The 2022 Guide to Online Bachelor of Psychology Programs

If you’re passionate about helping others and making a difference, you might want to major in psychology. A bachelor’s degree in psychology may help prepare you for a variety of professional and academic opportunities. Below, you can explore online bachelor’s in psychology programs to find the best one for you. 

What Is a Bachelor of Psychology? 

You may think a counseling degree and a psychology degree are synonymous; after all, they both are concerned with mental health. However, there are a few distinctions between the two. Students earning a Bachelor of Psychology degree may study human (and animal) behavior, the mind, emotions and thoughts that influence behavior and social interactions. 

People majoring in psychology may focus more on humanities and social sciences with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, or concentrate on the scientific aspects of psychology with a Bachelor of Science (BS). Both options allow students to pursue higher degrees, such as a master’s degree in psychology.  

In contrast, a Bachelor of Science in Counseling degree may be the first step to becoming a licensed counselor, which often requires a graduate degree that includes several hundred hours spent in a practicum or internship placement and thousands of hours of supervised postgraduate experience. Undergraduate degrees in counseling may focus on specific areas such as addiction treatment.  

Can You Earn a Bachelor’s in Psychology Online? 

Yes. Today, many higher education institutions offer fully remote undergraduate and graduate programs. While the learning experience may differ from the one you would have on-campus, the knowledge and skills you gain through an online education in psychology will be equal to in-person. 

While schools may have their own virtual learning platforms to view lectures and interact with peers, you’ll likely need access to a microphone, webcam and a reliable internet connection. A virtual meeting platform like Zoom may also be helpful for communicating with peers. When searching for the right online program for you, look for elements such as engaging content taught by expert educators, technical support and clear expectations and instructions.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Accredited Programs  

College accreditation, national or regional, is a form of certification that ensures an institution or specialized program meets a standard of quality and performance. Earning a degree such as a bachelor’s in psychology from an accredited program indicates the program’s quality and curriculum meet the standards of that profession.

Online Psychology Degree Transfer Credits 

If you have already completed several hours of coursework or an associate degree, you may be able to apply them to your bachelor’s in psychology degree. Some online programs allow students to transfer college credits; however, each school has its own requirements. 

Bachelor’s in Psychology Online Program Admissions Requirements 

Since a psychology degree may lead to a variety of careers in and outside the field, the degree remains popular among undergraduate students. As college enrollment continues to climb, college admissions may be more competitive. When applying, be sure to note any submission deadlines and what items you must provide to meet all the online bachelor’s degree admissions requirements. 

The admission process varies among schools. While each school will have a specific list of required documentation, some common online bachelor’s degree admissions requirements include:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Completed application.
  • Transcripts from high school or previously attended colleges and universities. 
  • SAT/ACT test scores. 

Some institutions may require minimum GPAs or test scores for admission. 

Bachelor of Psychology Degree, No SAT Requirement 

With a growing number of schools adopting test-optional policies, some schools offer a bachelor’s of psychology degree with no SAT required. Instead, schools may look at other strengths like a high GPA. If you haven’t taken the SAT or did not perform well on the test, this option may be ideal. 

Online BA in Psychology Program Curriculum 

As a psychology major, you will need to complete around 120 credit hours of coursework across many subfields and specialties. Depending on your concentration, such as addictions, forensic psychology, applied psychology or child and adolescent development, you may take classes that focus on topics like human behavior and development and cognition. While online bachelor’s in psychology programs differ from school to school, core courses may include:

  • Introduction to Psychology – Students examine the human mind and the science behind why humans think, feel and do things. 
  • Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology – Study focuses on mammalian form and function principles, including muscle contractions, signal transduction and neural transmission.
  • Theories of Personality – Students gain in-depth knowledge of personality development, theories and assessments in various contexts.  

In addition to your core classwork, you will likely be required to complete a specified number of elective and general education courses such as:

  • English Composition – This college-level writing course focuses on writing in narrative and analytical forms.
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Problem-Solving – Inductive/deductive reasoning, conceptual understanding and creative problem-solving.
  • Technology and Society – Trends, technological literacy, interpersonal experiences and social responsibility.

Prerequisites for a Bachelor’s in Psychology Online Degree 

Because it is an undergraduate degree, most schools will not have specific psychology degree prerequisites. Colleges may have courses required for general admission, such as a certain number of math or science classes in high school. To help you decide if a program is right for you, contact your school’s admissions department before applying to verify any prerequisites and whether they must be completed at that institution. Some programs may have prerequisite courses you must take to continue the degree, such as an entry-level psychology course that allows you to take subsequent classes in this major. 

Online Bachelor’s in Psychology FAQ 

Asking questions as you explore the options of online bachelor’s in psychology degree programs can help you pick the best school for you and your needs. Students may be uncertain whether psychology is a good major, whether they can become a psychologist with a bachelor’s degree and about alternative career paths. 

Is Psychology a Good Major?

Psychology is one of the more popular majors for undergraduates, suggesting that many students find it rewarding and fulfilling and that there is demand for bachelor’s in psychology degrees. Some students may find psychology challenging, but they want to make a difference in people’s lives. Some may want to pursue a specialty and prepare for graduate study. Ultimately, If psychology is a topic you love and are interested in, it can be a good major for you.

Can You Call Yourself a Psychologist With Only a Bachelor’s? 

While there are jobs for graduates with a bachelor’s in psychology degree, to practice as an independent psychologist, you must be licensed or registered in the state you wish to practice. In most states, you must also possess a doctoral degree. Some states permit graduates with a master’s in psychology degree or a master’s in clinical psychology degree to practice, often in a limited scope under the supervision of a licensed doctoral-level psychologist. It’s important you check your state’s licensure board for specific practicing requirements.

How Much Can You Make With a Bachelor’s in Psychology?

A bachelor’s in psychology can lead to a wide range of career options and psychology degree salaries. A master’s in psychology might earn you more than a bachelor’s in psychology salary, as evidenced by the $82,510 median clinical and counseling psychologist salary as of May 2021.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook is positive and the job growth rate for psychologists is expected to be 8% between 2020 and 2030. 

What Are Some Alternative Careers for Psychology Majors? 

Psychology majors who graduate from online programs may choose to pursue alternative careers. Because psychology and counseling both involve the study of human behavior, you may consider a counseling career. If you enjoy working with children or young adults, a school psychologist or social work role may be a good choice. And if you would like to work with those who have autism, you may want to pursue applied behavioral analysis. Some of these career paths may require master’s degrees or additional training.

Find the Best Bachelor’s in Psychology Online Program for You 

Every person has a different educational journey, which is why selecting the best online psychology degree program is an important decision. With all the web-based education options available, it’s likely one will meet your interests as well as your personal and career goals. Whether a bachelor’s in psychology is a stepping-stone to an advanced degree or a path to getting into the workforce is up to you. All you have to do is take the first step.

Last updated April 2022