By BVS Staff
Psychology is one of the most versatile subjects in academia. Students with a degree in this field can work in counseling or behavioral analysis as well as research, education, criminal justice, business, and many other industries. As such, earning a Master of Psychology online is a flexible and affordable way to not only enhance but expand your career prospects.
Each year, more and more accredited schools are offering graduate programs through distance education. In other words, there's never been a better (or more convenient) time to earn a master's degree online!
The majority of accredited online master's programs in psychology have either a general or educational focus. Some also offer concentrations in industrial/organizational psychology or quantitative/research methods. Less common are degrees in business psychology, forensics, and sports/health psychology. But options exist in all these areas and more – all you have to do is pick the one that's best for you!
The 25 Best Online Psychology Master's Degrees Ranking Methodology
For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer master's degrees in psychology online. The program must be actively graduating students and charge an affordable tuition rate to be eligible for consideration. For this ranking, that meant that we only considered colleges with average* tuition costs of no more than $20,000 per year (as reported on College Navigator).
*We calculated an approximate cost for public schools by taking the mean of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
We then defined five characteristics of top online psychology graduate programs. These are:
- Accessibility: What percentage of classes are available online? Are campus visits required? What about internships or weekend residencies?
- Academic Breadth: Does the program offer any concentrations with the psychology program? How many?
- Academic Uniqueness: Does the program offer one or more specializations in a particularly unique/uncommon focus area?
- Advanced Opportunities: Is a PhD program also available?*
- Affordability: How much is tuition?
*Of course, the mere presence of a PhD psychology program does not guarantee that the school offers a high-quality master's degree. However, it does indicate a greater likelihood that master's degree students will have access to advanced coursework and to faculty who are actively conducting research.
We researched each eligible program and gave them a score in each of the above categories. All five metrics received the same amount of weight in our final ranking. Finally, we tallied the results and gave each school a final score out of 100 points. Read more about the top online psychology graduate programs below!
25. Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Online Master's in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Students in CSU – Fort Collins' Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology program learn how to put theoretical concepts to everyday use. More specifically, this accredited online psychology master's degree prepares graduates to solve workplace issues related to human resources, leadership development, instructional coordination, and other occupational areas. After completing a broad range of courses that give you exposure to these fields (and more), you'll finish off your degree with a capstone project. For this project, you'll offer your skills in applied research or consulting to assist a local organization. Note that you can complete this fully online program in either two or four years, depending on your schedule.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $18,704/yr
24. Austin Peay State University
Online Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Have you been thinking about earning an affordable master's degree in psychology online but don't want to write a lengthy thesis paper? Then Austin Peay's program might appeal. This MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology comes with both thesis and non-thesis tracks. For the latter, students simply substitute their six credits of thesis work with a comprehensive exam and two extra electives. However, both options include a solid introduction to research methods and the foundational aspects of applied psychology. Next, you'll move on to coursework that applies that knowledge to occupational environments. This approach ensures that graduates are well-prepared to create, implement, and evaluate programs that help organizations improve their workplaces.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $16,763/yr
23. Divine Mercy University
Online MS in Psychology
Divine Mercy's approach to psychology is grounded in Catholic ideals, making its master's degree one of the best online psychology graduate programs for students of this faith. In fact, the university incorporates religious principles directly into its curriculum; program members even take courses that focus on the Catholic-Christian perspective of people and how they flourish. But there are plenty of aspects of this degree that will appeal to a broader audience, too. Indeed, the program's overall mission touches on several universal beliefs – like our fundamental desire to "develop virtues and flourish as human beings" and the notion that all people have intrinsic value and uniqueness.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $13,845/yr
22. McNeese State University
Online Master of Arts in Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis
McNeese State University's affordable online master's program in psychology will provide the training you need to become a national Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) after graduation. Thanks to a robust internship requirement, you'll also graduate with plenty of hands-on experience. Regional students typically intern at the local McNeese Autism Program. Here, interns work directly with autistic children by leading skills groups, running behavior clinics, and providing one-on-one interventions. Of course, out-of-state students can also participate in the program, but they will need to arrange an alternative internship opportunity in their local area.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $13,112/yr
