The psychology field dates to ancient Greece with philosophers, Plato, Socrates, etc., who discussed concerns such as nature vs. nurture, memory, and others. It wasn’t until the 19th century that psychology began to be studied as a science by William Wundt, a German psychologist, who opened the first psychological laboratory (Introduction to Psychology, Stangor and Walinga, 2014). Famous names in the field include Darwin, Freud, Skinner, Pavlov, Watson, etc. Today, the field is based on research, assessment, and evidence-based strategies to improve people’s lives. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to find an area of life that doesn’t involve psychology in some form.
Best Health Degrees has researched some of the best online psychology degree programs for this ranking. We reviewed programs based on classes offered, program length, institutional accreditation, as well as estimated cost. All these programs are regionally accredited and many follow recommendations of the American Psychology Association (APA). The APA doesn’t accredit undergraduate programs.
Online students are eligible for Federal Financial Student Aid, so be certain to apply by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA® to determine qualification. Most schools use the FAFSA to determine scholarship consideration. As an online degree, you’ll want to check that the school you choose has a state reciprocity agreement with your home state.
Our Method: Ranking the 25 Best Online Psychology Bachelor’s Programs
To rank the 15 Best Online Psychology Bachelor’s Programs 2021, Best Degrees editors researched accredited, trusted programs of all kinds. From our initial pool, we ranked programs according to price, accreditation, reputation, and salary potential, using data from IPEDS and Niche, U.S. News and World Report, and other higher education rating publications.
Good luck in your school search!
1. University of Florida
The degree requires 30 credit hours in psychology classes in addition to UF’s general education courses. Three concentrations are available in: General Psychology, Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, or Behavior Analysis. Psychology related studies in math, statistics, and biological sciences support the major. Core coursework includes classes in Comparative Psychology, Sensory Processes, Physiological Psychology, Principles of Behavior Analysis, Cognitive Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Psychology of Personality or Social Psychology.
UF uses the Coalition Application or Common Application for admission (along with a $30 fee) with first year student applications available each August. Academic transcripts, personal essay, ACT/SAT test scores will be required as well.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $553/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Named #2 Online Psychology Program by U.S. News and World Report
2. University of Minnesota-Duluth
If you have an Associate degree with an interest in psychology, you may want to explore the online BA in Psychology.
This degree completion program has a theoretical, research, and applied psychology curriculum. A sampling of courses in this discipline include General Psychology, Psychology: Discipline and Profession, biology studies, Experimental Design and Methodology, Statistical Methods, Theories of Personality, Cognition, etc. Elective classes are available in the areas of Clinical Counseling, Experimental, Developmental, Industrial/Organizational, Personnel, and Organizational psychology topics.
New students are admitted in the Fall semester and requires you have a cumulative 2.25 GPA. As a transfer student, you’ll complete an application, ACT/SAT test scores are optional, but you’ll need to supply academic transcripts.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $13,576-$18,776/per academic year
Fast Fact: This university ranks in the Top 40 of National Universities of U.S. News and World Report
3. University of Houston
Regardless of which degree you choose, this is best described as a degree completion program with only the upper division of psychology courses available online. The curriculum selection offers classes, depending on the term, in introductory psychology, social psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, human sexuality, clinical psychology, and more. Spaces are limited for online psychology courses and classes fill up quickly.
As a transfer student, admission requirements include filing a ApplyTexas or Common Application (and paying a $75 application fee) and providing official academic transcripts from all schools or colleges attended. The university offers a Transfer Credit Estimator which will help you determine transferrable credits.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $362-$870/per credit hour
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Houston #176 in its National Universities rating
4. PennState World Campus
The two degrees share core studies in Introduction to Psychology, Basic Research Methods in Psychology, Psychology as a Science and Profession, and a Capstone Project. If you’re pursuing the BA degree, you’ll find the coursework will focus on human behavior (normal and abnormal) and you’ll be required to take a foreign language and social and behavioral sciences. The BS discipline offers two options: business and life sciences which allows you to customize your degree to better meet your goals.
