In order to provide prospective students with the best chance at having a great education, we have compiled this list of the top psychology programs in the nation. Some schools may excel at online programs while others may focus exclusively on the traditional, on-campus aspect of higher education. Regardless of the delivery format, these psychology schools excel at providing a quality education for their students.
Ever wonder how you’ll finish your psychology degree? Or do you want to start a psychology degree, but can’t seem to find the time? We understand how that goes. Life can keep you from your educational, or ultimately, your professional goals. That’s why we’ve created a list of some of the best psychology programs in the entire country.
Getting a psychology degree isn’t as cut and dry as it looks. The field of psychology covers clinical psychology, forensic psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, educational psychology, and others. The outlook for careers in psychology is way better than average. It’s expected to grow 19 percent from 2014-2024, dwarfing the average job growth of 4 percent. The median pay for psychologists is $75,230, and the first step to getting there is finishing that degree!
Online degrees are the perfect way to finish what you started without needing a complete life makeover. You don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot on campus so you can make it to class on time, or worry about signing up for classes that work around your schedule, and perhaps the rest of your family’s schedule, too. Getting your psychology degree online will allow you to fit your educational plans into your life in a way that makes the most sense for you.
If you’re looking for a master’s degree in psychology, check out our masters in psychology page.
|1||University of Central Florida||Orlando, Florida|
|2||Central Washington University||Ellensburg, Washington|
|3||Drexel University||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|4||Fort Hays State University||Hays, Kansas|
|5||Oregon Institute of Technology||Klamath Falls, Oregon|
Here are the Best Psychology Programs
University of Central Florida
Founded in 1963 and located in Orlando, Florida, UCF is ranked as a best-value university by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s most affordable psychology colleges by Forbes. Nearly 45 percent of UCF students graduate debt-free. This 1,400-acre university currently draws more than 64,000 students, and its fully online degree programs include bachelor and master degrees programs as well as master certificates. By completing the online psychology program at UCF you could prepare yourself for a career as a higher education administrator, career counselor, mental health care provider, researcher, psychologist, or psychiatric technician.
Central Washington University
CWU is a public, four-year university located in historic Ellensburg, Washington. It was opened in 1891 as Washington State Normal School with Mr. Benjamin Franklin Barge as its first principal. In a new ranking system that measures a college by its economic value to its graduates, CWU is the top-ranked four-year university in the state of Washington, according to The Economist magazine. CWU also serves more students online than any other comprehensive university in Washington. “Finish Line” is an online campus launched in fall 2011 to enable people to complete degrees online. Central’s online psychology degree program was recognized as being in the top 30 online programs in the nation.
Drexel University’s psychology degree is available as an online degree. Online classes are highly interactive and designed to challenge and engage while remaining convenient for those with busy schedules. Drexel’s Department of Psychology is at the forefront of research in forensic psychology, cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, and clinical psychology. Students will gain a strong background in research methods and develop an understanding of the practical applications of psychological science.
Fort Hays State University
In 1902, 57 students paid a $5 fee to take FHSU’s first summer courses at the Fort Hays Infirmary that had been abandoned in 1889. In 1904 a large renovation began as the small city of Hays made room for the school to move closer to the city. It went through several names until it finally became Fort Hays State University in 1977. Now FHSU has grown into a regional comprehensive university with over 14,000 on-campus and online students. Its online psychology program allows students to go the B.A. or B.S. route. The requirements are the same for both degrees, but the B.A. has a 10-hour modern language requirement, and the B.S. has a 20-hour math and science requirement.
Oregon Institute of Technology
Oregon Tech was founded in 1947 and is the only public institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Its first classes were held in a deactivated World War II Marine Corps hospital three miles northeast of Klamath Falls. It’s been rated No. 1 in the list of Top Public Western Regional Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, and Pay Scale rated it No. 1 in Annual Return on Investment in Oregon. Some of its online psychology courses include Abnormal Psychology, Basic Counseling Techniques, Human Growth and Development, and Behavior Modification.
