Ranking Top 25 Master’s in Psychology Online Degree Programs

//Ranking Top 25 Master’s in Psychology Online Degree Programs
Ranking Top 25 Master’s in Psychology Online Degree Programs 2022-04-08T20:31:42+00:00

pepperdine psychology ranking

Why earn a psychology master’s degree online? As a field, psychology is a a large area that has applications in numerous professions, from education and counseling to marketing and human resources. Many online psychology graduate programs don’t lead to licensure, meaning you couldn’t work as a practicing psychologist. However, they do provide valuable training for people who want to enhance their career or branch out into a new one. They’re also a necessary stepping stone for anyone who eventually wants to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology.

So if you think you might benefit from a program that will teach you all about human behavior, emotions, social interactions, and thought processes, you might consider earning an online master’s degree in psychology. Here are some of the top programs to help get you started.

Ranking Methodology

We created this ranking list to highlight the best psychology master’s degrees online. Our focus was mainly on general psychology programs, which also includes degrees in applied, experimental, clinical, and developmental psychology.

Currently, there are only a few dozen such programs* available through distance education. However, we were able to tease out the best of this selection by focusing on two primary factors: delivery and cost. For delivery, we looked at what percentage of the program’s curriculum is available online. We then gave each school a score from 1-4 representing that:

1: some required classes are only available on campus2

2: all classes are available online except for a required on-campus residency

3: all classes are available online except for fieldwork/internships

4: 100% of the program is online.

After ranking all the programs according to their score, we took an additional step to sort all programs with the same score by their average annual cost for tuition and fees. This means that the number one ranked school offers the most affordable psychology master’s degree in all programs that are available 100% online. Scroll down to find out more!

*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 psychology.

Ranking Top 25 Psychology Master’s Programs Online

#25. Saybrook University – Oakland, CA

Online M.A. in Psychology

Program Website
Saybrook University offers the flexible, accredited online master’s degree in psychology. It has something to offer students at any point in their career trajectory, whether you’ve just earned an undergraduate degree or have an established career. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning and prepares you to work either with individuals or in a community setting. It does not lead to licensure. As part of your studies, you’ll choose among three unique specializations:

  • Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health
  • Creativity Studies
  • Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology

The first track will appeal to anyone interested in traditional mental health practices, while Creativity Studies is better for students who want to work in applied/organizational settings.
Average Tuition & Fees: $25,789/yr

#24. University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, ND

Online Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology

Program Website
UND’s forensic psychology program is a great choice if you want to use the tenets of psychology in criminal justice. In fact, it’s one of just a few such options on this online MS psychology degree program ranking. The degree earns accolades from quite a few sources, in part because its broad curriculum includes coursework in

  • the legal system
  • communication skills
  • statistics

Although you can complete nearly all your work online, you will also need to attend a weeklong, on-campus capstone experience in Grand Forks. During this visit, you’ll meet with local professionals including:

  • police officers
  • FBI agents
  • trial attorneys

You’ll also work with classmates to prepare and present a paper.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,643/yr

#23. University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA

Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology

Program Website
You can complete an accredited psychology master’s program online at USC in just 16 months – even as a working professional. This degree is most suitable for anyone who wants to use the theory of psychology in the workplace or as a tool for marketing. You can choose between two targeted concentrations:

  • Organizational Psychology
  • Consumer Psychology

You’ll have the chance to put your theoretical knowledge to work through a required practicum. You can even study abroad with an optional summer program in Dublin, which pairs you with an international organization for an internship.
Average Tuition & Fees: $42,305/yr

#22. Mercy College – Dobbs Ferry, NY

Online Master of Science in Psychology

Program Website
As much as possible, Mercy College strives to ensure that its affordable online MS psychology degree program closely matches its traditional on-campus counterpart. The curriculum provides pathways for both research and clinical study. Students may choose to cap off their coursework by taking a comprehensive exam or writing a thesis paper. However, the core requirements are the same for all program members and include classes in:

  • physiological psychology
  • psychopathology
  • group experience, and more

And if you’re an undergraduate, Mercy offers a unique 4+1 option that can earn you early admission to the program and a shortcut to graduation.
Average Tuition & Fees: $15,776/yr

#21. LeTourneau University – Longview, TX

Online Master of Arts in Psychology

Program Website
Students of faith will want to pay special attention to LeTourneau University. Founded on biblical principles, the school is one of Texas’s best online psychology graduate programs for Christian students. The curriculum even includes a required course in “Ethical, Legal & Professional Standards in Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy Practice” that emphasizes Judeo-Christian values.

