Get a Psychology Degree Online

Welcome to PsychologyDegreeOnline.net! Learn about how you can study this popular college program online and how each degree prepares you for careers in the field.

Why Study Psychology?

“The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental healthcare services, "the understanding of behavior" is the enterprise of psychologists.” ~American Psychological Association

If you are interested in studying thoughts and behaviors of humans and animals, you may consider pursuing a degree in psychology. This is a popular major that allows flexibility in career choices and teaches many skills that employers value. It is also an exciting field that constantly integrates new technologies into its research.

Psychologists try to understand why people do what they do by observing and interpreting how people interact with each other and with their environment. Their observations and research include particular attention to actions, thoughts, and feelings/emotions. Generally speaking, psychologists are either practitioners (in practice) or researchers. Others combine these disciplines, working both in the lab and in the field.

Sponsored Accredited Online Psychology Programs of 2016

Start by clicking on any school to get information on each of the top programs.

2016 Top 10 Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs

Oregon State University

  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Retention rate: 84%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Overall grade: A

Old Dominion University

  • Graduation rate: 51%
  • Retention rate: 80%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Degree Completion)
  • Overall grade: A

Florida International University

  • Graduation rate: 52%
  • Retention rate: 82%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Overall grade: A-

Utah State University

  • Graduation rate: 51%
  • Retention rate: 66%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Overall grade: A-

Endicott College

  • Graduation rate: 71%
  • Retention rate: 81%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Degree Completion)
  • Overall grade: A-

Indiana University-Bloomington

  • Graduation rate: 77%
  • Retention rate: 88%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Degree Completion)
  • Overall grade: A-

University of North Dakota

  • Graduation rate: 55%
  • Retention rate: 75%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Overall grade:

Drexel University

  • Graduation rate: 70%
  • Retention rate: 85%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Degree Completion)
  • Overall grade: A-

Westfield State University

  • Graduation rate: 59%
  • Retention rate: 79%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Degree Completion)
  • Overall grade: A-

University of Houston

  • Graduation rate: 48%
  • Retention rate: 83%
  • Course name: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Overall grade: B+

2016 Top 10 Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

University of North Dakota

  • Graduation rate: 55%
  • Retention rate: 75%
  • Course name: Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
  • Overall grade: A

Colorado State University-Fort Collins

  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Retention rate: 86%
  • Course name: Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Overall grade: A

University of North Texas

  • Graduation rate: 50%
  • Retention rate: 76%
  • Course name: Master of Science in Educational Psychology with a Concentration in Gifted & Talented Students
  • Overall grade: A-

Fort Hays State Univesity

  • Graduation rate: 45%
  • Retention rate: 85%
  • Course name: Master of Science in School Psychology
  • Overall grade: A-

University of Alabama

  • Graduation rate: 67%
  • Retention rate: 67%
  • Course name: Master of Arts in Educational Psychology
  • Overall grade: A-

Regis University

  • Graduation rate: 58%
  • Retention rate: 82%
  • Course name: Master of Arts in Psychology
  • Overall grade: B+

University of Southern California

  • Graduation rate: 91%
  • Retention rate: 97%
  • Course name: Master of Science in Applied Psychology
  • Overall grade: B+

University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Graduation rate: 83%
  • Retention rate: 95%
  • Course name: Master of Science in Educational Psychology
  • Overall grade: B+

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • Retention rate: N/A
  • Course name: Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Overall grade: B-

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Graduation rate: 54%
  • Retention rate: 73%
  • Course name: Master of Science in Psychology
  • Overall grade: B-

Methodology Behind Our 2016 Rankings

After conducting thorough research, we devised formulas to help us calculate a list of universities by rank. Using our research on hundreds of psychology programs, we filtered through the degrees to only include those that are offered online. From here we used the following criteria to determine the rank of each program:

  • 25% academic performance: Using each program’s graduation and retention rates, we generated a score for each. The higher the rates, the better the score.
  • 25% reputation: We generated scores for this category based on a program’s placement in US News college rankings, Forbes college rankings, and Money college rankings. The programs with more placements earned better scores.
  • 50% tuition and value: We based this score on cost. The more affordable the program, the better its score.

Before you choose an online psychology program

Do you want to become a professional psychologist or simply earn a broad degree that you can apply to other fields in the future? The answer to this question determines what kind of degree you should pursue and how many years it will take to complete your education. Carefully research the type of psychology job you want to do before committing to a course of study.

Associate’s degree in psychology

The vast majority of psychology jobs require graduate level education.

