2021 Best Accelerated Psychology Degrees Online

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Earning an accelerated psychology degree online might be exactly what you need to speed up your education and get into the workforce without delay.

Accelerated Psychology Degrees Online

With an accelerated online program, you’ll learn the same skills and subjects as other psychology students, but your timetable for graduation can be faster.

You may be rolling up your sleeves and helping people in need in 3 years or less.

Best Accelerated Psychology Degrees Online

There are many reasons why a student might want to graduate quickly, and a growing number of schools are meeting that need with accelerated degree programs.

An accelerated program typically offers 8 week courses. Some programs even offer 6 week courses. The courses teach the same information and skills as a traditional program, but they compress the material into a shorter time frame.

Let’s take a look at some of the different psychology degrees you can choose from:

Regardless of the specialty you select, you will still receive a strong foundation in psychology and related courses.

Online Bachelors in Psychology

Psychologist with a patient

An online bachelors in psychology is one of the more straightforward degrees in the field. You’ll likely learn all about behavior, memory, personality, cognition, and mental health. Common courses include abnormal psychology, cognitive development, and organizational behavior.

You may or may not have the option of specializing within this degree. It depends on your school. If they offer the chance to concentrate your studies on a specific niche, your options might include everything from criminal psychology to clinical language development.

A bachelors degree in psychology can be earned as both a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS). The former has more of an emphasis on the humanities and liberal arts while the latter tends to be more science- or research-focused.

The right choice for you will depend on where your interests lie within the field of psychology.

Online Bachelors in Applied Behavior Analysis

Behavioral Psychologist with a child

Also called behavioral engineering, applied behavior analysis is dedicated to understanding and improving behavior. This is commonly applied to habits and practices in workplace settings, but it can also be used for classrooms, addiction treatment, autism, trauma therapy, and more.

A degree program for applied behavior analysis may involve a lot of courses on human behavior. Depending on where you want to work, you might study everything from business-related performance management to child-centric learning and developmental disabilities.

You might also study more wide-ranging topics, such as speech and communication in relation to how they impact behavior. A background in applied behavior analysis may lead to many different careers, including ones outside of the field of psychology. This degree is a versatile option for those who desire a multipurpose education.

Online Bachelors in Child & Adolescent Development

Psychologist with a teenager during consultation

Child and adolescent development is a specialty within the field of psychology. Some schools have their own degree program for it, but most will simply offer it as a concentration or emphasis for a BA or BS in Psychology.

As you might expect from the name, child psychology is devoted to young minds and how they develop. You can take a scientific approach with courses in genetics or cognitive development. You can also decide to stick to moods, emotions, and behaviors and study how they’re influenced by school and family settings.

A psychology degree in child and adolescent development can help prepare you for many kinds of careers. These include careers in law, medicine, childcare, social services, and K-12 education.

Online Bachelors in Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychologist interviewing a patient

Forensic psychology is one of the lesser-known branches of psychology, but it can also be one of the most exciting. It’s devoted to the psychology used in legal proceedings, including criminal proceedings.

Forensic psychologists might wear many different hats on the job. They might interview criminals and put together personality assessments. They might sit on the stand and give expert testimony in trials. They may also act as trial consultants, research scientists, child welfare advocates, and correctional program designers.

Forensic psychology can cross over into many other fields, including law, science, technology, and even politics. Forensic psychology is a specialty with many possibilities for those who are interested in the work.

If you are interested in continuing your education beyond a bachelors degree, you may also want to look into a Masters in Forensic Psychology online or on-campus degree program offered at some universities.

Online Bachelors in Organizational Psychology

Psychologist comforting a patient

Organizational psychology relates to the psychology of workplaces and other structured environments where people interact in groups. It’s often taught in conjunction with industrial psychology under the name industrial organizational psychology, or I/O psychology.

Classes in organizational psychology might include topics such as group dynamics, motivational practices, and how to effectively develop training modules and programs. It might also involve leadership training since many I/O professionals go on to become managers or consultants.

Organizational psychology may be a good choice for students who anticipate entering the business world or who want to learn about structured psychology in all its forms.

