14 Best Online Psychology Degree Programs
Psychology is one of the most popular majors for undergraduates.
Psychology majors are able to explore a wide range of topics that prepare them for a variety of careers. A bachelor’s degree in psychology typically requires students to complete around 120 credit hours. Most students finish bachelor’s degrees in psychology in 4 years. Some of the core courses that psychology majors are required to take include statistics, experimental psychology, abnormal psychology, and elective courses, such as consumer psychology, social processes, and human performance.
Psychology is an incredibly popular choice of study for new college and university students. Here’s a look at what it’s about and why people are attracted to it.
If you’ve ever wondered why your uncle Frank always has to sound like an idiotic braggart at the dinner table, or why your sister absolutely has to look perfect before going out to the grocery store, or even why your dad doesn’t trust door to door salesman, then you have an interest in psychology. At the most basic level, a study of psychology is a study of yourself and other people by learning about different aspects of human behavior.
Psychology looks at human relationships and how people interact with each other. Yet, as you study about other people, you often learn more about yourself, including how you interact with people, how you learn and perform, your ability to cope and socialize, and things like why you always say yes to people when you really just want to say no.
Though popular fashion magazines will always tout the latest personality assessment to learn about your “self,” that’s not real psychology. There’s a misconception that psychology as a major is a low paying career path with few jobs, and that it’s just a “fun and easy” major. This could not be further from the truth.
Psychology is a science, and as such, it uses clinical, research, and empirical settings to understand human behavior and mental life. It’s advanced training in analytical thinking and research methods. It’s a deep dive into understanding relationships and well-being.
What can a deeper understanding of human behavior and psychology do for you in a career? Unless you’re working in an industry that doesn’t have any human contact at all, then the principles learned in a psychology degree program are deeply relevant. There are a lot of different careers that graduates often pursue including, business, clinical practice, law medicine, government, and nonprofit agencies, marketing and more.
The most obvious career from a psychology major is a psychologist; however, psychology complements every field of study purely because there are people in social situations in every aspect of society. Because of that, psychology graduates can get a job in just about any field (so long as you have the other corresponding skills needed for it). There is a false belief that Psychology is an “empty” major without real skills. Because of this sometimes the employability of psychology graduates is low. The key is to be able to “sell” the psychology degree to potential employers. After all, a deep understanding of human behavior is a major factor of success in the workplace.
On top of that, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology is a stepping stone in gaining more specialization and education in the field. With a bachelor’s degree, you can continue developing your understanding in graduate programs. This is an important point to consider, especially if you want to practice as a psychologist or work in psychology studies. There is an amazing range of specialties in psychology from things like clinical, education, sports, forensic, and health, to organizational, child, and community psychology. So long as there are humans occupying different spaces, there is a need to understand their behavior.
The education track for psychology is like most traditional four year degrees. There are a number of general education and prerequisite classes students will need to take, and then they will be able to take their major courses. Most schools offer a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. The difference in degrees often reflects the school’s overall view and structure of their programs. After graduation, many students opt to enter the workforce, but a large number also opt to continue their education and earn Masters and Doctoral degrees.
Before we get started, we want to point out a few things. First of all, all of these programs are incredibly affordable. All of the programs cost less than $20,000 for the ENTIRE program. That’s right, not just for a single semester. Additionally, most of the data we used came from a deep dive of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and Payscale. These two sources helped us quantify the education experience and make it more useful for everyday students.
At EDsmart we want to make sure that you’re not getting ripped off when you apply for a degree program. To help with that we spend a lot of time developing our ranking methodology to weed out undesirable schools. For this ranking we looked at three main factors:
- Affordability – How affordable is the program? This is an analysis of the net price of the program + financial aid available.
- Academic Quality – What are the retention and graduation rates of the program? This is a measure of how many students stay beyond the first year and graduate.
- Student Outcomes – This is the difference between the 20-year median pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24-year median pay for a high school grad minus the total 4-year cost.
