Top 10 Online Colleges for Psychology

Choosing from the top online colleges for psychology degrees does not have to be a daunting task. Those who are interested in a psychology degree often are pursuing this degree so they can help people or make the world a better place. They may be interested in becoming counselors, addiction specialists, school guidance counselors, or researchers. Depending on whether they are pursuing an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree, students could be investing many years in their studies and want to learn from the best in the industry.

Psychology colleges online are especially appealing for the older student who is already juggling a family and a full-time job. Classes can be taken remotely from the student’s home and many tasks can be performed at night or on weekends when their time is free.

A traditional on-campus undergraduate degree in psychology takes four years to complete if a student is attending classes full time. Online courses are more flexible. Students who want to earn their degrees more quickly can find accelerated programs that cut a normal 16-week semester down to five, eight, or ten weeks. Other students prefer to take fewer classes with longer breaks and therefore extend their learning schedule.

Applying to online psychology colleges requires proof of a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Most psychology colleges online also require a minimum score on the ACT or SAT standardized tests and the completion of required admission forms. Students who are transferring from another college or program will be required to submit transcripts from all of the programs they have attended.

Psychology degree programs online differ from on-campus programs in a number of important ways. While traditional on-campus programs require students to attend in-person classes and often require them to live on campus during their freshmen year, online programs can be completed remotely. Many students who attend online colleges do not live in the city, state, or even country where the college’s campus is located.

Online courses can often be taken according to the student’s specific schedule. Instead of attending a class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 am, online courses can be accessed in the evenings or on weekends when the student has time to complete them. Tests can be completed online once a certain amount of coursework has been covered.

Students attending online programs still get help from counselors and advisors, but do so in a virtual environment instead of in person. Students also have access to faculty via Skype, phone, email, and video chat if they need to ask questions, get clarification, or just want further interaction with their instructors. Some online programs also encourage students to develop relationships with each other through chat rooms, virtual study groups, or other means.

Typical courses for an online program degree in psychology are usually the same as they would be for a traditional on-campus program. These include core classes in subjects such as English, history, math, and science and electives in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and other subjects.

General psychology coursework typically covers topics such as introduction to psychology, abnormal psychology, approaching to personality, cognitive psychology, experimental psychology, and forensic psychology. Coursework is based on whether a student is earning a BA or BS in psychology and what the student’s plans are after they achieve their degree. Focus areas can change if online learners plan to obtain a graduate degree or if they have already chosen a field in which they want to pursue a career.

A degree in psychology is one of the most flexible available. Students who are interested in human behavior can use it to become a researcher or experimental psychologist. Those who want to help people can become social workers, counselors, therapists, or child care workers. While many of those who earn undergraduate degrees tend to work in the fields of social work, a psychology degree can also be helpful to those who want to practice law, who work in sales or advertising, or who pursue careers in teaching or writing.

An undergraduate degree in psychology is also a good base for those who want to pursue higher degrees. Those who want to become psychologists or counselors can do so with a Master’s degree. There are also higher degrees available for those who want to pursue a career in management or in the world of business.

Typical salaries for psychology degree graduates range from $31,000 to over $100,000. While those who do not pursue higher education, and go into fields of social services are at the low end of the spectrum, graduates who attain higher degrees and go into fields of business, management, or therapy can earn salaries on the high end.

The schools listed in this article were chosen by referencing lists published by US News, Best College Reviews, The Best Schools, and Niche. The top ten listed below were the ones mentioned most frequently in these publications.

Those who are interested in pursuing a degree in psychology but do not want to attend a traditional program should consider these top online colleges for psychology.

10. Fort Hays State University

Ranked among the first in the nation for affordability and quality in online education, Fort Hays State University is located in the heart of Kansas. With a well-regarded virtual college, FHSU offers four psychology degrees online: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Science in School Psychology, and Education Specialist in School Psychology. Their online degree programs utilize cutting-edge learning technology and are fully accredited.

With enrollment in the school’s virtual college at just under 7,000 students, FHSU has students from more than 20 countries. Personal academic advisors work with each online student to guide them through their learning experience, which enhances their reputation as one of the top online colleges for psychology.

9. University of Massachusetts

A staple in the New England towns of Boston, Amherst, Dartmouth, and Lowell, the University of Massachusetts is one of the world’s best-rated universities. Their online programs, dubbed UMassOnline, offers a fully accredited array of programs that lands it on the list of best online psychology colleges. With four bachelor’s and four master’s degrees in psychology and one graduate certificate in victim studies, UMassOnline has plenty for the potential psych student to choose from.

