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Best Psychology Programs in Virginia for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Ready to get your psychology degree in VA? Our guide has all the details on the top programs, available degrees, and job outlook. Keep reading to explore your degree and certificate options from the top psychology programs in Virginia and learn how you can get started on your career in psychology today.

Author: Michael Hoffman
Editor: STEPS Staff

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Psychology students in Virginia can choose from an impressive selection of degree and certificate programs offered by the state’s many colleges and universities. Programs range from associate to doctorate degrees in all delivery formats (on-campus, online, and hybrid) and a wide range of specialized fields. There are so many that your biggest problem may be choosing one.

This guide introduces you to the top psychology programs in Virginia and provides the information you need to find the best program that meets your academic needs and career goals. Ready to create your future as a successful psychology professional? Keep reading to discover the top psychology programs in Virginia for 2024.

Best Psychology Colleges inVirginia

After surveying the entire field of Virginia schools offering degrees and certificates in psychology, the three highlighted below rose to the top. Selections are based on elements like accreditation, affordability, academic quality, the number of psychology programs offered, and access to student support services. Many schools offer quality psychology programs in Virginia, but these three lead the pack.

George Mason University

George Mason University offers the most comprehensive of all the top psychology programs in Virginia, at least among the state’s public colleges and universities. Included are three bachelor’s degrees, four master’s degrees, and two graduate certificates. George Mason is also home to one of several psychology PhD programs in the state.

Psychology undergrads can choose between the liberal arts-focused Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the math/science-focused Bachelor of Science (BS) programs in psychology. Both can be completed with four years of full-time study. Undergraduate psychology students can also:

  • Earn a Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience in an accelerated time format.
  • Enjoy some of the most affordable tuition rates found in the state with annual full-time tuition of $10,095 for Virginia residents.
  • Choose on-campus or fully online options for both the BA and BS.

Graduate psychology programs include an MA with six concentration options, a Master of Science (MS) in Educational Psychology, a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Applied Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and graduate certificates in Applied Psychology and School Psychology. All psychology graduate programs are campus-based except for the 100% online MPS program.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • OnCampus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • BA in Psychology
  • BS in Psychology

Graduate Programs:

  • MA in Psychology (College of Education and Human Development)
  • MA in Psychology (College of Humanities and Social Sciences)
  • MS in Educational Psychology
  • Graduate Certificate in Applied Psychology
  • Graduate Certificate in School Psychology
  • PhD in Psychology

Specialization Options:

  • Applied Developmental Psychology (MS)
  • Clinical Psychology (MS)
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (MS)
  • Human Factors/Applied Cognition (MS)
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MS)
  • School Psychology (MS)
  • Applied Developmental Psychology (PhD)
  • Clinical Psychology (PhD)
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (PhD)
  • Human Factors/Applied Cognition (PhD)
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD)

Radford University

Radford University is another public university offering a wide variety of exceptionally affordable degree options for psychology students. It offers undergraduate students both BA and BS degrees in psychology. Both BA and BS psychology students:

  • Complete 120 credits of required general education coursework and major-specific core courses and electives, typically over four years of full-time study.
  • Have access to many Department of Psychology activities and events as well as an internship option in their particular field of interest.
  • Pay no tuition as part of the Radford Tuition Promise program if they are Virginia residents and first-year freshmen or transfer students who meet certain income and other eligibility requirements.

Graduate students have several specialized fields to choose from at Radford, including clinical and counseling psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and school psychology.

Radford also offers an MA in Experimental Psychology that combines core principles in psychology with advanced training in data analysis and research methodologies. On the doctoral level, Radford offers a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program focused on rural health and emphasizing cultural diversity, social justice, and evidence-based practice.

All psychology degree programs at Radford are in-person on the university’s campus located approximately 50 miles west of Roanoke.

Delivery:

  • OnCampus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

Graduate Programs:

  • MA/MS in Psychology
  • EdS in School Psychology
  • PsyD in Counseling Psychology

Specialization Options:

  • Clinical-Counseling Psychology (MA)
  • Experimental Psychology (MA)
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MA)
  • Clinical-Counseling Psychology (MS)
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MS)

Virginia State University

The Department of Psychology at Virginia State University, a public HBCU, hosts master’s and doctoral psychology programs as well as a BS in Psychology. Its undergraduate psychology BS:

  • Offers a general psychology curriculum that provides a fundamental understanding of all areas of psychology in preparation for careers in a wide range of vocations and continuation to specialized psychology academics at the graduate level.
  • Is a 120-credit, campus-based program requiring four years of full-time study.
  • Costs about $9,200 (tuition and fees) for Virginia residents and $21,000 for out-of-state residents, making it one of the most affordable psychology bachelor’s in the state.

