Hero Image Top Master’s Degree Programs In Psychology 2021

Top Master’s Degree Programs In Psychology 2021

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Over the course of the past fifteen years there has been a shift within the field of psychology. More people are pursuing their master’s degrees in this field in order to better help people and earn a decent wage. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a career in psychology can be relatively lucrative. As of 2019, the median salary in this field was $80,370, with the higher salaries often reserved for those with master’s or doctoral degrees. Many colleges and universities are now offering master of psychology programs and counseling to serve as terminal degrees. Most of these programs include a rigorous curriculum, covering the theoretical aspects of the field, extensive training in how to conduct and analyze research, and clinical skills for work with clients. Some programs will also require you to complete an internship or practicum as part of their course of study.

Ready to get started on your path to a master’s degree in psychology? Here’s a look at some of the best master’s programs in psychology.

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Degree FAQs

  • How long does it take to get a master's in Psychology?

    A master’s degree in psychology can take you anywhere from two to four years to complete, depending on the program you’re in and whether you’re going to school full time or part time.

  • What can you do with a master’s degree in Psychology?

    You can do a lot with a degree in psychology. A master’s in psychology degree can prepare students to get their doctoral degree or for careers in counseling, research, or clinical work.

  • What jobs in psychology pay the most?

    • Psychiatrist 
    • Neuropsychologist 
    • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist 
    • Clinical Psychologist
    • Engineering Psychologist 

Top 10 Master’s in Psychology Degrees of 2021

Rank School Location
1 Texas Woman's University Denton, TX
2 Augusta University Augusta, GA
3 CUNY Hunter College New York, NY
4 California State University-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
5 University of New Orleans New Orleans, LA
6 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY
7 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
8 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
9 California State University-Long Beach Long Beach, CA
10 CUNY City College New York, NY
  • Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools

    At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs. We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.

    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%

    You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.

Degree Requirements

When it comes to earning your master’s degree in psychology, the requirements will vary depending on the program you enroll in. Generally, master’s programs will require you to take between 30 to 40 credits and select a concentration to specialize in. Popular options for concentrations include clinical, child, social, abnormal, and organizational psychology. 

In many programs, you’ll have to keep up a certain GPA, which is typically above a B grade. Most psychology programs will also require you to form and defend a thesis or create a portfolio of your work.

Courses for a Master’s in Psychology

Research Methods
When taking Research Methods, you will learn about the methods used to conduct psychology research as well as career paths you can take within the field of psychological research. Research plays a big role in psychology, so it’s important that you learn about the different methodologies and how to apply them to your own research.
History of Psychology
It’s just as important to understand groundbreaking discoveries in your field as it is to know how it is we got there. A history of psychology class will cover in detail the background of psychology — how it came to be as well as basic theories documented and tested throughout history.
Forensic Psychology
One of the more unusual courses, Forensic Psychology will cover, in-depth, the subject of criminal psychopathology. In this class, you will explore the psychology behind violent and non-violent crimes, learn the commonly diagnosed disorders among criminal offenders, and dive into different treatment options for difficult patients or clients.
Psychotherapy
In your psychotherapy classes, you’ll be introduced to the basics of psychological assessments. The courses will most likely focus on theories rather than practical application, but will help train you to evaluate patients or clients.

Career Path for a Master’s in Psychology Degree

Once you finish your master’s degree in psychology, the world is practically at your fingertips. Possible career trajectories include working as a clinician, forensic psychologist, substance abuse counselor, school counselor, or sports psychologist. If any of these fields interest you, you can choose to specialize in certain areas during your master’s program to make landing a position a little easier. 

You may not want to stop at a master’s program either. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who pursue their doctorate have the most solid outlook in the psychology field, so you may want to consider continuing your education, too.

Job Outlook & Salary

The average salary for a psychologist in the U.S. was $80,370 as of May 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth for psychologists is expected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029. This is in line with the average occupation projection rate. 

If you’re planning to practice in the following states, expect some of the highest median wages for psychologists: Oregon at $112,010, California at $111,750, District of Columbia at $106,900, New York at $96,170, and Louisiana at $96,040. 

While the job field is broad and promising for those with psychology degrees, most opportunities appear to be offered to those with doctorate degrees. If you’re planning to stay with a master’s degree, however, there are still plenty of well-paying career paths available to you as well.  

How Can a Master's Student Pay for College?

Paying for your continuing education can add up fast. If you’re struggling to find ways to pay for a master’s program in psychology, you’ll find several scholarships, fellowships, and awards you can apply to if you’re pursuing your master’s degree in psychology below.

For information on more scholarships, grants, and awards you can apply to, visit the American Psychological Association website.

