Masters Degree in Psychology
Psychologists use their training and expertise to research mental health disorders' causes and treatments. The profession allows for specialization in one of multiple subfields, including clinical, forensic, and occupational psychology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that psychologists earn a median $82,180 annual salary and projects the field to grow 3% from 2019-2029.
A master's degree in psychology helps students attain admission to a doctoral program or qualify for a new career. Many degree-seekers benefit from an online psychology degree. Online learning features numerous benefits, such as affordability, accessibility, and flexibility.
Master's in Psych Questions
Q. How long does it take to become a psychologist?
After completing a two-year master's degree, students enroll in either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program. Learners in the former may need roughly eight years to graduate.
Q. Is a psychology degree hard?
Students who excel in a master's degree in psychology program possess honed research, communication, and interpersonal skills. Learners facing difficulty should contact their school's student services center.
Q. What can you do with a master's degree in psychology?
Psychology degree jobs for workers with a master's include human resources analyst, developmental specialist, and public relations representative. Professionals working toward licensure must possess a doctorate in psychology.
Q. What psychology field makes the most money?
BLS data indicate that psychologists working for a government agency or hospital earn $8,000-$15,000 more than the profession's median annual salary.
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Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.
Why Get a Degree in Psychology?
Professionals need not possess a doctorate to attain a fulfilling career. A master's in psychology degree qualifies graduates to pursue numerous positions featuring one-on-one contact with people in need. Jobs include employment counselor, child protection worker, and psychiatric technician. These and other careers may require a psychology degree and relevant professional experience.
Online psychology degrees allow students to attend one of the best schools in the nation without uprooting their lives. Learners in an asynchronous program schedule their education around their work or other responsibilities. Earning a salary while in school may reduce degree-seekers' need for financial aid and prevent student debt.
How Much Does a Psychology Masters Cost?
Tuition, fees, and related expenses such as textbooks comprise a degree's cost. Prospective students on a budget should research whether their state's public universities offer an online psychology degree. If not, some out-of-state public schools may extend in-state tuition to all degree-seekers, regardless of residency. Typical fees include semester-based technology fees. Many universities also charge a one-time graduation fee.
Online students may pay the same for a degree as on-campus learners but save money in other ways, such as not living on campus or buying a meal plan. Degree-seekers who select an out-of-state program do not pay commuting or relocating costs either.
Online universities provide cost savings other than institutional and departmental aid programs, such as an automatic discount for active-duty service members. Learners may qualify for an employee reimbursement program. Other degree-seekers save significantly on their psychology degree by earning credit at a less expensive school before transferring.
Calculating the Cost of a Pyschology Degree
A psychology degree's tuition may exceed what some students can pay out of pocket. A free calculation tool helps learners determine their ability to pay by comparing their income, cost of living, and financial aid to a school's tuition. A result exceeding expected monthly tuition bills suggests degree-seekers do not need additional financial assistance to avoid student loans.
Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.
How Much Do Psychology Majors Make?
Top-paying careers such as clinical psychologist, counseling psychologist, and forensic psychologist require a doctorate. However, professionals with a master's degree in psychology may qualify for one or more jobs with a salary exceeding the national median, such as marriage and family therapist and survey researcher. Students work with a career advisor to learn more about these and related positions.
No matter their career, professionals increase their salary potential by moving to a state with a high median salary. Marriage and family therapists living in Utah, New Jersey, and Illinois earn over $13,000 more than the typical U.S. therapist. Career opportunities in Hawaii and Oklahoma also offer a higher-than-average salary.
Other options for earning more money include obtaining an industry certification. Typical requirements include taking a short course and passing an exam. Like a psychology degree, a certification increases employability and may qualify professionals for a raise or promotion.
Master's in Pyschology Course Work
Psychology degrees emphasize the academic knowledge and communication skills professionals need to work with patients and collaborate with peers. Courses cover human behavior's numerous facets, such as emotion, attitudes, and cognition. Students customize their education by selecting a concentration, and many programs require a final-semester capstone course.
The sample curriculum below describes three foundation courses most programs offer or require. However, all programs use a unique curriculum, and course offerings may affect which careers graduates pursue. Contact a university admissions advisor to learn more about the student experience and graduate outcomes.
Foundations of Professional PsychologyAn introductory course, foundations of professional psychology features coursework in the basic skills and knowledge psychologists need to work with patients. Students master APA-style writing, examine numerous scholarly articles, and explore careers related to each psychology subfield. The course also emphasizes state licensure requirements and other avenues professionals take to advance their career.
Group CounselingGroup counseling differs significantly from one-on-one counseling, as psychologists must meet multiple individuals' needs simultaneously. Students explore different theories, best practices, and motivational techniques through simulated group counseling sessions with their classmates. These sessions help degree-seekers understand group counseling's challenges and opportunities as a treatment method.
Behavioral Measures and Interpretation of DataPsychologists measure patients' progress by keeping detailed records over a long period. Behavioral measures and interpretation of data trains students to measure behavior correctly and analyze large data sets. Other course topics include communicating this information in a way people without a psychology background can understand clearly.
Certifications and Licensure for Psychology
Professionals with a doctorate in psychology must earn a license before treating patients unsupervised. Workers with a master's degree advance their career in other ways, such as possessing one or more certifications. Certification steps may include obtaining professional experience and passing an exam. Some certifications' renewal requirements involve continuing education courses.
