Skip to main content

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

With a bachelor’s in psychology, you can explore diverse fields, including mental health services, social work, education, human resources, market research, advertising, healthcare administration, criminal justice, community relations and more.

Complete 48 credits from the B.A. in Psychology coursework toward the 124-credit Bachelor Degree Completion program to earn your degree. 

Merrimack’s coursework provides a strong foundational overview of topics such as brain science, human behavior and trauma, as well as cultural and societal psychology.

Quick Facts:

  • 100 percent online learning.
  • Only pay for the courses you need.
  • Credit for prior coursework, certifications and more.

Take the next step and learn more about Merrimack’s Bachelor Degree Completion program.

Graduates with a bachelor’s in psychology earn an average base salary of around $69,000 per year.

Source: Payscale, 2024

B.A. in Psychology Online Coursework

All students must earn a total of 124 credits to complete a bachelor’s degree. To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, students complete 40 credits of psychology major coursework in addition to the 12 credits of professional core. The remaining 72 credits must include 28 credits of arts and sciences and 44 credits of open electives. Up to 90 credits may be transferred from prior coursework, such as an associate’s degree, as well as professional certifications and more.

Professional Core (12 credits)

Through interactive approaches and real-world examples, students will explore various perspectives of health and well-being. Students will examine leading health indicators in the U.S. and around the world and will learn basic terminology and other health-related data concepts in order to have a deeper understanding of a range of health data and information. Students will apply health knowledge and skills to support health and well-being. As part of the Professional Core in the BA in Applied Arts and Sciences program, this course emphasizes: effective communication (oral and written), critical thinking, ethical teamwork, the ability to work independently, initiative and proactive planning, and real-world applications. Credits: 4

Modern living is complex due to competing desires and obligations: family, career, community, and personal needs. Learning how to balance these competing claims on our attention and affections often involves making choices based on core values. This course explores answers to a variety of timeless questions so students can come to a better understanding of themselves, their desires, and their obligations. Questions that will be explored may include: What does it mean to live a good life? What is the meaning of life? Does life have a meaning? What does it mean to be ethical and how does one know right from wrong? What makes work meaningful? What does it mean to be happy? What does it mean to be successful? What is the relationship between work, success, and happiness? To whom in my life am I responsible, and what do I owe them? Drawing on religion, philosophy, and literature, students will examine and critique a diversity of responses to these kinds of questions, reflect on the relevance of these responses in their lives, and formulate their own responses to these questions. In keeping with Merrimack College’s Catholic and Augustinian mission, special attention is paid to the Christian tradition and the life and thought of Augustine of Hippo.

As part of the Professional Core in the BA in Applied Arts and Sciences program, this course emphasizes: effective communication (oral and written), critical thinking, ethical judgment and decision-making, effective teamwork, the ability to work independently, initiative, proactive planning, and real-world applications. Credits: 4

Examination of the major issues, theories, and findings in the psychological study of positive emotions and experience (Positive Psychology). Emphasis is on the scientific investigation of such topics as the nature of happiness and well-being, psychological flow, savoring, love, optimism, resilience, character strengths and virtues, and the meaningful life. Credits: 4

Required Courses (32 credits)

Provides a general overview of the wide-ranging field of psychology. Students will explore major concepts and issues in the study of human thinking, feeling, and acting. These include biological foundations of behavior and experience, how people learn and develop, how individuals perceive the world, individual differences in behavior, social influence and social relations, the difference between normative and non-normative behavior, and approaches to therapy. Credits: 4

Analysis of the varied ways psychologists ask and answer questions about the nature of the psychological processes. Focus will be on research philosophy, and qualitative and quantitative methodology, as they pertain to applied, real-world questions. Credits: 4

Cognition (PSY 3100)
Examines the major empirical and theoretical work on human information processing. Focuses on basic processing including sensory storage, pattern recognition, attention and memory. Also addresses complex cognitive processes, including language, problem-solving and decision-making. Prerequisites: PSY 1000 or PSY 2100. Credits: 4

This course is an introduction to the human nervous system, with emphasis on the structure and function of the human brain. Topics include the function of nerve cells, neural communication, sensory systems, attention, motor control, emotion, learning and memory. Credits: 4

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to abnormal psychology. Students will study psychological dysfunction that is associated with distress or impairment. Topics covered include serious mental illness as well as anxiety, stress, and personality disorders. Content is organized in accordance with the DSM-5 as part of an integrative approach that includes the interaction of biological, developmental, and social factors on the description, etiology, course and treatment of mental disorders. Credits: 4

Explores the development of a typical human being from conception to death. Investigates patterns of change in biology, cognition, personality, social interaction, and relationships that take place throughout the lifespan. Considers several conceptual issues including progression and regression, health and illness, normality and abnormality. Credits: 4

Analyzes current theories and research on culture, race and ethnicity; and explores the ways in which the individual, social relations and culture mutually constitute each other. The course analyzes the rich interconnections between language and culture, and the role of culture in the construction of self and higher-order psychological processes. Students will examine cultural groups within and outside of the United States. Also includes consideration of cultural issues in the interpretation of personal experience and the role of cultural diversity in contemporary society. Prerequisite: PSY 1000. Credits: 4

