Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology
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Understanding psychology is the gateway to understanding as much as is possible about the human mind, mental processes, human motivation, and human behavior. And while pursuing psychology at an undergraduate level can be the beginning of a pathway to becoming a practicing psychologist, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology could actually prepare a graduate to become a professional in any industry that requires a higher-level understanding of human cognition. Professionals with an earned bachelor of psychology can find themselves in career tracks related to counseling, customer service, behavioral analysis, corrections, human resources, rehabilitation, health, business, mental health, and more.
Students who find that they want to enter into the exciting world of deep understanding of humans have almost endless options to study online. Online education is best-suited to students who can be self-motivated learners, those who don’t need a classroom to remain engaged, and those who crave the flexibility to learn when and where they wish. Students who don’t have the funds to move or who need to work while earning their degree may also find online education to be the flexible choice they need to expand their skills.
Most online education for bachelor’s degrees in psychology are done in an asynchronous format, where the learner can log in and learn anytime. In addition, at the bachelor’s level, there are rarely on-campus requirements, which means a student is free to complete their degree completely from where they are.
For those interested in earning a bachelor of psychology online, keep reading to learn about typical admissions requirements, common online bachelor of psychology coursework, and information about institutional accreditation. In addition, take a tour through featured online bachelor of psychology programs, distinguished professors delivering courses in online programs, and potential jobs for graduates of online bachelor of psychology programs.
Typical Admissions Requirements for Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology
The admissions requirements for online bachelor of psychology programs vary from institution to institution. It’s important that a prospective student become familiar with admission requirements by looking closely at admissions resources and by speaking with admissions officers. Generally, someone interested in enrolling in an online bachelor’s degree in psychology may need to submit any or all of the following to the program they hope to join:
- Official high school transcripts demonstrating GPA and completion of a satisfactory number of years of coursework (e.g., four years of English, three years of math, two years of history, etc.)
- Official transcripts demonstrating the completion of any post-secondary coursework
- A statement of purpose or admissions essay
- Letter of recommendation(s)
- SAT/ACT scores
- An interview
- Application fee
Courses in Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology
Courses in online bachelor of psychology programs can vary widely from program to program, especially if a program offers a concentration, emphasis, or specialization. The following list is an example of coursework a potential psychology undergraduate may have the chance to study:
- Abnormal Psychology
- Case Management in Clinical Settings
- Child & Adolescent Development
- Clinical Psychology
- Community Psychology
- Counseling Process and Techniques
- Cross-Cultural Psychology
- Educational Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Introduction to Psychology
- Lifespan Development
- Personality Development
- Physiological Psychology
- Psychology of Addiction
- Psychology of Individual Differences and Special Needs
- Psychology of Learning
- Psychopharmacology of Alcohol and Drugs
- Research Methods
- Social Psychology
- Sport Psychology
- Stress – Critical Issues in Management and Prevention
- Theories of Personality
Supervised Clinical Hour Requirements & Internships for Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology
The minimum educational attainment threshold for certification and licensure as a mental health professional is often a master’s degree. As a result, bachelor’s degrees in psychology won’t have clinical hour requirements for a student to fulfill. Internships in an online bachelor of psychology do exist, like the option offered in the Penn State World Campus program. Penn State’s program has an optional internship for credit. Other bachelor’s of psychology programs may offer similar options in a non-credit or credit format.
Program Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology
Accreditation is a voluntary process by which universities demonstrate that their psychology programming meets certain standards of quality and practicality. Accreditation is important for the student, employers, and for licensure. For the student, accreditation is an assurance that the university is providing relevant and useful programming from quality professors.
In addition, graduating from an accredited program is often a requirement to apply for master’s- or doctoral-level programs. Employers may be more likely to hire candidates who have graduated from accredited programs than those who do not have an accredited degree. Finally, to earn a professional license, many licensure boards require graduation from an accredited program. Students who did not will have to prove equivalencies.
At the bachelor’s level, prospective students should look for institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation happens at the regional and/or national levels, and applies to the entire university. The Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) are umbrella organizations for the wide range of organizations accrediting at this scale.