An optional course in “Theological & Spiritual Dynamics in Counseling” explores how you might use spirituality in clinical practice. A 100-hour field experience requirement caps off your studies, where you’ll have the chance to work at a:

  • church
  • outreach ministry
  • other similar organizations.
    Average Tuition & Fees: $20,115/yr

#20. National University – La Jolla, CA

Online Master of Arts in Performance Psychology

Program Website
For a true niche accredited psychology master’s degree online, look to National University’s program in performance psychology. As its name suggests, performance psychology studies how psychological factors influence performance in:

  • sports
  • school
  • the arts
  • other environments

This makes the degree broadly applicable. For example, students could apply it to their work as a military officer, coach, or teacher. If you’d prefer to take up consulting, you’ll benefit from a required “Consulting Practice Development” course. Here, you create a model business plan for a consulting practice. Finally, a professional fieldwork experience lets you take what you’ve learned and put it to use in a setting of your choice.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,232/yr

#19. University of West Alabama – Livingston, AL

Online M.S. in Experimental Psychology

Program Website
Whereas many of the programs on this list don’t prepare you for a career as a clinician, the affordable online MS psychology degree program at the University of West Alabama does. In fact, the degree comes with three options:

  • General Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Health and Sports Psychology

All three programs prepare you for PhD-level study thanks to a heavy focus on analysis and research. The clinical option prepares you to apply for licensure as a counselor. Keep in mind that the Clinical Psychology program does require significantly more time: 39-54 hours instead of the 36 required for the other two tracks.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,775/yr

#18. Adler University – Chicago, IL

Online M.A. in Psychology: Military Psychology

Program Website
On this online psychology graduate program ranking, Adler University distinguishes itself by offering a degree with a wholly unique focus: military psychology. Whether you’ve had a career in the military or just want to support veterans, you’ll appreciate the narrowly focused and thoughtfully crafted curriculum.

You’ll learn how to use evidence-based approaches to help active-duty military, veterans, and their families deal with the all too common fallout of service. In depth courses include:

  • Ethics, Morality and Social Justice in the Military
  • Mental Health Law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice

You’ll wrap up your studies with a capstone project focused on an area of particular interest.
Average Tuition & Fees: $42,505/yr

#17. Pepperdine University – Malibu, CA

Online Master of Arts in Psychology

Program Website
Applicants looking for a school that provides lots of support as they earn their accredited psychology master’s degree online will appreciate Pepperdine’s commitment to its students. As an online learner, you’ll have access to plenty of resources, including:

  • career counseling
  • writing specialists
  • student support advisors, and more

The curriculum also uses interactive, hands-on lessons that enable students to build connections with their classmates and teachers. Degree candidates who opt to earn an MA in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy will receive help from a dedicated placement specialist to locate a site for their required clinical experience (Note that this option is available in California only).
Average Tuition & Fees: $31,420/yr

#16. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Los Angeles, CA

Online M.A. in Psychology Generalist Concentration

Program Website
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology easily earns a spot on this online master’s degree in psychology ranking. It features:

  • a comprehensive curriculum
  • opportunities to study abroad
  • a flexible time commitment

The program offers both full-time and part-time study options, which require one and two years to complete, respectively. Both options will prepare you equally well for the next step – whether you plan to pursue a Ph.D. or begin your career. Although this degree is technically only available with a Generalist concentration, you have nine credits of electives that you can use to pursue other areas, such as international or child and adolescent psychology.
Average Tuition & Fees: $26,179/yr

#15. Sacred Heart University – Fairfield, CT

Online Master’s in Applied Psychology (MSAP)

Sacred Heart University has garnered numerous accolades at both the school-wide and psychology program levels. The university offers top academics at affordable rates. Its accredited psychology master’s program online is no exception.

First, SHU limits the number of participants in its psychology program to ensure that students enjoy a close-knit, collaborative environment. In addition, the curriculum enables participants to customize their experience through one of three concentrations:

  • General Applied
  • Community
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology

The community specialization is ideal if you want to work in a social service or nonprofit setting. The I-O option is popular among those who want to use what they’ve learned to improve the working environment for professionals.
Average Tuition & Fees: $20,745/yr

#14. Nova Southeastern University – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Online Master’s Degree Program in General Psychology

Program Website
The top online master’s degree in psychology at Nova Southeastern lets you customize your studies to meet your career goals. For example, if you intend to pursue graduate work you can choose a concentration in General Psychology. You will collaborate with an advisor to complete a master’s thesis.

