Most Affordable Online Psychology Programs

Discover the most affordable online bachelor's in psychology programs. Learn about admission requirements and what you can do with your degree.

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by Michelle Kelley
Published on January 12, 2022
Reviewed by Rayelle Davis, M.Ed., LCPC, NCC

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Bachelor's in psychology programs cover foundational concepts within the discipline, helping students understand human thought and behavior. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), U.S. schools awarded about 116,540 bachelor's degrees in psychology during the 2018-2019 academic year. That period, it was the sixth most frequently conferred bachelor's degree.

As in most bachelor's degree programs, psychology students complete at least 120 credits of coursework. Students attending school full time often earn their degrees within four years. According to NCES, the average cost of tuition and fees for first-time, full-time students attending four-year public schools was $9,400 during the 2019-2020 academic year. First-year, full-time students who attended private nonprofit schools paid an average of $36,700.

Psychology graduates work in many fields, including social work, criminal justice, business, and education. According to PayScale, graduates with bachelor's in psychology degrees earned an average annual salary of $64,000 per year as of May 2021.

If you're considering a bachelor's in psychology, keep reading to discover the most affordable online programs. Discover admission and degree requirements at top online schools, career opportunities, and how to finance your education.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Cost?

NCES reports that during the 2019-2020 academic year, the average total cost of attending a four-year private nonprofit college or university was $53,200 for first-year students enrolled full time. First-year, full-time students who attended a public institution paid an average of $25,500. These figures include the cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies, and on-campus housing.

If you're planning on earning your degree online, your expenses could be lower. According to NCES, during the 2019-2020 academic year, first-time, full-time students living with family paid an average of $42,200 to attend four-year private nonprofit schools and $14,900 for four-year public schools.

Online programs are not always more affordable than on-campus programs. However, earning your degree online could help you save on housing costs or allow you to continue working while enrolled in classes. When choosing a program, consider these and other factors to determine the true cost of earning your degree.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Program?

If you're studious, compassionate, and curious about how the mind works, a bachelor's in psychology could be right for you. Whether you earn your degree online or on campus, your program will include at least 120 credits of coursework. Most bachelor's degree programs take full-time students four years to complete. However, accelerated programs allow some individuals to earn their degrees in less time.

Many bachelor's in psychology programs permit students to choose a concentration. Examples include addiction and recovery, criminal psychology, clinical psychology, and applied behavioral psychology. Prospective students can choose to earn either a BA or BS in psychology. Some schools offer both options.

Both BA and BS programs typically include courses in cognitive, behavioral, and social psychology. However, BA students may also take classes in liberal arts subjects, such as history and political science. In contrast, BS students typically take additional courses in neuroscience and statistical analysis.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Popular Online Bachelor's in Psychology Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Program?

General Psychology

This course covers the discipline's foundational concepts, methods, and subdisciplines. It provides a broad overview of development psychology, abnormal psychology, personality development, psychophysiology, and more.

Introduction to Counseling

This course introduces students to basic interviewing and counseling techniques. Through in-class activities, students learn to listen attentively and address issues clients commonly raise in counseling.

Behavioral Neuroscience

Behavioral neuroscience explores the cellular bases of human behavior. Students study the nervous system's structure, function, and organization. They also consider its role in motor function, learning, and motivation.

Evolutionary Psychology

Students explore evolution's role in shaping human behavior. Topics include evolution's impact on mate selection, aggression, cooperation, social hierarchies, and the drive to create art.

Psychology Assessment in Rehabilitation

This course introduces students to psychometrics and basic prediction models used in personality assessment. Students learn how to conduct personality assessments in rehabilitation settings.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Program?

Online bachelor's in psychology programs typically have the same admission requirements as on-campus programs. However, on-campus programs sometimes have stricter application deadlines. Some schools require applicants to have completed specific high school courses in math, English, and other subjects to be eligible for admission.

Application

Some online bachelor's in psychology programs encourage prospective students to apply using a centralized application system, such as the Common App. Many schools charge applicants a fee when they apply; however, nearly half of U.S. colleges do not charge application fees.

Test Scores

Some programs request college entrance exam scores, such as SAT or ACT results. However, fewer schools require test scores today than they once did. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many postsecondary institutions have paused the requirement. You should check with each school you're applying to in order to determine if you need to submit test scores.

Letters of Recommendation

Many colleges ask applicants to submit letters of recommendation. Letters should be from recent teachers, advisors, or mentors. When asking someone for a recommendation letter, explain why you feel they would be a strong reference. Also, provide them with your application deadlines and instructions on how to submit their letter.

Essays

Most colleges request that applicants submit a statement of purpose or application essay. Typically, schools provide prospective students with essay prompts asking them to describe a past accomplishment, challenge, or life event. Your application essay is an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills and personal character.

