Fastest Online Psychology Degree Programs

Discover the fastest online psychology programs. Learn where a degree in psychology can take you.

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by Doug Wintemute

Published August 5, 2022

Reviewed by Tracey Burrell, Ph.D.

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While the traditional bachelor's program is about four years in length, accelerated bachelor's programs can reduce study times to less than two years. Accelerated degree programs use various methods to reduce their length. In most cases, these programs allow students to complete individual courses faster. Degree-completion programs also offer accelerated paths to graduation by using transfer credits. In addition, schools may award transfer credit for life and work experience, which can reduce the training costs as well as the length.

An accelerated degree in psychology may be available in many formats, but online training has made these programs much more accessible. Here, we take a look at what prospective students can expect from these psychology programs and the subsequent careers. We also shine a spotlight on the fastest online bachelor's in psychology programs from the top online schools.

www.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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How Fast Can I Get an Online Bachelor's in Psychology Degree?

The study times vary, but an accelerated degree in psychology may allow learners to complete their training in less than two years. These programs usually feature 120 credits, the same as traditional programs, though the courses are condensed. Instead of completing a course every 16 weeks, learners might finish them in eight weeks or less.

Programs may also allow students to fast-track their training by taking more courses at once. Whereas traditional full-time students take five courses each semester, accelerated students may take about 10 courses.

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

In an accelerated online bachelor's in psychology, students generally complete 120 credits in about two years. The training usually includes extensive coursework and research, plus practical experiences in labs and clinical internships. Students with communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills are often well suited for this discipline.

When deciding on an accelerated program in psychology, prospective students should think about whether they want a BS or BA degree. In addition to offering different electives, these degree types offer different focuses. A BA, for example, emphasizes interdisciplinary applications, whereas a BS focuses on clinical applications.

Another consideration when earning an online bachelor's degree in psychology is a concentration. Prospective students might be able to specialize in counseling, clinical psychology, or childhood development. Since there are fewer accelerated degrees in psychology than traditional programs, specialization options may be more limited.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

Popular Online 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 Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Psychology Degree Program?

Abnormal Psychology

This course explores various psychological disorders, including their effects and the possible treatments. Students learn about the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning techniques and processes for these conditions.

Cognitive Psychology

In this course, students learn about the cognitive powers in people, including memory, language, and reasoning. They study the development of these abilities and the factors that influence their development and degradation.

Developmental Psychology

Students in this course learn about human development, including the cognitive and psychosocial elements. They look across the lifespan and examine influential factors, such as genetics and environment.

Social Psychology

This course looks at how people and social interaction influence human psychology and development. Students may examine things like affection, attraction, perception, and conformity. They also explore the various applications of this research and information.

Statistical Analysis

In this course, students learn how to design, structure, and conduct statistical analysis. They also look at the practical applications of analysis and how the information informs various professionals and industries.

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

Prospective students may encounter a variety of admission requirements in a bachelor's program. In general, applicants need a high school or GED diploma for admission. For entry into competitive programs, they may also need a minimum 3.0 GPA and mathematics and science prerequisite courses.

Since accelerated programs present unique challenges for students, the admission requirements may be more strict.

Application

Prospective students can complete their undergraduate application by applying directly to their schools of interest or using an application system, such as the Common App. These systems make it easier for applicants to apply to multiple schools at once using the same information.

Test Scores

Schools may require standardized test scores in their applications. At the undergraduate level, college entrance exams include the SAT and ACT. Many schools provide test waivers, but applicants with strong scores may still submit their results for consideration.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation provide schools with insight about the applicant from a professional's perspective. Prospective students usually need 2-3 letters from professionals who can speak to their strengths, skills, and potential, such as teachers or employers.

Essays

Schools request different types of college application essays. Prospective students may be asked to answer specific questions in their essays, usually discipline-specific topics. They may also get space to talk about their educational experience, their research interests, and their professional goals.

Official Transcripts

College applications often include official transcripts, as they provide schools with details about the applicant's previous training. These records help schools determine if the applicant meets the program requirements. They also help schools award transfer credits to applicants transferring from community college and other institutions.

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

Career Outlook

Psychology graduates not only have access to the psychology field and advanced training, but they can also pursue careers in business, education, and the community and social services sector. This broad applicability helps make it one of the most popular college majors in the country.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 12% growth for community and social service occupations between 2020 and 2030, four percentage points higher than the average projected rate for all occupations. The projected growth works out to an addition of nearly 350,000 new jobs in the field.

Discover how a bachelor's in psychology can improve your professional outlook. Learn more about psychology careers.

