Best Online Master’s in Psychology 2021

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Read the Specifics: FAQ | Psychology Degree | Psychology Degree Cost | Online Student Fees | Psychology Salary | Psychology Courses | Become a Psychologist | Psychology Licensure | Ranking



A master's in psychology trains graduates for careers in psychology, counseling, and mental health services. Enrolling in an online master's in psychology program makes earning a degree more convenient. Many master's in psychology online programs run asynchronously. Students can complete coursework on their schedule.

Online psychology programs connect learners with local internship or practicum experiences. Graduates can pursue diverse roles, such as social psychologist, school counselor, and mental health counselor.

Our list ranks the best online master's in psychology programs. Use this list to find the right fit for your budget and career goals.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology

true Q. What can I do with a master's degree in psychology?

Graduates may work as industrial-organizational psychologists, school counselors, or behavioral health counselors. The degree also prepares students for doctoral study in psychology.

true Q. Does a psychology degree pay well?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists earn a median annual salary of $82,180. The highest 10% earn more than $137,590.

true Q. How long does it take to get a master's degree in psychology?

Full-time students can earn the degree in two years. Many online programs offer part-time or accelerated options to fit learners' needs.

Why Get a Psychology Degree?

Many psychology careers require a graduate degree. Earning a master's in psychology online introduces learners to graduate-level psychology study. The degree can lead to careers in psychology, counseling, and research.

Online master's in psychology programs provide a flexible route to a degree. Working students benefit from the convenient learning format.

How Much Does a Psychology Degree Cost?

The cost of earning a graduate degree varies by school. Most master's programs require 30-45 credits. Online colleges may charge per-credit tuition of $400-$945 for graduate psychology classes.

Pursuing an online psychology degree can help students lower their costs. Learners can enroll in the most affordable program without relocating. Some schools also offer tuition discounts for out-of-state learners. Financial aid such as scholarships and grants can help students pay for their degree.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners should budget for extra expenses beyond tuition. Students may need to buy books and supplies. Some online colleges charge a technology or distance learning fee. Learners also need a reliable computer and internet access.

Online master's in psychology programs may require campus visits. Transportation, housing, and other expenses add to students' costs. Applicants can contact their prospective schools for estimates on the total cost of attendance.

How Much Do Psychology Majors Make?

A master's degree in psychology can lead to several careers. Salaries vary by career. Mental health counselors earn a median annual salary of $47,660, according to the BLS. Industrial-organizational psychologists earn $96,270. Learners can increase their earning potential by choosing a high-paying specialization or gaining experience.

Courses in Psychology

Graduate-level psychology courses strengthen observational, research, and analytical skills. Students take courses in psychology theory, research methods, and counseling psychology. Enrollees learn how to analyze data and design research studies. These skills prepare them for psychology careers or doctoral programs.

Students earning a master's in psychology online often choose a specialization. Common options include educational psychology, school psychology, and clinical psychology. Many online programs include an internship for clinical experience.

See below for common psychology courses during a master's program.

  • Psychology Theory

    Students explore the field's theoretical models and critique the limitations of theoretical approaches. They examine cognitive theories and developmental theories. Coursework covers critical theories that shaped psychology as a discipline.
  • Social Psychology

    The course covers human behavior in group settings. Students explore the lifespan evolution of social behavior, individual reactions in social environments, and the role of culture in shaping group behavior. Learners study social psychology research methods and learn how to apply social psychology in various settings.
  • Psychology Research Methods

    The course draws on quantitative and experimental research methods. Students learn how to conduct applied research, analyze data, and draw conclusions from research. Coursework includes current research to strengthen students' analytical and interpretive skills. The course prepares students for doctoral programs or research-focused roles.

How to Become a Psychologist

Most psychologists hold a doctorate in their specialty area. Doctoral students take courses in experimental methods, psychology research, and clinical practice. They also complete an internship. Doctoral psychology programs accredited by the American Psychological Association meet the requirements for a psychology license.

Not all psychology careers require a doctorate. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists and school psychologists only need a master's degree. Therapists and counselors also need a master's.

Licensure for Psychology

Many psychologists need a state-issued license. Roles like clinical psychologist, counseling psychologist, and child psychologist require licensure.

Candidates can qualify for licensure by completing a doctorate and meeting clinical hour requirements. In many states, psychologists with a doctorate gain hands-on experience through an internship and supervised clinical experience before qualifying for a license. Candidates must pass a licensure exam. Licensed psychologists meet continuing education requirements to maintain their credential.