VSU’s Master of Science in Psychology is a two-year full-time program that features two specialization options. Clinical psychology is for students intending careers in counseling and personal services. General psychology is for students interested in careers in research or teaching on the community college level as well as those intending to obtain a doctoral degree. VSU’s PhD in Health Psychology has concentrations in Clinical Health and Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. Both the MS and PhD programs are campus-based.

Delivery:

  • OnCampus
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • BS in Psychology

Graduate Programs:

  • MS in Psychology
  • PhD in Health Psychology

Specialization Options:

  • Clinical Psychology (MS)
  • General Psychology (MS)
  • Behavior and Community Health Sciences (PhD)
  • Clinical Health (PhD)

Top Online Psychology Degree Programs in Virginia

Over two dozen colleges and universities offer psychology degree and certificate programs in Virginia. Most are strictly campus-based, but there are a few notable exceptions. In addition to these, which are spotlighted below, you’ll also find schools offering some online program options. Psychology online programs in Virginia may be fully or partially online and may include classes that are delivered synchronously or asynchronously, so it’s critical to have a clear understanding of how coursework is delivered before enrolling. These spotlighted schools give a good idea of how online psychology programs in Virginia work. They also offer a preview of STEPS’ full online program rankings coming soon.

Liberty University

Liberty University, a private, evangelical Christian institution, offers a substantial number of degree programs both on its campus and through its Liberty Online division. Its extensive online offerings include an array of undergraduate and graduate psychology degrees plus one graduate certificate with 100% online coursework. Specialized study is a key feature for Liberty Online students. For undergrads, this means both an associate of arts (AA) degree with two specializations and a BS in Psychology with eight concentration options. For the BS degree:

  • All psychology concentrations require 120 credits and take three and a half years of full-time study.
  • Current per-credit online tuition rates are $390 for full-time students and $455 for part-time.
  • There are many scholarships, grants, tuition assistance plans, and more to help defray costs.

Graduate-level options include an MA in Applied Psychology available in four specializations and a PhD in Psychology with six specializations. Graduate students can also opt for an Executive Certificate in Psychology that prepares current psychology professionals for transitioning into research and leadership roles.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • AA in Psychology
  • BS in Psychology

Graduate Programs:

  • MA in Applied Psychology
  • PhD in Psychology
  • Executive Certificate in Psychology

Program Options:

  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • FullyOnline

Specializations Offered:

  • Christian Counseling (AA)
  • General Psychology (AA)
  • Addictions and Recovery (BS)
  • Christian Counseling (BS)
  • Criminal Psychology (BS)
  • Crisis Counseling (BS)
  • General Psychology (BS)
  • Developmental Psychology (BS)
  • Life Coaching (BS)
  • Military Resilience (BS)
  • Developmental Psychology (MA)
  • General Psychology (MA)
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MA)
  • Public Mental Health (MA)
  • Behavioral Health Leadership (PhD)
  • Developmental Psychology (PhD)
  • General Psychology (PhD)
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD)
  • Social Psychology (PhD)
  • Theology (PhD)

Mary Baldwin University

Mary Baldwin University is a private university that, despite its small student population, offers a surprising number of fully online degree and certificate programs. These include several psychology degrees, including two psychology bachelor’s degrees. Both the BA and BS in psychology:

  • Include five specialized areas of emphasis.
  • Require 120 credits completed with four years of full-time study.
  • Cost $460/credit and have several in-house scholarships and other financial award opportunities.
  • Allow up to 18 transfer credits via direct course equivalents earned from schools in the Virginia Community College System.

