Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

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Psychologists study and observe various emotional, social, and cognitive behaviors exhibited by individuals and groups in different settings. A bachelor’s degree in psychology is an important first step toward pursuing a career in this richly rewarding field, but a master’s degree is considered the minimum credential for most positions. In many cases, a Ph.D. or doctoral degree will be required as well.

An online master’s degree allows you to earn the credentials you need for most psychology careers in a flexible format that allows you to continue working.

An online master’s in psychology can help you advance your career in psychology and prepare you for doctoral studies. Web-based programs are delivered in a flexible format that ensures you’ll be able to work throughout your master’s program. If you have completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology and wish to continue your education, then you may be a strong candidate for a master’s in psychology online degree program.

Master’s-level psychology programs are designed to build on undergraduate studies. The curriculum combines aspects of neuroscience, medicine, and clinical counseling. Students learn the protocols for diagnosing a range of emotional and mental disorders, along with strategies for treating patients who display symptoms of these disorders. Master’s psychology students often choose a specialization that enables them to focus on a particular subfield; popular concentration options include child psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, and school psychology. In addition to their classwork, most graduate psychology programs require students to complete a certain number of supervised training hours as part of an internship or practicum course. Most master’s-level psychology programs fall into one of two categories: the master of arts, which focuses more on liberal arts, and the master of science, which is more scientific and research-oriented.

Our comprehensive guide will teach you more about what you can do with a master’s degree in psychology and what kind of career opportunities you can pursue upon graduation.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

According to the APA Center on the Workforce, 52.4% of professional psychologists earned a doctoral or professional degree from 2005 to 2013. The remaining 47.6% completed their education with a master’s degree. Depending on your career path, a master’s degree in psychology may be sufficient for beginning your career or serve as a stepping stone toward a doctoral program. In either case, the best online master’s degree in psychology programs are designed to prepare you for the next step. Earning a specialized degree can further boost your career standing in the area of psychology that interests you most.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s degree programs in psychology offer a flexible alternative to traditional classroom-based education. You’ll be able to access course materials, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with your professor any time of day from the comfort of your home computer. The interactive technology also allows you to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other portable devices. For added convenience, many programs allow students to fulfill their supervised practicum or internship requirements at facilities located close to their home.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN PSYCHOLOGY?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states require clinical and counseling psychologists to earn a doctorate, complete an internship, and log one to two years of supervised professional experience before they can pursue licensure. However, a master’s degree will be sufficient for industrial-organizational psychologists. Master’s-holders in psychology may also find work as assistants for licensed psychologists in clinical, counseling, or research settings. Others graduates pursue careers in counseling, where most professionals are able to obtain licensure with a master’s degree.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAMS?

Choosing a master’s degree in psychology online program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational and professional ambitions. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online psychology master’s programs in the United States. If you are considering an online master’s in psychology, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Harvard University 79.73 3/5 8% Cambridge, MA

As one of the top postsecondary institutions in the world, students accepted into Harvard University's online psychology master's program can rest assured they're attaining an incredible degree. Although the program is largely taught through distance learning, prospective students should know that they'll have to be on campus for at least three courses. Another requirement of graduation is that students present a researched, original thesis that brings together all they've learned throughout the program. Although Harvard is highly esteemed, the university remains committed to providing an affordable program for those accepted. Master's in psychology online students can rest assured that many classes are taught by the same Harvard professors leading students on campus.


Program Overview
Department: Harvard Extension School
Program name: Master's of Liberal Arts in Psychology
Accrediting body: NEASC
Tuition: $32,400

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Undergraduate coursework in statistics & research methods, Harvard psychology course
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: Research thesis

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: 8 years of full-time work experience managing people

Contact
Department phone: (617) 495-4024
Admissions email: admissions@extension.harvard.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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2 University of Georgia 67.74 3/5 4% Athens, GA

The University of Georgia may be based in Athens, but the Online Learning Division of the school caters to students scattered throughout the U.S. and the world. As part of their offerings, the school's online MEd in educational psychology, applied cognition, and development is specially tailored to online learners who want to better understand the cognitive, developmental, and motivational processes of those in education. This online psychology master's degree was designed to provide maximum flexibility for learners but can still be completed in six semesters. UGA is committed to ensuring all online learners have the opportunity and support to thrive: in addition to providing a raft of resources and services, the school also shares a list of tips for success for students who haven't tried distance learning previously.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: Master's of Education in Educational Psychology, Applied Cognition, & Development
Accrediting body: SACSCOC, NCATE, CAEP
Tuition: $638/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 34 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 1
GPA: 2.6 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT

Contact
Department phone: (706) 452-7939
Online programs email: online@uga.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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3 Touro University Worldwide 67.40 3/5 86% Los Alamitos, CA

Touro University is based in Los Alamitos, California, but the Worldwide Campus was developed exclusively for students throughout the country who elect to complete their learning online. The university's online master's in psychology is offered as a master of arts (MA) program for students who may wish to complete doctoral-level studies upon graduation. Unlike other programs that are tailored to specific branches of psychology, TUW's degree provides an overview of cognitive psychology, social psychology, learning theory, ethical practice, personality, and research methods. Aside from traditional financial aid, Touro also offers a range of scholarships exclusively to online students, as well as tuition discounts for veterans, active military members, and their families. Services online students can expect include academic advising, future career and educational planning, disability services, technical assistance, and a digital library.