When IU was founded in 1820, it was one of the first public universities west of the Allegheny Mountains. Today, Forbes has ranked Indiana University—Bloomington as No. 20 in its list of best public colleges of 2016. IU Online was introduced in 2012 and now offers students over 100 online degree and certificate programs. If you’re going to take part in IU’s online programs, keep in mind that it was designed for students who have completed at least 60 semester hours of transferable college credit with a GPA of 2.0 or better, or individuals who have completed an associate degree at the community college level.
Oregon State University
Founded in 1868, Oregon State is the state’s Land Grant university and is one of only two universities in the United States to have Sea Grant, Space Grant, and Sun Grant designations as well. OSU is an international public research university and is Oregon’s largest university, hosting more than 30,000 students. OSU’s online psychology degree is offered through its College of Liberal Arts, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation for best online liberal arts college. In 2015 the B.A./B.S. in Psychology program was recognized as the sixth best online psychology bachelor’s degree by “The Best Schools” and “Open Education Database.”
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine was founded in Chicago over 150 years ago. This school attracts some of the brightest minds in the industry. Running real clinics and doing real research, Northwestern University School of Medicine has over 50,000 patients and clients take part in studies and trials each year. Northwestern University offers top-tier education with world-class faculty and cutting-edge technology in a supportive environment.
University of Illinois Springfield
UIS was founded in 1969 as Sangamon State University by the Illinois General Assembly. On July 1, 1995, it became a campus of the University of Illinois, thereafter known as the University of Illinois at Springfield. UIS was rated in the top 50 on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best U.S. online bachelor’s programs for veterans. Although this university offers a B.A. in Psychology online, admission to the program can be competitive. If you are interested, be sure to check if you match all of the qualifications!
University of Houston
UH was founded in 1927 though it didn’t become a state institution until 1963. Today, the University of Houston is a major public research and teaching institution, serving nearly 40,000 students annually with nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate programs. Its online psychology program has been rated No. 8 in the nation, and it gives students the option to receive a B.A. or a B.S. in Psychology.
University of Florida
UF has had many impressive milestones during its existence. UF was founded as Gainesville Academy in 1858 by James Henry Roper, which he then offered to the State of Florida in 1866. In 1928, then-president John J. Tigert created the grant-in-aid athletic scholarship program, which inspired the athletic scholarship still used by the NCAA today. In 1965, following a request from the Florida Gators football head coach, a team of UF scientists developed a beverage that helps athletes stay hydrated better than water—they named it Gator-Aid. And now, UF Online has been ranked No. 1 for most affordable online bachelor’s degrees by Affordable Colleges. Its online B.A. in Psychology includes classes such as Laboratory Methods in Psychology, Community Work in Psychology, Social Psychology, and Physiological Psychology.
Utah State University
USU was founded in 1888 and is the No. 2 public university in the West (and top four in the nation) for lowest tuition on Forbes list of America’s Best College Buys (2014). It’s a land-grant, public research university who’s been ranked No. 20 in the nation in “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” by U.S. News and World Report. Its online psychology degree requires an overall GPA of 2.75, 18 USU credits, a minimum of 40 semester credits, and several psychology prerequisite courses to be admitted. Once past the admissions process, you’ll take classes such as Lifespan Development, Psychological Statistics, Sensation and Perception, and Psychology of Gender.
Old Dominion University
ODU was founded in 1930 as an extension of the College of William and Mary, the second oldest university in the United States. The two-year school quickly grew into a four-year institution and was granted independence in 1964 as Old Dominion College. ODU was ranked No. 18 as having one of the Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Degree Programs in 2017 by the Center for Online Education, and No. 20 in the list of Best Online Psychology Degrees in 2017 by CollegeChoice.net. Some courses in the ODU’s online psychology program include Positive Psychology, Criminal Behavior, Adulthood and Aging, Psychology of Sex, and Drug Abuse & Dependency.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
UMass Lowell began as Lowell Normal School, a teaching college founded in 1894, and the Lowell Textile School, founded in 1895. It was ranked No. 28 in the nation for best ROI, and all four UMass undergraduate campuses have recently been rated in the top category of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings – making UMass one of the few university systems in the nation to have each campus so acclaimed. The UMass Lowell online B.A. in psychology provides students with theoretical foundations in various subfields of psychology: experimental, developmental, social, personality, and clinical psychology.
