Accredited Counseling Psychology Masters Programs

Last Updated on February 18, 2021

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Best Online Master’s in Psychology

From Applying to Graduating, Resources for Psych Students

FIND PROGRAMS         Select a Degree                    Associate’s                    Bachelor’s                    Master’s                    Doctorate                    Certificate / Diploma                    Graduate Certificates                         Select a Category                    Art & Design                    Business & Management                    Computers & Technology                    Criminal Justice & Legal                    Education & Teaching                    Liberal Arts & Humanities                    Nursing & Healthcare                    Psychology & Counseling                    Science & Engineering                         Select a Subject                                                Addictions & Recovery                            Behavioral Psychology                            Child and Adolescent Psychology                            Counseling                            Educational Psychology                            Family Counseling                            Forensic Psychology                            Mental Health Counseling                            Organizational Psychology                            Psychology                                        FIND ONLINE COLLEGESAD

Psychology graduates are in-demand: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of psychology professionals is projected to grow by 19 percent between 2014-2020, about three times faster than the national average. Many of these new positions – case managers, rehabilitation managers, social service managers and more – will require at least a master’s degree. Others will require master’s degrees plus Doctor of Psychiatry (PsyD) or PhD degrees. The following guide outlines how online master’s in psychology degrees commonly work, highlights some of the best online master’s in psychology degrees and provides resources for finding the right program for you.

Best Online Master’s in Psychology Degrees: 2017

OUR METHODOLOGY +

Psychology professionals pursuing master’s degrees may find that online programs fit their schedules and budgets better than face-to-face coursework. As demand for these programs grows, so do the number of online degrees available. While this trend offers students new options, it can make it more difficult to sift through them and find programs that suit them best. To simplify the process, we’ve developed a ranking system to discern the best online master’s in psychology degrees. We evaluated schools using a number of factors, like not-for-profit status, graduation rates, tuition costs, student support services and job placement rates, and compiled the top schools here for easy review.