Program Overview
Department: School of Psychology
Program name: Master's of Arts in Psychology
Available concentrations: Media psychology, educational psychology
Accrediting body: WSCUC
Tuition: $500/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2+ years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (877) 868-7690
Online programs email: online@tuw.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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4 Nova Southeastern University 66.83 4/5 54% Fort Lauderdale, FL

Sitting at the intersection of psychology and the world of legal issues, NSU's online master's in forensic psychology is an option for students looking to combine their passion for understanding how people work within places like courts, law enforcement agencies, national security, prison, correctional facilities, or treatment centers. The online master's degree in psychology itself consists of 36 credit hours and can be completed in two to three years, depending on how much time students are able to devote to the program. For prospective students looking to learn more about the field, the department regularly hosts free webinars led by significant figures within forensic psychology. In addition to institution-wide regional accreditation, the department is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.


Program Overview
Department: College of Psychology
Program name: Master's of Science in Forensic Psychology
Available concentrations: Forensic psychology in the legal system; forensic psychology for mental health workers, first responders, & disaster teams
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $705/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: Capstone (thesis or field experience)

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, winter, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 7; winter - December 1; summer - March 29

Contact
Department phone: (954) 262-7563
Graduate programs email: gradschool@nova.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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5 Adler Graduate School 64.96 3/5 22% Richfield, MN

Since 1967, Adler Graduate School has been providing in-depth students in psychology and human behavior from its campus in Richfield, Minnesota. Today the school's reach extends to every corner of America thanks to its innovative and well respected online programs. Founded by Alfred Adler, all programs are taught through an Adlerian lens. Adler believed the measure an individual's overall health could be determined by their level of social interest. The online MA in Adlerian Studies provides learners with focused studies in psychotherapy and counseling as well as a concentrated look at individual psychology, a branch of study created by Alfred Adler. The master's in psychology online program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is delivered to distance learners through the online learning platform Moodle.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Adlerian Counseling & Psychotherapy
Available concentrations: Adlerian studies, clinical mental health counseling, co-occurring disorders, marriage & family therapy
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $550/credit

Delivery
Format: Online (extended residential weekend)
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 9 credits in psychology or a related field
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: Research activities, experiential exercises

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2+ years
Program start dates: 8/year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (612) 767-7044
Admissions email: admissions@alfredadler.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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6 Adler University 64.77 3/5 33% Chicago, IL

Although it has a similar name, Adler University in Chicago is not connected to the Adler Graduate School directly above. The online master's in psychology provided by AU includes a specialization in military psychology. This innovative distance learning course is well-suited to individuals who want to provide psychological support to veterans and active military members. Students study concepts related to trauma and loss, psychology of conflict, healthcare, mental health law, and many other corresponding topics throughout the 37 credit hour program. The culminating requirement is a capstone project rather than a thesis. Faculty and administrators work diligently to make online learning a collaborative and engaging experience through audio/video lectures, video conferencing, active discussions, interactive games, simulations, role-playing, and regular online chats between themselves and students. Students progress through the program as a cohort.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Psychology
Available concentrations: Military psychology
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $855/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 37 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: 6/year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (312) 662-4058
Admissions email: onlineadmissions@adler.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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7 William James College 63.19 3/5 9% Newton, MA

Providing a different take on the field, William James College in Newton, Massachusetts provides an online MA in organizational psychology for students looking to work with organizations and individuals to support mental health and maximize productivity. It's also one of the shortest programs on our list, offering an accelerated 11-month degree path for students who want to get in the field quickly. In addition to the standard track, students can also elect to specialize in talent management. The online master's in psychology program is ideally suited to individuals with prior work experience, with most students having an average of five to seven years of professional work under their belts. As part of WJC's commitment to providing excellent distance learning opportunities, prospective students are encouraged to take part in a program webinar to learn more about what's available to them.


Program Overview
Department: Organizational & Leadership Psychology
Program name: Master's of Arts in Organizational Psychology
Available concentrations: African & Caribbean mental health, global mental health, talent management
Accrediting body: NEASC
Tuition: $28,000/year online; $35,000/year hybrid

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Field education requirements: 80 hours of supervised fieldwork

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 11 months accelerated, full-time; 2 years part-time
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (617) 327-6777
Department email: miranda_ralston@williamjames.edu (Dr. Miranda Ralston, Program Director)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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8 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville 59.51 3/5 24% Knoxville, TN

Whether you're looking to work in a K-12 setting, postsecondary institution, or a related field, UT's online MS in educational psychology provided by the Knoxville campus equips students with all they need to be thoughtful practitioners. Unlike the majority of other programs, however, UTK's classes are delivered synchronously, meaning students must log in at designated times to take courses. The program requires students to complete 36 credit hours and ends with a comprehensive examination rather than a thesis. Concentrations available include adult education or applied educational psychology. As one of the largest universities in Tennessee, UTK is well equipped with the latest online teaching and learning technologies to ensure distance learners receive educations comparable to their campus-based peers. Students pursuing online psychology masters degree programs online can also expect to enjoy the same services and resources as those available at the school.


Program Overview
Department: Graduate School of Education - Department of Educational Psychology & Counseling
Program name: Master's of Science in Educational Psychology
Available concentrations: Adult education, applied educational psychology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $6,542/semester in-state; $15,751/semester out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (865) 974-8145
Department email: mary-hammon@utk.edu (Mary Catherine "Cathy" Hammon, Clinical Assistant Professor)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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9 The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles 59.07 3/5 70% Los Angeles, CA

As an institution devoted to professional studies in psychology, CSPP offers a range of online master's programs, including innovative degrees in international psychology and forensic psychology. Within the online MA in international psychology, students can choose from concentrations in environmental advocacy, management and leadership, or trauma and group conflict. The online MA in forensic psychology offers the non-licensure track. All of the classes offered at CSPP were designed with the busy, working professional in mind; prospective students can try a sample class before enrolling to ensure it fits with their lifestyle. In addition to a strong career support program, students in CSPP's psychology masters programs online enjoy a robust online community of students and faculty all working to advance the field of psychology, no matter which are of the field they choose to focus.


