Top 10 Master in Applied Psychology Online Degree Programs

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An online masters in applied psychology is a post-graduate degree program based on the fundamental belief that the key to understanding people is the first step toward success in a range of industries and current careers. It is similar to graduate degrees in industrial/organizational psychology. The master’s in applied psychology program is designed to prepare students with bachelor’s degrees in areas such as the social sciences, psychological science, and other humanities-related fields for careers and further education. The main point of focus in this area of study is applied psychology. The applied psychology programs strive to train students on how to apply this area of psychology in order to provide solutions to real-world problems. Areas influenced by the application of psychology include:

  • law
  • education
  • business management
  • mental health

The following is a list of the top 10 Masters in Applied Psychology online programs to help you narrow down a list of potential schools as you pursue career paths in this challenging yet exciting field.


We developed this ranking list for the purpose of identifying the top online applied psychology masters degrees based on several factors. In order to narrow down hundreds of potential schools, we conducted a search for the term “Master’s in Applied Psychology degree online” using the College Navigator Tool. Then, we took the initial pool of 40 schools and narrowed down our list based to the top 10 institutions based on the methodology ranking criteria as outlined below.

Average Cost of Graduate Attendance

One of the first things students look for in a potential school is the cost of tuition. When analyzing tuition rates, it is easy to automatically assume that the cheapest school is the best, That is not always the case. In some instances, paying a little more in terms of tuition means a much better quality education and, ultimately, a better student experience and job prospects down the road. Using information taken from the College Navigator Tool as well as each school’s website, we were able to obtain tuition information and assign points based on the average cost of graduate attendance.

Under $20,000: 3 points
$20,001 to $24,999: 2 points
$25,000+: 1 point

College Ranking

Schools that have earned recognition from a national body devoted to reviewing universities and colleges are typically held in higher regard than those that have not been ranked and thus earn additional points. For the purpose of this list, we used data compiled from U.S. News & World Report as this organization is dedicated to ranking regional and national schools as well as top public schools and specific graduate degree programs in psychology.

U.S. News & World Report: Best Regional University, Best Value School, and Top Public School Ranking
Top 50: 3 points
Top 100: 2 points
Top 150: 1 point

U.S. News & World Report: Best National University, Graduate Psychology Program:
Top 50: 5 points
Top 100: 3 points
Top 150: 2 points
Top 200: 1 point


Accreditation indicates that a school meets or exceeds high standards of quality set by accrediting agencies across the country. Therefore, it is important to consider schools that have earned regional accreditation when pursuing a master of applied psychology. In addition, some institutions offer program-specific accreditation and thus earn additional points for the purpose of this ranking.

American Psychological Association: 3 points
Regional accreditation: 2 points

Ranking Master’s in Applied Psychology 

10. Lynn University

Boca Raton, Florida

Points: 7
Program Website

Named for Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn, Lynn University is a private university that was founded in 1962 and located in Boca Raton, Florida. Students pursuing the online M.S. in Psychology degree must complete 37 credits to graduate, including coursework in areas such as leadership and management, industrial-organizational psychology, psychobiology, human growth and development, social psychology, and testing and assessment. Students may choose from either a general track or a specialization in industrial-organizational psychology and take a variety of electives that suit their career options. The program is available entirely online, and students can graduate from the program within one year.

Degree Options:
M.S. in Psychology

Average Program Cost: $12,025

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#100 (tie) in Regional Universities South

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

9. Angelo State University

San Angelo, Texas

Points: 7
Program Website

Founded in 1928 as San Angelo College, Angelo State University awarded its first graduate degrees in 1969 and its first undergraduate degrees in 1967. Since then, Angelo State now operates the second-largest campus in the Texas Tech University System. The school offers an online graduate program in applied psychology. The master of science in applied psychology is designed to teach students how to use psychology in order to:

  • promote democratic principles
  • enhance decision-making
  • increase prosperity
  • improve education
  • increase safety
  • improve health

The 36-semester-hour master of science in applied psychology program curriculum consists of a thesis option or non-thesis option. Students may complete the master of science degree in applied psychology program within two years.

Degree Options:
Applied Psychology Graduate Program

Average Program Cost: $8,572

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#96-#127 in Regional Universities West

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

8. CUNY School of Professional Studies

Manhattan, New York

The online MA in Psychology offers two degree concentrations.

Points: 8
Program Website

The CUNY School of Professional Studies is a school of the City University of New York (CUNY) that offers online and on-campus bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a number of fields and specialty areas. The M.A. in Psychology online program prepares students for advanced studies and employment opportunities that require an understanding of behavior motivations as well as strong:

  • teamwork
  • communication
  • research skills

Students may choose from two specialization areas:

  • developmental psychology
  • industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology

Those pursuing the I/O concentration can expect to study human behavior in the workplace and organizations, including areas such as organizational development, quality of work-life, performance management, training, and recruitment.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Psychology

Average Program Cost: $16,380

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#98 (tie) in Psychology

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

7. Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, Connecticut

Points: 10
Sacred Heart University was founded in 1963 by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, It is a private Roman Catholic university in Fairfield, Connecticut. It is the second-largest Catholic university in New England. Sacred Heart offers a hybrid MS in applied psychology degree. After completing foundation coursework in the M.S. in Applied Psychology program, students are free to choose a concentration in:

  • community psychology
  • general applied psychology
  • industrial-organizational psychology

Because the applied psychology program is research-based and not one that leads to clinical licensure, there is no clinical or counseling psychology component. Students who complete one class at a time may earn the applied psychology degree within two years.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Applied Psychology

Average Program Cost: $16,720

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#35 (tie) in Regional Universities North
#64 in Best Value Schools

New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

6. Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Points: 10
Program Website

Located in Richmond, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University is a regional comprehensive university that offers more than 40 graduate and undergraduate on-campus and online degrees. The online master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology provides students with the critical skills they need to assess employee behavior and develop strategies for productivity and performance improvement within organizations. The program consists of 36 credit hours and is available entirely online, and students can anticipate a curriculum that blends professional and academic preparation through topics such as consulting and professional development, performance management, training and development, and organizational psychology.