The American Board of Professional Psychology grants board certification to licensed psychologists demonstrating mastery in 1 of 13 specialization areas, such as group, school, or rehabilitation psychology. Candidates submit work samples and take oral and written exams that cover professionalism, reflective practice, and ethical standards. Doctoral students may begin the certification process while in school.
The National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists awards the CCBT to professionals with a master's in psychology or a related field. Other requirements include 10 years of experience and three recommendation letters. Workers recertify every five years by completing professional development courses or publishing original research in a peer-reviewed journal.
Licensed psychologists treat patients in private practice and other healthcare settings. Although requirements vary somewhat by state, candidates must possess a doctorate in psychology, meet their state's experience requirement, and pass one or more exams. Psychologists renew their license every 1-2 years by completing continuing education courses.
Scholarships for Psychology Grad Students
Learners apply for scholarships to finance their master's degree in psychology while reducing reliance on student loans. Multiple scholarships for psychology majors and online learners accept applications in 2021, making them the perfect option for current and prospective degree-seekers.
||Who Can Apply
The Clubs of America Scholarship Program
||The Clubs of America accepts applications from college students majoring in any subject. Applicants submit a 600-word essay or brief video detailing their career aspirations.
Future Counselors of America Scholarship
||DatingAdvice.com awards this competitive scholarship to undergraduate and graduate students majoring in psychology. Application materials include a 500- to 900-word essay detailing the relationship between online dating and psychology.
Pride Foundation Scholarships
||LGBTQ+ degree-seekers in select states may qualify for one of the Pride Foundation's 60 annual scholarship opportunities. Some scholarships require an interview, and the next application window opens on Oct. 11.
Online Master's in Psychology Programs 2021
Online Master's in Psychology Programs
Harvard University’s master’s in psychology, offered by the Harvard Extension School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, tops the list of best master’s in psychology programs for good reason. Rather than requiring prospective students to receive admittance to the program via standard application procedures, the school provides a unique alternative. Once deciding they want to pursue this degree, learners enroll in three classes that are required for all new students. After completing the first two, they apply to the program (in the fall, spring, or summer) and admissions panels consider their readiness for the remainder of the program based on performance in the previous months and traditional application materials.
If accepted, students continue working through the required 12 courses by taking classes online and at the school’s brick-and-mortar location. Of the 32 credits needed to graduate, at least nine must be completed offline. Some of the classes required in this program include research methods and scholarly writing in the social sciences, statistical methods, and introduction to social anthropology. The final three classes for all psychology students include crafting the thesis proposal and master’s thesis parts one and two. When it comes time to write the thesis, students work with a director to conduct original research and write about a topic that ties in with previous professional experience or academic interests. Given the learning focus of this program, many graduates go on to complete a doctoral program and work in areas of research or academia. When they walk across the stage, newly minted graduates receive a master of liberal arts in extension studies, with an emphasis in psychology. Harvard is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Harvard Extension School:
Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA, 2138
Phone Number: (617) 495-4024
Located just outside the nation’s capital in neighboring Arlington, Virginia, Divine Mercy University provides a fully online master’s in psychology via its Institute for the Psychological Sciences. With a focus on instilling Catholic-Christian virtues while educating future mental health professionals, DMU’s curriculum offers an innovative and cutting-edge educational experience. Comprised of 36 credits and completed in two years of full-time study, this program covers topics such as human growth and development across the lifespan, the Catholic-Christian vision of flourishing and evidence-based practice and program evaluation. The final course, a capstone, helps students learn to be transformational leaders within the helping professions. This course is taken in lieu of a thesis.
Described by the university as a non-therapeutic degree, DMU’s online M.S. in psychology prepares graduates for professional roles in fields related to psychology but does not lead to licensure. Some of the competency outcomes of the program include the ability to find and lead volunteers, crisis intervention, de-escalation and negotiation, and the ability to expertly review research and data produced by other professionals in the field. Learning is divided into five terms per year, with start dates available in January, May and August. Admission is dependent on a bachelor’s degree from a properly accredited college or university (which does not have to be in psychology), GPA of at least 2.75, GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, a resume and a personal statement outlining how the student’s goals align with the goals of the curriculum. To graduate, all learners must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout the program. DMU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Institute for Psychological Studiese:
2001 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 511, Arlington, VA, 22202
Phone Number: (703) 416-1441
Although Ball State University provides degrees from its home base in Muncie, Indiana, individuals interested in pursuing the master of arts in educational psychology need never visit campus since the program exists fully online. BSU’s program requires students complete 30 credits, 18 of which form the core curriculum and the final 12 are devoted to one of four available specializations. Some of the core topics include advanced educational psychology, child and adolescent development, and human learning and achievement motivation. The four concentrations currently offered online are gifted and talented, human development, statistical and research methods, and neuropsychology. Students who already hold an Indiana teaching license and are following the gifted and talented path can complete what’s known as a high ability license alongside the degree program.