An associate’s degree serves as a basic introduction to the fundamentals. If you decide to get your degree online, make sure that the online school that you choose to attend awards transferable credits that you can apply toward a bachelor’s degree program in psychology.
Learn more about an online associate’s degree in psychology

Bachelor's degree in psychology

If you plan on joining the workforce directly after graduation, then pursuing an online bachelor’s in psychology may be a viable option. If you plan to continue to graduate school, carefully research online options because many will not be sufficient for admission to graduate programs.
Learn more about an online bachelor’s degree in psychology

Master’s degree in psychology

A master’s degree in psychology is a graduate-level degree that will allow you to delve deeper into the field of psychology and broaden your job prospects. Some psychology masters programs offer terminal degrees, which are designed to prepare you for professional practice in your area of specialization. Terminal master’s degree programs open the door for psychology jobs in fields like mental health, industrial-organizational psychology and forensic psychology. However, if you want to obtain your doctorate in psychology, you should not enroll in a terminal program because many doctoral programs will not accept those credits. If you want to earn your doctorate, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for admission to a doctoral program.
Learn more about an online master’s degree in psychology

Doctoral degree in psychology

A doctorate in psychology is the only degree that will allow you to open your own private practice and work as a professional psychologist. Doctoral programs require heavy research and clinical experiences which are difficult to manage through online psychology programs.There are currently no online psychology doctorate programs that are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) which means you will be unable to get a license to practice in many states.
Learn more about online doctoral degree in psychology

2016 Online Psychology Program Directory

When choosing a school to pursue a psychology degree, research your options carefully. There are several details you will need to know, including admissions requirements, coursework, and the number of credit hours needed. For a bachelor’s degree in psychology, consider whether or not you’ll want a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). The former will allow flexibility in exploring other disciplines with your psychology focus and transitions well into graduate studies. The latter is suited to jumping into a technical career after graduating.

Our directory includes nearly 600 schools for you to browse and find the right fit for you.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs in psychology will continue to grow due to the demand for psychological services in rehabilitation and social service centers, schools, hospitals, and private companies. These professionals will also be important in caring for an aging population, veterans, and individuals living unhealthy lifestyles. In government work, psychology jobs are often in management, research, and administration. For those holding a doctorate, the outlook is the most positive in clinical, counseling, and education fields.

Graduates with bachelor’s and master’s degrees find work within the field and without. The transferable skills gained from studying psychology can be applied to many professions. While training to earn their psychology degrees, these students learn how to research and write effectively, develop problem-solving skills, work with statistics, and have extensive experience analyzing and comparing/contrasting data. If students with a bachelor’s degree, for example, do not work within psychology, they can also apply their degrees to work within professions ranging from education and public affairs to sales and writing.

Common Psychology Jobs

Many psychology professionals work in hospitals, schools, and for the government. Some of the most common professions for those with a psychology degree include the following:

Clinical Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate (4–7 years of graduate school)
  • Average Salary: $63,000 (Lowest 10% earned less than $37,900; highest 10% earned more than $106,840)
  • Work Environment: Private practice, mental health clinics, hospitals
  • Job Description: Clinical psychologists assess and treat a wide range of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders ranging from eating disorders to schizophrenia. Some clinical professionals specialize in specific problems such as phobias or depression. Others only work with specific population groups like children or the elderly.

Cognitive Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate (4–7 years of graduate school)
  • Average Salary: $55,000
  • Work Environment: Universities, government agencies, corporate businesses, private practice
  • Job Description: Cognitive psychologists study how people perceive, think and remember. Some of the topics that they explore include language, attention, memory and the processes that people use to make decisions and solve problems. Cognitive psychologists also sometimes use their skills for practical tasks likes creating educational curricula or designing software.

Counseling Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate (4–7 years of graduate school)
  • Average Salary: $63,000 (Lowest 10% earned less than $37,900; highest 10% earned more than $106,840)
  • Work Environment: Private practice, mental health clinics, hospitals
  • Job Description: Counseling psychologists help clients deal with problems that occur in day-to-day life. For example, they help people to work through social and emotional problems, career setbacks and health concerns. Counseling psychologists use a variety of methods to treat patients such as testing, interviewing and intervention.

Developmental Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate (4–7 years of graduate school)
  • Average Salary: $56,500
  • Work Environment: Universities, government agencies, assisted living facilities, healthcare facilities
  • Job Description: Developmental psychologists study how people change and grow throughout their lives in order to help people live better. In particular, they observe physical, social, intellectual and emotional growth patterns. They often study specific age groups like the elderly or young children.

Forensic Psychologist

  • Education Required: Masters (2–3 years of graduate school); doctorate (4 – 7 years of graduate school) recommended
  • Average Salary: $59,440
  • Work Environment: Law enforcement, government agencies
  • Job Description: Forensic psychologists apply psychology to the field of criminal investigation and the law. Those who work in the court system often provide psychotherapy to crime victims and evaluate whether alleged criminals are mentally fit to stand trial. They can also perform child custody evaluations and investigate reports of child abuse.

Health Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate (4–7 years of graduate school)
  • Average Salary: $100,000
  • Work Environment: Hospitals, medical clinics, private consulting
  • Job Description: Health psychologists study how health and illness is affected by biological, social and psychological factors. They study issues like how patients deal with illness, pain management and how to change poor health habits. Health psychologists often work with medical doctors to provide patients with total health care.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

  • Education Required: Masters (2 – 3 years of graduate school)
  • Average Salary: $97,820 (Lowest 10% earned less than $38,690; highest 10% earned more than $149,120)
  • Work Environment: Corporate businesses, government agencies, universities, private consulting
  • Job Description: Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological research to problems in the workplace. They tend to be expert communicators who can analyze business hierarchies to determine the weak points in an organization like a lack of productivity or a misuse of company resources.