Psychology Careers & Salaries

Psychology Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you may choose to pursue various career paths with a psychology degree.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Human Resources Managers $116,720
Top Executives $104,690
Sociologists $83,420
Psychologists $80,370
Social and Community Service Managers $67,150
Training and Development Specialists $61,210
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $54,290
Marriage and Family Therapists $49,610
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors $48,210
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $46,240

Online psychology degrees can help prepare you for work in schools, offices, prisons, rehabs, courtrooms, and more. It all depends on what you want to study and where you want to work after graduation.

A growing number of universities also offer either an on-campus or an online masters in psychology with no GRE required for admission, so if you are interested in continuing your education past a bachelors, you can look into these programs.

Psychology Curriculum & Courses

Psychologist with a patient in her office

Online psychology programs can vary quite a bit in terms of curriculum, especially if you have a concentration. Here are a few general courses that you may see in psychology programs:

  • Principles of Psychology: This is a basic, entry-level class that will teach you how to approach human behavior through a critical lens.
  • Applied Behavioral Analysis: Also called behavioral engineering, this is a class that takes an empirical approach to understanding and correcting behavior through specific tools, techniques, methods, and strategies.
  • Organizational Behavior: Organizational behavior looks at things like group dynamics and interpersonal communication to understand how people behave in structured environments.
  • Abnormal Psychology: An essential course for counselors, abnormal psychology can cover everything from mood disorders to maladaptive behavior. Classes usually revolve around identifying, assessing, understanding, and treating it.
  • Cognitive Development: Cognition is a broad term that covers things like memory, perception, thought, action, and learning. Classes in cognitive development can give you a good foundation in further psychological principles.
  • Child and Adolescent Development: Sometimes offered as its own specialty, these classes cover psychological topics related to childhood, such as abuse, diversity, learning disabilities, legal advocacy, and more.
  • Experimental Psychology: Another science-based class, experimental psychology looks at the administration of tests, assessments, and evaluations within psychology studies and trials.
  • Neuroscience: Neuroscience classes are usually upper-level classes dedicated to the structure of the brain and how emotions can be impacted by the physical processes within it.
  • Social Psychology: Useful for everything from education to business settings, social psychology looks at how society, culture, and environment can influence behavior.
  • Practicums: Some psychology degree programs will require practicums or clinical hours under a supervisor. You can ask your school how you can satisfy these requirements through an online program.

Every psychology program is different, especially if you choose a specialization. A psychology degree concentrating on child development will require very different courses than a psychology degree with a workplace industrial organizational focus.

Admissions Requirements

Psychology student studying in a cafe

Accelerated psychology programs may have different admissions processes. For example, many schools have rolling admissions for accelerated programs since the semesters are shorter and not bound to the usual spring and fall calendar.

Some common admissions criteria include the following:

  • Transcripts. Colleges will want to know where you’ve attended school before as well as the grades you earned.
  • Test scores. While a growing number of schools are going test-optional when it comes to SAT and ACT scores, it’s still a standard practice to ask for them.
  • Application. The typical college application asks for personal information, financial information, letters of recommendation, and an essay or two.

If you’re looking specifically at psychology programs online, you might also be advised to make sure that you have strong and stable Internet access. In addition to taking classes online, you might also be required to sit for digitally proctored exams or virtual training sessions that count for clinical psychology hours.

Accreditation

Psychology Degree Accreditation

An accredited college is one that’s met the standards of the US Board of Education or other similar organizations.

Regional accreditation is important because it distinguishes real and legitimate schools from scams and “degree mills.” Accreditation is also a requirement for many financial aid organizations and a number of scholarship agencies.

An accredited degree is also a general requirement for licensing boards. Most states require psychologists to be locally licensed before they can practice. Professional organizations like the American Psychological Association (APA) will also want licensure before you can sit for certification exams.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Psychology Degree Financial Aid

If you qualify, financial aid may help you afford a psychology degree. The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It will automatically determine your eligibility for government-based grants, loans, and work-study programs.

You may also seek out need-based and merit-based scholarships. Even small-time scholarships may cover the price of books and lab fees.

For tuition assistance meant specifically for psychology students, you can check out organizations like the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA offers more than a dozen grants and awards for students studying in psych-based fields.

Is Psychology an Easy Major?

online psych programs

The difficulty of your psychology program will often depend on where you attend and what you study.

Certain branches of psychology are more science- and research-based than others. It also matters whether you’re aiming for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). In general, psychology is a social science, so it isn’t as intensive as a STEM science would be.

