#1 Excelsior University
The private Excelsior College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree with 120 credit hours. This degree is designed to last four years with a full-time schedule. With its open admissions policy, Excelsior accepts all applicants, but only 35% graduate with a degree.
Excelsior's online students log into the Canvas learning platform to complete work for asynchronous courses. The school's psychology curriculum covers general concepts such as neurophysiology, social influence, and the history of the discipline and its theories. Some intermediate and upper-level electives include Lifespan Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Mind, Body, and Health. Each student also takes a required capstone in which they complete a comprehensive research project.
#2 Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) is a private institution that offers an online, 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Behavioral and Health Services degree. This program usually takes at least four years to complete for full-time students. The university's bachelor's-degree acceptance rate is 70%, and 75% of these students earn their degree.
TJU uses the Canvas digital learning system to host online courses. This program's faculty aim to create thoughtful, compassionate human services employees with working knowledge of behavioral disorders and intervention techniques. Some of the curriculum requirements include Psychology of Addiction, Psychology of Trauma, and Human Services Administration. Graduates may pursue work for social services agencies or nonprofits.
#3 Regis University
Regis University is a private Catholic institution with an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Applied Psychology degree. This program requires 120 credit hours of coursework, which might take four years at full-time status. Regis accepts 78% of undergraduate applicants and has a graduation rate of 59%.
Online learners access the Brightspace learning management platform to take online classes at Regis. This BS's curriculum focuses on applying psychology insights to helping professions in social services and healthcare, especially through the lens of the school's Jesuit Catholic values. The required courses include Psychology of personality, Brain and Behavior, and Forgiving Others, Forgiving Ourselves.
#4 University of Bridgeport
The University of Bridgeport (UB), a private institution, features an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology that requires 120 credit hours of coursework. Students may finish in four years if they take a full-time course load. The university accepts 71% of applicants and graduates 50% of them with a bachelor's degree.
UB's online students use the Canvas platform to view and complete class assignments. The program's faculty seek to cover a general psychology curriculum with plenty of room for special electives, though there are no official concentrations. Core classes include Cognitive Psychology, Research Methods, and Social Psychology, and students can choose from a research practicum, senior thesis, or internship as a final project.
#5 American Public University System
Despite its name, American Public University System (APUS) is a private school offering a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology degree online. This is a 120-credit-hour degree designed to take four years to complete with a full-time schedule. APUS has an open admissions policy, but only 18% of students graduate with their bachelor's degree.
The university hosts online courses on the Brightspace learning management platform. BA students take a general psychology curriculum that covers normal and abnormal development and behavior, learning theory, and the boundaries between cognition and physiology. Students must take a core of classes that include Human Life Span Development and Personality Theories, but they can also choose from electives such as Human Sexuality and Psychology of Disaster.
#6 Drexel University
Drexel University is a private university offering a Bachelor of Science in Psychology that requires 180 credit hours. Full-time students generally complete bachelor's programs in four years. Drexel accepts 83% of its applicants, with 68% earning a degree.
At Drexel, students use the Blackboard learning management system to access their lectures, assignments, and discussion threads. Most courses are delivered asynchronously. During this program, students learn how to improve patients' lives through their understanding of human behavior, cognition, statistics, and research methodologies. Required courses include Physiological Psychology, Psychological Research, and Approaches to Personality. The final 12 credits will be put towards the Psychology Senior Thesis. Career opportunities for graduates are wide-ranging and include roles such as human resources managers, psychiatric technicians, and child care workers.
#7 National University
National University (NU) is a private institution that hosts an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In order to earn this degree online, students must complete at least 180 quarter units, which is typically done within four years if studying full time. NU's acceptance rate is 55%, with 36% of students graduating on average.
Online students at NU use the software Blackboard to complete their coursework virtually, which is all delivered 100% online. The curriculum covers several areas within psychology, such as developmental, social, and biological factors, as well as psychopathology and personality theory. The core comprises over 76 units and includes classes such as Global Psychology; Research Design and Analysis; and Drugs, Values, and Society. Students are also required to complete a Senior Project. Graduates may find employment as entry-level counselors, childcare workers, and academic counselors. NU also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Sport Psychology that relates more to sports and performance for those interested in that niche of psychology study.
