The Top Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

Employment settings for those equipped with a master’s in psychology reach far and wide. Schools, corporations, hospitals and sports teams, all call upon psychology professionals to bring their in-depth expertise to counsel, coach, analyze, research and guide their diverse clients. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we can expect this to continue and grow; the BLS projects a 12% jump in employment for psychologists between 2012-2022. As more industries incorporate the use of psychology in one facet or another of their work, highly qualified masters of psychology can expect to be in demand.

To meet this demand, psychology professionals must put themselves at the head of the pack. While nearly 109,000 bachelor of psychology degrees were earned in 2012, fewer than 27,000 master’s degrees were awarded. Earning this higher degree sets professionals apart for more advance opportunities and greater income potential. Online master’s in psychology degree programs can help launch graduates ahead as they complete their degree in an accelerated and affordable format. It also allows them to continue working, not sacrificing their established presence in the field. Alternatively, an online degree allows professionals to begin working, getting their feet wet as they continue their education.

Online programs also provide a an array of options for specialization or exploratory courses. Easy access and affordable curriculum makes enhancing one’s education with electives simple. Wherever a student’s passions lie, interests can be pursued and mastered. With so many options available, we’ve narrowed the search for you and curated our list of the best online master’s in psychology programs available now.

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison
  • in-state tuition: $10,403
  • out-of-state tuition: $26,653
500 Lincoln Dr
Madison, WI 53706-1380
(608) 262-1234

For those interested in master's in psychology programs online, UW Madison offers a Master of Science for Professional Educators degree. This unique program integrates Educational Psychology, Curriculum & Instruction and Education Leadership & Policy Analysis. Designed for teaching professionals, it can be completed in just two years. Courses are offered online through the University of Wisconsin eCampus in fall and spring. Summer courses span eight weeks, with six weeks of online coursework and two weeks work on-campus in Madison.

Curriculum emphasizes applied practice for K-12 teachers. A total of 30 credits completes the degree. Students must teach in a PK-12 environment during studies. Admission requirements include two or more years of teaching experience and undergraduate work with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Upon graduation, students receive a Master of Science in Educational Psychology diploma.

2

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Knoxville
  • in-state tuition: $11,194
  • out-of-state tuition: $29,684
527 Andy Holt Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-1000

Students pursuing an online Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology at UT Knoxville can choose from two concentrations.

  • Adult Education – This track focuses on skills for professionals who work with adults. Curriculum includes adult learning and development, reflective practice and professional issues in adult education. Emphasis is placed on leadership and service.
  • Applied Educational Psychology – This concentration emphasizes methods of educational psychology for teaching and creating effective classroom environments. Curriculum includes assessment, human development and psychoeducational intervention.

To complete the program, students take 24 hours of core courses and 12 hours in their chosen concentration. The total 36 credits can be completed in two years. All courses are online, delivered synchronously (at a designated time) through a Blackboard learning platform. No thesis is required, but students do take a comprehensive exam.

3

University of Georgia

Athens
  • in-state tuition: $10,262
  • out-of-state tuition: $28,472
Administration Building
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 542-3000

The University of Georgia offers two online master’s of educational psychology degrees. Coursework for both degrees is delivered online through a Brightspace learning management system.

  • Educational Psychology, Gifted and Creative Education – This degree focuses on instruction, research and service. Completion requires a minimum of 37 credits and a comprehensive exam. The first two semesters will cover 13 credits of core coursework. Once completed, students work with advisors to choose appropriate coursework from electives available covering diversity, creativity, social and emotional, and research topics.
  • Educational Psychology, Applied Cognition and Development – Curriculum for this degree emphasizes cognitive, motivational and developmental processes in education. Distance learners are entered in a cohort of 10 students for their studies. 34 credits are required for degree completion. These consist of core coursework as well as nine credits in a secondary focus area. This focus can be in:
    • Learning with Technology
    • Learning Across the Lifespan
    • Qualitative Approaches to Education
    • Development of High Intellectual Capability
4

Temple University

Philadelphia
  • in-state tuition: $14,096
  • out-of-state tuition: $24,122
1801 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6096
(215) 204-7000

Students looking for accredited master's in psychology programs online at Temple University have two options.

The M.Ed. program in counseling psychology requires 60 credit hours for completion. Students can earn their degree in two years full-time or three years part-time. Curriculum is focused in an area of concentration chosen by the student after acceptance into the program. Emphasis is placed on multicultural competence and cultural awareness, clinical training and field experience. In addition to coursework, graduation is dependent on successful completion of supervised field experience and a comprehensive exam.