If studying on a full-time basis and able to take summer classes, students can finish this program in less than a year; those enrolled on a more part-time basis usually need 18 months. BSU’s program appeals to learners from many different walks of life as it can open the doors to numerous professional options. While some graduates use their degrees to help school administrators make informed decisions about appropriately catering to developmental stages, others aspire to move into a Ph.D. program and become child psychologists. Still others decide on further education to pursue research. Online students receive instruction from the same notable faculty that lead classes at the brick-and-mortar campus and BSU is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Department of Educational Psychology:
2000 University Ave, Muncie, IN, 47306
Phone Number: (765) 285-1581
Colorado State University
Though based in Fort Collins, students hoping to complete Colorado State University’s master of applied industrial/organizational psychology degree don’t have to visit campus to pursue this fully online program. CSU’s degree helps students learn how to study and categorize workers’ behavior in various business settings in order to maximize productivity and performance. Aside from understanding the psychology behind the decisions workers make, I/O psychologists-in-training gain skills in identifying and retaining top-tier employees, implementing and overseeing leadership development initiatives, handling sensitive and multifaceted issues, and assessing whether workplace programs are effective and efficient.
CSU’s program comprises 38 credits, with options for completion ranging from two to four years, depending on how much time students devote to the program. Coursework ranges from applied organizational psychology and workforce training/development to succession planning and leadership development. To round out their time at CSU, all students enroll in a two-part capstone comprised of a practicum and skills development course. In addition to participating in a consulting project with a volunteer organization, learners receive virtual support and mentorship from a faculty member during the capstone. Students considering this program must submit GRE General and Psychology Subject Tests to be accepted, but they can take up to nine credits without formally enrolling to get a feel for the program. The department currently consists of four full-time industrial/organizational psychology faculty members. CSU is accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
Department of Psychology:
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-0100
Phone Number: (970) 491-6363
Texas A & M University-College Station
College Station, TX
From its College of Education and Human Development, Texas A&M University at College Station offers a master’s in educational psychology with an emphasis in school counseling. Made available completely online, students studying full-time can complete this program in just two years if they take classes in the fall and spring alongside two summer sessions. Courses are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, so learners planning to work while enrolled may want to discuss times when live classes are typically offered to ensure the courses fit within their current schedules. When competing for admission, all applicants must provide an application, evidence of a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, three letters of recommendation, certification as a school counselor, and preferably at least two years of experience teaching in a classroom. Students based in Texas can use the degree to qualify for school counselor certification whereas learners from other states should check with their department of education to learn about certification requirements and whether out-of-state programs are permissible.
Admitted students follow a course sequence as part of a cohort, with year one topics including multicultural counseling in schools, planning and organizing comprehensive guidance programs, and issues in child and adolescent development. Year two sees learners delving into studies of school counseling group interventions, consultation in special education, and assessment in school settings. During their final fall semester, students complete a counseling practicum in a school setting, while their final spring semester sees them participating in a field practicum in school counseling. No thesis is required. In addition to graduate academic advising and support related to financial services, TAMUCS students can also participate in a range of clubs and organizations. Students in the school counseling program may especially be interested in the educational psychology student organization, the student council for exceptional children, or the student affiliates of school psychology. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits TAMUCS.
Department of Educational Psychology:
JKW Administration Building, Suite 200, College Station, TX, 77843-1248
Phone Number: (979) 845-1831
In addition to operating campuses in Michigan and Wisconsin, Concordia University provides a vibrant online campus for students seeking distance education opportunities. One such program is the master of science in education with a concentration in school or professional counseling. Concordia’s program requires between 45 and 60 credits depending on student outcomes and is usually completed within two or three years of full-time learning. With a focus on making college affordable, the university provides a 25 percent tuition discount for educators at Christian schools and a 24 percent discount for preferred educational partners.
After completing foundational courses in social/cultural foundations in counseling, models and methods of Christian family counseling, and human development, degree seekers move into core requirements. These include studies in Christian trauma counseling, individual counseling, and consultation strategies within the church. To finish up the degree, learners choose a number of counseling electives and complete two practicum experiences. No thesis is required with this degree. Upon graduation, learners living in Wisconsin qualify for 1) a School Counselor license, 2) a Licensed Professional Counselor – In Training credential, or 3) a Substance Abuse Counselor – In Training credential. Distance learners living in other states should check with their department of education or counseling board of licensure to learn whether Concordia’s program prepares them for similar credentials in their own state. Upon finishing the program, graduates have moved into roles as guidance counselors, counselors, Christian counselors and therapists. Some have also continued on to doctoral programs. To be considered for admission, students need to submit transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA from their undergraduate degree, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a one-page essay on why they want to attend Concordia University. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits this school.
12800 N Lake Shore Dr, Mequon, WI, 53097-2402
Phone Number: (877) 289-1897
University of Houston-Victoria
The University of Houston’s Victoria campus provides an in-depth master of arts degree in counseling psychology for students preparing to work directly with clients after graduation. Comprising 60 credits, this degree typically takes three years of study if enrolled on a full-time basis and helps students meet requirements for receiving the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential within Texas. With this qualification, UHV graduates find work in settings such as residential treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, university counseling offices, or mental health agencies – in addition to having the opportunity to operate in private practice. Admission hinges on a graduate admissions index score of 980 or higher, an essay stating why the applicant wants to attend UHV’s program, evidence that the student has already taken courses in abnormal psychology, research, and statistics (and received “C” grades or higher), and an interview with a UHV faculty member.