#8 DeSales University
DeSales University (DSU) is a private institution that features a Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Accelerated requiring 120 credit hours. Because this is an accelerated program, full-time students may graduate in two to three years. DSU has a 78% acceptance rate, with 61% reaching graduation.
At DSU, students use Blackboard as their learning management system, where courses are delivered fully online. This program offers two tracks: (1) Clinical/Counseling and (2) Forensic Psychology. The core psychology curriculum explores important psychological terms and theories while giving students experience in compiling research and presenting findings. Here are some examples of required psychology courses at DSU: Research Design and Analysis, Human Development, and Psychobiology. Career development is baked into this program to prepare students for graduate school or entering the workforce in the public sector, law enforcement agencies, or education.
#9 Concordia University - Saint Paul
Concordia University - Saint Paul (CSP) is a private, religious university offering a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology that requires 120 credit hours, which can be completed in as little as two years with up to 90 transferable credits. Full-time students with no existing credits are likely to graduate in four years. A Bachelor of Arts in Family Science is also available, and this online degree focuses on the growth and development of family relationships. Overall, the acceptance rate at CSP is 68%, with 60% of students reaching their degree.
At CSP, students use Blackboard for their remote courses, which students can complete fully online and asynchronously, allowing students to listen to lectures and complete coursework on their own time. This program looks at the counselor-client relationship, research methodologies, and the different types of psychology practices. Required classes include Lifespan Developmental Psychology, Psychopathology, and Personality Theories. An eight-credit internship or research practicum is also required. Graduates may explore roles in the social services or human resources sectors.
#10 SUNY Empire State University
SUNY Empire State University, sometimes called SUNY Empire State College (ESC), is a public institution with an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology requiring the completion of 124 credit hours. Typically, full-time students graduate from bachelor's programs in four years. ESC accepts 100% of applicants, while 47% of students reach graduation.
All online courses are delivered through the Brightspace learning management system. This allows students to study fully online and on a flexible schedule. ESC's bachelor's in psychology explores the cognitive, biological, developmental, and social aspects of human behavior, along with the research methodologies used by professionals. Among the major requirements are the following courses: Biological Psychology, Social Science Research Methods, and Statistics for the Social Sciences. Upon graduation, students generally seek roles as social workers, school counselors, and mental health practitioners.
#11 University of Maryland Global Campus
The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is a public university with an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology requiring the completion of 120 credit hours. Generally, students graduate from a bachelor's program within four years while studying full time. UMGC accepts all applicants who apply, with 30% reaching graduation.
All online courses at UMGC are delivered through the LEO learning management system. This platform allows students to study entirely online. This degree combines theory, research, and practice while teaching students how to analyze human behavior and conduct psychological research. Among the major requirements are Research Methods in Psychology, Theories of Personality, and Abnormal Psychology. Additionally, students must complete a three-credit Psychology Capstone. Upon graduation, employment may be available in human resources, customer relations, and mental health or medical facilities.
#12 Columbia College
Columbia College (CC) is a private university that offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology online. This remote degree requires 120 credit hours, which generally takes around four years while studying at a full-time pace. CC accepts all applicants, while 32% graduate with a degree.
Brightspace is the main learning platform used by CC students for their degrees. This allows distance learners to finish their courses 100% online. This psychology bachelor's degree is all about using science, such as quantitative research methods and statistics, to develop students' understanding of psychology. The majority of the required credits are devoted toward the core curriculum, including classes such as Psychological Disorders, Neuroscience, and Personality Theory. Up to six credit hours of a psychology internship are also required. Jobs for graduates may be available in education, advertising, and social services.
#13 Chicago School of Professional Psychology Online
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Online (TCSPP) is a private institution with an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology requiring the completion of 120 credit hours. Typically, students graduate within four years while studying full time. Two additional psychology programs are also available online: Bachelor of Science in Criminology - Forensic Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Business Psychology. TCSPP does not provide data specific to its online school. However, its Dallas location has a 15% acceptance rate and a 52% graduation rate.