Programmatic accreditation for psychology programs, like that awarded by the American Psychological Association (APA), generally only happens at the graduate-level or higher. That said, some undergraduate programs may offer specialized accreditation based on concentration or specialization like Purdue University Global who offers an online BS in psychology with a focus in addiction that is accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC).
Featured Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology Programs
Purdue University Global offers three 180-credit online bachelor’s of science programs in psychology: applied behavioral analysis, addictions, and industrial/operational psychology.
The program in applied behavioral analysis focuses on helping graduates to design behavioral interventions based on the understanding of human motivation, learning, and behavior. This course sequence in this prepares students to sit for the Association of Behavior Analysis International’s (BACB) Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst exam.
The addictions program is approved by the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and is accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC). It prepares students to sit for NASAC level I and II certification exams. In this program, students will come to understand how to make a difference in the lives of those suffering from addictive behaviors.
The industrial/organizational psychology program is designed to help students apply concepts in psychology to business and organizations.
Psychology-specific coursework in the programs includes personality development, the psychology of addiction, health psychology, and neuroscience. Students interested in a masters in psychology, human services, legal studies, or public administration also have the option to pursue an accelerated master’s degree in conjunction with their bachelor of psychology.
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Duration: Four years
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Tuition: $371 per credit-hour (out-of-state)
SHNU offers a 100 percent online 120-credit bachelor of arts in psychology is designed to help graduates work in any field that benefits from a higher-level understanding of human behavior. Students enrolled at SHNU can choose between six concentrations in addictions, applied psychology, child and adolescent development, forensic psychology, mental health, or social psychology.
Coursework in the program includes statistics for psychology, lifespan development, abnormal psychology, biopsychology, and cognitive psychology. To expand access to higher education, SHNU has no application fees or SAT/ACT requirements for applicants.
- Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
- Duration: Four years
- Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Tuition: $320 per credit-hour
Designed for students who want to advance into caregiving careers, social work, counseling, healthcare, human resources, management, healthcare administration, or graduate school, Penn State’s World Campus offers three 123-credit online bachelor’s programs in psychology. Penn State’s bachelor of arts in psychology has a social science, humanities, and arts focus. Penn State’s bachelor of science in psychology offers two options: life sciences or business.
The BS in psychology life sciences option focuses on psychology through the lens of anthropology, biology, and biobehavioral health. The BS in psychology business option adds business insight to psychology knowledge through coursework in leadership, ethics, diversity, and business. Coursework in the programs includes psychology as a science and profession, basic research in methods in psychology, an introduction to rehabilitation and human services, and social and behavioral sciences.
Students also have the opportunity to complete a for-credit internship doing real-world work with a psychology professional. No SAT/ACT scores are required to apply to Penn State global. When applying to this program, students must have successfully completed 27.5 college credits and earned a “C” grade or better in four psych and research courses. Students who apply to the programs before completing this requirement will be accepted into the College of the Liberal Arts until they fulfill these prerequisites.
- Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
- Duration: Four years
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- Tuition: $576 to $617 per credit-hour
Ashford University offers a 120-credit online bachelor of arts in psychology designed to help students create a meaningful impact in businesses and organizations through an understanding of the human mind. Students enrolled in Ashford’s online BA program can choose between five nine-credit-hour emphases including cognitive studies, environmental management and sustainability, public administration, public relations, and web and mobile app technology.
Coursework in the program includes child and adolescent development, abnormal psychology, lifespan development, psychology of learning, and physiological psychology. Courses at Ashford are five weeks long and in the online modality, students complete one course at a time. Students who are under 22 years of age at the time of application who wish to pursue an online BA in psychology at Ashford must prove capacity to handle the accelerated, adult-learner style of the online program through 20 units of transferable college credits, or the successful completion of a Student Success Orientation course. SAT/ACT scores are not required for admission to Ashford.
- Location: San Diego, CA
- Duration: Four years
- Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
- Tuition: $510 per credit-hour
The University of Florida offers a 120-credit 100 percent online bachelor of art in psychology designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers or graduate school through an interdisciplinary exploration of the workings of the human mind.
Coursework in the program includes comparative psychology (biological bases), developmental psychology (developmental changes), abnormal psychology (sociocultural/individual differences approaches), and laboratory methods in psychology.
