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The American Psychological Association reports that about 6.5% of undergraduate students pursue a psychology degree, making it the fourth most popular college major. In lieu of clinical psychology, many learners choose to focus their studies on applied psychology. This interdisciplinary field applies psychological theories and principles to areas like business, engineering, and criminal justice.
We've ranked the best online bachelor's in applied psychology programs to help you pick the right school for your budget and schedule. Read on to learn about applied psychology career paths and get answers to frequently asked questions about the field.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Programs? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||Biola University||La Mirada, CA|
|2||North Greenville University||Tigerville, SC|
|3||Judson University||Elgin, IL|
|4||Roger Williams University||Bristol, RI|
|5||Multnomah University||Portland, OR|
|6||Regis University||Denver, CO|
|7||Cedar Crest College||Allentown, PA|
|8||Oregon Institute of Technology||Klamath Falls, OR|
|9||Belhaven University||Jackson, MS|
|10||Hodges University||Naples, FL|
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Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Programs
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|La Mirada, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
Based in La Mirada, California, Biola serves more than 6,000 students each year. The university delivers online programs through the Canvas platform, including an online bachelor's in applied psychology. After completing this 120-credit program, graduates are prepared for careers as human resource specialists, behavior analysts, and correctional treatment specialists.
The program offers accelerated, seven-week classes. Core courses include statistics for research, abnormal psychology, and theories of personality. Students also explore advanced topics like psychology of the workplace and psychology of Christian thought.
Biola offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Prospective students need a minimum 2.5 GPA and adequate ACT or SAT scores. Applicants must also be believers in the Christian faith. The program prefers applicants with three or more years of work experience.
North Greenville University
|Tigerville, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
NGU offers over 50 programs, including flexible options for working professionals and other adult learners. One such option is the school's online bachelor's degree in applied psychology. Distance learners can complete all required courses online or take some classes at NGU's campus in Tigerville, South Carolina.
The curriculum includes required courses like human growth and development, research methods in psychology, and introduction to counseling. Students can use 18 elective credits to pursue advanced topics in the major or complete a complementary minor. Learners can also gain hands-on skills and expand their professional network by completing an optional internship.
First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants need at least 12 college credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
|Elgin, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Judson maintains its flagship campus in Elgin, Illinois, serving about 1,300 students annually. The university also offers eight online programs, including a bachelor of arts in applied psychology. Throughout a comprehensive curriculum, learners gain the research and technical skills needed to pursue entry-level positions at community health centers, government agencies, and private companies.
Required courses include interpersonal communication/relationships and organizational behavior. Students also delve into topics like brain development, dynamics, and disabilities. They round out the program with a field experience and a capstone research project.
Judson's online bachelor's in applied psychology program only accepts applicants with at least 40 transferable credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prospective students also need two years of full-time work experience.
Roger Williams University
|Bristol, RI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 70%||
RWU offers over 45 undergraduate majors and minors. Distance learners can enroll in an online bachelor's in applied psychology program. The university powers distance learning with the Desire2Learn platform.
The psychology program's 120-credit curriculum includes courses like quantitative analysis in the social sciences, research methods and applications, and experimental psychology. Students personalize their education with 54 elective credits, which they can use to pursue a complementary minor or a second major. The program culminates in a practicum.
RWU uses a holistic admissions process that does not require a minimum GPA, standardized test scores, or personal essays. Students receive one-on-one support from an enrollment advisor, who helps them sign up for courses and access financial aid.
|Portland, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
Located in Portland, Oregon, Multnomah offers about a dozen online undergraduate and graduate programs, including a fully online bachelor's in applied psychology that learners with significant transfer credits can earn in two years. While completing this program, students learn practical methods to help individuals, groups, and organizations function more effectively.
Coursework includes research methods and statistical techniques, psychology of religion and spirituality, and behavioral neuroscience. Learners also examine the foundations of counseling with regards to human development and personality theories.
Applicants do not need to meet GPA minimums or submit ACT or SAT scores. Admission requirements include an online form and a reference. Distance learners can enroll in the spring, summer, or fall.
|Denver, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Regis offers comprehensive programs across its five colleges, including an online bachelor's degree in applied psychology that teaches students to analyze how individuals and communities develop, cope, and thrive in modern societies. Learners take accelerated courses that last five or eight weeks.
Students in the program must complete 18 credits of foundational psychology courses, including lifespan development and abnormal psychology. They also take 27 credits of advanced major classes, which cover specialized areas like understanding trauma and PTSD, behavior and stress management, and psychology of intimate relationships.
