and professors, which can make it more difficult to build relationships and get the support you need.
  • Limited hands-on experience: Some programs may not have the same opportunities for hands-on experience as traditional on-campus programs, which can make it harder to prepare for certain careers.
  • Limited networking opportunities: Networking is an important part of building a career in psychology, and online programs may not provide the same opportunities for networking as traditional on-campus programs.

Ultimately, whether or not an online psychology degree is worth it depends on your individual goals and priorities. If you are looking for a flexible, cost-effective way to pursue a psychology degree, an online program may be worth considering. However, if you value face-to-face interaction and hands-on experience, a traditional on-campus program may be a better fit.

What are the requirements of an online psychology degree?

The requirements for an online psychology degree can vary depending on the specific program and institution offering it. However, some common requirements that may be necessary include:

  1. A high school diploma or GED
  2. Completion of prerequisite courses, such as general psychology, statistics, and biology
  3. A minimum GPA (usually around 2.5-3.0)
  4. Standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT (may be waived for some students)
  5. Submission of transcripts and letters of recommendation
  6. Completion of coursework and assignments through an online learning platform
  7. Some programs may require in-person or supervised internship hours

It's always better to check with the specific institution or program you are interested in to get the most accurate and up-to-date information on their requirements.

Discover what you can do with a BA in Psychology.
What Can You Expect from an Online Bachelor's Degree in Psychology?
How long does it take to get a BA in Psychology?

Full-time students seeking an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology can expect to take about four years to complete the program. Most schools require 120 credits to complete. Some institutions offer short-term intensive undergraduate programs that can be shortened to about 3.5 years.

Dual Degree Option B. Accelerated Master's Programs, such as: Save time and money by allowing students to earn a bachelor's degree while starting their master's program and graduate with up to 50 credits in total. Eligible transfer students can also benefit by choosing a program with generous transfer credit her policy. Other factors include on-site learning requirements, amount of asynchronous coursework, cohort structure and personal hierarchy. In a cohort, students go through the entire course together in order to graduate as a group.
Which Courses Do I Take to Earn an Online Bachelor's Degree in Psychology?

Psychology is a multifaceted and wide-ranging field that includes many sub-areas and specializations at the bachelor's level. Psychology students study human behavior, development, motivation, cognition, learning, and perception over a lifetime. Grades and concentration levels vary from school to school, but all students in online psychology programs are required to complete a series of foundational courses.

Core work includes statistics and research methods for behavioral sciences, child and adult development, personality theory, psychological assessment, social psychology, health psychology, and work-organizational psychology. A typical Bachelor of Arts in Psychology includes some of the following courses:

The 18 Best Online Psychology Degree Programs

It's no secret that a degree opens up a world of career opportunities and puts you in line for higher salaries. However, studying on campus is not for everyone. Work, family, and other commitments may prevent you from having a traditional on-campus education. However, earning a degree in psychology can be done online in the comfort of your own home and on your schedule.

With over 1,000 online psychology degrees available, choosing the best online psychology degree can be difficult. This article examines the top 18 online psychology degrees available in the US. This guide was created to help you find your school.

1. Capella University
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2. Bellevue University
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3. Northeastern University
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4. Arizona State University
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5. Robert Morris University
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6. The University of the Incarnate Word
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7. Drexel University
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8. Oregon State University
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9. The University of Florida Online
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10. Penn State World Campus
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11. Post University
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12. Purdue University Global
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13. University of Massachusetts Lowell
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14. Southern New Hampshire University
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15. Saint Leo University
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16. Liberty University
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17. LeTourneau University
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18. Grand Canyon University
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