School Psychologist

  • Education Required: Masters (2–3 years of graduate school)
  • Average Salary: $59,440 (Lowest 10% earned less than $37,900; highest 10% earned more than $106,840)
  • Work Environment: Schools, universities
  • Job Description: School psychologists aim to promote a healthy learning environment that focuses on meeting the emotional, social and academic needs of children by collaborating with parents, teachers and students. They consult with families and teachers, evaluate children who need learning accommodations and conduct research into educational issues.

Sports Psychologist

  • Education Required: Masters (2–3 years of graduate school)
  • Average Salary: $54,000
  • Work Environment: Athletics, universities, private practice
  • Job Description: Sports psychologists apply psychological principles to motivate athletes and improve their performance. Some sports psychologists focus on teaching skills like goal setting and imagery, which can enhance athletic performances. Others counsel patients who suffer from mental health problems like eating disorders or depression by using sports psychology strategies.

Other Psychology Specializations

Psychology includes a variety of other subfields to specialize in besides those listed above. This list from the American Psychological Association (APA) includes additional subcategories under the broad umbrella of psychology for students to consider.

Community Psychologist

  • Education Required: At least a bachelor’s degree, though graduate degrees are recommended
  • Average Salary: $61,000
  • Job Description: Help communities, organizations, and larger social systems learn to better meet people’s needs. This includes working to improve social justice, strengthen communities, prevent crime in neighborhoods and bullying in schools, and to help citizens get the resources they need to improve their lives.

Educational Psychologist

  • Education Required: At least a bachelor’s degree, though graduate degrees are recommended
  • Average Salary: $67,000
  • Job Description: Focus on optimizing learning and teaching. Their studies consider the impacts of innate abilities of students, motivation, and diversity in classrooms.

Engineering Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate degree (PhD) often required
  • Average Salary: $48,000–75,000, depending on workplace
  • Job Description: Seek ways to improve how people work with machines. Subjects include finding ways to make assembly lines more efficient, analyzing workloads, and creating computers that ease eye strain and fatigue. Many work in industrial settings and are also called human factors specialists.

Environmental Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate degree required (PhD)
  • Average Salary: $90,000, but varies with experience
  • Job Description: Concerned with the relationship between people and their physical environments, both natural and constructed, as well as their social and cultural ones. They work with psychologists in other specialties, other science and social science professionals and examine responses to events such as globalization.

Evolutionary Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate degree required (PhD)
  • Average Salary: $89,800
  • Job Description: Examine how adaptation and mutation affect people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This includes focusing on behaviors that relate to human survival (i.e. mating and communication) and other inherited characteristics and tendencies.

Experimental Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate degree required (PhD)
  • Average Salary: $65,000
  • Job Description: Working in the lab, they are tuned into how animal and human subjects react when conditioned to certain stimuli. Experimental psychologists also alter variables in their experiments to place subjects in different circumstances to collect additional sets of data.

Neuropsychologist

  • Education Required: At least a master’s degree, but a doctorate may be necessary
  • Average Salary: $83,000
  • Job Description: Examines connections between the brain and behavior, such as how brain injuries affect emotion and perception, and how the brain creates and maintains memories. They use tools including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to study brain imaging.

Quantitative and Measurement Psychologist

  • Education Required: Doctorate degree required (PhD)
  • Average Salary: $65,000
  • Job Description: Evaluates quality of psychological tests and how experimental data can be interpreted in mathematical terms (mathematical models). These psychologists also look into effects of psychological treatment and social and educational programs.

Social Psychologist

  • Education Required: In general, a doctorate is necessary
  • Average Salary: $62,000
  • Job Description: Analyzes how an individual’s thoughts and behaviors are influenced by interpersonal and group interactions. This can include studying attitudes like prejudice and how to fight their negative outcomes. Social psychologists are found in ad agencies, businesses, academics, and government.

Additional Resources

The APA is the largest psychological association in the world and is an excellent resource for psychology students to tap into. Here are career and affiliation sites it provides for psych students and professionals to explore:

Center for Workforce Studies (CWS) The CWS collects, evaluates, and shares information on psychology’s workforce and education methods. Here, you can find information on salaries, jobs, and more.

PsycCareers Lists current job openings and career information for psychologists. Job listings include full and part time, for a range of psychology disciplines, and ones for different career stages (internships, early career, experienced). The site also shares tips on job searching, interviews, and professional development.

Professional Affiliations

APA Divisions Students can apply for affiliation in APA divisions that allow them to find other psychologists with related professional interests.

American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) APAGS represents psychology students in maintaining connections between them and the larger psychological community. It is open to undergraduates (at an extra fee) and graduate students are automatically members if affiliated with APA. This organization is run by students elected by members and represents all psychology specialties. It also contributes to programming at the APA annual convention and provides a quarterly magazine, gradPSYCH, to members.