The Cost of a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology

Discover the expense of earning a psychology bachelor's and learn money-saving tips to reduce your costs.

psychology degree cost

The field of psychology continues to grow, attracting individuals curious about human behavior, mental processes, and how they can be a part of this lucrative and exciting field. Earning your bachelor's degree in psychology can serve as a foundation for a career in numerous areas, including clinical psychology, social work and research.

But what's the cost of acquiring a psychology bachelor’s degree? This article will delve into the expenses associated with pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in psychology, highlighting the factors that contribute to cost variations and providing tips on how to minimize expenses.

Factors Affecting the Cost of a Psychology Bachelor's

Here are the key factors that contribute to the cost of earning a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Institution Type - Public vs. Private

The type of institution you choose to attend can significantly impact the overall cost of your bachelor degree in psychology. Generally, public universities offer lower tuition fees than private institutions. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost of tuition and fees for a public 4-year institution is $9,349 for in-state students and $27,023 for out-of-state students. On the other hand, private institutions charged an average of $35,807 per year with no discount for state residents.


The cost of living and attending college will also vary depending on the location. Urban areas generally have higher living expenses, which can contribute to the overall cost of your psychology bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states offer more affordable tuition rates for residents, while others have higher costs. To illustrate this discrepancy, the state with the highest average cost for a public four-year college is Vermont at $17,650, while the lowest is Florida at $6,370, according to the latest Trends in College Pricing Report from CollegeBoard.


A traditional bachelor's degree with a psychology major takes four years to complete. However, some students may take longer due to part-time enrollment or other circumstances, which can increase the overall cost of the degree. Other students with more free time can finish earlier; this can save money if you enroll in an accelerated program or attend a school that charges by the year or semester - as opposed to by the credit.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

The availability of financial aid and scholarships can significantly impact the final cost of your BA or BS in Psychology. Grants, loans and work-study programs can help offset tuition costs, while scholarships can provide merit-based or need-based assistance.

Related: BS vs BA in Psychology

Estimated Costs of a Psychology Bachelor's Degree

Considering the factors outlined above, the expense of earning a psychology bachelor’s degree can vary greatly. On average, the total cost of tuition and fees for a four-year public institution can range from $37,396 (in-state) to $108,092 (out-of-state), according to the NCES. for private institutions, the total cost can reach upwards of $143,228. These estimates do not include the cost of living, books, supplies or transportation.

Institution Type Average Total Cost
Public (in-state) $37,396
Public (out-of-state) $108,092
Private $143,228

Tips for Minimizing Costs

Attend a Community College First

Starting your education at a community college for 1-2 years and then transferring to a four-year institution can significantly reduce the cost of your education. Community colleges often have lower tuition rates and offer general education courses that can be transferred to a BS or BA in psychology. If you already plan to pursue a psychology bachelor’s, you can also fill up your electives at community college with relevant courses that will transfer to a 4-year psych program.

Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships

Applying for financial aid and scholarships can greatly reduce the overall cost of your psychology bachelor’s. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Additionally, explore scholarships offered by your institution, professional organizations, and private foundations.

Choose an Affordable Institution

Consider attending a public university in your home state to take advantage of lower in-state tuition rates. Additionally, research institutions that offer generous financial aid packages or merit-based scholarships to reduce costs.

Take Advantage of Online Psychology Programs

Online psychology bachelor’s offer more flexibility than campus-based programs, and usually at a lower cost. By eliminating the need for on-campus housing and reducing transportation expenses, these programs can make a bachelor's degree in psychology much more affordable.

Attend Classes Part-Time While Working

Another way to offset the cost of a bachelor's degree in psychology is to attend classes part-time while you’re working. This approach allows students to earn income and gain valuable experience while pursuing their degree. Although it may extend the time it takes to complete the degree, the financial benefits of part time study can be significant.

Utilize Employer Tuition Assistance Programs

Some employers offer tuition assistance programs that can help cover the cost of higher education. If you are currently employed, inquire about any available educational benefits provided by your employer. These programs may cover a portion or even the entirety of your psychology bachelors tuition.

Opt for Used Textbooks or Digital Resources

The price of textbooks and other course materials can add up quickly, increasing the overall cost of a BS or BA in psychology. To save money, consider purchasing used textbooks, renting them, or using digital versions when available. Additionally, explore open educational resources (OER) that provide free access to high-quality course materials. Browse OER psychology materials.

Take Advantage of Tax Credits

The US federal government offers tax credits that can help reduce the cost of your college education. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) are two options available to undergraduate psychology students. Consult a tax professional or visit the IRS website links above for more information on eligibility and claiming these credits.

Create a Budget and Manage Expenses

Establishing a personal budget and tracking expenses can help you manage your finances while pursuing a degree. By keeping an eye on your spending and making conscious decisions to reduce costs, you can minimize the financial burden of pursuing a bachelor's in psychology.

In conclusion, earning a Bachelor's degree in psychology can be a significant financial undertaking, but it doesn't have to break the bank. By carefully considering the factors that impact the cost of a psychology degree and implementing these money-saving strategies, prospective students can make their higher education goals a reality.