Alternatively, students who hope to work with marginalized communities can pursue a specialization in Diversity Studies. This three-course track examines diversity as a concept while putting a spotlight on LGBT issues.

On the other hand, you might consider a specialization in Applied Health Science, which provides practical coursework in topics like business ownership. It’s ideal for students who intend to open a clinical practice.
Average Tuition & Fees: $19,175/yr

#13. Southern New Hampshire University – Manchester, NH

Online MS in Psychology

Program Website
SNHU makes a graduate-level education convenient and accessible. The application to this accredited online psychology graduate program:

  • offers rolling admissions
  • doesn’t require the GRE or GMAT
  • comes with five start dates per year

After enrolling, you can take courses at your own pace and earn your degree in just 15 months. Curriculum-wise, the program focuses most heavily on the real-world implications and applications of psychological theory. This emphasis is most evident in the degree’s career-focused concentrations, which include:

  • Forensic Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Psychology

While none of these options requires fieldwork, you will need to complete a capstone in which you submit a peer-reviewed project.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,810/yr

#12. Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ

Online Master of Science in Psychology

Program Website
By earning an affordable psychology master’s degree online through Arizona State University, you’ll benefit from both the flexibility of an online program and the resources of a large, research-focused school. The program’s core coursework centers heavily on research methodology and statistics. You’ll put what you learn to work throughout all your classes. Although ASU offers no dedicated concentrations, the program does carve out space for students to take 12-18 credits of electives in plenty of unique topics.

Finally, degree candidates must choose to cap off their studies with an applied project or comprehensive exam.
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,841/yr

#11. Azusa Pacific University – Azusa, CA

Online Master of Arts in Psychology: General

Alongside more common concentrations in General and Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Azusa Pacific also offers a track in Developmental Psychology. It’s one of the few on this online MS psychology degree program ranking. Students who opt for this track take classes such as:

  • Personality
  • Applied Lifespan Development
  • Group Work

In the end, graduates of this practice-oriented specialization will qualify for work in applied fields such as schools and social service agencies. Of course, learners in all three tracks must acquire hands-on experience, which comes in two forms:

  • a fieldwork-based practicum in a supervised setting
  • a research-based “apprenticeship” under the guidance of a professor.
    Average Tuition & Fees: $16,444/yr

#10. Divine Mercy University – Arlington, VA

Online Master’s in Psychology

Program Website
Divine Mercy’s “whole person” approach asks students to consider their clients holistically, not just their behaviors and issues. This approach draws heavily from the school’s Catholic underpinnings and manifests in required courses such as:

  • The Catholic-Christian Vision of the Person
  • The Catholic-Christian Vision of Flourishing: Vocations and Virtues

Another core tenet of this online master’s program is leadership. For example, the required upper-level Leading People and Programs course will teach you how to inspire groups of people. It will also teach you  how to perform administrative tasks – such as budgeting – that are crucial to running a successful business.
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,355/yr

#9. Fielding Graduate University – Santa Barbara, CA

Online MA in Media Psychology

Program Website
If you’re interested in the way that the media shapes people’s thoughts and behaviors, Fielding Graduate University’s MA in Media Psychology could be right up your alley. This is the only such option on our online master’s degrees in psychology ranking. Fielding’s program stands out for its modern approach to age-old psychological concepts.

Students take classes in contemporary subjects like:

  • emerging media
  • audience engagement
  • neuromarketing
  • transmedia storytelling

Furthermore, students complete a capstone course that includes a digital portfolio project. As a result, graduates are well-equipped to work as:

  • consultants
  • marketing professionals
  • social media specialists, and other similar occupations.
    Average Tuition & Fees: $15,936/yr

#8. Medaille College – Buffalo, NY

Online Master’s in Psychology

Program Website
At first glance, the most noticeable aspect of Medaille College’s Master of Psychology program is its short completion time. By taking accelerated seven-week courses, MPsych degree candidates can finish all their core coursework for this accredited program in just one year! But that’s not Medaille’s only selling point.

