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||Golden Gate University - San Francisco||San Francisco||$$$$$||536 Mission Street|
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
Established in 1901, GGU serves as California's fourth oldest private university. With a main campus in San Francisco, California and locations in Seattle, Silicon Valley, and online, GGU provides undergraduate and graduate programs that advance the careers of working professionals.
The 42-credit online master of arts in industrial-organizational psychology develops problem-solving and analytical skills relevant to the global marketplace. Students explore the fundamentals of organizational behavior, diversity within business organizations, and human resource technology while examining individual and group dynamics.
Core classes include international human resource management; organizational development, assessment, and intervention; tests and measurements; and consulting skills. Learners also complete elective classes in subjects like ethics in managing people at work, conflict resolution, and workforce trends. An optional internship in applied psychology allows students to work closely with an experienced practitioner. Graduates pursue careers as executive coaches, management consultants, or human resource specialists.
|2||Harvard University||Cambridge||$$$$$||Massachusetts Hall|
Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard was established in 1638 and is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard provides undergraduate, graduate, professional, and extension programs to more than 36,000 learners.
Offered through Harvard's Extension School, the hybrid master of liberal arts in psychology program prepares graduates with a blend of core theoretical, practical, and research competencies. Students complete 12 courses, and at least three must be taken on campus. Learners begin the program with three required classes, then select five psychology courses and one seminar that align with their interests and goals. The program also includes coursework in statistical methods and elective options.
Students in Harvard's master's in psychology can choose from two tracks. The thesis track allows students to work one-on-one with thesis director and conduct research on an experiential or academic topic. The capstone track emphasizes work within the community, as students apply their theoretical knowledge to hands-on learning exercises.
|3||Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale||$$$$$||3301 College Ave|
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
Established in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1964, NSU now hosts learners at regional campuses throughout Florida and online. NSU provides more than 150 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, including a master of science in general psychology.
The 30-credit online master's in general psychology blends theory and research throughout coursework. This degree does not meet educational requirements for certification or licensure in Florida, rather students complete prerequisite to enter other psychology programs.
NSU's online master's in psychology includes 12 credits of foundational courses in cognitive psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and human growth and development. Learners also complete methodology coursework in individual evaluation and assessment, research design, and quantitative methods. Learners choose from concentration coursework in areas such as general psychology, applied health science, and diversity studies.
NSU's curriculum also allows learners to complete a thesis. The thesis option gives students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on an original research question while conducting in-depth research and analysis. All learners complete comprehensive examinations at the end of their program.
|4||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles||Los Angeles||$$$$$||617 W 7th St|
Los Angeles, CA 90017
With locations across the United States and extensive online offerings, the Chicago School provides more than 20 degrees in psychology and the behavioral sciences. The Chicago School's practitioner model of learning emphasizes service and real-world training by placing students into underserved communities where they hone their own skills and make a positive contribution.
The Chicago School offers an online master's degree in psychology with concentrations in forensic psychology, public health, general studies, and social and community psychology. Additional specializations in organizational leadership, child and adolescent behavior, and international psychology allow students pursue their individual interests and goals throughout their coursework.
The online master's in psychology program includes 21 credits of foundational courses and nine credits of concentration coursework. Students also complete six credits of applied research. Graduates are prepared for leadership positions within social service, educational, and managerial settings through coursework such as community and environmental psychology, personality theories, and psychology of the lifespan. Students also benefit from cross-cultural immersion practices and personal introspection exercises.
|5||Lamar University||Beaumont||$$$$$||4400 MLK Blvd|
Beaumont, TX 77705
From its main campus in Beaumont, Texas, Lamar University offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Founded in 1923, LU once served as part of the Lamar University System but joined the Texas State University System in 1995.
LU's online master of education in clinical mental health prepares graduates to provide clinical counseling to clients and patients in a variety of settings. The 60 credit curriculum includes a residency and practicum or internship to develop students' counseling strategies and techniques.
Required classes include foundations of clinical mental health counseling, developmental guidance and counseling, abnormal human behavior, and research and program evaluation. Two residencies are required throughout the curriculum, which allows students to meet with instructors and classmates face-to-face during advising sessions, group projects, and professional development activities. Students also complete an internship or practicum; the former includes 120 clock hours of direct service and 180 indirect hours of service, while the latter incorporates 40 clock hours and 60 hours of direct and indirect service.
|6||Touro University Worldwide||Los Alamitos||$$$$$||10601 Calle Lee #179|
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
As a member of the Touro College and University System, TUW is committed to the social justice, intellectual pursuits, and philanthropic duty of its Judaic foundations. TUW provides over 20 online undergraduate and graduate programs including a master of arts in psychology.