Regis evaluates prospective learners holistically and does not maintain strict GPA or standardized test score requirements. The university grants transfer credits for prior college work, career experience, and military training.
Cedar Crest College
|Allentown, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Founded in 1867, Cedar Crest College is a private liberal arts institution that prepares women for leadership roles in the global community. The college offers more than 40 undergraduate programs, including an online bachelor's in applied psychology. Students take seven-week courses, developing critical thinking skills that complement their research training.
Major courses in the program include statistical methods, lifespan development, and biological psychology. Learners can use 21 elective credits to pursue independent research or gain hands-on experience by completing an internship. The program culminates in an integrative capstone seminar.
Cedar Crest College accepts applications on a rolling basis. First-year applicants need to submit ACT or SAT scores. The college provides ample financial aid opportunities, and 92% of first-year students receive institutional funding.
Oregon Institute of Technology
|Klamath Falls, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Oregon Tech uses Canvas to deliver more than 20 online degrees and certificates, including an online bachelor's in applied psychology that meets curricular standards established by the American Psychological Association. Graduates are prepared to pursue entry-level jobs as market researchers, employee relations associates, and probation and parole officers.
The program's curriculum covers core topics like basic counseling techniques, human growth and development, and behavior modification. Students also explore abnormal, social, and cognitive psychology. They round out the program with a practicum experience and an integrative capstone seminar.
Oregon Tech prefers applicants with a 3.0 minimum GPA. Prospective students who do not meet this threshold can still enroll if they submit adequate ACT or SAT scores.
|Jackson, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Belhaven serves over 4,000 students each year. The university delivers more than 30 online programs, including an online bachelor's in applied psychology. Belhaven's distance learners benefit from competitive tuition prices and accelerated, eight-week courses.
Required coursework in the program includes theories of personality, introduction to psychological research, and learning and memory. Students also explore international psychology, learning how cultural differences impact the ways people think, feel, and act. The program offers concentrations in human services, criminal justice, and Christian ministries.
First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores unless they have a 2.75 GPA or higher. Based on a candidate's academic profile, the admissions committee may ask for a personal essay, a recommendation letter, and/or an interview.
|Naples, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 22%||
Hodges is a leader in distance education. The university offers over 50 programs for distance learners, including an online bachelor's degree in applied psychology. Through a 120-credit curriculum, students examine topics like the human psyche and motivations. Graduates are prepared for careers in social services, business intelligence, and educational research.
Program courses include cognitive development, social psychology, and basic statistics. Students develop counseling skills centered on patient assessment and case management. Learners can also earn a specialty certification in substance abuse counseling.
Hodges pairs all applicants with an admissions coordinator, who helps them navigate enrollment and access grants and scholarships. The university does not maintain rigid GPA or standardized testing requirements. Prospective students need to submit transcripts and a personal essay.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Program?
Applying psychological concepts and processes requires learners to gain technical skills in counseling and quantitative analysis.
To earn any bachelor's degree, students must complete 120 credits of coursework, fieldwork, and capstone requirements. This process traditionally takes four years, but many colleges and universities offer degree completion programs and accelerated tracks that allow learners to graduate within two years.
Students should expect to spend their first 2-3 semesters taking required classes in general education topics like statistics, English composition, and philosophy. Core coursework differs between BA and BS programs.
Although BA students usually need to satisfy a foreign language requirement, their flexible degree plans allow them to pursue a minor or even second major through open electives. BS students typically pursue fewer electives but get to learn about specialized scientific topics like behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology.
The best bachelor's in applied psychology programs prepare students for success in their chosen occupation, whether it be curriculum development, career counseling, forensic research, or another field. Applying psychological concepts and processes also requires learners to gain technical skills in counseling and quantitative analysis.
Depending on their program, students may need to complete an internship, which offers opportunities for professional networking and potential job placement. Most programs culminate in a capstone course or research project.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Program?
Many bachelor's in applied psychology programs offer similar core courses. Elective options vary based on faculty expertise and available concentrations. The following section highlights five classes commonly found in these programs.
- Lifespan Development
Learners examine the cognitive, biological, and social, and emotional changes humans experience from birth to death. Students focus on the interplay between nature and nurture at each progessive stage of development. Students also learn how to differentiate between normative developmental transitions and abnormal patterns, contextualizing these deviations within paradigms of family, age, and economic status.