Program Overview
Department: School of Professional Psychology
Program name: Master's of Arts in Psychology
Available concentrations: Forensic psychology
Accrediting body: WSCUC
Tuition: $1,127/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Program start dates: Every 8 weeks

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (800) 721-8072
Admissions email: admissions@thechicagoschool.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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10 Carlos Albizu University-Miami 58.84 4/5 21% Miami, FL

Now in its 50th year of providing quality educations to students of all backgrounds and interests, CAU in Miami maintains the same mission of when it started: to train culturally sensitive graduates. As the first postsecondary institution devoted to graduate studies in psychology, the online MS in industrial and organizational psychology is a comprehensive program with accomplished practitioners and faculty at the helm. The flexible master's in psychology online program requires students to complete 42 credit hours, an applied research capstone project, and to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to graduate. A sample of services available to online students includes a tutoring program, career assistance, disability resources, digital library offerings, and a range of clubs and organizations to encourage networking alongside personal and professional development.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Science in Industrial & Organizational Psychology
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: $570/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 1-year, full-time residency
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: Research practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (305) 593-1223
Admissions email: admissions@albizu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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11 University of Houston-Victoria 58.21 3/5 80% Victoria, TX

Offered under the umbrella of the Social and Behavioral Science Department, the University of Houston in Victoria, Texas has three different online graduate programs in psychology to choose from. These include the master's degree in both counseling psychology and forensic psychology, as well as the specialist in school psychology degree. The school psychology program requires students to complete 30% of required classes on-campus. Similarly, both the Counseling and Forensic programs have a face-to-face component, with four or five classes taught in-person during the course of the degree. Depending on the degree path chosen, programs require between 60 and 63 credit hours for graduation, including a practicum requirement. The Counseling and Forensic Programs both require three semester-long practicums. School psychology students must also complete a year long, school-based internship prior to graduation. While UHV is committed to ensuring all students grasp the skills and knowledge they need to be proficient practitioners, the school also places significant importance on producing students who are job-ready and able to find a fulfilling role in psychology upon graduation.


Program Overview
Department: School of Arts & Sciences
Program name: Master's of Arts in Counseling Psychology or Master's of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $7,086/semester in-state; $16,062/semester out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Undergraduate or graduate courses in statistics, research, & abnormal psychology
Credit requirements: Counseling Psychology - 60 credits; Forensic Psychology - 63 credits
Field education requirements: Practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (361) 570-4201
Admissions email: admissions@uhv.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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12 University of Northern Colorado 58.09 3/5 15% Greeley, CO

The University of Northern Colorado, located in Greeley, has been offering online workshops, webinars, and academic programs for nearly two decades. Offerings include an online master’s in psychology with an emphasis in education and teaching applications. The program prepares students for careers in teaching, educational counseling, professional training, and school and business assessment. Learners are also prepared to take required state and national testing measurements.

This psychology master’s degree online program focuses on human development, student motivation, the role of culture, and how to help children succeed. The 30-credit online psychology master’s program starts during summer term and can be completed in 19 months. The degree is offered in a part-time format. Students take two eight-week classes every term. Fall and spring quarter has students take the classes back-to-back; they are taken concurrently during the summer session. Classes are available asynchronously. Course topics include cultural issues in psychology, lifespan development, education assessment, and graduate research methodology. As an alternative to the written comprehensive exam, students may pursue up to six credits through a capstone project. With the help of an advisor, students develop a specialized research proposal. They are then required to research and report on their results in front of faculty and peers.

UNCO offers a flat, per-credit tuition rate with no extra fees for distance learners, and financial aid is available. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. GRE scores are not required. Due to UNCO’s accreditation agreement, some distance learning options are not available.


Program Overview
Department: School of Psychological Sciences
Program name: Master's of Arts in Educational Psychology: Teaching Applications
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $495/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 19 months
Program start dates: Summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: April 1
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: Experience as a professional educator

Contact
Department phone: (970) 351-2236
Graduate programs email: grad.school@unco.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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13 Fielding Graduate University 57.82 3/5 95% Santa Barbara, CA

Fielding Graduate University, located in Santa Barbara, California, was founded by three distinguished experts in the higher education field more than 40 years ago. The school focuses on non-traditional education and offers an online psychology master’s degree. Fielding’s master of arts in media psychology program examines how human behavior is influenced by media and how to create media that supports positive behavior.

The curriculum is 40 credit hours, and core requirements include topics in critical writing and foundations of research. The degree plan includes many elective courses, which enables students to pursue courses relevant to their interests and career goals. Electives include audience engagement, consumer neuroscience, story psychology, and innovation in online education. A capstone project is also required, requiring students to combine their learnings into a presentation that reflects their expertise. The topic of the capstone project must examine the components of digital identity in the increasingly porous and global society.

In order to apply to Fielding’s master’s in psychology online program, students must provide a professional resume, statement of purpose, and transcripts and documentation of previous college work. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required. Tuition is charged at an affordable per-credit rate, and financial aid, including common scholarships awarded by the university, is available. Distance learners enjoy the same library services as their campus peers, and because fielding is exclusively focused on educating graduate-level students, services are tailored to their needs. Students receive assistance with picking out classes that support career goals, financial aid and scholarships, and technology support.


Program Overview
Department: School of Psychology
Program name: Master's of Arts in Media Psychology
Accrediting body: WSCUC
Tuition: $585/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 40 credits
Field education requirements: Research capstone

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (800) 340-1099 or (805) 898-4026
Admissions email: admissions@fielding.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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14 Ball State University 57.41 3/5 39% Muncie, IN

Ball State University, located in Muncie, Indiana, opened its doors in 1899 and boasts a network of over 185,000 alumni. BSU is committed to what the institution calls entrepreneurial learning: immersive programs that combine research, community engagement, and meaningful capstone projects. The school offers several academic programs for nontraditional learners, including an accredited online master’s degree in psychology. The program focuses on teaching students applied research skills. It offers the opportunity to compete a community-based project. Online learners can also complete a specialization track in gifted and talented education, human development, or statistical and research methods.