All online courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. This allows students to study fully online at their own pace. The 45-credit psychology major focuses on the study of human behavior and the development of professional skills. Among the major requirements are the following psychology courses: Fundamentals of Psychology, Research Methods, and Behavioral Psychology. Additionally, students must complete a capstone course to apply their learning to a psychology presentation. Employment opportunities may vary depending on the chosen concentration, but in general psychology, students can apply for work in social service agencies, education institutions, and corporate marketing departments.
#14 Northeastern University Global Network
Northeastern University Global Network is part of Northeastern University (NU), which is a private institution. A 128-credit Bachelor of Science in Psychology is available for online students, who generally take around four years while studying full time. NU accepts 18% of applicants, with 89% graduating.
Canvas is the main learning platform used by NU students for their degree, which can be completed entirely online. The core of this degree gives students an understanding of sensory function, abnormal psychology, human development, and other specified areas of psychology. Electives are also available allowing students to pursue specialized tracks that include Applied Behavioral Analysis, Clinical, and MAT (Education). The majority of the semester hours are devoted towards the core curriculum, including classes such as Introduction to Clinical Practice, Research in Psychology, and Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Additional credits are required for the Advanced Practicum. Jobs for graduates often involve human services roles, such as social work.
#15 University of Alaska Anchorage
The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is a public university offering an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, which requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. If studying full time, students can complete this program in four years. UAA accepts 69% of its applicants, with 34% earning a degree.
At UAA, students use the Blackboard learning management system to access their core online courses, which are all taught remotely. Courses are offered in a blended format, with some lectures on a set schedule, while other classes are in an asynchronous format. Throughout the course of this program, students complete advanced studies in health and social sciences. Required courses include Lifespan Development, Statistics for Psychology, and Behavioral Neuroscience. An in-person Practicum in Psychology is only required for the Behavioral Analysis concentration, while the senior thesis capstone is required to graduate with honors. Upon graduation, students may seek career opportunities as a behavioral health emergency services clinicians, chemical dependency counselors, and mental health technicians.
#16 The University of Texas Permian Basin
The University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) is a public institution that features an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology requiring a minimum of 120 credits. Full-time students generally complete bachelor's degrees in around four years, but part-time students may take longer. Of all the students who apply to UTPB, 65% are accepted into their chosen program. The school has a 51% graduation rate.
At UTPB, students use Canvas as their learning management system, where they can access reading materials, quizzes, and pre-recorded content. Courses are delivered fully online and are mostly asynchronous. The core curriculum for this program covers the fundamentals of psychological science, with an emphasis on written communication and research. Here are three examples of required courses: Positive Psychology, Introductory Statistics, and Experimental Psychology. Students must also complete a capstone course investigating contemporary issues in psychology. Career opportunities include public health professionals, case workers, and group therapy facilitators.
#17 Capella University
Capella University (CU) is a private institution with a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration Leadership requiring 180 total credits. CU offers two psychology specializations: Psychology Pre-Counseling and Applied Behavior Analysis. Full-time students generally complete this degree program in four years. CU accepts all applicants, while only 21% graduate.
CU students use Canvas to complete coursework online. This software allows students to finish their degrees 100% remotely. CU offers a GuidedPath format with more structure or a FlexPath, where students can set their own deadlines. The core curriculum encompasses a wide range of psychology fundamentals, from lifespan development to research methodologies. Required classes include Criminal Psychology and Behavior, Introduction to Human Sexuality, and Introduction to Addiction Theories. Students are also required to complete a six-credit psychology capstone project. Career options include case managers, psychiatric technicians, and residential counselors.
#18 Charter Oak State College
Charter Oak State College (COSC) is a public university that offers an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology. This degree requires a minimum of 99 credit hours plus electives (COSC did not specify how many electives are needed to graduate). Students generally graduate in four years while studying full time. COSC accepts all applicants, while over half of students — 57% — graduate. This is a fairly high graduation rate for a college with an open admission policy.
