psychology masters programs online

What Is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. It is a multifaceted discipline and includes many sub-fields of study such areas as human development, sports, health, clinical, social behavior and cognitive processes. Psychology is really a very new science, with most advances happening over the past 150 years or so.  However, its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece, 400 – 500 years BC. Research in psychology seeks to understand and explain how people think, act, and feel. Psychologists strive to learn more about the many factors that can impact thought and behavior, ranging from biological influences to social pressures. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to think of a facet of life where psychology is not involved. Psychologists employ the scientific method stating the question, offering a theory and then constructing rigorous laboratory or field experiments to test the hypothesis. Psychologists apply the understanding gleaned through research to create evidence-based strategies that solve problems and improve lives.

Technology has made it easier and more convenient to study this unique discipline from the comfort of your home. The current challenges facing traditional colleges and universities including higher tuition, budget cuts, and course shortages cause many students to search for alternatives. With nearly three million students currently enrolled in fully online programs and six million taking at least one online course as part of their degree, online education has clearly become one of the most popular higher education alternatives. One of the most sought after online post graduate program is psychology masters program. From free online psychology courses for beginners to online psychology courses for credit, there appear to be an explosion of accredited online psychology courses for those willing to study. Online psychology master’s degrees come in myriad shapes and sizes. You can find graduate programs that focus on research, academia, addictions, human behavior, workplace functioning, and everything in between. But which of this programs tower above others? Here are the best psychology courses online:


#1 Master of Applied Positive Psychology – University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania is the leader in online learning, Penn provides people around the world with opportunities to build professional skills, acquire college credit, and immerse themselves in the life of the mind. Located in Philadelphia, this renowned Ivy League college ranks among the country’s top schools. Penn’s psychology program uses a hybrid format, combining online instruction with 10 monthly on-campus sessions. These campus immersion experiences provide opportunities for hands-on learning, group activities, one-on-one meetings with faculty, networking, and socializing. Candidates pursuing an online masters in psychology complete eight courses and a capstone project.

Program Requirements: Prospective students should hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, demonstrate an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better, and provide exceptional quantitative GRE scores.

Cost: $26,960/fall; $26,960/spring; $6,740/summer

Credit requirements: 27 credits

Program length: 1 year

Program website:  Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP)

#2 Master of Arts in Psychology – Harvard University

In the Psychology master’s program from Harvard University you explore core theories and the latest research, gaining insights into how human beings think, feel, and navigate their social world. As one of the best-known Ivy League institutions, Harvard boasts world-renowned faculty and top-notch educational resources, including a variety of cutting-edge programs available through the university’s Extension School. The unique hybrid curriculum format lets student’s complete three introductory courses before officially applying to the program

Program Requirements: Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and may not have previously earned a degree in a similar field. Applicants should provide their official transcripts and a current resume along with their online application. The program offers fall, spring, and winter start dates, making it easy for students to apply at any time.

Cost: $2,750/course

Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program length: 2 years

Program website:  Master of Arts in Psychology


#3 Master of Science in Applied PsychologyUniversity of Southern California

The online Master of Science in Applied Psychology is a 16-month program designed to help working professionals advance their careers in applied fields where they can combine psychology and business interests. The program curriculum is at the intersection of psychology theory, research and practice in business settings. The school offer concentrations in both Organizational Psychology and Consumer Psychology, both of which are central to the crucial missions of successfully managing a workforce and marketing services in the increasingly global marketplace. The diversity in the program assures you will be challenged by your peers as well as by your instructors. Faculty members have been practicing senior-level executives in their fields, and students in the program have come from many areas of the United States as well as other countries. In small classes, you will be working in groups, discussing your ideas and conducting professional-level projects. In short, the real-world education and individualized support you will receive by joining us at USC can help you find or re-focus your career passion. While distance learners complete all coursework online, the program includes a two-credit practicum/internship experience in an approved professional environment. USC typically allows students to perform the field experience at an organization in their own community. The program offers three annual start dates in the fall, spring, and summer.

