Online psychology degree ranks among nation’s best

By Adriana Aumen, College of Arts & Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University recently was recognized for excellence in psychology education among colleges and universities nationwide.

Affordable Colleges Online (ACO) ranked WSU’s online degree program in psychology among the 12 “Best Online Psychology Degrees for 2016.” Only one other Pac-12 school made the list of 50 top programs among the thousands of colleges offering online psychology degrees.

“I am especially proud of the ranking because it reinforces for our students that they are in one of the premier programs in the nation, getting a quality education at an affordable price,” said Lee Daffin, clinical assistant professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the program’s director for WSU Global Campus.

Among the best for cost and quality

According to ACO, the rankings are based on in-state tuition and fees; number of online programs offered; student-to-faculty ratios; graduation rate; and percent of full-time undergraduate students receiving institutional financial aid.

ACO developed the rankings by collecting and analyzing data from every accredited postsecondary institution in the United States and applying cost and quality metrics to compare programs. Only public or private not-for-profit institutions were eligible.

“We wanted to highlight the schools that are setting a high standard for online programs,” said Dan Schuessler, CEO and founder of ACO, in a press release. “It is important to honor these universities who are going above and beyond the standard for online learning.”

In 2013, used a different set of metrics to rank the WSU online psychology degree program third in the nation.

Degree offers two new research tracks

Among new experiential learning opportunities that Daffin has developed for WSU online psychology students are two optional paths for exploring aspects of the research process. In the hypothesis-testing track, students choose a problem to investigate; propose a hypothesis and a design for their study; submit required institutional review forms; set up the online study; and collect, analyze and present their findings to fellow scholars.

In the literature review track, students select a topic; conduct an exhaustive literature search; produce a 20-page summary; and present their results at a professional research symposium.

Students in the program can also gain experience as teaching assistants and graders and run discussion boards.

“Our online students have many opportunities to learn, teach and research what they are passionate about,” Daffin said.


News media contacts:
Lee Daffin, clinical assistant professor of psychology and director of the online degree program in psychology, 509-335-2802,
Adriana Aumen, College of Arts & Sciences communications, 509-335-5671,