Freshman applicants must submit SAT/ACT scores to apply to this program. To be competitive, transfer students should have completed coursework in biological sciences, general psychology, pre-calculus, and intro to statistics with a 2.75 GPA or higher.
- Location: Gainesville, FL
- Duration: Four years
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
- Tuition: $129.18 per credit-hour
Professors to Know in Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology
Bonnie Moradi, PhD
University of Florida (UF)
Dr. Bonnie Moradi is a professor of psychology and director of the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies research at the University of Florida (UF). Her major research interests include a focus on the implications for psychosocial functioning based on experiences of prejudice, discrimination, objectification, and collective identity within the context of intersectionality.
Dr. Moradi is a highly-published scholar with 74 works appearing in refereed journals including the Journal of Counseling Psychology, The Counseling Psychologist, Archives of Sexual Behavior, and the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings.
Dr. Moradi is also a highly awarded professional, receiving the Best in Science Address award from the APA Society of Counseling Psychology and the Outstanding Major Contribution Award from the academic journal The Counseling Psychologist. She earned her master of art in psychology from the University of Akron and her PhD in counseling psychology from the same university. At UF, Dr. Moradi teaches an undergraduate advanced seminar in the psychology of women.
Penn State University
Dr. Richard Carlson is a professor of psychology and the associate head of the Department of Psychology at Penn State University. Dr. Carlson’s research interests include consciousness, cognitive control, acquisition of cognitive skill, working memory, causal thinking, attention, symbolic and spatial problem solving, spatial reference frames, and metacognition.
Dr. Carlson is a well-published scholar, with journal articles appearing in distinguished publications such as the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition and Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Dr. Carlson is also an ad hoc reviewer for 26 academic journals, and serves in editorial positions for the American Journal of Psychology, Behavior Research Methods, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Dr. Carlson’s teaching interests include cognitive psychology, research methods, cognitive science, introductory psychology, and human memory. He teaches the internship course in Penn State’s bachelor of psychology programs. He earned his master of art in psychology and his PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois.
Purdue Global University
Elizabeth Donnellan is a professor of undergraduate psychology in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Purdue Global University. Ms. Donnelan has extensive professional experience in the fields of school counseling, crisis/rape counseling, trauma treatment, addiction, and mental health.
Currently, Ms. Donnelan is finishing work at the PhD level in the interdisciplinary studies, where her research focus is stress, trauma, treatment, and resilience. She is a published scholar with works appearing in refereed journals and published textbooks. She has also had the honor of presenting and national behavioral health conferences. She earned her master of education from Rhode Island College and currently teaches various undergraduate courses related to addiction.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?
Because graduates in psychology are not qualified to provide many clinical services, many psychology-related jobs will be in assisting positions, administrative positions, or stepping-stone entry-level positions. The following are examples of two positions that someone with an earned bachelors in psychology can pursue following graduation:
Social and Community Service Managers
Students with a background in psychology, specifically those who pursue industrial/organizational psychology, are well-suited to a position as a social and community service manager. Social and community service managers are the engines that ensure needed and necessary social services like crisis services, mental health counseling, and veterans services are both effective and can remain available.
Social and community services managers may engage in work functions like analyzing data and programmatic efficacy, working to identify needed programming, planning and managing outreach, and grant writing. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (2019), demand for this profession is anticipated to grow by 13 percent between 2018 and 2028—much faster than the national average for all professions (5 percent)—adding 21,900 jobs to the market The average annual salary for a social and community service manager in May 2019 was $72,900 per year.
Social and Human Service Assistant
With higher-than-average levels of knowledge and skills regarding the inner workings of the human mind, those who with an earned BA or BS in psychology can begin to move toward a career as a clinician by becoming a social and human service assistant.
Working in the field of psychology, rehab, or social work, social and human service assistants work under the supervision of licensed and/or certified clinical professionals to provide clients with the care and services they need. Social and human services assistants may help with treatment plans, client clinician assignment and follow up, connecting clients to government and other forms of aid, and client and clinician assistance with documentation and paperwork. The BLS (2019) predicts that these jobs will also experience a 13 percent growth rate nationally, leading to 52,200 new social and human service assistant jobs between 2018 and 2028. The average salary for a social and human services assistant in May 2019 was $35,830 per year.