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Psychology graduates help people understand human thought, behavior, and feelings in a variety of contexts. For instance, psychology professionals can help mental health patients manage their conditions. They can also advise companies on behaviors of their customer base.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median U.S. income was $39,810 in 2019. By comparison, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), the median wage for psychologists was $85,000 in 2015, and more than 80% of psychologists earned a median salary of over $60,000.
Many psychology careers require an advanced degree, and earning an online bachelor's in psychology is a great step toward these lucrative careers. This guide delves into affordable online bachelor's programs in psychology, covering common concentrations, courses, and careers.
What Are the Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Psychology Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Five:
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|1||University of Florida Online||Gainesville, FL|
|2||University of Utah||Salt Lake City, UT|
|3||Rutgers University-Newark||Newark, NJ|
|4||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|5||University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL|
- How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
2020 Most Affordable Accredited Online Bachelor's in Psychology Programs
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University of Florida Online
|Gainesville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
UF Online strives to accommodate learners by providing flexible degree options, ranking fourth for online bachelor's programs, according to U.S News & World Report. Students can choose from 25 majors, including a 120-credit bachelor of arts in psychology.
Enrollees benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to the field. Courses include developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, abnormal psychology, and laboratory methods in psychology. UF Online accepts some transfer credits.
Distance learners benefit from online career services and technical support. UF Online also offers transition advising, which includes orientation to help students prepare for online learning. Distance learners also pay a lower tuition rate than residential on-campus students. UF Online boasts regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Utah
|Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 70%||
Located in Salt Lake City, The U has offered postsecondary coursework for 170 years and ranks among the top public schools, national universities, and best value schools. Undergraduate students can access over 100 majors, including an online bachelor's degree in psychology.
As an open major, students do not need to declare a specialization. This bachelor's degree requires psychology major credits, general education credits, and elective credits. Courses include child and adolescent development, stress and development, science of subjective well-being and positive psychology, and statistical research methods in psychology.
All distance learners pay a flat rate, including out-of-state students. The U accepts transfer students from accredited institutions. Online courses follow an asynchronous format. However, students interact through discussion forums, group assignments, and peer reviews.
The U is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
|Newark, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Rutgers University-Newark stands among the top 10 oldest postsecondary schools in the country. With nearly 71,000 enrolled, the student body represents all 50 states and over 125 countries. Rutgers-Newark also ranks second in the nation for ethnic diversity and fourth for social mobility, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Both traditional and online learners can earn a bachelor's in psychology. Rutgers University-Newark offers double major options, including biology and education. Enrollees can also apply for the honors bachelor's in psychology, which requires a year-long research project. Honors students present their findings in front of the Rutgers University-Newark academic community.
Psychology students can participate in multiple independent work opportunities, including research, fieldwork, community service, and internships. Rutgers University-Newark boasts regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
FIU is the state's only public research university and offers 265 total degrees at all levels. FIU also ranks among the top 10 largest universities nationwide and offers a diverse student body.
Individuals interested in human behavior can earn a 120-credit online bachelor's degree in psychology at FIU. Notable courses include psychology methods and analysis, sensation and perception, memory and memory improvement, and animal cognition.
Each distance learner receives one-on-one support from a personal success coach. Admission requires candidates to submit SAT or ACT scores and official high school transcripts. FIU also accepts transfer students with less than 60 transferable credits. FIU holds regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Central Florida
|Orlando, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
UCF, based in Orlando, offers over 220 degrees across 13 colleges. The university prioritizes accessibility and ranks among the top 10 innovative colleges.
Students can pursue fully online degrees at UCF, including a 120-credit online bachelor's in psychology. This degree requires three common program prerequisite credits, 36 general education credits, 29 core credits, and electives. Students can choose from six tracks, including experimental, clinical, human factors, industrial and organizational, neuroscience, and general.
UCF also features an honors option, which includes a thesis. Honors students must maintain a 3.5 GPA at minimum in all psychology courses. Psychology majors can also access multiple fieldwork, internship, and research opportunities. Roughly 48% of UCF students graduate with no student debt.
UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
California State University, Sacramento
|Sacramento, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
Founded in 1947, Sacramento State enrolls over 31,000 students annually. Enrollees benefit from a diverse learning community, ranking fourth in the West for diversity, according to U.S. News & World Report. Sacramento State also values student-centered learning and inclusion. Learners can earn their degrees completely online.
