As with any master’s degree, obtaining a master’s in psychology is a tremendous accomplishment, opening the door for increased opportunity in the job field and preparing individuals with an extremely valuable skill set. Although obtaining the degree is definitely a challenge, motivated individuals can take advantage of the best master’s in psychology programs to accelerate study or tailor an advanced education to their specific needs or situation. You may already be working, have to care for family, live in a geographically remote area, or simply want to personalize your study. Any of these factors is a great reason to consider an affordable Psychology degree through some of the best psychology master’s programs and online universities in the world.
Top 5 Master’s in Psychology Programs
|1||Austin Peay State University||Clarksville, Tennessee|
|2||Midwestern State University||Wichita Falls, Texas|
|3||Angelo State University||San Angelo, Texas|
|4||Duke University||Durham, North Carolina|
|5||Emporia State University||Emporia, Kansas|
You may ask yourself, “what can I do with an online masters in psychology?” Psychology is a field that allows you to help other people. By understanding how people think and feel and how that relates to behavioral psychology, professionals in psychology can improve the way others live while bringing greater fulfillment into their own lives. Other reasons you might consider a masters in psychology is the great job outlook, increased salary, and the opportunity to work as a freelancer or from your own home. Anyone who has already completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology is eligible to pursue a master’s degree in psychology, which presents a great challenge and opportunity for motivated and talented individuals.
Although the decision to pursue a master’s degree is a phenomenal choice, choosing where to go to school can be extremely difficult. Thousands of schools offer master’s programs, but how do you know which provides the best value and fulfills your personal needs? We’ve developed a list of the best masters in psychology programs in the world considering the factors most important to potential students. We realize you want a quality education, with flexible options, and at a great cost. That’s why we’ve found the best choices for online schools and on-campus schooling and have ranked them according to total value. If you’re considering pursuing a master’s degree in psychology, you definitely need to take a look at the schools on the following list of psychology masters programs.
46 Best Masters Degree in Psychology Programs
Austin Peay State University
Located in Clarksville, Tennessee, Austin Peay State University is one of the fastest growing universities in the state. This university offers an online master’s degree in Industrial-Organized Psychology. The 34 credit hour program has a practitioner as well as research focus which allows students to jump into the work field, or take the next steps towards a doctorate degree program. The quality of the online program is equal to that of the program on the actual campus, pushing students to reach their potential, but also providing for success. A few of the subjects covered in this rigorous program include personnel selection and assessment, training and development, performance management, motivation, team performance, and leadership.
Midwestern State University
At Midwestern State University, graduates of the Masters in Clinical/Counseling Psychology (MACCP) are eligible to sit for licensure as either professional counselors, psychological associates, or both. Midwestern’s MACCP program is one of only two Texas programs nationally accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council. The student-faculty ratio at MSU typically ranges from 5:1 to 3:1. As a result, students receive considerable one-on-one instruction from faculty members.
Angelo State University
Angelo State University offers an online Master of Science in Applied Psychology degree. Each of the core classes is taught by experienced faculty members all holding a doctorate degree in the field. Angelo State is located in the Texas town of San Angelo and currently serves nearly 10,000 students pursuing one of its over 130 degree options. The applied psychology program does offer the option of taking some program courses on campus if desired. The program focus on helping students to solve actual problems with practical solutions in order to improve health, increase safety, improve education, enhance decision-making and promote democratic principles.
The Master’s degree in Psychology at Duke University is not a terminal degree – meaning it won’t stand alone. Students wanting to pursue a Master’s in Psychology will have to go on to get their Ph.D. as well. There are five graduate training areas that students can be admitted to, including Clinical Psychology, Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, and Systems and Integrative Neuroscience. The program is designed after the apprenticeship model, so students will work closely with one or two faculty members for the duration of their studies. This program is not offered online, and students are expected to study full time.
Emporia State University
Emporia State University perhaps provides the greatest amount of academic diversity in the field of psychology out of any school on this list. The Emporia, Kansas school offers three different master’s degree programs in psychology including, M.S. in Clinical Psychology, M.S. in Industrial-Organization Psychology, and M.S. in School Psychology. Each of the programs prepares students to begin careers in the specified field sector, or continue on towards doctorate programs of the same area. All programs also offer ample opportunity to work on research with experienced professors and gain real-world experience.
University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota’s M.S. in Forensic Psychology is designed for working professionals who are unable to complete a full-time, on-campus program. All courses are available online, the program requires 2 years to complete, and students will only need to visit campus once for a week-long capstone experience. UND also offers an M.A. in Forensic Psychology and an M.A. in Psychology.
Eastern Michigan University
The online master’s in psychology program from Eastern Michigan University is perfect for anyone looking to work in psychology in the area of education. EMU offers a 30 credit hour M.A. in Educational Psychology degree. The program branches off into two different concentrations which are developing learners and research and assessment. Both programs are rigorous and prepare students well for transition into a career with a culminating seminar and either a thesis or final project. The developing learner concentration is available 100% online, however, the research and assessment concentration requires a mix of online and in-person instruction.
