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2023 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Psychology Degrees

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 9/7/2022
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An online bachelor’s in psychology explores the theories, principles, and concepts surrounding human behavior. Prospective students can expect to study abnormal psychology, research methods, social psychology, and adolescent psychology. Many programs offer a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. The former option presents a liberal arts approach to the specialty, while the latter entails more science and math requirements in the curriculum. 

Graduates of an online bachelor’s degree in psychology can pursue further education by getting an affordable master’s degree in psychology, sports psychology, or forensic psychology. For students who begin their careers in psychology right after graduation, potential careers for entry-level professionals are crisis workers, health coaches, and board-certified behavior analysts. 

View our methodology for more details about rankings or learn more about us.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Middle Georgia State University Macon (GA) $3,410
# 2 #2 Ohio University - Main Campus Athens (OH) $3,645
# 3 #3 California Coast University Santa Ana (CA) $5,355
# 4 #4 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw (GA) $5,562
# 5 #5 Clayton State University Morrow (GA) $5,694
# 6 #6 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg (KY) $5,970
# 7 #7 Aspen University Denver (CO) $6,000
# 8 #8 Eastern New Mexico University - Main Campus Portales (NM) $6,624
# 9 #9 Fort Hays State University Hays (KS) $6,806
# 10 #10 Athens State University Athens (AL) $6,975
Annual Tuition: $3,410
Annual Tuition: $3,410
Annual Tuition: $3,410

At Middle Georgia State University (MGA), a medium-sized, public institution, prospective students can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Requiring 120 credit hours, the curriculum prepares students for graduate-level coursework in majors like psychology, counseling, medical school, or law school. The program’s admission requirements include an application, official transcripts, ACT/SAT scores (optional), and a completed FAFSA.

MGA facilitates online coursework in an asynchronous format on Brightspace. Some of the program’s courses include Introduction to Psychology, Research Methods, and Abnormal Psychology. Additionally, remote student support includes counseling, a writing center, IT services, and an online library.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Average SATs: 880 -1090
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,852
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 268
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
Annual Tuition: $3,645
Annual Tuition: $3,645
Annual Tuition: $3,645

Ohio University - Main Campus is a large, public institution offering a Bachelor of Science in Psychology through their Ohio Online platform. The degree totals 120 credit hours, and the program’s curriculum covers adolescent psychology, sport psychology, and clinical counseling. The program’s admission requirements include an application and either a high school diploma or GED. Graduates with this degree may pursue career opportunities in family services, business, public relations, and health services.

Ohio Online uses the learning management system, Blackboard, to facilitate asynchronous remote learning. Online student support also includes academic advising, accessibility services, IT help, career services, counseling, an online library, tutoring, and a writing center.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Average SATs: 1050 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,926
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,892
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
Annual Tuition: $5,355
Annual Tuition: $5,355
Annual Tuition: $5,355

California Coast University (CCU) — a small, private, for-profit institution — offers an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology requiring 126 credit hours. Future students can expect to explore human behaviors through theories and principles within the field of psychology. Applicants to CCU must submit an application, resume, and official school transcripts.

CCU uses Coast Connection to deliver asynchronous coursework remotely, such as assignments and quizzes. Sample courses include Health Psychology, Educational Psychology, and Personality Theories. In addition, online students can access a writing lab, an online library, and comprehensive study guides.

  • School Accreditation: DEAC
Annual Tuition: $5,562
Annual Tuition: $5,562
Annual Tuition: $5,562

Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a large, public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology. The program totals 120 credit hours and helps students develop solid communication, critical thinking, and research skills. Some courses in the program’s curriculum include Theories of Personality, Forensic Psychology, and Learning and Behavior.

KSU facilitates online learning in asynchronous and synchronous formats on Brightspace. Online student support includes academic advising, counseling, disability services, an online library, and career development. The program’s admission requirements are an application, a minimum 2.5 GPA, and high school transcripts.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Average SATs: 1050 -1230
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,315
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,792
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
Annual Tuition: $5,694
Annual Tuition: $5,694
Annual Tuition: $5,694

At Clayton State University (CSU), a public institution with a medium-sized student population, prospective students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Human Services that totals 120 credit hours. This online program prepares students to pursue careers in psychology. Sample coursework includes Intro to Human Development, Social Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology. CSU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous classes on Brightspace. Online students can also access career services, academic advising, counseling, and library resources.

