Most Affordable Online Psychology Degree Programs for 2024

Written by: Psych Degree Starter Editorial Team   •  Apr 3, 2024

PDS - Most Affordable Psych Degrees Header

The pursuit of higher education has evolved to offer more accessible and flexible learning options than ever before.

For prospective students passionate about understanding human behavior and aiding those in need, earning a psychology degree presents a pathway to a rewarding career in various fields, from mental health services to organizational consulting.

Recognizing the financial barriers many face when seeking higher education, this guide focuses on the most affordable online psychology degree programs, aiming to highlight options that combine quality education with financial accessibility.

Why Get a Degree in Psychology?

Psychology, the scientific study of the mind and behavior, is a field that fascinates many due to its profound impact on understanding individuals and groups.

Getting a degree in psychology offers an array of benefits, including the development of critical thinking skills, a deeper understanding of human interaction, and the foundation for a career dedicated to helping others improve their mental health and well-being.

With specializations ranging from clinical psychology to industrial-organizational psychology, students can tailor their education to match their career aspirations.

In an era where the importance of mental health is increasingly recognized, psychologists play a crucial role in addressing the challenges faced by individuals and communities.

Whether it’s providing therapeutic services, conducting research to discover new treatments, or applying psychological principles to improve workplace environments, the applications of a psychology degree are both vast and fulfilling.

Why Choose an Affordable Online Psychology Degree Program?

Choosing an affordable online psychology degree program is a strategic decision that balances the pursuit of quality education with financial prudence.

Here’s why affordability and online accessibility matter:

Understanding the Value of Affordability

The cost of higher education can be a significant barrier for many students. Affordable online programs provide an opportunity to minimize debt while still achieving educational and career goals.

By selecting a program that offers competitive tuition rates without sacrificing academic quality, students can ensure a better return on their educational investment.

The Benefits of Online Learning

Online learning platforms offer unparalleled flexibility, allowing students to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities. This mode of education is particularly appealing for those who need to work while completing their degree or for students who live far from traditional campuses.

Additionally, online learning environments often incorporate innovative teaching methods and technologies that enhance the learning experience, making education more engaging and accessible.

As we delve deeper into the most affordable online psychology degree programs, we’ll explore cost considerations, curriculum details, admission requirements, and the promising career opportunities that await graduates.

This guide is designed to help you make an informed decision on the best path forward in your educational journey, ensuring that you find a program that aligns with both your professional aspirations and financial circumstances.

How Much Do Affordable Online Psychology Degree Programs Cost?

Understanding the cost of pursuing an online psychology degree is crucial for prospective students, especially those seeking affordable options.

The cost of online programs can vary widely based on several factors, including the type of institution (public vs. private), the level of degree (bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral), and the specific program features.

Here’s an overview to help navigate the financial aspects of online psychology degree programs:

Tuition Rates

  • Public Institutions: Online programs at public universities often charge tuition based on residency status. Residents of the state where the university is located typically benefit from lower tuition rates compared to out-of-state students. However, some public universities offer in-state tuition rates to all online students, regardless of their residency. Tuition commonly ranges from $300 to $500 per credit hour for in-state students, while out-of-state rates might be higher.
  • Private Institutions: Private universities generally have higher tuition rates, but these rates are usually the same for all students, regardless of residency. Tuition for online programs at private institutions can range from $500 to $1,000 per credit hour or more, depending on the program’s reputation and resources.

Additional Costs

Beyond tuition, online students should also consider additional costs such as:

  • Technology Fees: Many online programs charge technology or distance learning fees to support the virtual classroom infrastructure.
  • Books and Materials: While online courses may use digital textbooks that can be less expensive, students should still budget for books and other required materials.
  • Software and Equipment: Some courses may require specialized software or equipment, which can add to the overall cost of the program.

20 of the Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology

In the quest for higher education, the allure of finding the most affordable online psychology degree is understandable.

As tuition costs rise and student debt becomes a more pressing concern, the search for cost-effective education options has never been more relevant.

However, equating “affordable” with “value” can be a complex endeavor. The true cost of an education is not merely measured in tuition fees but in the return on investment it offers over a lifetime.

Thus, while the following list highlights 20 of the most affordable online degree programs in psychology, it is essential to approach these options with a comprehensive understanding of what value means in the context of higher education.

Beyond the Price Tag: Understanding Value in Education

When considering an online bachelor’s degree in psychology, the price tag is just one of many factors to weigh.

A truly valuable education is one that aligns with your personal, academic, and professional goals, offering more than just an attractive tuition rate.