Official Transcripts

Nearly all colleges require applicants to submit official high school or GED transcripts. If you're currently enrolled in college and intend to transfer, you should also send your official college transcripts from any institutions you attended in the past. Some schools award transfer credits to students who have completed qualifying courses at other schools.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Degree?

Career Outlook

A bachelor's in psychology is a highly versatile degree, which may be why psychology is one of the most popular college majors. Some graduates work in mental health or social services. However, many pursue other career paths in fields such as human resource management and market research.

Graduates with bachelor's in psychology degrees may find work as substance misuse, behavioral disorder, or mental health counselors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earned a median annual income of $47,660 per year in May 2020. The BLS projects that jobs for substance misuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will increase 23% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the average growth rate across all occupations during the same period.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), graduates with bachelor's degrees in psychology are also well equipped for careers as market research analysts. The BLS reports that market research analysts earned a median income of $65,810 per year in May 2020. The organization projects that the field will grow 22% between 2020 and 2030.

See where a bachelor's in psychology degree can take you. Learn more about psychology careers.

Career Paths

Social or Community Service Manager

Social and community service managers plan and supervise social programs. They meet with prospective donors, assess the effectiveness of existing programs, and coordinate outreach initiatives. Social and community service managers work in various settings, including clinics, hospitals, shelters, and government offices.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $69,600

Substance Misuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor

Substance misuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors treat individuals with drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental health conditions. They evaluate clients' psychological health and develop treatment plans. A master's degree is required to become a licensed mental health counselor. However, a bachelor's degree is sufficient for some positions.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $47,660

Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist

Both probation and parole officers monitor individuals who have committed legal offenses to ensure they are not a threat to their communities. Correctional treatment specialists advise law offenders and assist in their rehabilitation. Most probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work for state governments.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $55,690

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts evaluate market conditions, measure sales, and forecast consumer trends. They conduct surveys and opinion polls and use statistical software to analyze the data they collect. They then write reports on their findings and present these to managers and clients.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $65,810

Human Relations Specialist

Human relations specialists recruit and screen prospective employees. Working with management, they identify employment needs within a company or organization. They then interview applicants, contact applicants' references, and assist in new employee orientations. Human relations specialists also maintain employment records, process compensation and benefits paperwork, and perform other administrative tasks.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $63,490

Psychology Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

According to APA, 43% of students who earn their bachelor's in psychology attend graduate school in psychology or another discipline. About 10% of those who go to graduate school pursue doctorates or professional degrees. The Ph.D. is the most common psychology doctoral degree. Graduates of Ph.D. programs often enter academia, though many also work as clinical psychologists. Some doctoral students earn Psy.D. degrees, preparing them for careers as clinicians.

Counselor roles typically require certification or licensure. Individuals who wish to obtain their licenses need to earn master's degrees in psychology or a related discipline. They must also meet other requirements, which vary by state.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Program?

Cost

When looking for an affordable online bachelor's in psychology program, consider programs that offer in-state tuition to online students. In general, public schools are more affordable than private ones.

Also, if you're debating whether to attend a program online or on campus, consider factors other than tuition, such as housing and transportation costs. Doing so will help you determine the true cost of earning your degree.

Program Format

Do you enjoy attending classes virtually, logging on at specific times to interact with teachers and peers? Or, would you rather log on to complete coursework when it is most convenient for you? When choosing an online bachelor's in psychology program, consider the difference between synchronous and asynchronous delivery and which online learning format you prefer. You may also want to consider accelerated programs, which can allow you to earn your degree faster.

Location

Consider the location of the schools you apply to even if you decide to earn your degree online rather than on campus. Some programs have limited on-campus requirements for online students. Also, if you apply to a program in your home state, you may be eligible for in-state tuition rates, which are often much lower than the rates schools charge out-of-state residents.

Accreditation

Before enrolling in an online program, confirm that it is independently accredited. Various organizations accredit colleges, universities, and academic programs that meet specific educational standards. When choosing an online bachelor's in psychology program, look for those offered by accredited schools to ensure you receive a high-quality education from a respected institution.

Student Support

The best online bachelor's in psychology programs offer student services for remote learners. Student services can include tutoring, virtual library assistance, academic advising, and more. Many schools also feature career services offices, which can help students find internship opportunities.

Also, look for programs that afford students opportunities to work closely with faculty members. Faculty mentors can offer students academic and career guidance.

How Do I Pay for an Online Bachelor's in Psychology?

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

National, state, and local government agencies use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to assess students' eligibility for financial assistance in the form of loans, grants, and work-study positions. Colleges and universities also use the FAFSA to determine if students are eligible for aid.

