I travel a lot and I'm interested in getting a psychology degree but after researching online I still haven't been able to find a good university that offers the choice to complete a psych degree by distance education. I'm a Canadian citizen so programs that accept Canadians is vital. With all the current online offerings I'm shocked that I can't find a quality university offering a BA or BSc in psychology online or by distance offline. Any suggestions? I'm interested in CPA accredited degrees otherwise it's worth nothing in Canada. And, I'm open to programs with a few on-campus requirements if an accredited degree is unavailable fully online. I want to be able to pursue a MA or a PhD in Canada after completing the undergraduate program.

  • I don't know if they offer a programme in English, but the Dutch Open University is high-quality and focusses on distance education ou.nl/web/english – gerrit Oct 28 '12 at 11:06

Are there any accredited universities in the world offering students the option of acquiring a BA/BSc in psychology completely online?


There are likely hundreds of programs. How well they meet your needs will be determined by 1) What you mean by 'accredited', and 2) residency restrictions.


Are you interested in accredited institutions or accredited programs? Institutions are accredited by organizations recognized at the government level as being able to guarantee that all programs at the institution meet some minimum standards. In the US, regional accreditation is king, while the more prestigious sounding national accreditation is generally viewed as easier to get and less rigorous. In Canada, accreditation appears to be handled through membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Again, in the US, many of the large flagship state institutions have an online campus to accompany their bricks-and-mortar traditional campuses. For example Univerity of Maryland University College appears to offer an online BS in Psychology. UMUC is regionally accredited in the US by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, just like the the bricks-and-mortar campuses of the University of Maryland system. Certainly, some of the larger schools in Canada also have a similar online presence.

The on-line for-profit schools in the US tend to be nationally accredited, with the notable exception of the much maligned University of Phoenix, which offers an online program in psychology. University of Phoenix is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission as part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Individual programs may also be accredited or certified by various professional organizations. If you are looking for an online psychology program certified by a professional psychology association, try starting at the website of the association and look for lists of certified programs.


Attending an online only institution should not have residency restrictions based on your country of citizenship, but it probably does. For example, I would imagine you would need to have a US education visa in order to be admitted into some US institutions, even if the program is entirely online and you never need to step foot on campus.

  • I think the OP is looking for something along the lines of APA, BPS, or CPA accreditation so he/she can practice psychology. – StrongBad Oct 28 '12 at 15:21
  • Is this really possible? That sounds fishy. What prevents me from signing up my dog for an online course, taking the exams for him, and having him registered as an accredited psychologist? – Federico Poloni Oct 28 '12 at 16:26
  • @FedericoPoloni, well in the US, you need to prove you are human to enroll in a degree-granting program, even an online-only program. – Ben Norris Oct 28 '12 at 21:49
  • @DanielE.Shub - The APA has this to say about online-only programs. However, an APA/BPS/CPA certified program does guarantee that the recipient of the degree will be able to practice. These are not regulatory bodies. You still have to pass a license exam. A good showing an an accredited school with a non-APA-accredited program will probably be better preparation for the exam than a mediocre showing at an APA-accredited program. – Ben Norris Oct 28 '12 at 21:54
  • 1
    @FedericoPoloni there is little that prevents dishonest people from scamming the system. Online courses might be easier to scam than brick-and-mortar courses, but they can all be scammed. – StrongBad Oct 31 '12 at 8:56

I work in distance education and often work with canadian researchers. I have a very high respect for the quality of the distance offerings up north (I'm in the US). You have good options at home. The one that jumps out is Athabasca University. Fully online and internationally recognized as a research institution.


American Public University System (APUS) has both Masters and Bachelors level programs and accepts international students. They are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • Full Disclosure: I'm an institutional researcher at APUS. – Rob Nov 4 '12 at 0:35
  • APUS? Also, Athabasca is not accredited by anyone. – verve Nov 6 '12 at 10:14
  • 1
    @verve Here's the accreditation page for Athabasca. It's a public university so they are accredited by the Canada government. They are also the first Canadian public university to be accredited by a US body, the Middle States. athabascau.ca/aboutau/accreditation.php – Rob Nov 6 '12 at 13:29

The CPA has a list of all accredit universities and departments. The list is of a size that you should be able to check what the online offerings are.

  • I think this list just contains institutions that are accredited AND Canadian. I know Canada has high standards, but I'm sure they will recognise at least some non Canadian qualifications, so it may be worth doing a bit more digging :) – Beltrame Oct 31 '12 at 16:50
  • Hmmm...the CPA doesn't accredit ANY foreign schools? – verve Nov 1 '12 at 21:49
  • @verve that is what it looks like. This doesn't surprise me at all. The BPS also doesn't accredit any foreign schools. There is a push right now to get BPS accreditation for international campuses (think China and SE Asia) of UK schools. – StrongBad Nov 2 '12 at 8:58
  • @Beltrame no they won't. CPA and BPS (and I think APA) accredit programs not individuals so they don't really need to deal with it. Getting a license to practice is easier with a accredited degree, but you don't need an accredited degree. Some jobs naively ask for people to have accredited degrees and do not consider international candidates. The OP asked for a CPA accredited program. One could easily produce the lists of APA and BPS accredited programs. I am not familiar with the Australian system or other English speaking systems, but I bet there are lists. – StrongBad Nov 2 '12 at 9:04

The University of London has a distance learning programme. You will basically sit the same exam as an internal student at the respective constituent college would sit, and this will be conducted at some GRE / GMAT etc. facilities to guarantee proper exam conditions. In the end you will get a University of London degree just like any other internal student would.

University of London International Programmes

Accreditation should hardly be a problem in the case of the University of London I would think as it's one of the most prestigious UK institutions with members such as University College, the London School of Economics and King's College London.

  • I would be surprised if the University of London had Canadian accreditation (and it is not listed on the CPA website). Getting a degree form a properly accredited department is critical for students who with to go into clinical practice. – StrongBad Oct 31 '12 at 8:53
  • If that is true then essentially you cannot go into clinical practice with a UK degree in Canada as there is no higher degree of official recognition attainable for a UK institution then that being enjoyed by the UoL. It's of course possible but I think it's unlikely. Unfortunately I am not an expert on agreements for mutual recognition of degrees between Canada and the UK :( – Beltrame Oct 31 '12 at 16:47
  • I don't see a psych degree in the above link. How do you know that I will sit the same exam as an internal student? – verve Nov 1 '12 at 21:47
  • it's only the one by Birkbeck if organisational psych is relevant. The college is entirely responsible for all academic aspects incl. exam and the UoL is the degree awarding body. Open University has a pure psych BSc ( the OU is recognised in the UK but in that case reputation may be more of an issue ! ) – Beltrame Nov 2 '12 at 17:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.