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The 10 Best Online Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs

Psychology projects to be one of the most popular professional fields in the United States over the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment for psychologists – including those work in as part of a healthcare team, social workers, or school psychologists — will grow 14%, adding 23,000 new jobs with a median annual wage over $75,000. Of course, not all trained psychologists work in clinical or psych-specific settings: business, marketing and advertising, nonprofits, government, and academia are other common career paths.

In any event, for those interested in advanced psychology – including applied psychology and general psychology studies – a master’s degree can be great way to expand your current knowledge or develop further appreciation of the discipline. Specifically, the master’s in Psychology has one major advantage: customization. Psychology master’s degrees come in all different shapes and sizes, with MA and MS tracks as well as diverse specializations and concentrations. For education workers, the most common degrees are the MEd in Psychology and EdS in Psychology, each of which have unique features. For others, a general master’s might do the trick, or perhaps you’re looking for a master’s in Forensic Psychology. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll see the full range of degrees below, with a focus on online master’s degrees in psychology that prioritize flexible scheduling that won’t break the bank. Keep reading to find the degree that’s right for you!

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1) The University of Alabama

Founded in 1831, The University of Alabama is a public research institution with a graduate enrollment of about 5,000. Washington Monthly, Forbes, US News, and other publications annually rank it among the best public universities in the country. US News also highlights Alabama’s value, veteran services, and high school counselor rankings. With a 23:1 student-to-faculty ratio, UA balances a vibrant, collaborative atmosphere with a close-knit learning community and personalized instruction from world-class faculty. More than a third of classes have less than 20 students and only 20% have 50. Among the distinguished alumni include 15 Rhodes Scholars, 16 Truman Scholars, 32 Hollings Scholars, 6 Boren Scholars, and 47 Goldwater Scholars.

Alabama offers two online master’s in psychology: an MA in Educational Psychology (Learning and Assessment) and an MA/EdS in Educational Psychology (School Psychology). The former consists of 30 online hours, including Statistical Methods in Education, Evaluation of Classroom Learning, Development of Self-Regulation, Social and Cultural Foundations of Behavior, and Life-Span Development, among others. The MA/EdS delivers in a blended online/on-campus format, with 69 total credit hours of rigorous course work and clinical experience ( a school psychometry internship consisting of 300 field hours). Each program is designed to accommodate adult learners and working professionals, and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

2) Ball State University

Ball State University, founded in 1918, is a public institution with a total enrollment of 22,000, including students from 48 states, 43 countries, and each of Indiana’s 92 counties. As a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Princeton Review ranks Ball State as one of the best colleges in the Midwest, and US News ranks it highly among national and public schools. The 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports an intimate, collaborative learning community, and 90% of professors teach their classes without TA assistance, meaning students receive tailored instruction. Over forty percent of classes have fewer than 20 students.

Ball State offers two online master’s degrees in psychology: an MS in Quantitative Psychology (33 credits) and MA in Educational Psychology (30 credits). The former includes 7 core psychology classes supplemented by two concentration opportunities in Quantitative Methods and Mixed Methods. The MA in Educational Psychology features four potential specializations, giving students maximum control over their curriculum: Gifted and Talented, Human Development, Statistical and Research Methods, and Neuropsychology. All courses are taught by nationally-recognized experts and designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate a variety of students. Multiple start dates throughout the year make scheduling easy, and online students have access to numerous support services, including career planning services, tech support, academic support, and advising.

3) University of Georgia

Founded in 1785, The University of Georgia claims to be the first public, state-supported college in the country. Today, total enrollment is 36,000, including about 10,000 grad students, and US News ranks UGA among the best universities in the nation, with additional high marks for veteran services and on its high school counselor rankings. With an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, UGA balances a vibrant, collaborative learning community with intimate classes and tailored instruction from world-class faculty. Nearly half of classes have fewer than 20 students and just 11% have 50. Further, UGA is a national leader among public universities for major scholarship earners, including 23 Rhodes Scholarships, 51 Goldwater Scholarships, 20 Truman Scholarships, 14 Udall Scholarships, 36 Boren Scholarships and 7 Marshall Scholarships.

