A Comprehensive Guide to an Online Psychology Degree

Psychology is the study of how the mind functions, which encompasses a variety of careers. While fundamentally related, the study of psychology should not be confused with the medical discipline of psychiatry, which focuses on treating mental disorders through both pharmaceutical and therapeutic approaches. Psychologists, by comparison, help clients manage their lives and improve their mental health using a variety of clinical strategies, including psychotherapy.

The American Psychological Association recognizes 54 divisions and subdisciplines of the psychology discipline. While the greatest number of professionals are licensed psychologists, psychology professionals work in a variety of settings, such as schools, clinics, hospitals, and private practices. Earning an accredited online psychology degree improves a professional’s job prospects and leads to career opportunities across the field.

An accredited online psychology degree is a popular choice among degree seekers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, psychology is the fourth most popular undergraduate major. The degree offers a variety of career options for graduates; aside from roles directly related to psychology, graduates often secure positions in related industries, such as social services, healthcare, nonprofit fundraising, and marketing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects roles for psychologists to increase 14% by 2026.

While an online psychology degree can lead to a variety of careers, the degree level has a significant impact on career prospects. Associate and bachelor’s degree holders often work as assistants or technicians, while professionals with graduate degrees and licensure may become general psychologists or pursue specializations. While many students pursue online psychology degrees each year — leading to stiff competition — the job outlook for graduates is improving. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects roles for psychologists to increase 14% by 2026.

Consider your professional goals when considering pursuing an accredited online psychology degree. Research jobs available to graduates of your chosen program, and be sure you choose the correct degree level for your career aspirations.

Online psychology programs are ideal for busy students and those with personal or professional commitments. Online programs meet the same academic standards as on-campus programs and often save learners money in room and board and transportation costs.

Accessibility

Distance learners can access online lectures, coursework, and assignments from anywhere. Online psychology degrees are ideal for students in rural areas or other locations that are far from on-campus programs.

Flexibility

Unlike traditional psychology programs, which offer only one start date per year and require learners to attend on-campus classes, online psychology programs offer multiple start dates and asynchronous classes. While studying psychology online, degree seekers can tailor the program to their schedules.

School Options

Many learners are not able to move to a different state to earn a degree. Online programs allow students to earn a degree from any school without relocating, greatly increasing the number of school options for learners.

Diversity

Students earning a psychology degree online benefit from increased flexibility, which draws students from many countries and backgrounds. The diversity of students in online programs improves networking opportunities and the overall academic experience.

Technology

Online programs utilize learning platforms such as Blackboard, Moodle, and Desire2Learn to help students connect with peers and professors. Additional educational technology provides access to university resources, student clubs and organizations, and support services.

Psychologists, counselors, and therapists perform different roles within the field of mental health services.

Aspiring psychologists complete a doctoral degree in the field before undertaking a two- to three-year internship and obtaining licensure. Psychologists provide counseling and therapy, test for psychological disorders, and treat patients in private practices and healthcare settings. Because psychologists are not medical doctors, most states prohibit psychologists from prescribing medicines.

Licensed mental health counselors hold master’s degrees and spend at least two years apprenticing under a qualified counselor before earning licensure. Counselors offer many of the same services as psychologists and work in similar settings. However, counselors typically have less clinical knowledge and research experience than psychologists. Because this position does not require a doctorate, the role is ideal for students who want to enter the workforce quickly.

Generally, therapists are the least regulated of these three mental healthcare providers. In states which do not require licensure, life coaches and other individuals can refer to themselves as therapists with no repercussions. States that do mandate specific requirements for therapists typically require professionals to hold a master’s degree and licensure.

The field of psychology offers various educational paths, and graduates with any level of psychology degree have ample job opportunities. Associate and bachelor’s degree holders often pursue support roles. Master’s and doctoral degree holders have more career options and higher earning potential.

Full-time students typically need four years to earn an accredited online psychology degree. Master’s degrees take an additional two to three years, and doctoral programs last four to seven years. Many states require graduates to work under a licensed psychologist for at least two years before practicing on their own.

Psychology professionals with higher levels of education typically earn higher salaries. The table below highlights median salaries for graduates of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs in psychology.

Median Salary for Psychology Graduates by Degree (Mid-Career)
Associate Degree in Psychology $46,300
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology $65,300
Master’s Degree in Psychology $72,983

Associate Degree in Psychology

While earning an associate in psychology degree online, students explore foundational topics and prepare for further studies. Applicants to associate programs must have a high school diploma or GED and must typically submit high school transcripts, standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation.

Full-time students typically complete associate programs in two years; part-time students may require three years. Most online psychology degrees at the associate level comprise 60 credits of major and general education coursework.

Graduates with an associate degree in psychology work in settings such as mental health facilities, child welfare agencies, long-term care centers, and community health centers. Associate degree holders are not qualified to work one-to-one with clients, but many serve as aides or assistants to licensed counselors or therapists. Many graduates of associate programs pursue a bachelor’s degree to open more career opportunities.

