By Iris Stone
Online clinical psychology master’s programs come in myriad shapes and sizes. You can find graduate degrees that focus on research, academia, addictions, human behavior, workplace functioning, and everything in between. In many cases, you don’t even need an undergraduate degree in psychology to enroll. Applicants from business, law, and humanities backgrounds can all qualify for advanced study in mental health and counseling. If you don’t think earning a master’s degree is a realistic goal, distance education may bring your dreams within reach. Going to school online translates to increased flexibility, a more convenient pace, and in some cases less expensive tuition costs.
Psychology@Pepperdine is the online psychology master’s program from Pepperdine University. Designed for students who want to improve the well-being of others through an understanding of human behavior, the program teaches principles of psychology using the same curriculum as the on-campus program. For more information, click here.
This ranking of cheap master’s in clinical psychology degrees is a great place to start your search. These 25 programs are the most affordable online psychology degree programs available at accredited higher learning institutions in the United States, with tuition rates ranging from about $15,000 to $5,000 annually (organized from most to least expensive). To determine schools’ yearly costs, we used College Navigator – a U.S. government-run data website – as a guide. We then cross-referenced this information with the figures provided on each university’s website, taking both cost-per-credit and total number of required classes into consideration.
But these online colleges won’t just save you money upfront. They can offer you financial security and confidence in your future career through their high quality, accredited, contemporary psychology degrees. But don’t take our word for it. Read below and see for yourself!
More Featured Programs
Note: This article contains sponsored links. These are designed to help you connect with programs easily.
25. Mercy College
Online M.S. in Psychology
The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Mercy College includes an accredited online master’s degree in clinical psychology that combines coursework, research opportunities, and practical experience. Mercy has several professional affiliations with American Psychological Association agencies and houses its own counseling center to give students hands-on training. You will take multiple classes in statistical analysis and research methodologies, as well as contemporary theories, psychopathology, and ethics. Practicums and a final capstone prepare students for doctoral programs or careers as casework managers, therapists, industrial consultants, or technicians. Mercy College claims a number of notable distinctions, including being named a “competitive” school in the 2015 edition of Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges.
24. Kansas State University
Online Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
In addition to clinical psychology master’s programs, some online universities also offer graduate degrees in industrial/organizational psychology. Unlike strictly clinical/research-based programs, an MIOP focuses primarily on the applications of human behavior to everyday problems facing businesses. At Kansas State you will complete 38 credit hours of coursework in personnel training, performance appraisal, professional problems, and ethical/legal issues in the workplace. Although students can easily accomplish the majority of their assignments online, they will need to travel to campus for a two-week residency during one of the summer terms as well as participate in a guided practicum before graduation. This school’s caliber has earned it recognition from OnlineCollege.org, a website that recognizes KSU’s organizational psychology program for its superior student engagement.
Tuition: $9,633/yr (In-state) $20,271/yr (Out-of-state)
23. University of Nevada Las Vegas
Online M.S. in Educational Psychology
There are plenty of reasons to choose UNLV for your accredited clinical psychology master’s program. For starters, it’s an all-star on U.S. News’ national rankings, earning top awards for its education, general psychology, and clinical psychology online programs. This particular option is ideal for students who want to work in educational settings, either in counseling, cognition, research, or curriculum design. You will use a web-based course management system to complete all 34 credits of the program, which include classes in Human Growth and Development, Foundations of Learning and Cognition, Digital Publishing, Instructional Methods, and more. At the end of their studies, online students have the option to complete an internship or thesis along with a comprehensive exam or written paper as part of their “culminating experience.”
Tuition: $7,948/yr (In-state) $21,858/yr (Out-of-state)
22. Ball State University
Online Master of Arts in Educational Psychology
Nationally recognized faculty and top experts in their field lead the Department of Educational Psychology’s top online master’s program. In addition to Ball State’s Educational Psychology degree, the university also has a counseling psychology major that the American Association of Graduate Students labeled the “department of the year.” The Counseling Psychologist also ranked the department 11th in North America for scholarly productivity. Course options include Adult Development and Aging, Advanced Educational Psychology, Statistical Methods, and Tests and Measurements. You also have the option to declare a specialization in Gifted and Talented Education, Statistical and Research Methods, or Human Development.