Without further ado, EdSmart presents the top 15 online psychology programs for the 2019 academic year.
1. University of Wyoming
20 year ROI: $410,000
Net price of the program: $12,880
Retention Rate: 76%
Graduation Rate: 59%
Among colleges with the best online psychology programs in the U.S., the University of Wyoming is an impressive standout. Located in the small town of Laramie, UW comprises a close-knit community of learners and future leaders. This school merits our top ranking largely due to its affordability, high earning potential over 20 years, and its many comprehensive academic programs. With a modest student-to-faculty ratio of just 15:1, students are able to get the assistance necessary to succeed in their fields of choice. The psychology programs at UW are no different, with the faculty of the Department of Psychology working hard to teach students classic and contemporary approaches to human behavior. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology.
2. Northern Arizona University
20 year ROI: $314,000
Net price of the program: $14,236
Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 58%
Northern Arizona University, located in Flagstaff, Arizona, has served the community for nearly 120 years. NAU takes great pride in its student-centered approach and robust academic programs. But beyond that, NAU believes that possibilities can become reality. They support students’ abilities to forge their own paths and believe that with the proper instruction, students can make a positive impact on the world. The psychology program at NAU is an example of this. Students receive solid foundational preparation in the subjects of human behavior and mental processes, in addition to becoming well-rounded and well-educated citizens.
3. UMass Lowell
20 year ROI: $641,000
Net price of the program: $18,183
Retention Rate: 83%
Graduation Rate: 56%
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, located 25 miles outside of Boston, has been an integral part of the region’s academic identity for many years. The university is known for its collaborative ties with some of the top technology companies in the world, which means that UML students get to benefit from real-world application and experience. This commitment to real-world applicability can be found in the school’s psychology program as well. The program combines theoretical study and scientific research methods with practical application through coursework, field studies, community involvement, and more. Students’ skills are further developed through an advanced two-semester field placement, through which they have the opportunity to gain more first-hand experience.
4. Rowan University
20 year ROI: $377,000
Net price of the program: $22,805
Retention Rate: 83%
Graduation Rate: 74%
As a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution, Rowan University is dedicated to excellence in education and offers a full range of degrees. Though its main campus is located just 20 minutes southeast of Philadephia, students are able to attend classes at multiple in-state locations, as well as online. More than 18,000 students call this school home and it’s easy to see why. Rowan University is one of the best schools in the region and frequently appears high on college rankings. RU offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (33 credits), a Bachelor of Science in Psychological Science (60 credits), a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and three Master of Arts degrees in applied behavior analysis, clinical mental health counseling, and school psychology.
5. Fort Hays State University
20 year ROI: $221,000
Net price of the program: $12,108
Retention Rate: 74%
Graduation Rate: 61%
Fort Hays State University is located in Hays, Kansas, and once operated as a military outpost. Today, it serves more than 15,000 students while retaining small class sizes and remarkably affordable tuition costs. FHSU is an attractive option for students looking to getting their bachelor’s degrees in psychology, offering both bachelor’s of science and bachelor’s of arts options for virtual students. Students learn about human behavior through hands-on experiences that make a lasting impact. At FHSU, all full-time faculty in the department teach in the online versions of their classes as well. Students can rest assured that they are receiving the same quality education offered to traditional students.
6. University of North Dakota
20 year ROI: $401,000
Net price of the program: $15,654
Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 50%
Since the school’s founding in 1883, the Universty of North Dakota has been ahead of its time. Today, with a student enrollment of more than 13,000 students, it is the largest school in the state and is well known for its innovative energy, medicine, aviation, and unmanned aircraft systems programs. In fact, UND is the only university in the state with graduate, law, and medical schools. The school’s department of psychology offers both undergraduate and graduate-level degrees, enabling students to pursue their studies all the way to the Ph.D. level. These focus on the principles and theories of human and animal behavior, namely motivation, learning and cognition, personality, deviant behavior, and human development.
