By OPD Staff
Why earn a master’s in educational psychology online? At first glance, it might seem like this is a field that’s only relevant to professional counselors. To be sure, some people do earn a degree in school psychology so that they can provide counseling services in academic settings. However, studying the cognitive processes that underlie learning can also be useful for teachers and education administrators. The American Psychological Association even suggests that knowledge of educational psychology can help teachers “improve the learning process and promote educational success for all students.” The point is this: if you have or desire a job that’s education-related (e.g., teacher, school administrator, human resources professional, or social worker) attending an online educational psychology graduate program could help you improve your professional effectiveness. It could also improve your job prospects. Plus, the convenient web-based format of many programs means you can earn your degree without disrupting your everyday life.
We created this ranking to highlight the best master’s in school psychology online. As our first step, we collected a list of eligible programs* – including online master’s degrees in educational psychology, school psychology, and learning and cognition. Note that we did not include programs in school counseling, as this is a distinctly different type of degree with its own unique set of requirements.
Next, we collected information on each qualifying college or university and ranked them in five categories: affordability, accessibility, flexibility, experiential learning, and relevance of coursework. The affordability metric is exactly what it sounds like. Using data available on College Navigator (a government-run education database), we calculated each school’s average annual price based on its resident and non-resident tuition rates and fees.
In rating accessibility, we considered what percentage of the program’s classes are available online (not including practicums). About a third of the programs on this ranking are not 100% web-based; some of these only require a few on-campus visits, while others utilize hybrid delivery and may offer 50% or less of their coursework online.
When it came to flexibility, we looked for ways that a student could tailor the curriculum to suit his or her individual goals. Specifically, we examined the number of elective courses that the curriculum incorporates. We also granted extra points to programs that offer concentrations (and included the number of concentration classes as electives, as students typically have the option to select their desired courses to fill this requirement).
Experiential learning refers to any opportunities that the program provides for hands-on education. This could come in the form of a research project, thesis report, portfolio, or practicum/internship experience. Here, we awarded schools one to five points based on the number of opportunities and options they provide. A program with no hands-on learning would get one point. One with – for example – an optional thesis would get two points, and one with a required thesis would get three points. A program offering students an option between a thesis or project (with one required) would get four points, and one with two or more requirements would get five points.
Lastly, we assessed coursework by looking at what percentage of the program’s classes focus specifically on school psychology. This category serves to highlight the schools that provide a truly in-depth study of the field versus those that water down their curricula with more general classes (in other areas of education or general psych, for example).
After collecting all the data, we assigned points to each program in each category, tallied the totals, and calculated the final scores. The highest possible score was 20 points. Scroll down to find out more about the best online master’s degrees in educational psychology! *Note that we did not consider private for-profit institutions in this ranking, although there are plenty of for-profit colleges that offer graduate programs in counseling psychology.
Ranking Top 30 Master’s in School Psychology Online
#30. Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX
Educational Psychology MEd
If you want an educational psychology program that adheres to professional standards, then Texas Tech Univ.ersity offers a safe bet. Faculty at the school have designed an M.Ed. that adheres to guidelines put forth by the American Psychological Association (APA), National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Note, however, that TTU does not offer a 100% online educational psychology graduate program. While some coursework is available through web-based delivery, you’ll need to attend most classes in person at the university’s campus in Lubbock, Texas.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,197/yr
#29. University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI
Online Master of Science in Educational Psychology (Professional Educator)
UW Madison offers a unique, affordable master’s in educational psychology online. The school’s 30-credit program is geared toward professional educators who want to strengthen their leadership and teaching abilities. As such, students in the program can customize their assignments to focus on the specific subjects and teaching practices they want to develop. And while much of the curriculum is online (and asynchronous), University of Wisconsin professors also implement strategies to make sure lessons are engaging and interactive. For example, you’ll get to know your classmates through occasional live video conferences and a two-week summer residency on campus.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,606/yr
#28. University of Illinois – Champaign, IL
Online Master of Education in Educational Psychology
Readers who are interested in educational psychology as a way to understand how students (and teachers) make decisions should look carefully at the University of Illinois. In fact, of all the degrees in our online school psychology graduate programs ranking, UIUC’s MEd is the only one that specializes in evidence-based decision making. What does this mean, practically speaking? It means that you’ll take courses like “Data, Evidence, and Decisions” and “Evaluation in Society” to identify crucial factors that drive educational policies, practices, and principles. And toward the end of the program, you’ll take a seminar course that offers an up-close look at how these concepts materialize in various subspecialties within the field.