Tuition: $8,760/yr (In-state) $20,676/yr (Out-of-state)
21. Medaille College
Online Master of Arts in Psychology
Medaille College’s accredited master’s in clinical psychology online can help you on your way to a promotion or doctoral program in the field. In addition to offering advanced theoretical study of human behavior, Medaille courses also help students build interpersonal skills, leadership abilities, and critical thinking prowess. The online format is ideal for people who are working full time, but the on-campus option also offers flexibility in the form of condensed, evening classes just a few times a week. And as far as affordability goes, this program is a steal: College Factual lists MC on its list of the best underpriced colleges in the nation.
20. University of Idaho
Online Psychology MS: Human Factors
Although the University of Idaho is primarily a traditional college, it has added numerous online programs to its repertoire over the last several years. This includes a master’s in clinical psychology online with an emphasis on human factors. U of I describes this program as one that “looks further into human behavior.” Rather than stopping at research or theoretical understanding, students at Idaho learn how to apply psychological observations to product development, computers and technology, and facility operations. In order to accomplish this goal, you will need to take advanced coursework in cognitive psychology, statistics, sensation and perception, research methods, and experimental psychology. Outside of the department, the University of Idaho excels in many areas, which is why Forbes ranked it the 85th best college in the West for 2014.
Tuition: $7,882/yr (In-state) $21,412/yr (Out-of-state)
19. University of Memphis
Online MS in Educational Psychology
Another option for education-minded career aspirants is the University of Memphis, which features an affordable online psychology degree program with an educational focus. Graduates often become teachers themselves or pursue careers in research or administration. It’s important to note that the degree is not ideal for students who want professional licensure in K-12 schools or want the option to work as counselors. Even so, U of M’s engaging, multidisciplinary curriculum has garnered it notice from websites like U.S. News, where it places near the top on graduate rankings in education, clinical psychology, and general psychology.
Tuition: $9,867/yr (In-state) $18,651/yr (Out-of-state)
Capella University is a popular name in the world of online colleges, and over the past two decades it has grown into one of the nation’s largest for-profit colleges. More than 35,000 students are enrolled in degree programs that cover every level and subject matter. As evidence of this, just take a look at your options within the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences: accredited online psychology degree programs at Capella include Applied Behavior Analysis, Child and Adolescent Development, Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, General School Counseling, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, or even Leadership Coaching Psychology. And thanks to this seemingly endless list of options, student satisfaction at Capella is sky high. 90% of graduates feel positively about their experience and would recommend the university to a friend.
17. California Baptist University
Online Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
If you’ve set your mind on a cheap online psychology degree program that will train you to be a counselor, look directly to California Baptist University. A rarity amongst online colleges, CBU’s distance education program can actually prep you for licensure in the state of California. While this requires additional course credits, the core curriculum will put you well on your way. Required classes include Human Growth and Development, Professional Ethics and Law, Psychopathology, Communications in Group Process, and MFT Counseling Theory. Students also complete useful practicums and take a course that exposes them to the “Christian perspective” of this helping profession.
16. Colorado State University
Online Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology
If your ideal program combines aspects of psychology and behavioral analysis with business and human resources, a degree in industrial and organizational psychology might be for you. While a master’s in clinical psychology online program emphasizes research and theory, this MAIOP will make you an expert at improving performance and productivity within corporations. The 38-credit program only takes two years to complete, but if you’re looking for more you can add a certificate in Organizational Development, Psychological Measurement and Methodologies, or Performance Management to your resume. According to Start Class, CSU earns a 91% “Smart Rating” for its mix of academic excellence, career preparation, and affordability.
15. Tiffin University
Online Master of Science in Psychology
Many people wrongly assume that a degree in psychology is only good for counselors and researchers, but did you know that a master’s degree could also prepare you for a career in human resources, marketing, criminal justice, or rehabilitation? These careers and more will be well within reach after you graduate from Tiffin University. This online program covers a broad range of subjects, including developmental, cognitive, social, and neuropsychology. The convenient class format is meant to provide students with “minimal interference into their personal and professional lives,” and features six annual start dates of seven week long courses. As an added bonus, BestColleges.com ranks Tiffin 5th on its selection of the top online master’s in psychology programs for 2015.