The bachelor of arts in psychology introduces students to the scientific study of cognition, human behavior, and emotion. This bachelor's degree requires 120 credits, including 46 general education units, 13 lower-division units, 30-34 upper-division units, 21 graduation requirement units, and electives.
Online courses last 6-8 weeks and follow an asynchronous format. Students engage through discussion boards, email, and group projects. Professors typically offer virtual office hours. Sacramento State also provides technical support, academic advisors, and financial coordinators.
Sacramento State is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
University of Illinois at Springfield
|Springfield, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
UIS prioritizes student-centered learning and remains the top-ranked public university in Illinois, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school's values also include research and civic engagement. UIS offers over 1,450 online major options, including a bachelor of arts in psychology.
This bachelor's in psychology requires 36 major credits. Courses include psychological tests and measurements, introduction to biopsychology, lifespan developmental psychology, stereotyping and prejudice, and working with victims of sexual assault. UIS also provides multiple research and internship opportunities.
UIS offers limited enrollment for this degree. Each applicant must hold a 3.0 GPA and 30 hours of undergraduate coursework at minimum. However, the admissions department gives preference to applicants who can prove a need for distance education and possess at least 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
UIS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Baptist College of Florida
|Graceville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Established in 1943, Graceville's BCF provides students with a Christian worldview. BCF offers 24 degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's level. Students can earn their degree online.
The online bachelor's degree in psychology requires 120 credits, including a student success course, 33 general education credits, 12 biblical foundation credits, 60 major credits, and 12 elective credits. Notable courses include theories of counseling and psychotherapy, directed research, marriage and family, biblical hermeneutics, and introduction to the Christian worldview.
Distance learners access coursework through the MyBCF online learning management system. Online courses follow an asynchronous format. BCF participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, which offsets costs for out-of-state students. BCF holds regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Colorado State University
|Fort Collins, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
CSU has offered postsecondary coursework for over 150 years. The university stands as a leading research university and remains among just six designated universities in the country for economic prosperity and innovation, with over 5,000 undergraduate students participating in research each year.
While enrollees can earn their degrees in traditional classrooms, CSU also offers top-ranked online undergraduate programs. The CSU bachelor's in psychology requires 120 credits. Students typically earn their degrees in four years with full-time attendance. Courses include professional issues in addiction treatment, history and systems of psychology, logic and critical thinking, personal computing, and industrial psychology.
Online courses may require synchronous attendance through video conferencing, while asynchronous courses involve discussion forums and online chats. Other assignments include narrated presentations and assessments.
CSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Colorado Denver
|Denver, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Established in 1812, the University of Colorado Denver is a leading research university that currently enrolls about 15,000 students. CU Denver oversees a fully online bachelor of arts in psychology program that explores the human mind and scientific methods that help describe and predict abnormal behaviors.
This 120-credit program provides students with a liberal arts education and explores several branches within the field, including social, cognitive, and experimental psychology. The 37-credit major curriculum includes 18 core credits, 18 guided elective credits, and an integrative course.
Over the course of this BA program, students develop strong critical thinking and communication skills that allow them to pursue positions in a variety of industries. CU Denver holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Program?
In all concentrations, students build research skills and gain a deeper understanding of why humans behave and think in certain ways.
A bachelor's in psychology degree online introduces students to developmental and cognitive concepts involving the human mind, behavior, and relationships. Learners can pursue a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS) in the field.
Generally, a BA includes more liberal arts coursework and can help students pursuing careers in criminal law, social work, and marketing. A BS focuses more on technical and scientific concepts, which can benefit graduates in clinical and research positions. However, employers and graduate schools typically do not prefer one option over the other.
These degrees usually require around 120 credits. Students typically graduate in four years and may have the option of completing an internship. Programs may also offer concentrations, including the following:
- Addictions: Degree-seekers learn to identify and treat issues like substance abuse and gambling.
- Developmental Psychology: Learners study different aspects of development from infancy to adulthood.
- Mental Health: Students explore mental wellness and health disorders, as well as assessments and treatments.
- Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Learners examine the dynamics of relationships and behavior in professional environments.
In all concentrations, students build research skills and gain a deeper understanding of why humans behave and think in certain ways. Psychology programs also prioritize communication, including active listening and public speaking skills.
Some online psychology schools admit students with a high school diploma or an equivalent. Others, however, may require students to complete prerequisite courses in research, behavioral science, and statistics before entering their bachelor's program.
Still looking for the right fit? Discover similar affordable degree programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Program?