Average Tuition & Fees: $24,909/yr
#27. University of Southern Maine – Portland, ME
Online MS in Educational Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis
For education professionals who have a strong interest in human behavior, the University of Southern Maine is the place to be. Although the curriculum is available entirely online, USM’s graduate program is “hybrid” in another sense: it combines traditional Ed Psych courses with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. In fact, this accredited online master’s degree in educational psychology even includes all the required coursework you’ll need to become a board-certified behavior analyst. For this reason, the curriculum is highly regimented and features an inflexible (but highly relevant) list of classes like “Behavior Therapy” and “Functional Behavioral Assessment.”
Average Tuition & Fees: $13,484/yr
#26. Rivier University – Nashua, NH
Online Master of Educational in Education Studies: Counseling and School Psychology
Compared to other programs on this ranking, Rivier University’s MEd in Education Studies: Counseling and School Psychology puts a relatively strong emphasis on mental health practice. Instead of focusing on research methodologies and theoretical teaching models, Rivier helps program members develop hands-on counseling skills and techniques. As a degree candidate, you’ll even complete a 50-hour practicum in a school counseling/psychology or another mental health setting. After graduating from this master’s in school psychology online (which offers a combination of web, campus, and hybrid courses), you’ll be prepared for jobs in schools, learning centers, human services organizations, and more.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,860/yr
#25. Touro University Worldwide – Los Alamitos, CA
Online Master’s Degree in Psychology: Educational Psychology
In a hurry to get a degree and get on with your life? At Touro University, you can earn an MA in Psychology (with a concentration in Ed Psych) in just one year. Along with its short timeline, this affordable online educational psychology graduate program also stands out for its broad-based curriculum. In fact, most classes focus on general topics like “Foundations of Applied Psychology” and “Developmental Issues Across the Lifespan.” Once you complete the core coursework, you can elect a concentration in Educational Psychology and take a specialized three-course sequence in learning and cognition, group counseling, and career counseling.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,000/yr
#24. University of North Texas – Denton, TX
Online MS in Educational Psychology: Research & Evaluation
Anyone looking to work in educational administration or research could stand to benefit from the affordable online master’s degree in educational psychology at UNT. Whether in a K-12 or higher education setting, successful administrators must continuously assess programs, design evaluations, acquire and interpret data, and measure outcomes. Fortunately, the University of North Texas can give you the skills to do just that. And thanks to the program’s flexibility – which includes accelerated course options, asynchronous learning, and convenient 15-month timeline – you won’t have to quit your day job to earn your degree.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,855/yr
#23. Fort Hays State University – Hays, KS
Online Master of Science in School Psychology
Fort Hays State University offers a two-part graduate program that leads to an M.S. in School Psychology and an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree. To earn both degrees, you’ll need to complete a full 66 credit hours of coursework – including a 1,200-hour supervised internship. As such, the program typically takes two years to finish: one to earn your master’s (30 credits) and another for your Ed.S. classes and internship (36 credits). However, all this extra work comes with an added perk. After earning your accredited master’s in school psychology online from FHSU, you’ll qualify for a state-issued credential that allows you to practice psychology in academic settings (in Kansas and some other states).
Average Tuition & Fees: $7,194/yr
#22. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania – Edinboro, PA
Online Master of Education in Educational Psychology
If you prefer theory over practice, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s MEd in Educational Psychology will likely pique your interest. Eschewing internships and hands-on projects, this program dedicates 100% of its coursework to providing a broad conceptual understanding of the field. A top online educational psychology graduate program for candidates seeking “a broad understanding of the psychological development of all children,” the curriculum emphasizes learning theories, human development, and education research. The program also provides deeper insights through specialized seminars in topics like special education and mild disabilities. Finally, you’ll demonstrate your mastery by taking (and passing!) a comprehensive exam.