Here are key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Location and Flexibility: While online programs offer great flexibility, considering the program’s home institution location can be important for residency requirements, in-person internships, or networking opportunities.
  • Specialization and Curriculum: Look for programs that offer specializations or electives that match your career aspirations. A program tailored to your interests can provide a more engaging and relevant educational experience.
  • Size and Format: Consider whether you prefer a small cohort with more personalized attention or a larger program with a wider network. The format of online delivery (synchronous vs. asynchronous) also affects how you’ll balance studies with other commitments.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: A diverse student body and faculty can enrich your educational experience, offering multiple perspectives and fostering a more inclusive learning environment.
  • Student Support and Resources: Evaluate the availability of academic advising, career services, mental health support, and other resources. Supportive services can significantly impact your success and well-being.
  • Accreditation: Ensure the program is accredited by a recognized accrediting body. Accreditation affects the quality of education, eligibility for financial aid, and the value of your degree in the job market.
  • Financial Aid Opportunities: Beyond the sticker price, assess the availability of scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Understanding the net cost after financial aid can reveal more affordable pathways than initially apparent.

Making an Informed Decision

Choosing an online bachelor’s degree in psychology—or any degree program—is a significant decision that goes beyond mere affordability.

By considering the myriad aspects of what makes a program valuable to you personally and professionally, you can make an informed choice that balances cost with quality, aligns with your goals, and sets the stage for future success.

With that in mind, consider the following list of schools a jumping off point in your search for an affordable online psychology degree program.

While not comprehensive, it was selected through consideration of factors including affordability, the presence of online or hybrid learning options, and the quality of offerings within the realm of psychology studies.

  1. Fayetteville State University - Bachelor of Science in Psychology \

  2. Purdue University Global - Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Psychology \

  3. Northern Kentucky University - B.A. in Psychology \

  4. Louisiana State University of Alexandria - Bachelor of Science in Psychology or Bachelor of General Studies with a Psychology Concentration \

  5. Eastern New Mexico University - Bachelor of Science or Arts in Psychology \

  6. Indiana University - Psychology, B.S. \

  7. Monroe College - Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology (MS) \

  8. University of Alaska Fairbanks - B.A. and B.S. in Psychology \

  9. Northeastern State University - Bachelor of Science in Psychology \

  10. Cameron University - Bachelor of Science in Psychology \

  11. Empire State University - Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology \

  12. Florida Atlantic University - M.Ed. Educational Psychology \

  13. Florida International University - Bachelor of Arts in Psychology \

  14. McNeese State University - Bachelor of Science in Psychology \

  15. Charter Oak State College - Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology \

  16. East Central University - B.S. in Psychology, Behavioral Health \

  17. New Mexico State University - Bachelor of Arts in Psychology \

  18. Albizu University-San Juan - Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology \

  19. Western New Mexico University - Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Psychology \

  20. Kean University - B.A. in Psychology

Curriculum of Affordable Online Psychology Degree Programs

The curriculum of affordable online psychology degree programs is designed to provide a comprehensive foundation in psychological principles, theories, and practices.

While affordability is a key consideration for many students, accredited programs ensure that cost savings do not come at the expense of educational quality.

Here’s an overview of the typical curriculum components and example courses you might encounter in an online psychology degree program:

Core Psychological Principles

  • Introduction to Psychology: Offers an overview of major psychological concepts, theories, and research findings.
  • Developmental Psychology: Explores human development from infancy through old age, including cognitive, emotional, and social growth.
  • Abnormal Psychology: Examines psychological disorders, their symptoms, etiology, and treatment approaches.
  • Social Psychology: Focuses on how individuals think, influence, and relate to one another within social contexts.

Research Methods and Statistics

  • Research Methods in Psychology: Provides an understanding of research design, data collection, and analysis techniques used in psychological research.
  • Statistics for Psychology: Covers statistical methods for analyzing and interpreting psychological data, including descriptive and inferential statistics.

Applied Psychology and Specializations

  • Clinical Psychology: Introduces concepts of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Applies psychological principles to workplace issues, including employee selection, training, motivation, and productivity.
  • Health Psychology: Examines the psychological factors influencing health and illness, and strategies for promoting health behavior change.
  • Counseling Techniques: Offers foundational skills in counseling methods and client interaction, relevant for those pursuing careers in mental health counseling or therapy.

Electives and Advanced Topics

Elective courses allow students to explore areas of interest in greater depth or to specialize in a particular field of psychology.