The M.Ed. program in educational psychology requires 30 credits for completion. Students must also create and submit a portfolio. Coursework emphasizes human development, applied data analysis and learning and conceptual processes. Curriculum focuses on learning, cognition, research, the integration of theory and practice, and an interdisciplinary approach.

All online coursework for both programs is accessed through a Blackboard course management system.

5

University of North Texas

Denton
  • in-state tuition: $8,745
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,241
1501 W.Chestnut Ave.
Denton, TX 76203-1277
(940) 565-2000

The University of North Texas offers an online Master of Science in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Gifted and Talented Students. A total of 36 credits are required for degree completion. These consist of 33 hours and a capstone course. Students can take advantage of the “Executive Summer-to-Summer" program, which allows online learners to start coursework in the summer and finish by the end of the next summer. The schedule includes rotations of three-week, five-week and eight-week courses. No internship or practicum is required.

Curriculum covers human development, an understanding of giftedness and related applications for the classroom. Coursework includes classes such as learning theories, educational statistics and social and emotional components of giftedness. Students access courses through a Blackboard learning management system.

6

University of Northern Colorado

Greeley
  • in-state tuition: $6,968
  • out-of-state tuition: $18,507
Carter Hall - Rm 4000
Greeley, CO 80639
(970) 351-1890

The University of Northern Colorado offers a hybrid master’s degree in educational psychology. Some courses are available online and others on-campus. Completion of the program requires 30 credits, consisting of nine hours in theoretical foundations, nine hours in research methods, nine hours in professional foundations and six hours of electives. Elective options include coursework in special education, educational leadership, educational technology, psychology, statistics and research methods, and education. Student must also pass a comprehensive exam.

Curriculum covers cognition and the brain, the psychology of teaching, the social psychology of learning, and human learning and motivation. Coursework for the online psychology master's program can be completed in one year or at a flexible part-time rate. All online classes are delivered through a Blackboard platform.

7

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale
  • annually: $25,430
3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

NSU offers two online psychology master's programs. All courses are delivered through a Blackboard platform. NSU's curriculum emphasizes the integration of psychology and legal issues. Graduates are prepared to enter forensic settings and apply forensic psychology in areas such as court cases, prisons, treatment facilities and national security offices.

M.S. in Forensic Psychology – This is a 36-credit program consisting of 24 credits of core classes and nine credits in one of two specialization tracks:

  • Forensic Psychology in the Legal System
  • Forensic Psychology for Mental Health Workers, First Responders and Disaster Teams

Students also complete a three-credit capstone project, for which they can choose field experience or a thesis.

M.S. in General Psychology – This program requires 30 credits for completion, consisting of 21 credits of foundational courses and nine credits from a chosen specialty track:

  • General Psychology
  • Applied Health Science
  • Diversity Studies

Students choosing the general track may opt to write a thesis for six of their credits.

8

Medaille College

Buffalo
  • annually: $23,812
18 Agassiz Circle
Buffalo, NY 14214-2695
(716) 880-2000

Medaille's psychology program helps students build valuable interpersonal and leadership skills. The school emphasizes the importance of small class sizes, ensuring that students are able to get one-on-one time with experienced instructors who prioritize your academic success. Key classes include:

  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Biological Basis of Behavior
  • Research Methods
  • Cognitive Psychology

Online psychology master's students must also take an internship or complete a master's thesis to graduate.

Students take classes full time, completing one module every two months. The entire degree can be finished in two years, though the school offers an accelerated completion schedule on a case-by-case basis. All online courses are offered asynchronously. The degree is comprised of 12 classes.

9

Sacred Heart University

Fairfield
  • annually: $35,820
5151 Park Ave
Fairfield, CT 06825-1000
(203) 371-7999

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Psychology at Sacred Heart University can choose from three available concentrations:

  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Community Psychology
  • General Applied Psychology

Students complete six foundational courses, four concentration courses and two capstone courses, for a total of 38 credit hours. The program is research-based therefore requires no clinical hours. For the capstone courses, students choose a role immersion experience, an exam/essay or a thesis.

Admission to the program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0. An undergraduate degree in psychology is not required. Online learners can complete their master's in psychology online degree in two years taking one class at a time. These are accessed through a Blackboard platform.

10

Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti
  • in-state tuition: $9,364
  • out-of-state tuition: $24,909
202 Welch Hall
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
(734) 487-1849

Eastern Michigan University offers students the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology online. Classes are delivered through a Canvas learning platform. Two concentrations are offered.

