How to Get a Bachelors in Psychology Degree

This article describes how to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology. It provides information that will assist you in choosing a good quality psychology degree program. It also will explain some of the many advantages of earning this degree, and a good program that you may want to consider.

What Is a Bachelor’s in Psychology Degree?

A bachelor’s degree in psychology is a four-year degree where the student studies the basic principles of psychology that helps them to understand the vital biological bases of human behavior and mental processes, developmental changes over the entire lifespan, learning and cognition and much more.

A bachelor’s in psychology degree prepares students for many careers in psychology, education, social services, personnel management, business and marketing, counseling and healthcare. Many bachelor’s degree in psychology graduates use their undergraduate education as the foundation for graduate degree study in counseling or psychology.

Typical core concepts that are covered in most bachelor’s in psychology programs include the following:

  • Social development, interpersonal effectiveness, critical thinking skills, collaboration, building trust with clients, and strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Fundamental counseling strategies, preventing and treating different disorders, addictions and related problems.
  • Research strategies that are important in the psychology field to effectively treat and analyze patients.
  • Learning how the brain and body change as people age.
  • How social involvement and interaction affect how a person feels, makes decisions and fulfils their sense of self and overall development.

There are two major types of bachelor’s in psychology degrees: the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. Most Bachelor of Arts programs feature a smaller number of courses to complete the psychology major requirements, with more courses required in fields outside of psychology.

The Bachelor of Science degree typically features more courses within the psychology field, more courses in science and mathematics, and a smaller set of courses outside of psychology.

Why Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?

A bachelor’s in psychology provides you with an excellent overall liberal arts education that can be the springboard to many highly rewarding careers in everything from psychology to business to education.

A large percentage of psychology majors choose this degree because they intend to move on to earn their master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or psychology. The reason for doing so is that they feel a passion for helping others to work through their relationship and mental health problems.

Many also choose to become professional counselors with their master’s degree because there is a strong demand for for psychologists and counselors that is only getting stronger year by year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that employment demand for psychologists will rise by 19% by 2024, which is a very fast rate of growth.

Specifically, employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists will rise by 20% by 2024. There is rising demand for more counseling and psychological services in hospitals, mental health clinics, social service agencies and schools.

More need for clinical and counseling psychologists is coming from more people having health insurance access, and also the rising overall age of the US population.

In the field of school psychology, there is more demand because there is better understanding today of the strong connection between mental health and learning. This has led to more children being connected to mental health professionals in their schools.

More school psychologists are also required to help children with learning disabilities and behavioral problems. More of these mental health and behavioral issues are recognized today, which is driving this need for more school counselors and psychologists.

Students also are being driven to become psychologists with a master’s or even doctoral degree eventually because of the excellent median salary for psychologists – $75,200 as of May 2016. Psychologists with a doctoral degree can earn more than $120,000 per year.

In the field of mental health counseling, there is going to be strong growth as well, with a 19% increase in demand by 2024, which also is much faster than average. Marriage and family therapists also will see a 15% increase in job demand.

So, if you choose a career as a psychologist or mental health counselor down the road with a master’s or doctoral degree, you will have plenty of demand for your services.

The magazine Psychology Today also reports these substantial career and life benefits of earning your bachelor’s degree in psychology:

  • Learning how to understand and interpret data
  • Understanding how memory and learning work
  • Having better insight into behavioral and mental health problems
  • Being able to manage challenging situations in a high stress environment
  • Predicting and understanding how different individuals and groups behave
  • Being able to initiate and carry out projects with very limited experience and information

These vital skills are applicable to many career paths outside of the psychology field. This is why a bachelor’s in psychology degree often serves as the foundation for students who go on to earn graduate degrees in other fields, including business, healthcare and education.

Online Degree Options

Students who are interested in earning their bachelor’s degree in psychology have plenty of good programs from which to choose. Our recommended programs are:

Southern New Hampshire University

The Bachelor of Science from Southern New Hampshire University will teach you the fundamentals of the psychology profession using case studies and experiential learning as you delve into the concepts and research methods that undergird this exciting field. Students have the option of following the general psychology track or focusing on one of these specialties:

  • Mental health
  • Social psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Applied psychology
  • Addictions
  • Child and adolescent development

One of the most popular specialties at SNHU is applied psychology, where students have the chance to investigate how different parts of psychology are being used today to answer vital questions about mental health and counseling, and to create solutions in the real world that change lives.

By learning how to apply proper research methods, students will learn how to interpret mental processes and behaviors through various psychological perspectives. The applied psychology specialty also looks at many areas of human behavior based upon practice and research.

Other students frequently choose addiction studies because there is more demand today for addiction counselors, as more minor drug offenders are being rehabilitated rather than sent to prison. The SNHU addiction studies major explores contemporary theories and research behind addictive behaviors today. You will be prepared to understand the compulsive nature of substances addictions and the people who are affected.

This four year program does not lead to certification in the field of psychology, but will offer you an understanding of critical psychology concepts and communication skills so that you can have success in major industries from business to human services to education.

Required coursework for this bachelor’s degree in psychology are:

  • Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Research I: Statistics for Psychology
  • Research II: Scientific Investigations
  • Senior Seminar in Psychology
  • Contemporary Issues in Applied Psychology

Northeastern University

Northeastern University offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. This is a four year, online degree program that will provide you with a strong focus on the mind, brain and behavior of human beings.

This psychology curriculum focuses on topics that include how the function of the brain determines behavior; how human beings see, hear and learn; what is a normal and an abnormal personality; the nature of cognitive processing and language; the ways in which our emotions affect behavior; and the ways in which individuals work in groups.

This degree program features both laboratory practice and experimentation, as well as research projects and seminars in small groups. Through these methods, students have an opportunity to critically evaluate the most important topics in the field of psychology.

Required courses include these:

  • Personality
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Biological/Cognitive Bases of Behavior
  • Learning and Motivation
  • Learning Principles and Behavior Analysis
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Biological Psychology
  • Psychology of Language
  • Cognition
  • Statistics
  • Statistics in Psychological Research

Colorado State University

The online bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colorado State University will teach you the basic theories, laws of behavior and principles and the scientific methods that are used in common psychological research. This program is a solid blend of training in critical thinking in psychology and communication skills that will provide you with the knowledge needed to succeed in many professions.

Students who graduate from this four year, online degree program have demonstrated that they have greatly improved their abilities in:

  • Written communication
  • Analytical thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Cooperation and teamwork
  • Oral communication

The lectures and labs in this program provide you with the chance to apply the scientific principles that you are learning. After graduation, you will have the knowledge and skill to demonstrate and practice expertise in social psychology, industrial psychology, cognitive psychology and biological psychology. Students also learn how to perform psychological measurement and testing.

Summary

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology provides you with many challenging, rewarding career options, whether you opt to work in psychology or in related professions.

References

Veranda Charleston
Written by Veranda Charleston
Veranda is HealthGrad.com's Mental Health category guide. Veranda received her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. She has more than five years of experience as a trained mental health professional.

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