RankSchool TitleNet PriceFinancial AidTotal ProgramsStudent-Teacher ratioGrad RateRanking ScoreSchool DescriptionAdditional Benefits:Placement ServicesCounseling ServicesCredit for Experience
1Eastern Michigan UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %90%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS14
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE37%
RANKING SCORE99.83Graduate students who pursue the general clinical master of psychology degree program at Eastern Michigan University will be prepared for master’s level clinical practice and licensure. Upon graduation, students will emerge from the program as limited license psychologists (LLP) in Michigan who are prepared to design and analyze clinical research. Graduate students will have access to a variety of academic and research tools, including those affiliated with the university’s library services. They will also benefit from academic advising, technical help, counseling, career services and access to the university’s vast alumni network.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
2Michigan State UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS14
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE79%
RANKING SCORE98.54The graduate training in program evaluation at Michigan State University is offered completely online. The program, which combines both real-world experience and theoretical academic knowledge, requires distance learners to consult with both instructors and their peers to tackle skill- and knowledge-building activities. Students will also complete a supervised practical application course over the term of two semesters. Students will gain hands-on experience by working closely with evaluation practitioners in a professional setting. Upon completion, students will be prepared for careers as professional evaluators at the federal, state or local levels, as well as in the private sector.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
3Syracuse UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS12
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE82%
RANKING SCORE97.54The Syracuse University psychology graduate program is led by instructors who are renowned in the field for both practice and research. Graduate students can choose from four separate programs, each with its own specialization, and they will have the opportunity to receive financial support with research assistantships, clinical assistantships and teaching assistantships. Students will publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals, and then present those findings at industry conferences. There is also a program called FPP, or future professoriate program, which enables students with professional academic aspirations to pursue university-level training and certification.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
4Seton Hall UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS11
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE67%
RANKING SCORE96.89The master of science in experimental psychology program at Seton Hall University boasts very low student-teacher ratios, and large numbers of graduates are currently employed in the field or went onto pursue PhD programs. Upon graduation, students will be immediately qualified to enter a doctorate program or begin work in a research-intensive professional position. Possible careers include laboratory assistant, academic researcher, college instructor and science writer. There are three possible concentrations, all of which require the completion of a thesis, as well as two non-thesis specializations. All students, however, will have access to the university’s cutting-edge laboratories and facilities.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
5Nova Southeastern UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS12
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE42%
RANKING SCORE96.83The Nova Southeastern University School of Psychology offers graduate programs that culminate in both master of science and specialist degrees. Upon graduation, students will be able to move on to PhD-level degree programs, begin clinical research, begin professional practice or advance in their current fields. The MS program offers six individual concentrations. The specialist program, which can be completed in three years, requires students to possess at least a bachelor’s degree. Students will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and research centers, and will benefit from academic advising, career services and library services.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesNoCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
6Ball State UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS10
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE57%
RANKING SCORE96.50The central purpose of the Ball State University master’s degree programs in psychological science are to prepare students for doctoral work and to present them with opportunities to conduct research. It is common for faculty to collaborate with students on projects. Master of arts degrees are available in both clinical psychology, and cognitive and social processes. The vast majority of students seeking assistantships find one, and the program boasts high numbers of graduates accepted into doctoral programs. Prospective students are encouraged to participate in a live, online webinar where they can learn about the program, meet students and ask questions.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
7Wright State University-Main CampusNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %67%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS11
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE40%
RANKING SCORE96.45Master’s degree options at Wright State University-Main Campus include industrial organizational psychology and human factors. Department-specific academic advisors help students plan their degrees, and fulfill all the program requirements. There are many organizations available for graduate program participants to join, including Psi Chi and the Psychology Club. Each faculty member maintains his or her own research facility, and on-campus laboratories are supplemented through partnerships with several local specialty facilities. The university owns the Virtual Environment Research, Interactive Technology, and Simulation facility, which is housed in the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
8Barry UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE41%
RANKING SCORE96.10The clinical psychology graduate program at Barry University culminates in master of science degree. Students will graduate prepared for either entry into doctoral programs or to begin work in the field of mental health. There is a 60-credit track, which qualifies students for work as mental health counselors in Florida, and a 36-credit track, which prepares aspiring doctoral degree candidates. The College of Arts and Sciences hosts a Preview Day, where prospective students can learn about programs, ask questions and meet the faculty. Students considering entering the program are encouraged to schedule a visit to the school.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
9Boston UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS10
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE84%
RANKING SCORE95.72The Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences at Boston University offers an eight-course master of arts degree that can be completed in one year. Students will explore a wide range of societal, behavioral and cognitive subjects and issues. Faculty not only supervise academic work, but coordinate with students for research projects. The program is open both to dedicated psychology students and students with minimal experience in the field of study. The program does not, however, qualify students for professional practice. Students are required to complete a minimum of at least an introductory psychology course. There is no thesis requirement, but students must complete a research apprenticeship.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
10Temple UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %76%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE66%
RANKING SCORE95.71Graduate-level psychology students can pursue a master of science degree in psychological research at Temple University. The program covers advanced coursework and research-intensive study, while instructing students on professional development. The program is intended for students who intend to progress to a doctoral program involving any study in the field of psychology. The program, which can be completed at the main campus, can be finished in two years. Students must enroll full time. The interdisciplinary program prepares students for careers in universities, the private sector, research, consulting, and the nonprofit and marketing sectors.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
11North Carolina Central UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %81%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE43%
RANKING SCORE95.66ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
12University of Central ArkansasNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %85%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE41%
RANKING SCORE95.55ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
13Saint Cloud State UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %39%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS10
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE49%
RANKING SCORE95.39ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
14University of Southern MississippiNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %74%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE50%
RANKING SCORE95.30ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
15University of South Florida-Main CampusNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %73%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE57%
RANKING SCORE95.06ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
16University of Southern CaliforniaNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %59%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE90%
RANKING SCORE94.99ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
17University of Akron Main CampusNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE40%
RANKING SCORE94.93ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
18Virginia Commonwealth UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %41%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE56%
RANKING SCORE94.84ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
19University of Northern ColoradoNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %79%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE45%
RANKING SCORE94.69ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
20Emporia State UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %76%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE42%
RANKING SCORE94.61ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
21Indiana State UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE43%
RANKING SCORE94.47ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
22Texas Woman’s UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %36%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE47%
RANKING SCORE94.36ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
23The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE66%
RANKING SCORE94.12ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
24The Sage CollegesNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE52%
RANKING SCORE94.05ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
25University of South DakotaNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %63%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE45%
RANKING SCORE93.90ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
26Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %41%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE38%
RANKING SCORE93.68ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
27University of MemphisNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %40%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE40%
RANKING SCORE93.67ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
28University of Arkansas at Little RockNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %50%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE19%
RANKING SCORE93.52ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
29Our Lady of the Lake UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE27%
RANKING SCORE93.50ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
30University of North DakotaNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %30%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE52%
RANKING SCORE93.35ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
31Texas Tech UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %39%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE62%
RANKING SCORE93.29ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
32Eastern Washington UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %56%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE46%
RANKING SCORE93.28ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
33Northern Arizona UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE49%
RANKING SCORE93.27ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
34North Carolina State University at RaleighNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %50%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE71%
RANKING SCORE93.24ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
35Missouri State University-SpringfieldNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE55%
RANKING SCORE93.11ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
36University of Wisconsin-StoutNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %23%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE52%
RANKING SCORE93.08ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
37University of Massachusetts-BostonNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %58%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE38%
RANKING SCORE92.99ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
38University of Cincinnati-Main CampusNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE62%
RANKING SCORE92.98ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
39Mercy CollegeNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %88%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE34%
RANKING SCORE92.97ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceYes
40Case Western Reserve UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %84%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE78%
RANKING SCORE92.96ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
41Arkansas State University-Main CampusNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %65%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE39%
RANKING SCORE92.88ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo
42Northeastern UniversityNET
PRICE
FINANCIAL
AID %69%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO 
GRAD
RATE79%
RANKING SCORE92.85ADDITIONAL BENEFITS:Placement ServicesYesCounseling ServicesYesCredit for ExperienceNo