TUW's online master's in psychology emphasizes research methods, cognitive and social psychology, and learning theory and ethical practice. Students complete nine required courses and three classes in one of three concentration areas. The media psychology concentration focuses on 21st century psychological theories while the educational psychology specialization prepares learners to work in a variety of instructional settings. The health psychology concentration explores theories and practices of building healthy minds and bodies.
TUW's online master's in psychology does not lead to licensure but prepares learners to pursue continued study or a career in fields including criminal justice, communications, and business. The curriculum trains learners to understand, research, and assess consumer behaviors and motivations.
|7||University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||$$$$$||3440 Market Street, Suite 100|
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs to almost 26,000 learners. The school's main campus in west Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, hosts 16 academic schools and colleges alongside 165 research centers and institutes.
Penn offers a hybrid master of applied positive psychology that encourages human and organizational success. As the first degree of this kind in the world, the master's in positive psychology emphasizes the teachings of Dr. Martin Seligman, innovator in the field, and continued research, theories, and strategies of positive psychology.
Penn's master of positive psychology includes nine courses offered in a cohort model. Students learning about the science and theories of positive psychology, then apply their learning to professional settings and intervention scenarios. During a summer capstone project, learners integrate degree content into a professional or research activity that aligns with their interests and goals.
Throughout the program, students complete 10 on-site visits, including an immersion week at the beginning of the degree. All on-campus requirements take place during the fall and spring semesters.
|8||Ball State University||Muncie||$$$$$||2000 University Ave|
Muncie, IN 47306
Established in 1918 in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State provides academic programs to roughly 21,000 learners through seven academic colleges. Named for its benefactors, the Ball brothers, Ball State offers two online master's degrees in psychology.
The 30-credit online master of arts in educational psychology can be completed in as little as 18 months. The 18-credit core includes classes in human learning and achievement motivation, and the psychology of human development. Coursework prepares students to explore concentration and specialization areas; for example, the remaining 12 credits can be completed in subfields such as gifted and talented populations, human development, neuropsychology, and applied behavior analysis.
The online master of science in quantitative psychology features 21 credits of core coursework and six credits from one or two concentration areas, such as quantitative statistical analysis or mixed methods. Learners also complete a thesis.
|9||University of Southern California||Los Angeles||$$$$$||University Park|
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Since opening its doors to 53 students in 1880, USC has grown to provide academic programs to more than 44,000 learners. Academic programs are offered through the university's more than 20 colleges, schools, and units, including an online master of science in applied psychology degree.
This 34-credit online master's in applied psychology can be completed in as little as 16 months, and features core coursework in human behavior, consumer psychology, organizational psychology, and research methods. The program also allows learners to pursue concentrations in consumer psychology or organizational psychology, with each culminating in a practicum. The consumer psychology specialization emphasizes marketing and the psychology of interactive media, while the organizational psychology concentration explores group dynamics and leadership, as well as strategic business relationships.
By blending business and psychology, USC's online master's in applied psychology prepares graduates for careers in employee relations, market research, career counseling, and social media communications. Practicing business and psychological professionals can also benefit from this program, which can lead to advancement within their current field.
|10||University of West Alabama||Livingston||$$$$$||Station One|
Livingston, AL 35470
Chartered in 1835, UWA underwent numerous changes before transitioning to an educational institution during the 1880s. UWA currently offers more than 50 online programs including a master of science in adult continuing education with an emphasis in counseling and psychology.
UWA's online master's in adult continuing education program requires 33 credits that students can complete in 12-24 months. The degree provides a broad understanding of the field and is ideal for students who do not seek professional licensure. UWA's program also provides a broader perspective on psychology to current counselors looking to enhance their own knowledge.
Students complete 12 credits of professional courses in techniques of counseling and educational research, educational statistics, and theories of personality. Basic concentration elective classes include courses in career development and counseling, social psychology, and systems theory. Applied concentration coursework explores topics such as the psychology of emotion, personality assessment, and psychopharmacology. Students can also complete an internship in counseling psychology.
|11||Medaille College||Buffalo||$$$$$||18 Agassiz Circle|
Buffalo, NY 14214-2695
Based in Buffalo, New York, Medaille also serves learners at locations in Rochester and online. Founded in 1875, Medaille received a charter from New York in 1937 and began offering online programs geared to working professionals in 2010.