Coursework is divided into three sections: core, specialization, and practicum. Core credits take up 21 hours and cover topics such as advanced research methods, theories and issues in psychology, and intellectual assessments. The counseling psychology portion of the degree covers 30 credits and includes studies in vocational psychology and career counseling, group psychotherapy, and professional practices. The final nine hours of the program focus on the counseling psychology practicum. Students must complete 150 practicum hours to meet all requirements, and 50 of those hours must provide direct client contact. To graduate, learners must successfully pass a comprehensive exam. UHV receives accreditation via the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
School of Arts & Sciences:
3007 N. Ben Wilson, Victoria, TX, 77901
Phone Number: (361) 570-4201
University of Northern Colorado
From its home base in Greeley (located 50 miles from Denver), the University of Northern Colorado provides an M.A. in educational psychology with a concentration in teaching applications for learners throughout the country. Available fully online, the program offers flexibility while still providing an accelerated format. Degree seekers hoping to move through the program quickly can complete requirements in just one year. Those who prefer a slower pace can take three to four courses per eight-week term and finish in three or four semesters.
Students move through coursework as part of a cohort, giving them plenty of support and encouragement along the way. The program requires 30 credits and starts in the summer each year. Rather than focusing exclusively on theory, UNC’s program emphasizes assignments that allow students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems. Some of the assignments include reviewing and revising lesson plans, creating assessment models, and addressing issues of diversity. Some of the classes offered include educational psychology for teachers, cultural issues in educational psychology, and educational assessment. To graduate, students provide a research proposal, conduct a project, and write a paper about the results. They must also take a comprehensive exam.
After graduating from UNC, newly minted degree holders have gone on to work as teachers, educational consultants, business trainers, and data professionals measuring and assessing programmatic effectiveness. Admittance to UNC is based on students holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a GPA of at least 3.0 on the last 60 credits, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. UNC does not require GRE scores. Regardless of location or style of learning, all students pay the same rate of tuition per credit. UNC also provides Student Health Insurance Plans (SHIPs) to online students. The Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation to UNC.
Department of Psychology:
Carter Hall - Rm 4000, Greeley, CO, 80639
Phone Number: (970) 351-2989
University of Nevada-Las Vegas
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas serves more than 30,000 students annually, with learners electing to study both at the Paradise campus and online. Individuals seeking a master’s degree in educational psychology have the option to complete a program of study via either format, although they should check the institution’s state compliance listing to ensure they’re eligible for enrollment. UNLV’s program appeals to degree seekers with a variety of interests and goals, ranging from classroom teachers looking to better understand learners and enhance teaching to individuals hoping to do research in the field after completing a doctoral degree. Roles of UNLV graduates include educational assessment coordinator, educational psychologist, human resources education specialist, program evaluator, and research analyst for school districts.
Admission for UNLV is considered competitive, with most accepted learners having a GPA of 3.0 or higher and scores on the verbal and quantitative parts of the GRE in the 50th percentile or above. In addition to transcripts and exam scores, students also provide three letters of reference, a writing sample, a personal statement on interests and goals, and a completed application. Once accepted, students choose to specialize their studies. Options currently include learning, development, evaluation, instructional design, or quantitative and/or qualitative research methodologies. Examples of general, core coursework include learning and development, research methods and measurement, and descriptive and inferential statistics.
All told, students take 34 credits and usually finish the program in one-and-a-half to two years if studying on a full-time basis. After completing all required coursework, distance learners choose between completing a thesis or sitting for a comprehensive exam. Students planning to continue into a Ph.D. program typically opt for the first option, while those moving into a classroom or professional setting choose the second. UNLV is accredited via the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Department of Educational Psychology & Higher Education:
4505 S Maryland Pky, Las Vegas, NV, 89154
Phone Number: (702) 895-3245
Because Idaho maintains low population density, the University of Idaho makes it possible for learners wanting to participate in the master of science in psychology with an emphasis in human factors to do so without ever visiting the Moscow location. If learners do want to visit campus, the department maintains modern laboratories at which student research can be conducted. As an added bonus, full-time distance learners pay the same tuition as their in-state counterparts. A unique degree path, the human factors concentration offers a broad look at things like motivation and performance to ensure students have lots of options upon graduation. Some of the classes offered in this innovative program include sensation and perception, human factors in engineering design, ergonomics and biomechanics, and human-computer interaction. Students need 30 credits to graduate. All learners participate in advanced statistics and research methods courses to round out their knowledge.
Once degree seekers complete all required courses, they complete a comprehensive examination focused on basic knowledge, application, and research methods and statistics. Another component of graduation requirements is the thesis. Students create a proposal outlining their proposed methods and research project and recruit three faculty members to serve as their thesis committee. After turning in the final product, degree seekers participate in a two-hour thesis defense to answer questions and explain the choices they made.
