There are many factors to keep in mind when researching online psychology programs: what is it? What will I study? Where should I start? Psychology is, in short, the scientific study of the human brain and normal and abnormal behavior. It is also the analysis of how people behave alone or in groups, in different environments, and under different mental circumstances. Degrees in psychology are offered at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral level, and beyond the bachelor's degree level, students will typically choose a specialization to study, such as child, occupational, or forensic psychology, or marriage counseling.
At the associate level, students will take general course work in physical and biological sciences before taking courses in general psychology, lifespan and development, and research methods, and a few specialized courses, such as substance abuse, psychology of change, group behavior, and women's psychology. At the bachelor's degree level, students will take a fuller load of science and arts courses, and will add more in-depth and specialized courses than students at the associate degree level, taking courses such as abnormal psychology, psychological testing and assessment, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and experimental psychology. Using electives, top online colleges for psychology will allow students to delve deeper into subjects such as grief counseling, neuropsychology, and substance abuse counseling.
When choosing a top online college in psychology, students should look for a program at a school that is regionally or nationally accredited by an institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The best online college psychology programs will also hold accreditation from the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation. Though the APA only accredits doctoral programs, schools with this accreditation also typically have high-quality undergraduate psychology programs. Students should consider schools that offer opportunities to participate in student research projects, to work alongside faculty, and to intern in settings in which they might hope to work. Students should also look for a psychology program that offers a variety of electives, so that they can explore many facets of psychology before potentially choosing a specialization in future degree programs. Upon graduation, students can choose to work in a variety of fields, such as psychological research, counseling, consumer behavior and marketing, or forensic psychology.