Other online undergraduate options in psychology-related fields include a BA in Autism Studies and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and two certificates. The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Psychology prepares students with non-psychology bachelor’s degrees to pursue psychology master’s or doctorate programs. The Post-Bachelor’s Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis is for students with bachelor’s degrees seeking undergraduate-level ABA credentials. For psychology students interested in graduate study in the field of applied behavioral analysis, Mary Baldwin offers both ABA master’s degree and post-master’s certificate options.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • BA in Autism Studies & Applied Behavior Analysis
  • BA/BS in Psychology
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Psychology
  • Post-Bachelor’s Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

Graduate Programs:

  • MS in Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Post-Master’s Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • FullyOnline

Specializations Offered:

  • Child Psychology (BA/BS)
  • Elder Care (BA/BS)
  • Forensic Psychology (BA/BS)
  • Mental Health (BA/BS)
  • Occupational and Physical Therapy (BA/BS)

Regent University

Regent University is a private school in Virginia with many online degree programs. Regent offers a wide range of both undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs in psychology, all delivered fully online and from a Christian perspective. Undergraduate students can choose to pursue an associate in psychology and a BS in Psychology, available in general and clinical/counseling psychology options, or a BS in Professional Studies-Psychology. Both BS programs:

  • Require at least 120 credits of general education and major-specific coursework completed over four years of full-time study.
  • Have part-time study options available.
  • Cost $395 for full-time students and $450 for part-time students. Online students pay an additional fee of $700/semester.

Regent also offers undergrads a fully online, 12-credit Undergraduate Certificate in Psychology. Regent’s graduate-level psychology offerings are also extensive. They include a Master of Science in Psychology with six concentration options, a Graduate Certificate in Psychology and Counseling with four concentrations, and a PhD in Counseling and Psychological Studies with 11 specializations.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • AS in Psychology
  • BS in Psychology
  • BS in Professional Studies – Psychology
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Psychology

Graduate Programs:

  • MS in Psychology
  • PhD in Counseling & Psychological Studies
  • Certificate of Graduate Studies: Psychology & Counseling

Program Options:

  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • FullyOnline

Specializations Offered:

  • Clinical & Counseling Psychology (BS)
  • General Psychology (BS)
  • Addictions (MS)
  • Cyberpsychology (MS)
  • Doctoral Preparation (MS)
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology (MS)
  • Leadership Coaching (MS)
  • Marriage & Family (MS)
  • Addictions Counseling (PhD)
  • Biblical Counseling (PhD)
  • Grief Counseling (PhD)
  • Human Services Counseling (PhD)
  • Human Services for Student Affairs (PhD)
  • Industrial-Organizational (PhD)
  • International (PhD)
  • Life Coaching (PhD)
  • Marriage & Family Ministry (PhD)
  • Pastoral Counseling (PhD)
  • Trauma & Crisis Counseling (PhD)
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling (graduate certificate)
  • Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling (graduate certificate)
  • School Counseling (graduate certificate)
  • Trauma Counseling (graduate certificate)

Types of Psychology Degrees You Can Earn in Virginia

The different types and number of psychology programs in Virginia are almost endless and can be a bit overwhelming. To help you sort it all out and decide the best online psychology program in Virginia for you, below are descriptions of the various degree and certificate types along with current program examples of each.

Undergraduate Psychology Degrees in Virginia

Associate Degrees in Psychology

Two-year associate degrees in psychology prepare students for entry-level, non-clinical jobs related to the psychology profession. Job examples include mental health technician, teacher’s aide, social services assistant, and youth counselor. They also offer convenient and affordable ways to complete general education and foundational psychology coursework in preparation for a bachelor’s in psychology program.

Accredited Virginia Colleges with Associate Degrees in Psychology:

Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology

Bachelor’s degrees in psychology provide the knowledge and skills needed to enter the job market in many different roles in psychology and other closely related fields. They also prepare students for graduate psychology programs. Most psychology bachelor’s programs take four years of full-time coursework, but there are a few offering part-time study. Both online and on-campus programs are available in Virginia.

Accredited Virginia Colleges with Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology:

Graduate Psychology Degrees in Virginia

Master’s Degrees in Psychology

Master’s-level psychology programs prepare students for leadership and advanced non-clinical practice roles in specialized areas of psychology, so most psychology master’s degrees offer a concentration or specialization. Popular ones include counseling psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and school psychology. Online formats are particularly popular at the master’s level, but campus-based programs are also common. Program lengths vary, sometimes substantially, allowing working professionals plenty of leeway to complete their studies. Most psychology master’s students complete their programs in two to four years.