UMassOnline offers 24/7/365 access to coursework, continual technical support, and an award-winning faculty to accompany students on the road to learning. By attending the same classes and learning from the same faculty as on-campus students, UMassOnline students are exposed to a world-class education from the comfort of their own homes.

8. Ottawa University

A non-profit, private, Christian liberal-arts college based in Ottawa, KS, Ottawa University provides a small environment with just over 7,000 students on-campus and online combined. They offer an online undergraduate degree in psychology and a master of arts degree in counseling.

Students looking for a Christ-inspired education in psychology colleges online that will help them serve through their degrees may find a good home at Ottawa University. This regionally accredited college focuses not only on education, but also personal growth, faith, and leadership. Their exceptional faculty and low student-to-faculty ratio ensure a personally guided educational journey.

7. Bellevue University

A private, non-profit college founded in 1966 and located in the heart of Omaha, NE, Bellevue University offers unprecedented student support for the online learner. They offer a BS in psychology that helps students develop skills to communicate and present on psychological topics as well as learn analytical skills to better prepare students to understand human behavior.

Bellevue also offers a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling that sets it apart from other psychology colleges online. Though all of the coursework can be performed online for this degree, 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of clinical internship must be performed under the supervision of a counseling professional.

6. Washington State University

Washington State University’s online learning program is referred to as the WSU Global Campus and utilizes new technology paired with traditional values to make it one of the top online colleges for psychology. The instructors in the psychology program are experts in the fields of clinical and experimental psychology and are dedicated to providing an enriching online education.

WSU offers a BS in psychology that is ideal for those students who want to study the field in a broader liberal arts-based atmosphere. The program is uniquely set up for those students who plan to work in the fields of research and development or management and for those who will seek a higher degree in social work, education, medicine, business, or law.

5. University of Florida

The University of Florida online learning program, called UF Online, offers a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, which is one of the most popular on campus. The on-campus faculty, which incorporates experts in fields like behavior analysis, developmental psychology, and social psychology, is the same faculty that teaches online courses.

UF Online provides students looking for psychology colleges several online flexible learning options and access to all the benefits of a major research institution. It focuses on removing barriers that often occur in online learning environments and strives to give its distance students the same elite education that on-campus students receive.

4. Drexel University

A global research university that is ranked in the top 100 colleges in the country, Drexel University is on the cutting edge of technology and has one of the oldest online programs in the world. Their online programs feature the same learning materials and faculty as the traditional on-campus courses, making it a top pick among psychology colleges online.

Drexel offers an online BS in psychology. The program is fully online and uses an interactive online platform that is engaging, easy to use, and perfect for those with full-time careers. The psychology courses teach students theory and real-world applications to use to further their careers or obtain a graduate degree.

3. Arizona State University

With a faculty including Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Fulbright scholars, Arizona State University Online is the number one university in the country for innovation. The college offers an online BS and BA in psychology and a master’s degree in social work and is consistently among the top online colleges for psychology.

ASU’s highly interactive online platform is interactive and engaging and facilitates communication and interaction with the faculty as well as other students in the program. ASU’s online program is designed to take the best of what ASU has to offer and make it available worldwide. Success coaches and advisors are also available to help online students stay on track.

2. Oregon State University

Oregon State University’s e-campus features a highly interactive platform that engages students and encourages them to interact with faculty and other students, making it a popular choice among psychology colleges online. They offer a BS and BA in psychology fully online. These programs are intended to help students understand why and how humans think and feel and provide an appreciation for humanity as well as ways to improve it.

OSU also offers a master of counseling in clinical mental health counseling, a master of counseling in school counseling, and a Ph.D. in counseling. Online graduate programs are supplemented by on-campus classes twice a term.

1. Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus is the online division of Penn State University, which is one of the most highly regarded colleges in the nation. The online programs are taught by faculty who have years of experience teaching online courses and created with learning outcomes and convenience in mind. This makes them stand out among other online psychology colleges.

Penn State World Campus offers a BA and BS in psychology as well as an online master of professional studies in the psychology of leadership. World Campus students also founded the world’s first online Psychology Club. The Club uses various online means to connect more than 100 members throughout the world.

These top online colleges for psychology are excellent choices for the adult learner who wants to continue working full-time and/or taking care of a family while they pursue higher education.


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