Online Graduate Programs in Psychology

June 30, 2018

#10 Grand Canyon University

Degrees in psychology are often used as a first step before transferring to a four-year program; degrees are considered the basic foundational program in this discipline. Both associate and bachelor’s degrees provide a significant amount of coursework in liberal arts and science topics like math, humanities, natural science, and history. Core classes within the psychology major explore topics such as, personality, psychology of learning, and depression and mood disorders. Many online psychology programs require that students work in psychology labs or on research projects.

Online programs in psychology are available in specialization areas like forensic psychology, , counseling, or . Most master’s programs require a thesis project or fieldwork. The degree in psychology is the minimum requirement to work as a licensed psychologist that treats patients. Students take advanced coursework, do clinical assessments, and perform research. Most programs require a lengthy internship prior to or after graduation.

Online Associate Degrees in Psychology

Associate degrees in psychology require that students have a high school diploma or equivalent in order to be accepted. Programs will take about two years to complete if students attend full time and take approximately five classes per semester.

Associate degrees will provide a helpful foundation for psychology students. Common courses include introduction to psychology, developmental psychology, marriage and family, research methods, professional writing, English, human development, abnormal psychology, psychology of personality, and theories of personality. Many of the courses in this program will set students up for higher education and introduce them to different aspects of psychology that careers can be based upon.

Graduates with an associate degree in psychology may not have a lot of career options, as most psychologist jobs will require at least a degree. There are some assistant-level positions available for those with an associate degree in psychology as well as job titles such as rehabilitation assistant, child care provider, orderly, and coordinator. These positions are ideal for those who want to extend their psychology career in the future, as they'll gain necessary experience in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Psychology

Bachelor's degrees in psychology require students to have completed high school and achieved good scores on a college-entry exam such as the SAT or ACT. Bachelor's programs in psychology take about four years to complete with a total of approximately 120 units of coursework. Psychology degrees at the bachelor's level may also include some fieldwork, which plays an important role in the education program; fieldwork allows students to see how psychology works in offices and healthcare facilities.

The first year or two of a psychology bachelor's program will focus on general education courses such as introduction to psychology, biology, English, statistics, history of psychology, human lifespan development, research methods, learning cognition, and culture, ethnicity and diversity. Once the general education is complete, the courses will get more specific, and students will be able to choose electives depending on the field of psychology they're most interested in. Common courses include child development, abnormal psychology, criminal psychology, family and marriage, human sexuality, and psychology of personality.

Psychology careers generally require a or higher, but jobs for bachelor's graduates do exist. Common positions at this level include psychological assistants or aides to established doctors and professionals. Bachelor's degree holders may also work at psychology offices or schools to help patients under the supervision of a licensed doctor. With a background in psychology, students can also get jobs managing people or working in human resources within many kinds of businesses.

Online Master's Degrees in Psychology

Applicants to a master's degree program in psychology must hold an undergraduate degree and provide official transcripts from any accredited schools they have attended. Some schools require that applicants meet a minimum GPA in previous coursework to be considered for admission. These 42-credit programs can be completed in two years. Some graduates continue their education by enrolling in a program to become a .

Master's degrees delve into more specialized areas of psychology and have course requirements that are quite different from undergraduate degrees. Core courses for master's psychology programs may include topics such as lifespan development, , tests and measurements, cognitive and affective psychology, learning theories in psychology, counseling theories and strategies, and therapeutic boundaries. Other courses may cover psychopathology, group psychology, and social psychology. Some graduate degree programs may require students to write a thesis or participate in an externship before they graduate.

Students may choose an area of concentration in their field and take elective courses tailored to that area. For example, a counseling graduate degree might require classes in interviewing, cultural awareness, and patient assessment, while would cover the biological basis of behavior, the psychology of coaching, applied sport psychology, and performance enhancement. Other specializations could include courses in human sexuality, the psychology of religion, family systems theory, dual diagnosis, eating disorders, alcoholism, organizational psychology, and interpersonal conflict in the workplace.

Although a master's degree in psychology does not qualify people to work as a full-fledged psychologist in any state, it can lead to a career as a psychology assistant; ;; or a specialized counselor in private practice, community service, or government agency.

Online Doctorate Degrees in Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree programs prepare graduates to become . The PhD tends to focus more on research, while the PsyD focuses on clinical practice. Applicants to doctorate programs need an accredited or degree, as well as previous introductory coursework in psychology. Along with official college transcripts, letters of recommendation and a resume must be submitted for consideration. Doctoral programs usually require four to six years of work, including a dissertation and internship.

Doctoral candidates in a psychology program complete core courses in topics such as history and systems of psychology, multicultural perspectives in human behavior, cultural diversity, ethical and professional issues, and psychopharmacology. Students are also be able to round out their coursework by choosing from a list of electives. Possible options include human sexuality, dream analysis, psychology of chronic illness, positive psychology, dual diagnosis, and psychology of stress and stress-related disorders.

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