Blackboard is the main learning platform used by COSC students, who can complete their degrees entirely online in an asynchronous format. The bachelor's program in psychology covers both normal and abnormal human behavior as well as how the principles of behavior apply to institutions, mental health, and society as a whole. Required courses include Statistics in Psychology, Research Methods for Behavioral Sciences, and History and Systems in Psychology. There are three concentrations available: (1) Cognition and Learning, (2) Social/Behavioral, and (3) Life Span. Additional credits are required for a capstone project. Jobs for alums may be available as organizational psychologists, social science research assistants, and school psychologists.
#19 Upper Iowa University
Upper Iowa University (UIU) is a private university with an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology requiring a minimum of 120 credit hours. Typically, online students graduate within four years while maintaining a full-time courseload. UIU accepts 65% of applicants, with exactly half of all students reaching graduation.
The fully online courses that make up this degree at UIU are delivered through the Brightspace learning management system. The curriculum mixes theory with practical learning while preparing students to analyze human behavior and relationships. Among the core requirements are psychology-focused courses in General Psychology, Research Methods, and Elementary Statistics. The capstone experience involves an internship and senior project. Upon graduation, students are often prepared to join a range of related fields in roles such as case management, counseling, and human resources.
#20 University of Minnesota - Online
The University of Minnesota Online (UMN) is a public university offering a Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology that requires 120 credit hours. Typically, students complete similar programs in around four years while studying at a full-time pace. The acceptance rate at UMN is 73%, with 81% of students earning degrees.
At UMN, students use Canvas for their remote courses, which can be completed fully online. This program is meant for distance learners who already have an Associate of Arts or have completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MTC). The core of UMN's online psychology program looks at the history of psychology, along with the research methods that shape the profession. Required classes include Developmental Psychology, Experimental Design and Methodology, and Theories of Personality. Students are encouraged to participate in an internship, which will be their capstone project. Alumni with this degree may explore roles as behavioral health technicians, child services counselors, and development officers.
#21 Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater State University (BSU) is a public institution with an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Degree Completion) requiring 120 credit hours. Students studying full time are likely to complete the degree in four years, but some may take longer if they have other obligations. BSU accepts 86% of applicants, and it maintains a 62% graduation rate.
BSU uses Blackboard Ultra to deliver online coursework. This software allows students to finish their degrees completely online. The core curriculum blends research and analysis courses with professional skill-building in communication, critical thinking, and project management. Required classes include Statistics for Psychology, Cultural Psychology, and Introductory Psychology. Students can choose one capstone course from an elective list or an additional advanced clinical course. In general, psychology graduates from BSU find careers as counselors, social workers, and market researchers.
#22 Bemidji State University
Bemidji State University (BSU) is a public university that hosts an online Bachelor of Arts/Science in Psychology. This bachelor's degree requires 120 credit hours, which full-time students can complete in approximately four years. Students are accepted into BSU at a rate of 75%, with 52% graduating.
BSU students use Brightspace as their primary learning management system, where they can complete courses online, with classes in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. The curriculum focuses on applied psychology and human services. Both the BA and BS have the same academic requirements to make it easier for students to pursue a double major. Among the required classes for either an art or science focus are Abnormal Psychology, Lifespan Development, and Research Methods. After all required coursework is complete, students may choose to take on an internship. Career opportunities may be available in occupational therapy, public health, and business administration.
#23 Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a public institution with a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Psychology requiring 120 credit hours. The average completion time for an online degree of this size is around four years for full-time students. Of all the students who apply to FHSU, 90% are accepted. The school has a 57% graduation rate overall.
At FHSU, students use Blackboard as their learning management system, where courses are delivered fully online and on a flexible timeline. There are 55 credits required for general education courses, 42 for the psychology major, and the remaining credits apply toward a student's chosen electives and a foreign language. Here are a few examples of required courses from this major: Applied Statistics, Social Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology. FHSU also offers a Bachelor of General Studies - Psychological Studies, which devotes 21 credits to the concentration. Internships allow students to pursue careers in law enforcement, schools, and counseling facilities.