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Students may receive an M.S. in Health Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. It is the only terminal master’s degree offered, but UWMilwaukee’s doctoral program includes a master’s degree in Psychology if students are looking to complete both. The M.S. can be completed in 2 or 3 years of full-time study. Students are allowed to be part-time students in the program as long as they finish the course requirements within seven years of their initial enrollment.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is located in its small-town namesake Edinboro, Pennsylvania. This university is another institution offering a top-level master’s in educational psychology degree. The degree consists of 30 credit hours with both theoretical and practical courses in both education and psychology. One great support for online students is that upon admission to the program, they will be assigned an academic advisor to assist in both academic and career planning. The program does culminate with a final comprehensive exam available completely online.
Georgia State University
Georgia State University offers several Masters & Specialist programs in psychology including Mental Health Counseling (60 credits), Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (60 credits), School Counseling (M.Ed. – 60 credits or Ed.S. – 30 credits), and School Psychology (36 credits). Those wishing to take the Mental Health Counseling route should know that it is not designed for part-time students and should be completed over the course of 6 or 7 semesters of full-time study.
University of Louisiana – Monroe
The Master’s degree in Psychology at ULM offers students three tracks to choose from: the General, Psychometric, and Forensic track, all of which require 36 credit hours. The majority of required courses are offered online, and the Forensic track is offered completely online. However, students who graduate from this program will not be eligible to become licensed counselors. Students who wish to become counselors should look into ULM’s M.S. in Counseling degree.
Kansas State University
Kansas State University located in Manhattan, Kansas offers a professional and terminal degree in psychology which caters to students hoping to enter the work field upon graduation rather than continuing their studies. The online masters in industrial and organizational psychology from KSU is made up of 38 credit hours offered in a hybrid format of both online and on-campus classes. Although some campus attendance is required, it only takes about two weeks in the summer with the rest of the time earning the degree spent online. The program uses online coursework, guided research, and practicum to develop students into capable psychology professionals.
University of Nevada Las Vegas
The University of Nevada Las Vegas is another university with an online psychology program focused on the classroom. The master’s in educational psychology is made up of 34 credit hours of asynchronous courses allowing students total flexibility. Another way students of this program enjoy flexibility is through a large number of elective courses, allowing students to customize their degree based on their interests and future plans. Although all students in the program will have to complete a final comprehensive exam, they can choose from either a non-thesis or thesis track at the end of the program.
The M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Baruch College is tailored to fit the needs of the full-time student as well as the part-time working professional. Every class is offered in the evenings and add up to a total of 36 required credits, half of which are electives so students can tailor their degree to their specific educational desires. Several examples of offered electives include Performance Management, Motivation, Training and Development, Survey Research in Organizations, and others.
Frostburg State University
Frostburg State University’s MS in Counseling Psychology was the first counseling psychology master’s program in Maryland and only the sixth nationwide to receive accreditation from the Master’s in Psychology Accrediting Council. The program can be completed in three years – two in classroom study and one in an internship. Students will study topics such as Multicultural Counseling Techniques, Adult Psychopathology and Small Group Dynamics/Group Counseling. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10 to 1.
Carlos Albizu University-Miami
Albizu University, Miami campus, offers Bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in psychology with an emphasis on cultural and ethnic sensitivity. You can explore your particular interests through a wide choice of specializations, including mental health counseling, school counseling, and marriage and family therapy at the master’s level; industrial and organizational psychology at the master’s level which also has the option to be done fully online; and clinical psychology at the doctoral level, with concentrations in forensic, general, neuro-, health, and child psychology.
AU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Florida Department of Education Commission for Independent Education. The Psy.D. In Clinical Psychology programs are further accredited by the American Psychological Association.
AU programs provide you with small class sizes and personalized attention from faculty. The majority of AU professors practice within the field, enabling them to bring real-world examples to the classroom. The master’s and doctoral programs partner with over 100 practicum sites in the community, offering you exposure to a wide range of psychological disorders and clinical environments. This university also has the unique focus of creating not only capable graduates but culturally sensitive individuals as well.
University of Houston
The University of Houston-Victoria offers three different graduate programs in psychology including two different master’s degree programs. The first is a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degree, and the second is a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. Although mainly online, these two master’s degrees do include four or five classes taught on campus throughout the course of the program. Both programs require between 60 and 63 credits to graduate, which include practicum requirements. Students can start during Spring, Summer, and Fall Semesters and will complete the program in about two years.
Arizona State University
Psychology was introduced as one of Arizona State University’s earliest disciplines and was the first psychology department in the United States to start a program that would specialize in behavioral research, theory, and applications. The psychology master’s degree at ASU is in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and is the only known classroom-based masters program at a Research I University to provide a BACB-approved curriculum for certification plus more than 1500 supervised practicum hours required for state licensing in Arizona. As students are finishing up their degree there is a final presentation of each students’ year-long Capstone Projects at a region-wide career event to celebrate the program’s rising graduates.