21. University of Idaho
Online Master of Science in Psychology: Human Factors
If you love psychology but tend to think like an engineer, the University of Idaho's MS in Psychology: Human Factors program might be a perfect match. This accredited master of psychology online degree focuses on how humans interact with objects in their environment, from computers and physical equipment to facilities and organizational procedures. Courses address topics like ergonomics and engineering design in order to prepare graduates for a diverse range of careers. And as an added bonus, local students can participate in on-campus research in human-computer interaction, pedestrian safety, alarm technology, and more.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $15,934/yr
20. University of Alabama
Online MA in Educational Psychology
At first glance, the University of Alabama's MA in Educational Psychology may seem like a niche degree only suitable for those with a narrow career focus. But professional educators aren't the only ones who will benefit from this program's curriculum. In fact, the school cites youth ministers, business managers, and government workers among its list of recent graduates. The reason? This top online psychology master's degree, which includes an emphasis on learning and assessment, educates students on broadly applicable topics like cognition, learning and developmental processes, and the social and cultural foundations of behavior.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $18,710/yr
19. University of Georgia
Online Master of Education in Educational Psychology
One of the most exciting features of the University of Georgia's M.Ed. in Educational Psychology is its dynamic curriculum. After completing core requirements in cognition, human development, and research, students are free to select any combination of electives from four areas: technology, learning across the lifespan, qualitative approaches, and development of high intellectual capability. And we're not the only ones who recognize the caliber of UGA's online graduate program. Websites like U.S. News and BestColleges.com have also recognized UGA as the home to one of the best online master's programs in psychology.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $18,561/yr
18. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Online Master of Education in Educational Psychology
With its affordable online psychology graduate program, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania caters specifically to the needs of professional educators. Knowing that schools are continually increasing their accountability requirements, EU faculty have designed a two-year curriculum that helps educators handle those additional demands. Program members learn how to document students' progress, demonstrate their growth using quantitative practices, and apply research-backed strategies in the classroom. You'll also appreciate that in lieu of a thesis or capstone project, you can fulfill your final degree requirement simply by passing a comprehensive multiple-choice exam.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $13,362/yr
17. Tiffin University
Online MS with a Concentration in Psychology
Unlike some of the other programs on this list, Tiffin's MS in Psychology doesn't focus on education, clinical work, or counseling. Rather, it provides a broad overview of the field while placing a particular emphasis on experimental methods. Ideal for students who want to work in scientific research, this program's curriculum covers developmental, social, and cognitive psychology as well as certain topics in neuroscience. It also imparts valuable skills in research and analysis – skills which form the bedrock of experimental psychology. Not sure when to enroll in this affordable Master of Psychology online? Fortunately, Tiffin offers ample flexibility – including six start dates each year.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $12,600/yr
16. Franklin University
Online Business Psychology Master's Degree Program
Most psychology degrees aim to provide students with a fundamental understanding of human behavior. But Franklin University's MS in Business Psychology goes a step further, teaching program members how to apply that knowledge to careers in marketing, human resources, and management. The curriculum features a combination of business and psych courses, and faculty members in both fields come with years of industry experience. What's more, coursework relies largely on real-world scenarios, enabling participants to pair theoretical concepts with relevant examples from daily life with ease. Another perk? You can complete this accredited master's degree in psychology online in as few as 14 months.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $15,528/yr
15. University of Northern Colorado
Online Educational Psychology MA
The University of Northern Colorado may not have the only psychology program designed specifically for teachers, but it's hard to find a school that does so much to accommodate teachers' unique schedules. For one thing, this accredited online psychology graduate program enrolls new students in the summer – when most teachers have time off. Participants then enjoy a lighter load of classes during the fall and spring semesters. As for the curriculum, courses primarily address two questions: What motivates students to learn? How does a student's environment influence how she learns? And lastly, it includes a nod to the prevalence of standardized testing with an "Educational Assessment" course on how to evaluate testing data effectively.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $16,091/yr
14. University of Memphis
Online Master of Science in Educational Psychology
Although UM's Department of Education operates its psychology program, that doesn't mean that current (or aspiring) teachers are the only ones who should apply. Coursework in human development, cognition, learning, statistics, and research provides an array of skills that are broadly applicable in the real world. In fact, any professional who needs the ability to analyze information or apply research to practice should consider earning UM's affordable master's degree in psychology online. Graduates are uniquely equipped to address big-picture educational, policy, and social issues. Note that the school accepts applications twice a year, and you must complete the GRE to apply.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $14,855/yr