Other psychology careers set different licensure requirements. School psychologists need a credential from the state board of teaching. Mental health counselors and therapists complete a separate licensure process. In most states, licensed counselors need a master's degree and supervised professional experience. Like psychologists, counselors must also pass a specialized exam.

In addition to licensure, psychologists and counselors can pursue professional certifications to show their specialized knowledge.

Best Online Master's in Psychology 2021

Arizona State University Online View School Profile Scottsdale, AZ 14% 55% 97% Higher Learning Commission

The New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU in Scottsdale offers an online master of science in psychology degree. The program examines the societal role of psychologists and explores psychological theory and research. Graduates often pursue doctoral programs or careers in social services, marketing, education, or nonprofits.

Students may enroll full time or part time and complete the program in 18-72 months. Graduate timelines depend on enrollment pace and prior coursework. ASU's psychology program features various elective areas such as social psychology, health psychology, cognitive psychology, and developmental psychology. Other niche fields include legal psychology, abnormal psychology, behavior analysis, and affective science. The program also requires writing and statistics courses and a capstone project.

Applicants need a minimum 3.0 graduate GPA from another accredited institution, or a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA for the last 60 credits of a bachelor's program. Enrollees must submit official transcripts, purpose statements, and recommendation letters.

Arizona State University Online is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Saint Leo University View School Profile Saint Leo, FL 45% 55% 74% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

A private nonprofit university in Florida, Saint Leo features an online master's in psychology program for students interested in personal development and psychological science. The curriculum explores human behavior through various psychological theories and practices. Saint Leo's program emphasizes problem-solving, ethical decision-making, and sensitivity to diversity. Enrollees also gain practical skills in research, teaching, and data analysis.

This fully online, 36-credit program admits up to 15 students per cohort and features eight-week courses. Online students often take one course per term. The program includes a specialized capstone project that develops skills in ethical decision-making, writing, and research design and analysis. Graduates can pursue careers in program evaluation, research or data analysis, market and survey research, or management. To qualify for mental health careers such as working as a counselor, students need clinical experience and additional schooling.

Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Louisiana at Monroe View School Profile Monroe, LA 44% 40% 34% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

ULM in Monroe, Louisiana, offers a 36-credit online master's in psychology program with concentrations available in psychometrics and forensics. Enrollees who do not opt for a concentration must take 24 elective credits. ULM's online graduate programs follow a traditional semester schedule, plus short, intensive sessions in December, late spring, and summer.

Psychometrics students take six elective credits plus seven core courses. Core courses include psychopathology, psychological assessment, individual testing, and learning theory. Forensics students also complete six elective credits and core courses in psychopathology and individual testing. Additional core forensics courses include advanced forensic psychology, sociology of law, and counseling in criminal justice.

Applicants need a 3.0 minimum GPA or two of the following: a 2.75 minimum GPA, a 290 minimum GRE score, or an 800 minimum score of their GPA multiplied by their GRE score. Candidates must also complete undergraduate coursework in neuropsychology, quantitative methods, and research methods.

University of Louisiana at Monroe is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Lynn University View School Profile Boca Raton, FL 55% 30% 44% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

A private, nonprofit university based in Boca Raton, Florida, Lynn runs a fully online, accelerated master of science (MS) in psychology program. The MS degree focuses on information literacy, scientific writing, and human behavior. Enrollees can choose from two tracks: general psychology and industrial/organizational psychology. Both programs cultivate skills in research, program evaluation, leadership, and management.

Full-time students can complete the program online in one year by taking two courses per eight-week term. Coursework runs mostly asynchronously. However, a few synchronous meetings occur with small groups or the instructor. To support an online learning experience, students receive an iPad with various pre-loaded applications.

Updated annually based on field trends, Lynn's psychology curriculum follows the American Psychological Association's education guidelines. The program includes a psychology practicum, which corresponds to students' specializations, master's theses, and career goals.

Lynn University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA 50% 60% 90% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The 100% online master's in psychology program at Liberty, a private Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia, focuses on applied psychology. Liberty offers two concentrations: developmental psychology and industrial/organizational psychology. Enrollees explore these psychology fields through Liberty's biblical worldview.

The developmental psychology concentration features coursework in adolescent psychology, intervention and behavioral support, and development psychology and neuropsychology. The industrial/organizational psychology concentration focuses on personnel and performance management, human resource training and development, and organizational behavior development.