Example Courses:

General Psychology

This course introduces students to scientific methodologies used to understand human behavior. Topics include consciousness, coping mechanisms, emotions, memory, and physiological responses. Students also explore research methods.

Social Psychology

Students examine human behavior in social settings, including behaviors such as aggression, anger, attitude, competition, conformity, cooperation, interpersonal communication, and prejudice.

Growth and Development

This course addresses the changes that occur during phases of the lifespan, including birth, childhood, teenage years, adulthood, and end of life. Students explore each phase within the context of cognitive, emotional, psychological, physical, and psychosocial elements.

Abnormal Psychology

This course addresses the causes, treatment, and prevention of specific abnormal behaviors, emphasizing the cognitive, emotional, and psychological issues leading to mental illness.

Psychology of Health

Learners explore the biological, psychological, and social elements responsible for illness and begin to understand how individual behaviors and personality features can affect health and the performance of bodily systems.


Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Online psychology degrees at the bachelor’s level lead to career advancement, research opportunities, and increased earning potential. Applicants to psychology bachelor’s programs must hold a high school diploma or GED and must typically submit SAT or ACT scores, transcripts, a personal essay, letters of recommendation, and a resume.

Incoming freshman typically need four years to earn an online bachelor’s degree in psychology; associate degree holders can earn a bachelor’s degree in two years. Credit requirements vary by program, but most require 120 to 128 credits, including a psychology capstone. During the capstone, students complete original research under faculty supervision. Most capstone courses culminate in a research paper.

Psychology is a popular major for bachelor’s degree students. Many graduates pursue psychology positions such as psychiatric or mental health technician, case manager, and social work assistant. Others apply their knowledge of the human brain to other fields, such as advertising, sales, marketing, and fundraising.

Distance learners seeking further education pursue a master’s degree, which qualifies graduates to work as therapists and counselors. Bachelor’s in psychology programs typically require the courses listed below.

Example Courses:

Research Methods in Psychology

Students learn to employ a variety of research methods in experimental studies. Topics include experiment design, statistics, counterbalancing, and causal inference.

Behavioral Neuroscience

This upper-level course introduces students to behaviors of humans and animals from a neuroscience perspective. Students review learning, memory, motivation, perceptions, motor control, and movement.

Childhood Development Across Cultures

Students gain an understanding of culturally nuanced ideas related to raising and educating children. This course addresses topics such as cognitive development, interacting with peers, sex roles, moral reasoning, and temperament.

Psychological Perspective on Social Inequality

This course addresses issues regarding the income gap between the impoverished and the rich, emphasizing the effect on psychological science. Topics include decision making while impoverished, shifts in wealth, and racial discrimination.

Sports Psychology

Designed for students who plan to work with amateur or professional athletes, this course explores psychological elements related to success and failure. Topics include motivation, focus, imagery, anxiety, and attribution.


Master’s Degree in Psychology

Although some positions require a doctorate, graduates with an online master’s degree in psychology are qualified to obtain licensure to practice in many roles. Applicants to master’s programs must typically submit transcripts, GRE scores, evidence of prerequisite courses, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a resume.

Because online psychology degrees at the graduate level offer many concentrations, credit requirements vary by program. Most master’s in psychology programs require 36 to 48 credits. Students can complete accelerated programs in as few as 15 months, while part-time students require up to four years.

Career options for graduates vary widely depending on the type of master’s degree earned. For example, many graduates of clinical psychology programs continue into a Ph.D program, while a master’s in experimental psychology prepares students to fill research positions. Graduates of master’s programs commonly hold roles such as behavioral counselor, group home coordinator, child protection worker, rehabilitation counselor, and social services manager.

Master’s programs in psychology also prepare students to obtain some types of licensure. The courses below are common to most master’s in psychology programs.

Example Courses:

Child Personality Assessment

This course is well-suited for students planning to work in school or clinical settings. The course includes supervised administration, personality tests, and supervised interviews with children and parents. Students learn how to write psychological reports.

Counseling and Psychotherapy Techniques

This course introduces students to common techniques and methodologies involved in counseling clients. Learners participate in practice counseling sessions and receive feedback from professors.

Organizational Psychology

Tailored to students planning to work in organizations, this course reviews common frameworks, empirical data, and case studies to understand socialization, motivation, decision making, teamwork, and turnover.

Ethical and Legal Issues

Students explore common issues within the profession, including legal rulings, professional development, and specific guidelines for working with individual clients. Students examine case studies to understand conflicts.

Couples and Family Therapy

Students learn how to provide psychological services to couples and families, both individually and in groups. The course emphasizes counseling techniques and common issues.


Doctoral Degree in Psychology

Psychology students planning to pursue the most advanced positions in the field need a doctoral degree. Admission to psychology degree online programs is highly selective. Applicants should hold a master’s degree and must typically submit transcripts, GRE scores, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, evidence of work experience, and a research proposal.

Depending on the type of program and enrollment status, students can earn a doctorate degree in psychology online in four to seven years. Doctoral programs culminate in an internship, which is required for licensure. Internship length varies by state; for example, Florida requires candidates for licensure to have completed at least 900 hours of direct client contact.