NU was founded on the success of the YMCA. The young men in Boston had a desire to listen to lectures, and soon the “Evening Institute for Young Men” was created in 1896. This new phase in the YMCA marked the birth of Northeastern University. Due to popular demand, the programs were expanded, day colleges commenced in 1909, and buildings were constructed on the old Boston Red Sox field on Huntington Avenue. According to U.S. News & World Report, NU ranks No. 7 on its list of Most Innovative Schools. In its online psychology program, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of key areas in psychology, including social and abnormal psychology, sensory function, learning, memory, human development, emotion, and motivation.
Regent University was founded in 1978 by Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson and has been recognized as one of the Top 20 Online Bachelor’s Programs nationally by U.S. News & World Report for three years running. Regent is also in the top 5 percent of Most Affordable Private Christian Colleges and Universities according to the CCCU Tuition Survey. Regent has the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees available for those seeking an online degree in psychology.
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston’s motto, “The Measure of a Life is its Service,” has echoed across its seven colleges for 137 years. This Texas university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degree programs, more than 50 graduate degree programs, 6 doctoral programs, and has been nationally recognized for its online bachelor degree programs. Sam Houston’s online psychology degree is designed to help you advance toward a graduate degree, and includes classes like Cognition, Psychopharmacology, Development Psychology, Divorce: Psychological Impact, and Positive Psychology.
Ottawa University’s online program offers a generous credit transfer policy, flexible online learning options for working adults, military personnel and families, and a supportive learning environment. There are three psychology related Bachelor’s degrees offered fully online. These include a B.S. in addictions counseling, a B.A. in human services, and a B.A. in Psychology.
Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University was established in 1892 and is among the nation’s 100 largest public universities with more than 25,000 students on-campus and online. CMU offers more than 200 academic programs at the undergraduate, master’s, specialist and doctoral levels, and its online program has courses that are offered in 8-, 12-, and 16-week formats. In its online psychology program, the electives offered can prepare students for working in the fields of Business, Social Work, Human Services, Education, Human Factors, and Physical Therapy.
Bellevue University was founded more than 50 years ago in 1965. The school offers both B.S. and B.A. in psychology fully online. The B.S. requires college algebra and a lab science course. The B.A. requires a culture course of Spanish, as well as a nutrition or human genetics class.
McKendree University was established in 1828 by pioneer Methodists and is the oldest college in Illinois. It’s also the oldest college in the nation with continuous ties to the United Methodist Church. It’s been recognized as one of America’s “Best Colleges” with one of the “Best Online Programs” by U.S. News & World Report. Students interested in the online psychology program will develop the ability to express themselves in oral and written form and to think critically about human behavioral psychology, including causes, development, and outcomes.
Colorado State University
CSU was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College six years before the Colorado Territory became a state. Its online programs are ranked among the top 50 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News & World Report. Upon completion of CSU’s online psychology degree, students will demonstrate knowledge in social, organizational, industrial, cognitive and biological psychology. Some of its classes include Mind, Brain, and Behavior; Organizational Psychology; Industrial Psychology; Sensation and Perception; and Psychology of Personality.
University of Minnesota – Duluth
In 1895, the Minnesota Legislature created the Normal School at Duluth which became the Duluth State Teachers College, and in 1947 it became a coordinate campus of the University of Minnesota. Its online psychology degree is capped at 15 new students every fall and is designed for those who already have an associate in psychology degree. Those with an overall Psychology Major GPA of 3.80 AND an overall GPA of 3.0 can graduate with honors if they complete a special psychology project or a 5000 level course with a B grade or better.
St. Leo University
St. Leo University’s online psychology program provides a well-rounded education in the discipline, with the ability to cater the curriculum to meet individual needs. Psychology majors are encouraged to become involved with research and complete a field practicum or internship. Psychology courses will explore research methods, the psychology of learning, individual differences and social processes, biological basis of behaviors, developmental psychology, diversity, forensic psychology, military psychology, industrial & organizational psychology, interviewing and counseling. The major is 120 credits hours.
