2019 Best Master's in Psychology Online Programs

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These eight colleges offer affordable online master's programs in psychology and high earning potential after graduation, making them the best options for prospective students. At the top of the list is University of Idaho with a median salary of $131,400 for graduates in psychology. Annual tuition at University of Idaho is $7,800 for their M.S. in Psychology - Human Factors. Liberty University offers a variety of degree options in the field of psychology, including biopsychology, forensic psychology, and developmental psychology.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Find an Online Degree:
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 University of Idaho $7,800 $131,400
#2 #2 University of Southern California $47,626 $88,500
#3 #3 John F. Kennedy University $26,520 $77,800
#4 #4 National University $14,620 $76,100
#5 #5 California Institute of Integral Studies $23,300 $72,600
#6 #6 Nova Southeastern University $11,325 $69,400
#7 #7 Eastern Michigan University $12,375 $64,900
#8 #8 Liberty University $13,560 $55,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $7,800
  • Median Salary: $131,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
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The University of Idaho offers an online Master of Science in Psychology: Human Factors. Students choose either a thesis or non-thesis option. The non-thesis option requires a comprehensive exam. Admission to the online program requires a bachelor's in psychology or in a related field, a 3.0 GPA and GRE scores. This concentration focuses on the relationship of people to their workplace, including product design, safety, ergonomics and human/machine interface. Courses include Sensation and Perception, Engineering Psychology and Ergonomics and Biomechanics. The MS in Psychology Human Factors program dates to 1984, making the University of Idaho a pioneer in this field. All online graduate students pay the in-state tuition rate of $520 per credit.

  • Annual Tuition: $47,626
  • Median Salary: $88,500
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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The University of Southern California offers a highly respected online Master of Science in Applied Psychology. This 34 credit program can be completed in 16 months by taking two courses per semester. Students choose one of two concentrations or a combination of the two: Organizational Psychology and Consumer Psychology. Program emphasis is on enhancing the careers of employed professionals, particularly in fields where psychology and business overlap. Some examples of courses include Principles of Consumer Psychology,  Marketing and Organizational Analytics, and Group Dynamics and Leadership. The program ends with an internship. Annual Tuition is $47,626.

  • Annual Tuition: $26,520
  • Median Salary: $77,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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John F. Kennedy University offers an innovative online MA in Sport Psychology. JFKU's program takes two years full-time or three years part-time to complete, with a total of 77 quarter units. The program is cohort based, and on the quarter system. It focuses on developing skills for performance assessment and enhancement of individual and institutional athletic clients. The program allows students to prepare for and sit for the certification exam of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology; the basic credential in the field. JFKU is a pioneer in developing academic programs that relate to this new and expanding aspect of psychology. Courses include Social and Historical Issues in Sport, Ethics and Professional Issues in Sports Psychology, and Psychopathology Assessment. Tuition is a flat $680 per credit.

  • Annual Tuition: $14,620
  • Median Salary: $76,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC and WASC WSCUC
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National University offers two online Master of Arts programs in Psychology, the MA in Human Behavior and the MA in Performance Psychology. The Human Behavior degree requires a minimum of 54 quarter hours. It is designed specifically for working adults with an interest in careers in management or supervision. The Performance Psychology program requires a minimum of 67 quarter credits, with the program focussing on assessing and improving performance, including artists and performers as well as athletes. Program completion allows students to take the Association for Applied Sport Psychology certification exam; the industry standard. NU classes meet for four weeks terms, studying one subject at a time. Admission is by individual assessment, and will usually include a bachelor's degree. Tuition is very affordable at $430 per quarter credit. 

  • Annual Tuition: $23,300
  • Median Salary: $72,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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The California Institute of Integral Studies offers a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology concentrating in Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA). The program requires 60 credit units, takes three years to complete, and admission credentials are evaluated on an individual basis. CIIS uses an andragogical teaching method, in which the student self-directs their own education. Students are required to undergo 50 individual hours of psychotherapy. Program completion results in licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist and as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, as well as preparation for the Registered Expressive Art Therapist credential. A one-week intensive is required at the start of each semester, on the CISS campus in San Francisco. Tuition is $1,165 per unit, and accreditation is through WSCUC.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,325
  • Median Salary: $69,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Nova Southeastern University offers online Master of Science programs in General Psychology and Forensic Psychology. Forensic Psychology is a 36 credit program, focusing on the interface between legal areas and psychology. The General Psychology degree has three options: General Psychology, Applied Health Science and Diversity Studies. The 30 credit program has common core classes with the option of taking supplemental electives. The General Psychology option includes a thesis, and is recommended for students interested in a Ph.D. and for better understanding of psychology in a career. The other options are designed to enhance students' skills and awareness of diversity, and of psychology in health related professions. The programs do not lead to certification or licensure. Tuition is an affordable $775 per credit. NSU is located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,375
  • Median Salary: $64,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Eastern Michigan University offers an online Master of Arts in Educational Psychology, focusing on the Developing Learner. This 30 credit program may be completed in under two years, depending on course load per term. Students may opt for a thesis, or for a culminating experience. The Developing Learner track is one of two concentrations with this degree, one of which (Research and Assessment) is a hybrid program. The Developing Learner focuses on understanding all aspects of a learner so as to better design learning programs. Courses in the program include Psychology of Adolescence, Queer Theory, and Coping with Problem Behavior. Resident graduate tuition is $8,874 per year and non-resident $15,774. EMU is located in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,560
  • Median Salary: $55,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and TRACS
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Liberty University offers three online Master of Arts in Applied Psychology degrees and two other related online psychology programs. There is a general M.A. degree in Applied Psychology, as well as specializations in Developmental Psychology and Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Both specializations are 36-credit-hour programs can be finished in under two years. The Developmental Psychology program focuses on understanding research and implementing solutions, while the Industrial and Organizational Psychology program trains students to apply skills to industry and other organizational settings. In addition, Liberty offers an M.A. in Medical Sciences degree in Biopsychology; a 34-credit-program-hour that can be completed in one year, as well as an M.S. in Criminal Justice degree in Forensic Psychology; a 36-credit-hour program that can be completed in a year and a half. All of Liberty's degree programs reflect the school's strong Christian identity and seek to integrate Christian values into successful career training.

Online Master's in Psychology Overview

Program Requirements

Applicants to a master's degree program in psychology must hold an undergraduate degree and provide official transcripts from any accredited schools they have attended. Some schools require that applicants meet a minimum GPA in previous coursework to be considered for admission. These 42-credit programs can be completed in two years. Some graduates continue their education by enrolling in a PhD program to become a clinical psychologist.

Curriculum

Master's degrees delve into more specialized areas of psychology and have course requirements that are quite different from those of undergraduate degrees. Core courses for master's psychology programs may include topics such as lifespan development, social psychology, tests and measurements, cognitive and affective psychology, learning theories in psychology, counseling theories and strategies, and therapeutic boundaries. Some graduate degree programs may require students to write a thesis or participate in an externship before they graduate.

Students may choose an area of concentration in their field and take elective courses tailored to that area. For example, a counseling graduate degree might require classes in interviewing, cultural awareness, and patient assessment, while sport psychology degrees would cover the biological basis of behavior, the psychology of coaching, applied sport psychology, and performance enhancement. Other specializations could include courses in human sexuality, the psychology of religion, family systems theory, dual diagnosis, eating disorders, alcoholism, organizational psychology, and interpersonal conflict in the workplace.

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