Online psychology programs are becoming common at the undergraduate and master's degree levels, and some low-residency doctoral programs are also available that offer a significant amount of the coursework online.
Most bachelor's degree programs do not have any clinical requirements, and so coursework can be taken largely or entirely online. A graduate degree geared towards clinicians, however, will necessarily mandate a certain amount of on-campus or in-person clinical work along with the online courses. Sometimes community service or internships may also be required. To be accepted into a graduate program, students will generally need to already have a bachelor's degree in a related academic area.
University of North Carolina: Psychology Degrees
The University of North Carolina (UNC) Online is a network of 16 universities across the state, offering degrees in more than 20 fields. Online courses are taught by the same faculty who teach on campus, and no distinction is made between a degree earned online and a degree earned on campus at any of the participating institutions. The two schools mentioned below, Fayetteville State and East Carolina University, are both part of the UNC online system, and both have distance learning offerings in psychology.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Fayetteville State University
Students applying to this degree program must already have completed 45 core curriculum credits in subjects like math, writing, natural sciences and communication, either through Fayetteville State or another accredited school. The psychology curriculum explores social, biological and cultural facets of human behavior.
Coursework is delivered asynchronously, which means students can complete assignments and view lectures at their own pace. Courses in the program include the following:
- Research methodology
- Abnormal psychology
- Sensation and perception
M.A. in Psychology from East Carolina University
This program has a concentration in academic psychology, which prepares graduates to teach at the high school or community college level or go on to pursue a doctoral degree. In addition to taking online courses, students must attend one-week sessions on campus during the first and second summers of their enrollment.
Required classes in this distance learning master's program include the following:
- Advanced developmental psychology
- Advanced principles of learning
- Cognitive psychology
- Advanced psychopathology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
This private, nonprofit school offers a large number of psychology degree programs, all online. This school operates on its own 'Engaged Professional Model,' in which students take coursework online while at the same time participating in real-life work through community service in their own communities. The school offers a Master of Arts in Psychology with a number of different concentrations, including international psychology, sport and exercise psychology, and organizational leadership, to name just a few areas. A number of doctoral programs and certificates are also available.
M.A. in Psychology, Sport and Exercise Psychology Concentration
This program is aimed at athletic trainers, coaches, exercise specialists, physical therapists and others who wish to use psychology to help clients, athletes and students succeed. A bachelor's degree in any area is a prerequisite.
Participants take 18 credit hours of foundational psychology, 12 hours of sports psychology and six hours of an applied research project. Some of the courses in the program include:
- Anxiety and energy management
- Motivating teams
- Imagery and mental practice
Psychology Programs at California Southern University
California Southern has been in existence since 1978, and it now offers programs 100% online. These include bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in psychology, as well as certificates in pastoral counseling, sports psychology, industrial psychology, chemical dependency and addiction studies. The school's proprietary online system allows students to access a variety of tools for online research, study, writing and library services.
Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)
This 4-year, 66-credit hour program is an applied, clinically focused degree, and it does not require a dissertation. Instead, students engage in several practicums at local sites and complete a doctoral project. This project is designed around the student's interests and can be in the form of a community-based action or research project, an analysis of a clinical endeavor or a criticism of literature in a particular field of psychology. Finally, students also must pass qualifying and comprehensive exams and complete an internship.
The curriculum qualifies graduates for licensure as a clinical psychologist, though prospective students should consult with the licensing body of their state to confirm that this degree will suffice. Some of the core and required courses for the degree include:
- Advanced theories of personality
- Statistical methods and analysis
- Applied sport psychology
- Human sexuality
- Dream analysis
- Dual diagnosis
- Career counseling
- Foundations of humanistic psychology
Bachelor's degrees and master's degrees in psychology are commonly found online from institutions like East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina, among many others. While less common, there are also online Ph.D. programs, such as the one offered by California Southern University.