Students can complete Medaille's 36-credit online master's in psychology in as few as 12 months. The curriculum grounds learners in psychological principles and practices that can directly apply to careers in business, education, health and recreation, and human services. Medaille also offers a specialization in sports psychology to build leadership skills for careers in sports management, sports psychology, and coaching. The sports psychology concentration emphasizes sports counseling and intervention, psychological factors in rehabilitation, and coaching and performance.
To apply to the online master's in psychology, learners submit a resume and an essay detailing personal and professional goals with a self-appraisal of qualifications for the profession. Applicants must also submit two professional references.
|12||National University||La Jolla||$$$$$||11255 North Torrey Pines Road|
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
Founded in 1971, NU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs from its San Diego, California campus and online. NU serves as the flagship institution within the National University System.
NU's online master of arts in performance psychology explores theories, research, and techniques for enhancing human performance in sports, the fine arts, business, and education. Students learn to assess psychological factors that influence performance, to collect and analyze data related to performance, and to build counseling relationships with clients and athletes. The program prepares graduates to seek certification through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology.
The 68-credit online master's in performance psychology includes core coursework in sport performance psychology, organizational behavior, performance consulting skills, and motor behavior. Students also take classes in performance psychology in alternative populations, counseling in performance psychology, and performance consulting skills. The program culminates with participation in fieldwork alongside a psychology practitioner.
|13||Pepperdine University||Malibu||$$$$$||24255 Pacific Coast Hwy|
Malibu, CA 90263
Established under the auspices of George Pepperdine in 1937, Pepperdine incorporates Christian values and academic excellence throughout its undergraduate and graduate programs. Pepperdine offers more than 70 educational programs across five schools, including an online master of arts in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy.
The 62- to 68-credit online master's in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy prepares graduates to work with individuals, couples, and families in a clinical setting. Core coursework builds interpersonal and analytical skills through classes such as multicultural counseling, sexuality and intimacy, and treatment of substance abuse.
The online master's in clinical psychology curriculum culminates with a 700-hour practicum. The experience requires learners to complete case notes, apply advocacy practices, and participate in intervention exercises. The clinical hours meet the national licensure requirements for licensed professional clinical counselors and marriage and family therapists, although individual state requirements may vary.
|14||National Louis University||Chicago||$$$$$||122 S Michigan Ave|
Chicago, IL 60603
Based in Chicago, Illinois, NLU traces its roots to 1886. From seven locations in Illinois and Florida, NLU offers nearly 80 undergraduate and graduate programs, including 17 online degrees.
Students can complete NLU's 36-credit online master of arts in psychology in as few as 20 months. The curriculum blends required courses in social psychology and personality theory with core classes in abnormal psychology, research design, and psychological statistics and analysis. Students choose a concentration in general psychology, community psychology, and teaching of psychology — completing their degree with a comprehensive capstone course or thesis.
The general psychology specialization emphasizes career development in psychology, organizational leadership, and biological bases of behavior. The community psychology concentration focuses on community organizing, urban politics, and principles of community leadership while the teaching of psychology specialization includes classes in instructional design and teaching and learning with technology based practices.
|15||University of Houston - Victoria||Victoria||$$$$$||3007 N. Ben Wilson|
Victoria, TX 77901
UHV offers more 70 undergraduate and graduate programs from its main campus in Victoria, Texas, an extension center in Katy, and online. Founded in 1973, UHV boasts small class sizes and more than 4,000 learners.
UHV's online master of arts in counseling psychology prepares graduates to become licensed professional counselors in Texas. The 60 credit curriculum includes 21 credits of core courses in theories and issues of psychotherapy, advanced social psychology, and advanced research methods.
Specialization classes in topics including personality assessment, vocational psychology and career counseling, and crisis intervention allow students to explore topics that align with their interests and goals. The program also includes a counseling psychology practicum.
The 64-credit online master of arts in forensic psychology includes core, concentration, and practicum coursework. Learners can also take specialized classes in assessment for forensic psychology, addiction counseling, or ethics and practice of psychology. UHV offers an additional 63-credit online specialist in school psychology program for learners who seek licensure as a school psychology specialist.
|16||California Baptist University||Riverside||$$$$$||8432 Magnolia Ave|
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
Founded by the California Southern Baptist Convention in 1950, CBU offers more than 10,000 learners undergraduate and graduate programs with Christ-centered values. CBU, based in Riverside, California, provides over 30 master's degrees, including a master of science in counseling psychology.
