15 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.

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What is the Study of Psychology | What can you do with a psychology degree | What is the typical education track for psychology | Ranking Methodology | Rankings


What is the study of Psychology?

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 you do with a psychology degree?

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.

What is the typical education track for psychology?

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.

15 Best Online Psychology Degree Programs for 2019


1. University of Wyoming

20 year ROI: $360,000
Number of students with financial aid: 95%
Net price of the program: $13,441
Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 58%

At the top of our ranking for the best online psychology programs is the University of Wyoming. This school is located in the beautiful western state of Wyoming in the town of Laramie and is a close-knit community of scholars and learners. This school takes the top of the ranking largely thanks to its extremely affordable cost, high earning potential over 20 years, and its robust academic programs. With a small student to faculty ratio of 15:1, students are able to get the attention and help needed 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 so that students learn classic and contemporary approaches to understanding human behavior. UW offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Psychology.

2. UMass Lowell

20 year ROI: $573,000
Number of students with financial aid:  91%
Net price of the program: $18,375
Retention Rate: 86%
Graduation Rate: 60%

Located 25 miles outside of Boston, University of Massachusetts Lowell has been part of the region’s academic identity for many years. UMass Lowell is well known for its strong ties of collaboration with some of the top technology companies in the world, which means that students get to benefit from real-world application and experience. This commitment to practical application 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 so they have the opportunity to understand more than just theory.

3. University of North Dakota

20 year ROI: $361,000
Number of students with financial aid:  91%
Net price of the program: $14,478
Retention Rate:  81%
Graduation Rate:  54%

Since the school’s founding in 1883 (before the state was even established!) Universty of North Dakota has always been ahead of its time. Today the school is the largest school in the state with a student enrollment of more than 13,000 students. UND is well known as an innovator in energy, medicine, aviation, and unmanned aircraft systems. In fact, UND is the only university in the state with graduate, law, and medical schools. UND’s department of psychology offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, with students being able to pursue their studies all the way to the Ph.D. level. Students of the programs are able to learn the principles and theories of human and animal behavior, motivation, learning and cognition, personality, deviant behavior, and human development.

4. University of Louisiana at Monroe

20 year ROI: $290,000
Number of students with financial aid:  97%
Net price of the program: $10,787
Retention Rate:   72%
Graduation Rate:  41%

The University of Louisiana Monore is a state-funded institution of higher learning that provides one of the highest standards of education in the region. Founded in 1931 in the eastern part of Monroe, the school has grown to an annual enrollment of more than 9000 students. ULM offers both undergraduate and graduate studies in Psychology. 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 of the program will learn the basic skills and have a knowledge base to understand all aspects of behavior. This degree works well in conjunction with the Master of Science degree that allows for more advanced fieldwork.

5. Rowan University

20 year ROI: $296,000
Number of students with financial aid:  84%
Net price of the program: $19,246
Retention Rate:  85%
Graduation Rate:  69%

As a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution, Rowan University is dedicated to excellence in education and offers a full range of degrees. Located 20 minutes southeast of Philadephia students are able to attend classes at multiple campuses in the state 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 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.

6. University of Illinois Springfield

20 year ROI: $126,000
Number of students with financial aid:   97%
Net price of the program: $12,054
Retention Rate:  78%
Graduation Rate:  50%

Compared to some of the other school in the state, University of Illinois Springfield is a young pup. But don’t let that fool you, because UIS is a school of diversity and has been a key part of educating the community. In fact, UIS is one of the top 15 public regional universities in the Midwest and is home to many award-winning faculty members.  The psychology program at UIS is designed to help students not only become familiar with the research and theory in the study but also allows students to focus in on topics of individual interest and values. Students at this program have the opportunity to work with faculty members on ongoing research projects or propose projects of their own.

7. Fort Hays State University

20 year ROI: $191,000
Number of students with financial aid:   97%
Net price of the program:  $12,196
Retention Rate:  71%
Graduation Rate:  44%

Once a frontier military outpost, Fort Hays State University is located in Hays, Kansas and serves more than 15,000 students.  As a school with small class sizes and fantastically affordable tuition costs, FHSU is an attractive option for students looking to getting their bachelor’s degree in psychology. The Department of Psychology offers both bachelors of science and bachelor of arts options for online students. Students of the programs will learn about human behavior through impactful, hands-on experiences. At FHSU all full-time faculty in the department teach in the online classes as well, so students can rest assured that they are getting the same quality education offered to traditional students. FHSU also offers masters of science programs that are available on campus.

8. Northern Arizona University

20 year ROI: $254,000
Number of students with financial aid:  92%
Net price of the program: $14,478
Retention Rate:  76%
Graduation Rate:  55%

Northern Arizona University is located in Flagstaff, Arizona and has served the community for nearly 120 years. NAU takes great pride in its student-centered experience and robust academic programs. But beyond that, NAU believes that possibilities can become reality. They believe in the potential of their students, and that through the right kind of engagement and nurturing, students can go on to make a positive impact on the world. The psychology program at NAU is an example of this. Students of the program receive a solid foundation in all the majors of human behavior and mental processes, in addition to becoming well-rounded, and well-educated citizens.