Search Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

Online master’s in psychology programs can vary in a number of ways, from overall focus to attendance options. Once students decide what they want in a program, they can use this tool to find programs information such as degree level, subject, accreditation, cost, population, and public or private school type. StateDegree LevelSchool TypeEnvironmentClear All Filters

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1,128 ResultsFILTERING BY:ONLINEMASTERS DEGREE

SchoolTuition & FeesAcceptance RateStudent PopulationSchool TypePrograms
Abilene Christian UniversityAbilene, TXIn-state:
$29,450

Out-of-state:
$29,450
62%4,853Both Online and Campus2
Adams State UniversityAlamosa, COIn-state:
$5,160

Out-of-state:
$15,960
21.25%4,142Both Online and Campus1
Adelphi UniversityGarden City, NYIn-state:
$30,840

Out-of-state:
$30,840
63.98%9,442Both Online and Campus2
Adler Graduate SchoolRichfield, MN430Both Online and Campus1
Adler UniversityChicago, IL1,234Both Online and Campus1
Alabama A & M UniversityNormal, ALIn-state:
$7,500

Out-of-state:
$15,000
35.25%5,591Both Online and Campus1
Alabama State UniversityMontgomery, ALIn-state:
$6,936

Out-of-state:
$13,872
26.32%6,992Both Online and Campus1
Albany State UniversityAlbany, GAIn-state:
$3,792

Out-of-state:
$13,796
39.62%4,782Both Online and Campus1
Albertus Magnus CollegeNew Haven, CTIn-state:
$28,440

Out-of-state:
$28,440
49.74%2,052Both Online and Campus1
Alcorn State UniversityAlcorn State, MSIn-state:
$4,923

Out-of-state:
$4,923
40.35%4,356Both Online and Campus1
Alderson Broaddus UniversityPhilippi, WVIn-state:
$22,530

Out-of-state:
$22,530
45.22%1,233Both Online and Campus1
Alfred UniversityAlfred, NYIn-state:
$25,076

Out-of-state:
$25,076
55.38%2,521Both Online and Campus1
Alliant International University-San DiegoSan Diego, CAIn-state:
$15,840

Out-of-state:
$15,840
5,146Both Online and Campus2
Alvernia UniversityReading, PAIn-state:
$29,500

Out-of-state:
$29,500
53.26%3,638Both Online and Campus1
American International CollegeSpringfield, MAIn-state:
$30,940

Out-of-state:
$30,940
37.74%4,821Both Online and Campus1
American Public University SystemCharles Town, WVIn-state:
$6,000

Out-of-state:
$6,000
45.61%115,131Online2
American UniversityWashington, DCIn-state:
$41,316

Out-of-state:
$41,316
81.66%13,778Both Online and Campus2
Anderson UniversityAnderson, INIn-state:
$26,770

Out-of-state:
$26,770
62.78%2,785Both Online and Campus1
Anderson UniversityAnderson, SCIn-state:
$21,660

