Applied psychology is vast, and many career pathways are available. With a degree, you can do anything from patient counseling to offering marketing advice. In its most general terms, it involves applying the principles of psychology to real-world situations rather than generating more research papers.

Choosing the Right Online Applied Psychology Degree Program

You will find plenty of online options for applied psychology degrees and traditional in-person possibilities. Jobs in psychology-related fields open up as soon as you get your bachelor’s degree, but it’s the master’s and doctorate that will give you more traction when it comes to specializing.

No matter which program you choose, make sure it is accredited. This ensures that your diploma will be respected by employers and any university program you wish to transfer to. Licensing boards, where applicable, also demand that your degree come from an accredited program. For psychology degrees, the top accrediting agency is the American Psychological Association.

Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Psychology

This is typically a four-year program, but the proper time may be shorter or longer depending on how many courses you take every year and how flexible your online program is. A program for applied psychology will have more classes on how to use psychology in various real-world situations than would be found in a general psychology program. It will open doors to jobs in psychology, but these positions will tend to be more general. Bachelor’s-level jobs also pay less than those open to people with a master’s degree or more significant.

Many bachelor’s degree programs are available entirely online, which can make them available to people who can’t attend traditional classes.

Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology

Here is where your employment opportunities start to get interesting. With this degree, which takes two to four more years, you can be hired to help with marketing campaigns, evaluate public programs, analyze social media issues, and more.

Several universities offer online-only master’s degree programs, though there are likely fewer than bachelor’s programs.

Doctorate Degree in Applied Psychology

These degrees are available in both Ph.D. and PsyD formats. Ph.D. programs are geared towards those who wish to continue into academia, while the PsyD is better for people interested in clinical practice or other real-world positions. Most states require a doctorate from an accredited program for licensure. Clinical experience, or practicum time, is also typically required. Most, if not all, universities will provide this experience as part of their doctorate programs. The time needed for a license ranges from 1,500 to 6,000 hours, so check with your state to see how much will be required there. Then, make sure your prospective university’s program covers it.

Which Applied Psychology Degree is Right for You?

Bachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeGraduate CertificatePh.D. or PsyD
I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in psychologyx
I want to get started in my applied psychology career before I pursue more educationx
I want to pursue a non-patient-facing role in applied psychologyxx
I want to pursue or switch to a niche psychology specialtyxx
I already have a psychology degree and want to gain specialized knowledgexx
I want to conduct research in applied psychologyxx
I want to become a licensed applied psychologist and treat patientsx
I want to work in academiax

Applied Psychology Degree Program Curriculum

Courses in applied psychology are, as the degree’s name implies, mainly focused on the ways psychology can be used in the real world rather than just the theories involved. At the bachelor’s level, you’ll also have to take various courses in subjects like math, history, and English.

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Getting a bachelor’s degree typically takes 120 credits. These credits are usually earned by taking 15 credits worth of courses each fall and spring, which add up to 120 after four years. However, you can vary how many credits you take per semester, altering the standard timeframe.
  • Master’s Degree: Some schools offer master’s degrees with just 30 credit hours beyond a bachelor’s, but that doesn’t make it a one-year program. Instead, it takes two to four more years, thanks to the requirements for theses or dissertations.
  • Doctorate Degree: There are both PsyD and PhD versions of this degree, though not all universities offer both. The PhD is generally sought after by people who want to go into research or academia, while the PsyD is chosen by those who want to go into clinical practice. The credit-hour requirement is misleadingly low, with the high 80s or low 90s being typical. However, the main work of getting a doctorate lies in the requirements for a dissertation and many hours of practicum experience.

Applied Psychology Degree Program Clinical Requirements

The requirements vary depending on the degree level, with a bachelor’s typically not requiring any and a doctorate needing at least 1,500 and sometimes much more. State regulations strongly influence the required hours at the doctoral level because the school will try to match the hours demanded by the state licensing board.

Clinical practice hours are gained under the supervision of a licensed practitioner and offer increasing independence as time goes on. This ensures that someone who gets a license has at least some experience right from the start. Regarding online programs, clinical hours can often be performed in the student’s local area.

List of Online Applied Psychology Degree Programs

Looking for an online applied psychology degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.

Jump to Your State Listings


301 Sparkman Dr
Huntsville, AL 35899
(256) 824-6120



Bachelor's Programs
13800 Biola Ave
La Mirada, CA 90639-0001
(562) 903-6000


150 West University Blvd
Melbourne, FL 32901-6975
(321) 674-8000


106 S Sixth St
Forest City, IA 50436-1713
(641) 585-2450


6191 College Station Drive
Williamsburg, KY 40769
(606) 549-2200


1400 Montgomery Ave
Rosemont, PA 19010-1699
(610) 527-0200


3900 University Blvd
Tyler, TX 75799-6699
(903) 566-7000


1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

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