Students hoping to attend UI’s program must have an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field, a GPA of at least 3.0 and a GRE score of at least 1,000 (old scoring system) or 300 (new scoring system). Before learners receive full admittance, they must take and pass an introductory statistics class. Distance students receive in-state tuition rates but pay an additional fee of $35 per credit for technology fees. UI’s offering is housed in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences which provides approximately $1.6 million in scholarships per year. UI receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Department of Psychology:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2282, Moscow, ID, 83844-2282
Phone Number: (208) 885-4944
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Operating as a public land and space grant institution within the University of Missouri system, the Missouri University of Science and Technology educates approximately 9,000 students each year. A sizable handful of those learners opt to enroll in the institution’s M.S. in industrial-organizational psychology. A perfect fit for students interested in using their psychological toolbox to improve workplace settings, MUST’s degree comprises 40 credits and takes approximately two years to finish. The university overhauled its curriculum in 2017, ensuring degree seekers learn about cutting edge topics in the field. Core content classes total 24 hours and cover topics such as small group dynamics, job analysis and performance management, and advanced leadership and practice. Methods courses take up another 10 credits and focus on studies in psychometrics and applied psychological data analysis. To cap of the program, students decided to follow the thesis or non-thesis track. Those in the non-thesis track take six elective credits while those opting for the other path complete a significant independent research project. Learners planning to move into a Ph.D. program typically choose the latter option while those looking to move into the workforce go for the former.
Aside from learning under leading practitioners and academic faculty, distance learners benefit from an online library, support when using the Canvas learning platform, tutoring, and disability services. MUST’s program is competitive and requires students to meet multiple requirements to receive an acceptance letter. In addition to previous coursework in areas of general psychology, statistics, and research methods, learners should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, undergraduate transcripts, verbal and quantitative GRE scores, a statement of purpose, resume, and three letters of reference. Applications are accepted in the fall and spring semesters, with deadlines falling on July 15 and December 15, respectively. MUST is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Department of Psychological Science:
1201 N. State St., Rolla, MO, 65409
Phone Number: (573) 341-4937
University of West Alabama
Although the University of West Alabama’s Livingston campus is located in a largely rural area, learners from all over the nation participate in the school’s M.S. in experimental psychology thanks to its online delivery format. In addition to a general option, the program provides concentrations in clinical psychology and health and sports psychology. UWA’s program fits the needs of students planning to move into a Ph.D. program upon graduation as well of those who hope to find employment directly after the degree ends.
Credit hours range between 36 and 54 hours, with both the general and health and sports psychology concentrations requiring 36 and the clinical psychology concentration requiring between 39-54. Most students enrolled on a full-time basis finish the program in one to two years, depending on their chosen specialization. Offering an accelerated approach, each course lasts just eight weeks and allows for two study sessions per traditional semester. No matter which emphasis area a student chooses, each participates in 18 credits of core topics and nine hours dedicated to statistics and research methods. Some of the specialized coursework includes studies in advanced developmental psychology, theories of personality, and the diagnosis process for mental disorders. All three paths end with six credits devoted to the research and writing of a master’s level thesis.
To apply, students must complete an online application, submit official transcripts from any institution attended, GPA, letters of recommendation, and a statement outlining how UWA’s program matches up to their goals. GRE scores are not required for this program. No matter where they are located, all students pay the same flat-rate tuition plus a $50 technology fee per term. In year past, approximately 80 percent of UWA students received financial support to offset costs. UWA is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Department of Psychology:
Station One, Livingston, AL, 35470
Phone Number: (844) 900-3037
University of Louisiana at Monroe
Operating as one of the nine member schools in the University of Louisiana system, UL Monroe serves nearly 9,000 students annually with campus-based, hybrid, and online degree paths. The institution provides a master of science in psychology with a focus in forensic psychology completely online, making it possible for distance learners to earn their degree without ever visiting Louisiana.
The program comprises 36 credits, the first nine hours of which provide a foundation for future study. These classes include quantitative methods in the behavioral sciences, research methods, and neuropsychology. After starting the forensic concentration, online learners move into studies related to counseling in criminal justice, sociology of law, psychological assessments, and advanced theories of crime and delinquency. Students also complete five additional hours of psychology electives to round out the program of study. ULM doesn’t require a thesis; however, students considering a Ph.D. program often elect to write one to help them stand out on a doctoral application. ULM offers both synchronous and asynchronous coursework, so students should work with their advisors to find a plan of study that fits their needs.
Admission to ULM’s program is based on a number of factors. Students must have a GPA of 2.75 or higher and a minimum score of 290 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE. They must also possess at least nine hours of undergraduate psychology courses, three of which should relate to statistical studies. Applicants must provide an application and fee, transcripts, letters of recommendation, resume and a personal statement to be considered. Unlike campus-based programs, eULM students pay the same flat rate of tuition no matter where they live. ULM is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Department of Psychology:
700 University Avenue, Monroe, LA, 71209-0000
Phone Number: (318) 342-1345
Union Institute & University
Founded in 1964 as a progressive educational institution in Cincinnati, Ohio, Union Institute & University continues in that mission today by specializing in programs offered online and through hybrid learning. The online master of arts in clinical mental health counseling combines distance coursework with on-campus residency experiences twice annually and works to bring together peers and professors in meaningful ways. Students must participate in the face-to-face meetings, so those who might find it difficult to reach Cincinnati should consider if Union’s program is best for them.
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) approved Union’s degree path, ensuring students seeking a rigorous and meaningful education can find one at this institution. The degree comprises 60 credits and allows full-time learners to graduate in 24 months. Part-time enrollees usually spend 60 months moving from start to finish. Students decide if they want to start their studies in January, May or August of each year. Some of the core topics covered include counseling theory and practice, professional orientation and ethics, appraisal and diagnostic techniques, and social basis of behavior and cultural diversity. As part of graduation requirements, online students participate in a practicum and three internships (providing a minimum of 700 clinical training hours) before undertaking a significant capstone project and writing about their findings. UIU’s program was designed to meet the credential/licensure requirements for professional counselors, so many graduates work towards these endorsements upon graduation. Others plan to continue into a doctoral counseling program.