Can I Get a Psychology Degree Online?

There are a number of accredited online psychology degree programs to choose from, and many of them offer flexible, self-paced classes that will allow you to study on your own schedule.

There are also accelerated online programs that can quickly move you through the required coursework in order to help you graduate faster and get into the field sooner.

How Fast Can You Get a Psychology Degree?

Psychology Degree students in a university

It usually takes around 4 years to get a bachelors degree in psychology. An accelerated program, though, will let you take shorter, more intensive classes that can knock your graduation time down to 3 years.

Many schools may also let you earn equivalency credits through things like CLEP tests. If you’re an adult student with life experience, you can also ask about submitting a portfolio to get college credit for your work or military background.

All things considered, you might be able to earn an accelerated bachelor’s degree in psychology in as little as 2 or 3 years.

What Can You Do with a Bachelors in Psychology?

Psychologist with her patient

A psychology degree can prepare you for a wide range of work. You don’t have to become a psychologist, but even if you do, you may practice psychology in a variety of fields.

If you become a forensic psychologist, for example, you might work with lawyers and police officers. If you study child and adolescent psychology, you may become a school guidance counselor or a child welfare advocate in a human services agency.

If you want to become a businessperson, you might aim for an industrial organizational psychology degree. If you’re into science and research, you might dedicate yourself to applied behavior analysis or behavior engineering.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Psychology Degree Online?

Psychology Degree student studying online

A traditional college semester lasts 16 weeks, and full-time students generally enroll for 2 semesters per year. Assuming that you’re a full-time student, it’ll typically take you 4 years to get a bachelors degree when following a traditional schedule.

An accelerated program in psychology usually takes around a year off your graduation time, so you could potentially earn your bachelor’s degree in 3 years instead of 4.

You may also combine an accelerated program with CLEP credits. You may also take more semesters per year if you sign up for summer or winter semesters, and you can also look for a college that may let you test out of classes. If you take full advantage of every possible option, you may be able to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2 years.

Is a Psychology Degree Worth It?

Psychologist with a patient during consultation

Yes, a psychology degree is worth it for many students. With an average salary range from $46,000 to $67,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in psychology can help you launch a career in this versatile field.

Common psychology careers include counselor, social services manager, and mental health specialist. If you decide to become a licensed psychologist, a doctoral degree is often required. Psychologists earn an average salary of $80,370 per year and are projected to have 3% job growth.

Universities Offering Online Accelerated Bachelor’s in Psychology Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited, offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format, and have accelerated classes that are 8 weeks or less in duration.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Classes for Arizona State University’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program run for 7 and a half weeks each. They include a mixture of general education courses, general electives, and psychology-related courses. The curriculum is designed to provide students with diversity training and quantitative  and qualitative research and critical thinking skills.

Arizona State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University’s psychology bachelors program is designed for transfer students looking to finish their degrees. Students can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis, and courses are delivered 1 night a week for 8 consecutive sessions. Classes are small and taught by faculty mentors. Students receive free access to writing tutoring.

Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology program at Bellevue University has eight start dates each year and doesn’t require students to submit standardized test scores for admission. It’s a research-intensive program that teaches students to apply psychological principles and skill sets to various career fields or in preparation for graduate school.

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Biola University

Biola University

Students enrolled in Biola University’s Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology program can usually finish in as few as 24 months thanks to the online curriculum being delivered in accelerated, asynchronous 7 week courses. Professors have plenty of real-world experience, and all classes are taught through the lens of Christianity.

Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Bryan College

Bryan College

Although it takes the standard 120 hours to graduate from Bryan College’s Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology program, courses are delivered via 5 week accelerated classes and are entirely online. Students are taught to put Christian values first in their evaluations of human behavior. Financial aid is available to eligible students.

Bryan College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian University

Students enrolled in Colorado Christian University’s applied psychology program will take numerous courses in abnormal, social, and environmental psychology, research methodologies, and interpersonal relationships.

Students also learn about the intersection of theology and psychology. There are three optional concentrations that can put students on the path to graduate school.

Colorado Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

The psychology bachelors program at Colorado Technical University helps students understand how psychology can be applied to everyday life and teaches them important leadership skills. In addition to the general program, there are two available concentrations as well. Students can pass Fast Track exams in order to earn credits faster.