  • Developing Learner – Focuses on cognitive, social and emotional understanding of individual learners
  • Research and Assessment – Teaches educational research and assessment methods. This concentration requires both online and on-campus courses.

Degree completion requires core coursework, 13 hours in the chosen concentration and six hours of culminating experiences. The culminating experience consists of three hours of seminar and the other three as a thesis or other culminating project. Curriculum emphasizes cognitive, affective, physical and social development, application of research to program development, research project design and enrichment through diversity.

11

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks
  • in-state tuition: $7,508
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,794
264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8193
(800) 225-5863

For students interested in the criminal side of psychology, UND offers an online master’s degree in forensic psychology. Graduates from this program are prepared to apply psychology to legal systems. Skills developed include how to testify as an expert witness, assist in courts and state agencies, select and utilize appropriate forensic assessment tools and assist lawyers in jury selection. Curriculum emphasizes psychological concepts and theories, statistical evaluations, communication skills and an understanding of the legal system.

Completion of the program requires 35 credits, consisting of recorded lectures and one on-campus visit. This residency requirement is a two-week on-campus capstone experience. All other coursework is accessed online through a Blackboard portal. The program typically requires over two years to complete. For admission, students must have a bachelor’s degree in a behavioral science related field with a minimum 3.2 GPA.

12

The University of Texas at Tyler

Tyler
  • in-state tuition: $7,222
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,842
3900 University Blvd
Tyler, TX 75799-6699
(903) 566-7000

The University of Texas at Tyler’s online Master of Arts in School Counseling can be completed in just 18 months. The degree requires 36 credits, with all coursework offered online through a Blackboard learning management system. Course requirements cover diverse topics such as family therapy, career counseling, research methods, human growth and development and tests and measurements. This is a cohort program with start dates each summer. Fall and spring start dates are not available.

The master's in psychology online program emphasizes the development of counseling skills, a theoretical counseling perspective and the use of research in practice. Graduates are prepared to take on active counseling roles in academic settings, use methods of planning, development and evaluation to create and implement counseling programs and assist students in attaining academic excellence.

13

University of Houston - Victoria

Victoria
  • in-state tuition: $6,248
  • out-of-state tuition: $16,868
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, TX 77901
(877) 970-4848

Students interested in master's in psychology programs online can earn theirs through the University of Houston – Victoria. The program trains graduates to become school psychology practitioners, or Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSP.) The degree earned is a Specialist degree in School Psychology (SSP). Program completion requires 69 credits. Because master's in psychology online students earn more than the typical 30-50 hours for a master’s degree, the title of SSP is granted to signify a degree more advance than a master’s but not at the doctorate level.

In addition to core coursework, students complete a yearlong practicum and a yearlong internship. The practicum experience involves 150 field hours per semester. The internship is full-time employment, typically paid, at a school district chosen by the student. 70% of other coursework is offered online via Blackboard. The remaining 30% of classes are delivered in-person or a combination of online and in-person format.

14

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa
  • in-state tuition: $9,450
  • out-of-state tuition: $23,950
739 University Blvd
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0166
(205) 348-6010

The online MA in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Learning and Assessment program is offered to both educators and non-educators. Students are trained in cognition and learning with an emphasis on educational research and program evaluation. Completion of the degree requires 30 credits, consisting of nine core courses and a three-credit non-thesis research class. No comprehensive exam is required. Instead, students complete a capstone project.

Core coursework covers topics including advanced educational psychology, education research, self-regulation and evaluation of classroom learning. All courses are offered online via ACCESS distance learning. For admission to the program, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate studies.

15

Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud
  • in-state tuition: $7,514
  • out-of-state tuition: $15,156
720 Fourth Ave. South
Saint Cloud, MN 56301-4498
(320) 308-0121

Saint Cloud State University offers distance learners the opportunity to earn an M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis 100% online. Coursework is completed through a D2L Brightspace course management system. Curriculum covers advanced training in developmental disabilities, community integration strategies, autism disorders, program evaluation and staff training and development.

Students earn their degree through the completion of 45-46 credits. This is accomplished on one of two tracks. The thesis option requires 45 credits consisting of 24 credits in core coursework, three credits in electives, a nine-credit internship and nine credits in research. The comprehensive exam option requires 46 credits consisting of 24 core coursework credits, six elective credits, a nine-credit internship, four credits of comprehensive exam preparation and three credits of research.

16

Marist College

Poughkeepsie
  • annually: $31,290
3399 North Rd
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 575-3000

Those pursuing a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology at Marist College can choose one of two tracks based on the student’s area of certification.