7. Oregon Institute of Technology
20 year ROI: $656,000
Net price of the program: $16,670
Retention Rate: 76%
Graduation Rate: 52%
The Oregon Institute of Technology is distinguished for its 20-year return on investment. The school takes pride in ensuring that programs deliver personalized education through close-knit classroom environments and a hands-on approach to learning. Oregon Tech enables students to not only absorb what they’ve learned but quickly apply it in a real-world setting, as well. The online Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology is designed for students fascinated with the human mind that want to understand human behavior. The program culminates in an externship that pairs students with various organizations and can be accomplished in the student’s own home state, making it ideal for online students
8. University of Louisiana at Monroe
20 year ROI: $333,000
Net price of the program: $9,710
Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 41%
The University of Louisiana Monore is a state-funded institution of higher learning that holds one of the highest standards for higher education in the region. Located in the eastern part of Monroe, the school supports an annual enrollment of more than 9,000 students. ULM’s undergraduate and graduate studies in Psychology are both highly comprehensive and applicable. The Bachelor of Arts degree from ULM’s Department of Psychology acts as a foundation for further professional or graduate study in the field. Students acquire fundamental skills and a general knowledge base necessary to understand all aspects of human behavior. This degree works well in conjunction with the Master of Science degree, which allows for more advanced fieldwork.
9. Bryan College
20 year ROI: $257,000
Net price of the program: $16,650
Retention Rate: 70%
Graduation Rate: 54%
Bryan College was chartered in 1930 with the aim of providing higher education for men and women of the Christian faith. Today the school continues to pursue that goal, training followers of Christ to make a difference in the world through liberal arts-based education. With an enrollment of less than 2,000, students can expect small class sizes with high rates of faculty collaboration. The online psychology programs at Bryan College do not deviate from the on-campus ones, examining the science of psychological theory through a Christ-centered lens. The program develops skills in human services, early childhood development, and more, and is broken up into 6-week accelerated classes to ensure that students are able to advance as quickly as possible.
10. King University
20 year ROI: $231,000
Net price of the program: $22,098
Retention Rate: 65%
Graduation Rate: 72%
King University is a private post-secondary institution that was founded in 1867 in Bristol, Tennessee as a Christian academic association. The school is governed by the Presbyterian Church and Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which means that the school encourages students to develop a strong foundation in liberal arts while promoting faith-based values. The online Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology gives students the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for a career in human services, social services, business, or any other non-clinical position. The program is available 100% online, allowing students the highest measure of flexibility, and can be completed in as little as 16 months.
11. Eastern Oregon University
20 year ROI: $207,000
Net price of the program: $14,835
Retention Rate: 72%
Graduation Rate: 42%
Known as Oregon’s most rural college, Eastern Oregon University was founded in 1929 as a school for teachers. Today, it is one of the most renowned institutions in the region and serves as an education center for many of the rural areas of Oregon. Students take advantage of the smaller class sizes, many of which host fewer than 25 students at a time. Higher amounts of student-teacher interaction and collaboration result in greater student success on the individual level. EOU offers Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology. These programs introduce psychology as a scientific discipline, promoting deeper inquiry into psychology’s influence on contemporary thought and human behavior. EOU’s programs prepare students for advancement into higher graduate and professional studies, as well as entry-level positions in the field.
12. University of Mount Olive
20 year ROI: $238,000
Net price of the program: $16,413
Retention Rate: 62%
Graduation Rate: 52%
The University of Mount Olive was founded on Christian principles by the Original Free Will Baptist Church. As part of its commitment to the community, it encourages students to become upstanding moral citizens with strong values. The school offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology. As a student, you can expect to be involved in rigorous scientific and theoretical exploration through various domains of psychology, theory, development, neuroscience, cognition and more. All who participate in the program are required to complete an internship prior to graduation, which enhances real-world performance and ensures a high rate of career success. Students can choose between counseling and research tracks and will have the opportunity to work with various medical organizations or develop their own research projects, depending on their interests.