Examples include:

  • Forensic Psychology: The intersection of psychology and the legal system, including topics such as criminal behavior, eyewitness testimony, and jury decision-making.
  • Neuropsychology: The study of brain-behavior relationships, focusing on how neurological conditions affect cognitive functions and behavior.
  • Positive Psychology: Explores theories and research related to happiness, well-being, and strengths-based approaches to therapy.

Practical Experience

While online programs may vary in their requirements for practical experience, many include opportunities for internships or applied research projects to help students gain real-world skills.

These experiences are often arranged locally to the student or conducted virtually, depending on the program’s structure.

The curriculum of affordable online psychology degree programs is designed to equip students with a broad understanding of psychological science, as well as specialized knowledge in areas of interest.

This preparation is essential for graduates to pursue various career paths in psychology or related fields, further studies, or certification and licensure in specific areas of practice.

Admission Requirements for Affordable Online Psychology Degree Programs

Admission requirements for affordable online psychology degree programs can vary by institution and the level of the degree sought (bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral).

However, most programs have a set of core criteria that applicants must meet.

Understanding these requirements is crucial for prospective students to prepare their applications effectively.

Here’s a general overview of common admission criteria for online psychology degree programs:

Bachelor’s Degree Program Admission Requirements

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: Applicants are typically required to have completed high school or possess a GED.
  • Transcripts: Submission of official high school transcripts, and, if applicable, transcripts from any post-secondary institutions attended.
  • GPA: Some programs may have a minimum GPA requirement, though this can vary widely. Programs often consider the overall strength of your application, including extracurricular activities and personal statements.
  • Standardized Test Scores: SAT or ACT scores may be required, though an increasing number of programs are moving toward test-optional admissions.
  • Personal Statement: An essay detailing your interest in psychology and your educational and career goals. Some programs may also ask for letters of recommendation.

**Master’s Degree Program **Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is required. While a degree in psychology is advantageous, many programs accept degrees in related fields, provided certain prerequisite courses have been completed.
  • Transcripts: Submission of all undergraduate (and, if applicable, graduate) transcripts.
  • GPA: A minimum undergraduate GPA, often around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, is common. Some programs may offer conditional acceptance for applicants with lower GPAs who demonstrate potential in other areas.
  • GRE Scores: Requirements vary; some programs may require GRE scores, while others have waived this requirement, especially in recent application cycles.
  • Professional or Academic Recommendations: Letters from individuals who can attest to your academic ability, professional experience, and suitability for graduate study in psychology.
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose: Detailing your interest in the program, research interests, and professional goals. Additional essays or writing samples may be requested.

Doctoral Degree Program Admission Requirements

  • Master’s Degree: Some doctoral programs require applicants to have a master’s degree in psychology or a related field, while others accept students with only a bachelor’s degree.
  • Research Experience: Demonstrated experience with research methodologies and a clear idea of research interests aligning with faculty expertise can be crucial.
  • Clinical Experience: For programs focusing on clinical psychology, relevant work or volunteer experience in mental health settings can strengthen your application.
  • Interviews: Many doctoral programs conduct interviews (in-person or virtual) to assess fit between the applicant and the program.

General Considerations

  • Technical Requirements: Given the online nature of these programs, applicants may need to demonstrate access to a reliable computer and internet connection, as well as basic technical competencies.
  • English Language Proficiency: For non-native English speakers, proof of English proficiency through tests like TOEFL or IELTS may be required.

Prospective students should carefully review the specific admission requirements of each online psychology program to which they plan to apply, as criteria can vary.

Preparing a comprehensive application that showcases your academic achievements, relevant experiences, and commitment to the field of psychology is crucial for admission into competitive online programs.

Career Options for Graduates of Online Psychology Degree Programs

Graduates of online psychology degree programs have a wide array of career paths available to them, depending on the level of degree attained and their areas of interest and specialization.

The flexibility and accessibility of online learning do not limit the potential career outcomes; in fact, the experience of online learning can enhance certain skills that are valuable in the workplace, such as digital literacy and self-directed learning.

Here’s an overview of career options segmented by degree level:

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology Careers

  • Case Manager or Social Service Representative: Work in various settings, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and healthcare facilities, providing support and resources to individuals and families in need.
  • Human Resources Specialist: Apply understanding of psychological principles to manage recruitment, training, and employee relations within organizations.
  • Market Research Analyst: Utilize knowledge of human behavior to analyze market trends, consumer preferences, and buying habits to help companies make informed decisions.
  • Behavioral Technician or Aide: Support mental health professionals in treating individuals with behavioral disorders, often working in educational settings, hospitals, or residential treatment facilities.