Applicants hoping to attend Union must provide an official transcript from a regionally accredited school showing a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a completed application, personal statement, resume, and professional references from three individuals. They must also participate in a one-to-one interview. Union receives accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
440 E McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH, 45206-1925
Phone Number: (800) 861-6400
Grand Rapids, MI
Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cornerstone University operates as a private, non-denominational Christian institution serving the needs of undergrads and graduate students alike. A small campus, CU maintains an intimate feel in both campus-based and online classes. The master of arts in counseling focuses on the development of three core areas: the practice of counseling, interpretation of biblical and theological ideas, and the knowledge needed to receive state licensure. Students who complete Cornerstone’s online counseling program meet the requirements to apply for a Limited License as a Professional Counselor (LLPC). Because CU also runs the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, students choose which institutions’ name appears at the top of their diploma.
The program, consisting of 69 credits, usually takes two to four years. Coursework is divided into four sections: counseling core (39 credits), specialization (9 credits), Bible (12 credits), and theology and ministry (9 credits). Standout courses include counseling philosophy, research methodologies, multicultural counseling, and advanced counseling techniques. The practicum component requires a minimum of 100 hours while the internship adds on another 600 hours to be completed at an approved site close to the student’s place of residence. In addition to online coursework, students travel to Grand Rapids twice during their educations to participate in three-day learning intensives. Specializations available currently include addictions counseling, trauma counseling, multi-state licensure, and interdisciplinary studies. Upon graduation, Cornerstone alumni go onto roles in private practice, community mental health centers, intensive outpatient settings, schools, churches, and residential treatment centers.
When deciding which applicants receive an offer letter, the admissions panel requires completion of a free application, official undergraduate transcripts showing a GPA of 2.5 or higher, a ministry reference, and a personal reference. Cornerstone University maintains accreditation via the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools alongside the Association of Theological Schools in the United States.
Grand Rapids Theological Seminary:
1001 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49525-5897
Phone Number: (616) 254-1632
Not to be confused with Union College in New York, this private college in Barbourville, Kentucky serves just over 1,200 students annually with a mix of classes taught online and at the brick-and-mortar campus. The master of arts in clinical psychology exists as a hybrid program, with specific intensive residencies designed to train learners in clinical assessments such as psych evaluations, intelligence tests, and developmental disability assessments. The standard program requires 49 credits, while individuals hoping to pursue licensure must complete a further 12 hours related to the clinical psychology endorsement contract. Amongst the 28 credits of foundational courses, students cover advanced psychopathology, social and community pathology, and diagnosis and treatment planning. Courses related to the major include clinical assessment of emotional and psychological functioning, clinical assessment of intellectual functioning, and emotion, motivation and cognition. To round out their time at Union, students participate in a counseling/psychotherapy practicum. While completing the practicum, students pair up with a faculty member to receive feedback on their experiences and further augment their real-world learning.
Students hoping to gain entrance at this institution must provide a completed online application, official transcripts from an accredited institution demonstrating a GPA of 2.0 or higher, information about any transfer credits, personal statement, curriculum vitae, and letters of recommendation. Considering that Union College operates as a private institution, the school offers relatively low tuition costs. In addition to the per-credit charges, distance learners also pay a $25 telecommunications fee each semester. UC also offers a number of institutional scholarships to help lessen a student’s financial burden. Union College receives accreditation via the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Graduate Studies in Psychology:
310 College St, Barbourville, KY, 40906-1499
Phone Number: (606) 546-1525
Lincoln Christian University
Established toward the end of World War II, Lincoln Christian University has provided degrees for more than 70 years via its main Illinois campus along with extension campuses in Indianapolis, Las Vegas, and online. With a focus on providing rigorous degrees through a Biblical worldview, LCU provides an MA in counseling offered via a hybrid format. In addition to distance education coursework, students visit campus for a week each semester to participate in face-to-face intensive learning sessions. Designed with the working professional in mind, LCU works with students to provide a flexible learning environment. All online classes meet asynchronously, meaning degree seekers turn in coursework, watch lectures, and chat with teachers and fellow students at their leisure.
LCU’s online master’s program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and requires 60 credits. Some of the topics covered include major theories of counseling and psychotherapy, multicultural counseling, group theories and practice, and career development counseling. Students also complete nine credits in biblical training. Toward the end of the program, learners participate in a 600-hour internship (240 hours of which must provide direct client contact) and a 10-week practicum requiring 100 additional hours of supervised clinical training. The program usually has a cohort of approximately 60 students at any given time. Most classes have 15 students or less, with a focus on student body diversity. According to the latest program outcomes report, the MA in counseling maintains a five-year graduation rate of 95.5 percent.
Admission to this graduate-level program requires an online application, written essay of goals, a Christian character reference completed by a minister or other spiritual leader, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and official transcripts. Once enrolled, students are expected to maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. LCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Biblical Higher Education.