Robert Morris University
RMU was founded in 1921 and is a private, suburban university near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its online bachelor’s and five online graduate programs were included in U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs of 2017, and all rose in the rankings from the year before. U.S. News & World Report also calls RMU one of the “most connected colleges” in the country for high-speed Internet and one of the best colleges for veterans. Its online Psychology degree has also been ranked among the top 20 in the nation by TheBestSchools.org.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University opened its doors in October of 1891 when 32 students enrolled, but only six were admitted to the freshman class. Now, it’s been ranked in the top 100 schools in World Reputation. ASU Online’s 80+ programs have been ranked in the top 25 percent of online programs by U.S. News & World Report, and Forbes has ranked ASU as among the top school in the nation for return on investment. ASU’s undergraduate psychology degree is eligible for their fast track program, and every course can be completed in just over seven weeks. Some of the courses included are Memory and Cognition, Psychology of Gender, and Health Psychology.
Washington State University
Washington State University was founded in 1890 as Washington’s original land-grant university, and it boasts 22 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Its student-to-teacher ratio, which is approximately 15-to-1, and its $380 million of undergraduate financial aid and scholarships make this university hard to pass up. WSU’s online B.S. in Psychology is designed for students who wish to study psychology as part of a liberal education; plan to use their training in related vocations such as health and human services, business, management, research and development, sales, and administrative positions; or are preparing for graduate work in psychology, social work, education, law, medicine, or business.
Penn State – World Campus
Penn State’s World Campus is exclusively for students seeking an online education, and boasts nearly 18,000 students, making it the second largest “campus” in The Pennsylvania State University system. It’s implemented online education since 1998 and it’s grown to have more than 125 online degree and certificate programs. According to a Wall Street Journal survey, corporate recruiters ranked Penn State as the No. 1 university in producing the best-prepared students who acquire jobs that are satisfying, well-paid and have growth potential. At Penn State students can choose from either a B.A. or a B.S. in Psychology. Those who enroll in the B.S. in Psychology program have the opportunity to supplement their degree with coursework focused on the life sciences most closely related to psychology, or with courses in business.
Liberty University’s online B.S. program approaches the subject of psychology from a Christian perspective, providing a firm foundation to help students understand psychological behaviors and developments. There are 7 different specializations available for further study including: addictions & recovery, Christian counseling, criminal psychology, crisis counseling, developmental psychology, life coaching, and military resilience. A three credit hour internship is a required part of the 120 credit Psychology program.
California Baptist University
California Baptist University was founded in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention and is one of the top private Christian colleges and universities in Southern California. One hundred percent of the staff at CBU is Christian, and it was considered a 2017 Best Regional University by U.S. News & World Report. Students emerge from CBU’s online bachelor’s degree in psychology equipped with important skills including the ability to assess client needs, keep thorough and accurate records, and express care and empathy in order to act as an advocate for clients.
DePaul University was founded in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission, which follows the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul. It started with seven faculty members and no president. Today it’s been named one of the Best Value Colleges by Forbes as well as one of the Best Midwestern Colleges in the United States (Princeton Review). DePaul’s online B.A. in Psychology requires students to choose from one of the following concentrations: Standard, Human Development, Human Services, Industrial/Organizational, Community, or Comprehensive Evening Program.
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago, a private university founded in 1870 as St. Ignatius College, is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic Universities. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Loyola consistently among the top “national universities” (#99 in the 2016 edition) in its annual publications. Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Loyola’s B.A. of Psychology offers training in social psychology, personality studies and industrial psychology along with courses on business principles.
The Ranking Process
We know that finding the best school to fit your unique needs can be a huge challenge. For that reason, we work hard to develop lists of the best schools based on the characteristics most important for you. Whether that be the cost of attendance, student success, resources available, flexibility of schedule, or any other number of important factors, we’ve got you covered. For more information about our ranking process and to find lists of schools based on specific characteristics, check out our methodology page.
If you are associated with a school on this list and would like to make edits or add additional information, or you would like to add your school’s program to our list, please feel free to contact us with additional information.
- Master of psychology degree guide: Best Master’s in Psychology Programs in 2020