  • Professional Certification in Childhood Education (grades 1-6)
  • Professional Certification in Adolescent Education (grades 7-12) – This track also meets requirements for professional certification in Middle School Extension (grades 5-6)

Completion of either track requires 36 credit hours. These consist of 15 core credits centered around five cores of education: the art and science of teaching, the learner, literacy, foundations, context and purpose and research and inquiry.

Coursework is delivered in a hybrid cohort-based model. Students begin classes in the summer with a two week session on-campus and complete these courses online. All fall and spring courses are delivered online. Coursework is accessed through the school’s iLearn portal.

17

Pennsylvania State University - World Campus

University Park
  • in-state tuition: $16,992
  • out-of-state tuition: $29,566
128 Outreach Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-5403

Those seeking to increase their leadership knowledge and skills can complete Penn State’s Master of Professional Studies in the Psychology of Leadership at Work program. Studies examine the role of leadership and the relationship between leaders and followers. Coursework emphasizes leadership techniques and how they interact with motivation and performance of teams and employees.

The degree requires 33 credit hours of study. These consist of nine credits of core courses, 15 credits of supportive courses, six credits of electives and a three-credit capstone experience. Elective options include diversity leadership, dysfunctional leadership, group leadership and positive organizational behavior. All courses are offered online through a Blackboard platform.

18

National University

La Jolla
  • annually: $12,096
11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
(800) 628-8648

Graduates of National University’s Master of Arts in Performance Psychology program are prepared to launch careers in fine arts performance settings, university and professional athlete settings, corporate settings and children and community sport settings. Degree coursework covers research, theory and applications for a variety of fields including exercise physiology, sport psychology and military psychology. Classes include stages of adult development, behavioral research and psychopathology.

Students complete 14 courses for a total of 63 quarter units to earn their degree. Up to 13.5 quarter units may be transferred from another institution. Studies are completed online through a Blackboard learning management system.

19

Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos
  • annually: $15,640
10601 Calle Lee #179
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
(818) 874-4115

With the completion of 12 courses, online learners can earn a Master of Arts in Psychology from Touro University. Coursework consists of nine core classes and three elective courses. Electives are chosen to create a concentration in either Media Psychology or Educational Psychology. Core curriculum coverage includes research methods, cognitive psychology, personality, learning theory, ethics and social psychology. Emphasis is placed on communication, collaboration and alternative perspectives. This degree does not lead to licensure.

All courses are accessed online via a Blackboard learning management system. For admission, students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in undergraduate work.

20

University of Idaho

Moscow
  • in-state tuition: $6,524
  • out-of-state tuition: $19,600
875 Perimeter Drive
Moscow, ID 83844-2282
(888) 884-3246

The University of Idaho offers the unique M.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Human Factors. This degree allows students to explore the baring of psychology upon the workplace, human interactions, mental health, development, addictions, and consumer behavior. Coursework examines how people interact with their environment, including technology, equipment and products. Curriculum provides opportunities to develop writing skills and conduct research.

Classes are tailored to meet students’ specific career goals for human services, business or other areas. Graduates are equipped for careers as social worker, sales associate, human resource manager, counselor’s assistant and more. Students can complete their coursework online via a Blackboard learning management system.

21

Mercy College

Dobbs Ferry
  • annually: $17,576
555 Broadway
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
(800) 637-2969

Mercy's psychology program offers students an opportunity to conduct research or pursue clinical experience. Coursework prepares students with the requisite theory, history, ethics, methodology and clinical practice skills needed to secure a career in the field. Core classes include:

  • Contemporary Theories in Psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Professional Issues and Ethics
  • A two-part series in Statistics and Research Methodology

Distance learners must also complete a written comprehensive paper or a master's thesis to graduate.

Applicants to the program must have a bachelor's in psychology, or a related social science field. They must have completed a statistics course as an undergraduate, and should have taken at least 12 credits in psychology, earning a 3.0 or higher in each class. At Mercy, students must complete 36 total credits with a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

22

California Baptist University

Riverside
  • annually: $28,122
8432 Magnolia Ave
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
(951) 689-5771

Cal Baptist's counseling psychology program prepares students for careers in marriage and family therapy or professional clinical counseling. Taught from a Christian perspective, the program helps students develop a detailed understanding of psychological theory, and the critical thinking skills to help patients overcome a range of personal problems. Students must take 62 credits to graduate, including a mandatory personal or group psychotherapy assignment.

