Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

A master's degree in psychology can prepare you for fascinating careers or an advanced degree and clinical licensure. Here's how to pick the best school.
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Updated on May 6, 2024
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Best Online Master's Degree Programs in Psychology

Today, demand for mental health practitioners far exceeds supply.

According to the 2022 State of Mental Health in America report, well over half of people with mental health conditions do not receive treatment. That's nearly 30 million adults. And on top of that, over 60% of youth with depression are navigating it alone.

Which is probably why you're here — you want to help.

If you think an online master's in psychology might be the best way to address widespread mental health conditions, check out the top-ranked online master's in psychology programs and our sponsored programs.

You can also request more information from schools you're interested in to find the best fit for your schedule, pocketbook, and career goals.

Featured Master's in Psychology Programs

The Best Online Master's in Psychology Programs

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#1 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

Nova Southeastern University

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $865

Out-of-State | $865

Credits to Graduate: 30

NSU's online master's in psychology program prepares students for a non-clinical generalist or applied health practice with only 10 courses. The general track offers the option to write a thesis. The core curriculum explores advanced education in cognitive psychology, behavioral neuroscience, human growth and development, individual evaluation and assessments, and research methodology.

This degree offers start dates in August, January, and May. Applicants do not need a GRE or a bachelor's degree in psychology. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$33,510
Out-of-state
$33,510
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$21,153
Out-of-state
$21,153
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
20,898
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

University of South Dakota

  • Vermillion, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $470

Out-of-State | $470

Credits to Graduate: 33

The USD's online psychology program emphasizes cognition and motivation forces in learning, human development, and research and statistics. Students can choose a hybrid program or an online program that does not require traveling to the campus in Vermillion, South Dakota. The master's in human development and education program offers thesis and non-thesis tracks. Both tracks cover cognitive approaches to educational psychology, statistics, and psychological development.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and at least a 3.0 GPA. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,773
Out-of-state
$11,283
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,123
Out-of-state
$11,773
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
9,464
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#3 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

Divine Mercy University

  • Sterling, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $850

Out-of-State | $850

Credits to Graduate: 33

DMU's online master's in psychology is a non-licensing program that prepares students to apply their knowledge of psychological theory, research, and intervention through a Catholic-Christian lens. The program offers concentrations in marriage and family studies, leadership, human services counseling, and bioethics. Students can choose from a self-designed or a pre-Ph.D. track, intended for those interested in doctorate-level studies or a research-related career. 

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and at least a 2.5 GPA. GRE scores are not required but are recommended for less competitive applicants. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$20,828
Out-of-state
$20,828
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
397
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

University of Idaho

  • Moscow, ID
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $554

Out-of-State | $1,623

Credits to Graduate: 30

The University of Idaho's master's in psychology degree emphasizes human factors with research opportunities through on-campus laboratories. Students can choose from a thesis or non-thesis path. The non-thesis program requires a 100-question comprehensive exam. Regardless of the track, students take core courses in sensation and perception, engineering psychology, human factors in engineering design, ergonomics and biomechanics, and human-computer interaction.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and a minimum of 3.0 GPA. GRE scores are not required.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,182
Out-of-state
$25,418
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,754
Out-of-state
$26,990
Retention Rate
75%
Acceptance Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
11,303
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#5 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

Azusa Pacific University

  • Azusa, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission 

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $783

Out-of-State | $783

Credits to Graduate: 60

APU's online master's in psychology focuses on helping children and adolescents. The program also offers a play therapy certificate. Students learn psychology through a Christian perspective with courses in developmental psychology, counseling and therapy theories, and diagnosis and treatment planning. The program requires 280 hours of fieldwork.

The coursework prepares students to become licensed professional clinical counselors. Students can choose to enroll part or full-time. Getting into the program requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and at least a minimum 3.0 GPA. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$40,830
Out-of-state
$40,830
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,571
Out-of-state
$16,571
Retention Rate
79%
Acceptance Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
8,126
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#6 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

University of Oregon

  • Eugene, OR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $592

Out-of-State | $592

Credits to Graduate: 49

The UO's online master's in psychology provides a pathway to psychological research for those in social services or behavioral health. Instead of clinical experience, the 18 courses emphasize evaluation and research skills. Courses cover community needs assessment, intervention science, translational neuroscience, and a capstone research project.