The program’s admission requirements include an application, academic transcripts, and minimum ACT/SAT scores. Transfer students with less than 30 credits, who also graduated from high school fewer than five years ago, are also eligible for admission if they have at least a 2.0 GPA.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 88%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,153
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 275
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg (KY)
Annual Tuition: $5,970
Annual Tuition: $5,970
Annual Tuition: $5,970

The University of the Cumberlands (UC) is a medium-sized, private nonprofit institution, which offers three online degrees in psychology: a Bachelor of Applied Science - Psychology (120 credit hours) and either a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Psychology (120 credit hours). Each of these programs covers the theories and principles of psychology, and some shared core courses include Adult Development, Social Psychology, and Introduction to Counseling.

At UC, online students complete coursework, which is delivered in an asynchronous and synchronous format, on Blackboard. Remote student support includes academic advising, career services, and an online library. Admission requirements are an application, official transcripts or GED scores, and ACT/SAT scores.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Average SATs: 930 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,640
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 7,852
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Aspen University

Denver (CO)
Annual Tuition: $6,000
Annual Tuition: $6,000
Annual Tuition: $6,000

Aspen University (Aspen) is a medium-sized, for-profit institution that offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Studies requiring 120 credit hours. The program is designed for students interested in pursuing a career in addiction and recovery. Admission requirements include an online application, official transcripts, and a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Aspen uses the Desire2Learn platform for delivering online coursework, which is in an asynchronous format. Sample coursework includes Addiction Theories, Families and Health Psychology, and Multicultural Advocacy. Other resources for distance learners include academic advising and career and alumni services.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 0%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,413
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,356
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC
Annual Tuition: $6,624
Annual Tuition: $6,624
Annual Tuition: $6,624

Eastern New Mexico University - Main Campus (ENMU) is a medium-sized, public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science or Arts in Psychology. This degree program requires students to complete 120 credit hours. ENMU facilitates online coursework through Canvas in asynchronous and synchronous formats. The coursework explores the field of psychology using science-based thinking throughout the curriculum. Some sample core classes are Social Psychology, Theories of Psychological Counseling, and Abnormal Psychology.

Online student support at ENMU includes tutoring services, a writing center, and counseling. To apply, ENMU requires three applications, including the university application, a completed FAFSA, and an admission scholarship application. Additionally, students must submit their official transcripts and ACT/SAT scores.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Average SATs: 900 -1110
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,514
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 917
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
Annual Tuition: $6,806
Annual Tuition: $6,806
Annual Tuition: $6,806

At Fort Hays University (FHSU), prospective students can pursue one of three online degrees in psychology, including either a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Psychology (120 credit hours) or a Bachelor of General Studies - Psychology (120 credit hours). To apply, students must complete an online application (with a fee) and submit official transcripts as well as ACT/SAT scores if the applicant is younger than 21. Graduates of a psychology degree from FHSU will strengthen their soft skills, such as empathy and communication, which will prepare them to enter careers in psychology no matter their individual goals.

At this medium-sized, public institution, online coursework is delivered through Blackboard in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. In addition, online students can access tutoring, the writing center, counseling, career services, and FHSU's online library.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,411
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,453
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Overview of Affordable Online Psychology Degrees

There are many online options for students who would like to pursue a degree in psychology. Each prospective student should determine whether their chosen school is accredited. The accreditation process confirms whether a program is credible and of high quality. A school's academic programs, faculty, facilities, and student services are evaluated according to national standards. Accreditation is often required if a student wants to transfer credits between schools, enter a graduate-level program, or be eligible for federal financial aid. Students can search the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation databases for more information. 

Not only can schools earn accreditation for the entire institution, they can receive programmatic accreditation for the individual programs they offer. The recognized accrediting authority for online psychology programs is the APA's Commission on Accreditation. The APA-CoA website contains a list of accredited programs that meet industry standards and expectations. Provided students have attended credible, accredited schools, their online degrees should command the same respect and create similar opportunities as on-campus degrees. The curriculum will also be comparable, as the same faculty often teach online courses.

Online degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, which means students may be able to become psychologists entirely through online education. Of course, this process often integrates in-person requirements with remote study, especially at the higher degree levels. Also, before a person can practice, they must adhere to their state's licensing laws, which often require an internship and 1-2 years of supervised experience in the field.

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

Typically, an online psychology program requires students to complete 120-126 credit hours. About half of these credits are general education courses, while the other half consists of psychology courses. Most programs are designed to be completed in four years of full-time study. A few schools also offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as two years.