Out-of-state:
$21,660
51.75%3,219Both Online and Campus1
Andrews UniversityBerrien Springs, MIIn-state:
$25,416

Out-of-state:
$25,416
58.66%4,899Both Online and Campus1

Timeline to an Online Psychology Master’s Degree

Students pursuing online master’s degrees in psychology programs can generally complete their studies in 18 to 36 months, depending on individual programs and course loads. Master’s students will need to have a bachelor’s degree (though not necessarily in psychology), and as much as five years’ work experience in order to apply. An advanced degree in psychology will explore subjects like the history of psychology, theories of personality, and principles of psychology analysis. Prospective students will likely already have an idea of the field concentrations that interest them most, e.g. clinical psychology, education and research, organizational psychology and more.APPLICATION PROCESS

Prospective students should prepare their applications to online master’s programs with with great care. Psychology degree admissions officers tend to evaluate applicants using traditional graduate school entrance requirements, like test scores and GPA, but also consider one’s character and passion. Applicants should use the application process to showcase their interests, experience and dedication to the field.Pick a concentration

Many master’s programs in psychology offer specialty degrees in educational psychology, applied psychology or organizational psychology, to name a few. Heading into the application process, students should have a strong idea of in which direction they will head. This will help them choose a course schedule, specific professional organizations, and work or internship opportunities in the field.Pay attention to licensure requirements

Students who would like to practice clinical psychology should identify programs that align with state licensing requirements, particularly if they intend to work in a different state. A general psychology master’s from NOVA Southeastern University, for example, will not allow graduates to practice in Florida; a master’s of science in counseling will. Applicants need to have an idea of what they want to do and where they want to go so they can be sure to start on the right path.GPA requirement from a previous degree

Admissions officers will consider a student’s GPA during the application process, which can be quite competitive. Some programs require a cumulative 3.0 GPA. If a student had poor grades during their bachelor’s programs, it may be more difficult to get accepted. Non-traditional, better-off-paper applicants should use their references and personal statement to make up for poor scores in this area.Financial aid

Applicants should take advantage of every opportunity possible to mitigate the costs of their master’s degree program. This includes looking out for merit (GPA)-based subsidies, federal aid, and private scholarships. Individual degree programs and offices may have a scholarship or financial aid sector for which students can apply, and many professional psychological organizations give financial aid, too. Prospective students should check in with their adviser or admissions office for additional information.References and Resumes

Students should ask their current supervisors, professors or community leaders for references. References are required for many master’s in psychology programs, and offer an inside look into an applicant’s character, personality and work-ethic. Admissions officers want to know about an applicant’s work experience, skillset and passion for the field.Interview

Some schools require students to interview with a faculty member or a panel of people in the department. Some offer voluntary interviews. In either case, interviews strengthen graduate school applications, particularly among students with “off-paper” accomplishments best showcased in person or by phone.Personal Statement

Admissions officers want to know who they are accepting into their programs, but it is difficult to get an idea of one’s personality or suitability from an application alone. For programs that request an essay or a personal statement, students should seize the opportunity to describe who they are, why they want to earn master’s in psychology degrees, and how they plan to contribute to their community and to the field upon completion.Show off any research experience

Research is huge in the psychology field, especially if an applicant is seeking an advanced degree. Students that are comfortable with it will have a good leg up on other applicants who aren’t, both during the admissions process and within their studies.YEARS 1 MILESTONES

Online master’s degree programs in psychology vary, but are generally structured similarly. The timeline can be divided into two sections: coursework and a practicum or electives and capstones. Many research-based programs do not lead to a clinical license, so do not require a practicum. Instead, they have more electives and require capstone projects, such as conducting research.

Year 1 will focuses on foundational concepts. Some attention should be directed to choosing one’s required practicum subject and experience as well.Master the foundations of the field

Even psychology students who already have a bachelor’s degree need to understand the basics. There is a lot of information in Year 1 of an online master’s program regarding history of the field and theory and analysis, and these ideas will help solidify a student’s personal philosophy regarding practicing psychology.Build a network

Students should take great care to make connections during Year 1 (and all subsequent years). Relationships with students, faculty, and advisers in your field can lead to big opportunities in the future. Students should get involved in professional organizations of their specific concentration and should develop a presence in their professional community.Mentorship