The school offers a flexible curriculum that allows students to take courses synchronously or asynchronously. In the synchronous format, students can use web communication tools to interact with professors and peers during class; in both formats, distance learners will be able to collaborate over email and discussion forums. Tests can be taken on campus or remotely under a proctor's supervision.

23

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Edinboro
  • in-state tuition: $8,849
  • out-of-state tuition: $12,701
219 Meadville Street
Edinboro, PA 16444-0001
(814) 732-2000

Edinboro's program provides students with a robust curriculum in both education and psychology. Courses train future teachers to understand how to respond to student growth and achievement, and how to motivate and teach students of all ages. The curriculum also teaches distance learners how to monitor student progress in classes and how to successfully integrate age-appropriate material in an optimal developmental environment.

The program can be completed in two years of part-time study. There are no in-person requirements, and all courses are taught by psychologists with experience in the field. To graduate, students need to finish with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better and pass a comprehensive final exam. The final covers material from five of the courses students take in the program; distance learners must answer at least 70% of questions correctly to pass.

24

LeTourneau University

Longview
  • annually: $25,740
2100 S Mobberly Ave
Longview, TX 75607-7001
(903) 233-3000

LeTourneau's psychology program provides students with a detailed understanding of psychological theory and practice grounded in a Christian framework. Distance learners develop their research and critical thinking skills in this 35-credit program, taking classes that emphasize a variety of counseling and psychological competencies. Key courses include:

  • Ethical, Legal & Professional Standards in Counseling Practice
  • Group Counseling Methods
  • Family Assessment
  • Counseling Skills and Techniques

Students at LeTourneau have the flexibility to get the most out of their degree. Distance learners can pursue licensure as a professional counselor by applying their credits to the school's counseling program. They can also take up to 14 hours of graduate level business, leadership, religion or education electives to develop a well-rounded skillset.

25

Austin Peay State University

Clarksville
  • in-state tuition: $6,876
  • out-of-state tuition: $21,372
601 College St
Clarksville, TN 37044
(931) 221-7011

Austin Peay's industrial-organizational program teaches students to apply psychological theories and research methods to workplace settings. The school's renowned faculty trains students to understand work from a psychological perspective, preparing them to contribute to organizational success by improving employee performance and satisfaction. Courses also help students develop practical critical thinking, creativity and research skills.

The industrial-organizational degree is available entirely online. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree with a 2.50 cumulative GPA or better. The application process is competitive, and prospective students are encouraged to apply early: the average GPA of matriculating students is roughly 3.0, and priority is given to students who apply in advance of March 1st. Students must complete 34 credits (12 classes) to graduate.

Career Outlook

Whether you plan to pursue further education and earn your doctorate, or launch into the field of psychology, many prospects await those holding an online master’s in psychology. Careers in health services, education, criminal justice, communications, media, counseling, and more are available to graduates with a master’s in psychology. Your studies have prepared you to make an impact on human behavior from individual to organizational levels, in whatever field you choose. As the industry continues to grow and encompass more areas, psychology professionals are seeing greater opportunities for job placement and career advancement.

Salaries and Growth for Psychology Careers

Career Median Annual Salary Growth Rate by 2022
Psychologist $69,280 12%
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist $83,580 53%
School Psychologist $67,650 11%
Marriage and Family Therapist $46,670 31%
Mental Health Counselor $40,080 29%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics – OES

Keys to Success in the Field

  1. Be quick to collaborate. Psychology is a degree based on human behavior. Students are studying the interaction and analysis of human activity. This makes including human interaction in your studies extremely important. Don’t miss opportunities most programs offer to participate in live chats, group projects, discussion boards, and field experiences.
  2. Keep career goals in mind. Do you plan to continue on to doctoral studies? Get licensed? Do research? Choose your online program carefully. Some offer thesis options that will help prepare you for doctorate work. Note that some programs do not lead to licensures, while others will get you on this career path. If you plan to make research a big part of your career, choose an institution known for strong research in psychology. Knowing where you are headed will help you select the best school for your goals.
  3. License at your level. Licensure for private practice requires a Ph.D. However, many licensure are available at the master’s of psychology level. Examples include marriage and family therapist, licensed professional counselor and licensed psychological associate. If you are interested in an area that offers licensure, it will increase your employability to obtain this license. Requirements often vary by state, so check with your local boards for next steps.
  4. Get your doctorate. If your goal is private practice, professorship, research, or other advanced career options, continue your studies to complete a Ph.D. in psychology. Education at this level will provide the best income prospects and advancement opportunities.

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