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Top Master’s Degree Programs In Psychology 2020

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Master’s Degrees in Psychology

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Over the course of the past fifteen years there has been a shift within the field of psychology, which has led to an increasing number of master’s degree holders providing care to those in need of mental health services. Many colleges and universities are now offering master’s degree programs in psychology 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. Many such programs will require students to complete an internship or practicum as part of their course of study. A rising number of schools are offering research opportunities that begin during the first year.

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Another important curricular requirement at many universities is completion of a thesis. Typically, students pursuing a master of science will conduct a research-based thesis, and those pursuing a master of arts will complete a literature review based thesis. In many cases, students will have the opportunity to present their findings at conferences and student presentations.

Top 10 Master’s in Psychology Degrees in 2020

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

Details about our ranking methodology can be found at end of the article.

Top Master’s Degree Programs in Psychology 2020

  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.

    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).

  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).

  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).

  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.

    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).

  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).

  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).

  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.

    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).

Ranking Methodology

This ranking list has been created to outline the 25 top master’s degree programs in psychology in the United States. In order to be considered, each school must be fully accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. Factors considered:

Overall Cost of Attendance

One of the major factors considered is the average annual graduate tuition. Data was collected from the College Navigator Tool.

Points:

Under $12,000 / $12,001 – $15,00/ $15,001 – $18,000 / $18,001 – $21,000:
5 Points / 3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Number of Degree Options or Areas of Specialization

While it may not be imperative in some fields to offer an array of areas of specialization, psychology is not one of those fields. With a vast number of possible specializations and concentrations it is important to graduate psychology students to have the ability to pursue a degree specialized to fit their career goals.

Points:

Number of Available Degree Options or Areas of Specialization
2 Degree or Specialization Options / 3 or More Degree or Specialization Options
2 Points / 3 Points

College Ranking

The next consideration was whether or not a school has been granted acknowledgement by a national ranking body. The major source of such national notoriety comes from the US News and World Report and Forbes.

Points:

US News and World Report Best National University Ranking / Forbes Best College Ranking: 3 Points
US News and World Report Best Program Ranking, Best Value School Ranking, Top Pubic School Ranking or Most Innovative School Ranking: 2 Points

Accreditation

In order to be included in this ranking list an appropriate ranking body must regionally accredit each college or university. Those schools that have received additional accreditation are rewarded an additional point.

Points:

Each Accreditation: 1 Point

Grading Process

Once the points have been tallied the schools are arranged into groups by the amount of points they have earned. In the cases of ties, preference was given to those schools with the lowest tuition rates.

Related Ranking: Top 30 Online Master’s Degree Programs in Psychology

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