Emphasizes the centrality of social context in our psychological processes. Explores how people think about, influence and relate to each other. Prerequisite: PSY 1000. Credits: 4

Elective (4 credits)

Application of psychological principles to the world of work. Emphasizes the organization as a complex social system. Applied topics include the selection, training, and evaluation of personnel. Theoretical issues include motivation, leadership, group dynamics, and organizational structure. Prerequisite: PSY 1000. Credits: 4

Examines the psychological dynamics of groups, mainly in work settings, including understanding the cohesion and development of groups (e.g., learning, satisfaction, commitment), interpersonal processes and relationships that occur between group members as they work together (e.g., information sharing, competition and conflict, conformity), and motivational factors that influence group performance (e.g., groupthink, social facilitation). Explores past and present empirical research and theory. Prerequisite: PSY 1000. Credits: 4

Explores the psychology of trauma and human resilience. This course explores the range of posttraumatic reactions to a variety of situations as they affect cognitive, emotional, somatic and interpersonal aspects of functioning. Students will be exposed to an overview of the etiology of and prevailing theories about PTSD. Factors contributing to the resilience to trauma as well as societal, cultural, and historical influences on views of trauma will also be discussed. Credits: 4

Explores psychological disorders that affect children. Topics include depression, autism, suicide, hyperactivity, and learning disabilities. Also investigates treatment modalities and theories of etiology. Prerequisite: PSY 1000. Credits: 4

Introduces classical and contemporary thinking on the concept of “personality’” Explores the contributions of several important theoretical frameworks in personality theory including psychoanalysis, phenomenology, trait theory, and learning. Prerequisite: PSY 1000. Credits: 4

Capstone Experience (4 credits)

Only Pay for the Credits You Need:
Transfer up to 90 Credits Toward Your Bachelor’s Degree

Students can transfer up to 90 credits toward their 124-credit bachelor’s degree including work experience or job training such as EMT training, licensures, certifications, professional development and prior work experience that aligns with your degree path. 

All coursework from all accredited institutions, including four-year colleges and community colleges outside of Massachusetts, will be considered for transfer credit.

Bachelor’s + Master’s Pathway*

Master’s Tuition Savings

Did you know students who complete their bachelor’s degree at Merrimack can automatically save at least 25 percent off the total tuition for some online and on-campus master’s degrees at Merrimack?

Two Free Graduate Classes

Additionally, students can complete up to two free graduate classes during their final two Bachelor Degree Completion program semesters.

*Graduate certificates and some master’s degrees may not offer all benefits.

What Our Students Say

“I really enjoyed my experience in the BDC program and I am actually now going to Merrimack for my master’s in clinical mental health counseling. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who wants to continue their education.”

Graduate, 2023

“The bachelor program is a good program that allows you to use and adapt your personal experience into the course materials. Going back to school was probably one of the most daunting things to me but I really enjoyed it. It was easy to break down, easy to take on and I’m glad I did it.”

Graduate, 2023

“The professors made sure you had an understanding of the materials, I really liked that, especially after being out of school for a while.”

Graduate, 2023

“I’m in the Business Administration specialization and I’m moving on to a master’s in management. The program has helped prepare me for career progression. I was really looking for that in a program.”

Graduate, 2023

It’s Easy to Apply Online

A complete application includes:

  • Online application (no fee).
  • College transcripts from all institutions attended.*
  • English proficiency exam for non-English speaking applicants.

*Students need at least 12 credits in prior undergraduate work from an accredited community college, college, or university. If you do not have prior undergraduate coursework additional options may be available.

Key Dates and Deadlines

This program enrolls six times a year. Each term is eight weeks.

Application Deadline
Classes Begin
Summer II
Monday, June 17, 2024
Monday, July 1, 2024
Fall I
Monday, August 12, 2024
Monday, August 26, 2024
Fall II
Monday, October 7, 2024
Monday, October 21, 2024
Summer II
Application Deadline
Monday, June 17, 2024
Classes Begin
Monday, July 1, 2024
Fall I
Application Deadline
Monday, August 12, 2024
Classes Begin
Monday, August 26, 2024
Fall II
Application Deadline
Monday, October 7, 2024
Classes Begin
Monday, October 21, 2024

At Merrimack College, we’re proud of our long history of providing quality degrees to students entering the job market. Our faculty are more than just teachers. We are committed to helping you grow — academically, personally and spiritually — so that you may graduate as a confident, well-prepared citizen of the world.

  • Most Innovative Schools (No. 14)
  • Regional Universities North (No. 33)
  • Best Undergraduate Teaching (No. 31)
  • Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (No. 86)
    (at schools where doctorate not offered)
  • Best Colleges for Veterans (No. 14)
  • Best Value Schools (No. 47)
  • Merrimack College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
U.S. News, Best Colleges 2024 badge.
Money, Best Colleges 2023 badge.
The Princeton Review, Best Regional Colleges 2023 badge.

Tell me more about Merrimack’s online programs.