To apply, you’ll start the admission application and supply academic transcripts. Other documents may be required as your application is reviewed. PennState World Campus uses Entrance-to-Major (ETM) requirements to determine if you’ll be immediately admitted to the psychology program or will need prerequisite courses.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $576-$617/per credit hours
Fast Fact: This university ranks #8 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report
5. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida has a solid reputation for online degree programs, such as this BS in Psychology.
This program doesn’t lack for options, offering six areas in: neuroscience, clinical, experimental, human factors, general, and industrial/organizational specialities. Each option has its own unique curriculum of required courses, but all six studies require mutual core classes. You’ll take courses in statistics, general psychology, and biology. Other core studies involve Physiological Psychology, Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, as well as a Capstone Project. Be aware, biology and statistics courses are not currently offered online.
It appears this is a degree completion program, ideal for transfer students holding an Associate’s degree. The admission process begins with a consultation with a UCF Success Coach and an application (with a $30 application fee). Additional documents, academic transcripts, recommendations, etc., may be requested. UCF online tuition cost doesn’t consider out-of-state residency status.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $105/per credit hour
Fast Fact: UCF is a Best Online Bachelor’s Programs as ranked by U.S. News and World Report
If you want choices, you’ll want to explore the online BA in Psychology degree from UMass-Lowell. The degree can also be completed in 12-36 months.
This New England school offers not only a general degree in psychology, but foundational courses in: behavioral analysis, developmental, clinical, social, personality, and community. General education courses are also part of this curriculum (the school accepts up to 90 transfer hours). A sampling of other coursework provided includes classes in statistics, research, seminars, and
UMass admission for online students requires a $60 application fee and documents such as academic transcripts. The program accepts up to 90 transfer hours from accredited schools. You’re encouraged to attend a virtual open house and to speak to a Student Support Specialist.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $380/per academic year
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report rated this as one of the Best Online Psychology Bachelor’s Programs in 2021
7. Oregon State University-Ecampus
The online BA or BS in Psychology program provided by Oregon State University provides study into why and how people feel and think.
This is the same degree on-campus students earn and is taught by the same faculty. Among the course themes in this curriculum are studies in motivation, personality, lifespan development, cognitive psychology, brain and behavior, etc. General education courses are included in this 180-credit hour program for first-time students or those who have earned college credits.Transfer students can use the school’s transfer credit search tool to see which courses will qualify. You’ll have access to online tutoring, library services, as well as success coaching.
Admission requirements for this program will depend on your status as either a first-year or transfer student. ACT/SAT test scores are optional for first-year students. You should be prepared to provide academic transcripts, application fee, and other necessary documentation.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $331/per credit hour
Fast Fact: OSU-Ecampus has earned the #2 ranking in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs for 2021
8. Drexel University
This Philadelphia university was founded in 1891 and now boasts of having 25,000 students worldwide thanks to its online program offerings. This researched-based, online BS in Psychology will train you in techniques to improve people’s lives.
While the degree requires 180-181 quarter hours of study to complete (the program accepts up to 135 quarter hours/90 semester hours of acceptable credits. You can determine semester-quarter using the Drexel converter). As a BS degree, classes emphasize research methods and analysis and the curriculum requires specific coursework. Some of the required topics covered are Cognitive Psychology, Psychological Testing and Assessment, Abnormal Psychology, Psychology of Learning, etc. A Psychology Senior Thesis in selected topics component culminates the degree. Classes are offered in four, 10-week quarters per year.
Admission requirements may include academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal essay, depending on your status as a first-year or transfer student. The no-fee application is available online and you’re encouraged to file for financial aid by submitting the FASA form.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $543/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Drexel University is rated #15 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs
9. Brescia University
Located in Owensboro, KY, Brescia University awards an online BS in Psychology which will prepare you for a variety of entry-level careers in social science, behavioral sciences, business, etc.
This may be ideal if you’re looking for a degree completion program or are a first-time student. General education classes are required and, as a private Catholic university, the curriculum includes studies in theology and philosophy. Courses in the major involve a psychology intro class, along with studies in abnormal, developmental, cognitive psychology, and others.