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University is an independent, not-for-profit institution that offers master’s degrees in Counseling, Forensic Psychology, Experimental Psychology, and General Psychology, as well as a Specialist Program in School Psychology. Counseling, Forensics, and General Psychology degrees are offered online. Admissions may require an undergraduate or masters degree in psychology, education, behavioral science, social work, or a related field; letters of recommendation; GRE test scores and a short essay.
Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University, in downtown San Francisco, is a great school for adults returning to study and earn a degree later on in life. The school mainly focuses on business and administration type programs but does offer an online master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology. One unique requirement of this program is the completion of an internship at some point during the program. This real-world experience falls in line with the school’s aim to create leaders in the field of psychology. 36 credit hours are required to graduate and include courses in things like Managing People in International Settings, Human Resources Management, Group Dynamics in Organizations, Leadership, Organizational Change, and Conflict Resolution.
Xavier University offers students the chance to receive a master’s degree in either General Experimental Psychology (45 total credits) or Industrial-Organizational Psychology (43 total credits). Both programs require two years of full-time study, an internship, and a thesis. Students in either program will need to demonstrate proficiency in a computer language (usually SPSS).
Touro University Worldwide
Touro University Worldwide was established to provide accessible high-level education for people all over the country and beyond. One of the many programs Touro offers is an online Master of Arts in Psychology. The degree approaches psychology more generally than other master’s degree programs allowing students to gain education and experience in several subfields in preparation for further studies. One of Touro University’s aims is to make schooling feasible financially and thus provide scholarships exclusively available for online students along with other discounts for veterans, active military, and their families.
At Medaille College students have the opportunity to get their master’s degree in psychology online or on the Buffalo campus. The program is a total of 36 credits with a new (but optional) Sports Psychology concentration and takes about one year to complete. Students can control their pace and may take between one and four seven-week courses each semester.
University of Delaware
The University of Delaware offers a Masters in School Psychology that prepares graduates for professional certification in school psychology. Since the program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), students who complete it will qualify for a school psychology certification in Delaware and most other states. The EdS is also available to graduate students who successfully complete the MA in School Psychology at UD. It is a 60-credit program which includes a one-year (30 hours) Master of Arts degree, followed by an additional 30 credits leading to the Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology. Overall, the coursework and associated fieldwork account for 54 credit hours (approximately two years of full-time study). The remaining 6 credit hours are devoted to a supervised 1,200-hour internship. Students are required to study full-time.
The Master of Arts in Psychology, Counseling at Brandman University helps students meet the education requirements for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in Washington State, membership in the National Board of Certified Counselors and membership in the American Psychological Association. The program is available online.
California Baptist University
California Baptist University’s online Master of Science in Counseling Psychology program is designed to prepare students to meet the current requirements for licensure in the state of California as a marriage and family therapist or licensed professional clinical counselor. The program can help students who want to enter the field of marriage and family therapy or professional clinical counseling and will provide them with a firm understanding of psychological science from a distinctly Christian worldview. Students can complete the program in approximately 24 months.
For someone looking to complete a low-residency degree, but still maintaining a connection to campus, Goddard College could be the perfect fit. The Master of Arts in Psychology program is based on a low-residency model which allows students to spend the majority of time in the program working independently, but also participating in a once-a-semester, eight-day residency. Time during the residency period is spent attending seminars, group and personal advisement sessions, and workshops. While working independently, students still have access to a faculty advisor and course mentor.
North Central University
North Central University makes it easy for students to begin studying with program start dates every Monday. The entire master’s in psychology program takes about eighteen months to complete and includes a total of between ten and twelve courses. A unique feature of the program is its one-to-one teaching model. North Central offers two different specialization tracks within the program which include gender diversity and general psychology. NCU seeks to develop students with sharp problem-solving abilities, teaching them the necessary skills, then pushing students to apply their education to overcome real difficulties in the field.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) offers an online Masters degree in Clinical Psychology for students who are interested in counseling but want to consider alternative degree paths and careers that don’t necessarily require licensing. Courses are offered online, on campus, or in the evenings to meet the demands of a busy schedule. Students can expect to study areas such as Behavioral Sciences, Psychotherapy, Methods and Techniques in Counseling, and Human Growth.
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University offers students an M.S. in Clinical Psychology (84 total credits), Experimental Psychology (59 total credits), and Industrial-Organization Psychology (73 total credits), but students must continue on to receive their doctoral degree. Terminal master’s degrees are not offered in any of the before-mentioned areas, though students already with a master’s degree in those areas may apply for the Ph.D. program.