#24 Hodges University
Hodges University (HU) is a private university that hosts an online Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology. In order to meet graduation requirements, students must take 120 credits, which is typically done within four years. HU's acceptance rate is 100%, with 31% of students graduating.
Online students at HU use Canvas to complete their coursework, which is delivered online and in a flexible format with video recordings and live discussions. The curriculum teaches students the scientific methods used in psychology and practical skills in communication and critical thinking. There are a number of required courses, such as Educational Psychology, Experimental Psychology, and Principles of Developmental Psychology. Graduates may find employment as case managers, substance abuse counselors, and hospice workers.
#25 University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver (CU) is a public institution that features a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, which is an online degree that requires 120 credits. Full-time students generally graduate in four years. Of all the students who apply to CU, 72% are accepted on average. Of those who enroll at CU, they have a 52% chance of graduation.
At CU, students use Canvas as their learning management system, where courses are delivered fully online and on a flexible timeline that students can work on at their own pace. The core curriculum focuses mostly on psychological principles and research methods. Required courses include Introduction to Psychology, Principles of Learning and Behavior, and Statistics and Research Methods. Career opportunities for either degree include research analyst, case manager, and psychiatric technician.
#26 Park University
Park University is a private university with an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. This degree requires a minimum of 122 credit hours, which full-time students can complete in four years. Park University also offers an online Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology, which explores how human behavior is influenced by social environments. Although all applicants are accepted into their chosen programs, only 30% end up earning their degrees.
Park University students use Canvas as their primary learning management system, where they can complete courses online at the convenience of their personal schedules. The curriculum for this program features practical field research, independent study, and advanced coursework. Among the required classes are Research Methods, Statistics for Social Sciences, and Theories of Personality. Students are also required to complete a three-credit capstone seminar during their senior year. Career opportunities may be available as counselors, therapists, and social scientists.
#27 University of Massachusetts - Lowell
The University of Massachusetts - Lowell (UML) is a public university that offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology that is fully online. This degree requires 120 credits, which students generally complete in four years while studying at a full-time pace. Students with existing credits may graduate in 12 to 36 months. An online Bachelor of Liberal Arts - Psychology is also available. UML accepts 85% of applicants, while 62% of students graduate.
Blackboard is the main learning platform UML students use, allowing them to complete their degrees 100% online. The online bachelor's degree in psychology looks at psychological principles and how they apply to organizations, society, and individuals. Students explore psychological concepts, evaluate behavior, and apply research methods. Core classes include Research Methods, Social Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology. Additional credits are required for a practicum and seminar. Jobs for graduates may be available as counselors for mental health, substance abuse, and behavior disorders; social workers; family therapists; and psychiatrists.
#28 Southern New Hampshire University Online
Southern New Hampshire University Online (SNHU) is a private university that offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology requiring 120 credit hours, with six concentration options. If studying full time, students can generally complete a bachelor's degree online in around four years. SNHU accepts 92% of its applicants, with 36% earning a degree.
SNHU utilizes Brightspace's learning management system to deliver online courses, which feature 100% virtual instruction. Students have 24/7 accessibility and may attend class on their own schedule. The bachelor's in psychology at SNHU involves case studies, theory crafting, and experiential learning to understand human behavior. A 12-credit Data Literacy in Psychology is also included as part of the curriculum. Core courses include Abnormal Psychology, Lifespan Development, and Introduction to Psychology. Additionally, students are required to complete a senior seminar in psychology. The career opportunities for graduates of these programs often include market research analysts, human resources managers, and public relations specialists.
#29 Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) is a public university with an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Either of these programs require 120 credits, which takes full-time students around four years to finish. ASU has an acceptance rate of 70%, along with a graduation rate of 47%.