- Abnormal Psychology
In this class, students explore the causes and and symptoms of abnormal human behavior through the scientific study of mental illness, otherwise known as psychopathology. Learners delve into how these illnesses are diagnosed, assessed, and treated. The course also covers the official classification and definition of these illnesses as well as related controversies and legal issues.
- Cultural Psychology
This course covers the major theories on cultural similarities and differences within and across national boundaries. Students learn how cultural influences impact the development of cognition, communication, emotion, and gender identity. Learners also examine multicultural and cross-cultural counseling practices, which highlight ethnic, racial, and economic factors that can influence counselor-patient relationships.
- Psychological Research Methods
This class teaches students the fundamental concepts and tools used in social science research, including inferential and descriptive statistical analysis. Learners also develop the ability to design experiments using survey and observational methods. Additional topics include sources of variability, higher order factorial experiments, and writing reports using proper style and format.
- Behavior Modification
In this specialized course, learners explore the history, development, and principles of behaviorism. This theory emphasizes the systematic impacts environmental conditioning have on human behavior. Students then learn about the contemporary field of applied behavior analysis, including the implementation and assessment of behavior management techniques in settings like schools, hospitals, and prisons.
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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Degree?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that social science occupations will grow by 5% between 2019 and 2029, resulting in over 68,000 new jobs. Demand is particularly high for psychologists who can help K-12 students improve academic performance and overcome mental health challenges.
Beyond counseling roles, a bachelor's in applied psychology can prepare students for education careers as program evaluators and curriculum developers. Depending on their degree focus, graduates may also work as corporate trainers, criminal investigators, and engineering psychologists.
See where a bachelor's in applied psychology degree can take you. Learn more about psychology careers.
- Career Counseling
Career counselors help people discover and achieve academic, professional, and personal success. These professionals conduct aptitude tests and evaluate background information to help clients identify realistic goals before providing guidance to help them make the right career decisions. Schools, social services organizations, and private companies offer career counseling positions.
- Educational Administration
Applied psychology students can prepare for school leadership roles as principals and superintendents. They may also work as instructional coordinators, an occupation the BLS projects will grow by 6% between 2019 and 2029. These professionals develop and evaluate curricula, train teachers and staff, and evaluate student performance to suggest changes in standards and practices.
- Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychologists apply their knowledge of human development, mental disorders, and behavior modification to the fields of law and criminal justice. They often assist with the trial process, helping select jurors and providing testimonies as expert witnesses. Forensic psychology specialists can also work as social workers.
- Sport Psychology
This career path involves the use of psychological skills and principles to enhance the performance and general well-being of athletes. Sport psychologists often work for professional teams, teaching players attention control strategies and providing counseling to help them recover from burnout or injury. These professionals can also occupy research positions, studying the developmental aspects of athletic participation and systemic challenges found in sports organizations.
- Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Industrial-organizational psychology involves the scientific examination of human behavior in the workplace and other professional settings. Professionals in this field often work in management positions, supervising the recruitment process and designing appropriate incentive programs. They may also work as training and development specialists, identifying employee needs and designing effective training programs.
Applied Psychology Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Programs
- Is a bachelor's in applied psychology worth it?
Unlike a traditional clinical psychology degree, a bachelor's in applied psychology program teaches you to implement psychological theories and methods in other fields. Depending on the program, you may learn how group dynamics affect organizational culture. You can also explore human impulses like motivation, using this knowledge to enhance the performance of students or athletes.
- Are applied psychology majors in demand?
The abilities to identify, measure, and alter human behavior make applied psychology majors a valuable asset in most industries. The BLS projects that school and career counseling positions will grow by 8% between 2019 and through 2029, translating to 26,800 new jobs. The BLS also projects 7% growth for business managers specializing in corporate training and development.
- What can I do with a bachelor's in applied psychology?
With additional education leading to certification and licensure, professionals can work as counselors. The business sector also offers job opportunities in marketing, human resources, and training and development. Furthermore, a bachelor's in applied psychology can open the doors to careers in criminal justice, healthcare administration, and athletic training.
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in applied psychology?
According toPayScale, professionals with a bachelor of science in applied psychology earn an average annual salary of $62,150. Salaries will differ depending on the specific role, industry, individual qualifications and experience, and the company's geographic location.
- What are some examples of applied psychology?
Psychological theories and methods apply to many business scenarios. For example, marketing professionals use the scarcity principle in marketing campaigns. Similarly, political activists instill emotions like civic pride and gratitude to improve voter turnout. Psychologists are also an integral part of automotive research and development, helping design intuitive interfaces that reduce the likelihood of accidents.