9. Oregon Institute of Technology

20 year ROI: $572,000
Number of students with financial aid:  89%
Net price of the program: $16,503
Retention Rate:  79%
Graduation Rate:  45%

Oregon Institute of Technology has the distinction of being the program with one of the best 20-year return on investment on our ranking. It’s easy to see why Oregon Tech tops this ranking. As a school that takes pride in ensuring that programs deliver personalized education through intimate classroom environments and an applied approach to learning, Oregon Tech enables students to have opportunities to quickly apply what they have learned.  The online Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology is a degree designed for students fascinated with the human mind and want to understand human behavior. The program culminates in an externship which pairs students with various organizations and can be done in the student’s home state or town, making it ideal for online students.

10. University of Mount Olive

20 year ROI: $152,000
Number of students with financial aid:  100%
Net price of the program: $15,508
Retention Rate:  68%
Graduation Rate:  42%

The University of Mount Olive is a school founded on Christian principles by the Original Free Will Baptist Church. Part of its commitment to the community is to encourage students to become upstanding moral people. The school offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology. Students of the program can expect to be involved in a rigorous scientific and theoretical exploration of various areas of psychology, theory, development, neuroscience, cognition and more. All students of the program are required to complete an internship prior to graduation. 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.

11. King University

20 year ROI: $142,000
Number of students with financial aid:  95%
Net price of the program: $18,197
Retention Rate:  70%
Graduation Rate:  52%

King University is a private university in Bristol, Tennessee. Founded in 1867 as a Christian academic community, the school is governed by the Presbyterian Church and Evangelical Presbyterian Church. What this means today is that the school encourages students to develop a strong foundation in liberal arts while exploring their faith.  The online Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at King University gives students an opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills required for careers in human services, social services, business, or other non-clinical positions. The program is 100% online, giving students the flexibility they require for their needs. What sets this program apart from its peers is that it can be finished in as little as 16 months, providing other prerequisites are already finished.

12. Eastern Oregon University

20 year ROI: $154,000
Number of students with financial aid:  96%
Net price of the program: $14,777
Retention Rate:  68%
Graduation Rate:  31%

Known as Oregon’s rural university, Eastern Oregon University was founded in 1929 as a teacher’s college. Today the school is one of the best in the region and serves as an education center for many of the rural areas of Oregon.  Students here can take advantage of smaller classes (fewer than 25 students) which allows for more student and teacher interaction. EOU offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology. These degree programs are designed to promote an understanding of what makes psychology a scientific discipline, how psychology influences contemporary thought, and human behavior. EOU prides itself on the fact that the program helps prepare students for entry into further graduate and professional schools, as well as entry-level positions in service providing professions.

13. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

20 year ROI: -$58,500
Number of students with financial aid:  97%
Net price of the program: $17,508
Retention Rate:  66%
Graduation Rate:  57%

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Catholic institution that takes pride ints long history of tradition and commitment to academic excellence. Located southeast of Terre Haute, Indiana, SMWC is situated near several major metropolitan areas.  SMWC features a 13:1 student to faculty ratio, and is consistently ranked as one of the best schools in the Midwest region. The Psychology program at SMWC is designed to encourage the development of research skills while developing knowledge about the human mind. Students are expected to learn how to collect, analyze and interpret data from a problem-solving perspective.  The Psychology program is taught by doctoral level faculty who have years of experience as teachers, researchers, and practitioners.

14. Brescia University

20 year ROI: $119,000
Number of students with financial aid:  98%
Net price of the program: $13,496
Retention Rate:  63%
Graduation Rate:  39%

Brescia University is all about the “Brescia Difference.” This isn’t just some catchy slogan or marketing ploy, but an actual difference maker in the lives of students. By providing access to affordable, high-quality education so students can achieve their career goals, Brescia University gives students a chance to succeed. Founded in strong Catholic principles, students know that they will receive not just a high-quality education, but bolster their faith as well. The online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program provides the basis for understanding human behavior and development and acts as a vehicle for individuals that want to pursue further advanced degrees or careers in the field.

15. Bryan College

20 year ROI: $139,000
Number of students with financial aid:  92%
Net price of the program: $15,409
Retention Rate:  68%
Graduation Rate:  46%

Bryan College was chartered in 1930 with the lofty goal of providing higher education for men and women in a Christian and spiritual manner. That goal hasn’t changed. Today the school is still committed to educating students to become servants of Christ that can make a difference in the world by basing education on integrating the Bible and liberal arts. With less than 2000 students, students can expect small classes with lots of faculty interaction.  The online Psychology program at Bryan College does not deviate from the school’s purposes, providing a Christian worldview to the science of psychological theory. Students of the program develop skills that can be used in fields like human services, early childhood development and many, many more. The program is broken up into 6-week accelerated classes to ensure that students are able to finish the program as quickly as possible.

Previous Rankings

  • 2015

    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

    1. Net Price (Tuition + Fees minus average financial aid, including scholarships and grants)
    2. Retention Rates
    3. 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.




    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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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]


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