Licensed psychologists hold positions as researchers, private practice psychologists, political strategists, and staff psychologists. Doctorate holders can also teach at the college level. Students can pursue three types of psychology doctorates, each with different career outcomes. Ph.D programs focus primarily on research, while most students planning to become practitioners earn a Psy.D. Those who aspire to work in school settings may choose to earn an Ed.D.

The following courses are part of most psychology doctoral programs.

Example Courses:

Psychoneuroimmunology

This course introduces students to this field of research and provides conceptual and practical skills necessary to review findings. The course also provides an overview of psychoneuroimmunological methodologies.

Influence and Power

Students review theories, methodologies, and existing research into the role of influence and social power in interpersonal communications. Students explore power structures, such as supervisor/subordinate, parent/child and doctor/patient.

Clinical Research Laboratory

This is a mandatory class for all incoming clinical psychology students. Learners identify and define their research activities and practice using computer analysis to review statistics and data.

Adult Behavior Modification

Students learn about the tenets of behavior modification, including principles and techniques. Students practice techniques used to address anger, anxiety, depression, stress, and issues with assertion.

Community Intervention

This course provides an overview of macrosocial concepts and methodologies. Students discuss models for individual and community interventions, particularly those used in high-risk environments.


Psychology Concentrations and Specialties

A degree in psychology leads to opportunities across the psychology field. Online programs commonly offer a variety of specialties, each of which prepares students for different careers. Some psychology students focus on working with clients, while others prepare for research positions. Generally, students begin concentrating at the master’s and doctoral levels. Graduates who want to work in a specialization must obtain licensure to practice.

Forensic Psychology

This specialization is ideal for students interested in working within the legal and judicial systems. Forensic psychologists use psychoanalysis and psychological principles to provide diagnoses for civil and criminal cases. They may establish insanity or competency, provide treatment, or assess individuals for disabilities.

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

These psychologists study principles related to human behavior at the individual, group, and organizational levels within a workplace. After understanding motivations, grievances, and other issues, they work with companies to improve systems and resolve ongoing problems.

Clinical Psychology

The most common area of the field, clinical psychology deals with mental and behavioral health. Clinical psychologists use methods such as psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy to treat clients and help them improve their mental and emotional health.

Behavioral Psychology

Also known as cognitive therapy, this specialization utilizes an experimental treatment approach. Cognitive psychologists apply knowledge of cognitive processing, human learning, and development to change harmful or unwanted behaviors and thought processes.

School Psychology

These psychologists work with primary and secondary school children and their families. Students in this concentration gain the skills and knowledge necessary to assess, diagnose, and address students’ mental health needs. School psychologists develop prevention and health promotion programs alongside evaluation metrics.

Child Psychology

Child psychologists address the foundational psychological needs of infants, children, and adolescents. The concentration focuses on the relationships between biological, psychological, and social issues. Child psychologists address trauma, loss, developmental issues, mental disorders, and biological vulnerabilities.

Sports Psychology

These professionals combine psychology skills and knowledge with a passion for addressing the developmental and social factors affecting athletic performance.


Median Salary for Specialized Psychologists
Forensic Psychologist $62,875
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist $71,616
Clinical Psychologist $75,217
School Psychologist $59,402
Child Psychologist $67,349

In nearly all states and subfields, candidates for psychology licensure must hold a doctoral degree in psychology from an APA- or CPA-accredited program. Candidates for licensure must have completed a practicum experience and internship, a postdoctoral supervised experience, and required exams. Professionals must complete continuing education credits to retain licensure. Below are some of the most common certifications and licenses for psychology professionals.

  • Couple and Family: Candidates for couple and family certification must have completed a full-time, one-year internship and at least two years of postdoctoral professional experience. Applicants must undergo an oral exam; the application and exam require a $575 fee. Applicants must also submit practice exams and pay $250 to have them reviewed. No renewal is required, but practitioners must complete continuing education.
  • Rehabilitation: Candidates for the rehabilitation psychology board certification must have completed a recognized internship and three years of professional experience, at least two of which must be supervised. The final year of professional experience can comprise a predoctoral internship focused on rehabilitation psychology. Applicants must submit a $125 application fee, complete an oral examination (which costs $450) and provide samples of their practice to be reviewed for $250. Professionals do not need to renew their certification, but they must complete continuing education.
  • Psychoanalysis: Candidates for psychoanalysis board certification must have completed either a postdoctoral psychoanalytic program from a recognized institute, an organized postdoctoral program focused on psychoanalysis, or education or training approved by the ABAPsa board. Candidates must have at least three years of study experience in psychoanalysis and must have seen at least two patients for two years. Along with an application, students must submit practice samples, participate in an oral examination, and pay $825 in fees. Barring ethical or legal issues, certification is lifelong and requires continuing education.
  • Geropsychology: Candidates must have taken at least two geropsychology courses at the doctoral, internship, or postdoctoral level or have completed at least 100 hours of continuing education geropsychology coursework. They must have at least one year and 200 hours of full-time, supervised training in geropsychology or 3,000 hours of informal, documented supervised training. The application process includes a review of geropsychology practice samples and an oral exam, with fees totaling $825. Continuing education is required, but the certification does not require renewal.
  • Clinical Neuropsychology: Candidates must provide documented didactic experience from eight core knowledge areas and evidence of postdoctoral residency education. Applicants must also supply practice samples and take part in written and oral examinations. Fees total $1,125. After passing both exams, certified professionals can join the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology and must complete continuing education.
  • Police and Public Safety: Candidates for this board certification must have at least 100 hours of formal education in the field and least 3,000 hours of direct services or activities completed over two or more years. Applicants must provide a postdoctoral resume and a practice sample portfolio. Candidates must pass an oral examination. The license does not need to be renewed, but certified professionals must take continuing education coursework.