Georgia offers three online graduate programs in psychology: an MEd in Educational Psychology, with a specialization in Gifted and Creative Education; an MEd in Educational Psychology, with a specialization in Applied Cognition and Development; and an EdS in Educational Psychology, with a specialization in Gifted and Creative Education. Common courses include Characteristics of Gifted Children and Youth, Human Development for Education, Methods of Research in Education, Creativity and Cognition, and Multicultural Gifted and Talented Education, among others. All courses are designed for maximum flexibility to fit schedules for a variety of students, and practicum requirements give each curriculum a unique real-world approach for professional development.

4) University of North Texas

Founded in 1890 as a teaching college, The University of North Texas has a total enrollment of about 38,000, including 7,000 grad students. US News ranks UNT among the best universities in the country, and the university’s online programs have received special recognition, including four Top 10 rankings. The 26:1 student-to-faculty ratio promises a dynamic, collaborative educational setting, but tailored instruction, intimate classes, and real-world professional development remain major emphases. A quarter of all classes have fewer than 20 students.

North Texas offers two online master’s degrees in psychology: each an MS in Educational Psychology (33 credits) with concentrations available in Research & Evaluation (R&E) or Gifted and Talented (GT). Example courses include Introduction to Educational Psychology, Human Development Across the Lifespan, Statistics for Educational Research, Survey Research Methods in Education, and more. With multiple start dates and rotating 3-week, 5-week, and 8-week course blocks, UNT’s masters are accelerated (earn a master’s in as little as 15 months) and highly flexible for adult learners, working professionals, and non-traditional students. (Blended delivery formats are available as well.) In addition to teaching, graduates may pursue careers as program coordinators, curriculum specialists, or state education agency directors, among other roles.

5) Fort Hays State University

Founded in 1902, Fort Hays State University is the fourth-largest public university in Kansas with 11,200 students. Nearly 80% of students take online classes through the university’s Virtual College, which places on four “Best Of” lists by US News, and which includes 40 online associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. With a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Fort Hays promotes a lively, vibrant learning community that combines peer-to-peer course work with personalized instruction from expert faculty. Half of FHSU’s classes have less than 20 students, and affordability is a major point of emphasis: its tuition is among the lowest 2% in the country.

Fort Hays offers two online graduate programs in psychology that may be of interest: an online MS in Psychology (school emphasis) and an EdS in School Psychology. The 30-credit master’s includes courses in Behavior Therapy, Developmental Psychology, Professional Ethics in Psychology, Appraisal of Children, Inferential Statistics, and more. The 36-credit EdS features studies in Theories of Exceptionality, Characteristics of Early Childhood Special Education, and Psychological Consultation in Schools. In addition to the rigorous class curriculum, the EdS requires a practicum, portfolio or field study, and 1,200-hours in a supervised internship to develop hone and develop clinical skills. For each program, applicants should have earned at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and must subimt either GRE or MAT scores.

6) Union College

Established in 1879, Union College is a small, private liberal arts school with an enrollment of about 900 undergraduate and 230 graduate students, representing 35 states and 17 countries. With a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Union offers an extremely tight-learning community, combining individualized instruction with collaborative course work. All students receive some form of financial aid, and the school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Union offers online master’s programs in General Psychology and Clinical Psychology (both MAs). The former is a 37-hour degree with classes in Advanced Developmental Psychology, Social & Community Psychology, Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience, and more. Electives are available to tailor the degree to areas of professional interest. The master’s in Clinical Psychology (49 credits) includes both online and on-campus course work, including Statistics for Mental Health Professionals, Ethics and Professional Practice, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning, and more. (Those interested in pursuing licensure must complete an additional 12 hours in the Clinical Psychology Endorsement Contract.) Each degree is built to accommodate a variety of learners, and online students have access to career services, tutoring, and professional development.

7) University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota, founded in 1883, has a total enrollment of about 15,000 students from 50 states and 85 countries. US News ranks the school among the top 100 public universities in the country, and its online programs make five of the publication’s “Best Of” lists. Princeton Review, Forbes, and Washington Monthly have all highlighted NDU’s programs, as well. Classes are capped at 22, and the 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a tight-knit learning environment that balances peer-to-peer course work with individualized instruction from expert faculty. Over 40% of classes have less than 20 students and only 8% have 50.

