Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs of 2021

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September 1, 2021

Edited by Jordan Stewart-Rozema
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Pursuing an online master's in psychology qualifies graduates for various roles unavailable to professionals with only an undergraduate degree. Most psychology master's programs take 2-3 years to complete and allow graduates to pursue positions in public, private, and nonprofit settings.

Prospective students considering this path should review the information provided throughout this guide to make an informed decision. Covered topics include degree types, admission requirements, typical courses, and available jobs after graduation.

What Are the Best Online Master's in Psychology Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ
#2 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
#3 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
#4 McNeese State University Lake Charles, LA
#5 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
#6 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#7 Lynn University Boca Raton, FL
#8 University of Idaho Moscow, ID
#9 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
#10 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Psychology Programs

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Arizona State University View School Profile Scottsdale, AZ

ASU's online master's in psychology program teaches students an understanding of psychological theory and human behavior. Through a blend of theoretical and practical coursework, learners prepare for careers in several different fields.

Required coursework covers topics like professional issues in psychology, quantitative analysis, and research methods. The program offers elective courses in a variety of areas, including abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and psychophysiology. Students complete a total of 12 classes and each class lasts 7.5 weeks.

Applicants must have earned at least a 3.0 GPA over the final 60 credits of their undergraduate program. Prospective students should submit a completed graduate application along with transcripts, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $655/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (recommended)

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Request more information about this program.

Pepperdine University View School Profile Malibu, CA

Pepperdine's online master's in psychology prepares graduates for careers like market research analyst, child development specialist, and community outreach specialist. Students cover a variety of psychotherapy techniques and gain experience in multicultural counseling.

Learners complete 36-48 credits, depending on their academic background, including five foundation courses, nine core courses, and two electives. Required classes include industrial-organizational psychology, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, and theories of counseling and psychotherapy. The program does not include a practicum or internship requirement and delivers all coursework asynchronously.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. However, they do not need to submit GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master's in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,645/credit
Credit Requirements: 36-48 credits
Program Length: 18-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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Saint Leo University View School Profile Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo offers a master of science in psychology that does not include any in-person requirements. While taking general psychology coursework, participants learn about theories and hone analytical and research skills. Students receive an intimate education, as cohorts are capped at 15 learners.

Degree-seekers tackle courses like history and systems of psychology, advanced social psychology, and physiological psychology. In addition to traditional classes, students complete a capstone project that emphasizes research design and analysis, quality writing, and ethical decision-making.

Saint Leo encourages students to join the American Psychological Association and attend regional and area-specific conferences. Many learners also join the university's online psychology club.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $670/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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McNeese State University View School Profile Lake Charles, LA

Established in 1939, McNeese is a public university located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The university's MA in psychology program offers three different specializations: applied behavior analysis, counseling psychology, and general/experimental psychology. Depending on their program, students can enroll in a fully online or hybrid format. All learners complete core psychology classes and work with an advisor to determine their specialization.

The general/experimental psychology, applied behavior analysis, and counseling psychology concentrations feature 39, 58, and 60 credits, respectively. The applied behavior analysis and counseling psychology pathways require an internship and a practicum, while the applied behavior analysis and general/experimental psychology pathways require a thesis.

Applicants to any of these programs must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 and a minimum GRE score of 285.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Psychology
School Status: Public
Credit Requirements: 39-60 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

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Request more information about this program.

University of Louisiana at Monroe View School Profile Monroe, LA

ULM's master's in psychology program offers a general studies track as well as concentrations in psychometrics and forensic psychology. Students can complete the general studies and forensic psychology tracks entirely online. The psychometrics concentration can be completed mostly online, except for one on-campus semester.

All psychology students must take core coursework that covers topics like quantitative methods in the behavioral sciences, research methods, and neuropsychology. The psychometrics concentration delves into issues like intelligence testing, behavior modification, and theories of learning. The forensic psychology concentration includes classes like psychopathology, counseling in criminal justice, and sociology of law.

Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores unless their GPA is below 3.0.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $400/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online or hybrid (depending on concentration)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (if GPA is between 2.75 and 2.99)

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Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA

Liberty offers an online MA in applied psychology. Preparing learners with a diverse set of skills, this online master's in psychology provides a flexible format. Students can specialize in industrial/organizational psychology or developmental psychology.