License Mobility

Because the licensure process is intensive, moving across state lines can be difficult. However, the process of earning certification in a new state is simplified for those with a Certificate of Professional Qualification from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards or the Health Service Provider in Psychology credential from the National Register. These organizations verify professionals’ credentials to help expedite the licensing process. More information is available from the American Psychological Association.

License Reciprocity

Psychology licenses do not typically transfer between states; not all states offer full reciprocity for psychologists licensed in certain jurisdictions. Students and professionals should understand state requirements before moving. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards provides details on state licensure requirements.

Exemptions from Licensure Requirement

Psychologists in any state who provide direct client services must hold licensure. However, those functioning in other roles may be exempt. Some psychologists working at colleges or universities, state or federal institutions, laboratories, or companies may not need licensure. Check with your state’s board of licensure to confirm requirements.

Psychology is a broad field with a variety of career paths. Psychologists may work in clinical settings or in research positions. Some psychologists work standard, nine-to-five schedules, and others set their own hours. Graduates of psychology programs often work in forensics, school, sport, child, or rehabilitative psychology. Below are a few of the positions available to psychology professionals, along with required education and average salaries.

Psychology Careers

General Psychologists

These professionals work in both client-focused and research roles. General psychologists must have a Ph.D, Psy.D, or Ed.D, and many positions require licensure.

Marriage and Family Therapists

These professionals help individuals, couples, and families address emotions, develop strategies, and communicate effectively. These therapists must hold state licensure, and most have a master’s degree from an accredited counseling program.

Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors must hold a master’s degree, and many states require licensure. These counselors evaluate the physical, emotional, and mental limitations of their clients and create strategies to help them live independently.

School Counselor

School counselors typically hold a master’s degree, and those who work in public schools must be credentialed. They help students identify and overcome behavioral problems and build positive life skills.

Social and Community Service Manager

This position requires a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree can result in higher earning potential. These managers identify and develop mental health and wellness programs, evaluate program data, and coordinate outreach activities.

Best Jobs for Psychology Majors by Salary Potential
  Entry Level Mid-Career Experienced Late-Career
Neuropsychologist $85,000 $94,000 $98,000 $107,000
Clinical Psychologist $69,000 $78,000 $90,000 $94,000
Forensic Psychologist $60,000 $72,000 $82,000 $118,000
Research Scientist $72,000 $79,000 $82,000 $92,000
Child Psychologist $67,000 $73,000 $66,000 $90,000
The Best States for Psychology Careers
Click Here to View The Full List of States
State Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Alabama 560 $34.09 $70,910
Alaska 270 $41.12 $85,540
Arizona 2,500 $31.09 $64,670
Arkansas 450 $31.00 $64,480
California 18,990 $43.37 $90,210
Colorado 2,830 $36.56 $76,040
Connecticut 1,760 $41.80 $86,950
Delaware 340 $37.98 $79,000
District of Columbia 430 $41.03 $85,340
Florida 2,720 $35.90 $74,670
Georgia 2,070 $39.60 $82,380
Hawaii 790 $38.37 $79,800
Idaho 420 $32.97 $68,570
Illinois 3,930 $37.36 $77,700
Indiana 1,300 $31.14 $64,770
Iowa 650 $36.09 $75,070
Kansas 1,230 $30.11 $62,630
Kentucky 1,060 $31.64 $65,810
Lousiana 600 $35.35 $73,520
Maine 260 $37.75 $78,530
Maryland 2,130 $36.43 $75,780
Massachusetts 4,900 $36.32 $75,550
Michigan 2,750 $36.70 $76,330
Minnesota 3,320 $37.24 $77,460
Mississippi 370 $33.23 $69,120
Missouri 1,540 $31.04 $64,560
Montana 450 $30.46 $63,360
Nebraska 490 $34.28 $71,310
Nevada 490 $35.00 $72,800
New Hampshire 390 $34.51 $71,780
New Jersey 3,600 $45.50 $94,650
New Mexico 910 $34.23 $71,200
New York 11,230 $43.00 $89,430
North Carolina 3,090 $35.17 $73,150
North Dakota 260 $41.73 $86,810
Ohio 3,110 $35.43 $73,700
Oklahoma 920 $27.34 $56,860
Oregon 1,130 $41.91 $87,170
Pennsylvania 5,040 $34.92 $72,640
Rhode Island 610 $39.37 $81,890
South Carolina 1,170 $29.76 $61,910
South Dakota 250 $45.08 $93,760
Tennessee 1,700 $35.71 $74,280
Texas 5,820 $31.40 $65,310
Utah 1,410 $32.17 $66,920
Vermont 410 $32.92 $68,470
Virginia 2,340 $40.45 $84,130
Washington 2,050 $33.38 $69,430
West Virginia 610 $26.32 $54,750
Wisconsin 2,150 $37.52 $78,040
Wyoming 200 $34.44 $71,630