100 Campus View Drive, Lincoln, IL, 62656-2111
Phone Number: (217) 732-3168
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Established as a private Christian institution in 1927, Southwest Assembles of God University is located just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area in Waxahachie. The online master’s degree in clinical psychology at SAGU focuses on graduating thoughtful, well-rounded mental health practitioners who operate from a Christian viewpoint. The program requires 48 credits and usually takes approximately two years to complete on a full-time basis. Examples of coursework includes studies in psychopharmacology, integrative issues within the behavioral sciences, and advanced psychopathology and treatment planning. Upon graduation, SAGU alumni have taken up roles as career counselors, management consultants, marriage and family counselors, behavioral scientists, and school counselors. Other continue into a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. program.
SAGU prides itself on providing an individualized educational experience that meets the needs of each learner. In addition to ensuring class sizes are kept small to allow for meaningful interactions among professors and students, distance learners receive access to all the same support services and resources provided to campus-based students. Some of these include tutoring, academic advising, career assistance, job training, wellness resources, counseling, and disability services. Learners concerned about the cost of attending a private university should know that, on average, SAGU students earn their diploma with 20 percent less debt than their peers at other private institutions. The school also offers a number of institutional and program-specific scholarships and grants to further lessen the debt burden.
Admission to this program requires a completed application and accompanying fee, bachelor’s degree from a regionally or professionally accredited institution, a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA, GRE scores, personal essay, letters of reference, and official transcripts for any institution attended. Students who don’t meet these requirements are considered for admittance on a case-by-case basis. SAGU receives accreditation via the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and endorsement from the Assembles of God USA Churches.
Counseling & Psychology:
1200 Sycamore, Waxahachie, TX, 75165
Phone Number: (888) 937-7248
For well over 100 years, Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky has provided degrees from a Christian perspective. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the school emphasizes the partnership of academic rigor and Christian values. The master of education in counseling and human development exposes students to leading research and cutting edge frameworks for serving clients, while also ensuring they have the tools needed to care for a variety of needs. Aside from general coursework, LWC also provides a specialization in mental health counseling. Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), this online master’s prepares students to sit for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC) examination to receive licensure after graduation.
Credits for this program total 39 and cover topics such as lifecycle development in individuals and families, affective/humanistic counseling theories and techniques, and career education counseling. The final nine hours are devoted to a 150-hour practicum and two 300-hour internships (totaling 600 hours) taken over two semesters. Students looking to complete the mental health counseling specialization must complete an additional 21 to 22 hours in studies of diagnosing mental and emotional disorders, substance abuse treatments, and systemic family therapy. Once coursework ends, students participate in an exit assessment. In addition to taking all required classes, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and take the Comprehensive Professional Counseling Examination (CPCE) to qualify for graduation. To meet admission requirements, students need to complete a form and send in $35, provide official transcripts, request three letters of recommendation, and take part in an interview with the admissions committee. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits LWC.
School of Professional Counseling:
210 Lindsey Wilson St, Columbia, KY, 42728-1223
Phone Number: (270) 384-8121
Wayland Baptist University
With 14 campuses spread across Texas, six other states, Kenya, and online, Wayland Baptist University educates more than 5,000 students internationally each year. The master of arts in counseling at WBU exists as a hybrid program, requiring students to visit campus Friday-Saturday once a month. At this time, eligible campus locations include Oklahoma (Altus), Hawaii, Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson), and Texas (Plainview and San Antonio). Recognizing that many attendees have personal and professional obligations throughout the week, WBU makes it possible for busy students to attend face-to-face meetings with maximum flexibility.
Because WBU serves students hailing from so many different locations, the institution is acutely aware of individual state licensure requirements for those seeking to become Professional Counselors. Depending on the specific state’s requirements, students take between 48 and 70 credits. Individuals living in Texas have the opportunity to complete a school counseling emphasis alongside standard coursework. Outside of Alaska, Arizona, and Oklahoma, most states require 49 hours, meaning students finish the program in approximately two years of full-time enrollment. Once students join the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, they have access to academic advising, individualized tutoring, qualified faculty, career planning, and advice about licensure requirements. As coursework comes to an end, distance learners participate in both a practicum and an internship to gain required clinical supervision hours needed for licensure. The internship totals 600 hours while the practicum requires 100 additional hours. In the second-to-last semester, students must pass the comprehensive examination.
The application for graduate degree enrollment at WBU requires an accredited bachelor’s degree, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. GRE scores are not required. Wayland Baptist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
1900 W 7th St., Plainview, TX, 79072
Phone Number: (806) 291-1173
McNeese State University
Lake Charles, LA
Like the University of Louisiana at Monroe, McNeese State University in Lake Charles operates as one of the member schools of the University of Louisiana system and serves 7,500 students annually. Offering a slightly different take on studies, MSU provides a fully online master of arts in psychology with a concentration in applied behavior analysis. The Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) approved this program, meaning graduates can apply for credentials as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst after graduating and passing an exam.
McNeese’s offering includes 24 hours devoted to fundamental psychology classes and an additional 31 credits dedicated to applied behavior analysis. The majority of full-time learners finish this program in 30 months, with the option to complete several summer classes for an accelerated format. Classes are divided into eight week blocks, meaning students complete two terms each semester. Some of the coursework covered includes applied behavior analysis interventions, conceptual foundations of behavior analysis, single-subject methodology, and ethics for behavior analysts. Students complete three internship components during their final year of schooling, with each requiring 200 hours of supervised clinical practice. MSU’s program is designed for individuals who plan to enter the workforce upon graduation; therefore, a thesis path is not offered.