Throughout a Christian, faith-based curriculum, students learn about cognitive psychology theories, how to design and conduct research, and the relationship between Christian faith and psychological science.

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. Prospective students must submit their application along with official college transcripts and proof of English proficiency.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Applied Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

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Lynn University View School Profile Boca Raton, FL

Lynn offers a flexible online MS in psychology without any in-person requirements. Designed to help students build skills and knowledge related to psychological research and human behavior, this program prepares learners for myriad careers within and beyond psychology.

Degree-seekers engage with foundational psychology courses like personality psychology, testing and assessment in psychology, and social and cultural foundations. Learners can choose to specialize in industrial/organizational psychology. This concentration includes coursework in areas like leadership and talent management.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and submit a letter of recommendation and personal statement. The program does not require GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $650/credit
Credit Requirements: 37 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum recommended

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University of Idaho View School Profile Moscow, ID

The U of I offers a research-heavy online MS in psychology with a human factors emphasis. By examining how people engage with technology and products in the context of mental health, students prepare for careers in fields like business, human services, and management.

Required coursework includes human factors in engineering design, sensation and perception, and human-computer interaction. In addition to traditional coursework, students routinely take on internships at companies like Motorola and HP. The program does not include any on-campus requirements.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Students who do not meet this threshold may still be considered if they submit GRE scores above 300.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Psychology, Human Factors
School Status: Public
Tuition: $549/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (for students with a lower GPA)

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Request more information about this program.

Fort Hays State University View School Profile Hays, KS

FHSU's online master's in psychology program serves students interested in school psychology. Degree-seekers can complete coursework for this program online, except for a five-day workshop held on campus during the summer semester where students work directly with children.

Required coursework covers topics like developmental psychology, advanced child psychopathology, and methods in school psychology. Before graduating, learners must also pass a comprehensive exam.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree in psychology or education and must have completed at least one undergraduate course in statistics or research methods. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and submit GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online MS in School Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $288/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

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Request more information about this program.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH

SNHU's online MS in psychology program offers concentrations in child and adolescent psychology, forensic psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology. This flexible program emphasizes support for working students and preparedness for advanced psychology careers.

Students learn to effectively address psychological issues, demonstrate an understanding of professional ethics, and use theories and methods to produce original research. Full-time learners can graduate within 15 months.

SNHU accepts prospective students on a rolling basis and requires applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA. If applicants do not have a background in psychology, they must complete foundational coursework in psychology, statistics, and research methods.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Psychology Online
School Status: Private
Tuition: $627/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 15-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum (full acceptance), 2.0 minimum (provisional acceptance)

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Regent University View School Profile Virginia Beach, VA

Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent was founded by Christian minister Pat Robertson. The university's online master's degree in psychology offers six concentrations in areas like addiction, cybersecurity, industrial/organizational psychology, and leadership coaching.

Informed by the university's Christian mission, core courses discuss issues like contemporary psychology, biological bases of behavior, and research methods in psychology. Through these classes, Regent prepares learners for a variety of careers, including cyberpsychologist and organizational consultant.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Prospective students must complete an application and attend a brief, virtual interview.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $675/credit
Credit Requirements: 39-41 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum

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Request more information about this program.

Indiana Institute of Technology View School Profile Fort Wayne, IN

Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana Tech offers an online master's in psychology without any on-campus requirements. Designed for working students looking to advance in their fields, this program provides an academic foundation rooted in advanced psychological principles and theories. The program's curriculum meets American Psychological Association accreditation guidelines.

During this 33-credit program, students tackle required classes like writing in psychology, legal and ethical issues in psychology, and statistics for behavioral sciences. In addition to traditional coursework, students complete a capstone research project.

Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution along with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5. As this degree is designed for working students, applicants must have two years of experience working in a related field.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $515/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 15-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: GMAT (if applicant does not have minimum work experience)

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Nova Southeastern University View School Profile Fort Lauderdale, FL

Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU began operations in 1964. The university's online master's in psychology program serves working professionals across myriad fields. Students gain a comprehensive foundation covering psychology knowledge and research skills.

During this 30-credit program, students tackle coursework in cognitive psychology, human growth and development, and psychological quantitative methods. The program culminates in either a six-credit thesis or two additional psychology courses. Students also have the option to pursue an applied health science concentration.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Students who do not meet this cutoff can still earn admission by submitting strong GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in General Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $790/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 15-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (if student does not meet GPA requirements)

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Fayetteville State University View School Profile Fayetteville, NC

FSU's online master of arts in psychology includes 36 credits and takes approximately 18 months to complete. Designed for working professionals, this program provides a generalist focus to prepare graduates for diverse careers within psychology.