The program does not ask for GRE scores but requires a bachelor's degree in psychology or a similar field. Applicants must demonstrate a keen interest in psychology research and have experience working for an employer or volunteering with a community-based organization. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,458
Out-of-state
$36,910
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,714
Out-of-state
$28,161
Retention Rate
87%
Acceptance Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
22,257
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#7 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

Mississippi State University

  • Mississippi State, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $514-$537

Out-of-State | $514-$537

Credits to Graduate: 60

MSU's master's in counselor education degree with a focus on rehabilitation counseling, preparing students to become licensed professional counselors in Mississippi. Lessons establish a foundation in counseling theory, development counseling, and counseling assessment techniques. Besides counseling core coursework, students undertake a practicum and internships. Fieldwork offers the chance to provide direct support to individuals with disabilities at community organizations, hospitals, and clinics.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum of 3.0 GPA and must submit an application by July 1.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,110
Out-of-state
$24,790
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,110
Out-of-state
$24,790
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
23,086
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

Regent University

  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $695

Out-of-State | $695

Credits to Graduate: 39

Regent's master's in psychology from Regent offers a multicultural focus and six concentrations. Over two years, students can concentrate their studies on addictions, cyberpsychology, doctoral preparation, industrial organizational psychology, or leadership coaching. The core coursework covers statistics, research methods, and lifespan psychology. Each course takes eight weeks to complete. 

Students can apply with a government-issued photo ID and unofficial transcripts. Regent does not require GRE scores. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$17,220
Out-of-state
$17,220
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,590
Out-of-state
$15,590
Retention Rate
74%
Acceptance Rate
41%
Students Enrolled
10,330
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

Pepperdine University

  • Malibu, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges—Senior College and University Commission

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $1,875

Out-of-State | $1,875

Credits to Graduate: 34-48

Students can complete Pepperdine's master's in psychology program in as few as 18 months. The curriculum includes five foundation courses, nine core courses, and two electives in subjects such as multicultural counseling, trauma in diverse populations, and industrial-organizational psychology.

GRE scores are not required. Applicants can apply in the winter, spring, summer, or fall. Those who meet priority admittance requirements can apply for an application fee waiver. Eligible candidates need a bachelor's degree. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$59,450
Out-of-state
$59,450
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$37,300
Out-of-state
$37,300
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
10,446
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#10 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs for 2024

Palo Alto University

  • Palo Alto, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges—Senior College and University Commission

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $984

Out-of-State | $984

Credits to Graduate: 37.5 - 47

PAU's master's in psychology is a flexible online program designed for working students seeking to earn their degree part-time. Students can complete the program in 6-7 quarters, depending on the concentration. All courses are delivered in the evening. Learners can pursue a generalist track or concentrations in tech and mental health or forensic psychology. The program also has a Ph.D. prep concentration, which prepares master's students to transition directly into the clinical psychology Ph.D. program. 

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and must live in a state authorized to provide online schooling. The school recommends at least a 3.3 GPA and does not require applicants to submit GRE scores.  

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$17,627
Out-of-state
$17,627
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$30,476
Out-of-state
$30,476
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,149
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Why Should I Get a Master's in Psychology Degree?

Students with a bachelor's degree in psychology know that more education equals more job opportunities within the field. If you want to make a bigger impact and earn more money, pursuing a master's degree in psychology is a smart next move.

Even outside the mental health field, the extensive knowledge of human motivations and behaviors you develop during your master's in psychology program can make you an attractive candidate for many jobs.

Benefits of a Master's in Psychology

  • Specialize in your field of interest
  • Experience greater job satisfaction
  • Open the door to counseling careers
  • Access better employment opportunities
  • Earn a higher salary
  • Qualify for a doctorate

Reasons to Get Your Psychology Degree Online

  • More flexibility
  • Complete your coursework remotely
  • Ability to learn from anywhere
  • Great for career-changers

What Are the Different Types of Psychology Concentrations?

Many psychology master's programs offer specializations, which can give you the skills to work in a particular field of psychology, including clinical psychology, forensic psychology, and educational psychology.