BSU’s master of arts in education psychology is delivered through Blackboard and can be completed in two years. The curriculum consists of 18 credit hours of core requirements, with topics in child development, advanced learning psychology, and human learning and achievement. Students then take 12 hours of electives which is where they complete a specialization. Learners who pursue the gifted and talented concentration take three more required courses and one elective in a specific area that enables them to pursue careers as resource consultants, school counselors, program developers, researchers, and much more. BSU offers a number of certificate and licensure programs.

Tuition for this online master’s in psychology is priced per credit based on a student’s residency status. Financial assistance is available. BSU allows prospective students a trial online course experience.


Program Overview
Department: Education Psychology
Program name: Master's of Arts in Educational Psychology
Available concentrations: Gifted & talented, human development, statistical & research methods
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $394/credit in state; $590/credit out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 18 months
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.75 minimum (or 3.0 minimum in latter half of undergraduate studies)
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Experience as a professional educator or in a learning & human development field

Contact
Department phone: (765) 285-8500
Graduate programs email: gradschool@bsu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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15 Institute for the Psychological Sciences 56.04 3/5 25% Arlington, VA

Located in Arlington, Virginia, the Institute for Psychological Sciences (IPS) was founded in 1999 and stands as the integral graduate arm of Divine Mercy University. IPS is committed to teaching modern psychological concepts through a Catholic view and offers an accredited online master’s in psychology. The program develops professional competency in communication, leadership skills, budgeting, program evaluation, and more, while also integrating these skills with knowledge of the psychological development and motivations of the human person.

Designed for individuals already working in the field, this non-therapeutic master of science in psychology consists of 36 credit hours, which can be completed in two years. Coursework includes topics in human growth, the social psychology of diverse groups, leading people/programs, evidence-based practice, and program evaluation. Students must complete a capstone course in transformational leadership in the helping professions, which requires them to use learned skills to help individuals and communities. They must also identify professional goals and personal involvement related to service beyond their time in this online master’s in psychology program, reflecting a dedication to lifelong learning.

Three start dates are available every year. Application materials include an accredited baccalaureate degree, professional resume, a statement of intent, and two letters of recommendation. Students must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale). Distance learners pay the same per-credit tuition, regardless of where they live, and financial aid is available.


Program Overview
Department: Institute for the Psychological Sciences - Department of Psychology
Program name: Master's of Science in Psychology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $708/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: January, May, August

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (703) 416-1441
Department email: wnordling.ips@divinemercy.edu (Dr. William Nordling, Department Chair)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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16 University of North Texas 55.91 3/5 32% Denton, TX

The University of North Texas, located in Denton, offers 82 master’s degrees, many of which are accessible to distance learners. Offerings include an accredited online master’s degree in psychology. The program focuses on teaching students how to provide administrative and structural support to the field. The school’s master of science in educational psychology with a concentration in research and evaluation prepares graduates for work as evaluators, researchers, and consultants in a variety of different educational settings and organizations.

The degree plan includes 11 required classes, totaling 33 hours, with a focus on statistical and data analysis. Topics include foundations of psychoeducational measurement, grant proposal writing skills, and statistics for educational research. Students pursue supervised research or a project in program evaluation that allows them to incorporate the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired by creating solutions to applied problems in the field. UNT’s psychology master’s degree online program prepares graduates for careers and entry into a doctoral program in psychological research methodology, statistics, and psychometrics.

Students take a majority of the coursework during the summer sessions, enabling them to complete the program in 15 months. Online students benefit from an online math and writing center, a one-time scholarship to qualifying applicants, career services, advising, and technological assistance. Tuition is priced per three-credit course and is dependent on a student’s residency status. UNT is routinely recognized as one of the most affordable private universities in the country. Financial assistance is available to all students.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education - Department of Education Psychology
Program name: Master's of Science in Educational Psychology
Available concentrations: Research & evaluation
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $1,400/3-credit course

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 15 months
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - June 15; spring - October 15; summer - April 15
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (940) 369-8565
Department email: Darrell.Hull@unt.edu (Dr. Darrell Hull, Associate Professor)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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17 LeTourneau University 55.72 4/5 55% Longview, TX

LeTourneau University, located in Longview, Texas, was founded after the Second World War as an institution that meets the academic and professional needs of returning GIs and their families. The school has grown into a comprehensive private university, offering a number of academic programs, including a master’s in psychology online that combines a liberal arts philosophy with professional development and independent research.

Designed as a non-licensure program for students interested in counseling and ministry, the master of arts in psychology provides students with a fundamental education in advanced field topics and basic counseling skills. The curriculum requires 36 credit hours and includes courses in family assessment, group counseling methods, and lifespan of human development. Students must also complete a field experience in their local community under the supervision of a faculty member. Students can choose up to 14 credit hours of electives in business, education, leadership, psychology, and religion. The flexibility of LeTourneau’s accredited online master’s in psychology program enables students to customize their degree according to personal interests and professional goals.

LeTourneau, which uses Blackboard to conduct online learning, provides a helpful list of the five habits of highly successful distance learners to help ensure students thrive in this educational arena. Application requirements include an undergraduate degree and transcripts, a resume, and a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale). Students must also complete an interview. No GRE scores or prerequisite courses are necessary. The tuition rate is affordable and applies to all distance learners. Students also benefit from financial assistance and the opportunity to transfer up to nine approved graduate credits.