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Concordia University – St Paul

Concordia University St Paul

Concordia University-St Paul’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program is a 44 credit program that features a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum as well as an 8 credit internship that allows students to gain real-world experience. There’s also an accelerated option that allows students to complete courses in shortened, 7 week intervals.

Concordia University-Saint Paul is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University has several options when it comes to earning psychology degrees online. In addition to the general psychology bachelors program, there are also seven concentration options available. There are also two masters programs available as well as graduate certificates in psychology.

EKU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Fisher College

Fisher College

The online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program at Fisher College usually requires students to take twenty 8 week terms to complete. Most students finish in a little over 3 years. The on-campus psychology program has much longer term lengths and generally takes most students at least 4 years to complete.

Fisher College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

King University

King University

King University’s courses run for only 5 weeks at a time, allowing most students to complete all of their major coursework in the psychology bachelors program in as few as 16 months. In addition to general education requirements, students will also take courses in group dynamics, applied psychology, and Christian counseling.

King University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Liberty University

Liberty University

Liberty University’s Bachelor of Psychology program is one of the most flexible accelerated psychology programs available. It can be completed totally online, and there are no set login times for the classes. Courses are only 8 weeks long, and most full-time students finish in about 3 and a half years.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

McKendree University

McKendree University

The psychology bachelors program at McKendree University helps prepare students for careers in a myriad of different fields, including education, social work, criminal justice, and crisis centers. Students can also focus their attention to a single aspect of psychology to better prepare themselves for graduate school in numerous relevant fields.

McKendree University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Mercer University

Mercer University

Students in Mercer University’s Bachelor of Science in Psychology program should learn to apply ethics and good sense to the evaluation of psychological practice.

Students will also learn to engage in creative problem solving and understand the socio-cultural factors behind proper scientific inquiry. The program is designed for working professionals and can be completed entirely online.

Mercer University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Midway University

Midway University

Although Midway University’s psychology bachelors program traditionally takes 4 years to complete, students can drastically shorten that timeline if they participate in the school’s Credit for Prior Learning program.

This program awards students college credit for prior knowledge and experience. Additionally, almost 90% of the school’s students currently receive financial aid.

Midway University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Ohio Christian University

Ohio Christian University

There are two online options for students in Ohio Christian University’s psychology bachelors program. Students can take traditional online classes, which run for 5 weeks and allow them to work as they will. They can also choose to take the OnlinePlus courses, which run for 8 weeks and are structured like on-campus classes.

Ohio Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Regis University

Regis University

The applied psychology bachelors program at Regis University can be undertaken in either 5 week or 8 week courses, depending on students’ needs.

The curriculum is designed to cover all the main foundations of psychology. The program includes courses in forgiveness, health psychology, stress and well-being, positive psychology, lifespan development, and abnormal behavior.

Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

There are six concentration options in Southern New Hampshire University’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program.

They are social psychology, addictions, mental health, applied psychology, forensic psychology, and child and adolescent development. There’s also an embedded Data Literacy in Psychology certificate program. Courses cover self-care, ethics, and career connections.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Bridgeport

University of Bridgeport

The University of Bridgeport’s Bachelor of Science in Psychology program is an accelerated degree program that includes 43 university core credits, 39 psychology-specific core and elective course credits, and 39 general elective credits for completion.

Psychology-specific courses cover topics such as personality, maturity and aging, biological psychology, and lifespan development.

The University of Bridgeport is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Westfield State University

Westfield State University

Westfield State University’s psychology bachelors program is a mixture of traditional and accelerated online courses.

The fall and spring semesters include traditional 15 week sessions. The summer semester includes two 6 week sessions, and the winter features a single 2 week session. It’s designed for transfer students, but other students can also enroll.

Westfield State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Getting Your Accelerated Psychology Degree Online

Getting Your Accelerated Psychology Degree Online

Earning a degree in psychology online may be a strategic choice for students who want the freedom and flexibility of distance learning.

An accelerated program can also compress your classes into shorter semesters and offer you a faster route to graduation. You may be helping others with your psychology degree in no time.

If you’re ready to start your educational journey, you can begin by exploring accredited online psychology programs to find the one that best fits your career goals.

Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.