Best Online Psychology Degree Programs (SNHU vs Purdue Global vs Grand Canyon vs Capella University)

Today, I’m going to be covering some of the top-rated online bachelor’s and psychology degree programs out there. If you’re considering getting your degree online, you’ve probably realized by now there’s about a thousand online universities. I mean you’ve probably seen the commercials or online ads for schools like Southern New Hampshire University, Purdue University Global, and University of Arizona Global before.

Frankly, the amount of choices out there is almost overwhelming but luckily today I’m going to cut out the noise and compare and contrast some of the most popular online national universities that offer psychology degree programs. This will help make your decision a little bit easier. So if you’re ready let’s get to it.

Best Online Psychology Degree Programs

1. Purdue University Global

Purdue global is easily one of the most popular national online universities.

Tuition for Credit

Let’s start with their tuition for credit. As I’ll do with all the schools that we’ll be discussing today and keep in mind that tuition rates do change slightly from year to year but for Purdue University Global you’re going to be looking generally at $370 per credit which actually compares quite favorably to the other online universities in this article except for SNHU which I’ll get to here in a minute.

But the main thing to keep in mind here is that from a per unit cost perspective Purdue University Global is pretty affordable and they do offer tuition discounts for military members, international students, and Indiana residents. So keep that in your back pocket if you fall into one of these three categories.

While we’re on the topic of cost, I should mention that Purdue Global offers a no financial obligation 3-week trial period. So essentially you take classes for three weeks to see if you like it and then decide whether to continue or opt out with no tuition cost which I think is a pretty cool option for students that maybe on the fence.

Financial Aid

Now typically at this point I would move on to the percentage of students receiving institutional aid so you can get an idea of your chances of nabbing a grant or scholarship from the university to help pay for your degree but unfortunately that data isn’t available for Purdue Global through the national center for education statistics for some reason.


The key thing to know here is that Purdue Global is an open enrollment school. Meaning there’s no application fee, SAT or ACT requirement, or minimum GPA. Also, as part of that open enrollment, they offer staggered start dates throughout the year basically every month. So there’s no need to wait until the next semester or quarter to end, you can pretty much get going right away if you want. Each term is 10 weeks long and each course requires an average time commitment of 15 to 18 hours per week. So you’re likely going to need around two to four years to graduate depending on how many courses you want to take per term.


Now as far as the x factors go for Purdue University Global’s Bachelor and psychology degree program, there’s two things I want to highlight. First is that there are three different degree tracks you can choose from. There’s the applied behavior analysis track, addictions program track, and the industrial organizational psychology degree track. Two of these tracks will get you ready to sit for certification exams including the NCAC and certified assistant behavior analyst exams.

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The second item I want to highlight related to Purdue University Global is the fact that they offer accelerated master’s degree options as well. So if you’ve ever thought about getting your masters in psychology or a related field in addition to your Bachelor’s, Purdue University Global makes it pretty easy. Essentially, you can work towards your masters at the same time that you’re completing your bachelor’s degree and as a result you can complete both degree programs in less time and at a lower cost than completing both programs separately. So that’s a pretty cool option for all you overachievers out there.

2. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

Next up on the list is SNHU; a university that I am guessing you have probably seen commercials or digital ads for in the past.

Tuition per Credit

So starting with the tuition per credit, SNHU is the cheapest or most affordable university I’ll cover today at $320 per credit. On top of that, around 35 percent of beginning full-time students receives an institutional grant or scholarship. The average amount of which is around 13,000. So all in all, SNHU is pretty affordable and there’s a fairly decent chance you’ll also receive some sort of aid to help you pay for your degree.


SNHU is also an open enrollment school; meaning they accept pretty much everyone and admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. In terms of format, the university offers 6 eight week terms throughout the year. So not quite as many start dates as Purdue Global which means you might have to wait a month or two to start your program depending on when you apply and when you’re admitted but the program does move a little faster.


To get more specific around the X-factors of the SNHU psychology program in particular, the university offers 6 different concentration options including addictions, applied psychology, child and adolescent development, forensic psychology, mental health, and social psychology. The other nice thing is that the SNHU program includes an embedded 12 credit data literacy and psychology certificate. So regardless of which concentration you choose, you can at least walk away with that certification on your resume.

Lastly, like Purdue University Global, SNHU does offer an accelerated master’s program for those of you who want to continue your higher education journey. Essentially, several courses from the bachelor’s program count as credit towards the master’s degree so you can save both time and money.

3. Grand Canyon University

Tuition per Credit

Once again, let’s start with what you are likely most interested in – affordability – and in Grand Canyon’s case you’re looking at around $485 per credit, so a bit more expensive than SNHU and Purdue Global. With that said though, over 90 percent of beginning full-time students receive some sort of institutional grants or scholarship; the average amount of which is around $9,000. So yes, higher tuition costs but also a much better chance of getting a grant or scholarship at Grand Canyon University.