13. Brescia University
20 year ROI: $225,000
Net price of the program: $13,184
Retention Rate: 68%
Graduation Rate: 34%
Brescia University is known for being all about the “Brescia Difference.” Though this may sound like nothing more than a catchy slogan or a marketing ploy, Brescia does actually aim to make difference in the lives of its students. By providing access to affordable, high-quality education, determined students can achieve their career goals and make their dreams a reality. Provided with an education centered on Catholic principles, students know that they will receive not just a high-quality education, but flourish in their faith as well. The online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program provides the basis for understanding human behavior and development, acting as a vehicle for individuals that want to pursue further advanced degrees or careers in the field.
14. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
20 year ROI: -$129,000
Net price of the program: $17,088
Retention Rate: 66%
Graduation Rate: 41%
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Catholic institution that takes pride in its longstanding tradition of academic excellence. SMWC features a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio and is consistently ranked as one of the best schools in the Midwestern region. The school’s psychology program encourages the development of research skills while developing fundamental knowledge of the human psyche. Students learn how to collect, analyze, and interpret empirical data from the perspective of a critical thinker. Psychology courses at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods are taught by a highly-qualified faculty, all of whom are equipped with real-world experience as teachers, researchers, and full-time psychology practitioners.
Best Online Psychology Degree Programs for 2015-2016
Online psychology degree programs are great for students who may be working or have other obligations that don’t allow the time to enroll in traditional, on-campus psychology programs. There are over 100 bachelor’s degrees in psychology fully available via online programs.
Students looking for the best value programs will find our list helpful. This list showcases online psychology degree programs that offer the lowest cost and highest probability of degree completion. “Best Value” psychology degree programs are measured by
- Net Price (Tuition + Fees minus average financial aid, including scholarships and grants)
- Retention Rates
- Graduation Rates
For EDsmart’s Best Value Online Psychology Degree Programs rankings, net price is used instead of sticker price because it represents a more accurate cost to the student. A high sticker price can actually have a low net price, thus widening a student’s college choices beyond what was seemingly an unaffordable tuition. Retention and graduation rates are a good measure of how pleased students are with their choice of college, with the student finishing their degree at the college at which they began.
All data has been gathered from http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator, school websites, and school Facebook pages.
1. UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ONLINE BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PSYCHOLOGY
Net Price: $14,786
Retention Rate: 96%
6-year Graduation Rate: 88%
The University of Florida earns the top spot for the best value online Psychology degree programs. This program combines the natural and social sciences in a brilliant way. The breadth and depth of this degree offer graduates a wide range of career opportunities in business, marketing, education, healthcare, counseling and personal management. UF provides Psychology students an in-depth education that comprehensively covers this broad discipline. UF was recently ranked as the #47 university in the nation, #31 clinical psychology grad program, #40 for Psychology, and #11 in the nation for best online bachelor’s programs.
2. UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
ONLINE PSYCHOLOGY B.S.
Net Price: $14,745
Retention Rate: 88%
6-year Graduation Rate: 70%
Students at the University of Central Florida can earn Psychology degrees online for an amazing price and within a fraction of the time-frame, it would at similar institutions. Admissions into UCF are relatively rigorous but students are well-rewarded with a program filled with fieldwork, research and internship opportunities. Online instruction is not permitted in all 50 states. Check the program’s page at UCF.edu (below) to see if yours qualifies.
3. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
ONLINE BS IN PSYCHOLOGY
Net Price: $11,552
Retention Rate: 84%
6-year Graduation Rate: 54%
Florida International University offers the third most affordable online Psychology degree on our list of the best. FIU’s 2,400+ Psychology majors stay engaged and challenged by one of the fastest, most flexible and convenient Psychology degrees in the U.S. Along with accelerated courses, FIU offers one-on-one guidance for students through their high-tech online platform. FIU’s accredited online Psychology degree program produces leaders in scientific research and human behavior.
4. WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY
ONLINE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN PSYCHOLOGY
Net Price: $16,427
Retention Rate: 80%
6-year Graduation Rate: 67%
Washington State University is one of a handful of higher education institutes in Washington that offer online Psychology degrees. Coursework combines business, law, education, and medicine to provide a well-rounded education for their students. This program is tailored for students aiming to acquire the training necessary for a career in a variety of fields including health and human services, research and development, and others. This program is great for those looking to pursue higher degrees in Psych, Law, Medicine, Sociology, and Education.
5. WESTFIELD STATE UNIVERSITY
PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE (B.A.), ONLINE COMPLETION
Net Price: $15,498
Retention Rate: 77%
6-year Graduation Rate: 63%
Westfield State offers accelerated courses and summer sessions to speed up degree completion. In academic circles, Westfield has a solid reputation for developing students with skills that employers most need. This online Psychology degree program incorporates classes that help students grow into flexible, imaginative, and communicative workers. WSU’s bachelor’s in Psychology is a degree completion program which is a great fit for local community college graduates–a smooth transition for “Mass Transfer impact” students.
6. OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
B.A./B.S. IN PSYCHOLOGY-ONLINE
Net Price: $16,462
Retention Rate: 84%
6-year Graduation Rate: 63%
Oregon State University has a solid track record across the boards and was recently named the #7 Best Online Bachelor’s Program in the nation by US News. OSU’s grad school ranked #101 for Psychology by US News. OSU provides graduates with reputable credentials that help place them in their careers. This online Psychology program offers amazing training for students looking to work in social services, clinical psychology, research, law enforcement, and more.
7. AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY
ONLINE BACHELOR’S DEGREE FOR PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSIONALS
Net Price: $9,572
Retention Rate: 76%
6-year Graduation Rate: 46%
University of Minnesota – Duluth offers an affordable, accelerated psychology degree completion program allowing students to complete upper-level Psychology coursework completely online. UMD was recently ranked #7 Top Public School and #29 Best College for Veterans by US News. Outside the classroom, UMD offers internships, independent study opportunities, teaching and research assistantships and more–a great way to grow and network.
8. UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH
Net Price: $15,681
Retention Rate: 77%
6-year Graduation Rate: 59%
American Public University offers one of the most affordable online psychology degree programs for working professionals. APU can even save students more money by accepting credit from academic and work-related experience and training. These credits are accepted by APU for up to 50% of their students. APU’s bachelor programs were recent;y ranked #58 by US News.
9. BLUE MOUNTAIN COLLEGE
ONLINE BS IN PSYCHOLOGY
Net Price: $$9,244
Retention Rate: 63%
6-year Graduation Rate: 46%
Blue Mountain College is a small, Christian, private institution with a total undergraduate enrollment of 520 and was recently ranked #22 best college in the South by US News and #191 for best online bachelor’s programs. BMC’s Psychology program engages students in every aspect of the human mind, emotion, behavior, and existence through a study of topics including physical, emotional, and abnormal behaviors.
10. NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY
ONLINE PSYCHOLOGY BACHELOR’S DEGREE
Net Price: $12,946
Retention Rate: 74%
6-year Graduation Rate: 52%
Northern Arizona University is one of Arizona’s public universities to pioneer online learning for more than 20 years. NAU’s online Psychology degree offers a broad survey of practical and theoretical topics combining human cognition, learning and development. The analytical framework and professional skills learned in NAU’s Psychology degree online equip students with everything necessary for success in the workforce.
What is the best online college for Psychology?
According to our analysis, the best online college for Psychology is the University of Wyoming, followed by UMass Lowell and the University of North Dakota.
Congratulations on providing great value for Psychology students! Feel free to show off your achievement by using the badge to the right on your school or program’s website.
For further inquiry about this ranking report, please contact [email protected]