Palo Alto University
Palo Alto University in California uses a mix of technological approaches to provide a top-tier distance education experience. Through asynchronous seminars, independent study and synchronous class discussions, online students can complete the entire master’s in psychology program within two years, even studying part-time. 46 credit hours are required for graduation, however, students do not have to complete a thesis at the end of the program. All classes are completed online except for a campus intensive during the first summer in the program. After that, two to three courses are taken each quarter fully online.
Washburn University offers students a quality masters degree in Clinical Psychology. Students in the program come in contact with clients from the very first semester, and receive clinical supervision from the same faculty who teach their courses in the training clinic. On top of that, Washburn University guarantees their students an internship during their time in the program. Upon completion of the program, students are immediately eligible for licensure in Kansas as a Temporary Licensed Master’s Level Psychologist (TLMLP). A full-time student can finish the degree in two years.
Texas A&M International University
Texas A&M International University is a great resource for students who want to work with Spanish-speaking clients. Since TAMIU is located in a border city, Laredo, Texas, students in their MS in Psychology or MA in Counseling Psychology programs have access to Spanish-speaking populations and have the opportunity to pursue a bilingual (Spanish-English) counselor certificate. Students will study topics such as Research Design and Statistics, Cognitive Science, and Human Memory.
University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is an international university based in Liverpool, England that is extremely well known for its academic excellence and successful graduates. This university offers three different options of online master’s in psychology. Students may choose from a master of science in organizational and business psychology, mental health psychology, or just psychology, generally. The university also offers a postgraduate certification in psychology which consists of the first four modules of the M.S. in Psychology. Each master’s degree takes about two-and-a-half years to complete.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has an exceptionally extensive offering of online psychology master’s programs. Each program is offered fully online with a focus on integrating theory and practical hands-on experience. The school also has seven metropolitan locations. This school provides very high-quality education in every possible area of psychology with concentrations as well as full degrees in things like forensic psychology, international psychology, applied behavior analysis, and organizational leadership among others. For students willing to invest more in their education this school is an incredible option and is a great place to start for any masters degree in psychology.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California provides an online master’s degree in psychology that may take the least amount of time to complete out of any program on this list. The online master’s in applied psychology can be completed in less than 16 months for the motivated individual. The program has two concentration areas for students to choose from including organizational and industrial psychology and consumer psychology. Both degrees prepare students for a number of different careers. The aim of the program from USC is to give students the tools and understanding they need to innovate any field that interests them.
Argosy University allows students to pursue psychology careers in the criminal psychology and civil legal systems. The online master’s in forensic psychology trains students to develop skills in clinical psychology, counseling, school psychology, and neuropsychology in order to have success in consultation, assessment, and intervention. Concentrations within the program from Argosy include Assessment and Treatment, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement and an additional Forensic Psychophysiology Track. Graduates from Argosy are extremely well prepared with the experience and skills to help others in interpersonal interactions.
Fort Hays State University
F0rt Hays State University was founded in 1902 and gives students several options for pursuing a degree in Psychology. Be aware that several options are offered only on-campus and some are only online. Full-time study is recommended and several programs can be completed in as little as two years.
Master of Science in Clinical Psychology – 60 credit hours, with 15 credits set aside for internships
Master of Science in Experimental Psychology – 33 minimum credits; students can choose between the Clinical Research, Developmental, or Cognitive track
Master of Science and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology – 66 credit hours, eligibility for licensure as a school psychologist in Kansas (among other states)
Naropa University, located in Boulder Colorado offers a unique online master’s in psychology degree program. The program from Naropa is an integrated psychology-ecology degree labeled Ecopsychology. This unique offering is a hybrid online-residency program requiring students to take two courses on campus each summer and then two courses online each fall and spring. 38 total credit hours are required for graduation with courses including things like transpersonal psychology and contemplative practice as well as intellectual and service-learning projects.
Clayton State University
Clayton State University’s Master of Science in Clinical/Counseling Psychology requires students to complete a minimum of 60 hours of coursework, including the completion of a professional paper or thesis capstone experience. On top of classroom learning, students must complete a 9-month, supervised clinical training experience that commences at the beginning of the second year in the program. The practicum provides students with supervised clinical training experiences at outpatient or residential mental health treatment sites. This program will help students develop skills in psychological assessment and in a variety of therapeutic modalities, including adult and child individual therapy, family, couples, and group therapy.
University of Memphis
The University of Memphis, in Tennessee currently serves a student population of 20,000 from both on-campus and online learners. The master’s degree program from Memphis is educational psychology made up of 33 required credit hours. Through a combination of higher-level courses and electives, students are prepared with a strong foundation in a wide variety of psychology fields. Both prepare students either to jump into the workforce or pursue higher studies in a specific area of interest to them. The program takes about two years to complete with start dates in both Fall and Spring.