Program Overview
Department: School of Psychology & Counselling
Program name: Master's of Arts in Psychology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $615/credit

Delivery
Format: Online (in-person practicum)
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: Practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (866) 873-5388
Admissions email: admissions@letu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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18 Sacred Heart University 55.49 5/5 29% Fairfield, CT

Located in Fairfield, Connecticut, Sacred Heart University was founded in 1963 as an institution dedicated to the philosophy of a liberal arts education, community engagement, and professional training and development. SHU developed its online master’s in psychology program to help students adopt a solution-oriented approach to their profession, enabling them apply their skills to everyday situations.

The curriculum for this master of science in applied psychology degree comprises 38 credit hours and includes foundational courses, classes in the concentration, and culminating experiences. Core topics include foundational theory, developmental issues across the lifespan, and individual psychological assessment and appraisal. Students also complete coursework in their choice of concentration: industrial-organizational psychology, community psychology, or general applied psychology. The first two options are specialized academic paths with distinct classes in their respective sub-fields that fulfill the needs of students interested in pursuing careers in companies or nonprofit enterprises. The third option is for learners who desire a broad education. The curriculum ends with students earning six hours in capstone experiences and comprehensive exams. Three completion options are available for the capstone: an essay, a thesis, or a role immersion experience based on knowledge application and field work.

Students in SHU’s psychology master’s degree online program can rest assured that they’re receiving the same quality education as students on campus. All distance education courses are taught by the same professors leading traditional classrooms, 80% of whom hold the highest degrees in their field. Tuition is fixed at a per-credit price for all distance learners, and financial assistance is available for eligible students. An undergraduate degree in psychology is not required of applicants.


Program Overview
Department: Psychology
Program name: Master's of Science in Applied Psychology
Available concentrations: Industrial-organizational psychology, community psychology, general applied psychology
Accrediting body: NEASC
Tuition: $875/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 12 credits of undergraduate psychology courses, undergraduate coursework in statistics & research methods
Credit requirements: 38 credits

Program Length
Program options: Part-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: 6/year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (877) 791-7181
Department email: mayerw@sacredheart.edu (Dr. William Mayer, Program Director)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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19 University of Memphis 55.47 3/5 31% Memphis, TN

Founded in 1912, the University of Memphis is one of the largest public four-year institutions in Tennessee, with more than more than 20,000 students enrolled in traditional and online programs. Academic offerings include a master’s in psychology online that was developed to appeal to a wide range of professional aspirations, including teaching, research, consulting, and others. The program provides the opportunity to apply contemporary psychological and educational research to understand and solve problems in educational settings and in society.

The curriculum comprises 33 credit hours and includes core requirements in statistical methods, life-span human development, and an introduction to research in the field. Students then pursue more advanced coursework with regards to cultural diversity in schools, adolescent psychology, and more. The remaining hours are fulfilled through electives, which enable students to pursue a topic relevant to their career aspirations, and a thesis or research project. Designed with the help of a faculty committee, culminating work is created for presentation or publication and reflects the student’s ability to synthesize what they’ve learned and how they can apply it to real-world challenges.

Faculty in this psychology master’s degree online program provide a focused education. Student services include statistics tutoring, assistance with using Blackboard, introductions to influential practitioners of educational psychology, a digital research library, and advice on which classes best suit career goals. Tuition is charged based on a student’s residency status. The school requires GRE scores as part of its graduate application requirements.


Program Overview
Department: Counseling, Educational Psychology, & Research
Program name: Master's of Science in Educational Psychology
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $603/credit in-state; $1,091/credit out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - April 1; spring - November 1
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (901) 678-2841
Department email: cepr@memphis.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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20 Palo Alto University 53.88 3/5 37% Palo Alto, CA

Palo Alto University, located in California, has been offering distance education programs for more than 15 years, providing innovative and structured options that match the faculty quality of traditional campus programs. PAU’s catalog includes a master’s in psychology online that prepares students for careers or advancement in fields like business functionality, education and curriculum development, research assisting, and more. As a part-time option, students have the flexibility to pursue their degree while working and still finish in two years. Credits earned transfer seamlessly to PAU’s PhD program.

The curriculum consists of 46 quarter hours and has no thesis requirement. Class topics include human development, cognitive and affect bases of behavior, and research methods and statistics. The degree plan is structured so students take two to three courses every quarter session. With the exception of a perfunctory campus intensive over the summer of their first year, all classes can be completed online through asynchronous seminars, independent study, and synchronous classroom interactions.

The university has always focused on teaching psychological principles and theories. Students benefit from individual academic and career advisors, an array of online student clubs and organizations, and a digital library. Tuition is charged per quarter session at the same price for all distance learners. Students may transfer up to five, approved graduate credits towards the completion of the online master’s in psychology degree.


Program Overview
Department: Graduate School of Psychology
Program name: Master's of Science in Psychology
Accrediting body: WSCUC
Tuition: $6,727/quarter

Delivery
Format: Online (1-week residency)
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Undergraduate coursework in developmental psychology, physiological or biological psychology, personality or abnormal psychology, statistics
Credit requirements: 46 quarter units

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 31 GPA: 3.3 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (800) 818-6136
Department email: mteodosio@paloaltou.edu (Mike Teodosio, Assistant Director of Master's Admissions)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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21 Pennsylvania State University 52.06 4/5 29% University Park, PA

Pennsylvania State University, located in University Park, was founded in 1855 and has become one of the most renowned universities in America. Considered a “Public Ivy” school, Penn State offers a large and comprehensive list of academic programs, including a master’s in psychology online degree facilitated by the World Campus. Penn State’s World Campus program presents a master of professional studies in psychology of leadership. This pioneering degree was created to help students become better managers and leaders by understanding the psychology behind what motivates and influences employees.