  • APF Queen-Nellie Evans Scholarship
    • The Queen-Nellie Evans Scholarship recognizes minority graduate students who demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of life of marginalized communities. To be eligible, you must be an enrolled minority graduate student.
    • Amount: $4,000
    • Deadline: November 15, 2021
  • Diversity in Psychology and Law Research Award
    • In order to encourage diversity within the American Psychology-Law Society, this award will go to graduate students researching psycholegal the issues related to diversity and research by students from diverse backgrounds. The proposed project should be the original work of the student.
    • Amount: Up to five grants, $1,000 each
    • Deadlines: December 15, 2021; December 15, 2022
  • APF Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Fellowships
    • This fellowship is awarded to graduate students who are committed to the study of child psychology. You’ll need to submit a detailed budget, project timeline, resume, and two letters of recommendation.
    • Amount: $25,000
    • Deadline: November 15, 2021

Related Degrees

  • Sociology: Should you choose to study sociology, you can expect to incorporate a working knowledge of psychology into your degree as well. Sociology students study the complex systems that connect people together and examine factors such as politics, religion, and culture. With a degree in sociology, you can work in social services, as a rehabilitation counselor, or become a postsecondary educators. 
  • Anthropology: As an anthropologist, you’ll study the origins of humanity. As the human brain has developed in a variety of complex ways over time, psychology is very much tied in with this type of study. If you receive an anthropology degree, you can pursue a career in archaeology, linguistics, or biological anthropology. 
  • Philosophy: Since much of philosophy focuses on the causes and ethics of our behavior, it’s no mystery as to how psychology ties in to this field. As with psychology, a philosophy degree is considered versatile and is paired well with other pursuits, such as mathematics, history, and literature. Once you’ve graduated with your philosophy degree, you can pursue a career in teaching, research, or even law.

Top 25 Master’s Degree Programs in Psychology

  1. Texas Woman's University
    Location

    Denton, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Although TWU was founded as the Girls Industrial College in 1901, the school has enrolled male students since 1972. TWU comprises five colleges and serves approximately 15,500 undergraduate and graduate students. TWU offers a master of science in psychological science, which consists of 36 credits. Most students graduate after one year of continuous enrollment. Applicants need an undergraduate degree (preferably in psychology) from an accredited school, a minimum 3.0 GPA on all psychology coursework and for the last 60 undergraduate credits, and a minimum of 18 hours of psychology classes. One of the country's most affordable online psychology degrees, the program also requires the submission of recent GRE scores. Applicants need a score of at least 153 on the quantitative and 150 on the verbal sections. A master’s degree at TWU will take most students about two to four years to complete. Texas residents can expect to pay about $8,255 in tuition per year and non-Texas residents will pay a little over twice that, about $18,071, per year for tuition.

    Texas Woman's University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  2. Augusta University
    Location

    Augusta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Augusta University began as the Medical Academy of Georgia in 1828. Today, the university offers more than 160 academic programs across 10 schools and colleges. Augusta enrolls more than 9,200 undergraduate and graduate students.

    The university offers a full-time year-round master of science in psychology program. Students can pursue a clinical/counseling, applied experimental, or general experimental track. The clinical/counseling track comprises 60 credits and requires the completion of 600 hours of clinical internship. The curriculum meets the educational requirements for counselor licensure in Georgia. Degree-seekers can pursue a thesis or non-thesis plan of study.

    Both experimental tracks require at least 40 credits. However, the general experimental track requires a thesis for completion, while the applied experimental track does not. These programs follow a cohort model of education.

    Augusta University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Georgia residents can expect to pay $9,022 in tuition and fees for one year at Augusta University, while out-of-state students are charged about $24,000 per year for tuition. Students should plan to finish their master’s degree at this public university within two to four years.

  3. CUNY Hunter College
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Hunter College began in 1870 as the Female Normal and High School, the country's first free teacher's college. The school began admitting male students in 1964 and now enrolls more than 20,000 students and offers more than 170 areas of study.

    The college offers a master of arts in general psychology that comprises 30 credits and requires the completion of a thesis prior to graduation. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with at least 12 undergraduate credits in psychology.

    The degree allows students to explore and learn about the various aspects of the field. It also allows learners to focus on one of three content areas: applied and evaluative psychology; biopsychology and comparative psychology; and social, cognitive, and developmental psychology.

    CUNY Hunter College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) At Hunter College, New York residents are charged about $7,382 in tuition per year, while out-of-state tuition is about $15,332 per year. Expect to finish your master’s degree in psychology in two to four years at this school. .

  4. California State University-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1947, Cal State LA enrolls more than 26,000 students and comprises eight academic colleges offering more than 100 certificate, undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional programs.

    The university offers a master of arts in psychology that follows a cohort model of education. The program consists of 31-32 credits and requires applicants to hold a bachelor's degree (preferably in psychology) from an accredited college or university. Applicants with a non-psychology bachelor's degree must enroll in 23 credits of psychology coursework prior to beginning the master's program. Degree-seekers must earn a minimum 3.0 GPA in these courses. The degree requires a thesis.

    California State University Los Angeles is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). At Cal State LA, students typically finish their master’s degree in two to four years. Students pay an in-state tuition of $6,781 per year, while non-California residents pay about $18,661 in tuition and fees per year.