The program delivers all coursework asynchronously through the Canvas platform. Students enroll in eight-week blocks during the fall, spring, and summer terms. Coursework covers ethical and professional requirements, communication and professional relationships, social and cultural diversity, and preparing and consuming research.

Admission requirements include a completed application, a personal statement, official transcripts, two recommendation letters, GRE scores, and a curriculum vitae.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master of Arts in Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $169/credit in state; $421/credit out of state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1.5 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.6 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

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Concordia University Chicago View School Profile River Forest, IL

CUC's online master of arts in psychology program uses a hybrid delivery format. The program includes a blend of on-campus and online courses, and it culminates in a master's thesis that includes a capstone experience.The 33-credit curriculum covers topics like quantitative analysis, assessment techniques, applied psychopathology and diagnosis, and advanced research in psychology. In addition to core coursework, students take one graduate-level ethics course.The program prepares graduates for careers in academia and research. Admission requirements include a personal statement, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a cumulative GPA of 2.85 or above. CUC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $476/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.85 minimum

Contact the School

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What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Psychology Program?

An online master's in psychology degree offers a great path for individuals who want to use their skills and interests to help others. Whether working with students as a school counselor, providing support as a substance abuse counselor, or finding the next great theory as a research assistant, there are plenty of jobs that allow graduates to make a difference.

Most programs comprise 36-60 credits and touch on both general and specialized topics. Concentrations vary by program, but common options include counseling psychology, clinical psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and sports psychology.

An online master's in psychology degree offers a great path for individuals who want to use their skills and interests to help others.

In addition to classes, many programs include lab components to study scientific aspects of the discipline. Internships are generally not required, but students can participate in voluntary internships if they so choose.

When looking at programs, take note whether a master of arts (MA) or master of science (MS) degree better suits your career goals. An MA is a great fit for learners interested in providing counseling services. An MS provides a great path toward future education and research.

Types of Psychology Degrees

Online psychology master's degrees cover a wide spectrum of specializations, helping students hone their knowledge and develop specific skills. For example, students aspiring to general psychology roles may pursue clinical psychology specializations, whereas learners interested in organizational behavior may enroll in organizational psychology programs.

Often seen as a generalist option for future clinicians, clinical psychology specializations familiarize learners with the biological, behavioral, and emotional aspects of humanity, with an emphasis on how factors, such as race, gender, socioeconomic level, and geographic location affect each aspect.

Forensic psychology sits at the crossroads of criminal justice and law. Undertaking this specialization provides the skills needed to understand psychological factors influencing behavior from both perpetrators and victims. Many graduates serve as expert witnesses in court cases and as researchers.

Behavioral psychology specializations focus on diagnosing and treating behavioral disorders through the principles of psychology. Learners study different types of identified behavioral issues, how people respond to them, and how to provide effective counseling services.

Designed for learners who see themselves working in individual and group counseling settings, this specialization looks at the various approaches to counseling. Students may work with specific populations, such as those seeking marriage, family, or grief counseling.

School psychology emphasizes creating safe, encouraging spaces where all students can optimally learn. Degree-seekers explore the academic, behavioral, emotional, and social aspects of development to help create effective school policies after graduation.

Unlike school psychology, educational psychology specializations focus on how students process information in a learning atmosphere. Courses focus on factors like processing and absorption of information, memory, and overall human development across the lifespan.

Also known as occupational psychology, organizational psychology focuses on assessing and improving performance in professional settings. Organizational psychologists conduct interviews, observe operations, and look for ways to streamline effectiveness and efficiency without compromising employment satisfaction.

Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Psychology Programs

While graduate admission requirements vary by program, many programs set similar guidelines. For instance, all students must hold a bachelor's degree. Some schools require this degree to be in psychology. Many programs also set GPA and GRE score cutoffs.

Additional requirements often include professional and academic letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a curriculum vitae or resume.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Psychology Program?

Most online master's degrees in psychology cover both foundational and advanced concepts. MA programs better serve students looking to work in counseling, while MS degrees are a good fit for learners interested in psychological research. Below, we look at common courses in both degree types.

