How to Choose the Best Psychology Degree

Choosing a degree in psychology opens your career horizons to many different possibilities. Whether you choose a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, getting a psychology degree will provide you with the opportunity to earn an excellent living, and help different types of people to handle their mental health and/or relationship problems.

To have a strong start to your psychology career, you need to decide which type of psychology degree to earn.The types of psychology degrees that are available today are listed below.

  • Bachelor’s in Psychology: A psychology degree at this level will teach about the basic principles and theories in the psychology field, which can serve as the basis for a variety of entry-level jobs in social services, education, public affairs and mental health. Many students earn their bachelor’s degree with the intention to continue their studies in psychology.
  • Master’s in Psychology: Students who earn their masters degree will focus on a narrower specialty in psychology; we highlight those specialties later in this article. Students with a master’s degree and a license can practice as a psychologist under the supervision of a doctoral degree-trained psychologist.
  • Ph.D. in Psychology: This doctoral degree in psychology typically is more focused on research and academia, but some students do earn their Ph.D. and practice as private psychologists. You will be required to complete a research dissertation.
  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.): This newer doctoral degree is more a practice-focused doctoral degree. Like a Ph.D., it culminates in a research dissertation.

The important factor to keep in mind that you are required to earn, at a minimum, a master’s degree in psychology to practice as a licensed psychologist.

What Is Your Degree Area of Interest?

It is important to decide early on in your education what your goal is in the psychology field. Depending upon the type of specialty you are interested in and how long you want to be in college, you will be able to decide the best psychology degree for you. Some of the most common career paths for professionals studying psychology are:

  • Clinical psychology: Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of many mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Helping people to deal with both short term and long term psychological issues. Typically you will interview patients, give various diagnostic tests and do individual, group and family therapy.
  • Counseling psychology: Helping patients to deal with their problems, particular problems at home, workplace and in the community. Work with patients to identify the best resources to manage their personal problems.
  • Health psychology: Studying how behavioral and psychological factors interact with illness and health. They educate patients and healthcare staff on psychological matters and promote strategies for healthy living. Also, they investigate and develop programs to deal with health matters such as smoking and diet.
  • Forensic psychology: Use of psychological principles in the criminal justice and legal realms to assist judges, attorneys and others in the legal system to understand the psychological matters that affect criminal cases. Often they will testify in court as expert witnesses.
  • Industrial-organizational psychology: Application of psychology to the workplace by using various psychological principles and research to improve the quality of life in the workplace. Studying issues including productivity in the workplace, managing working styles and improving employee morale.
  • School psychology: Application of psychological principles and techniques to various developmental and education disorders that affect students and children. They may deal with behavioral problems and student learning issues.
  • Social psychology: Focuses on the study of how people’s different mindsets and behaviors are affected by different types of social interactions.

Online Psychology Degree Options

There are many online degree options today for students who want to earn a psychology degree online. These online programs allow you to take the majority of your classes online, with your required clinical hours done in a setting in your local community.

Whether you select an online or campus-based program for your psychology degree depends on your location and your work situation. Some psychology students prefer to take their classes in a regular classroom setting, but others may prefer to take their classes online so that they can continue to work full time.

No matter whether you choose an online or campus-based degree program, you will be required to complete several hundred hours of supervised clinical training.

Below are recommended online universities where you can earn various psychology degrees from the comfort of your own home:

Post University

Students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology to begin their career in this growing field may consider Post University. The highly experienced faculty in this program gives students in this psychology program the skills and knowledge they need to understand the basic principles and foundations of psychology.

The focus in the four years, online program is on studying the science of mental processes and behavior, with coursework stressing personality and psychopathology, adolescent and child development and how law and psychology relate.

Most students who earn this Bachelor of Arts in Psychology are able to work in rehabilitation, public relations and community, market research and advertising, education, legislative affairs, or continue with their studies at the graduate level.

Students may choose from the following concentrations:

  • Human Development, Education, and Health
  • Organizational Studies

Details

  • University Type: For-profit
  • Campus Location: Waterbury, Connecticut; online
  • Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Degrees Offered: BA in Psychology
  • GMAT/GRE Required: No
  • Financial Aid Offered: Grants, federal and private loans, internal and external scholarships
  • Other Information: Post University has been selected as a Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the fifth consecutive year.

Keiser University

Keiser University was established in 1977 and is currently the third-largest non-profit college in Florida. It currently has more than 20,000 students and several thousand in its psychology degree programs. It is ranked #1 in Florida by US News and World Report for Regional Colleges South.

Its most popular program is the online Master of Science in Psychology, which enables you to contribute to the psychology profession through research, scholarship and independent learning. After completion, students are able to:

  • Have an excellent grasp of psychological principles and theories that include psychopathology, evolutionary psychology, health psychology and human development.
  • Appreciate the importance of diversity in all people and have an understanding of multicultural techniques of research
  • Use research methods to evaluate and interpret research data

Details

  • University Type: Non-Profit
  • Campus Location: Clearwater, Florida; online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. in Psychology
  • GMAT/GRE Required: No
  • Financial Aid Offered: Grants, federal and private loans, internal and external scholarships
  • Other Information: Each program features one, four-week class at a time so that students are focused on one subject for each session, rather than juggling two or three different classes.

Capella University

At Capella University, you will delve into the field of psychology and have a better grasp of human actions, thoughts, and motivations. Students at Capella University can choose from a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Psychology.

Students in these accredited psychology degree programs gain a deep understanding of psychology, and hone the research, writing and critical thinking skills to become a thought leader in the field.

Each program can be completed through the University’s FlexPath program, which allows you to go through the familiar material faster and take more time with new material that you do not know as well.

Available concentrations in the master’s program are:

  • Sport psychology
  • General psychology
  • Child adolescent development
  • Industrial/organizational psychology
  • Applied research
  • Forensic psychology

Details

  • University Type: For-profit
  • Campus Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota; online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. in Psychology
  • GMAT/GRE Required: No
  • Financial Aid Offered: Grants, federal and private loans, internal and external scholarships
  • Other Information: Capella University offers a 10-15% discount for active military students.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University is a leading, online, nonprofit university that offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology.

The popular online master’s in psychology degree program at SNHU offers you the ability to focus your psychology studies on various growing disciplines, including forensic psychology, child and adolescent development psychology and industrial/organizational psychology

The Master of Science program is completed with a capstone and seminar section. This gives you the opportunity to integrate everything that you learned into a project that is peer and faculty reviewed.

Details

  • University Type: Non-Profit
  • Campus Location: Manchester, New Hampshire; online
  • Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. in Psychology
  • GMAT/GRE Required: No
  • Financial Aid Offered: Grants, federal and private loans, internal and external scholarships
  • Other Information: The graduate degree in psychology can be completed in as little as 15 months.

Liberty University

The Department of Psychology offers an associate’s degree, three bachelor’s degrees, and a master’s degree in psychology. Each of them can be completed mostly online.

Graduates of Liberty University in psychology will be very well prepared for careers in psychology and related fields. The master’s program is offered in applied and general psychology, with concentrations in developmental and industrial/organizational psychology.

The industrial/organizational specialization is popular and in demand. Students learn how to apply principles of psychology in HR, sales, marketing and business development.

Details

  • University Type: Non-Profit
  • Campus Location: Lynchburg, Virginia online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Degrees Offered: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s in Psychology
  • GMAT/GRE Required: No
  • Financial Aid Offered: Grants, federal and private loans, internal and external scholarships
  • Other Information: Each program is 100% online and up to 50% of program hours can be transferred if approved

Summary

Earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in psychology offers you many different career paths, depending on the specialization that you choose.

References

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