University of Idaho
The online master’s in psychology program from the University of Idaho initially started as interdisciplinary endeavor between the department of psychology and the college of engineering. The unique degree is a Master of Science in Psychology: Human Endeavors, which explores how computer science, design, and engineering affect human behavior. 30 required credit hours with courses in cognitive psychology, ergonomics/biomechanics, human-computer interaction, and factions in engineering design among others make up the program.
Harvard University is undoubtedly one of the most widely-recognized post-secondary institutions in the world thanks to its incredible academic excellence. The online master’s in psychology program from Harvard is mostly online, though does require students to complete at least three courses on campus. The 36 required credit hours can be completed in about two years of study and graduates are ensured an extremely respected degree. Course instruction is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous classes creating a balance between flexibility and student engagement and connection with faculty.
Students at Fresno State can get an MA in General/Experimental Psychology (30 minimum credits), MA in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)(44 minimum credits), and an Ed.S. in School Psychology (69 credits). The Master’s of Arts degrees take 2 years to complete and the Ed.S. takes three years to complete. One of the strengths of Fresno’s graduate programs is the close relationship between faculty and students: usually, a graduate student is the only student—or is one of two or three—with whom the faculty member works. This provides students with the rigorous and personalized training experience needed to accomplish their goals.
East Carolina University
East Carolina University is the second-largest constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system. The campus is located in Greenville, North Carolina and offers students the option of a Master’s concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (45 credit hours) or a Master’s degree with a Certificate of Advanced Study (MA/CAS) in School Psychology (69 credit hours). Students can only be admitted to start either program for fall semester, and full-time study is required.
University of Tennessee – Knoxville
The University of Tennessee rounds out this list as another school offering an online master’s in educational psychology. The program consists of 36 credit hours completed online, however, the courses are delivered synchronously, somewhat limiting the flexibility of when students participate in classes. Two program concentrations are available, which are adult education and applied educational psychology. Although the school does provide start dates in Spring, Summer, and Fall, students are only allowed to take classes on a full-time basis.
If you’re interested in any aspect of Psychology for a profession or a further study, any of these schools included on our list is a great option for a masters degree in psychology or a doctoral program in psychology. We’ve hand-picked the schools providing the best education at the best value considering factors like cost of attendance, student resources, educational quality, and flexibility.
We know that finding the best school to fit your unique needs can be a huge challenge. For that reason, we work hard to develop lists of the best schools based on the characteristics most important for you. Whether that be cost of attendance, student success, resources available, flexibility of schedule, or any other number of important factors, we’ve got you covered. For more information about our ranking process and to find lists of schools based on specific characteristics, check out our methodology page.
If your masters in psychology program isn’t on this list but it deserves future consideration, please reach out to us today! We’re constantly looking for the best schools, providing the greatest value.
Pursuing a master’s degree in psychology requires significant investment and time. Therefore, if you consider pursuing a master’s degree in psychology, it is understandable if you are keen to determine whether this will be a worthwhile investment. Will it help in advancing your career?
In this article, we explore the benefits of a master’s degree in psychology, what you can do with a master’s degree in psychology, and the best master’s degree programs for psychology.
We also look at the various specialization options for a master’s degree in psychology and offer guidelines on choosing the best specialization and program as a psychology student. Finally, the article answers some of the top FAQs regarding pursuing a master’s in psychology concisely.
Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Psychology
The following are the benefits of undertaking a masters in psychology degree program:
Provides You With Specialized Knowledge
While a bachelor’s in psychology offers you a wide range of information in different psychology areas, a master’s degree will provide you with detailed and specialized knowledge in your field of choice. The specialized knowledge will help you develop practical skills for dealing with the challenges in your area.
Improves Your Credibility
Pursuing a master’s degree in psychology is an indication that you are serious about the particular field of study and that you have the necessary skill sets and expertise to work in the given field.
Offers You an Opportunity to Transition to a Different Field
If you started in a given field of psychology and you would like to transition to a different area, one of the best ways to make the transition is to take a master’s in the specialization area of interest.
Some senior-level positions require a masters degree and a certain level of experience. Successfully completing a master’s psychology degree gives you access to these positions.
Increases Your Earning Potential
Research shows that, on average, most employees with a master’s degree earn more than those with a bachelor’s degree only.
Grows Your Professional Network
Most people who undertake a master’s degree in psychology are already working. As such, being in a master’s class for psychology offers you an opportunity to interact with fellow psychologists from a wide range of industries and specializations. You also get to interact with professors who are industry leaders.
It Is a Prerequisite for Pursuing a Ph.D. In Psychology
Most states in the US require psychologists to pursue a Ph.D. to be able to acquire a license. A master’s in psychology is a prerequisite for pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology.
Offers You an Opportunity to Research an Area of Interest
Part of the requirements for completing your thesis for a master’s in psychology is conducting research. If you are keen on a given area of psychology, the master’s degree will offer you an opportunity to research while meeting your credit requirements.