At ASU, students use Canvas to complete and turn in their coursework, which is fully online and available in an asynchronous format. The BA psychology degree looks closely at the science surrounding human behavior, while the BS in psychology features science as well as a mathematical and statistical approach to the field. Both degrees require students to take courses that include Research Methods and Introduction to Statistics. Internships are also available as an elective.
ASU also offers a Bachelor of Science in Counseling and Applied Psychological Science, which is a first-of-its-kind program at a large research institution. Graduates of any of the aforementioned psychology programs may pursue careers as behavioral health specialists, addictions counselors, and mental health counselors, to name a few options.
#30 University of New Hampshire College of Professional Studies
Granite State College (GSC) is a public institution that offers an online Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology through the University of New Hampshire. The program requires 120 credits, which students generally complete within two years while studying full time. Ten concentrations are also available, such as Child Court Advocacy, Addictions Studies, and Human Services. GSC accepts 100% of applicants and has a 42% graduation rate.
All online courses at GSC are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. This allows students to study 100% online. The degree's curriculum looks at human behavior through a sociocultural context. Core requirements include Statistics, Human Development, and The Human Brain. Internships are available as an elective. Possible career outcomes include mental health counselors, human service assistants, and compliance managers.
Overview of Online Psychology Bachelor's Programs
An online bachelor's degree in psychology is designed to introduce students to different personality types and the life stages of human development. Graduates should be equipped with the skills and insights to help clients understand and modify their behavior, improve their relationships, handle stress more effectively, and make healthier choices. Even if graduates choose to follow a career path other than becoming a counselor or clinical psychologist, they can still benefit from the deeper understanding of human interaction and the enhanced communication skills that typically come from earning this degree.
Looking to save money in college? Check out our list of the most affordable online degrees in psychology.
What Is a Bachelor's in Psychology Degree?
Psychology is defined as the scientific study of the human mind and behavior by the American Psychology Association (APA), especially as it relates to our emotional well-being and our relationships with family, friends, and colleagues throughout our lives. Psychology is relatively new as a formal scientific discipline, with most of the best-known and widely accepted concepts emerging in the 20th century.
A bachelor's degree in psychology provides students with a broad overview of this field, including the application of psychological concepts to everyday life. Students who envision themselves working as counselors, therapists, or researchers may want to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology as a springboard for the more advanced degrees they'll need to become mental health professionals. Graduates with this versatile degree are also qualified to move into a number of other occupations and industries. However, there are also more specialized, career-focused pathways, such as a bachelor's in counseling psychology.
BS vs. BA in Psychology
Bachelor's programs in psychology usually result in one of two degrees — a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). While the two types of degrees share many core courses and topics of study, each has a distinct emphasis that may influence which a student might want to pursue.
BA programs generally look at psychology from the perspective of the social sciences, which is the study of society, the impact of people's behavior on social issues, and the relationships among individuals. With this emphasis, graduates are more likely to be prepared for careers in counseling, clinical psychology, and other occupations that center on human behavior and interaction.
Conversely, BS programs tend to focus on research, data, and statistical analysis. The skills and knowledge developed through this type of program may be more aligned with occupations in research and data analysis.
Admission requirements for an online bachelor's program in psychology vary by college, but applicants often need to submit the following:
A high school GPA of 2.8 or higher
An application form
Transcripts of previous courses
SAT or ACT scores
A personal statement or essay
Letters of recommendation
A list of extracurricular activities
Unsure about pursuing a psychology degree? Explore our full list of online bachelor's degrees.
The curriculum for a psychology bachelor's degree program aims to provide students with a solid foundation in the field, covering multiple topics in human behavior. While elective course offerings and concentrations can vary based on the program, students can expect to take introductory classes in human development, cognition, and research methods.
Below are some common courses that many colleges include in their psychology programs:
Most bachelor's programs end with a capstone course in the final semester. The purpose of a capstone project is two-fold: It gives students an opportunity to demonstrate what they've learned in previous courses, and it allows students to create a significant asset for their portfolios, which they can use as part of their job search efforts. Project requirements typically ask students to conduct research and apply both psychological theory and data in order to address real-world scenarios, such as drug addiction, gender issues, and personal development.