Degree Options:
Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master’s Degree

Average Program Cost: $10,998

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#28 in Top Public Schools
#76 (tie) in Regional Universities South

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

5. Austin Peay State University

Clarksville, Tennessee

Points: 10
Program Website

Named after Tennessee governor Austin Peay, Austin Peay State University is a military-friendly school that offers a generous, comprehensive body of student support services that extends to members of the school’s online learning community. The online M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program consists of 34 credit hours of coursework and follows the scientist-practitioner model of graduate education. Foundation course areas include the foundation of applied psychology, research methods and statistics, and applied measurement, while core courses cover topics such as personnel psychology, organizational psychology, leadership and organizational change, training and development, personnel assessment and selection, and performance management. Students may complete the program within two years.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology (MSIO)

Average Program Cost: $8,919

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#34 in Top Public Schools
#85 (tie) in Regional Universities South

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

4. Pepperdine University

Los Angeles, California

Points: 11
Program Website

Located in Los Angeles California on an 830-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pepperdine University is a not-for-profit, private coeducational research university affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Students pursuing the online M.A. in Psychology gain a broad understanding of human behavior through in-person volunteer experiences as well as online classes and coursework. Students complete the 36- to 48-credit-hour program within one to two years, exploring both the science and art of the field as they learn how psychological principles can be used to understand mental and emotional disorders as well as assess personality and intelligence.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Psychology

Average Program Cost: $55,080

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#39 in Best Value Schools
#46 (tie) in National Universities

WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

3. Colorado State University

Fort Collins, Colorado

Points: 13
Program Website

Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Colorado State University is the flagship university of the Colorado State University System, enrolling nearly 34,000 students in on-campus and online undergraduate and graduate programs each year. Students in the online Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program learn how to use measurement skills and research to solve practical workplace issues. They also develop an understanding of how to apply psychology principles to leadership challenges and human resources within an organization. The curriculum is practitioner-orientated, providing practical skills and knowledge focused on consulting and research.

Degree Options:
Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Average Program Cost: $14,383

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#70 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#90 in Psychology
#140 (tie) in National Universities
#141 in Best Value Schools

Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

2. Arizona State University

Phoenix, Arizona

Points: 15
Program Website

Arizona State University offers one of the top applied psychology masters programs. It operates four campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area as well as four learning centers throughout the state. It is one of the largest public universities in the country by enrollment, educating more than 80,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The 36-credit online M.S. in Psychology program in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences is designed to give students an understanding of empirical research findings and psychological theories as they relate to emotion, cognition, human behavior, and attitudes. Elective courses are offered in several areas, including psychophysiology, behavior analysis, and affective science as well as social, legal, health, developmental, cognitive, and abnormal psychology. Students complete the program with a culminating capstone experience in general psychology.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Psychology

Average Program Cost: $11,394

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#39 (tie) in Psychology
#52 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#115 (tie) in National Universities
#119 in Best Value Schools

Higher Learning Commission

1. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

Points: 16
Program Website

Based in Los Angeles, California, the University of Southern California ranks as one of the top leading private research institutions in the world. USC master’s programs attract praise for their quality. The school offers an online 34-unit M.S. in Applied Psychology degree. The applied psychology degree has an excellent reputation among employers and professionals. Through concentrations in consumer psychology and organizational psychology, this 16-month applied psychology master’s program leads to an exciting set of career paths. Current careers include:

  • career counseling
  • communications
  • marketing
  • business
  • human relations
  • advertising

Applied psychology program students are required to complete a practicum consisting of a treatise or an internship.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Applied Psychology

Average Program Cost: $42,482

U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#22 (tie) in National Universities
#26 in Psychology
#37 in Best Value Schools

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Additional Information

What are My Career Options For a Master’s in Applied Psychology Degree?

Applied psychology is the field of study that focuses on using scientific methods to identify solutions to problems caused by asymmetrical human behavior. A master’s degree in applied psychology opens up doors to career paths in a number of settings including:

  • business
  • manufacturing
  • clinics
  • hospitals
  • treatment centers
  • social service agencies

The following are six top fields in which applied psychology can be useful for those who hold a master’s degree:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Sports psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Business psychology
  • Industrial organizational psychology

How Do Online Master’s Degrees in Applied Psychology Work?

Psychology is one of the most popular majors in the country. Students who have full-time jobs yet who wish to pursue their education may take advantage of online learning opportunities. Online programs are a flexible way to pursue a degree. They offer the same benefits as traditional on-campus programs. Students can:

  • take exams
  • access course readings and lectures
  • communicate with their professors
  • submit written assignments when it is convenient for them

Some institutions also allow graduate students to schedule practicum courses and internships at sites close to their homes rather than requiring on-campus visits.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 master’s in applied psychology degree online programs. If you are interested in doctoral programs, check out our Ranking Top 10 Most Affordable Doctoral Programs in Psychology.