  5. University of New Orleans
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UNO was established in 1958 as the Louisiana State University in New Orleans, the first racially integrated public institution in the South. UNO serves more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students and comprises eight academic schools and colleges.

    The school offers a master of science in applied psychology comprising 40 credits. Students seeking to complete the program as a terminal degree do not need to write a thesis. Instead, they must complete a five-section practicum. UNO also offers a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in applied psychology. Degree-seekers who plan to pursue a Ph.D. can choose from two concentration areas: applied biopsychology or applied developmental psychology.

    Learners can participate in several psychology research labs on campus covering topics such as autism brain and language and biological and environmental risk for affective disorders. At UNO, in-state tuition comes in at $9,072 per year and out-of-state at $13,908 per year. Expect to finish your degree at this public institution in the usual two to four-year span.

    The University of New Orleans is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  6. Columbia University in the City of New York
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Columbia began in 1754 as King's College. It is the oldest university in New York and the fifth oldest in the nation. Seven students comprised the school's first class. Today, Columbia enrolls approximately 33,400 learners and consists of 20 academic schools and colleges.

    Columbia offers a master of arts in psychology, from which students can select from several concentrations, including cognition, behavioral neuroscience, sensation and perception, and social and personality psychology. The program requires students to serve as teaching assistants for one semester each year. Degree-seekers must also complete some mandatory classes to support their educational and career objectives.

    Columbia University in the City of New York is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Columbia has a hefty tuition price tag of $61,671 in tuition and fees per year. You will generally finish your master's degree at this private university within two to four years.

  7. Florida Atlantic University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1962 and built on the site of an abandoned air base, FAU set out to provide higher education options to the residents of the southeast region of the state and Americans everywhere. Today, FAU boasts a population of nearly 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. One of the country's most affordable colleges, the university offers more than 170 degrees across eight academic colleges.

    FAU offers a master of arts degree in psychology that comprises 36 semester hours. The program only accepts full-time applicants. Students typically graduate in 2-3 years. Since the program is mentor-based, admission during any given year depends on the number of faculty members who can directly supervise a new student.

    FAU provides fundamental experimental training specifically for students who plan to continue on to a doctoral program in psychology. The school does not currently offer graduate opportunities for counseling or clinical psychology.

    Florida Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). At FAU, students getting their master's can plan to obtain their degree within two to four years. This public university is one of the most affordable on our list. Florida residents only pay $4,879 in tuition per year, while non-Florida residents pay about $17,324 per year for tuition.

  8. Stony Brook University
    Location

    Stony Brook, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1957, SBU began as a preparatory college for secondary teachers of science and mathematics. The university currently offers more than 350 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs across 11 schools and colleges.

    SBU degree-seekers can enroll in a full-time, one-year master of arts in general psychology program that comprises 30 credits. The curriculum includes coursework in graduate statistics, cognitive science, integrative neuroscience, and clinical psychology. Although GRE scores are optional, applicants need a minimum undergraduate 3.25 GPA to be considered for admission. Students must complete an approved program of study with a grade of at least a B in every course to be considered for the master's program.

    Stony Brook University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). At SBU, out-of-state residents pay nearly three times as much as in-state residents. The cost for out-of-state tuition is about $27,761 per year and about $10,091 per year for in-state tuition. Students at SBU generally complete their master's degree program within the typical two to four years.

  9. California State University-Long Beach
    Location

    Long Beach, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The institution that would become CSULB began in 1949 as the Los Angeles-Orange County State College. From 160 students during its initial year of operation, CSULB now enrolls nearly 37,000 students and comprises eight colleges.

    CSULB offers a full-time, two-year master of arts in psychology degree in psychological research that comprises 30 graduate credits. Called MAPR, the degree prepares graduates for doctoral studies or master's-level careers in the field. Students enroll in classes that cover key psychological subjects such as statistical design and analysis; developmental psychology; perception and physiological psychology; and health, behavior, and intervention. MAPR applicants need a bachelor's degree in psychology or at least 24 upper-division units of psychology coursework. This affordable college costs about $7,340 in tuition per year for New York residents and $15,290 per year for out-of-state students. Students can expect to take about two to four years to finish their master’s degree here.

    California State University Long Beach is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

  10. CUNY City College
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    CCNY began in 1847 as the Free Academy of the City of New York, a school founded to provide educational opportunities for the children of immigrants and the working class who showed academic promise. Today, CCNY continues to provide a range of academic options for more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students across eight professional schools and divisions.

    CCNY offers a master's in general psychology that allows learners to follow a thesis or non-thesis course of study. The thesis option requires the completion of 31 credits, while the non-thesis program requires 41 credits. Regardless of which path they choose, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout their enrollment at CCNY. The curriculum includes coursework in psychometrics, cognition, psychopharmacology, and neuroscience.

    The City College of New York is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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Amanda Push

Amanda Push is a writer based in Colorado who covers personal finance, technology, safety and security, moving, and more. Her writing has also been featured at TheSimpleDollar.com, Interest.com, MyMove.com, and Safety.com.

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