For those who are intent on saving time and money while earning a psychology degree, three options are available:

1. Students with completed college-level coursework may transfer those credits to apply them toward their total.

2. Some online schools allow students to take exams for certain classes in lieu of taking them. A passing grade demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the material.

3. Some schools offer credit for prior work or military experience by examining a student's records and past job performance in a prior learning assessment to determine whether they can bypass a related course.

Common Psychology Courses

The following lists common courses for those pursuing an undergraduate psychology degree. Depending on the school, some topics are taught as core courses while others are considered electives. In addition, some courses may be required for admittance into graduate programs.

Abnormal Psychology

This class surveys common mental disorders, including their causes and treatments. These illnesses include schizophrenia, social anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, addiction, and eating disorders. The coursework explores how psychologists assess patients and implement treatment plans in their clinical practice.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychologists evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients experiencing psychological distress and mental illness. A course in clinical psychology gives students a broad overview of essential topics, such as patient assessments, common disorders, and ethical considerations.

Developmental Psychology

This course delves into the study of human development, from infancy to adolescence and late adulthood. The coursework may cover topics, such as family relationships, emotional development, and adaptations to aging. Most psychology majors take a course on the full spectrum of human development or one that focuses on a specialization, such as early childhood development.

General Psychology

General psychology is a popular liberal arts elective for undergraduate students. The coursework often begins with a brief introduction to the history of psychology before moving into a broader range of topics, including consciousness, motivation, perception, emotion, learning, and abnormal behavior.

Human Behavior

This course invites students to study the way biological, psychological, and social factors influence human interaction. Specifically, students examine how social norms, ethics, and diversity shape values, perspectives, and identities. The curriculum may also cover the evolution of human behavior across the lifespan.


This introductory course touches on a diverse array of science-oriented topics related to human development. Neuroscientists combine elements of psychology with biology, chemistry, and other sciences to better understand how the brain and nervous system affect human behavior.

Social Psychology

This course focuses on how people view, interpret, and respond to their social environments. Specific areas of discussion often include the self, attitudes, emotions, peer pressure, competition, and prejudice. Many students find that they can practically apply this content to improve their daily lives.

Applying to an Online Psychology Program

The admission requirements and school selectivity for prospective psychology students are the same at most schools — whether the program is on campus or online. Applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalent. Additional prerequisites vary by school but often include a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 and favorable scores on standardized college entrance exams. Students transferring to a school after completing some college coursework elsewhere may also be required to have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5.

When applying for an online bachelor's program, potential students often need to submit the following items:

  • An application fee

  • Official transcripts from all previously attended schools

  • Scores on standardized tests, such as the ACT or SAT

  • Letter(s) of recommendation from former teachers, coaches, clergy, or supervisors who are familiar with the applicant's character

  • Personal essay(s) about the applicant’s interests, goals, and personality

  • A resume or list of extracurricular activities demonstrating teamwork, service to the student's community, and/or leadership abilities

How Much Does an Online Psychology Degree Cost?

Tuition is an important factor for many students in their college decision. According to the College Board's 2022 report, average annual tuition fees range from $10,940 for four-year public schools to $39,400 for four-year private schools. The College Board also estimates an additional $1,240 annually for books and other supplies.

However, there are ways to make college more affordable. For example, at some schools, out-of-state distance learners pay the same tuition rates as in-state students, but this varies according to a student's specific situation, from the number of transfer credits they have to their program's length. Therefore, students should compare the in-person and online tuition costs for the psychology program of their chosen school before applying.

Aside from tuition, all students pay for books and supplies, but online students usually don't pay for room and board, transportation, or other campus-based fees.

Some online schools advertise themselves as "tuition-free" colleges, but students should investigate these programs carefully before enrolling. Although they don't charge tuition, these schools generally charge other fees that are equal to the tuition rates at many schools. Additionally, some of these schools are not accredited, which poses a significant problem for psychology students. To practice psychology, most states require licensure, but to become a licensed psychologist, the degree obtained needs to be from an accredited college.

Funding an Online Psychology Program

Online students enrolled in accredited bachelor's programs in psychology generally have the same access to financial aid as on-campus students. To apply for financial assistance, all students should submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even if they think they may not be eligible, enrollees may qualify for government/school grants and scholarships — which they don't have to repay — or low-interest loans. 