The curriculum comprises 33 credit hours and includes three required courses in ethics and other foundational topics. The remainder of the degree plan is flexible, allowing students to choose from a number of electives with careful guidance from faculty and advisors. Topics include leadership development, conflict resolution and negotiation, and positive organizational behavior. Students conclude their studies for this online master’s in psychology program by completing a capstone experience that reflects their expertise of learned content and applicable skills.

Students may enter the program at three points during the year. Tuition is priced at a flat per-credit rate for all distance learners, and financial aid is available, including scholarships specifically for World Campus students. The department is home to the first fully online Psychology Club, with members from the U.S., Europe, South America, and the Middle East. Members of the club network with their peers through video conferencing and social media platforms, gaining valuable insight on opportunities like internships and even job positions.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: $821/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 15; spring - November 15
Work experience: 2 years of full-time, professional work experience

Contact
Department phone: (814) 865-5403
Online programs email: pennstateonline@psu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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22 Fort Hays State University 50.66 3/5 75% Hays, KS

Located in Hays, Kansas, Fort Hays State University’s virtual college was created over 20 years ago and educates approximately 6,000 students in 20 countries. Students who aren’t sure if an online education is right for them can take the college’s 15-question quiz that helps them better understand what will be expected of them as a distance learner. Among FHSU’s academic offerings is a specialized master’s in psychology online program that's centered on education and learning motivation.

Designed for students who want to work in an educational setting, the master of science in school psychology is a 30-credit program that allows learners to apply for licensure as a school psychologist upon graduation. Students need to check if this program meets their state's licensure requirements. The curriculum consists of coursework in developmental psychology, appraisal of children, and professional ethics in the field. Students also learn skills for conducting research and in-school observations and appraisals. A number of elective hours are also included in the curriculum. Though the vast majority of this online psychology master’s degree can be completed online, the program does require students to attend five-day-long intensive workshops at the school’s campus throughout the two years.

Financial assistance is available, including institutional scholarships and special aid for active military and veterans. Admitted students may apply to transfer previous college credit toward degree completion. FHSU also offers an online education specialist in school psychology terminal degree. It helps students improve their professional standing in the field.


Program Overview
Department: Psychology
Program name: Master's of Science in School Psychology
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $281/credit

Delivery
Format: Online (2 on-campus workshops)
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Undergraduate coursework in general psychology, psychology with a laboratory component, statistics, 2 additional psychology courses
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Field education requirements: 5-day advanced workshops on campus

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - March 1; spring - October 1
GPA: 2.5 minimum for last 60 undergraduate credits
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (785) 628-4291
Online programs email: virtualcollege@fhsu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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23 University of Idaho 50.28 3/5 26% Moscow, ID

The University of Idaho, located in Moscow, is dedicated to providing students with an educational experience based in engaging teaching, research, and community involvement. UI offers a number of remote academic programs, including an online master’s in psychology: human factors that equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to understand how computer science, design, and engineering affect human behaviors. Founded in 1984 as an interdisciplinary endeavor between the Department of Psychology and the College of Engineering, this program prepares students for rewarding careers in product development, public safety, aviation systems, research and consulting, and more.

The curriculum consists of 30 credit hours, which includes topics in cognitive psychology, ergonomics/biomechanics, human-computer interaction, and factions in engineering design. Students conclude their academic career by completing either a comprehensive exam or a thesis option. The exam consists of three parts, with open and closed-book structures, that test students on fundamental principles of their field and their application and research. Learners who choose the thesis track should meet with a faculty member early on in the program to establish a rapport and discuss potential topics.

UI is one of the 72 land-grant research institutions in the country, and online students benefit from the resources of the school. Psychology students also benefit from membership in numerous online student clubs and activities. Learners are encouraged to pursue internships, and UI has structures in place to help them. Tuition is based on residency status, and financial assistance is available. In order to enroll in UI’s master's in psychology online program, applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field. A GRE score is required.


Program Overview
Department: Psychology & Communication Studies
Program name: Master's of Science in Psychology: Human Factors
Accrediting body: NWCCU
Tuition: $4,432/semester

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Introductory course in statistics
Credit requirements: 30+ credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall/summer- February 1; spring - September 1
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (208) 885-6324
Department email: psyc-comm@uidaho.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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24 University of Nevada-Las Vegas 48.77 3/5 32% Las Vegas, NV

Since 1957, the University of Nevada - Las Vegas has transformed from a small public institution to one of the leading urban research centers in the nation. The university offers an online master’s in psychology designed for learners who want to work with primary, secondary, or special education populations. Graduates are prepared to work in schools and universities and government and business settings as consultants and researchers who enhance work performance and motivation.

The degree plan comprises 34 credit hours and includes courses in required topics like research methods, theory of human measurement, and foundations of learning and cognition. A large portion of the curriculum consists of elective requirements, which enables students to pursue advanced topics that suit their interests and career goals. Students also have the option to complete a thesis or non-thesis track. Learners who choose the latter take additional elective classes. Students who choose to pursue a thesis work closely with a faculty mentor to plan, develop, and present a project that works to solve current challenges related to the field. All students must successfully complete a comprehensive exam.

All master’s in psychology online classes are taught asynchronously. Application materials include three letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and GRE scores (with preference given to those who achieve the 50th percentile or better on the verbal and quantitative sections). Students interested in the program should check to ensure that their state is eligible for online education through UNLV.