Students can complete the 62-credit online master's degree in counseling psychology in as few as 24 months. Graduates prepare for careers as marriage and family therapists or as professional clinical counselors.
Coursework in marriage and family counseling theory, techniques, and practices accompany foundational classes in professional ethics, human growth and development, and diversity issues in counseling. Learners also complete classes in human sexuality, psychopathology, and research methods, exploring Christian perspectives on professional counseling.
CBU's online master's in counseling psychology also includes classes on addictions counseling, aging and mental health, domestic violence, and child abuse and neglect. The program offers a holistic curriculum on psychology across the lifespan in numerous clinical contexts.
|17||Arizona State University - Skysong||Scottsdale||$$$$$||1475 N Scottsdale Road - Ste 200|
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
Established almost three decades before Arizona achieved statehood, ASU opened its doors in 1886. ASU now offers undergraduate and graduate programs through more than 15 colleges and schools at campuses in Phoenix, Arizona, and locations in Scottsdale, Havasu, and online.
ASU's online master of science in psychology builds a working understanding of theory, research, and practice in the field. Students complete the 36 credit program in as few as 18 months. Required core classes in professional issues in psychology, quantitative analysis, and research methods accompany a culminating capstone course in general psychology. Learners can choose 24 credits of electives in areas such as legal psychology, health psychology, and behavior analysis to align with their personal and professional goals.
The online master's in psychology at ASU provides students with a foundation to pursue careers in education, social service, and management, or to continue to further graduate study. Applicants submit a statement of purpose, GRE scores, and two letters of recommendation for consideration.
|18||Tiffin University||Tiffin||$$$$$||155 Miami Street|
Tiffin, OH 44883
Located in Tiffin, Ohio, TU offers more than 75 undergraduate and graduate programs on campus and online. Established in 1888, TU boasts an 18-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
Students can complete the 37-credit online master of science in psychology in 18 months, while part-time learners can earn their master's in psychology online in 36 months. TU's curriculum emphasizes statistical procedures, research design and analysis, and professional issues in psychology. Students also explore the history and systems of psychology, theories of personality, and neuropsychology alongside subsets of the field such as social and cognitive psychology. The program concludes with a capstone research project.
TU's online master's in psychology focuses on scientific and experimental psychology rather than counseling and clinical aspects of the discipline. While it does not lead to licensure, the program prepares learners for continued graduate study and builds their understanding of the biological, social, and cognitive processes of human behavior applicable to business, education, and criminal justice careers.
|19||Saint Leo University||Saint Leo||$$$$$||33701 State Road 52|
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
As one of the oldest Catholic institution of higher learning in Florida, Saint Leo offers undergraduate and graduate programs from its main campus in Saint Leo, more than 35 regional centers, and online. Saint Leo incorporates the Benedictine tradition into its educational programs, emphasizing faith and spirituality alongside academic excellence.
The online master's in psychology at Saint Leo is offered as a cohort model. Students complete the 36-credit program with classes in the history and systems of psychology, diversity and ethics, and research methods while building advance knowledge of social psychology, learning and cognition, and lifespan development.
The program includes a capstone thesis during which learners apply degree content to a topic of interest. Learners demonstrate knowledge of psychology, research design and analysis, and ethical decision-making through an in-depth research project.
Saint Leo's online master's degree in psychology does not lead to licensure and contains no practicum, internship, or counseling experiences. The program prepares learners for careers as researchers; evaluators; and consultants in business, education, and related fields.
|20||Carlos Albizu University - Miami||Miami||$$$$$||2173 N.W. 99th Avenue|
Miami, FL 33172-2209
Founded by Carlos Albizu-Miranda, Albizu University sits on two campuses in San Juan Puerto Rico, and Miami, Florida. With undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, education, criminal justice, language, and human services, the school provides programs that meet the needs of professionals serving multicultural individuals and communities.
The school's online master of science in industrial and organizational psychology requires 48 credits. Students complete 42 credit hours of coursework alongside six credit hours of applied research and capstone project requirements. The curriculum trains students in theories, research, and practices of cultural competence that can apply to public and private industry settings, educational institutions, and government agencies.
Foundational courses include small group theory and process, attitude theory, and research methods. Core classes in personnel psychology, organizational psychology, and work motivation accompany practicum requirements and elective coursework. Students also complete a comprehensive examination at the end of the program.
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|
|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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.