Career Opportunities for Someone with a Master’s Degree in Psychology
Psychology can be applied in nearly every sector to solve real-world problems, including business, counseling, medicine, law, education, sports, technology, and the military. Below is a look at some job options for a psychology master in various fields.
Mental Health and Healthcare
Traditionally, psychologists are associated with diagnosing, treating, and managing mental health issues. While the roles of psychologists have diversified over the year, they continue to be the cornerstone for mental health treatment. Common psychology jobs in mental health and healthcare include:
- Clinical psychologists
- Health psychologists
Education and School
Psychologists help create education curriculums for optimal learning outcomes and support students’ mental, psychological, and emotional wellbeing. Common psychology jobs in the education sector include:
- School counselor
- School psychologist
- Educational psychologist
- Counseling program
Psychologists are recruited to work in the various local, state, and federal governments to do research, offer their services directly to patients and clients, or consult on policymaking.
They can work in government offices, rehabilitation and collection facilities, public hospitals and clinics, military, and social service offices. Common psychology jobs in the government include:
- Parole officer
- Psychosocial specialist
- Rehabilitation counselor
- Military psychologist
- Social work
Businesses and Not-for-Profit Organizations
For-profit institutions hire psychologists to help in optimizing their human resource and marketing functions. Psychologists come in handy in both businesses and not-for-profit organizations to help in building collaborative and productive teams.
Some top jobs for psychologists in businesses and not-for-profit organizations include:
- Consumer psychologist
- Industrial psychologist
- Cross-cultural Psychologist
- Human resource manager
- Advertising agent
- Market researcher
- Public relations representative
- Sales representative
Police departments, law firms, and crime investigation agencies hire forensic psychologists to help solve crimes, assess evidence, screen convicts and victims, and witnesses for trial readiness, among other duties.
Universities and Colleges
Psychologists can work in higher learning institutions in the capacity of a counselor, researcher, or lecturer. As a counselor, you require a minimum master’s degree in psychology, while to work as a professor or researcher, you will need to have acquired a Ph.D. in psychology.
Aside from academic-based research, you can also work as experimental psychology in various research institutions.
Best Master’s Degree Programs for Psychology
This section provides a general overview of the psychology master’s program, looks at how to choose a master’s program for psychology, lists some of the top universities offering master’s programs in psychology, and outlines the various psychology specialties.
All You Need To Know About Master’s In Psychology Programs
A master’s in psychology offers students principles and theories on human behavior in a given field of psychology. Since most of the course work is theoretical, a psychology student can effectively learn either on-campus, online or a hybrid of both. Generally, a master’s in psychology takes two to four years to complete.
Typically, to qualify for a master’s degree in psychology in most institutions, you are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree (120 credits) in psychology or any other related course.
Some institutions allow you to sign up for a master’s in psychology even though your degree was not in psychology or psychology-related courses. However, you will be required to have done training or related course work in psychological research methods and statistical work.
Most master’s admissions require a minimum 3.0 GPA for admission within the first five years of graduating with a bachelor’s degree.
You may choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option for your master’s in psychology. A thesis option is especially crucial if you are keen to pursue a doctorate degree in psychology. In contrast, the non-thesis option is ideal if you are keen to join the workforce immediately.
How Do You Know Which Master’s in Psychology Program is Best for You?
With so many specialty areas to choose from for psychology graduates, it can be difficult to determine which psychology major is best for you. Also, you will have to decide whether to take an online or on-campus program. Below is a step by step process to help you choose the best masters in psychology program for you.
Do a Thorough Introspection to Determine What You Want
Some important questions to ask yourself include:
- What do you see as your career projection?
- Which areas of psychology interest you the most?
- What type of settings would you like to work in? For instance, are you aiming to go into private practice or seek better-paying positions?
- How much time would you like to invest in the master’s program?
- What is your budget for the program?
- As a student, do you prefer online or on-campus studying?
Decide on an Area of Specialization
Based on your interest and projected career path, pick on an area of specialization.
Decide Between Online and On-Campus Programs
Generally, the curriculum for online and on-campus master’s programs is the same for a given institution. The same faculty members also teach the courses. Online programs offer you flexibility and convenience in regard to location and time. However, you may have limited interaction with cohort members and professors instead of the brick-and-motor class set up.
For specializations such as clinical psychology, counseling, and other specialization that require you to practice one-on-one engagement with patient/client, a face-to-face classroom setup offers you numerous opportunities to practice with classmates and for feedback. Most online programs require you to undertake an internship as an opportunity to practice your coursework.
Choose a Grad School to Enroll In
With thousands of schools to choose from, it can be overwhelming to narrow down to one. To help with your decision making, narrow down your search by the specialty area and preferred location. Then, identify the ones whose tuition fees and overall costs are within your budget. Whichever graduate program and institution you choose, ensure that it is accredited and reputable.