Loans

College loans include federal Stafford loans, PLUS loans, direct consolidation loans, and private loans from financial institutions. Typically, federal loans have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than private loans. Qualifying borrowers of federal funds may also be eligible for loan forgiveness or cancelation.

Grants

There are many grants available to psychology majors to help them offset costs associated with earning their degrees. For example, the Psi Chi Summer Research Grant offers $5,000 awards to its members to fund summer research projects. Psi Chi also offers the Thelma Hunt Research Grant, which provides one graduate or undergraduate Psi Chi member $3,000 to conduct original research each year.

Work-Study Programs

The federal work-study program funds part-time jobs for low-income students to help them pay for school. Some psychology departments publicly announce available positions. You may also want to approach faculty members directly to find out about remote or on-campus work-study roles.

Scholarships

Psychology majors can often find scholarships through professional organizations and government research agencies. For example, the National Institute of Health has an undergraduate scholarship program that pays up to $20,000 per year to students with financial need interested in studying behavioral health.

Most Affordable Accredited Online Bachelor's in Psychology Programs

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University of Florida Online true View School Profile Gainesville, FL

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 true View School Profile Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Rutgers University-Newark true View School Profile Newark, NJ

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 true View School Profile Miami, FL

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 true View School Profile Orlando, FL

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 View School Profile Sacramento, CA

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 View School Profile Springfield, IL

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 View School Profile Graceville, FL

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 View School Profile Fort Collins, CO

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 View School Profile Denver, CO

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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Psychology Programs

Is a bachelor's in psychology worth it? true

If you're interested in human behavior and want to earn a versatile undergraduate degree, a bachelor's in psychology may be a good option. Graduates of bachelor's in psychology programs pursue careers in social and community service, counseling, criminal justice, and many other fields.

Earning your degree online may be worth it if you're looking for a program that offers greater scheduling flexibility than most on-campus programs. Some students worry their online degree won't be respected by employers. However, growing evidence suggests that employers view online degrees favorably, and online programs are typically just as rigorous as on-campus programs.

Make sure to compare the state licensing requirements for your desired profession to the online psychology programs you are considering to determine if the program will prepare you adequately to enter your chosen field.

What can I do with a bachelor's in psychology? true

Graduates of bachelor's in psychology programs pursue many different educational and career paths. According to a 2017 APA study, about 57% of graduates of bachelor's in psychology programs enter the workforce, and the remaining 43% earn graduate degrees in psychology or another field. Roughly 10% of these individuals earn doctorates.

APA has published a lengthy list of potential careers for graduates of bachelor's in psychology programs. The roster includes diverse roles such as labor relations manager, computer programmer, and even animal trainer. PayScale reports that graduates with bachelor's degrees in psychology earned an average salary of $64,000 per year in May 2021.

Are psychology majors in demand? true

Graduates of bachelor's degree in psychology programs pursue many different career paths in high-demand fields, such as counseling, social service, and market research.

The BLS projects that positions for substance misuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow by 75,100 jobs between 2020 and 2030, a 23% increase. The BLS projects that the number of positions for social and community service managers will also grow at a faster-than-average rate, adding 26,400 jobs over the next decade. Roles for market research analysts are projected to increase by 163,600 during the same ten-year period.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in psychology?

Social and community service managers are some of the highest earning professionals with bachelor's degrees in psychology. According to the BLS, they earned a median income of $69,600 per year in May 2020.

Psychology graduates who pursue careers outside the mental health profession can find lucrative work as human relations specialists or market research analysts. Both roles require empathy and an understanding of human psychology. According to the BLS, human relations specialists earned a median income of $63,490 per year in May 2020, and market research analysts earned a median annual income of $65,810.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in psychology?

Social and community service managers earned a median annual salary of $69,600 in May 2020. Social and community service managers earned higher salaries in Washington, D.C. than in any other district or state in the U.S. In Washington, D.C., social and community service managers made an average salary of $105,560 per year in May 2020.

Market research analysts and marketing specialists are also high earners. Those working in Washington state enjoy the highest salaries in their profession. In Washington, they earned an average income of $92,350 per year in May 2020.

However, keep in mind that you may need considerable experience and a graduate degree in order to earn these kinds of salaries. A bachelor's degree would be the minimum level of education required to pursue these positions, but it may not be enough to get you the job or salary equal to the ones listed here.

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Balancing work and college is tough. Take the advice of Dr. Jessica Gold about staying mentally healthy while working your way through school. College can be stressful, making it important to practice self-care. Follow these tips to reduce anxiety and improve your mental health. Is a psychology degree worth it? Explore potential career opportunities for psychology degrees and the benefits of continuing your education in the field.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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