North Dakota’s online master’s in Forensic Psychology consists of 35 credits and can be completed in a little over 2 years. Core requirements include Diversity Psychology, Psychology & Law, Advanced Univariate Statistics, Advanced Social Psychology, Behavior Pathology, and a Forensic Psychology Capstone, among other classes. From there, students can customize the curriculum through a variety of specialized electives like Conflict Management, Neuropsychology, Eyewitness Testimony, and Child Psychopathology. UND’s program is designed for maximum flexibility and career-oriented instruction. Graduates will be prepared to conduct focus groups and assists lawyers in trial preparation and jury selection; select and utilize tools for forensic assessment or evaluation; testify as an expert witness; assist courts and state agencies in addressing forensic issues.

8) Arizona State University

Founded in 1885, Arizona State University has a total enrollment of 52,000, including about 10,000 graduate students. US News ranks ASU as the the #1 Most Innovative School in America, and the university’s online programs hold five Top 15 rankings. Forbes, Money, The Daily Beast, and the Wall Street Journal have all recognized the university, as well. Arizona State is among the best-funded schools in the country for research, and the 23:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a dynamic educational setting that features expert faculty, personalized instruction, and collaborative learning. Over 40% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and less than one in five have 50.

Arizona State’s online MS in Psychology consists of 11 total classes and 33 credits. Core requirements include Professional Issues in Psychology, Quantitative Analysis, and Research Methods, followed by research, an applied project or comprehensive exam, and 24 electives, making ASU’s degree highly customizable. Electives cover a wide range of areas: abnormal psychology, affective science, behavior analysis, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, legal psychology, psychophysiology and social psychology. Courses deliver in accelerated 7.5-week blocks, and students can complete the degree in as little as 18 months. (Alternatively, part-time students have up to 6 years.) In particular, the master’s prepares graduates for careers in mental health, nonprofit organizations, or marketing.

9) University of Northern Colorado

Founded in 1890, The University of Northern Colorado has a total enrollment of 12,300, including about 3,000 graduate students. US News ranks several of its programs among the best in the country, including top-rated online degrees, and Northern Colorado is a Carnegie Community Engagement-classified university. The 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio is excellent for a school of its size, encouraging a tight-knit learning environment that fosters collaborative education and personalized instruction from expert faculty. Nearly 40% percent of classes have fewer than 20 students and just eleven percent have 50.

Northern Colorado offers an online MA in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Teaching Applications. The 30-credit curriculum consists of classes in Life Span Developmental Psychology, Cultural Issues in Educational Psychology, Cognition and Instruction, Brain and Education, and more, including an immersive project and comprehensive exam. Courses deliver in accelerated 8-week blocks, and students can complete the program in as little as 19 months. Designed for a variety of non-traditional students, adult learners, and working professionals, graduates will be prepared to advance their careers in educational consulting/training; K–12, community college or child care teaching; or business and industry training.

10) University of Louisiana at Monroe

Founded in 1931 as Ouachita Parish Junior College, The University of Louisiana at Monroe has an enrollment of 9,000, including about 1,000 graduate students. Washington Monthly ranks UL Monroe among the best schools in the region, and US News places it on four of its “Best Of” lists for online education. The 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio fosters a dynamic, vibrant atmosphere, balancing tailored instruction, collaborative learning, and personal and professional development. Nearly 40% classes have less than 20 students, and just 15% have more than 50.

UL Monroe’s online master’s in Psychology (MS) is a 36-credit program. Core requirements are Personality and Social Psychology and Directed Study. From there, the university offers two concentrations in Psychometric (may have limited online access) and Forensic Psychology (fully online) to allow students to customize the track to areas of professional interest. Example classes include Intelligence Testing, Psychopathology, Sociology of Law, Counseling in Criminal Justice, and Minorities, Crime, and Criminal Justice, among others (each concentration has built-in elective options, as well). Applicants should have earned at least a 2.75 undergraduate GPA and may need to submit GRE scores. The master’s is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.