Most psychology bachelor's programs end with a capstone course, which allows students to create a significant asset for their portfolios.
Some programs also require students to fulfill a one-semester internship, which may involve approximately 120 hours of work in a mental health setting. Internships offer opportunities to gain practical experience in the field.
Concentrations to Pair With a Psychology Major
Some programs allow students to select an area of psychology for specialized study. Psychology concentrations typically aim to foster a unique set of skills and area knowledge, thus qualifying graduates for distinct careers based on their education. Below is a list of concentrations commonly offered in psychology programs.
Careers with a Psychology Degree
To become a licensed therapist or psychologist, students must continue in higher education by completing a psychology master's degree or either a doctoral program in psychology or clinical psychology. However, the insights into human behavior and data analysis skills that come from studying psychology help prepare bachelor's degree holders for diverse career opportunities in fields such as business, social services, criminal justice, and education.
The following are just a few of the many possible career paths, as described by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
Most psychiatric technicians work in psychiatric or substance abuse hospitals. They assist in providing care by listening to patients' concerns, recording their conditions and vital signs, administering medications, and leading therapeutic and recreational activities. This occupation is often physically demanding, and psychiatric technicians are prone to illness and injury. Although a bachelor's degree in psychology is not required to become a psychiatric technician, it may make a job candidate more attractive. Importantly, some states require technicians to be licensed.
In the social work field, a bachelor's degree in psychology qualifies a graduate for a direct-service position, such as a caseworker or mental health assistant. Caseworkers help identify clients' specific needs for social services, such as healthcare, home placement, and food assistance. They connect clients with appropriate resources and routinely follow up to ensure consistent care. Mental health assistants specialize in working with clients who have mental health issues. Most states require social workers in these kinds of nonclinical roles to be licensed or certified.
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives typically work for large manufacturing companies, selling products to large, individual commercial clients. Representatives identify prospective buyers, assess each buyer's needs to determine which products would meet those needs, and negotiate final sales prices and delivery schedules. Employers that sell complicated or technical products — such as manufacturing equipment or pharmaceuticals — often prefer to hire job candidates with a bachelor's degree.
Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts usually work for large corporations or consulting firms, where they collect data and analyze market conditions to determine the sales potential of a product or service. They also monitor and forecast sales trends and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. In some work environments, analysts may collaborate with other team members to present their data and statistical findings in accessible ways.
Interested in discovering more career options with a psychology degree? Check out our in-depth articles on the best psychology careers and comparing bachelor's and master's degree outcomes in the field.
Licensure and Certification Requirements
In most states, professionals who routinely interact with clients or patients as part of their work are required to obtain a state license before going into practice. This is true of psychologists, therapists, clinical social workers, lawyers, and others. Licensure requirements vary by state and occupation, but they usually involve earning a specific degree from an accredited college or university, submitting an application to the state board governing the relevant occupation, and passing an examination. For some occupations, applicants must also accumulate a certain number of hours of supervised training, often referred to as clinical experience.
In most states, psychologists, therapists, and clinical social workers are required to obtain a state license before going into practice.
The American Association of Psychiatric Technicians offers four levels of certification based on education and experience, and applicants must pass an exam to be certified.
Psychology majors who plan to become licensed therapists and psychologists may want to consider earning specialty board certifications in addition to state licensure. The APA recommends starting to prepare for these certifications while in graduate school. Many specialty certifications are centered around specific groups, such as children, couples and families, and older adults, while other certifications focus on treatment types, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Is a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology Worth It?
Determining whether a psychology degree is the right educational path is a highly personal decision based on unique circumstances, such as financial needs and other obligations. Individuals must establish for themselves whether the time and money they'll invest in earning a bachelor's degree in psychology are worth the potential rewards.
The following are some of the possible advantages and disadvantages to factor into the decision:
Psychology programs often build versatile, valuable skills. The coursework and assignments for most bachelor's-level psychology classes are designed to develop oral comprehension, verbal communication, analysis, and critical thinking abilities, which can be applied to almost any occupation.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of psychology degrees has likely increased along with the demand for mental health professionals. Importantly, over half of Americans are dealing with mental health challenges due to the pandemic — including associated trauma and stress. The skills learned in a psychology bachelor's program could be valuable for those wanting to help.
