Psychology bachelor’s programs examine human emotions, thought processes, personalities, and behaviors. Students in bachelor’s in psychology programs typically complete general education coursework, core psychology classes, and electives. Schools may offer BA, BS, or BAS psychology programs.
BA programs emphasize liberal arts and social science courses, supporting careers in diverse areas, like social work, criminal justice, journalism, and business. BS programs focus more on science coursework, covering topics like statistical analysis, neuroscience, and clinical psychology. BS degrees often prepare students for graduate study. Meanwhile, BAS degrees emphasize practical skills to prepare students to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.
This guide ranks the best online bachelor’s in psychology programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as answers to frequently asked questions and scholarship opportunities for psychology students.
What can you do with a bachelor's in psychology?
Common careers for psychology bachelor’s graduates include crisis services worker, behavioral health technician, community organizer, and child services counselor. Graduates can also pursue master’s and doctoral degrees.
Is a BA or BS in psychology better?
BA programs often support learners seeking careers in diverse sectors and industries. Alternatively, BS programs better suit aspiring graduate students and mental health professionals.
How long is a bachelor's in psychology program?
Psychology bachelor’s degrees usually require 120 credits and take about four years of full-time study to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs.
Is a bachelor's in psychology program hard?
The best psychology bachelor’s programs challenge most students. However, enrollees with strong analytical and interpersonal skills often do well in these programs.
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Why Get a Psychology Degree?
Bachelor’s in psychology enrollees gain many personal and professional advantages, several of which we outline below.
- Career Advancement
- Many working professionals pursue a bachelor’s in psychology to increase their career options and salary potential.
- Salary Increase
- PayScale data from February 2021 indicates that psychology associate degree graduates make an average salary of $46,250 annually, while bachelor’s graduates make $64,910.
- Diverse Opportunities
- Psychology graduates can apply their knowledge and skills to careers in diverse fields, including business, human services, criminal justice, and journalism.
- Powerful Insights
- Psychology often yields insights regarding human minds, emotions, and behaviors. As a result, psychology graduates often benefit from heightened self-awareness and relational skills.
- Prepare for Master’s Programs
- Psychologists need a graduate degree to practice. Earning a related bachelor’s degree can help learners receive admission to graduate programs.
How Much Does a Psychology Major Make?
Bachelor’s in psychology degrees prepare graduates for diverse roles, such as behavioral health technician and corrections caseworker. These jobs often pay between $30,000-$50,000 annually. However, with additional training, education, and/or professional experience, bachelor’s in psychology graduates may qualify for higher-paying roles such as community services manager, counselor or psychologist, training development manager, or psychology professor.
Bachelor’s in Psychology Program Requirements
Admission requirements vary by school. Many bachelor’s in psychology programs require applicants to hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit transcripts, recommendation letters, and standardized test scores. Online bachelor’s in psychology degree-completion programs may expect applicants to possess an associate degree or 60 transferable credits. The best psychology bachelor’s programs may require applicants to meet minimum GPA requirements.
Once admitted, students complete general education requirements in areas like humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and sciences. Enrollees also complete core and specialized psychology courses. Many programs also incorporate an internship requirement.
Bachelor’s in Psychology Specializations
A broad discipline, psychology includes many specializations, several of which we outline below.
Clinical psychology focuses on best practices for the clinical treatment of emotional, mental, and behavioral issues. Clinical psychologists may specialize in working with specific populations, such as LGBTQ+ individuals, the elderly, or young people.
This field focuses on clinical practices that encourage understanding, healing, and empowerment. These professionals use psychotherapeutic and counseling techniques to support individuals and groups in various contexts, including schools, businesses, and community agencies.
Concentrating on teaching and learning issues and methods, educational psychology focuses on topics such as motivation, diversity, and ability. Educational psychology may involve research, program design, and direct therapeutic support.
This specialization prepares students to apply psychological principles and practices to legal cases and settings. Forensic psychology learners study psychological phenomena influencing eyewitness testimony, criminal behavior, and jury behavior.
This field examines psychological, social, and biological influences on health. Common research areas include pain management, health habits, medical advice compliance, and responses to illness.
This concentration focuses on research and practice that support student well-being, learning, and behavior. School psychologists usually work at schools, collaborating with parents, teachers, and administrators in supporting students.
Courses in a Psychology Bachelor’s Program
Psychology bachelor’s programs usually require about 120 credits, including around 30-60 credits of general education coursework. BA programs require more general education courses, while BS programs feature more psychology courses. Core psychology courses often cover topics like statistics, research methods, psychology theory, and ethics and diversity. Enrollees may also complete senior seminars, which often feature a capstone experience or project.
Courses vary by program, but the following three courses appear in many online bachelor’s in psychology programs.
Often called human development, lifespan psychology courses study how human psychology changes through infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Learners study major developmental psychology theories and issues. Bachelor’s in psychology programs typically require this course, particularly for students concentrating in child psychology or school psychology.
Social psychology studies the way that people reflect on, assess, and react to social experiences. Topics often include altruism, aggression, cooperation, and prejudice. Enrollees also study self concepts, socialization, group dynamics, and interpersonal attraction.
Usually appearing as a concentration or a core course, the psychology of cultural and ethnic diversity examines effective psychological theories and practices for diverse populations and contexts. Enrollees explore diversity theories to better understand group, organizational, regional, and global diversity.
Scholarships for Psychology
Students can take advantage of scholarships to help offset the cost of a degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students earning a bachelor’s in psychology.
National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Learners studying a behavioral or social health-related field with a minimum 3.3 GPA qualify for this scholarship. Candidates must demonstrate exceptional financial need. Recipients commit to one, 10-week summer research experience and one year of work at an NIH research lab for each year they receive funding.
Amount: Up to $20,000.
Psi Chi Undergraduate Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Psi Chi offers these scholarships to exceptional undergraduates pursuing psychology degrees. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and submit recommendation letters, transcripts, and resumes.
Sharon Stephens Brehm Undergraduate Psychology Scholarships
Who Can Apply: This American Psychological Foundation scholarship supports current undergraduate psychology students. Eligible candidates must demonstrate financial need and hold a minimum 3.5 GPA.