Average Tuition & Fees: $13,362/yr
#21. University of Houston – Victoria, TX
Online MA in Psychology: School Psychology
The University of Houston’s graduate program has a clear mission: to prepare degree candidates to become Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSP) in Texas. This objective distinguishes UHV from most other programs on this master’s in school psychology online ranking, which typically don’t lead to licensure. But if you aspire to practice professional psychology in classroom settings, be prepared to put in a lot of work first. This 63-credit degree requires you to take a whopping 18 classes in subjects ranging from “Theories and Issues in Psychotherapy” to “Instruction for Students with Literacy Difficulties.” What’s more, you’ll need to complete a two-part practicum, internship, and a comprehensive exam before graduating.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,662/yr
#20. University of Missouri – Columbia, MO
Online Master of Education in Educational Psychology
Among the biggest selling points of the University of Missouri’s MEd program are its 100% online delivery and tightly focused curriculum. The degree, which emphasizes student learning and well-being, teaches students how to (among other things) use positive psychology to aid instruction and use data to enhance their pedagogical methods. You’ll also take classes like “Bully and Youth Violence: Prevention and Reduction” and “Building Resiliency and Optimism in Youth,” making this one of the best master’s in educational psychology online for teachers who care about their students’ emotional well-being. All this, and you won’t have to step foot on campus once!
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,931/yr
#19. University of Northern Colorado – Greeley, CO
Online Educational Psychology MA: Teaching Applications Emphasis
Like many top online school psychology graduate programs, the University of Northern Colorado’s MA degree emphasizes techniques to “optimize teaching and learning processes in the classroom.” Indeed, UNC’s program goes above and beyond most of its competitors by offering an explicit concentration in “Teaching Applications.” Program participants learn about interesting topics like the roots of student motivation, the role of society in education, the way the brain works. Ultimately, the goal is for you to apply this knowledge to develop more effective pedagogies. To prove your knowledge, you’ll cap off this program with a final exam and research paper on a subject relevant to your professional practice.
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,091/yr
#18. Ottawa University
Online Master of Arts in Education: School Psychology
If you want to work as a school psychologist in the state of Arizona, Ottawa University can offer a convenient path to achieving your goals. Indeed, Ottawa boasts one of the best online school psychology graduate programs for students who want to learn how to “address cognitive, academic, and social/behavioral needs of children and youth.” The degree is Arizona board-certified and includes a significant practicum and internship component to prepare candidates for work in school settings. In addition to these hands-on experiences, the “blended” curriculum also offers face-to-face lessons through a selection of on-campus classes that accompany web-based coursework.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,485/yr
#17. Central Washington University – Ellensburg, WA
Online EdS in School Psychology
As the first college in the state to achieve national approval for its school psychology program, Central Washington University stands at the forefront of the field for its training expertise. Using this wealth of experience, CWU has developed an impressively comprehensive EdS specialist degree that trains candidates in a wide range of topics. Enroll in this accredited online school psychology graduate program to learn how to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students, to assess and evaluate teaching methods, and to interpret the philosophical foundations of education. Once all is said and done, you’ll be eligible to practice professionally in Washington and can also become a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP).
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,161/yr
#16. Wichita State University – Witchita, KS
Online Master’s of Education: Educational Psychology
Whether you’re looking to break into a new career or achieve a greater level of success in your current field, Wichita State can help you get there. Specifically, we’re talking about WSU’s popular online MEd in Educational Psychology. Present and aspiring teachers, researchers, administrators, and healthcare practitioners can revamp or entirely reimagine their professional goals through this convenient and flexible degree. On top of an 18-credit core sequence, the curriculum for this accredited online educational psychology graduate program includes a host of interesting electives, such as “The Ethnography of Schooling,” “Child Abuse and Neglect,” and “Multicultural Education.”
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,843/yr
#15. University of Tennessee – Knoxville, TN
Online MS in Education Psychology: Applied Educational Psychology
The University of Tennessee offers an affordable online educational psychology graduate program that is designed to help education professionals kick their careers into high gear. At the center of the degree is a 24-credit core sequence that includes classes like “Motivation in Learning” and “Facilitating Change in Educational Environments.” After completing these requirements, students obtain their remaining credits by selecting one of two concentrations. The Adult Education track covers adult development and learning in the workplace, while the Applied Educational Psychology track addresses general learning theories and the psychology of human development.