14. Walden University
Online MS in Psychology
Get an affordable online master’s in clinical psychology at Walden University, a top online college with some impressively comprehensive programs. For example, graduate psychology students can choose from twelve distinct specialization options, including Applied Psychology, Crisis Management and Response, Social Psychology, Leadership Development and Coaching, Terrorism and Security, or even Psychology of Culture. Although classes take place online, you won’t simply sit passively and absorb one-dimensional lectures. Rather, you’ll take the time to consider real-world situations, think critically and independently, and even design your own research project. Among Walden’s best traits is its incredible commitment to diversity; the university regularly outperforms other online colleges in the number of diplomas it awards to minority populations.
13. Indiana Institute of Technology
Online Psychology MS
There’s a reason so many students insist on choosing an accredited online psychology degree program – accredited coursework meets high academic standards and holds a much higher reputation in the larger education community. Indiana Institute of Technology’s online psychology MS touts a curriculum that aligns with the American Psychological Association’s guidelines for doctoral education. This means that whether you choose to earn a PhD after finishing at IIT or go straight into industry, you can feel confident that your knowledge is contemporary and relevant. You can find work in business, social services, human resources, healthcare, criminal justice, or teaching – all with the help of IIT’s highly rated career services department (according to College Prowler reviews).
12. Brandman University
Online Master of Arts in Psychology Counseling
Brandman University embodies the ideal of a “best value” school – it’s comfortably affordable and offers a flexible schedule, but also touts a stellar curriculum. PsyColleges.com places BU’s psychology program in the Top 50 nationwide and in the Top 5 out of all California schools. Brandman is also an excellent choice because its curriculum meets the standards for state licensure as a mental health counselor in Washington. But that’s not all – BU graduates earn membership in the National Board of Certified Counselors and the American Psychological Association, giving them a leg up as they search for counseling jobs. In addition to general education courses, you can also take more focused classes through a specialization in Professional Clinical Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, or a combined option.
11. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Online Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology
Some students are looking for a little more than the traditional clinical psychology master’s program. In other words, they may want a religious program that integrates faith-based curriculum into the broader context of the degree. As a Christian university, Southwestern Assemblies of God fulfills that need. SAGU students benefit from typical online flexibility but atypical personal support, the latter of which brings them close to their professors regardless of actual geographic distance. College Prowler reviews support this assessment; the university earns top reports for its knowledgeable faculty, accepting community, and strong alumni network (the school secures an overall “A” grade for 2015).
10. Kaplan University
Online Master of Science in Psychology
Whether you’re interested in behavioral analysis, addictions, or another aspect of psychology, Kaplan has what you need. Within the university’s online master’s in clinical psychology two specializations (Behavioral Analysis or Industrial/Organizational), you’ll have plenty of opportunities to pursue your interests. Classes include Advanced Research Methods, Life Span Development, Implementing Behavioral Change, and Workplace Motivation and Attitudes. Students also complete a two-part research and thesis course in which they complete research on a topic relevant to their desired career. Kaplan also presents an option in Addictions specialization, which features Association for Addictions Professionals approved coursework.
9. Union College
Online Master’s Degree in Psychology
Clinical Psychology is just one of many potential areas of study at Union College. This university’s affordable online psychology degree program also includes an option in Counseling Psychology, an “endorsement” concentration for clinical specialists, a general psych track, and a Chemical Dependency certificate. UC organizes its coursework in order to best help students with different career goals; chemical dependency students learn how to work in rehabilitation and treatment settings, while general track students typically apply for additional study or go straight into teaching. Among other top accolades, Union College earns a near-perfect “Smart Rating” and a top 25 Liberal Arts ranking on Start Class.
8. Angelo State University
Online Applied Psychology Graduate Program
At Angelo State University, “Applied Psychology” means much more than learning about mental health and delinquent behavior. It means taking a multifaceted approach to psychology that incorporates issues in education, prosperity, healthcare, decision-making, and even politics. All ASU students start in the non-thesis degree plan, but ambitious learners who prove themselves capable may earn the option to transfer into thesis courses. These students then take on the additional requirements of finding a faculty mentor and completing supervised research in a specialized area of study. The flexibility, affordability, and quality of ASU’s curriculum have earned it a top 25 ranking on the BestMedicalDegrees.com list of “Best Value Online Master’s in Psychology” programs.