Program Overview
Department: Educational Psychology & Higher Education
Program name: Master's of Science in Educational Psychology
Accrediting body: NWCCU
Tuition: $4,002/semester in-state; $11,096/semester out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 34 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - March 1; spring - November 1
GPA: 2.75 minimum (or 3.0 minimum for last 60 credits)
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (702) 895-3011
Department email: steven.mccafferty@unlv.edu (Dr. Steven McCafferty, Program Coordinator)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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25 Medaille College 48.59 3/5 16% Buffalo, NY

Located in Buffalo, New York, Medaille College is dedicated to helping students find the balance between quality education and career preparation. The school offers a number of distance learning opportunities to fit their specific needs, including an online master’s in psychology. The program is designed to provide students with a firm grounding in advanced psychological principles and leadership skills, which prepares them for careers as human resource managers, public relations representatives, psychiatric technicians, and more.

The program is taught asynchronously, and students may take anywhere between one to four courses every term, with each course lasting seven weeks. Online learners usually earn their degree in two years, but the school does offer an accelerated format, which enables students to graduate in one. The curriculum is 36 credit hours, with required courses in topics like developmental psychology, psychopathologies, and the biological basis for behavior. Students also have the option to pursue a concentration in sports psychology, taking advanced coursework related to athletic health and management. Students must also complete either an internship experience or thesis project as part of their capstone requirement. In consultation with a faculty advisor, learners may choose to intern with an organization in their local community. They can also plan, conduct, and present a thesis.

Tuition for Medaille’s master in psychology online degree is priced per-credit at a flat rate for all distance learners, with active military personnel receiving a 10% discount. Application materials include official college transcripts, professional references, a resume, and a professional goal statement. No GRE scores are required.


Program Overview
Department: School of Adult & Graduate Education
Program name: Master's of Arts in Psychology
Available concentrations: Sports psychology
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: $918/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 1 year
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (716) 932-2568
Admissions email: AdultGradAdmissions@medaille.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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Earning a bachelor’s degree is an important first step towards entry or advancement in many fields, but a master’s in psychology is a minimum requirement for most positions in the field. While most schools offer a general graduate curriculum, specific coursework and requirements vary depending on the history and mission of the program you choose. The information in this section will give you an idea of what you can expect from an online master’s in psychology degree.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Clinical Psychology Accredited online clinical psychology master’s programs are the most common in the field and prepare students to use psychological and scientific knowledge to assess, diagnose, and treat patients on an individual basis or through group and family counseling. Graduates usually work in private practices, but some also choose to counsel at community centers or on college campuses. Couple and family counselor, child psychologist, substance abuse counselor, mental health social worker
Forensic Psychology Forensic psychology students prepare for careers in the legal justice and court systems. They apply psychological principles and scientific techniques as they conduct evaluations, pick witnesses, and provide testimony in legal cases. They also study diversity issues within the United States to help victims in underserved or oppressed populations find justice. Courtroom adviser, federal law enforcement specialist, criminal behavior analyst
Organizational Psychology Also known as the industrial psychology concentration, this track prepares students to apply psychological theories and practices to work environments in order to improve efficiency among individual employees and groups. Students learn the importance of psychological considerations that are involved in personnel selection, team leadership, and organizational health issues. Consumer behavior specialist, human resources manager, business consultant

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY

Most online psychology master’s programs are offered as either an MA, which focuses on the liberal arts aspects of the field, or as an MS, which is more research-oriented and grounded in the natural sciences. When choosing a program, be sure to select one that best suits your specific career goals. Regardless of which program you choose, each online master’s in psychology should include some fundamental courses. Below are a few examples of general curriculum courses that you can expect to find in any psychology program:

  • Lifespan Development: This course provides students with an advanced look at human development from conception through death, with emphasis on biology, social/emotional, and cognitive changes as they relate to counseling and other applied practices. While this topic deals with all branches of psychology, this course is particularly relevant for students who want to work as clinical psychologist or other positions of personal counseling.
  • Gerontology (or the Psychology of Aging): The course is designed for students who want to work with aged populations as nursing home psychologists or professional caretakers. Coursework provides an overview of the social and emotional changes that happen to an individual later in life, including intellectual functioning and mental illness. The course also explores ways to assist the elderly through professional treatment and agency referrals or placement.
  • Human Neuropsychology: This course explores the causes, consequences, and treatment of brain disorders and diseases and prepares students for a wide variety of careers, including substance abuse counselor or forensic psychologist. Students also learn about the functions of the brain in normal human functioning and exceptional conditions such as brain damage and neuropsychological syndromes in order to help them properly help diagnose and treat these conditions.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN PSYCHOLOGY?

The average master’s in psychology online program has a curriculum of 30 to 36 credit hours. Students can earn their degree in two years or less with full-time enrollment, though many schools will allow up to five years for those who want to enroll part-time. Those who want to pursue a more scientific track may find that their program requires campus visits, usually scheduled during summer sessions far in advance to accommodate work schedules and other obligations. Many online master’s programs also require a capstone project or thesis work, and depending on what a student chooses to accomplish, this may add some time to degree completion.

Some online psychology programs structure their classes based on a cohort model, where students progress through the coursework with the same group of peers in order to build a community of professional relationships. However, most online courses are offered asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. When researching online programs, it is good to ask yourself which model, or combination of models, will work best with your own learning process.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN PSYCHOLOGY PREPARES FOR

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) : Many graduates choose to pursue an LPC title in order to work as a licensed counselor at their own practice or another site, like a mental health facility, a university campus, or a psychiatric hospital. The LPC is granted at the state level and each state has its own set of requirements, such as a certain number of practicum or experience hours.
  • Teaching of Psychology Certificate: Earning the TPC is a good way for those who want to pursue a career as a college instructor to boost their overall job prospects. Offered through certain university departments, the TPC is a post-baccalaureate program that gives graduates the chance to learn fundamental teaching skills as well as specific practices related to the field of psychology.