Curricula for bachelor's degrees in psychology vary based on factors like degree type and concentration. A BS, for instance, may include more technical coursework than a BA, and a child development specialization requires more classes in child and adolescent growth than an industrial-organizational specialization.
The following list, however, describes common courses among many psychology bachelor's programs.
- Introduction to Psychology
This course examines how the human mind and environment shape human behavior and emotion. Students learn about psychological theories and research practices, abnormal behavior, perception, and memory.
- Child Development
This course focuses on how children learn and grow into adults. Degree-seekers may study cognitive, physical, social, and language development through different stages of childhood. Coursework also addresses abnormal development and examines how external factors like family relationships can influence development.
- Social Psychology
Social psychology addresses human behavior in social settings, specifically how different people and situations impact a person's thoughts and actions. Covered topics include first impressions, groupthink, and prejudice as products of social settings.
- Abnormal Psychology
This course introduces students to psychological, emotional, learning, and social disorders. Learners also examine the environmental and biological reasons for these abnormalities. Coursework often addresses diagnosis and treatment of disorders, including issues with current assessment strategies. Students may also learn about intervention and prevention techniques for at-risk individuals.
- Research Methods in Psychology
This course teaches students how to build research questions and design experiments to test psychological theories. Degree-seekers learn to obtain data through surveys, questionnaires, and primary and secondary sources. Covered topics also include evaluating data, forming conclusions, and presenting findings.
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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Degree?
A psychology bachelor's degree qualifies graduates to work in business, sales, counseling settings, provided they meet all professional requirements. Addictions counselors, for instance, may need to complete a state exam and obtain a master's degree.
Several positions available to psychology graduates are projected to grow over the next decade For instance, the BLS projects 25% job growth for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors between 2019 and 2029. During the same period, the BLS also projects 18% growth for market research analysts.
- Mental Health Counselor
Mental health counselors specialize in treating conditions like depression and anxiety and may help clients increase their self-image or build stronger relationships. Some professionals work with specific groups like young adults or adolescents. Responsibilities include assessing patient needs, determining treatment options, and connecting patients with applicable resources.
- Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts help companies determine what their consumers want to buy through tools like questionnaires and surveys. Analysts evaluate this information using software and deliver their findings through written and visual presentations. Companies may hire candidates with a bachelor's in psychology for these positions based on their understanding of human behavior and development.
- Addiction Counselor
Addictions counselors help patients recover from alcohol or substance abuse in one-on-one or group environments. Counselors often help families understand patients' problems and assist clients with rebuilding relationships that were damaged by addictions. These professionals must create treatment plans based on the client's needs.
- Training and Development Specialist
These specialists plan training programs to improve employee performance. Specialists may also alter or supervise current programs and oversee clerical concerns like budgeting and scheduling. Planning and executing organizational improvement programs requires significant understanding of human psychology.
- Human Resources Specialist
Human resources specialists advise companies on hiring and firing and help new workers understand their responsibilities and benefits. Additional responsibilities may include recordkeeping and ensuring employees receive regular salaries. While many specialists hold degrees in business or human resources, an online bachelor's in psychology demonstrates in-depth knowledge of human behavior, which applies to these positions.
Psychology not for you? Check out these related careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Psychology Programs
- What skills do you need for a psychology degree?
Psychologists should be strong communicators who can listen well and articulate complicated ideas. Students should excel at research and have patience for dealing with clients' setbacks and frustrations. These individuals should work well in teams, since they must collaborate with other medical professionals.
- Is a psychology degree worth it?
Yes. Bachelor's degree-holders can pursue advanced degrees in psychology that lead to lucrative and distinguished careers. For example, psychiatrists earn an average annual salary of over $220,000. According to the APA, psychology graduates qualify for teaching, research, professional service, and managerial positions.
- What can I do with a bachelor's in psychology?
A bachelor's in psychology prepares graduates for entry-level positions that require an understanding of the human mind. For example, bachelor's degree-holders can research market conditions or help patients recover from addiction.
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in psychology degree?
Factors like location and industry impact salary potential. For instance, among all industries, junior colleges offer the highest average pay for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors ($73,050). Market research analysts and marketing specialists in New Jersey earn an average salary of $91,360, which is more than professionals in other states. Overall, professionals with a bachelor's in psychology earn an average salary of $61,660.
- What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in psychology?
The highest paying psychology careers generally require an advanced degree. Still, bachelor's degree-holders can earn more than $60,000 a year as market research analysts or human resources specialists. Salary can also increase based on specialization. According to the APA, industrial-organizational psychology is the most lucrative specialization in the field.