Online student admission requires an application and typical documentation such as academic transcripts.Transfer students can typically transfer general education credits in five areas to Brescia University up to a total of 67 credits.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $425/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Founded in 1925 by the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph and is ranked #12 in Best Value Schools as well as one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report
10. DePaul University
This Chicago university supports two degree completion, online psychology programs, with a standard Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree or in Human Development in Psychology concentration.
The standard BA will prepare you to continue on to a graduate program and offers research classes. A Human Development concentration allows for flexibility and lets you customize your studies with a focus on child and adolescent behavior. Both programs enhance your psychology expertise and communication skills, as well as improve critical thinking and analytical skills. Courses are taught in three, 10-week sections. Some of the classes offered by DePaul in this field include personality theories, methods of research, abnormal, physiological, adolescent, as well as social psychology studies.
You need to have 45 quarter hours (30 semester hours) from an accredited school to apply for this online program. At least a 2.0 GPA is necessary for admission along with an application.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $688/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Niche considers DePaul University as one of its Best Colleges for Psychology in America
11. Eastern Oregon University
You can choose between two specialities with this BS or BA in Psychology offered online by Eastern Oregon University.
Depending on your future goals, this degree has two concentrations: Experimental Psychology or Applied Psychology. The Experimental Psychology track will train you to design and execute psychological research studies and the Applied Psychology track will prepare you to work with people. Core coursework is shared by the two concentrations and the curriculum calls for studies in General Psychology, Statistics and Experimental Design, and Writing in Psychology, among others. The degree requires 180 credit hours (transfer students can transfer up to 135 credit hours.)
The EOU admission application is required as well as a 2.75 GPA for first-year students and 2.25 GPA for transfer students. The application requires a $50 fee and you’ll be asked to provide academic transcripts and ACT/SAT test scores (freshman only).
Estimated Tuition Cost: $265-$305/per credit hour
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report rates EOU as offering one of its Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
12. Maryville University
You’ll learn general issues in psychology with this online BA in Psychology from St. Louis, Missouri’s Maryville College.
Core classes for this major include studies in Biological Psychology, Human Development through the Lifespan, General Psychology, Social Psychology, Multicultural Psychology, as well as Critical Thinking in Social Science and others. Research methods and statistics are also included in the curriculum. The program is designed to optimize your critical thinking skills, psychological cognitive and biological stressors, as well as multicultural interaction.
As with other schools, there are separate admission requirements for different student categories, such as first-year or transfer students. ACT/SAT test scores aren’t required and the application is free. You should be ready to submit academic transcripts and additional documents as requested.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $500/per credit hour
Fast Fact: The online BA in Psychology from Maryville University ranks #17 in Best Online in Psychology Programs by U.S. News and World Report
13. McKendree University
This Illinois university supports this flexible, online BA in Psychology offered entirely online.
Classes are completely online and are provided in 8 or 16 week periods. McKendree University’s catalog (pps. 98-99) lists core requirements for this degree include classes in Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods, and others. You’ll also complete a thesis as part of the required studies. You’ll also have a substantial list of electives from which to choose, in such classes as Adult Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Biopsychology, and others.
First year students will complete an application using either the McKendree or Common applications. You’ll also be asked to provide academic transcripts with ACT/SAT scores and letters of recommendation being optional. Transfer applicants will complete the same application as above and provide academic transcripts.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $390/per credit hour
Fast Fact: McKendree University ranks #75 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
14. Wilmington University
This university offers an uncommon admission guarantee for this online BS in Psychology degree.
Focusing on psychology theory and application, this program is multi-disciplined and includes studies in critical thinking, social and ethical responsibility, professional development, communication, and more. You’ll also be able to apply work experience toward the total hours required for the program. Classes include general education courses and core psychology studies. You’ll enroll in core coursework in Abnormal Psychology, Applying Psychology in Professional Contexts, Learning and Cognition, Introduction to Psychology, Theories of Personality, Social Psychology, etc. You can choose to do an internship or substitute courses in lieu of the experience.