Check that You Meet or Exceed the Admission Requirements
Some programs and institutions are selective in their admission processes. To increase your chances of getting in, check the program’s admission requirements, and ensure that you meet or exceed them. Then, submit an outstanding application. Submit at least two recommendation letters and ensure your application points out your achievements so far.
Plan Your Finances and Time Accordingly
Figure out how you will pay for the master’s program. Plan your time to allow you enough time for coursework and to do assignments. Look out for scholarships and funding opportunities within the institution, program, or psychology institutions.
Best Universities in the World Offering a Masters in Psychology
There are numerous institutions worldwide that offer a credible masters in psychology program. Below is a list of the top university for psychology in the world according to the 2020 QS University Ranking by Subject Report.
The QS university ranking by subject methodology ranks the universities per subject according to their academic reputation, research citations per paper, and employer reputation.
- University of Oxford
- University of Cambridge
- University College London (UCL)
- University of Amsterdam
- University of Edinburgh
- London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
- University of British Columbia
- University of Toronto
- McGill University
- National University of Singapore (NUS)
- Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
- University of Hong Kong
- The Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Peking University
Australia and New Zealand
- University of Melbourne
- The University of Auckland
- The University of New South Wales
- The University of Queensland
- University of Sydney
- Australian National University
- Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC)
- Universidad de Chile
- Universidad Estadual De Campinas
Africa and the Middle East
- South Africa’s University of Cape Town
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem
When pursuing a master’s degree in psychology, you will need to choose an area of specialization. The main subfields of psychology as classified by the American Psychological Association include:
- Addiction psychology. This field of psychology studies addicts’ behavior to help understand, diagnose, and treat addiction.
- Industrial/organizational psychology. Also known as I-O psychology. This type of psychology is employed in various workplaces to study employee behavior and develop strategies for optimizing productivity. Industrial psychologists also screen candidates for specific roles, develop training programs for promoting workers’ efficiency, and come up with strategies for enhancing employee satisfaction and retention.
- Clinical psychology. A clinical psychology program focuses on diagnosing, treating, and managing mental health disorders and psychological conditions. Clinical psychologists often work in hospitals, mental health centers or establish a private practice.
- Biopsychology. Also known as biological psychology. This field of psychology entails the study and research of human behavior and the brain. Biopsychologists examine the neural behavior of the human brain to determine the impact of various factors on how people think, feel, and act. They also study how brain disease and injury affect a person’s behavior to prevent, treat, and manage brain illnesses and trauma.
- Cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology explores the functioning of the human brain. It entails studying how the human brain processes, learns, stores, and uses information. Cognitive psychologists can work in a wide range of fields, including research, rehabilitation, health care, academia, private practice, and government institutions.
- Community psychology. This type of psychology focuses on providing effective and action-oriented solutions to real community problems regarding social, mental, and overall wellbeing. Community psychologists can work in a wide range of settings, including community organizations, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, the private sector, and schools.
- Consumer psychology. Also known as marketing psychology, consumer psychology involves studying consumer behavior to help organizations develop effective marketing strategies. Consumer psychologists mostly work in business settings to help companies establish their target audience, analyze the consumers’ decision-making and buying patterns, and analyze how consumers respond to marketing communication.
- Counseling psychology. Counseling psychologists provide their patients with psychotherapy tools to treat and manage psychological disturbances, emotional issues, behavioral problems, and stress. They can work independently in private practice or may be hired by medical centers, mental health institutions, schools, communities, businesses, or government organizations.
- Educational psychology. Educational psychology studies how people learn. This psychology field aims to develop effective teaching techniques and strategies for different learning capabilities to maximize the learning outcome. It also studies unique learning capabilities, such as giftedness and learning disabilities.
- Experimental psychology. Experimental psychology explores the various psychological questions using scientific and research methods. Experimental psychologists design experiments to study and develop a hypothesis regarding a given area of psychology.
- Media psychology. Media psychology studies how media and technology affect human behavior.
- Cross-cultural psychology. This field of psychology studies how people’s behavior varies across different cultures. Cross-cultural psychologists often work in international organizations to help facilitate cross-cultural interactions.
- Developmental psychology. Developmental psychology entails studying human development from early childhood, teenagehood, adulthood, and old age. Developmental psychologists come in handy in evaluating developmental delays, disabilities, and language acquisition in children, as well as behavioral and psychological issues associated with aging.
- Military psychology. Military psychologists work in a military setting on various aspects of military life. For instance, they help soldiers cope with the stress, emotional, and mental distress associated with the nature of their work. They also help soldiers transition to civilian life.
- Social psychology. Social psychology studies people’s overall behavior in a social setting and how being in a group affects an individual’s behavior. A big part of social psychology is researching to understand human behavior in social settings. Social psychologists also develop strategies and techniques to influence healthy and productive interactions in group settings.
- Health psychology. Health psychology is mainly applied as a health care section to determine how behavior influences one’s wellness and overall health. This category of psychologists works with patients with long term health issues to help them cope. They also study how different patients cope with illnesses and adhere to treatment protocols.