Master’s Degree in Psychology Careers

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): Provide counseling services to individuals, couples, or groups, addressing mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and relationship challenges. (Note: Licensure requirements vary by state.)
  • School Psychologist: Work within educational systems to support student learning, behavior, and mental health needs. (Additional certification may be required, and NASP accreditation is a significant asset.)
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist: Apply psychological principles to workplace challenges, enhancing organizational effectiveness, employee satisfaction, and productivity.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT): Specialize in treating mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples, and family systems.

Doctoral Degree in Psychology Careers

  • Clinical Psychologist: Diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, offering therapeutic services in private practices, hospitals, or mental health clinics. (Requires licensure.)
  • Forensic Psychologist: Work within the legal system, providing assessments, evaluations, and expert testimony in court cases.
  • Neuropsychologist: Specialize in the relationship between the brain and behavior, often working with individuals who have suffered brain injuries or neurological conditions. (Additional certification may be required.)
  • Professor of Psychology: Teach at the collegiate level and conduct research in various areas of psychology, contributing to the academic and professional knowledge base.

Psychology Salary and Job Outlook

The salary and job outlook for psychology graduates depend on factors such as the level of education, area of specialization, geographic location, and type of employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) , the median annual wage for psychologists was $85,330 in May 2022, with job growth projected to be 6% from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Specific fields within psychology, such as industrial-organizational psychology, have even higher median wages and growth prospects.

Graduating from an online psychology degree program provides the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a wide range of careers in psychology and related fields.

With further education, certification, and licensure, graduates can advance to roles that have a significant impact on individuals, organizations, and communities.

Scholarships and Financial Aid Information for Online Psychology Programs

Pursuing an online psychology degree is an investment in your future, but it doesn’t have to be a financial burden. A variety of scholarships and financial aid options are available to help mitigate the costs of tuition and fees, making higher education more accessible.

Understanding the types of financial support can assist prospective students in planning their educational finances effectively. Here’s a guide to navigating scholarships and financial aid for online psychology programs:

Federal Financial Aid

  • FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) : All students should begin by completing the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal student aid, including grants, loans, and work-study programs. This is a critical step for accessing government-funded aid.
  • Federal Pell Grants: Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be repaid.
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: These loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students needing financial assistance. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on subsidized loans while the student is in school at least half-time, for the first six months after leaving school, and during a period of deferment.

Scholarships from Professional Organizations and Foundations

  • American Psychological Association (APA) Scholarships and Grants: The APA offers various scholarships, grants, and awards for psychology students at different levels of their education, aimed at supporting research, education, and diversity in the field.
  • Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology: Psi Chi provides several scholarships and research grants for its undergraduate and graduate members pursuing psychology degrees.
  • Psychology Scholarships from Private Foundations: Numerous private foundations offer scholarships to students majoring in psychology, often targeting specific areas of research or demographic groups. These scholarships can be found through scholarship search engines or psychology department resources.

Institutional Scholarships

  • University-specific Scholarships: Many universities offering online psychology programs also provide scholarships specifically for their online students. These may be merit-based, need-based, or focused on specific areas within psychology.
  • Departmental Awards: Psychology departments may offer their own scholarships and awards for academic excellence, research proposals, or contributions to the field. Check with the department or program advisor for available opportunities.

Employer Tuition Assistance

  • Employer-sponsored Programs: Some employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs as part of their benefits package, especially for fields of study relevant to your job. Employees should consult their HR department to explore available options.

Tips for Securing Financial Aid and Scholarships

  • Start Early: Begin researching and applying for scholarships well in advance of application deadlines. Early preparation increases your chances of securing financial support.
  • Apply Widely: Don’t limit your applications to just one or two options. Apply for as many scholarships and grants as you qualify for to maximize your potential financial aid.
  • Highlight Your Strengths: Tailor each application to highlight your strengths, experiences, and commitment to the field of psychology. Personalized applications stand out to scholarship committees.

Investing time in researching and applying for scholarships and financial aid can significantly reduce the cost of obtaining an online psychology degree.

By leveraging these financial resources, students can focus more on their studies and less on financial concerns, paving the way for a successful career in psychology.

FAQs for Affordable Online Psychology Degree Programs

Embarking on an online psychology degree program brings up numerous questions for prospective students. Understanding these aspects is crucial for making informed decisions about your education and future career in psychology.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about affordable online psychology degree programs:

How Much Can You Earn With an Online Psychology Degree?