Amanda Ruiz M.S., LPC

Amanda began her education by completing a BS in neuroscience with a minor in psychology. She worked at the University of Pennsylvania completing neuroscience research prior to earning her MS in clinical psychology. Amanda is licensed in the state of Pennsylvania as a professional counselor. She has worked in the mental health field offering outpatient mental health therapy for more than nine years, first in a large agency setting, and now in private practice. Amanda specializes in working with adolescents and young adults. She focuses on issues involving anxiety and depression, as well as interpersonal relationships.

Amanda guides her clients on their personal journey of self discovery, offering a supportive and therapeutic environment that encourages clients to take responsibility for their life choices and make positive changes. She provides clinical supervision for professionals seeking Pennsylvania licensure. Amanda also is an adjunct professor in the psychology department at a local community college, where she helps her students see the real-life application of psychological principles. Check out amandaruizlpc.com for more information on her practice.

How has earning a psychology degree helped you advance your career?

I could not provide outpatient therapy without a master’s degree. My LPC license allows me the freedom to be in private practice while still participating with insurance companies.

What makes psychology an exciting field right now?

There is new research in the field of neuroscience all the time, and with increasing technology, we are learning more and more about the way our brains work, such as how memories are formed and stored, the function of various brain regions, the effects of drugs and medications on our brains, what happens when we sleep, etc.

Also, the stigma around mental health is diminishing, which opens the opportunity to have more honest conversations about mental well being and mental illness. More people than ever are seeking therapy.

Is it important to choose a psychology specialty right away? How did you choose your specialty?

No, it’s not important! Unless you are doing a Ph.D. program, it is not necessary to specialize immediately. My areas of specialty developed gradually. After graduate school, I was hired as an outpatient mental health therapist at a local community agency. For several years, I saw a variety of clients and mental diagnoses, from ages three to 73. Through that exposure, I was able to notice which clients I was excited to see on my schedule, which ones energized me to work with, and which ones I dreaded seeing and didn’t feel equipped to help. That awareness lead me to realize I love working with adolescents and young adults in particular. I noticed that many of my clients suffered with anxiety, and in an effort to be able to be most effective at working with them, I have attended multiple trainings on anxiety. The more I learn about anxiety, and both our mental and physiological response to it, the more I am fascinated by it. As I evolve as a therapist, so too do my preferences.

What do you love most about your job?

I enjoy challenging the thinking of my clients, helping them to see things from another perspective, and I love doing some psychoeducation in sessions as well. I find it rewarding to see clients shift from a world view of negativity, anxiety, and depression into a more balanced, more positive state, and see their depression or anxiety lighten. They become hopeful about their life and their future, and confident in their abilities to cope with stressors.

What do you wish you would've know about this field either during school or earlier in your career?

I wish I had known more about the social work field, as there are several insurance companies that will only reimburse if the client sees an LCSW. So, I am limited with not being able to work with certain insurance companies, like Medicare and Tricare, just based upon my educational background.

How important is networking and what are some easy ways to stay connected to other psychologists in your community?

If you work in a large agency, you naturally network with your coworkers throughout the course of your day. Since going into private practice, I find networking to be harder but also much more important. I’ve collaborated with others in private practice, and I meet up with colleagues on a regular basis for lunch or coffee. I find I must be more intentional about staying connected with others in the field. Also, I am a member of several Facebook groups to stay connected to other therapists and to talk to others about practice ideas.

How do you stay up to date with the latest research, theory, and methods in your specialty?

My license requires me to do continuing education. But, I love learning and always have more continuing education credits than I need! I recently attended a multiple day conference in D.C., which was fabulous. It included a variety of great topics to choose from and leaders in the field. Also, since I am an adjunct professor, I stay up to date with many topics by preparing for my class.


Psychology students have access to a variety of field-specific scholarships. In addition to the scholarships highlighted on BestColleges.com, review the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral scholarships below.