Average Tuition & Fees: $21,928/yr
#14. University of Nevada – Las Vegas, NV
Online Master of Science in Educational Psychology
UNLV stands out on this master’s in educational psychology online ranking for its highly customizable, career-oriented program. For starters, the curriculum offers thesis and non-thesis tracks and allows students to tailor their coursework through a minimum 12 credits of electives. Using these electives, academic advisors will help you create an individual area of specialization that reflects your experience and professional goals. Program participants who opt not to complete a thesis will finish off their degree with a “Capstone Seminar,” during which you’ll prepare to take a comprehensive final exam.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,455/yr
#13. Marist College – Poughkeepsie, NY
Online Master of Arts in Educational Psychology
Marist College’s MA in Educational Psychology is primarily geared toward current and aspiring K12 teachers. As such, the curriculum focuses on ways to improve instructional techniques and enhance students’ experience in the classroom. These goals are evident through core classes like “Teaching Content Area Literacy,” “Building a Community of Learners,” and “Integration of Learning Theories.” Marist’s accredited online master’s degree in educational psychology also features two specialty tracks: Childhood Education (grades 1-6) and Adolescent Education (grades 7-12). Participants holding initial certification in either of these areas can take concentration classes to deepen their understanding of instructional strategies, science education, visual models for math, and more.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,040/yr
#12. Ball State University – Muncie, IN
Online Master of Arts in Educational Psychology
For a 100% online educational psychology graduate program that takes just 12-18 months to complete, look no further than Ball State University. This program prides itself on its “relevant, research-based curriculum,” which covers everything from child/adolescent/adult development and achievement motivation to research methodology and statistical analysis. What’s more, you can choose from three highly-focused specializations in Gifted and Talented Education, Human Development, and Statistical and Research Methods. The latter option is ideal if you plan to earn your Ph.D. in Ed Psych, while the former two are better suited to educators and academic administrators. Note: G&T concentrators might also be interested in BSU’s high-ability licensure program – also available entirely online!
Average Tuition & Fees: $15,204/yr
#11. National University – San Diego, CA
Online Master of Science in School Psychology
If your goal is to work hands-on as a professional psychologist in a school setting, you might want to consider earning a Pupil Personnel Services School Psychology (PPSP) credential. This designation will qualify you for work in Pk-12 school districts – in California, at least. Fortunately, National University has created a top online school psychology graduate program that could earn you PPSP certification (although you’ll have to pass the PRAXIS exam first). However, there are also some on-campus requirements. Specifically, students must meet onsite over the course of 16 Saturdays to participate in a series of hands-on training exercises.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,232/yr
#10. Texas A & M University – College Station, TX
Online Master’s in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in School Counseling (M.Ed.)
More than most schools on this online master’s degrees in educational psychology ranking, Texas A&M University’s MEd program prepares students for hands-on counseling practice. To be admitted, applicants should have at least two years of classroom experience and be affiliated with a school (for practicum purposes). This requirement ensures that all degree candidates share a similar level of expertise and are prepared to handle the program’s advanced curriculum. As a program member, you’ll study research techniques, issues in youth development, counseling theories, plans for guidance programs, and much more. Finally, you’ll cap off this two-year program with a two-part field experience in a real school setting.
Average Tuition & Fees: $13,988/yr
#9. Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ
Online Ed.M. in Learning, Cognition, & Development
At Rutgers University-New Brunswick, you’ll find a master’s degree program with a uniquely specific focus. The university’s MEd in Learning, Cognition, and Development seeks to answer one primary question: how do human beings learn, think, and grow? With its focus on theory, this is one of the best online educational psychology graduate programs for students who ultimately hope to study at the doctoral level. Indeed, you’ll take entire classes on niche subjects like “Cognition and Memory” and “Child, Family, and Community: Relationships in Development.” These highly-focused courses will help prime you for even more in-depth study as part of a Ph.D. program.
Average Tuition & Fees: $24,429/yr
#8. Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL
Online Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology: Learning and Cognition
We’re not the only ones to give FSU a top spot on our master’s in educational psychology online ranking. U.S. News also rates Florida State as one of the top 20 schools for educational psychology – and it’s easy to see why. The regimented program breaks up its curriculum into three distinct areas: Learning and Cognition, Research and Data Analysis, and Specialization Courses. This organizational framework ensures that all students acquire a comprehensive understanding of the field. And when it comes to specializations, you won’t be limited to a list of pre-approved topics. Rather, you’ll work with an advisor to develop a concentration that reflects your individual interests.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,759/yr
#7. University of Georgia – Athens, GA
Online MEd in Educational Psychology (Applied Cognition and Development)
If you’re particularly interested in the cognitive/behavioral science aspects of educational psychology, you might also be interested in the MEd program at the University of Georgia. Overall, the curriculum emphasizes the crucial role of development in children’s and adolescents’ motivation, education, and growth – and how educators can use psychology to improve their students’ learning experiences. What’s more, this affordable online school psychology graduate program comes with four sub-specialization options, giving you the chance to explore a specific area of study in extreme depth. For example, you might concentrate in “Learning with Technology” or “Qualitative Approaches to Education.”
