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As society increasingly recognizes the importance of mental health, psychology is seeing considerable growth. The allure of delving into the intricacies of the mind and the potential to make a meaningful impact may be at the helm of this increasing demand, which extends across various specializations — including industrial and organization psychologists, where nearly half of the positions require a master’s degree.

The field offers a faster-than-average growth rate, making psychology an enticing career choice. In 2022, psychologists earned a median salary of $85,330, surpassing the national median significantly. With undergraduate tuition averaging $25,910 and graduate tuition at $19,749, and the ability to complete these degrees in just four or two years, respectively, this educational path can be a wise investment in your future.

How to Choose an Online Psychology Program

Choose your area of study

Curriculums for undergraduates pursuing a psychology degree often cover a broad spectrum. To narrow your focus, begin exploring your interests early on. Delving into relevant electives, internships, or research opportunities can help you choose a specialization.

At the graduate level, these options expand, with clinical psychology for those inclined towards therapeutic practice, experimental psychology for research enthusiasts, and industrial-organizational psychology for those interested in workplace dynamics. Other specialization options include neuropsychology and counseling or school psychology.

Research schools and programs

When researching psychology programs, start by ensuring APA accreditation — a vital mark of quality. Then, focus on each program’s curriculum alignment with your career goals, making sure the program supports your intended specialization. You can use the following questions to help guide your research:

  • Are there faculty members with expertise in my area of interest?
  • What research opportunities exist within the program?
  • How well does the program integrate practical experiences or internships?
  • Are there alums success stories related to my chosen field?

Most universities make this information available on their websites, but you can typically find out more by attending a virtual open house or speaking with an admissions counselor.

Prepare for tests and applications

Preparing for program applications will vary depending on your degree level.

For undergraduates, focus on maintaining a strong GPA, highlighting relevant extracurriculars, and writing an enthusiastic personal statement. Graduate applications should emphasize research experience, recommendation letters, and a well-crafted statement of purpose.

Some students may need to tackle standardized tests like the SAT or ACT for undergraduates or the GRE for graduate students. If this is relevant to your situation, consider enrolling in a targeted test prep program to help improve your scores.

Select your program

Once acceptance letters arrive, choosing the right psychology program is fundamental. Now is an excellent time to revisit the initial criteria you deemed most important from your research, including curriculum relevance, specialty availability, and faculty you’re excited to learn from. Compare this evaluation with the total cost of attendance alongside any financial aid opportunities to determine the program’s economic feasibility.

It’s important to recognize that this decision is transformative, so it’s essential that you take the time to choose the program best aligned with your career goals — therefore ensuring a meaningful and fulfilling educational experience.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Financing your psychology degree can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Many resources are available to help you pursue your education without accruing significant debt.

Begin by prioritizing scholarships and grants, as they don’t require repayment. Grants, in particular, are especially abundant at the federal level for undergraduates, but both options exist regardless of your degree level. Consider federal loans to bridge financial gaps, which offer reasonable interest rates and flexible repayment plans.

Work-study programs provide on-campus employment opportunities, aiding in finances and gaining work experience. Employer tuition reimbursement programs are often valuable for those already working, as they can significantly offset a portion of your education expenses if you meet certain requirements.

Best 50 Accredited Online Psychology Programs

Best Psychology Programs

University of Florida

National University

University of Central Florida

St. Andrews University

Florida International University

Drexel University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Eastern New Mexico University

University of Bridgeport

Franklin University

Liberty University

Trine University

Eastern Kentucky University

Spalding University

McKendree University

Regis University

The University of Texas Permian Basin

Utah State University

Excelsior University

John Brown University

Kennesaw State University

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Methodist University

Ohio University

DeSales University

Upper Iowa University

Concordia University at St. Paul

Indiana University East

UMass Lowell

SUNY Empire State University

Rowan University

Northeastern University

Lesley University

University of Maryland Global Campus

Tarleton State University

Ottawa University

University of Utah

Indiana Wesleyan University

Columbia College

McNeese State University

Prescott College

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Fort Hays State University

Brescia University

Tiffin University

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

University of Alaska Anchorage

University of Louisiana Monroe

Rutgers University - Camden

Buena Vista University

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online psychology programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and the student resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online psychology programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From an Online Psychology Program

An online psychology program offers an all-encompassing understanding of human behavior, mental processes, and psychological principles.

In undergraduate programs, students delve into foundational concepts like abnormal psychology, social psychology, and research methods. The curriculum typically takes around four years to complete, leading to a Bachelor’s degree.