Cost : $1,863/credit

Credit requirements: 34 credits

Program website:  Master of Science in Applied Psychology

# 4 Master of Education in Education Psychology, Applied Cognition and Development -University of Georgia

This program is available on campus and in a fully online format. Both will enhance your knowledge of human development, learning, and motivation. The online Applied Cognition and Development emphasis accepts a cohort of 10 students each year, which provides individualized attention.  There are two options for completing the program: A 36-hour option that requires a comprehensive exit exam, and a 33-hour option that requires an applied project reflecting your interests and coursework. Along with departmental core requirements, you may take either seven (with project) or eight (without project) courses in an area of concentration.. The program concludes with an applied project in educational psychology, during which students address a topic or problem in their focus area.

Program Requirements: Prospective UGA students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and an undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or better. Applicants should also provide GRE or MAT scores, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

Cost: $629/credit, plus $597/semester in student fees

Credit requirements: 34 credits

Program length: 2 years

Program website:  Master of Education in Education Psychology, Applied Cognition and Development


#5 Online Master of Arts in Psychology -Touro University Worldwide

The online Master of Arts in Psychology program is designed to extend your knowledge and discipline in psychology, preparing you for a wide variety of professions and contexts. Coursework covers topics like research methods, cognitive psychology, social psychology, personality, learning theory and ethical practice in psychology. To help you gain useful skills relevant to your field of work, emphasis is placed on the practical application of psychological research to real-world contexts. This New York based university was founded on Jewish values. Students pursuing an online master’s in psychology can choose from three concentration options: media psychology, educational psychology, and health psychology. Most courses follow an asynchronous format with no required meeting times, allowing distance learners to complete assignments when convenient. Full-time students can earn their degree in just 12 months.

Program Requirements: Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and demonstrate an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher. Applicants may transfer up to 30% of their required credits from another accredited school. TUW offers an assortment of student support services, including enrollment assistance, academic advising, and career counseling.

Cost: $500/credit

Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program length: 2 years

Program website:  Online Master of Arts in Psychology


#6 Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology – Golden Gate University-San Francisco

This private San Francisco college was an early pioneer in distance education, offering its first online courses in 1997 and an entirely web-based degree in 1998. Today, the school hosts one of California’s top psychology master’s programs online: a master of arts in industrial-organizational psychology. The Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology equips graduates to spearhead a variety of initiatives including identifying and improving employee training, evaluating internal problems, conducting market research, and increasing productivity by improving employee relations. This program is also available in a hybrid format.

Program Requirements: Before gaining admission, prospective students must demonstrate math and writing proficiencies through placement testing. GGU may waive placement testing requirements for candidates with sufficient GMAT or GRE scores.

Cost: $1,050/credit

Credit requirements: 42 credits

Program length: 2 years

Program websiteMaster of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology


#7 Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy – Pepperdine University

This cohort-based program provides students with a clinical and practice-based course of study, exploring the social and psychological implications of socioeconomics and how poverty and social stress affect the ability of individuals, couples, and families to thrive. Employing the practitioner-scholar model of professional training, rigorous coursework is paired with in-depth clinical training, allowing students to develop key clinical skills and gain experience working directly with clients. Upon graduation, students will have met all educational requirements to sit for the LMFT or LPCC licensure exams in the state of California. Located in Malibu, California, Pepperdine is a private Christian college known for its exceptional psychology programs. All candidates complete a total of 22 general psychology and marriage and family therapy courses, exploring topics such as multicultural counseling, individual and family substance abuse treatment, human sexuality and intimacy, and trauma in divorced populations.

Cost: $1,530/credit

Credit requirements: 62-68 credits

Program length: 8-12 sessions

Program websiteMaster of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy

See:Best Clinical Psychology Masters Programs




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