13. Angelo State University
Online Applied Psychology Graduate Program
At Angelo State University, flexibility is the name of the game. Students can complete this accredited online psychology master's degree either fully online or in a hybrid format. The latter option might appeal to those who live near the campus in San Angelo and want to meet their professors and classmates in person. ASU is also lenient when it comes to transfer credits; the department will accept up to nine hours from another institution, including six credits of non-psychology classes. You can even customize the amount of time you take to finish the program. Although the typical course plan takes about two years, you can work with an advisor to accelerate your timeline or take some breaks as needed.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $10,067/yr
12. Saint Leo University
Online MS in Psychology
If you're concerned about cost, Saint Leo University offers a cheap online master's program in psychology that doesn't skimp on quality. In fact, this degree program is one of the least expensive on our ranking. It also has one of the broadest curricula; coursework addresses everything from social and physiological psychology to ethics, research methods, and lifespan development. Many students will also appreciate Saint Leo's cohort learning model, which encourages interactivity by keeping the same set of classmates together for all their courses. The university even caps cohorts at 15 members, making it easier for participants to develop meaningful relationships with their peers.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $9,630/yr
11. University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Online Master of Science in Educational Psychology
So you have a background in either psychology or education, and now you've decided to specialize in educational psychology. But have you considered narrowing your focus even further? UNLV provides this opportunity with one of the best online master's degrees in psychology programs for maximum customization. Not only can students work with faculty to select courses that fit their unique career goals (e.g., special or elementary education), but they can also choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks. The former is ideal for professionals who plan to work in an academic or research environment, while the latter (which compensates with an extra elective and final seminar) offers flexibility for a wider range of career paths.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $12,455/yr
10. Medaille College
Online Master of Arts in Psychology
Home to one of the top online psychology master's degrees, Medaille College presents working professionals with a flexible curriculum grounded in advanced psychological principles. Students can take anywhere from one to four courses in a semester and enjoy opportunities to customize their coursework. For example, the program allows participants to choose their method of experiential learning by either writing a thesis or completing an internship. Those who opt for the latter can even work at Medaille's state-of-the-art family counseling facility in Western New York. What's more, the program has recently unveiled a new concentration in Sports Psychology that helps prepare graduates for successful careers in this burgeoning subfield.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $15,894/yr
9. Life University
Online Master of Science in Positive Psychology
For students looking to position themselves in the field of positive psychology, Life University offers an online Master of Science in Psychology with two distinct concentrations. Their online Coaching Psychology track provides program members with 210 hours of coach training and has been certified by the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) as well as the International Coaching Federation (ICF). For those without a coaching career in mind, the General Track provides students with the ability to integrate positive psychology methods into many different environments. Note, however, that this accredited online psychology master's program does require limited travel, as you'll need to participate in three weekend-long, on-campus retreats to earn your degree.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $10,302/yr
8. Southern New Hampshire University
Online MS in Psychology
Through its affordable master's degree in psychology online program, Southern New Hampshire University provides a graduate-level education that emphasizes a behavioral approach to solving everyday problems. The curriculum offers three unique concentrations – Forensic, Industrial/Organizational, and Developmental Psychology – each of which train students to apply psychological principles to real-world situations. So while the program won't qualify you for state licensure, it will prepare you for a practical career in fields such as criminal justice and human resources. But take note: this program does have pre-requisites, including basic undergraduate coursework in psychology.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $18,810/yr
7. University of Louisiana at Monroe
Online Master of Science in Psychology
When it comes to unique concentrations, the University of Louisiana Monroe has one of the best online psychology graduate programs. In addition to a General Psychology track, the school also offers specializations in Forensic Psychology and Psychometrics. Forensics coursework is available 100% online, while some general and psychometrics classes may only be available on campus. But regardless of which specialty you choose, you'll acquire a solid foundation in research-oriented principles and quantitative methods – plus a class in "Neuropsychology." As for advanced courses, examples include "Sociology of Law" (Forensics), "Theories of Learning" (Psychometrics) and "Personality and Social Psychology" (General).