Applications are free and reviewed on a rolling basis. But unlike the other schools I’ve discussed so far, Grand Canyon University is not an open enrollment university. However, they do have a fairly high acceptance rate at around 80 percent, so there’s still a very good chance you’ll get in as long as you meet their high school GPA requirements.

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Even if you don’t, there’s no real worries you’ll just have to meet the university’s minimum SAT or ACT score requirements or their minimum GED cumulative score threshold. In terms of timing and format, the university offers start dates throughout the year and the standard course length of their term is eight weeks. So they offer pretty swift courses.


To wrap this up with the x factors surrounding the Grand Canyon psychology program, there are two key highlights in my opinion. The first of which is that all of the university’s core psychology courses are aligned with the degree objectives established by the American Psychological Association and the other is that grand canyon offers a really cool emphasis track in performance and sports psychology for those of you interested in pursuing a career in this field.

4. University Of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC)

Tuition per Credit

Again starting with affordability, you are looking at around 510 per credit – the most expensive of the schools I’m covering today. With that said though, UAGC does offer a welcome grant to new students periodically which essentially drops the tuition for credit down to 459 dollars as long as you remain continuously enrolled and active in your program. On top of that, around 40 percent of beginning full-time students receives institutional grants or scholarships; the average amount of which is around $4,000.


UAGC is another open enrollment university admission where decisions are made on a rolling basis and there are no GPA or SATS/ACT requirements. In terms of degree timing and format, this is actually my x factor for UAGC. This is because it’s a little different than the rest of the online universities I’ve covered thus far. So the short story is that you take one course at a time for five weeks. I know it’s a little unusual but I also think this is perfect for some people.

For example, if you’re already working full time or you’re a busy parent this format may be just right for you. Rather than trying to juggle multiple courses at a time and staying up to date with various assignments, you instead just focus on one course. I think it really helps students stay focused and organized. So if this type of degree format sounds like it might be right for you, I just definitely recommend checking out UAGC.

5. Capella University

Tuition per Credit

At Cappella, you’re looking at around $357 to $411 in tuition per credit depending on whether you’re taking an upper level degree course or a lower level general education (Gen Ed) course. Speaking of lower level general education courses, this is one of my X-factors with Capella as they allow students to complete a portion of their general education requirements through their affiliate, Sophia Learning, for an ultra low cost.

Essentially, for only $79 per month Sophia learning offers access to a ton of self-paced Gen Ed courses which can then be transferred to your online psychology bachelor’s program at Capella. So overall, it’s a great way to save money while knocking out a good chunk of your Gen Ed requirements.

In terms of institutional grants and scholarships, Capella does offer a progress reward scholarship which ranges from $8,000 up to $15,000 to keep new students motivated and on track to earn their degree that is if you meet the scholarship requirements. Essentially, you’ll need to successfully pass your first course on your first attempt, stay in good academic and financial standing with the university and take seven or more credits per quarter in order to be eligible. But if you do that, you are golden.

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Moving on to admissions, Capella is an open enrollment university. Now they do charge a $50 application fee but in some cases you can get that wave with a promo code but the key here is that there is no GPA or SAT/ACT requirements and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. In terms of degree timing and format, Capella is on the core system, meaning most students take one to three courses per 10-week quarter. This is Capella’s standard degree format and it’s what they call their guided path option.

The interesting thing about Capella is that they also offer a FlexPath format. This is a self-paced learning format that puts you in the driver’s seat. You can take courses at your own speed and move on to the next course whenever you’re ready. So if you want to pile on the courses and fly through the degree program as quickly as possible, you can in as little as 60 months. Or if you have other obligations like work or kids and you can only spare a few hours per week, you can slow it down and study at your own pace.

With that said, the FlexPath format follows a slightly different pricing structure. Instead of per credit, it’s a flat tuition fee per term and unfortunately FlexPath students are not eligible for that progress reward scholarship that I mentioned earlier. Still, the FlexPath option could be a game changer for those of you who either want to move super fast or super slow through your degree program.

Final Thoughts on the Best Online Psychology Degree Programs

I know making a decision about something as massive as your education is extremely important, so I hope I was able to provide some clarity around all these online universities. Although they all seem similar on the surface, there are distinct differences between them and each university has their own pros and cons depending on what your personal priorities are and your objectives.

For example, if you are looking for the lowest tuition period, I think Southern New Hampshire University is your best bet. If you are looking to get started right away and you first want to test the waters with the trial period before going all in, I think Purdue University Global is an excellent choice. However, if you are banking on a grant or scholarship to help pay for your degree, Grand Canyon may be your best bet.

Lastly, if you are simply looking for a flexible degree program to work around your already busy life, then I think the University of Arizona Global Campus and Capella University are excellent options. At the end of the day, your choice will largely depend on your personal situation.

Also, if you are interested in another online course maybe outside of psychology; be sure to check out the rest of our online bachelor’s degree programs. We have a ton of helpful articles related to online education.

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