This 36-credit master's in psychology program features eight-week terms. Liberty permits students to transfer up to 50% of their degree credits. Completion timelines for this accelerated program average 18 months. Applicants need a 2.5 minimum GPA and a bachelor's degree from an accredited school.

Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Indiana Institute of Technology View School Profile Fort Wayne, IN 36% 67% 35% Higher Learning Commission

Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, Indiana, features a master of science (MS) in psychology degree online for individuals seeking promotion, career change, or preparation for doctoral programs. Indiana Tech's MS program offers solid grounding in psychological research and theory and cultivates practical skills.

Graduates with an MS degree in psychology may work in education, the criminal justice system, health and human services, or business. Aligned with the American Psychological Association's curriculum guidelines, Indiana Tech's program prepares aspiring doctoral students by offering transferable psychology coursework.

Indiana Tech's 33-credit MS program requires coursework in multicultural psychology, lifespan development, counseling theory, and psychopathology. Enrollees also study biopsychology, social psychology, and psychology-related legal and ethical issues. Skills-focused courses include research methods in psychology, writing in psychology, statistics for behavioral sciences, and a capstone thesis course.

Prerequisites for non-provisional admission include an accredited bachelor's degree, a 2.5 minimum undergraduate GPA, and two years of significant professional experience.

Indiana Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH 54% 68% 93% New England Commission on Higher Education

SNHU's online master of science (MS) in psychology degree emphasizes experiential learning. The program offers curriculum concentrations in child and adolescent developmental psychology, forensic psychology, and industrial organizational psychology.

Enrollees study cognitive psychology, personality, and social psychology. SNHU emphasizes core skills in research methods, ethical practice, critical thinking, and problem-solving. The MS program does not lead directly to clinical licensure, but the curriculum prepares students well for doctoral study. Prospective students interested in master's-level careers as licensed counselors should pursue SNHU's master's in clinical mental health counseling.

SNHU allows transfer of up to 12 graduate credits toward the MS in psychology degree. Students lacking a background in psychology must complete foundation courses in psychology, statistics, and research methods. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores.

Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Fort Hays State University View School Profile Hays, KS 44% 39% 83% Higher Learning Commission

FHSU, a public university in Hays, Kansas, provides an online master's in school psychology program. The program serves working students seeking career advancement or transition. Enrollees visit campus for one, five-day residency during a summer semester. The remaining coursework occurs completely online.

Learners may pursue the 30-credit program full time or part time. Enrollees complete coursework on advanced learning and motivation, appraisal of children, developmental psychology, and advanced child psychopathology. Students also complete courses in school psychology methods, behavior therapy, statistics, and professional ethics. Learners must pass comprehensive exams to graduate. Some degree-seekers complete an additional 36 credits to earn an educational specialist degree.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in psychology, a 3.0 minimum GPA, 12 credits of prior psychology coursework, and undergraduate coursework in statistics or research methods. Applicants must also submit GRE or MAT scores. Application materials include official transcripts, recommendation letters, and a statement of intent.

Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Pepperdine University View School Profile Malibu, CA 83% 38% 11% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

A private research university associated with the Churches of Christ, Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, runs an online master of arts in psychology program. Pepperdine offers advanced and broadscale knowledge of theories, principles, and practices related to psychology and human behavior. The master's in psychology program prepares graduates for diverse career opportunities and for pursuing doctoral study.

The program requires 36-48 credits and takes 18-24 months to complete. Pepperdine does not require practica or internships. Cohorts begin in fall, winter, spring, and summer each year. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Pepperdine does not require GRE scores and waives application fees submitted by the priority deadline.


Pepperdine University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Nova Southeastern University View School Profile Fort Lauderdale, FL 50% 51% 47% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The online master of science in psychology degree at NSU in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, provides an applied health science concentration and a general psychology track. The applied health science track serves professionals seeking career expansion in the healthcare industry. The general psychology track often serves students seeking careers in other industries or the public sector. Graduates can pursue doctoral programs and careers in academics, research, or clinical work.

NSU's 30-credit, 10-course psychology program requires completion of 21 core course credits and nine specialization-track credits. Core courses cover cognitive psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and social psychology. Enrollees also complete courses in research design and quantitative methods.

The general psychology track explores adult psychopathology, human sexuality, and psychology history and systems. Enrollees may substitute a thesis project for two courses. NSU recommends the thesis option to students planning on doctoral study. Applied health science students take courses in the business of psychology, interviewing techniques, and psychological aspects of treating disease.

Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Written by:

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University and earned tenure as a history professor at the University of Louisville. An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a freelance writer and consultant.

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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org 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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