- School psychology. School psychology entails the study of children’s behavior in a school setting. School psychologists help children struggling with emotional, behavioral, or academic issues at school. They work collaboratively with the child’s teachers, parents, and other students to offer support and correct behavior where necessary.
- Comparative psychology. This field compares human behavior with the behavior of other species. The premise for comparative psychology is that, although human behavior varies greatly from animal behavior, some behavior patterns are constant across all species. As such, a study of certain animals’ behaviors may indicate what to expect from humans.
- Sports psychology. Sports psychology looks at how various psychological factors affect athletes’ performance. It also explores the various ways sports professional can leverage their mental processes to improve performance and recovery.
- Environmental psychology. Environmental psychology explores how human beings interact with their natural and human-made environment. Environmental psychologists work with individuals and communities in projects such as conservation, protecting endangered species, and promoting better practices for a sustainable environment. They also research the impact of human behavior on the environment. Environmental psychologists mainly work for environmental organizations and in government to help with policymaking.
- Forensic psychology. This field of psychology is applied in law to help solve crimes and rehabilitate criminals. The work of forensic psychologists includes assessing crime scenes, assessing evidence, counseling both juvenile and adult offenders, evaluating competency for trial, and providing professional testimony during trials.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations for Psychologists
Psychologist salaries vary from one specialty and working setting to another. According to the 2020 Bureau of Statistics report, there are 192,300 psychology jobs in the US, and the average salary for psychologists with a graduate degree is $80,370.
Comparative and experimental psychologists are the highest-paid ($120,000 on average), and industrial organization psychologists are the second-best paid at an average of $102,530 per year.
The majority of psychologists are clinical psychologists. The demand for psychologists is expected to grow by 3% in the next decade, creating an opportunity for about 5,700 jobs. The industrial-organization specialty is expected to see the highest growth of about 13% by 2028.
Masters in Psychology FAQs
In this section, we answer some of the most common masters in psychology FAQs.
What is the difference between a Masters of Art (MA) in Psychology and a Masters of Science (MS) in Psychology?
For the most part, there is not much difference. It is more of a difference in how different institutions prefer to name their courses.
However, there may be minor differences in that an MA focuses more on the liberal arts aspect of psychology, while an MS focuses more on research and analysis.
Generally, for both MS and MA, the scope of the study for a given field specialization will be the same, and the admission requirements are often the same.
What is the difference between a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Psychology?
A master’s degree in psychology is a prerequisite for a Ph.D. in psychology. A masters takes 2 to four years while A Ph.D. takes 4 to 7 years. Some institutions offer students an accelerated program for acquiring a Ph.D. in psychology whereby a student can complete a master’s program as part of their Ph.D.
What is the difference between a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Psy.D Psychology
While both are a doctorate degree, a Ph.D. program (Doctor of Philosophy) focuses more on research and academia, while a Psy.D (Doctor of Psychology) focuses more on the practical and clinical side. As such, a Ph.D. program is more ideal for people looking to delve into research or work in academia, while a Psy.D is best suited for practicing psychologists.
What are the most in-demand careers for people with masters of psychology degrees?
The following areas of psychology to see faster growth than other psychology professions:
- Career counselors
- School psychologists
- Family psychologists
- Marriage counselors
- Forensic psychologists
- Genetic counselors
- Clinical psychologists
- Industrial-organizational psychologists
- Engineering psychologists
- Sports psychologists
- Educational psychologists
- Geriatric psychologists
- General psychology
What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
They are two different professions that have different trainings and roles. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. They diagnose, manage, and use a wide range of therapies to treat mental illnesses.
They also prescribe medication for mental illnesses. On the other hand, psychologists mainly offer psychotherapy to mental health patients but cannot prescribe medication.
What is the difference between a counselor and a psychologist?
While both psychologists and counselors offer talk therapy, psychologists have additional training for offering psychotherapy. In most parts of the world, psychologists are highly regulated, with at least a master’s degree and licensing requirements.
Counsellors often have a bachelor’s degree. Counselors work with their clients/patients to develop solutions for life problems, while psychologists specialize in mental health conditions. Generally, counselors are paid less than psychologists.
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy used to manage a wide range of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. There are different types of psychotherapies applicable to different situations. It can be conducted on individuals, couples, families, or groups. It can be used long-termly or short-termly.
Pursuing a master’s in psychology is worthwhile. It will give you a competitive edge in the market, increase your earning potential, and offer you career advancement opportunities. There are numerous psychology specializations to choose from. Pick one that aligns with your interests and career plans.
Both online and on-campus master’s in psychology are great options; it all depends on your preference. As the prospects for psychology continue to improve, successfully completing a master’s degree places you in a position to grab growth opportunities when they come up.
Besides, you require a masters in psychology and, in some cases, a Ph.D. to be a certified and licensed psychologist.