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $14,712/yr
6. Adams State University
Online MA in Applied Sport Psychology
If you're gearing up for a career in Sports Psychology, Adams State University offers the field's only fully accredited online psychology graduate program. Students can complete all 36 credits of coursework – including hands-on classes like "Case Studies in Applied Sport Psychology" entirely online. Even the final capstone course (which requires participants to complete a research project) is entirely internet-based. The one exception is the practicum; for this class, you'll need to spend at least 150 hours on-site "in a health, physical education, recreation, or athletic environment." Your hard work will pay off, though, as graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the status of "Certified Consultant," the highest certification in the field.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $9,859/yr
5. Texas A & M University-College Station
Online Master's in Educational Psychology
A Tier-I research university, Texas A&M offers one of the most affordable online psychology master's degrees on our list. Unsurprisingly, it's also one of the most research-focused. Formally known as the MERITS (Measurement, Educational planning, Research methods, Instrumentation, Testing, and Statistics) Program, the core curriculum imparts useful knowledge in topics like quantitative methodologies and behavioral measurement instruments. You'll also acquire relevant skills in grant writing and instructional design and learn how to effectively communicate the results of your research – all while studying alongside internationally recognized faculty. And yet, the program has no thesis or residence requirement, making it an especially convenient option for distance learners.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $13,988/yr
4. Nova Southeastern University
Online M.S. in General Psychology
For the student who wishes to pursue graduate-level knowledge in general psychology, look no further than Nova Southeastern University. The majority of the program's online curriculum covers foundational knowledge in topics like behavioral neuroscience and human growth and development. Also, the General Psychology concentration gives degree candidates the option to earn credit by writing a master's thesis. But members of this cheap online master's program in psychology who want a slightly more specialized education can choose from separate concentrations in Applied Health Science and Diversity Studies. While still broad in focus, these tracks provide the training students need to apply their psychological knowledge in a variety of social and professional settings.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $19,175/yr
3. Ball State University
Online Master of Science in Quantitative Psychology
If you follow occupational trends, you know that experts project a sharp increase in jobs related to quantitative assessment over the next few years. Fortunately, Ball State University is already working to prepare students for careers in this field. With its M.S. in Quantitative Psychology – one of the best master's degrees in psychology online for this area of study – BSU offers a solid education in subjects like "Applied Regression Analysis," "Multivariate Statistical Techniques," and "Analysis of Variance." The highly-interactive curriculum also comes with two concentrations: Quantitative and Mixed Methods. Pick the former to focus on statistical interpretations of data and the latter to explore the underlying motivations of people in your research.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $15,204/yr
2. University of North Texas
Online MS in Educational Psychology
Ranked as one of the top 15 online graduate education programs in the nation, UNT's cheap online psychology master's degree will help you develop the skills you need to conduct effective research and evaluation within the educational sector. Courses address the importance of statistical principles in research and provide training in how to effectively implement new initiatives. The program also earns points for its convenient scheduling options. Not only can participants earn their degree in a little as 15 months, but full-time teachers can make the most of their time off by taking up to four accelerated courses during the summer.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $10,855/yr
1. Touro University Worldwide
Online Master's Degree in Psychology
Low tuition plus a practical, relevant curriculum combine to make Touro University home to one of the best master's degree programs in psychology in the country. Touro offers two unique concentrations in the fields of Media and Educational Psychology, both of which place a concerted emphasis on applying theory to real-world contexts. The program teaches students competitive skills, like how to develop a marketing plan based on psychological research. It also provides instruction through challenging case studies that will require you to apply theoretical concepts to practical scenarios. As if that weren't enough, Touro also boasts the lowest tuition on our list, making it an unbeatable value for anyone who wants to earn a psychology degree online.
Graduate Tuition (Averaged): $9,000/yr
Thanks for reading our ranking of the 25 best cheap master's degrees in psychology online!