Career Paths

Addiction, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

These professionals assist clients in managing various challenges and disorders. They meet and assess clients, educate them on their situations, and develop a management plan. They may help clients access other support resources and collaborate with other professionals to achieve the desired outcome.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $48,520

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study the markets and consumer groups for organizations. They create and conduct surveys, gather and analyze market data, and help organizations make more informed decisions. These professionals can assist organizations in pricing strategies, applying consumer feedback, and creating marketing campaigns.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $63,920

Training and Development Specialists

These specialists develop and run training and development programs for organizations. They work with organizations to identify their training needs, create programs that improve performance in those areas, and create the materials used in the programs. Training and development professionals may specialize in training for one area or help organizations implement various new practices and processes.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $61,570

Social and Community Service Managers

These professionals create and run social and community service programs and organizations. They plan outreach and fundraising events and discuss campaign and program plans with stakeholders. These managers often work in a specialized field, at a specific location, or with a certain demographic.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $74,000

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Probation officers oversee and monitor law offenders' rehabilitation. Correctional treatment specialists may help create the treatment and rehabilitation plan. These professionals evaluate and report on their client's progress to the courts. Professionals in this field usually need to complete a government-sponsored training program.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $60,250

Psychology Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

With a bachelor's in psychology, graduates can enter the workforce or continue their training. They have many paths available to them in education, including a master's in psychology. They can also specialize their training by pursuing a master's in behavioral psychology, master's in educational psychology, or a master's in forensic psychology. Another option is a master's in organizational psychology.

Graduates may enter into related fields as well, such as a master's in counseling. This field also has specialized paths available, such as a master's in school counseling, a master's in marriage and family counseling, or a master's in addiction counseling.

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

Cost

Prospective students use cost to compare online and on-campus programs, private and public schools, and in-state and out-of-state programs. When looking at an online bachelor's in psychology, however, applicants should consider how their training will impact their income compared to an on-campus program.

Program Format

To find the most suitable program format for their needs, prospective students should weigh the pros and cons of synchronous and asynchronous programs and full-time and part-time studies. When considering schools with accelerated bachelor's degrees, applicants should make sure their schedule can accommodate the required study hours.

Location

For all prospective students, including those attending online or on-campus college, location should be a consideration. Though on-campus students have location higher on the priority list, online learners may need to complete on-campus residencies. They may also want to make use of the campus facilities and resources.

Accreditation

Prospective students need to pay close attention to online college accreditation to ensure their school and programs have the appropriate recognition. Institutional accreditation is most important, as schools need this to offer federal financial aid and postgraduate licensure opportunities. Only at the doctoral level is programmatic accreditation required, and it comes from the American Psychological Association.

Student Support

On-campus student services and online student services provide learners with assistance in many aspects of their training, career searches, and life outside classes. Schools provide access to tutoring and writing centers, interview and job search help, and mental health services. They may also run mentorship programs or in-program college internships.

Fastest Accredited Online Bachelor's in Psychology Degree Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

The school programs listed in this ranking were selected due to their accelerated formats — each program can be completed in less than 4 years. These programs were then ranked based on their overall academic quality, affordability, and online offerings. To learn more about our different rankings, read our ranking methodology.

#1

Ottawa University-Online

School Information
Location Ottawa, Kansas
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Term
In State | $14,990
Out of State | $14,990

Credits to Graduate
124

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The accelerated degree in psychology at Ottawa University focuses on understanding people as individuals and as members of groups through established research and recognized psychology theories. Courses include developmental psychology, psychopathology, and ethnic relations and multiculturalism.

Prospective students receive an enrollment advisor who walks the applicant through the admissions process. Applicants must submit an online application and official transcripts. OU charges an application fee of $50 for undergraduate admissions.

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#2

University of Bridgeport

School Information
Location Bridgeport, Connecticut
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 45%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online; On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $575
Out of State | $575

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The University of Bridgeport's bachelor's in psychology includes classes such as social psychology, statistical methods in psychology, and the psychology of stigma. Students also take a course in lifespan developmental psychology. All students must complete a senior thesis to graduate. 

UB does not require standardized test scores. Applicants who do not submit test scores must submit a personal essay. Applicants may use the Common App or the college's online application. UB does not charge an application fee.

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#3

Westfield State University

School Information
Location Westfield, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Courses

Avg. Cost per Academic Year
In State | $970
Out of State | $7,050

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Westfield State University's online bachelor's in psychology features courses such as adaptation and animal behavior, behavioral neuroscience, and cognitive psychology. All psychology majors must complete a capstone project to graduate. Students in the honors program may choose to write a thesis instead.

Westfield does not require standardized test scores or a personal essay to apply. Prospective students must submit an online application and official transcripts. Westfield does not offer rolling admissions. Students must apply by the deadline.

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#4

University of Idaho

School Information
Location Moscow, Idaho
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Term
In State | $4,198
Out of State | $13,816

Credits to Graduate
124-125

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The University of Idaho's fast online bachelor's in psychology provides pathways for a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science. This program is also a degree-completion program, meaning students with an associate degree in psychology can enroll and earn a bachelor's degree in just two more years.

Applicants to U of I must complete an online application. This university does not require letters of recommendation. Applicants must submit standardized test scores.

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#5

Charter Oak State College

School Information
Location New Britain, Connecticut
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $319
Out of State | $419

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Charter Oak State College's accelerated degree in psychology features classes such as cognitive psychology and the psychology of personality. Students must complete a capstone project before graduation. Charter Oak provides four concentrations for psychology majors: life span, social and behavioral, cognition and learning, and general psychology.