As stated, admission to this program is guaranteed, but admission requires an application (with a $35 fee) and submission of academic transcripts, and complete the FAFSA. ACT/SAT test scores aren’t required but first-year students will need to take a Placement Test. Transfer students can transfer up to 90 credit hours.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $390/per credit hour
Fast Fact: 94% of Wilmington University graduates would recommend the school to other students
15. Franklin University
Franklin University, located in Columbus, Ohio, offers a 100% online BS in Psychology.
Requiring 120 credit hours for completion for first-year students, transfer students are able to transfer up to 90 credit hours of prior collegiate study. The degree is designed to appeal to students with broad career goals and requires core classes. Classes in the major include General Psychology, Cognition, Applied Research Methods, Psychological and Social Sciences Practicum (self-selected). You can choose a concentration in: Industrial Organizational Psychology, Forensic & Criminal Psychology, or Sports Psychology.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $398/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Established in 1902, Franklin University is one of the largest private universities in Ohio
Why Should I Get My Psychology Degree Online?
There was a time when online degrees were considered subpar to on campus classwork. As technology improved, the Internet expanded, and more accredited colleges and universities sought to increase enrollment, distance education became an ideal situation for millions.
During the COVID global pandemic, we saw schools pivot from on campus classes to online degree options. These online degrees are the same as earning the same degree offered on campus and the online programs use the same curriculum and faculty.
Many schools offer in-state tuition for their online degrees, regardless of where you live in the US. This is a major benefit if you’re seeking a particular program offered from a university outside of your state and still stay within your educational budget.
Online studies are more intensive and classes frequently are shorter in duration. With classes offered in relatively short 5-8 weeks segments, you can often earn your degree in less time and less money. If you’re working, online classes allow you to continue to work as you earn your degree and let you have a more balanced work-life experience.
How Do I Choose an Online Psychology Degree Program?
We can offer a couple of suggestions to help you choose your psychology degree program, but ultimately, the decision is yours and this ranking may help you find a school that meets your interests.
First, decide what you want to do with the degree. If your goal is to work in a business setting (for example, HR), you may want to earn a Bachelor of Arts in psychology which will examine cognitive, behavioral, and social psychology theories as well as sociology, political science, etc. The Bachelor of Science, while sharing theoretical and research studies with the BA, is designed for graduate studies in psychology, with a greater emphasis in science, statistics, neuroscience, etc.
Second, a no-brainer, find an accredited online program. Accreditation not only assures you the school meets specific requirements, it also is necessary if you’re applying for federal financial student aid.
Third, look for programs which give you options. For instance, programs that provide concentrations, in addition to the general psychology curriculum. Specialities can include developmental psychology, forensics psychology, clinical psychology, etc.
Fourth, determine if the program is hybrid in design and requires any on campus attendance, internships, or research opportunities.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of what you should look for in choosing an online psychology degree, but gives you an idea of things to consider.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Psychology?
There’s an abundance of careers you can enter with a bachelor’s in psychology. It’s a broad question, but one the American Psychological Association (APA) addresses with a great list, suggesting possible careers.
If your career goal is to be a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, or other healthcare careers, an undergraduate degree in psychology is a good foundation for graduate studies.
Is Psychology a Good Career Choice?
Psychology is one of the most popular college majors offered in the country. Because psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior, there are many fields in which this degree would be helpful. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates overall psychology jobs will grow at a 3% rate between 2019-2029, which is an average job growth percentage nationwide.
Approximately 99% (BLS) of psychology majors concentrated on general, counseling, educational, industrial and organizational specialities in the field. While the bachelor’s degree is a great start for the field of psychology, you may want to obtain an advanced degree with a masters or doctoral program. Some schools offer 4+1 degrees, allowing you to complete both your baccalaureate and graduate degrees in less time than usual.
Jobs using a psychology degree (including undergraduate programs) can be found in hospitals, schools, industry, outpatient clinics, government agencies, or private practices. As with any healthcare field, advanced education will make you an attractive employee candidate.
Because of the expansive nature of the psychology field, this is a solid choice, which will provide you multiple options, not only for employment, but education as well.