We can all learn so much from the people who have come before us. Students should be open to finding a mentor-someone who can answer questions and serve as a sounding board. This may be a professor, or a professional currently working in the field. Asking tough questions is OK, as these are the differences that will set some parts of the field apart from others. For example, “Would you take the same path all over again?,” “What do you love and hate about your daily work?,” and “What would you change about your role in the field?,” will elicit responses that may help students carve their own career paths.YEAR 2 MILESTONES

Many students complete online master’s programs in psychology by the end of Year 2, so coursework tends to focus on advanced coursework, practica and/or capstone projects. A general guide:Wrap up basic and elective coursework

This is really the time for students to explore different aspects of the general field. In addition to core courses, students may try out additional classes in arenas like sport psychology, human sexuality, hypnosis or stress disorder psychology.Work experience or practicum

As students get closer to graduation, they should keep an eye out for internships and volunteer opportunities within their field. This will help expand their network and gain real-life experience in students’ respective fields. Students required to complete a practicum should research internships as early as four-six months before actually applying to them.Update your resume

Graduating students should keep their resume fresh. Potential employers are everywhere, and students never know when a resume handed to a random professional could turn into the next stop on the career pathGRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

Candidates are ultimately responsible for completing all of the requirements that come with graduation. For some programs, that includes a report or project on the field work students completed. For others, different capstones outside of the main field of study are required.Internship

While internships are often suggested, they are sometimes required. Students should complete the appropriate paperwork early and begin the work quickly as there may be as schools may require as many as 250 practical hours.Capstones

Programs that have an educational or research-based track often require graduates to complete a capstone paper or project, such as a research review or study. Topics might include lifespan development, gerontology, and learning theory, among many more.Practicum

Clinically focused programs require master’s in psychology candidates to complete a practicum. This generally includes as many as 300 hours of clinical experience at on-site and under supervision. Students should look for opportunities at sites that already have training programs in place.

After Your Degree: What to do with a Master’s in Psychology

Master’s in psychology students will likely have many opportunities available to them upon graduation. While some careers will require students to continue and complete a doctorate degree, others only require a master’s. Opportunities will vary according to the concentration students have chosen, but there are some exciting prospects across the board. Some graduates may head in the direction of clinical psychology while others become premier researchers and professors. The careers listed here are only some of those available to candidates with advanced psychology degrees.BROWSE MASTER’S IN PSYCHOLOGY CAREERSPrivate Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists treat patients who struggle with mental health disorders and problems. They are responsible for assessing, diagnosing and prescribing treatment for their patients. Many of these professionals manage their own practices, too.Mean Annual Wage

$65,500Growth Potential

12 percentRehabilitation Clinical Psychologist

Rehabilitation psychologists work with patients that have chronic physical issues, like disabilities or debilitating degenerative diseases. Psychologists often work in clinical settings as many of their patients find everyday tasks difficult.Mean Annual Wage

$55,000Growth Potential

19 percentProfessor in Clinical Psychology

A master’s degree will help professionals secure jobs in community colleges and some four-year institutions. As an educator, these professionals are responsible for passing along information to the next generation, and often stay involved in research to further the field.Mean Annual Wage

$78,000Growth Potential

31 percent

Counseling Psychology Degree and Career Guide

Counseling psychology has been recognized as a specialty in professional psychology by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1998.1 Counseling psychology is considered a general practice in the field, focusing on how people function, personally and in their interpersonal relationships with others. It seeks to address a wide variety of emotional, social, work, and school issues that people may have at different times in their lives.

Counseling psychologists must complete graduate, doctoral-level programs, such as a PhD in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), which typically take around four to six years to complete. Those with master’s degrees in clinical psychology may be able to practice in the field in supervised roles. Beginning with an undergraduate degree in psychology is the most common path, followed by a master’s degree (if not included in the doctoral study) and a doctoral degree in the field. Once a doctoral degree is obtained, counseling psychologists will go on to seek licensure in their state, which typically involves completing related experience under the supervision of a licensed psychologist and taking one or more exams, depending on the state.

Quick Facts

  • There are 309 colleges and universities with counseling psychology programs.2
  • 8 schools offer a certificate in counseling psychology.2
  • 3 schools offer an associate’s degree in counseling psychology.2
  • 35 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology.2
  • 279 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in counseling psychology.2

For not-for-profit colleges and universities.

Table of Contents

Counseling Psychology Degree Requirements and CourseworkBest Value Schools with On-Campus Counseling Psychology ProgramsSelect Counseling Psychology Degree ProgramsCounseling Psychologist Career InformationBecoming a Counseling PsychologistJob DescriptionSalary and Job OutlookAdditional ResourcesFrequently Asked QuestionsFIND SCHOOLS

Counseling Psychology Degree Requirements and Coursework

At the graduate level, psychology students are expected to narrow their focus to one area of psychology in order to receive the most comprehensive education that will prepare them for their unique career choices. Counseling psychology is one specialization (also called concentration, specialty, or emphasis) within the broad field of clinical psychology that addresses the psychology of people within their everyday lives. This might include assisting clients with daily stress management, specific mental disorders, and coping with difficult or negative life events. Counseling psychology degree programs typically focus on core research design and statistics courses, as well as courses in human growth and development, cognitive behavior, and counseling theory and research, along with a practicum and clinical training. Requirements for advanced counseling psychology programs typically include a bachelor’s degree (sometimes in psychology or a related field), a GPA of at least 3.0, and acceptable GRE scores. Some programs might require professional experience and/or references. Sample coursework for students of counseling psychology programs may include:

  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
  • Atypical Growth and Development
  • Career Counseling
  • Cognitive Assessment
  • Counseling in Community Settings
  • Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Psychopathology: Diagnosis and Intervention
  • Theories of Counseling

Best Value Schools with On-Campus Counseling Psychology Programs

The table below represents the best value colleges and universities offering an on-campus counseling psychology program at the graduate level. To compile this table, we researched not-for-profit schools with the highest graduation rates (70% or above) and the lowest net prices (below $20,000 per year). Keep in mind that the data available is based on undergraduate statistics for each school, as graduate statistics are not available from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). We have also included other information to help you in your search, such as percentage of faculty with tenure, names of applicable degrees, and US News & World Report national rankings.

SchoolGraduate Degree(s)US News National Rank3Grad Rate2% Tenured Faculty4Net Price2
Appalachian State UniversityMA Clinical Mental Health Counseling;
MA Professional School Counseling
NR73%39%$10,473
University of IowaPhD Counseling Psychology#89 tie74%48%$14,845
University of OregonPhD Counseling Psychology#102 tie72%36%$15,100
University of FloridaPhD Counseling Psychology#35 tie88%52%$15,283
University of Wisconsin-MadisonMS Counseling Psychology;
PhD Counseling Psychology
#49 tie87%49%$15,910
University of GeorgiaPhD Counseling Psychology#46 tie85%54%$15,934
University at BuffaloPhD Counseling Psychology/
School Psychology
#89 tie75%35%$16,120
Texas A&M University-College StationPhD Counseling Psychology#66 tie82%49%$19,554

FIND SCHOOLS

Select Counseling Psychology Degree Programs

Traditional Master’s Programs

Appalachian State University

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Appalachian State University (App State) offers concentrations in several areas: General Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Addictions Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, Expressive Arts Therapy, and Body Centered Therapy. Each of these concentrations, besides General Mental Health Counseling, requires a minimum of nine credit hours of study. The Master of Arts (MA) degree includes core courses such as Research Methods, Multicultural Counseling, Life and Career Planning, Helping Relationships, and Group Methods and Processes, in addition to specialty courses like Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling as well as Developmental Assessment and Diagnosis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The total number of credit hours required for graduation in the MA program is 60, with 18 being concentration and elective hours. App State’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program prepares graduates to work as professional counselors and helping professionals in mental health centers, social service agencies, businesses, and more.

Towson University

Towson University in Towson, Maryland offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology with a concentration in Counseling Psychology. The program trains its students to facilitate personal, educational, vocational, and group change for individuals of all ages. The MA degree offers two tracks: a practitioner track and a research track. The practitioner track focuses on training its students to be counselors and therapists at the master’s level. The research track specifically prepares students for successful entrance into a PhD program, with intensive training in research methodology, statistics, and a master’s-level thesis. Both tracks require the completion of 48 credit hours including supervised practicum and internship experiences. Admission requirements include a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, official transcripts, acceptable GRE scores, a letter of intent, and three letters of recommendation. Successful candidates will be required to interview with the faculty of the counseling psychology program.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Counseling Psychology offers a Master of Science (MS) in Counseling Psychology. Its curriculum satisfies Wisconsin’s licensure requirement as a 60-credit program. The MS degree takes two years of full-time study including summers to complete, plus a third year dedicated to an internship or practicum with an approved on-site supervisor. Required for admission are three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and GRE scores. Admission is competitive; of the 180 master’s applications the school receives each year, only 14 to 16 applicants are accepted. While the master’s is considered a terminal degree, many MS students go on to pursue a PhD in counseling psychology, also offered by UM-Madison, as the two programs are closely aligned in their preparation of counseling professionals.

Traditional PhD Programs

Indiana University-Bloomington

Indiana University in Bloomington (IU-Bloomington) currently offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Counseling Psychology that has been ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Grad Schools for Student Counseling and Personnel Services. Based on a scientist-practitioner model, the PhD program at IU-Bloomington places a strong emphasis on multicultural issues and specialized training. Graduates work as psychologists in college counseling centers, faculty members in higher education, and psychologists in a broad range of healthcare facilities. Accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the program is 90 credit hours in length and gives students real-world experience as counselors and counselor supervisors. A master’s degree or undergraduate degree in psychology is preferred. Coursework covers the areas of psychological measurement, statistics, cognitive behavior, intervention strategies, and an area of specialization. GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a personal goal statement are required for admission.

Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University’s (WMU) College of Education and the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology offers a doctoral program in counseling psychology. Admission is competitive; of 69 applications received in 2006-7, only nine new students were admitted. Most students (27%) complete the program in six years, but 24% complete it in five years. Required documents include a resume or curriculum vitae (CV), three letters of recommendation, acceptable GRE scores, and a written statement of intent. The counseling psychology PhD program, which is based on a scientist-practitioner model, began in 1978 and has been accredited by the APA since 1993. Coursework is focused on professional issues and ethics, consultation, vocational psychology, and multicultural counseling. A 2,000-hour pre-doctoral internship in an APA/APPIC setting is required for graduation, as well as a dissertation. The program is proud to be culturally diverse in its student population.

University of Kansas

The Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Kansas (KU) offers a PhD in Counseling Psychology that has been accredited by the APA since 1955. Following a scientist-practitioner model, the doctoral program trains its students in the areas of clinical treatment and academic research. Admission requirements include an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or a graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher, official transcripts, statement of intent, resume, GRE scores at or above the 50th percentile, and a degree (undergraduate or graduate) in psychology, education, counseling, or a related field. KU’s PhD program accepts only six to eight new students each year. The curriculum includes courses in diagnosis and psychopathology, diversity issues, human development, ethical and legal issues, and counseling theory and techniques. Students are also expected to complete a practicum or internship to gain real experience in the field.FIND SCHOOLS

Online and Hybrid Programs

Fisher College

Fisher College offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling Psychology with a Trauma Track that can be completed in a hybrid format, with classes on campus in Boston and online. The MA program takes 60 credits to complete (20 three-credit courses), which can be completed in five terms or 24 months. Graduates are prepared for licensure as Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) in Massachusetts as well as other states. With an emphasis on trauma, students in this degree program not only take core coursework in subjects like counseling techniques and psychopharmacology but they also learn about serving people who have experienced physical, emotional, and sexual trauma or chronic illness. Specific courses include Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling; Crisis Intervention and Disaster Mental Health; Psychological Assessment and Techniques; and Psychological Trauma Across the Lifespan.

Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University offers a combined Master of Arts (MA) and Educational Specialist (EdS) degree in Professional Counseling that can be completed online. Both degrees can be obtained for a total of 60 credits, with the MA comprising 48 credits and the EdS comprising an additional 12 credits. The program does not accept transfer students or transfer credits. Admission to Seton Hall University’s professional counseling program requires official transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE or Miller Analogies scores, a resume, three letters of recommendation from academic and professional colleagues, and a personal statement. Courses include Counseling Theory, Psychology of Human Development, Abnormal Psychology, Orientation to Professional Counseling, Etiology and Treatment of Addictions, and Couple and Family Dynamics. A four-day residency at the beginning of the program and again the following year is required, with expenses included in tuition, excluding transportation.

Counseling Psychologist Career Information

How to Become a Counseling Psychologist

In all states, becoming licensed as a counseling psychologist requires earning a doctoral degree in psychology (a PsyD or a PhD). In addition to pursuing an advanced degree, prospective psychologists must gain extensive supervised experience and take a required exam (or exams) before being eligible to practice as psychologists. The general steps for becoming a counseling psychologist are:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and (optionally) a master’s degree in psychology or a related field.
  2. Earn an accredited PsyD or PhD in Psychology with a specialization in counseling psychology.
  3. Complete the postdoctoral supervised clinical experience required by your state.
  4. Pass the required exam(s), including the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
  5. Apply for and receive a license from your state psychology board.
  6. Begin practicing as a counseling psychologist in your state.
  7. Complete continuing educational requirements to keep your license current.

Job Description

Counseling psychologists help people deal with emotional, physical, and mental health issues, attempting to resolve crises and minimize stressors. They may assess, diagnose, and treat mild-to-severe psychological symptoms and aid in crisis intervention, trauma management, and family or relationship issue resolution. Counseling psychologists may be employed by colleges and universities, independent practices, or community health centers. In an academic setting, they may be teachers or researchers. In independent settings, they may provide counseling, assessment, and consultation to individuals, families, or organizations, helping them to alleviate stresses, improve relationships, or cope with psychological issues. Other counseling psychologists may work with veterans, drug and alcohol addicts, or children. People with counseling psychology degrees may seek job titles including:

  • Behavioral health counselor
  • Case worker
  • Career counselor
  • Clinical psychologist*
  • Professional counselor
  • Psychologist*

*A doctoral degree is usually required for this job title.

Salary and Job Outlook

In May 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earned an average annual salary of $87,450.5 California employed the highest number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in 2019 (16,960), while Oregon had the highest mean wage for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists ($112,010).5 Other states with high employment levels for these types of psychologists included New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois while the other states with the highest average wages for psychologists included California, Washington DC, New York, and Louisiana.5

The employment outlook for counseling psychologists is positive, with predicted job growth of 15% for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists through the year 2028.6 That predicted growth is much faster than the national average for all jobs of 7% and slightly faster than the expected growth for all psychologists of 14%.6

Additional Resources

  • The Society of Counseling Psychology (SCP): The SCP is the APA’s Division of Counseling Psychology (Division 17) which seeks to promote personal, educational, vocational, and group adjustment through bringing together psychologists, students of psychology, and professional affiliates.
  • American Counseling Association (ACA): With 56,000 members, the ACA is the world’s largest association of professional counselors in a variety of settings. It offers members access to webinars, publications, and continuing education opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a degree in counseling psychology?

Obtaining a counseling psychology degree can afford you many career opportunities, including jobs at universities, health centers, and independent practices. With a degree in counseling psychology, you can help people of all ages and walks of life deal with and overcome problems.

How long will it take me to get my degree in counseling psychology?

Typically, a doctoral program in counseling psychology will take four to six years and a master’s program will take an average of two years. Check with the individual college or university to look into the typical coursework and time required to complete the degree.

What major do you need to be a counseling psychologist?

To become a licensed counseling psychologist in all states, you will need a PhD in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Some states have related psychology licenses available for those with a master’s in psychology. At the undergraduate level, the most relevant major you can choose is psychology. A related major, such as counseling, might also be a good choice for prospective psychologists. You can read more about psychology degrees on our psychology degrees page.

How much do counseling psychologists make?

According to the BLS, counseling psychologists, who are grouped together with clinical and school psychologists, earn an average salary of $87,450 per year.5 Factors that may affect counseling psychologists’ salaries include location, years of experience, and employer.

What does a counseling psychologist do?

Counseling psychologists help people work through problems from day-to-day stresses to family or work relationships to traumatic events and psychological disorders. Licensed counseling psychologists meet with clients and can assess, diagnose, and treat symptoms if necessary.

Can I become a mental health counselor with a counseling psychology degree?

In some states, a degree in counseling psychology can qualify you to become a licensed mental health counselor. It is best to check with your state’s board of professional counselors if that is your intent.

What is the difference between a clinical psychologist and a counseling psychologist?

Both types of psychologists are able to practice independently and are qualified to provide psychotherapy and counseling services to their clients. While there is a lot of overlap between the two fields, on a basic level clinical psychology tends to be more concerned with mental health disturbances while counseling psychology tends to be more focused on advice and guidance. A counseling psychologist might be more likely to treat otherwise healthy individuals who are facing temporary problems and a clinical psychologist might be more likely to treat individuals with major psychological illnesses. However, this is certainly not always the case, and the lines between the two fields have become more blurred over time.

About the author

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