Applicants must submit an online application and official transcripts. Charter Oak also requires standardized test scores. Transfer students with at least nine college-level credits may not need to submit high school transcripts for admission.

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#6

Newberry College

School Information
Location Newberry, South Carolina
Admission Rate 63%
Graduation Rate 54%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $395
Out of State | $395

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The bachelor's in psychology at Newberry College is an online degree-completion program for students transferring at least 45 credits into the college. Newberry recommends that students complete their associate degree before transferring into the psychology program. Sample courses include abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, and physiological psychology.

Transfer applicants with more than 24 credits do not need to submit high school transcripts. Applicants can contact the admissions department to determine how many credits from their previous institution will transfer to Newberry.

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#7

Concordia University-Saint Paul

School Information
Location Saint Paul, Minnesota
Admission Rate 98%
Graduation Rate 51%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Degree Cost
In State | $50,400
Out of State | $50,400

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Concordia University – Saint Paul's online bachelor's in psychology offers three areas of emphasis including research methods, developmental and abnormal psychology, and counseling. All students must complete an internship. CSP accepts transfer credits, allowing students to earn their degree in a two-year completion program.

CSP self-reports a 97% admissions rate. The university uses rolling admissions, typically notifying applicants within 2-3 business days of admission decisions. Applicants who do not meet initial admissions criteria may need to submit supplemental material.

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#8

University of Saint Mary

School Information
Location Leavenworth, Kansas
Admission Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 52%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $405
Out of State | $405

Credits to Graduate
60 in the program; 120 to graduate

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The University of Saint Mary's fast online bachelor's in psychology takes an average of 18 months to complete. Core courses for this degree-completion program include history and systems of psychology, behavioral science, professional ethics, and personality theories. Students may transfer up to 90 credits into the program. 

Those who wish to apply to USM must pay the $25 application fee and complete an online application. They must also hold a cumulative 2.0 college GPA and submit official transcripts from all previously attended universities.

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#9

Greenville University

School Information
Location Greenville, Illinois
Admission Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 56%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $470
Out of State | $470

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The accelerated degree in psychology at Greenville University takes an average of two years to complete. Students may transfer up to 90 credits into the degree-completion program. This degree features courses such as the psychology of personality, statistics for the social sciences, and clinical methods and management. Learners also study cultural psychology.

Greenville does not require any standardized test scores or an application fee. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA from previously attended colleges. 

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#10

University of New Mexico-Main Campus

School Information
Location Albuquerque, New Mexico
Admission Rate 94%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $442
Out of State | $442

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The bachelor's in psychology at the University of New Mexico – Main Campus features classes such as abnormal behavior, drugs and behavior, and the psychology of perception. Learners also take a human learning and memory course. This degree-completion program is designed for students who have already completed an associate degree or have at least 60-70 completed credits.

Applicants who meet one of the following requirements are guaranteed admission to UNM:

  • Have at least 24 transferable credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Completed an associate degree from an accredited community college
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Frequently Asked Questions About Fastest Online Psychology Degree Programs

Can I get a bachelor's degree in one year?

Yes. While most students take 3-4 years to complete a bachelor's in psychology, schools offer several ways to accelerate that timeline and finish in less than two years. To finish in one year, however, students need to make use of transfer credits.

Many schools allow transfer students to transfer up to 90 credits from previous undergraduate training. This reduces the credit requirements to 30 credits, which students can easily complete within one year. These programs may also be classified as degree-completion programs.

Are accelerated degree classes worth it?

Yes. An accelerated degree can be very worthwhile for students who want or need to complete their degree quickly. These programs cover the same material as traditional programs, they just allow learners to complete their studies faster.

Students in accelerated programs often benefit from online degree value as well. Online training accommodates accelerated paths because of the more flexible schedules. For example, learners can access asynchronous online classes during the hours that work best for them.

Are accelerated bachelor's degrees as valuable as traditional degrees?

Yes. An accelerated bachelor's degree is as valuable as a traditional degree. For students who need to finish within a reduced timeframe, these degrees can be essential.

Since the degrees do not indicate that the training was completed in an accelerated manner, employers will not judge the credential as less than. If anything, an accelerated bachelor's may be viewed as more valuable because it demonstrates the student's academic fortitude, commitment, and ability to manage a heavy workload.

Is an accelerated bachelor degree in psychology right for me?

Each student needs to figure out if an accelerated bachelor's in psychology is right for them on their own. While learners can complete these degrees sooner, they also need to manage heavier workloads and more intense studies.

For some learners, fast-tracking makes perfect sense. For example, students may only have about two years to study. Other learners may not need to work while they study, giving them more time to dedicate to their studies and more scheduling freedom.

Are accelerated degree programs affordable?

Accelerated degrees usually have a similar tuition rate to traditional programs. Since most schools charge by credit or course load, students often end up paying the same by the end.

However, schools may feature tuition rates based on the time spent in class, which would mean accelerated programs cost less. Students with transfer credits or life and work experience credits can also reduce their program's cost. Conversely, schools can charge higher tuition rates for accelerated programs since they provide greater value for many learners.

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