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,561/yr
#6. Biola University – La Mirada, CA
Online Personalized Master of Arts in Education
Perhaps the most unique aspect of Biola’s Master of Arts in Education is the opportunity it provides for truly personalized study. Compared to many other schools in this online educational psychology graduate programs ranking, Biola’s MAEd curriculum is relatively unstructured. To be sure, you’ll complete 22 credits in required core courses like “Educational Research and Statistics” and “Philosophy and Values in School and Society.” But you’ll have broad flexibility to customize your degree by taking 15 elective credits in one or two “themes” of your choosing. For example, you could establish a theme in educational psychology by opting for electives in “Behavior and Classroom Management” and “Assessment and Evaluation of Exceptional Learners,” among other relevant choices.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,350/yr
#5. University of Memphis – Memphis, TN
Online MS in Educational Psychology and Research
The University of Memphis’ accredited online educational psychology graduate program isn’t just for teachers. It’s also for business consultants, social workers, military personnel, law enforcement officers, and school administrators. In other words, it’s a broad-based degree designed to help a wide range of professionals boost their career prospects through a basic understanding of human development, motivation, and learning. The program also comes with two concentrations: Educational Psychology and Educational Research. Choose the former if you’re interested in applied psychology and cognitive processes, or the latter if you’d prefer lessons in data analysis and statistics.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,855/yr
#4. Brandman University – Irvine, CA
Online Master of Arts in Educational Psychology
Brandman University offers a one-stop-shop for students seeking a master’s degree, education specialist degree, and professional practice credential. To earn all three, you’ll need to work your way through the school’s robust 72-credit curriculum, which includes a four-part (12 credit) field experience in “Supervision and Mentoring” as well as a two-part (six credit) practicum. While earning this affordable master’s in school psychology online, you’ll also take interesting classes like “Positive Behavior Supports,” “Leadership and Systems Change,” and “Children and Youth in Developmental Context.” As if that weren’t enough, you’ll also have a chance to concentrate in one of three areas of emphasis: Autism, Teacher of English Language Learners, or Applied Behavior Analysis.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,460/yr
#3. Eastern Michigan University – Ypsilanti, MI
Online Master of Arts in Educational Psychology (EPDL)
Just about any teacher will tell you that not all students learn the same way. They’d probably also tell you that a child’s emotional, social, and cognitive development has a huge impact on their desire and ability to succeed in the classroom. At Eastern Michigan University, professors in the MA in Educational Psychology program will help you use this information to your advantage – whether your goal is to improve your teaching methods, streamline employee training, or become a youth counselor. EMU’s accredited master’s in educational psychology online also comes with concentrations in learning development and research/assessment.
Average Tuition & Fees: $22,715/yr
#2. University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, AL
Online MA in Educational Psychology – Learning and Assessment or School Psychometry (Blended)
The University of Alabama is the only school on our master’s in educational psychology online ranking to provide two distinct programs for distance learners. If you live near Tuscaloosa and have an interest in becoming a professional school psychologist, you’ll likely prefer the university’s MA/EdS in Educational/School Psychology, which offers a blended delivery format. On the other hand, out-of-state learners not seeking certification should apply to the school’s MA in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Learning and Assessment, which is entirely web-based. But regardless of which program you choose, you can rest assured that you’ll receive a high-quality education, as both degrees have earned accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,710/yr
#1. West Virginia University – Morgantown, WV
Online MA in Educational Psychology
It takes a lot to create the #1 top online educational psychology graduate program. But West Virginia University has done just that thanks to a combination of affordable tuition, convenient delivery, and targeted coursework. WVU’s degree also stands out for the high degree of customizability that it offers. In fact, the curriculum only includes four required classes – most of which focus on research, statistical methods, and evaluation in educational psychology. The coursework also designates three to six credits for you to complete a thesis project. However, the remainder of your degree consists entirely of electives, allowing you to pick classes that cater to your own unique interests and goals.
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,119/yr
Score: 18.9 You’ve reached the end of our list of top master’s in school psychology online.