Why This Matters


    With an average salary of $80,370, psychologists earn more than double the $39,810 average salary of all other occupations.


    With a growth rate of 3% in the field, psychologists are needed to provide services at schools, hospitals, and health centers. Psychological services are also a must to help trauma survivors and people with developmental disorders.


    Psychologists working in this industry have the highest average salary in the profession, followed by psychologists who work in hospitals ($88,480) and ambulatory healthcare ($82,250).

Our Research

Our list covers graduate-level programs in psychology that prepare students for a diverse set of careers, including human resources, market research, and family services. Degrees offered include a master of science in psychology, master of arts in psychology, master of arts in media psychology, and master of arts in counseling psychology. Our research covers programs that offer on-campus, online, and hybrid learning formats.

The American Psychology Association (APA) is recognized as the national accrediting organization for educational and training programs in psychology. Programs focused on the mental health of young adults are accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Our list also includes schools with regional accreditation, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 57 hours to write this article
  • 173 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 283 education programs we compared

The Top 38 Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs

The Best Master's in Psychology Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

It’s important to have a clear understanding of your desired career path when studying for a master’s in psychology. If your goal is to be a clinical psychologist, you’ll need to pursue a doctorate. You might also consider a master’s in social work, counseling, or education. Master of social work degrees train students in psychotherapy techniques that help individuals and communities overcome challenges, and graduates can work as general psychotherapists. A master of science in counseling requires at least two years of supervised experience. After this period, graduates can provide a wide range of services, including mental health, community, addiction, school, marriage, and family counseling. Students wishing to work in a classroom environment should consider pursuing a master of education degree. To determine which program is right for you, think about how you would like to use your knowledge and understanding of human behavior.

Additional licenses and certifications are needed to demonstrate expertise in the field of psychology. A state-issued license, such as Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), is an essential qualification. The American Board of Professional Psychology approves a range of specializations to help psychology graduates qualify their abilities.

What’s Next?

Here are a couple of questions to ask when considering a master’s in psychology:

  • Am I eligible for this program? At the graduate level, psychology programs are open to prospective students who hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology or related fields. You might also need to have a minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score and demonstrate previous coursework in statistics, experimental methods, and developmental psychology.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most master’s degree programs in psychology take two to three years to complete and often involve a final thesis. Online programs allow students to complete courses at their own pace. If you’re considering becoming a psychologist, you will also need to attend a doctorate program. PhD programs usually take four to six years, and some master’s programs are included as part of doctoral programs.

Be mindful of application deadlines and additional prerequisites for programs in which you’re interested. Many schools post detailed application information for their programs in the admissions sections of their websites.

Consider how you will cover the costs associated with your preferred area of study. Scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study funds are all ways to pay for your graduate studies. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible to find out if you quality for government funding.