Tuition: $6,235/yr (In-state) $12,751/yr (Out-of-state)
7. Touro University
Online Master’s Degree in Psychology
Extend your knowledge of social psychology, human behavior, research methods, learning theory, and cognitive psychology with Touro University’s cheap online psychology degree program. At just $9,000 a year, Touro’s program is a deceptively inexpensive choice. Despite its low cost, the school’s degrees are top notch; College Factual notes that Touro’s admissions selectivity is “high” and that its value is the “best” among U.S. schools. You won’t be able to earn licensure with this master’s degree, but you will be able to gain essential, practical skills through a specialization in either Educational or Media Psychology.
Grand Canyon University is a top contender in affordable online college rankings because of its impressively low annual tuition rates and wide selection of degree programs. One of these options is the M.S. in Psychology, which emphasizes the study of industry and organizational development as it is affected by human behavior. You will participate in discussions that ask why people act the way they do in the workplace aim to predict employee behavior. Supplementary courses in statistics, research methods, leadership, culture, and human resources will boost your ability to help businesses streamline their operations. GCU’s many excellent programs feed its growing overall reputation, and in 2014 it made TheBestSchools.org’s list of the best online colleges.
5. Baker College
Online Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Get your career started with an accredited online psychology degree program at Baker College. Baker blends technical training with advanced theoretical pedagogy in a way guaranteed to help you make it to the next level in your professional life. The industrial and organizational focus of this program is ideal for students who aspire to work in consulting, the government, the private sector, or education. Baker professors focus on imparting critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills to their students so that graduates are prepared to tackle even the most difficult industry issues. College Prowler recognizes this school for its high retention rate, noting that only 3% of students transfer out.
4. University of North Dakota
Online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
If traditional educational or clinical psychology master’s programs don’t appeal to you, you might be interested in a forensics option instead. UND’s unique area of focus on forensics has earned it an award as the 2nd “most innovative” graduate psychology degree program, according to BestPsychologyDegrees.com. The coursework will prepare you to apply the intricacies of psychological theory to the civil and criminal justice systems. But the interesting classes aren’t the only attractive feature of this top college; its 100% online psychology degree takes just two years to complete, requires just one on-campus capstone experience; and offers in-state tuition to all online students.
3. Aspen University
Online Master of Science in Psychology and Addictions Counseling
Not everyone knows exactly what he or she wants to do when they apply to college – even graduate school – but if you’re confident that you want a career in addictions counseling, Aspen University might be the best choice. This affordable online psychology degree program puts intense focus on rehabilitation, addictions treatment, and related mental health issues. Thus, it’s the perfect choice for students who are considering careers as mental health counselors, substance abuse therapists, family counselors, or school psychologists. Because of its incredibly low cost, student loan default rates are attractively low – in fact, the lowest in the nation according to College Factual.
2. American Public University
Online Master’s Degree for Psychology Professionals
Professionals with years of work experience have different needs than students who apply to graduate school straight from their baccalaureate program. As such, American Public University has developed a program for “psychology professionals” that differs from typical online masters in clinical psychology. APU welcomes applicants from all occupational backgrounds, including business, law, education, or social services. You can continue working full-time while taking classes through American’s convenient online system. Coursework covers a broad range of topics, from abnormal psychology to organizational development, and receives great reviews from students. In fact, APU’s high student satisfaction and affordability for its M.A. in Psychology have earned it an overall “A” grade from GetEducated.com.
1. Fort Hays State University
Online Master of Science in School Psychology
Fort Hays State University may be the most affordable university on this list, but it has plenty of other benefits to offer as well. College Prowler student reviews regularly praise FHSU for its knowledgeable professors, low-stress course load, accepting community of students, and high alumni satisfaction. The university’s graduate program in psychology concentrates on school counseling and is one of the few options for students who want to earn licensure status online. Graduates from Fort Hays State may be able to earn licensure in Kansas and several other states, depending on where they want to work. You can complete almost every aspect of this online psychology degree program from home, with the exception of two, three-day advanced workshops that require travel to campus.
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.
For a high resolution version of the award badge for use in your promotions or publications, click here.