Pursuing an Online Degree in Psychology

Read five tips to help you earn your online psychology degree.


As you may well expect, pursuing an online degree in psychology presents significant advantages along with a few challenges.

An online degree in psychology allows you to arrange your classes to fit in with your work schedule.

What’s more, you avoid a commute to and from school, giving you more time to complete your class work. If your job or other circumstances require you to travel, you have the flexibility to sign on to your courses from any location.

On the other hand, online education might require you to adapt your learning style and habits. Online courses provide convenience but involve as much of your time and effort as classroom courses. Not to mention, they take added patience and self-discipline. Consider the five tips below to help ensure your success as an online student:

1. Reserve Hours, Patience and Energy

As a student pursuing an online psychology degree, you are responsible for your workload and for meeting all class requirements. To start, this includes “attending” classes, completing independent or group projects, taking tests, and monitoring and posting to discussion boards.

This kind of independent learning is quite suitable for the future psychology graduate’s personality. Be aware, however, that in an online classroom you may not get answers as fast as you would in a face-to-face setting. Be persistent, and remember that your teachers and colleagues want to help.

2. Prepare for Technical Issues

When you choose a program, make sure your computer meets the minimum technical standards—or plan to upgrade your equipment. Particularly for those of you going back to school, this is an opportunity to learn something new and update your computer skills.

Learn the system your school uses to administer online courses before your first class. If you experience technical difficulties in the midst of a course, contact your instructor and school promptly so that issues are resolved before you fall behind.

3. Understand Your School’s Offerings and Requirements

Thoroughly research online programs. Be sure the school you choose is accredited and meets your current and future career goals. Some schools require online students to attend on-site events, such as program orientations. Others might offer full credit for attending a class on campus for a shortened period of time. Investigate your choices in advance so that you can plan for travel if necessary.

4. Master Online Communication Skills and Etiquette

Your online course instructor and fellow students will get to know you and your work through one primary means—your writing. As a psychology major, you should feel comfortable sharing your experiences and opinions through writing. But keep in mind that a wide audience will read and interpret your words. Be clear, true and mature in expressing your point of view. Show respect for what others have to say even when you respond with a different opinion.

5. Pace Yourself for an Online Degree in Psychology

Carefully consider the first course you choose to take online. Adapting to online learning and its nuances presents its own trials. Try to start with a subject with which you are already familiar. This should allow you to make a comfortable entry into the world of online learning. Moreover, you will gain practical experience with the online system before you are absorbed in more challenging courses.

In the end, you may find that it takes you a class or two to adapt to online learning, but you will reap professional and personal rewards from the experience. With that advanced online degree in psychology, you will gain the expertise and qualifications to own your future.


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