When searching for an online master’s in psychology program, you should look for national, regional, and field-specific official recognition. National accreditation is the standard and is conferred by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Nonprofit schools are unable to operate without this designation. Regional accreditation is granted by seven national organizations and is more important because it denotes that the college or university meets the specific standards of the state where it operates. Most employers look for regional accreditation when hiring candidates.

The DOE and CHEA oversee national accreditation of colleges and universities in the United States. The DOE is a government institution that works to create and enforce a cohesive set of educational standards, while the CHEA is a non-governmental organization that works towards similar goals. Since the DOE and CHEA works towards similar goals, it is rare to find a school that is accredited by one and not the other. The USDE and CHEA are also responsible for maintaining the credibility of organizations of regional accreditation. To see what colleges and universities have the DOE and CHEA’s stamp of approval, visit their websites.

There are also industry-specific organizations that establish and maintain standards and offer accreditation. Those pursuing a master’s in psychology online should be aware that the American Psychological Association (APA) only gives out its stamp of approval to doctorate programs. Another organization to look for is the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). Although the organization is relatively new, some of the best psychology master’s degrees online operate under its direction.

Job Placement: MPsych vs Bachelor of Psychology

Although a bachelor’s degree in psychology will lay the groundwork for a successful career, jobs are limited for candidates who complete their education with an undergraduate psychology program. Bachelor’s-holders may qualify for roles as case managers, technicians, career counselors, and other non-clinical titles. Interestingly, only 25% of individuals with a bachelor’s in psychology go on to pursue careers in this field.

A graduate degree in psychology will help improve your job placement rate and boost your earning potential. A recent report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce notes significant gaps in pay and employment between college graduates with a bachelor’s and those who advance on to a graduate degree program:

Graduate Type Unemployment Rate Median Annual Salary
Recent college graduate with degree in psychology 7.3% $30,000
Experienced college graduates with a degree in psychology 5.9% $48,000
Psychology graduate degree-holder 3.2% $61,000

Source: Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce

Earning a Living

While many top-level psychology jobs will require a doctoral education, you can still pursue certain positions with a master’s degree. Using data from PayScale, the following table includes salary expectations for some of the most common psychology career pathways for master’s graduates.

Job Title Median Annual Salary with a Master’s Degree
Mental Health Case Manager $41,000 (M.S.)
Licensed Professional Counselor $47,500 (M.S.); $47,500 (M.S.); $41,600 (M.A.)
Licensed Mental Health Counselor $46,452 (M.S.)
Mental Health Therapist $60,823 (M.A.)
Program Director, Healthcare $55,500 (M.A.)

Source: PayScale

As noted above, most students who complete a psychology master’s program eventually pursue a doctoral degree. The BLS notes that the median annual salary for psychologists with a doctorate was 46% higher than the annual salary for psychologists with a master’s. Furthermore, psychologists with a Ph.D. had a miniscule 1.59% unemployment rate in 2013, which was roughly 25% lower than the unemployment rate for doctoral degree-holders in all scientific fields.

Career Opportunities

Students who complete a master’s in psychology degree program are well on their way to a rewarding career. Job availability will largely depend on their level of academic attainment, as well as degree specialization. Some of the most common career paths for licensed, degree-holding psychologists can be found below.

Clinical Psychologist: Clinical psychologists observe, diagnose, and treat patients suffering from a range of emotional and mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, behavioral disorders, and addictions. They often work alongside other psychologists and medical professionals to discuss patient history and determine how to best administer therapy.

Neuropsychologist: Neuropsychologists study the way that mental health disorders, emotions, social interactions, and other factors affect brain activity. They often work with patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, or are experiencing mental decline due to factors like age or developmental disability.

School Psychologist: Found at all academic levels, school psychologists work with students who are living with mental health disorders or interpersonal problems. They often conduct tests on their patients, and may meet with parents, teachers, and other individuals who are invested in their clients’ welfare.

Forensic Psychologist: Forensic psychologists apply their training to areas of criminal justice, such as crime scene investigations or legal proceedings. They study evidence to determine criminal motives, evaluate accused criminals and defendants for mental acuity, and often have the final say as to whether or not a person is fit to stand trial.

Job Title Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Clinical Psychologist $65,684 $74,474 $83,084 $89,703
Neuropsychologist $83,000 $94,000 $105,200 $91,000
School Psychologist $51,117 $59,515 $68,358 $73,862
Forensic Psychologist $60,000 $76,000 $87,000 $118,000

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different psychological approaches is crucial to your career success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for professional psychologists. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • American Psychological Association: The nation’s leading organization for professional psychologists, the APA today boasts more than 117,000 members. The website features a vast online library, a job board, continuing education opportunities, and a Psychology Help Center with links to blogs and articles about various psych-related topics. The APA also serves as the official accreditation agency for collegiate psychology programs.
  • American Board of Professional Psychology: Established in 1947, the ABPP oversees the standards and criteria used to certify and license practicing psychologists. The board awards certification to qualifying applicants in 15 different niche areas, including clinical psychology, couple and family psychology, and school psychology.
  • National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers: NAPPP is dedicated to promoting professional psychology through academic research and public advocacy. Members receive discounted electronic health records and reduced malpractice insurance, along with free continuing education courses, training tools, and job leads.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Master's in Psychology Degrees 2016
Rank School Location
1 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
2 University of Georgia Athens, GA
3 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
4 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
5 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
6 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
7 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT
8 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
9 University of North Texas Denton, TX
10 CUNY School of Professional Studies New York, NY
11 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
12 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
13 Medaille College Buffalo, NY
14 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO
15 Eastern Michigan University MI
16 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA
17 University of Idaho Moscow, ID
18 University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, TX
19 University of Hartford West Hartford, CT
20 LeTourneau University Longview, TX
21 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN
22 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
23 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro, PA
24 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH
25 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS