online master programs in psychology

Last Updated on December 15, 2022

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online master programs in psychology

Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs of 2022

Many careers in the psychology field require an advanced degree. These online master’s programs can help you further your career while gaining work experience.

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Pursuing an online master’s in psychology qualifies graduates for various roles unavailable to professionals with only an undergraduate degree. Most psychology master’s programs take 2-3 years to complete and allow graduates to pursue positions in public, private, and nonprofit settings.

Prospective students considering this path should review the information provided throughout this guide to make an informed decision. Covered topics include degree types, admission requirements, typical courses, and available jobs after graduation.

What Can I Do With an Online Master’s in Psychology Degree?

Earning a master’s in psychology online prepares you for many different careers in several fields and industries. Some individuals use their training to work in nonprofit and community settings. Others plan to work in business arenas.

Demand for professionals with a master’s degree in psychology is undoubtedly on the rise. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 22% job growth for marriage and family therapists between 2019 and 2029.

See where a master’s in psychology degree can take you. Learn more about psychology degrees.

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What Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Psychology Program?

An online master’s in psychology degree offers a great path for individuals who want to use their skills and interests to help others. Whether working with students as a school counselor, providing support as a substance abuse counselor, or finding the next great theory as a research assistant, there are plenty of jobs that allow graduates to make a difference.

Most programs comprise 36-60 credits and touch on both general and specialized topics. Concentrations vary by program, but common options include counseling psychology, clinical psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and sports psychology.

In addition to classes, many programs include lab components to study scientific aspects of the discipline. Internships are generally not required, but students can participate in voluntary internships if they so choose.

When looking at programs, take note whether a master of arts (MA) or master of science (MS) degree better suits your career goals. An MA is a great fit for learners interested in providing counseling services. An MS provides a great path toward future education and research.

Types of Psychology Degrees

Online psychology master’s degrees cover a wide spectrum of specializations, helping students hone their knowledge and develop specific skills. For example, students aspiring to general psychology roles may pursue clinical psychology specializations, whereas learners interested in organizational behavior may enroll in organizational psychology programs.

Admission Requirements for Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

While graduate admission requirements vary by program, many programs set similar guidelines. For instance, all students must hold a bachelor’s degree. Some schools require this degree to be in psychology. Many programs also set GPA and GRE score cutoffs.

Additional requirements often include professional and academic letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a curriculum vitae or resume.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master’s in Psychology Program?

Most online master’s degrees in psychology cover both foundational and advanced concepts. MA programs better serve students looking to work in counseling, while MS degrees are a good fit for learners interested in psychological research. Below, we look at common courses in both degree types.

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Principles of Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Multicultural Issues in Psychology

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2022 Best Accredited Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1 Online College in California

Pepperdine University

School Information
LocationMalibu, CA
Admission Rate32%
Graduation Rate86%
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment18% ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,700
Out of State | $1,700

Credits to Graduate
36-48

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | WASC Senior College and University Commission

Pepperdine’s MA in psychology program uses a clinical framework to explore psychological theory and practice. Students learn how to diagnose, prevent, and treat mental and emotional disorders. The program introduces psychotherapy techniques.

Students graduate in 18-24 months. Learners can enroll part-time or full-time. Students with transfer credits may graduate more quickly. Applicants to this master’s in psychology program need a bachelor’s degree. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores.View less about this program –

#2 Online College in California

Northcentral University

School Information
LocationLa Jolla, CA
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $856
Out of State | $856

Credits to Graduate
30 

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | WASC Senior College and University Commission

Founded in 1996, NCU delivers all programs online. The MA in psychology program offers a specialization in gender and sexual fluidity. Students complete core courses in areas such as research design and human development and functioning. 

The specialization examines the factors that influence gender diversity. Students learn how to apply core psychological principles in the specialization. Most students earn the master’s in psychology in 18 months. The MA does not prepare enrollees for state licensure. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree. NCU does not require GRE scores.View less about this program –

#3 Online College in Virginia

Divine Mercy University

School Information
LocationSterling, VA
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment100% ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $796
Out of State | $796

Credits to Graduate
33 

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

A Christian school located in Virginia, DMU offers a fully online MS in psychology program. Students explore psychological theory, research, and intervention best practices. The program offers several concentrations, including leadership and marriage and family studies. Learners can customize the program with a self-designed concentration.

The asynchronous master’s in psychology program requires one synchronous virtual residency. Students can complete the MS in 16-26 months. Eight-week terms accelerate degree completion. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA, and some applicants must submit GRE scores.View less about this program –

#4 Online College in California

Palo Alto University

School Information
LocationPalo Alto, CA
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment32% ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $872
Out of State | $872

Credits to Graduate
37.5-47 units

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | WASC Senior College and University Commission

PAU delivers an MS in psychology for working professionals pursuing a career change or career advancement. Students take synchronous evening classes. The program offers tracks in general psychology, forensic psychology, and Ph.D. prep. 

Core courses cover topics including child and adolescent development, psychopathology and psychodiagnosis, and research methods and statistics. The Ph.D. prep track requires a one-week, in-person intensive. 

The online master’s in psychology does not qualify graduates to obtain licensure. Applicants need a bachelor’s, a minimum 3.3 GPA, and prerequisite psychology coursework. PAU does not require GRE scores. View less about this program –

#5 Online College in Virginia

Liberty University

School Information
LocationLynchburg, VA
Admission Rate51%
Graduation Rate47%
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment92% ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $565, full-time; $615, part-time
Out of State | $565, full-time; $615, part-time

Credits to Graduate
36 

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

One of the nation’s top Christian colleges, Liberty offers an MA in applied psychology online. Degree-seekers learn how to apply psychological theories in various settings. The online master’s in psychology program features core courses in cognitive and social psychology. Participants learn how to use research methods and statistics in psychology.

Students choose from specializations in developmental psychology and industrial-organizational psychology. Most enrollees complete the degree in 1.5 years. Students can transfer up to 50% of required credits from an accredited school. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree and a minimum 2.5 GPA.View less about this program –

#6 Online College in California

Golden Gate University-San Francisco

School Information
LocationSan Francisco, CA
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment67% ?

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Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,090
Out of State | $1,090

Credits to Graduate
60 

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | WASC Senior College and University Commission

Located in San Francisco, GGU offers an MA in counseling psychology. Students gain experience in clinical settings. Participants explore topics such as psychopathology, human sexuality, psychological assessment, and evidence-based practice treatment. Enrollees concurrently complete 300 face-to-face clinical hours and a practicum seminar.

The degree qualifies holders to earn licensure as a marriage and family therapist or a licensed professional clinical counselor. Admission to the master’s in psychology program requires a bachelor’s degree and a minimum 2.5 GPA.View more about this program +

#7 Online College in New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information
LocationManchester, NH
Admission Rate88%
Graduation Rate44%
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment94% ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $627
Out of State | $627

Credits to Graduate
36 

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | New England Commission of Higher Education

SNHU offers an MS in psychology with three concentrations. Core coursework gives learners a strong foundation in cognitive psychology, social psychology, and research methods. Learners customize the degree with a concentration in forensic psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, or child and adolescent development psychology.

The degree does not qualify graduates to obtain state licensure. Students can transfer up to 12 credits into the online master’s in psychology program. All students pay the same affordable tuition. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree and prerequisite psychology coursework. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores.View more about this program +

#8 Online College in Indiana

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global

School Information
LocationMarion, IN
Graduation Rate38%
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment97% ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $490
Out of State | $490

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Most students earn IWU’s MA in psychology in approximately one year. Students take general psychology courses in areas such as lifespan development, theories of personality development, and research methods in psychology. The curriculum shows students how to apply biblical and ethical principles in their career.

Enrollees specialize in life coaching and positive psychology or industrial-organizational psychology. The master’s in psychology program culminates with a capstone project. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree and a minimum 2.5 GPA.View more about this program +

#9 Online College in Indiana

Purdue University Global-Indianapolis

School Information
LocationWest Lafayette, IN
Graduation Rate27%
Institution TypePublic
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment99% ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $420
Out of State | $420

Credits to Graduate
60-75 

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission

Purdue Global’s MS in psychology offers five concentrations. Students explore theories and research in general psychology. The program emphasizes the practical application of psychology concepts. The applied behavior analysis and addictions concentrations meet the educational requirements for certification. Some concentrations require a practicum that online students can complete in their community.

The program culminates with a thesis or exam. Full-time students complete the online master’s in psychology in 1.5-2.5 years. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores.View more about this program +

#10 Online College in Florida

Nova Southeastern University

School Information
LocationFort Lauderdale, FL
Admission Rate80%
Graduation Rate58%
Institution TypePrivate
AccreditationYes ?
Percent Online Enrollment45% ?

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100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $840
Out of State | $840

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The MS in general psychology is a nonclinical program. Students complete the MS online with no campus requirements. The 30-credit degree does not require a background in psychology. The curriculum examines concepts such as behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. 

Students can choose a general psychology track and complete a thesis in lieu of two courses. NSU designed the applied health science track for healthcare professionals. The degree provides the prerequisites for doctoral study. Admission to this master’s in psychology requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of the bachelor’s. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores.View more about this program +

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