Bachelor’s in Psychology Online Program Guide

If you’re interested in what drives human thoughts and behavior, you may be interested in pursuing a psychology major in college. An undergraduate psychology degree can be the first step on the path to a career as a psychologist, counselor, social worker or a variety of other jobs. This guide explains what you can expect from an online bachelor’s in psychology program.

What Is a Bachelor’s in Psychology Degree?

A bachelor’s in psychology may be earned through a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA). A BA degree in psychology focuses on the scientific study of human behavior, mental processes and brain functions. Psychology degree requirements may include classes on psychology research and statistics and psychology subjects, including clinical psychology, developmental psychology and social psychology.There may be some overlap in course topics for a bachelor’s in psychology degree and other health science degrees, like social work or sociology. A psychology degree will focus on scientific research, methods and statistics related to human behavior. A social work bachelor’s degree may help prepare students for positions involving casework or direct services, while a bachelor’s in sociology will focus on the dynamics of social groups.

Difference Between a BS and a BA in Psychology

Deciding between a BA vs. BS in psychology will depend on how you want to structure your coursework in your undergraduate program. In a BA in psychology program, typical elective classes will emphasize social sciences and humanities. In a BS in psychology program, students will typically take more science and math courses.

Both BA and BS programs will cover psychology topics and are typically four-year degrees. With a BA in psychology, graduates may be qualified to pursue advanced education or careers in non-psychology fields. In contrast, a BS in psychology prepares graduates to pursue research or further education in psychology.

BA in Psychology Classes

Psychology degree classes may vary by school, but psychology programs typically include psychology research, theory and application courses. A psychology degree program may cover such subjects as: 

  • Abnormal psychology, the study of neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Behavioral neuroscience, how the brain works and affects behavior.
  • Clinical psychology, how to use cognitive behavioral therapy to treat mood and personality disorders.
  • Cognitive psychology, focused on human visual and auditory systems.
  • Decision science, the study of how people make decisions.
  • Developmental psychology, human behavioral and mental development.
  • Quantitative psychology, how to use statistical models and analyze psychological data.
  • Social psychology, how social interactions affect individuals and what motivates social behavior.

Bachelor’s degree programs in psychology may also offer electives such as positive psychology, human sexuality and cross-cultural psychology.   

Scholarships for BA in Psychology

There are hundreds of scholarships available for psychology programs and online psychology degree financial aid in the form of grants and loans. Students interested in financial aid for psychology may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which qualifies students for federal aid such as grants and student loans.

Students can also check scholarship options available for the schools they’re interested in and search for scholarships they qualify for at websites like There are scholarships for students studying psychology in particular, and for students who have diverse backgrounds and accomplishments.

Online Graduate Psychology Degrees

In addition to pursuing graduate work in psychology, a psychology program, like an online psychology degree, may help graduates apply for graduate school in other types of degree programs, like social work, applied behavioral analysis (ABA), counseling and other mental health subjects.

After you get a BA in psychology or pursue other types of psychology degrees, you might choose to continue your studies in a graduate program such as:

It may be helpful to consider your long-term career interests so you can choose the right bachelor’s in psychology program for you. That way, you can align your coursework with your target graduate degree program.

What Can You Do With a BA in Psychology? 

A BA in psychology can be a stepping-stone to a more advanced degree, like a master’s in counseling, a master’s in social work or a Ph.D. in psychology. What can you do with a BA in psychology? According to the American Psychological Association, some of the job titles people with a bachelor’s in psychology might pursue include:

  • Admissions evaluator
  • Advertising sales representative
  • Career/employment counselor
  • Caseworker
  • Community organization worker
  • Human resources adviser
  • Labor relations manager
  • Management analyst
  • Recruiter
  • Psychiatric aide/attendant
  • Public relations representative
  • Real estate agent
  • Research assistant
  • Teacher
  • Writer

There’s a diverse array of potential careers with a psychology degree. Any job that involves working with or relating to other people may benefit from a psychology background.

Typically, you can’t become a psychologist without a doctoral degree in psychology. A master’s degree may lead to a role such as mental health counselor or licensed clinical social worker, where professionals provide one-on-one therapeutic services to clients.

BA in Psychology FAQs

You may have questions if you’re considering a bachelor’s in psychology degree online. These FAQs may help you decide if a BA in psychology is right for you.

Is a Psychology Major Worth It?

A psychology major may be worth it to you, depending on your career goals. Since psychology teaches you about human behavior and how the mind works, a psychology degree can apply to roles in business, writing, marketing, education and other fields. A psychology degree is also applicable to higher education degrees in fields like social work and counseling.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?

Typically, a BA in psychology online program takes four years to complete a full-time program. However, there may be accelerated online psychology programs available, including summer semesters, that enable you to complete your degree more quickly.

How Much Can You Make With a BA in Psychology?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2020 median pay for psychologists was $82,180 per year. Keep in mind that this median salary is for those who attended a masters or doctoral program in psychology. How much you make on a bachelor’s in psychology salary will depend on the job you take. The 2020 median pay for social workers, for example, was $51,760 per year. With a psychology degree, you may be able to grow a career in business, marketing or community relations. How far you advance your career with your bachelor’s may influence your salary.

In-Person vs. Online Psychology Degrees: Is One Better?

Your preference for online classes vs. traditional classes will depend on your learning style and lifestyle. An online psychology degree enables you to learn and study on your own time, from wherever you are, without having to relocate. If you prefer learning in a physical classroom with live instruction with other students, you may prefer an on-campus learning experience.

Last updated July 2021