Admissions at MSU requires students to possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, three credits related to statistics plus at least 18 hours in psychology at the undergraduate level, a quantitative/verbal GRE score of 285 or higher, and a GPA of 2.5. Students can fill out the online application, upload transcripts, provide official GRE copies, and direct references to submit letters electronically. Although distance students living outside Louisiana pay a higher rate of tuition, the school provides scholarships and grants to even out additional costs for select students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits MSU.
Department of Psychology:
4205 Ryan St, Lake Charles, LA, 70605
Phone Number: (337) 475-5434
Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, CA
As one of the more unique institutions in this ranking, Touro University Worldwide operates 30 schools in four different countries, with the majority of campuses stationed throughout the United States. The university’s online master’s degree in psychology offers a concentration in educational psychology for distance students aiming to work in school settings or as educational consultants upon graduation. Although Touro’s program does not lead to licensure, many students have gone onto meaningful roles that don’t mandate any type of endorsement.
Available to students without any required campus visits, the flexible and affordable nature of Touro’s program appeals to recent graduates, busy professionals, and career changers alike. TUW offers six start dates per year, making it easy for motivated scholars to get started quickly. Students able to take two courses per semester for six semesters finish the degree in just 12 months from start to finish. Program requirements total 36 credits, with 27 of those focused on core topics such as overview of health psychology, group dynamics, and foundations of applied psychology. The final nine credits focus on the educational psychology concentration by covering studies in learning and cognition, school-based group counseling, and career counseling. Degree seekers also participate in a capstone project during their final semester to bring together all their new skills and knowledge into a culminating experience.
Students hoping to attend TUW must submit an application and $60 application fee, show evidence of holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, possess a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and submit official transcripts from any colleges or universities attended. No GRE or GMAT scores are needed. In addition to offering a low per-credit rate, the school provides a range of tuition assistance programs open to distance learners. TUW receives accreditation via the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Department of Psychology:
10601 Calle Lee #179, Los Alamitos, CA, 90720
Phone Number: (818) 575-6800
With campuses in Illinois (Chicago), British Columbia (Vancouver) and online, Adler University serves approximately 1,500 students through a range of master’s and doctoral level degrees. Adler provides an impressive array of master’s level distance education psychology options, with fully online programs including a master of arts in industrial and organizational psychology, a master of arts in psychology with a military psychology specialization, and a master of arts in applied psychology.
The I/O psychology program requires 37 credits can be completed in less than two years of full-time study. Specific studies include performance management, consumer and employee attitudes, and executive coaching. A truly unique option, the military psychology specialization also requires 37 credits and prepares graduates to work in a variety of military, governmental, public, and nonprofit roles supporting active members and veterans alike. Coursework covers subjects such as trauma and grief, operational psychology for the military, and substance abuse in the military. Students complete a capstone project in order to graduate. The applied psychology program requires 35 credits and touches on themes of gender and sexuality, social and cultural evolution, and diversity and individual differences.
Faculty members provide mentorship and training to students throughout the course of the program – including online studies. All courses are taught in an asynchronous model to ensure learners don’t have to choose between managing their existing responsibilities and completing a graduate degree. Courses are taught in eight week blocks, allowing learners to move through the curriculum more quickly. Some of the tools used to convey material include audio/video lectures, video conferencing, forums, interactive games, role-playing and online chats. Incoming learners join cohorts and move through classes together to build community. To be considered for admission, applicants need a fully completed application, 3.0 or higher GPA, resume, transcripts, and a letter of intent. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Adler University.
17 North Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL, 60602
Phone Number: (312) 662-4000
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Rounding out the list of schools offering the best online master’s in psychology programs is Southwestern Oklahoma State University, a public institution in Weatherford that is a member of the University System of Oklahoma. The blended master of science in community counseling requires 33 credits and can be completed in approximately 12 months. Recognizing that many enrolled learners also work and have family commitments, a part-time option also exists. While some classes are taught fully online, others have varying degrees of campus requirements. For example, some have a one-time orientation while others regularly meet on campus. Students living far away from the university should review the residency requirements before enrolling. Degree seekers complete 12 classes in total, with standout studies including advanced abnormal psychology, theories and techniques of family counseling and research methods. Students also complete a practicum to gain practical experience and take part in a full-day capstone exam at the end of their final semester.
Students hoping to attend SWOSU for this graduate degree need at least one statistics course and two psychology courses at the undergraduate level. They must also fill out an application, submit two letters of recommendation, complete an OSBI background check and submit GRE scores and official transcripts. Distance students can take up to nine credits at the institution before receiving full admission. New learners are accepted during the fall and spring semesters, with deadlines landing on June 1 and November 1, respectively. Applicants who previously completed coursework at SWOSU, are Oklahoma residents and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher may qualify for a tuition waiver to offset costs. SWOSU receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Department of Psychology:
100 Campus Dr, Weatherford, OK, 73096-3098
Phone Number: (580) 774-6051
Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer and the owner of Broderick Writer LLC. He creates study guides, informational websites, and blog posts for clients in the education field. Thomas is also a published author of over 20 short stories and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
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