2022 Bachelor’s in Psychology Online Program Guide

A bachelor’s degree in psychology aims to teach you how and why people think and behave the way they do. These types of degree programs are designed to help psychology majors develop an understanding of human behavior, thought processes and interactions.

Below, we’ll explore what earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology online entails.

What Is a Bachelor’s in Psychology Degree?

A bachelor’s in psychology degree program focuses on understanding aspects of human behavior such as decision-making, learning and motivation. There are two primary options for students interested in earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology online: a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). 

The BA degree in psychology track is often followed by those pursuing a career in clinical practice, counseling, healthcare or business. 

Comparatively, a BS degree in psychology incorporates a deeper use of math, science and statistics. It may act as a foundation for a professional path based on research.

There is also some overlap in the curriculum of a BA in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW), but there are key differences. Professionals in psychology tend to concentrate on the physical and medical aspects of human behavior. While social work careers may also involve elements of psychotherapy, the focus is often on connecting people with their community and services available to them. 

Simmons University

Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology

Women with 17+ prior college credits or an associate degree: Discover an innovative online applied psychology bachelor’s program designed specifically for women and built on Simmons University’s 100+ year history of empowering women. 

  • Empowering women to become leaders for 100+ years
  • Up to 96 transfer credits accepted, plus credit for life experience
  • Degree programs are designed for working professionals and can be completed part time 


Curriculum for BA in Psychology

While the curriculum for a BA in psychology varies with each school, there are some similarities that are shared by many programs. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides guidelines for undergraduate psychology degree education that are meant to support the wide array of careers that graduates may pursue with an education in psychology. 

According to the APA guidelines, the following are features of a quality undergraduate education in psychology

  • Teaches workplace skills for the digital age.
  • Offers a solid academic background as preparation for advanced study. 
  • Develops knowledge, skills and abilities that will enhance students’ personal lives. 

The course offerings for online psychology classes are often similar to the options for on-campus coursework. You will likely study the humanities and take foundational courses in math and statistics. After your first few semesters, the curriculum may shift to courses that focus on the social and behavioral sciences, as well as principles of psychology. Depending on the program, you may be able to specialize in a specific area of psychology by selecting electives that best suit your interests.

General Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor’s in Psychology

Common program admission requirements may be similar to other undergraduate programs and could include:

  • Take the ACT or SAT. 
  • Achieve a minimum GPA.
  • Meet prerequisites for high school coursework, such as a minimum number of years for math, science, English or foreign language.
  • Complete an application and submit the application fee.
  • Send a transcript of high school classes.
  • Submit an essay or personal statement. 
  • Submit letters of recommendation.

Look closely at the psychology degree requirements for the online bachelor’s in psychology programs you’re most interested in pursuing as these may vary widely from school to school. In addition, some programs may have specific requirements for declaring a major in psychology even if you are already enrolled in the college or university.

BA in Psychology Scholarships

The first step in learning more about online psychology degree financial aid might be completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to determine eligibility for grants, loans, scholarships and Federal Work-Study programs.

Check with your school’s financial aid department to learn more about your eligibility for loans and scholarships. Oftentimes, you will find that schools have partnerships with specific scholarship organizations. Scholarships may be available based on merits such as test scores or GPA or on financial need. Individual departments at your school may offer scholarships as well.

On-Campus vs. Online Psychology Degrees

You have the option of pursuing an online psychology degree or an on-campus program. The online option typically has a more flexible schedule, allowing you to complete the coursework when it’s convenient for you. Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology online requires self-discipline and strong time management skills because your time is less structured. 

The on-campus track may be more rigid since these programs usually have a fixed schedule and require traveling to campus for classes. One of the benefits is personal interaction with faculty and classmates, which may be difficult to achieve with some online courses. 

If you’re interested in pursuing your bachelor’s in psychology online, be sure to research which classes are available online and which are not. Many BA in psychology programs are offered entirely online, but in some cases, general education requirements (such as foreigh language courses, for example) may only be offered on campus.

What Can You Do With a BA in Psychology? 

Wondering what you can do with a BA in psychology? Developing a thorough understanding of human behavior through a BA degree in psychology offers a foundation for a broad range of careers. You can pursue clinical and research positions with a higher degree in psychology, or you may opt to use the knowledge you gained during your bachelor’s program to apply for jobs in a variety of fields related to social and behavioral sciences.

BA in Psychology Careers

Careers with a psychology degree are varied, though many fall under the category of helping professions. A few potential careers for someone who has completed a BA in psychology online degree include:

  • Advertising sales representative
  • Career information specialist 
  • Caseworker
  • Child development specialist 
  • Counselor 
  • Employee relations specialist 
  • Financial aid counselor
  • Human resource advisor 
  • Probation officer 
  • Social worker
  • Substance abuse counselor 
  • Veterans counselor

Some students who earn a BA in psychology may be interested in pursuing an advanced degree and becoming a psychologist. There is some overlap between social workers, psychologists and counselors, but there are also some key differences to keep in mind. If you’re interested in becoming a psychologist, be aware that practicing as a psychologist requires at least a master’s degree, and in many cases a doctorate is required. 

Graduate Psychology Degrees Online

An online bachelor’s in psychology could be a foundation for further study in social work, applied behavior analysis, counseling and other mental health licensed professions. After you earn your BA, you’ll be prepared to pursue other online psychology degrees, such as a master’s in psychology or doctorate in psychology. You may also be interested in pursuing advanced degrees in a related field, such as a master’s degree in social work.

If you’d like to become a psychologist, most states require a graduate degree from a regionally-accredited institution. Before deciding which type of psychology degree you’d like to pursue, make sure you know the licensure requirements in the states where you would like to practice. For more information on state requirements, visit the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards website.

BA in Psychology FAQs

A BA in psychology is a popular degree, and many students have questions about completing a psychology degree online. We’ll answer some of those frequently asked questions to help you on your journey toward obtaining an online bachelor of arts in psychology.

What Is the Difference Between a BS and a BA in Psychology?

If you’re wondering about the differences between a BA vs BS in psychology, it often comes down to the emphasis of the program. A BS in psychology tends to concentrate on research, so there is a heavier focus on math and statistics. The BA option is often chosen by those interested in joining the workforce immediately after college. A BA in psychology may offer more elective class opportunities to allow you to prepare for a variety of career options.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology Online?

In general, earning a BA in psychology online or on campus takes about four years. You may be able to sign up for an accelerated program to complete the BA in three years or less if you have already earned advanced placement or college credit. Some accelerated programs may also require taking classes in the summer.

Is Psychology an Easy Major? 

The difficulty level of a psychology major depends on the individual and the field of psychological study they decide to specialize in. For the most part, psychology coursework does take a lot of research, time and commitment. You may take classes in social sciences and the humanities, as well as the sciences and mathematics. There may also be opportunities to participate in internships and field work.

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

A BA in psychology salary varies based on your role and where you work—that said, compensation is typically higher for someone with an advanced degree. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for a licensed psychologist with a PhD was $82,180 in 2020. By comparison, the median wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors, where a bachelor’s degree is often required, was $47,660 in 2020. Overall, jobs for these types of counselors are expected to increase by 25% in the next decade.

Last updated January 2022