Penn State's online bachelor of science degree in psychology is designed for students interested in learning about behavior, normal and abnormal, how it's studied, and how it relates to different areas. Graduates are prepared for various positions in human services, industrial settings, or laboratories. Some may go on to professional school, e.g., medical school or law school, or continue their training in psychology, working toward a master's or a doctoral degree.

The bachelor of science degree requires students to complete a minimum of 123 credits. To earn this degree you must successfully complete:

Bachelor of Science in Psychology

  • 50 credits required for the major
    • 16 prescribed course credits
    • 34 additional major course credits
  • 24 additional option and supporting course credits
    • 15 business option credits
    • 9 supporting course and related areas credits
  • 36 General Education credits
  • 13 elective credits

The 24 credits of business courses focus on economics, finance, management, law, and accounting, making this degree ideal for professionals who wish to combine their interests in business and psychology.


Students may take an internship for credit. Enrollment in PSYCH 495 is by permission and requires approval of an internship placement and plan of study. A maximum of 3 credits of PSYCH 495 may be applied to 400-level course requirements for the psychology major. Three credits requires a minimum of 120 hours of work, plus an academic component. Enrollment is limited to 10 students and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Please read the program guidelines before submitting the internship form.

A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better in all courses required for the major.

Requirements for the major (50 credits)

Prescribed Courses (16 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Introductory Psychology PSYCH 100 Introduction to general psychology; principles of human behavior and their applications. 3 credits
Psychology as a Science and Profession PSYCH 105 Overview of history and methods of psychology as a science and profession; applications and ethical issues in psychology.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 100
3 credits
Effective Writing: Writing in the Social Sciences ENGL 202A Instruction in writing persuasive arguments about significant issues in the social sciences. (A student may take only one course for credit from ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, and 202D.)

Prerequisite: ENGL 15 and fourth semester standing
3 credits
Basic Research Methods in Psychology PSYCH 301W Introduction to methods of psychological research, with special attention to hypothesis formation and testing, threats to validity, and data presentation.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 100 and PSYCH 200 or STAT 200
4 credits
Senior Seminar in Psychology PSYCH 490 Capstone experience for senior psychology majors; review of current research literature; topics vary.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 301W and 6 credits in 400-level PSYCH courses
3 credits
Additional Major Courses (34 credits)
Description Credits
General Quantitative Courses (GQ) 6 credits

Prerequisite: PSYCH 100 and MATH 21


STAT 200 (cannot double count as GQ)

Prerequisite: Placement into MATH 21 or higher
4 credits
200-level PSYCH Courses. Choose from: a). 253, 256, 260, 261 b). 212, 221, 231, 238 c). 243, 269, 270, 281 (3 credits each)

Prerequisite: PSYCH 100
12 credits
400-level PSYCH Courses

Prerequisite: Refer to Course Catalog in LionPATH for specific prerequisites
12 credits

Additional Option and Supporting Courses (24 credits)

The B.S. in Psychology offers two options. Additional and supporting course requirements vary based on the selected option. 

Business option
Life Sciences option

Business Option — Select 15 total credits from at least 3 different groups:

Title Abbreviation Credits
Financial and Managerial Accounting for Decision Making ACCTG 211 4 credits
Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy ECON 102 3 credits
Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy ECON 104 3 credits
Labor Economics ECON 315 3 credits
Corporation Finance FIN 301 3 credits
Policy Making and Evaluation PL SC 490 3 credits
Principals of Marketing MKTG 301 3 credits
Global Marketing MKTG 445 3 credits
Management/Law and Ethics/Labor Relations/Communications
Title Abbreviation Credits
Social, Legal, and Ethical Environment of Business B LAW 243 (B A 243) 4 credits
Organizational Communication CAS 352 3 credits
Introduction to Health Services Organizations H P A 101 3 credits
Employment Relations LER 100 3 credits
The Law of Labor-Management Relations LER 401 4 credits
Human Resources Ethics LER 460 3 credits
Basic Management Concepts MGMT 301W 3 credits
Leadership and Motivation MGMT 321 3 credits
Management and Organization MGMT 331 3 credits
Ethical Leadership PHIL 119 3 credits
Supply Chain Management SCM 301 3 credits
Global View/Gender and Race/History
Title Abbreviation Credits
History of Work in America LER 458Y 3 credits
Work and Occupations SOC 455 3 credits
Gender, Occupations, and Professions SOC 456 (WMNST 456) 3 credits
Business option supporting courses and related areas (9 credits)
Description Credits
Arts (GA)/Humanities (GH) 3 credits
Natural Sciences (GN) 3 credits
Social & Behavior Sciences (GS) 3 credits

Psychology department list of supporting courses

Life Sciences option — Select 15 total credits from at least 3 different groups:

Title Abbreviation Credits
Genetics and Evolution of the Human Species BIOL 133 3 credits
Biological Anthropology
Title Abbreviation Credits
Introductory Biological Anthropology ANTH 021 3 credits
Humans as Primates ANTH 022 3 credits
Biobehavioral Implications
Title Abbreviation Credits
Introduction to Biobehavioral Health BB H 101 3 credits
Drugs, Behavior, and Health BB H 143 3 credits
Introduction to Health and Human Sexuality BB H 146 3 credits
Biology and Chemistry
Title Abbreviation Credits
Introductory Physiology BIOL 141 3 credits
Introduction to the Biology of Aging BIOL 155 3 credits
Biology of Sex BIOL 177 3 credits
Life Sciences option supporting courses and related areas (9 credits)
Description Credits
Natural Sciences (GN) 3 credits
Social & Behavior Sciences (GS) 6 credits

Psychology department list of supporting courses

General Education (45 credits**)
Description Credits
Arts – GA 6 credits
Humanities – GH 6 credits
Health and Wellness – GHW 3 credits
Natural Sciences – GN 9 credits
Social and Behavioral Sciences – GS 6 credits
Writing and Speaking – GWS* 9 credits
Quantification – GQ* 6 credits
Integrative Studies (6 credits)***

*A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

**12 credits are included in the requirements for the major.

***This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. 

Electives (10–13 credits)

Please note: Among the above degree requirements, students should incorporate at least 3 credits in US cultures, 3 credits in international (IL) cultures, and 3 credits in writing across the curriculum courses. The above course list includes only courses offered by World Campus. An official degree audit or the recommended academic plan for this program may include additional course options and detailed requirements. All students are expected to complete at least 36 Penn State credits to earn this degree. Please consult an academic adviser for details.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.