Psychology Scholarships for Associate Degree Students

Community College Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is awarded to high school, adult, and community college students pursuing a psychology associate degree. Recipients can apply the funding toward tuition, books, or other education-related costs.
Amount: $500

SR Education Group Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award supports students who are currently or plan to study psychology at a community college. Applicants must answer two essay questions.
Amount: $5,000

International Bipolar Foundation Essay Contest

Who Can Apply: This award is for high school students who provide a researched essay on a notable person who had or has bipolar disorder. Recipients may apply the funds toward an associate degree in psychology.
Amount: Varies

Elizabeth J. Davis Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports students who plan to pursue an associate degree in a health-related area. Applicants must be Vermont residents planning to work in the state.
Amount: Up to $3,000

Psychology Scholarships for Bachelor’s Degree Students

APA Society Convention Research Awards

Who Can Apply: The APA offers these awards for undergraduate or graduate students who are a member of Psi Chi. Applications are due by April 15, and the awards are presented at the annual APA convention.
Amount: Up to $500

Future Counselors of America Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award supports undergraduate and graduate psychology students who plan to work in relationship counseling. Applicants must write an essay on the psychology of online dating and must submit applications by June 30.
Amount: $1,000

Gallagher Koster Health Careers Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This two-year award supports college junior and senior psychology students who demonstrate academic achievement and devotion to health services. Applications are due May 16.
Amount: $5,000

Morris K. Udall Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award supports undergraduate psychology students in their sophomore or junior year who plan to use their degree to serve the Native American population. Applicants must be Native American or Alaska Native.
Amount: Up to $7,000

Psychology Scholarships for Master’s Degree Students

Harry and Miriam Levinson Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The APA sponsors this scholarship for master’s-level psychology students who plan to enroll in a Ph.D program, unless they are currently pursuing a terminal degree. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation and a resume.
Amount: $5,000

National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation Rural Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports pursuing a master’s level counseling degree from a CACREP-accredited program. Applicants must live in a rural area and must commit to applying for certification. Recipients must provide mental health services in a rural area for at least two years.
Amount: $8,000

AAMFT Diversity Scholarship for Emerging Leaders

Who Can Apply: The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy awards this scholarship to minority students working toward a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy. Applicants must be members of the AAMFT.
Amount: $3,000

Minority Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The National Association of School Psychologists offers this scholarship to minority graduate students who intend to work as school psychologists. Candidates must attend an NASP-approved institution and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $5,000

Psychology Scholarships for Doctoral Degree Students

William and Dorothy Bevan Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award supports psychology Ph.D students at accredited programs. Applicants must submit letters of recommendation, a resume, and a a three-page document outlining their research interests.
Amount: $5,000

California Psychological Association Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports members of ethnic minority groups who have been accepted to an accredited doctoral program in psychology. Recipients must be enrolled on a full-time basis.
Amount: $2,000

George C. Thornton, III Graduate Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award supports doctoral students in industrial/organizational psychology programs. Applicants must have a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology and must apply by June 30.
Amount: $3,000

Navy Health Professions Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Ph.D and Psy.D students enrolled in APA-accredited programs in clinical or counseling psychology. Applicants must be full-time students and members of the U.S. Navy and must meet clearance criteria for commissioned naval officers.
Amount: Full tuition plus a health and dental insurance allowance

General Guides

  • Careers for Psychology Majors: Learn more about your career options when you earn a degree in psychology. Our guide covers the job skills you will develop, the minimum requirements for the most common jobs in psychology, and alternative careers for those with an educational background in the field.
  • Scholarships for Psychology Majors: Explore our curated list of scholarships available specifically for psychology majors, as well as minority students pursuing an education in mental health.

Professional Psychology Organizations

Professional organizations provide practical benefits for students and professionals in the psychology field. Members have opportunities to network with peers through online forums, annual conferences, and local chapter meetings. Professional organizations often provide job boards, offer continuing education opportunities, and share access to research and publications. Many organizations also offer scholarships or provide a database of external funding opportunities. Below are some of the most respected psychology organizations.

  • The American Psychological Association: The preeminent membership organization for psychologists, the APA is divided into subcategories of psychology to provide relevant information for professionals across the field. The organization disseminates research and offers a variety of scholarships.
  • The American Academy of Clinical Psychology: For 25 years, this organization has provided member benefits including certification opportunities, continuing education coursework, discounted premiums for liability insurance, recognition from licensing jurisdictions, and opportunities to publish in the organization’s journal.
  • Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology: In addition to publishing the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, this organization awards nearly half a million dollars in grants and awards each year. The organization also hosts conventions and maintains chapters throughout the country.