On the other hand, a graduate program delves deeper into specialized areas such as clinical psychology, counseling, or industrial-organizational psychology. These advanced studies can take two to six years and culminate in a Master’s or Doctoral Degree.

Both levels involve online coursework and collaborative research projects and may include practical experiences like internships.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online Psychology program

  • Introduction to Psychology: An essential part of virtually all undergraduate curriculums, this course explores fundamental concepts like cognition, behavior, and the history of psychology. Students learn fundamental theories and methods to study the mind, setting the foundation for more advanced coursework.
  • Abnormal Psychology: In this course, students investigate psychological disorders, their causes, and therapeutic interventions. Learners gain insights into classifying and treating mental health issues and prepare to analyze and address various conditions.
  • Social Psychology: This course examines how social interactions and group dynamics influence individuals. Students learn about conformity, prejudice, and interpersonal relationships, fostering an understanding of human behavior within societal contexts.
  • Research Methods in Psychology: Here, learners acquire essential research skills, including experimental design, data analysis, and ethical considerations. This course prepares students to evaluate psychological studies and conduct their research critically.

What Can I Do With an Online Psychology Degree?

Psychology is a versatile degree that can prepare students for multiple career paths as well as further study at the graduate level. Individuals with psychology degrees go on to work in fields as diverse as education, marketing, healthcare, business, law, and more.

For individuals who want to become clinical psychologists, an undergraduate degree is the first step toward that goal. In order to obtain a license to practice as a clinical psychologist in the U.S. and Canada, individuals need, at minimum, a master’s degree. Some students choose to pursue their master’s directly following their undergraduate program, while others may work professionally for a period before earning their graduate degree.

Meanwhile, for students with a bachelor’s in psychology, there are several in-demand careers they can pursue.

Career outlook

  • Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors — Advise people on a range of issues, including alcoholism, addictions, or depression, and provide to help clients recover from addiction, modify problem behaviors, or improve mental health.
    • Median annual salary: $49,710
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 18%
    • New jobs projected: 42,000 new jobs
  • Market research analyst — Study consumer preferences, business conditions, and other factors to assess potential sales of a product or service and help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.
    • Median annual salary: $68,230
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 13%
    • New jobs projected: 94,600 per year
  • Training and development specialist — Assess training needs, design and create training manuals, online learning modules, and course materials, and deliver training to employees using various instructional techniques.
    • Median annual salary: $63,080
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New jobs projected:  35,400 per year

Online Psychology Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online psychology degree program?

For undergraduates, the application process typically involves submitting a completed application and high school transcripts. Graduate programs generally require a completed application, a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Many programs at both levels request a personal statement outlining your goals.

While some schools have moved to test-optional policies recently, others may still require standardized test scores for admission. For undergraduate students, this often means taking the ACT or SAT, while graduate students may be required to take the GRE. Always double-check these requirements with your school, and consider enrolling in a test prep program to help boost your scores.

Connecting with an admissions counselor is essential, as they can guide you through the process, provide insights into the application process, and ensure you meet all prerequisites.

How much does an online psychology degree cost?

The cost of an online Psychology degree varies, with undergraduate programs averaging $25,910 and graduate degrees averaging $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year. Online options may offer cost advantages, eliminating expenses like commuting or housing, but they also come with their own set of expenses — including:

  • Textbooks and course materials
  • Specific software for completing coursework
  • Fees for virtual learning, library access, or exam proctoring

While online learning provides flexibility, cost differentials should be weighed against the benefits of convenience and accessibility.

How long does it take to earn an online psychology degree?

The duration to earn these degrees varies. On average, full-time students completing an undergraduate program typically take around four years, while graduate programs range from two to six years. Part-time enrollment will extend this timeline as these students take fewer credits per term.

In addition, it’s also essential to consider the total number of required credits. These can vary by program, and it’s reasonable to expect programs with more significant credit requirements to take longer to complete.

Is an online psychology degree worth it?

If you’re looking for a degree with many different career options, psychology is an ideal fit. Individuals with a background in psychology can work in health and human services, communications, marketing, education, human resources, and more.

The BLS predicts faster-than-average job growth for psychologists in the next decade, with demand for psychological services in schools, workplaces, healthcare settings, and social services agencies driving the growth. Psychology can also be a lucrative field. Industrial/organizational psychologists earn a median annual salary of $139,280. The median annual wage is $90,130 for clinical psychologists and $81,500 for school psychologists.