Deciding to go forward with a psychology degree is a rewarding choice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the demand for careers in this field will steadily rise through 2018. With a plethora of online psychology degree programs, achieving your goal is easier than ever. To help get you started, we have collected data from various programs and ranked them for you.
- Capella University (B.S.) – Psychology
- Walden University – (B.S.) in Psychology
- Post University – (B.A.) in Psychology
The methodology used in analyzing schools are authentic student reviews aggregated from across the internet. The data is subjective and based upon the actual perceptions of former students. In many cases, the reviews were comprehensive and utilized formal surveys to assign percentage scores. The are 4 primary criteria we chose for this assessment: perception of curriculum educational quality, percentage of students who complete degree programs, the cost of tuition, and the level of program difficulty.
The criteria was selected in part due to the results of a consumer report published by Sloan Consortium. “Changing Course: Tracking 10 Years of Online Learning In The United States” looks at how online enrollment is growing among degree seeking students. It also tracks what students are looking for from a degree program. Along with the obvious benefits, such as convenience, access to a quality education was a top priority.
Affordability and tuition prices are a major concern. With the downturn in the economy and the unemployment rate reaching all time highs, many distance learners are seeking second careers. Adults typically have regular jobs and attend online schooling part time and they may have less access to funds. Even younger students worry, because eventually those student loans must be repaid.
Another important factor is reputation. With the rise of profit seeking degree mills, students are more concerned than ever about choosing a legitimate university. The same is true for online psychology classes. Ensuring that educational credits transfer to a legitimate, useful diploma is a major desire among online learners.
A numerical score was given for each of the 4 criteria based on a sliding scale of 1 to 10. 5 would be considered average, with 1 being the worst and 10 the best.. The total across all category was added together, then divide by 4. This resulted in a mean value for each school. Keep in mind that while programs are ranked based on this value, they differ in strengths and weakness for each category. A school with a slightly lower quality rating can outflank one with high tuition and low completion rates.
All of the schools in this article rank above average and are in listed in descending order with the best first. Please note that all of the programs are fully accredited. There was very little statistical difference in results among the type of degree, so the information was combined. Each schools strengths and scores are discussed underneath.
Ranking The Top 10 Online Psychology Degree Programs
1. Walden University
Walden university was the top scoring school across all categories. Over 66 percent of polled students say they would return. This program also has the second lowest tuition of any other program, charging around $290 per credit hour. Students will find both undergraduate and graduate programs. 70 percent of enrollees complete their education, making the overall success rate high when compared with other programs. The coursework is perceived as more challenging than expected.
2. California Southern University
Coming in a close second, California Southern University offers highly competitive benefits. The tuition varies among degree programs, starting at $250 / credit for Associates degrees and maxing out at $395 for a PsyD. This is still way below the average tuition price. In addition, the school offers locked in rates and no interest payment plans. 69 percent of students reported that they perceive the quality of education to be better than that of other schools. Curriculum difficulty scored a 7.3 out of 10.
Capella University tied with California Southern University. It is a big name among distance learning programs and it appears the reputation is well earned. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available. Capella has the second highest graduation rate of all of the programs. Job placement assistance is one of the perks that students appreciated. It is listed in third place because the tuition is slightly higher, although still significantly less than others, ranging from $340 to $440 per credit.
Rasmussen is not as well known as the other schools, but it has been around since the 1900s. It originally began as a business school and branched into other subjects in later years. Students rank the psychology program very well. The culture is very student focused. The downside is that they only offer an Associates degree. Tuition is $353 per credit and the coursework is of average difficulty. Interestingly, this program scored the highest on quality of education, but had fewer reviews than other programs.
5. Liberty University Online
Liberty University Online was the big winner when it came to the percentage of students that complete degree programs. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available for $340 to $520 per credit hour. The coursework was of average difficulty, but what students really liked about Liberty was the easy enrollment process. Liberty University is a christian school, so students have a very detailed code of conduct to abide by.
6. Florida Technical Institute
Florida Technical Institute ranked among the best in the nation in a US News survey, but our methodology places the organization sixth. While overall program quality was high, the coursework was the most difficult of the programs. Degree completion rates fell slightly from that of other programs, with 7 out of 10 students graduating.
7. Colorado State University
Number 7 in our list of top online psychology degree programs is Colorado State University. With this school, we start to see tuition prices inch upwards. Undergraduate degrees start at $379 and graduate degrees at $549. Student comments consistently show that the online learning platform used by Colorado State is simple and well liked.
8. Penn State
Penn State’s online learning program is called “World Campus.” The classes are identical to those offered on campus. The Wall Street Journal chose this school as the top in the nation for the best prepared graduates. It lands into eighth place in our rankings because the graduation rate fell into the almost average range. The curriculum is noted for being rigorous, so that may explain why. The tuition rates are below $560, keeping Penn State place as a top contender among online schools.
9. Arizona State University
More than 50 percent of Arizona State University students said, if given a choice, they would return to this program. What they enjoy is the friendly, laid back attitude of the staff and the simple operating platform. ASU partners with Google, integrating education apps into the online program. The quality of education is perceived to be above average and of medium difficulty. Tuition is based on the degree tract chosen, starting at $460 per credit hour and advancing to $852 per credit hour. The good news is that rates are not segregated based on residency.
10. Adler School of Professional Psychology
Adler only offers advanced professional degrees in psychology. It is the only private school in our list and enrolls less than 1,000 students annually. As can be expected with smaller private schools, this program is big on prestige. It was named after the professional psychologist that pioneered the field of community psychology. It has one of the highest scores for quality of education, but only an average graduation rate. The tuition is the highest of all the schools rated, averaging over $1200 per credit.