Online Master’s in Psychology

| Psychology.org Staff Modified on April 25, 2022

Online Master’s in Psychology

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Most students earning an online master's in psychology plan to continue their education by earning a doctorate to become clinical psychologists. However, a master of science in psychology online degree can also lead to a career as a professional counselor, human resources professional, social worker, or organizational consultant.

What to Look For in an Online Master's in Psychology

The best online psychology master's degree program for you depends on:

Accreditation means an independent academic group has determined that the program meets quality standards. Because accreditation is vital to a program and your career goals, this guide only lists accredited online master of science or master of arts in psychology online degrees.

Featured Online Psychology Programs

Hybrid and Online Options

A hybrid program combines on-campus and online elements. Typically, schools deliver classes that primarily build your body of knowledge online, while courses to develop skills, such as conducting psychological assessment or performing psychology research, take place on campus.

The American Psychological Association only accredits doctoral programs in psychology, though it hopes to accredit master's programs in the future. The Master in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) and the Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) are currently the primary accrediting organizations for on-campus and online master's in psychology programs.

Accreditation standards include:

The standards are the same for on-campus and online master's in psychology programs.

Practical Experience Requirements

Your master's in psychology online degree requirements include an initial practicum, followed by an internship. Under a licensed clinical psychologist's supervision, students first observe and study, and then work with patients for a set minimum number of hours over a semester to complete the practicum experience.

The internship follows the same pattern, but typically takes a year and involves more hours with clients while under close supervision. The practicum and internship are some of the most important parts of your education, as you learn to apply your knowledge to professional situations and client needs.

Schools help students find clinical placement for practicums and internships, but the responsibility of applying belongs to students. Often, there are more applicants than available internships, so you must begin planning and preparing for your internship early in your program.

Best Online Psychology Master's Degree Programs

#1 Online College in California

Pepperdine University

School Information
Location Malibu, California
Admission Rate 32%
Graduation Rate 86%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Malibu, California-based Pepperdine offers an online master's in psychology. The program is designed for students pursuing a career in human services or a related field. The program also serves learners who want to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology. 

Enrollees can complete the degree in 18-24 months. The program requires 36-48 credits. The curriculum includes five foundational psychology classes, nine core classes, and two elective classes. Pepperdine may allow students with a "B" or higher in bachelor's-level foundational classes to waive some classes. 

Students can begin classes in the winter, spring, summer, or fall semester. Admission requirements include an online application, a bachelor's degree, and an application fee. Pepperdine waives this fee for applicants who meet the priority deadline.

#2 Online College in Virginia

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Liberty, a private, Christian-based institution, in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers an online master's in psychology. The program emphasizes applied psychology. This approach involves applying psychological theories to real-world situations. 

The program offers two concentrations: developmental psychology and industrial/organizational psychology. Learners can transfer up to 50% of the degree's 36 required credits. Classes last eight weeks and run 100% online. Students can complete the degree in 18 months.  

Liberty offers eight annual start dates. Applicants submit transcripts, proof of English proficiency, and an application fee. Military members and veterans receive a tuition discount.

#3 Online College in California

Palo Alto University

School Information
Location Palo Alto, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

California-based PAU offers an online master's in counseling that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. 

Enrollees can complete the degree in two years. Students take classes on campus or in a hybrid format that combines online and in-person classes. The program offers two tracks: professional clinical counselor and marriage and family therapist. Students can also specialize in both tracks depending on their concentration and home state licensure regulations. 

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. PAU prefers applicants with a 3.0 GPA and some prior counseling experience. The school uses rolling admissions. Once accepted into the program, enrollees can complete an online orientation to learn how to navigate the program.

#4 Online College in Virginia

Regent University

School Information
Location Virginia Beach, Virginia
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 57%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Regent is a private, Christian-based school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The school offers an online master's in psychology that covers human social interactions and cognitive neuroscience. 

The 39-credit degree prepares students for various psychology careers. Learners can also use the degree to continue their education at the doctoral level. Enrollees can choose from six concentrations, including addictions and leadership coaching. Students can also choose cyberpsychology, which teaches how to improve online human/technology interactions. 

Applicants submit an online application, transcripts, and a government-issued identification.

#5 Online College in Virginia

Divine Mercy University

School Information
Location Sterling, Virginia
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Arlington, Virginia-based DMU offers a 33-credit online master's in psychology program. Enrollees complete 24 core credits and nine electives. The program uses a Catholic-Christian viewpoint. 

Students can choose from five concentrations, including leadership psychology and marriage and family studies. A self-designed track lets learners take a variety of electives.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a 2.5 GPA. They must submit two recommendation letters, a resume, and a statement of intent describing how their goals align with the program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Master's in Psychology


What can I do with an online master's in psychology?

An online master's in psychology gives you the same options as an on-campus program. You can become a licensed counselor or therapist, work in applied psychology, or go on to earn a doctorate and become a clinical psychologist.

What determines the best master's degree in clinical psychology online?

The best online psychology master's degree for you depends on your career goals; your background; the academics; and quality, cost, and logistics.

What is the most affordable online psychology master's program?

While tuition and other costs are important, be sure to consider financial aid availability and loan forgiveness programs for psychologists working in public service. These affect how much you actually pay for your degree.

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