Accredited Virginia Colleges with Master’s in Psychology Degrees:

PsyD Programs

The practice-focused PsyD degree is for students interested in careers as advanced clinicians and as leaders and administrators in a wide range of public and private practice settings. Graduates with a PsyD degree typically pursue state licensure to become licensed psychologists. PsyD programs in Virginia are less common than their PhD counterparts and are campus-based.

Accredited Virginia Colleges with PsyD Programs:

Psychology PhD Programs

The PhD in Psychology is an academics-based credential geared toward preparing professionals to fill top-level scientific research and postsecondary teaching roles most often in college and university settings. Academic work in psychology PhD programs centers around subjects like data collection, research methods, and statistical analysis. Most programs culminate in a doctoral dissertation.

Accredited Virginia Colleges with PhD Psychology Programs:

Graduate Certificates

Graduate certificates in psychology offer a way to gain advanced knowledge in a specialized area without completing a full graduate degree program. Admission typically requires a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related major. It’s common for someone with a psychology master’s degree in one specialization to obtain a graduate certificate in another to broaden their knowledge and expand their professional practice.

Accredited Virginia Colleges with Psychology Graduate Certificates:

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Psychology Students in Virginia

Psychology students in Virginia have access to a wide variety of financial aid resources like scholarships and grants, assistantships and fellowships (for graduate students), employer tuition reimbursement and work-study programs, VA benefits, and more. Most Virginia psychology students are also eligible for student loans, particularly those from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program.

Start your funding search with the financial aid offices, like those at Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University, for the schools you’re considering. Many of these schools, like James Madison University, offer scholarships and grants exclusive to psychology students. Another excellent funding resource is the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Learn more about paying for your college education through STEP’s guides to financial aid and scholarships.

Job Outlook and Earnings Potential for Psychology Grads in Virginia

The outlook for graduates of psychology programs in Virginia is quite good in terms of both employment opportunities and earnings. In fact, the outlook for psychology professionals working in the state beats that for the nation overall. The average mean wage for school psychologists in Virginia is $88,300, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly $1,000 more per year than the mean wage for school psychologists in the U.S. Also, at nearly $76,000, marriage and family therapists in Virginia earn a whopping $20,000 more on average each year over MFTs nationally.

The state earnings and job growth figures below for five popular careers for graduates of psychology programs in Virginia give you a better idea of what you might earn as a psychology professional. What you will earn at your job, though, depends on factors like work experience, geographic location, and specific employer.

Job Growth Rate
(2020-2030)
Average Annual Openings
(2020-2030)
Annual Mean Wage
(May 2022)
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists11%220$102,740
Marriage and Family Therapists14%80$63,300
Mental Health Counselors20%1,700$56,230
Postsecondary Psychology Teachers14%130$88,470
School Psychologists11%220$87,550

Sources: O*Net Online;Bureau of Labor Statistics

Virginia Psychology Professional and Student Resources

  • Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists (VACP)
    The VACP is the preeminent association of psychology professionals in Virginia and the state’s affiliate organization of the American Psychological Association. Student memberships offer a wide range of benefits, including participation in local in-person events and state conferences.
  • Virginia Board of Psychology (VBP)
    A division of the Virginia Department of Health Professions, the VBP oversees the licensing and practice of psychology professionals in the state. Through this site, you can apply for or renew a state license, review state laws and regulations applicable to psychology practice, and more.
  • Virginia Academy of School Psychologists (VASP)
    The VASP is the professional association of practicing school psychologists and school psychology students in the state. Their website offers access to many psychology student resources, including an up-to-date list of internship openings for graduate students.
  • Virginia Association for Psychological Science
    This association is dedicated to the advancement of psychology as a science “in all of its interdisciplinary and applied aspects across the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels.” Memberships are available to all psychologists in Virginia and to secondary psychology teachers and psychology graduate and undergraduate students. Student memberships are free.
  • Psi Chi: The International Honor Society in Psychology
    Psi Chi is the honor society for psychology college students in the U.S. Membership is open to most psychology students and faculty and alumni of four-year colleges and universities offering psychology degrees. There are Psi Chi chapters on 30 Virginia college and university campuses, including Virginia Wesleyan University, the University of Lynchburg, and the College of William & Mary.