Principles of Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Typically taken in the first year, this introductory course lays the groundwork for future studies in counseling methodologies and techniques. Students explore the roles and functions of clinical mental health counseling, including contemporary issues and industry standards.

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Multicultural Issues in Psychology

Psychology calls upon practitioners to develop skills and knowledge working with clients from diverse racial, economic, and cultural backgrounds. This course looks at how to identify and support varied life patterns and outcomes.

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Counseling Techniques Across the Lifespan

Whether graduates plan to work with children, adolescents, adults, or aging populations, they must understand how to meet counseling needs and develop techniques that work with each age group. This course looks at age-appropriate counseling methods across the lifespan.

Research Methods

No matter their specialization, psychology students must complete this course. Common topics include statistical methods, data analysis, and application of inferential and descriptive research models. Students may complete field experiences to build professional skills.

Team Building and Group Dynamics

All psychology students must understand how to provide valuable services to groups and individuals. Students learn about topics like conflict and power issues, team-building strategies, and the roles of the leader and followers in group dynamics.

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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Psychology Degree?

Earning a master's in psychology online prepares you for many different careers in several fields and industries. Some individuals use their training to work in nonprofit and community settings. Others plan to work in business arenas.

Demand for professionals with a master's degree in psychology is undoubtedly on the rise. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 22% job growth for marriage and family therapists between 2019 and 2029.

See where a master's in psychology degree can take you. Learn more about psychology degrees.

Addiction Counseling

These professionals support individuals and their families as they overcome addictions to alcohol, drugs, and other substances. Whether working for a larger substance abuse facility or in private practice, these professionals provide essential services to people struggling with addiction.

Grief Counseling

Grief counselors use their training and skills to help individuals and groups move through the various stages of grief. Grief counselors help clients identify and understand their emotions, identify coping mechanisms, and find ways to remember their loved ones.

Marriage and Family Counseling

Marriage and family counseling professionals take on myriad roles. Some may focus exclusively on helping couples work through challenges and conflicts causing discord in their partnerships. Others may help children and parents work together to address difficulties in the relationship. They often provide both individual and group counseling services.

School Counseling

Whether working in a K-12 or postsecondary education setting, school counselors help students identify issues holding them back in academics and relationships. After identifying the issue, school counselors work with students to develop coping mechanisms and create ways of addressing challenges.

Psychology Research

While most research positions require a doctorate, graduates of psychology master's programs can often work as research assistants. Their duties may include fact-finding missions, validating research information, developing statistical models, and conducting interviews with research subjects. They may work in academic settings or in private or governmental organizations.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Psychology Programs

Is a master's in psychology worth it?

Depending on future career goals, an online psychology master's degree can help graduates earn higher salaries, take on leadership positions, and qualify for advanced roles. If your goal is to become a psychologist, you must earn a doctorate.

How long does it take to get an online master's in psychology?

Completion times vary by program, but most online master's in psychology take 2-3 years to complete. Part-time learners may need 3-4 years to accomplish all graduation requirements.

What are the best online master's in psychology programs?

The best online psychology graduate programs meet your individual needs and career goals. Find schools that fit your academic, professional, and financial needs.

What are the different masters degrees in psychology?

There are many different concentrations within online psychology master's degrees, including industrial-organizational, clinical, and counseling psychology. You can also choose from MA and MS degrees.

What jobs can I get with a master's in psychology?

While you must hold a doctorate to call yourself a psychologist and earn licensure, there are many jobs for master's degree-holders. Common titles include marriage and family therapist, school counselor, and industrial-organizational psychologist.

How much money can I make with a master's in psychology?

Earning an online master's in psychology can help you earn salaries above the national average. According to the BLS, marriage and family therapists earned a median annual salary of $51,340 in 2020, while school and career counselors made a median of $58,120 that year.

What are the highest paying jobs with a master's in psychology?

The most lucrative psychology jobs are reserved for professionals with a doctorate, but there are several exceptions. Industrial-organizational psychologists earned a median annual wage of $96,270 in 2020. The top 10% of these professionals made $192,800 that year.

Learn about scholarships and financial aid available for students pursuing a degree in psychology. Organizational psychology has become increasingly important in the workplace. Learn about the career options available to students majoring in this field. Is a psychology degree worth it? Explore potential career opportunities for psychology degrees and the benefits of continuing your education in the field.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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