2018 Accredited Programs

Top Bachelor's in Psychology Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 University of Florida FL Online Bachelor's in Psychology $14,761
2 University of Central Florida FL Bachelor of Science in Psychology $15,533
3 Florida International University FL Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $12,966
4 Liberty University VA Bachelor of Science in Psychology $24,794
5 University of Alabama at Birmingham AL Bachelor of Science in Psychology $16,092
6 Pennsylvania State University PA Bachelor of Arts (or Science) in Psychology $25,055
7 Brandman University CA Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $15,184
8 Oregon State University OR B.A./B.S. in Psychology $19,484
9 Colorado State University - Fort Collins CO Bachelor of Science in Psychology $16,232
10 University of Mary ND Bachelor of Science in Psychology $16,746
11 University of Houston - Victoria TX Bachelor of Arts (or Science) in Psychology $15,571
12 California Baptist University CA B.A. in Psychology $25,875
13 Brenau University GA Bachelor of Science in Psychology $19,650
14 Touro University Worldwide CA Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $10,572
15 Dallas Baptist University TX Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology $24,669
16 Washington State University WA Bachelor of Science in Psychology $17,815
17 University of Arizona AZ Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $16,466
18 University of North Dakota ND Bachelor's in Psychology Online $14,693
19 Arizona State University - Skysong AZ B. S. in Psychology $12,981
20 Sam Houston State University TX Bachelor of Science in Psychology $12,365
21 Old Dominion University VA Bachelor of Science in Psychology $15,218
22 Northwestern State University of Louisiana LA Bachelor of Science in Psychology $11,567
23 University of Massachusetts - Lowell MA Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $18,348
24 Northern Arizona University AZ Bachelor of Psychology $14,678
25 LeTourneau University TX Bachelor of Science in Psychology $23,958
26 Central Michigan University MI B. S. in Psychology $14,275
27 Fort Hays State University KS Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; Bachelor of Science in Psychology $11,993
28 Nova Southeastern University FL B.S. in Psychology $25,344
29 University of Memphis TN Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $13,291
30 Midway University KY B. A. in Psychology $23,802
31 University of Utah UT B.S. in Psychology $11,322
32 University of Alaska - Fairbanks AK Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $9,097
33 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin TX Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $9,109
34 Central Washington University WA Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $14,080
35 University of Louisiana at Monroe LA B. A. in Psychology $9,145
36 National University CA Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $22,377
37 Tarleton State University TX Bachelor of Science in Psychology $10,615
38 McNeese State University LA Bachelor of Science in Psychology $9,978
39 Rowan University NJ B. A. in Psychology $18,067
40 University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus CO Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $13,751
41 South Dakota State University SD Bachelor of Science in Psychology $21,421
42 Indiana University - East IN Bachelor of Science in Psychology $8,548
43 Eastern Kentucky University KY Bachelor of Science in Psychology-General Psychology $12,255
44 Drexel University PA B.S. in Psychology $39,021
45 Ohio University OH Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $21,899
46 California State University - Sacramento CA Bachelor of Arts in Psychology $9,127
47 University of Kansas KS Bachelor of General Studies in Psychology $18,014
48 Chaminade University of Honolulu HI B. S. in Psychology $18,660
49 Kennesaw State University GA Bachelor of Science in Psychology $17,441
50 Utah State University UT Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; Bachelor of Science in Psychology $13,037


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Top Master's in Psychology Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Harvard University MA Master's in Psychology $16,205
2 University of Pennsylvania PA Master of Applied Positive Psychology $22,944
3 University of Southern California CA Master of Science in Applied Psychology $32,932
4 Adler University IL Master's in Psychology $15,184
5 University of Georgia GA Master of Education in Educational Psychology, Applied Cognition and Development $14,956
6 Ball State University IN Master's in Psychology $13,369
7 Pepperdine University CA Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy $39,637
8 Golden Gate University-San Francisco CA Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology $15,184
9 The University of Alabama AL Master of Arts in Educational Psychology $20,133
10 Palo Alto University CA Master of Arts in Psychology $15,184
11 William James College MA Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology $15,184
12 Carlos Albizu University-Miami FL Master of Science in Industrial and Organizational Psychology $20,464
13 Nova Southeastern University FL Master of Science in General Psychology $25,344
14 Touro College NY Master's in Psychology $18,928
15 Sacred Heart University CT Master's in Psychology $39,134
16 Arizona State University-Tempe AZ Master of Science in Psychology $13,007
17 Saybrook University CA Master of Arts in Psychology $15,184
18 University of Northern Colorado CO Master's in Psychology $13,065
19 Pennsylvania State University PA Master of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership $25,055
20 University of Northern Iowa IA Master of Arts in Education in Educational Psychology: Professional Development for Teachers $14,831
21 National Louis University IL Master of Arts in Psychology $13,650
22 University of North Texas TX Master of Science in Educational Psychology $10,424
23 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville TN Master of Science in Educational Psychology $20,780
24 University of Houston-Victoria TX Master's in Psychology $10,995
25 Medaille College NY Master of Arts in Psychology $14,205
26 University of Memphis TN Master of Science in Educational Psychology $13,291
27 LeTourneau University TX Master's in Psychology $23,958
28 University of North Dakota ND Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology $14,693
29 University of Louisiana at Monroe LA Master of Science in Psychology $9,145
30 University of Idaho ID Master's in Psychology $14,787
31 McNeese State University LA Master of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis $9,978
32 Fort Hays State University KS Master's in Psychology $11,993
33 University of Nevada-Las Vegas NV Master of Science in Educational Psychology $11,432
34 Southern New Hampshire University NH Master of Science in Psychology $34,984
35 Eastern Kentucky University KY Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology $12,255


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Top Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Wilmington University DE Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science $14,471
2 Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies MO Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis $11,224
3 Bellevue University NE Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science $6,349
4 Mercy College NY Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science; Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science $16,060
5 Saint Francis University PA Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science $24,827


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Top Master's in Behavioral Psychology Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Northeastern University MA Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis $27,107
2 George Mason University VA Master of Education in Special Education - Applied Behavior Analysis Emphasis $18,075
3 Florida State University FL Masters in Psychology with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis $16,159
4 University of South Florida FL Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis $11,341
5 University of Houston-Victoria TX Master of Education in Special Education Applied Behavior Analysis $11,876
6 Arizona State University-Tempe AZ Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Applied Behavior Analysis $11,436
7 Florida Institute of Technology FL Masters of Arts in Professional Behavior Analysis $27,358
8 The Sage Colleges NY Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism $17,813
9 Drexel University PA Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis $32,836
10 University of Cincinnati OH Master of Education in Foundations in Behavior Analysis $21,085
11 California University of Pennsylvania PA Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis $18,167
12 College of Saint Elizabeth NJ Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis $27,775
13 University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth MA Master of Arts in Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis $15,661
14 Bay Path University MA Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis $19,469
15 Southeast Missouri State University MO Masters of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis $12,498


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Top Bachelor's in Counseling Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 University of Cincinnati OH Substance Abuse Counseling $19,978
2 Liberty University VA Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Christian Counseling $24,794
3 Clarks Summit University PA Bachelor of Science in Counseling $17,482
4 Hobe Sound Bible College FL Bachelor of Arts in Counseling $8,317
5 Johnson University TN Pastoral Care and Counseling $16,368
6 Northwestern State University of Louisiana LA Psychology with Concentration in Substance Abuse; Psychology with Concentration in Prevention $11,567
7 Toccoa Falls College GA Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology $19,026
8 Drexel University PA Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling $39,021
9 Southwestern Assemblies of God University TX Counseling; Community Care and Counseling $25,466
10 Grace College and Theological Seminary IN Human Services $18,070
11 Oral Roberts University OK Christian Caregiving and Counseling $21,595
12 Bay Path University MA Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: Counseling Foundations $22,012
13 John Wesley University NC Christian Counseling $20,768
14 Saint Leo University FL Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Clinical/Counseling $21,296
15 University of South Dakota SD Addiction Studies $16,502
16 Ohio Christian University OH Substance Abuse Counseling $18,640
17 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion IN Addictions Counseling $19,519
18 University of the Cumberlands KY Human Services $17,619
19 Hope International University CA Bachelor of Science in Human Development with a concentration in Community Mental Health and Counseling $20,087
20 Eastern Washington University WA Interdisciplinary Addiction Studies $12,397
21 Regent University VA Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Concentration in Clinical & Counseling Psychology $17,837
22 Lee University TN Ministry Leadership, Counseling Emphasis $16,789
23 Dallas Christian College TX Psychology; Psychology and Bible $24,137
24 University of Central Arkansas AR Addiction Studies $12,988
25 Arlington Baptist College TX Biblical Counseling Online $14,803


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Top Master's in Counseling Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Northwestern University IL M.A. in Counseling $29,326
2 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center TX Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling; Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling; Master of Science in Addiction Counseling $5,760
3 Touro University Worldwide CA M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy $12,084
4 George Washington University DC Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling $39,562
5 Palo Alto University CA Master of Arts in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling; Master of Arts in Counseling with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling $15,184
6 California Institute of Integral Studies CA Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a Concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy $19,764
7 New York University NY Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness; Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance with a Concentration in Counselor in Schools Pre-K-12; Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance with a Concentration in Bilingual School Counselor Pre-K-12 $35,147
8 Pepperdine University CA Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy $39,637
9 Saybrook University CA Master of Arts in Counseling $15,184
10 Brandman University CA Master of Arts in Counseling and Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Counseling $15,184
11 Wake Forest University NC Master of Arts in Counseling in Clinical Mental Health; Master of Arts in Counseling in School Counseling $23,826
12 University at Buffalo NY Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling $15,987
13 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus CO Master of Arts in Counseling with Concentration in Couple and Family Counseling/Therapy $13,751
14 The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling $15,184
15 Golden Gate University-San Francisco CA Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology $15,184
16 Nova Southeastern University FL M. S. in Counseling $25,344
17 Divine Mercy University VA Master of Science in Counseling in Clinical Mental Health Counseling $14,550
18 Rutgers University-Newark NJ Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling $10,771
19 Liberty University VA M. A. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Pastoral Counseling, Professional Counseling, Human Services Counseling, School Counselor $24,794
20 The University of Alabama AL Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling $20,133
21 Governors State University IL Masters in Addiction Counseling $16,143
22 California State University-Northridge CA Master of Science in Counseling in Career Counseling $6,574
23 The University of Texas at Tyler TX Master of Arts in School Counseling $12,492
24 Clarks Summit University PA M. S. in Counseling $17,482
25 John Brown University AR Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy; Master of Science in School Counseling $19,687


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Top Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost
1 Brandman University CA B. A. in Psychology $15,184
2 Liberty University VA B. S. in Psychology $24,794
3 Azusa Pacific University CA Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology Emphasis in Child and Adolescent Psychology $28,506
4 Bay Path University MA Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology $22,012
5 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale FL B. A. in Psychology $26,328


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