Online learning gives students more degree options. By considering distance education programs, students have a better chance of finding the program that best fits their goals and budget without leaving home.
Graduates may experience difficulty finding work in the field of psychology with only a bachelor's degree. Most counseling or clinical positions require a master's or doctoral degree.
An online psychology major may have to work harder to build a network of peers. Without the ability to connect in person, online students may have to put more effort into establishing relationships with classmates and instructors.
Is a Psychology Degree A Good Fit For Me?
In general, therapy and counseling have the potential to be fulfilling career choices for those who are naturally empathetic and want to help others lead happier, healthier lives. The study of psychology is most likely to appeal to students who demonstrate natural abilities for teamwork, collaboration, listening, and verbal communication. Since psychology also involves data analysis and statistics, it's a good fit for students who show a strong aptitude for higher-level math.
Beyond this, you'll want to decide whether to pursue a psychology degree online. Online programs are usually more flexible than traditional programs, although some programs feature synchronous classes that require you to log on at specific times, as opposed to asynchronous classes that you can engage in anytime. Students with strong time management skills may be better suited for online courses, while students who require more structure may prefer on-campus classes.
For more information on this program's value, check out our article about the benefits of a psychology degree.
FAQs About Bachelor's in Psychology Programs
What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree?
You can follow several different career paths with a psychology degree. Although you'll need an advanced degree to qualify for most psychology-related jobs, a psychology bachelor's degree makes an excellent foundation for earning a master's degree in psychology or even a doctorate. A bachelor's degree will also prepare you for human resources specialist, teacher, and wholesale sales representative occupations.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Psychology Degree?
Online bachelor's programs in psychology typically require students to earn 120-124 credit hours. Full-time psychology students generally need about four years to complete these requirements, while part-time students may need an additional year or two. Some students may be able to finish their degree in less time via an accelerated online program or previously accumulated transfer credits — perhaps through earning an associate degree or by obtaining credit for prior military or work experience.
How Much Does a Psychology Degree Cost?
The cost of any bachelor's degree varies widely, depending on tuition fees and other related expenses. For example, according to our internal data, the annual tuition for online bachelor's degrees in psychology ranges anywhere from $8,000 to nearly $48,000. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average undergraduate tuition and fees is $13,106 per year for on-campus and online programs across all majors.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs With a Bachelor’s in Psychology?
Because psychology is a versatile subject, graduates with bachelor's degrees can move into fields with a wide range of annual salaries. Some of the higher-paying sectors include business, marketing, and data science. Operations research analysts, for example, earn a median annual salary of $86,360.
What Else Should You Consider?
As a prospective student, you will naturally want to consider whether a psychology degree will equip you for the career you have in mind. Be sure to choose a program that offers the specialization that most interests you, and if you plan to go on to graduate school, make sure the program prepares you for advanced study.
It's also important to choose a school that is accredited. Accreditation is a process in which recognized agencies evaluate and confirm that a college or university meets standards of educational excellence. Enrollment in an accredited program impacts your ability to receive federal financial aid, transfer credits, and apply for licensure after graduating, and it may influence your acceptance into a graduate program. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation each offer a current list of accredited schools.
- APA: Joining the APA as a Student Affiliate gives students access to professional and career information. The APA's website also provides useful, free resources for undergraduate and graduate psychology students.
- Ethnic minority psychological associations: There are a number of professional psychologists' associations dedicated to a wide variety of ethnic minority groups that offer discounted student memberships. Members are entitled to educational resources, networking opportunities, and mentorship programs.
- State psychological associations: Students who join their state's psychology association may be able to participate in state-focused conferences and other career-building events.
- Psi Chi: Undergraduate and graduate psychology students who are accepted into the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology are eligible for several key benefits, including grants, scholarships, and career placement assistance.
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