For example, if you want to provide direct mental health services, you might consider pursuing a clinical psychology specialization. If you're interested in corporate or organizational behavior, you may consider enrolling in organizational psychology programs.

How Much Does a Master's in Psychology Degree Cost?

Average Annual Tuition Cost of a Master's Degree

Public Institution

$12,596

Private Institution (Nonprofit)

$29,931

Source: NCES


Total Average Cost of a Master's Degree (Two Years)

Public Institution

$59,440

Private Institution (Nonprofit)

$85,400

Source: NCES

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master's Degree in Psychology?

A full-time student can complete an online master's degree in psychology in two years. Part-time students juggling jobs or families may take 3-4 years. Most master's programs in psychology also require internships.

Required Course Credits

30-60*

*Depending on your program and specialization

Field Study Requirements*

Yes

*Depending on your program and specialization

What Jobs Can I Get With a Master's in Psychology Degree?

You can do a lot with a psychology master's. You can work in clinical roles like school counselor, marriage and family therapist, and mental health counselor. You can also become an addiction counselor.

Depending on your interests, you can apply your psychology background to leadership roles like human resources manager, organizational psychologist, or social service manager. You can also contribute to scholarly research as a research assistant.

Many psychology careers require professionals to hold at least a master's degree.

"You can pursue work in hospital systems, drug and alcohol settings (rehabs, detox, group work), mental health clinics, university counseling centers, physician offices that offer integrative care services, private practice, research, or even at insurance companies."

Danielle Tucci, B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Counseling, CAADC, LPC

Is a Master's in Psychology Degree Worth it?

It's safe to say that a master's degree in psychology pays off for most grads. The APA has found that earning a graduate degree in psychology is likely to increase rates of job satisfaction and chances of finding employment in the field.

"Having a master's degree opens up the number of positions you qualify for, especially positions involving more direct contact with clients," said Tucci, who spent most of her career as a psychotherapist.

That's not to say getting a master's in psychology is worth it for everyone – it takes a special kind of person to thrive in this field.

"As a clinical supervisor, I have found people who have difficulty with boundaries and burnout struggle in this field, because of the emotional impact client work can have. Also, Individuals who prefer a more structured and predictable work [environment] may find this field challenging," said Tucci.

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master's in Psychology Degree?

A master's in psychology qualifies you to work in many positions that offer above-average pay. The median salary for those with a master's in psychology was approximately $60,000 in 2019, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

In 2023, marriage and family therapists earned a median annual salary of $58,510, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those employed by home healthcare service providers earned the most – $122,120 annually.

The same year, school counselors earned a median annual salary of $60,140. Those employed by elementary and secondary schools earned the most – $61,710 annually. Meanwhile, the median annual wage for industrial-organizational psychologists was $147,420.

"With clinical work, the salary will vary based on the setting. Community agencies typically pay the least, as these tend to be nonprofit. Larger practices or hospital settings will typically have more attractive compensation packages."

Danielle Tucci, B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Counseling, CAADC, LPC

Median salary for degree-holders with a master's in psychology

$60,000

Source: APA

Median salary for the top 25% of earners with a master's in psychology

$81,000

Source: APA

Salary varies by industry, occupation, and location. Some of the top-paying states for psychologists include California, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, and Massachusetts.

Everything Else You Need to Know About Master's in Psychology Degrees

Do online psychology master's programs require in-person components?

Many psychology master's programs allow you to complete all your coursework online. However, you may have to fulfill in-person requirements for clinical rotations and internships, especially if you intend to apply for state licensure.

Each psychology master's program, whether in-person or online, determines what specializations it offers. Common specializations include clinical, counseling, industrial-organizational, and school psychology. Before enrolling in an online master's in psychology program, find out if the available specializations align with your career goals and personal interests.

Admission to a master's program in psychology typically requires an undergraduate degree and completion of credits in certain subjects such as statistics, research methods, biology, and introduction to psychology. You may be asked to submit test results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a personal essay, and letters of recommendation.

An online degree earned at an accredited college or university is as respected as an in-person degree. An online master's in psychology program covers the same general curriculum as a brick and mortar program. Employers generally do not distinguish between candidates who have earned their degrees online or on-campus.

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Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed on November 14, 2023.

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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