Earning potential varies widely based on the level of degree, area of specialization, and the sector in which you choose to work. For instance:

  • Bachelor’s Degree Holders might start in entry-level positions, with salaries ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 in roles such as case management, human resources assistant, or market research analyst.
  • Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree Holders can expect significantly higher earning potential, especially with licensure. Clinical psychologists, for example, had a median annual wage of $85,330 as of May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Psychology Degree?

The duration depends on the program and your pace of study:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Typically 4 years of full-time study, but some online programs offer accelerated options.
  • Master’s Degree: Usually 2-3 years of full-time study, with some programs offering faster tracks for students who can dedicate more time to their studies.
  • Doctoral Programs: Can vary greatly, typically ranging from 4 to 7 years depending on the program’s requirements, dissertation, and whether you’re studying full or part-time.

Is Earning an Online Psychology Degree Worth It?

Yes, for many students, an online psychology degree offers a valuable pathway to a rewarding career in psychology or related fields. The flexibility of online learning allows students to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities, making higher education more accessible.

Additionally, the cost savings of affordable online programs can make this option particularly attractive.

Can I Complete a Psychology Degree Entirely Online?

Many institutions offer psychology degrees that can be completed entirely online, especially at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

Doctoral programs may require some in-person components, such as internships or residencies, which are essential for clinical training and licensure.

What Careers Can an Individual With an Online Psychology Degree Pursue?

Graduates can pursue a wide range of careers in mental health, education, research, business, and more. Specific career paths may require additional certification or licensure, especially for clinical roles.

Career options include:

  • Mental health counselor
  • School psychologist (with additional certification)
  • Human resources manager
  • Market research analyst
  • Clinical psychologist (with a doctoral degree and licensure)

Choosing an affordable online psychology degree program is a strategic step toward achieving your career goals in psychology.

By offering flexibility, reduced costs, and comprehensive curricula, these programs prepare students for success in various professional settings, contributing to the well-being of individuals and communities.

Empowering Your Educational Journey in Psychology

Choosing to pursue a psychology degree online is a significant decision that marks the beginning of a promising journey toward understanding human behavior and making meaningful contributions to the field of psychology.

The advent of affordable online psychology degree programs has democratized access to quality education, allowing students from diverse backgrounds to embark on this path without the burden of excessive debt.

The Path to a Rewarding Career

The field of psychology offers a vast array of career opportunities, ranging from clinical practice and counseling to research and organizational consulting.

With the flexibility and accessibility of online education, students can tailor their learning experience to align with their career aspirations, gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in their chosen profession.

Making Education Accessible

Affordable online psychology programs play a crucial role in making higher education more accessible.

By offering a cost-effective alternative to traditional on-campus programs, these programs ensure that more students have the opportunity to pursue their passion for psychology, regardless of their financial circumstances or geographical location.

The Value of Accreditation

As you explore your options for online psychology programs, remember the importance of accreditation. Accredited programs meet rigorous standards of quality and rigor, ensuring that your education prepares you effectively for your future career.

Whether you aim to become a licensed psychologist or pursue a career in a related field, choosing an accredited program is crucial for achieving your professional goals.

Looking Ahead

The landscape of online psychology education continues to evolve, offering even more opportunities for students to access affordable, high-quality education.

The most affordable online psychology degree programs not only offer a pathway to a rewarding career but also equip students with a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Your Next Steps

As you consider your next steps, take the time to research thoroughly, reach out to admissions counselors, and connect with current students or alumni to gain insights into their experiences.

Remember, pursuing a degree in psychology is not just an academic endeavor but a journey toward making a significant impact on individuals and society.

The journey to becoming a part of the psychology profession is both exciting and challenging. With the right preparation and a commitment to your education, you can navigate this path successfully, opening doors to a fulfilling and impactful career.

The most affordable online psychology degree programs are your gateway to the future—embrace the opportunities they offer and take the first step toward realizing your professional aspirations in psychology.

Related Articles

Jun 10, 2024

APA Accredited Clinical Psychology Programs

Pursuing a career in clinical psychology is a significant decision that can lead to a rewarding and impactful profession. Clinical psychologists play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, providing therapy, and conducting research.Read More »

Jun 10, 2024

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology Degree Programs

The field of forensic psychology is gaining significant interest as it blends the principles of psychology with the legal and criminal justice systems.Read More »

Jun 6, 2024

Online Counseling Psychology Master's Degree Programs

A counseling psychology master’s program prepares students to address a wide range of mental health issues, offering therapeutic support to individuals, couples, and families.Read More »