To help with affordability, students may choose options that do not have to be repaid, such as grants, scholarships, fellowships, and work-study programs. Other forms of aid are only available to students of accredited schools, such as federal and private loans. Federal student loans offered through the government are generally preferred over private student loans offered by banks and lending institutions because they tend to have lower interest rates and better repayment terms.

When selecting an online psychology degree program, prospective students may want to consult the financial aid offices at the schools they’re interested in as part of their school search process.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Students

Scholarships, grants, and other funding are available through various professional organizations, and some financing opportunities are designed specifically for psychology majors in bachelor’s programs or related graduate degrees and doctoral programs. The following is a sampling of scholarships available to online psychology students that are funded by private organizations and therefore require separate applications:

American Psychological Foundation (APF) Scholarships

The APF is the grant-making affiliate of the APA. Undergraduate psychology students may apply for a wide selection of APF grants, scholarships, and fellowships, with awards ranging from $1,500-$50,000.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship

Undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds planning careers in behavioral science research may qualify for this NIH scholarship. The award includes up to $20,000 per academic year in scholarship money, a summer internship at the NIH, and at least one year of full-time employment at the NIH after graduation.

Sharon Stephens Brehm Undergraduate Psychology Scholarship

Administered by the APA, these scholarships of $5,000 each are awarded to psychology undergraduates who demonstrate both financial need and academic excellence.

Other organizations, such as the Pride Foundation, offer scholarships to promote the study of mental health. Certain colleges and universities, including the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse and the University of Minnesota, provide funding to select undergraduate and graduate students interested in studying psychology and human behavior. Below are some additional opportunities to explore:

Does a Psychology Degree Pay Well?

One of the reasons online psychology degrees are so popular is because they are flexible. A generalist degree in psychology allows students to follow a multitude of career paths in psychology, many of which offer more desirable salaries.

The BLS lists the top-employing occupations for workers with a bachelor's degree in psychology: registered nurse, social worker, elementary school teacher, and personal service manager. Please note that some of these roles require additional certifications. The most common occupational groups were in the fields of management, community and social services, educational instruction and library, healthcare, and administrative support. The current median salaries and job outlooks for these occupations vary widely. For example, those in administrative support roles earn salaries between $31,110 and $47,560, while those in managerial roles may earn salaries ranging from $69,600 to $141,490.

An advanced degree is required for those who want to work as practicing psychologists, a career with a salary that pays well. In May 2020, a licensed, practicing psychologist earned an annual salary between $79,820 and $105,780. Similarly, clinical and research psychologists must have a doctoral degree in psychology, while school psychologists, industrial-organizational psychologists, and psychological assistants must have master's degrees in clinical psychology

Careers for Psychology Graduates

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists many career opportunities for psychology graduates, though graduate studies may be required.

School and Career Counselors

Median Annual Salary: $60,510
Job Growth: 10%

School/career counselors can work at public and private high schools, community colleges, and universities. They help students identify their aptitudes and interests while assisting them in researching educational expectations for specific careers. School/career counselors must have a master's degree, and in some states, they must also obtain licensure.

Social Workers

Median Annual Salary: $50,390
Job Growth: 9%

Graduates interested in social work may consider becoming case managers, helping individuals address problems in their everyday lives. For example, after evaluating clients' needs, social workers may provide counseling, identify useful resources, and support them by enrolling them in services or programs.

High School Teachers

Median Annual Salary: $61,820
Job Growth: 5%

Graduates who've earned bachelor's degrees can qualify to become elementary or high school teachers by earning a teaching credential. Elementary teachers typically teach all subjects, while high school teachers specialize in specific subjects, earning slightly more.

Is an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Worth It?

An online bachelor's degree in psychology may be worthwhile, but individuals must weigh the costs and advantages for themselves. Here are some pros and cons to get you started:

Potential Benefits

  • This is a versatile degree. Alumni may immediately join the workforce across diverse fields or secure psychology-related work that may strengthen their graduate school applications.

  • Studying psychology may help students develop personal attributes, such as empathy and sensitivity, and it can also help workers gain valuable skills that they can apply in the field, from critical thinking to oral comprehension.

  • An online degree allows students to choose from a broader selection of schools without moving to a new location. This allows prospective students to select a program that best meets their budget, interests, and career goals.

Potential Drawbacks

  • For those wanting to become psychologists, a bachelor's degree is often only the first step in an educational path lasting up to 10 years. Students must go on to obtain doctoral degrees and licensure.

  • Without opportunities to connect in person with peers and faculty, online learning may present challenges when it comes to building relationships and networking.

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