The school also offers flexibility in the form of three annual start dates. Plus, you can take anywhere from one to four classes per semester based on your scheduling needs. Another major perk of taking this program is that it gives you the option of earning a unique concentration in Sports Psychology.
Average Tuition & Fees: $15,894/yr

#7. CUNY School of Professional Studies – New York, NY

Online Master of Arts in Psychology

Program Website
If you’re not looking to become a licensed psychologist but simply want to learn more about human behavior and motivation, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) could be a good fit. CUNY SPS offers an online MA in Psychology that focuses on the applied side of the field to prepare graduates for work in:

  • human resources
  • research and data analysis
  • social services, and more

This accredited online master’s degree in psychology offers two concentration options:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Students in the former track study human change and growth across the lifespan. Those in the latter focus on human behavior and performance management in the workplace.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,800/yr

#6. Tiffin University – Tiffin, OH

Online MS in Psychology

Program Website
Students who pursue an affordable psychology master’s degree online at Tiffin University engage in what the school calls “research for the mind.” One of the more broadly tuned programs on our list, Tiffin’s curriculum covers everything from experimental psychology to theories of personality.

It also places a heavy emphasis on research. The required core includes:

  • two statistics classes
  • two research design classes
  • a two-part capstone that also focuses on research

This program is a particularly good choice for applicants who want to earn a Ph.D. after securing a master’s degree.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,600/yr

#5. Touro University – Los Alamitos, CA

Online Master’s Degree in Psychology

Program Website
For a broad-based education that will give you plenty of flexibility in the job market, check out Touro University. Its MA in Psychology covers topics like learning theory and personality. It will prepare you “for a wide variety of professions and contexts.”

The program uses case studies to help you put yourself in the mindset of others. This provides valuable lessons in how people think and what motivates consumers. Plus, you’ll learn how to collect – and interpret – behavioral data as well as how to develop effective strategies from those data-driven insights.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,600/yr

#4. Indiana Institute of Technology – Fort Wayne, IN

Online Master of Science in Psychology

Program Website
Indiana Tech’s MS in Psychology primarily targets professionals who want to expand their job opportunities and/or enhance their education on the way to earning a Ph.D. The curriculum maintains a broad perspective on the field. Classes touch on everything from lifespan development and psychopathology to statistics and biopsychology.

To graduate from this accredited psychology master’s degree online program, you’ll also need to complete a final capstone course. In this class, you’ll synthesize your knowledge and demonstrate subject mastery by taking a comprehensive exam.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,325/yr

#3. Angelo State University – San Angelo, TX

Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Psychology

Program Website
If your career goals include working in a field where you can apply psychological principles to everyday issues, then Angelo State’s program will make a great fit. ASU offers one of the best online MS psychology degree programs for students who want to focus on real-world applications, like improving health or enhancing decision-making in the workplace.

Coursework places a premium on practical problems. It uses targeted exercises to teach you how to address difficult issues using your knowledge of human behavior. You’ll even receive training in how to share your solutions with members of the public who are unfamiliar with social science practices.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,068/yr

#2. Union College – Barbourville, KY

Online Master of Arts in General Psychology

Program Website
Whether you want to give your career a boost or are simply looking to enrich your education, Union College has a graduate program that can help you achieve your goals. The college’s MA in General Psychology consists of 37 credit-hours and has 100% online delivery, making it a particularly enticing option for busy professionals. Compared to some other schools on our online psychology graduate programs ranking, Union focuses less on research and practice and more on concepts. Examples of concept-oriented classes include:

  • Emotion, Motivation, and Cognition
  • Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Multicultural and Diversity Issues
    Average Tuition & Fees: $9,650/yr

#1. Saint Leo University – Saint Leo, FL

Online Master of Science in Psychology

Program Website
Saint Leo University earns the #1 spot on our list of top online MS psychology degree programs for two reasons. First, its curriculum is available 100% online. It even provides additional flexibility through its eight-week terms and asynchronous delivery. Second, SLU’s average tuition sits below $10k per year, making it nearly unbeatable by even the most affordable competitors.

But those aren’t the only reasons to consider attending Saint Leo. Another benefit of the program is that the final capstone course grants students the opportunity to explore a unique area of interest and consider specific fields of employment they might like to pursue after graduation.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,630/yr

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You’ve reached the end of our list of top online psychology graduate programs. For more rankings, check out:

Ranking Top 20 Doctoral Programs in Clinical Psychology

By OPD Staff
January 2018

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