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Students completing an online master’s in behavioral psychology degree will further their undergraduate studies in psychology while also preparing themselves for more advanced careers requiring specialized expertise. Most online degrees ranged between 30 and 48 credit hours, allowing full-time students to complete coursework in two years or, via accelerated programs, in only one year. Those who graduate may qualify for a job as a school or career counselor, and they can expect to receive an average salary of $60,000 per year.

According to U.S. News, the cost of such an online master’s degree ranges from $18,000 to $45,000, meaning that it may cost you more or less than the average cost of an undergraduate degree ($26,000).

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Program

Choose your area of study

Some online master’s in behavioral psychology programs are more generalized, but others have specific degree concentrations for students. These concentrations typically include areas of study such as school psychology, counseling psychology, and addiction psychology.

If students are reasonably sure what career to pursue after graduation, they should consider choosing an online program with an area of study that aligns with their future career needs. This determination will help students learn the most relevant knowledge they need while helping signify to prospective employers that they are now subject matter specialists in a very highly specialized area.

Research schools and programs

For prospective students, it’s always important to check the accreditation status of schools offering the program to verify that the degree is worth how much it costs and because it’s necessary for FAFSA. It’s also essential for budget-conscious students to determine which of these schools is realistically within their price range. Students worried about whether they can succeed as online learners should consider focusing on schools with extensive support programs for their remote learners.

Prepare for tests and applications

Students researching different online master’s in behavioral psychology programs should check each application and verify whether it will require them to submit GRE scores as part of their application. Some schools have waived the requirement entirely, others will waive the requirement if a student’s undergraduate GPA is high enough, and others require GRE scores no matter what. If the student has never taken the GRE before, they should factor the time doing so will take against application deadlines: it can take up to three months to study for the exam and up to 15 days to receive results.

Students should also check the application for other requirements, including cover letter, application essays, undergraduate transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Select your program

With the list of online master’s in behavioral psychology programs narrowed down, students must ultimately decide which one(s) they will apply to.

Cost is a major deciding factor for most students, as they want an affordable school that won’t leave them with excess student debt. Other factors may include the job placement rate of the program(s) in question and which professors will be teaching the classes (this can be important because the professional connections of influential figures in psychology can help students find jobs after graduation). Finally, students should strongly consider whether the school(s) offer a flexible enough schedule to help online learners succeed in their studies.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

The easiest way for students to get help paying for their online master’s in behavioral psychology program is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. After completing this application, students may be eligible for federal student loans that can mitigate some of their educational costs or possibly take care of them entirely. And while it’s harder for graduate students to find the kinds of grants and scholarships available to undergraduate students, a completed FAFSA may be a requirement for other types of aid, the student may receive.

For a complete breakdown of aid opportunities available through the school or the state, students should contact the financial aid office of every university they apply to.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Programs

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This list features an array of master’s degree programs — including Master of Arts and Master of Science programs. There are also programs for aspiring teachers, such as the Master of Education in Special Education degree program. Most are online, although there are hybrid degree program formats. Some degree programs offer specialties and concentrations.

Regional accreditation is important when choosing a degree program. Students who attend an accredited school can transfer their credits or degree if they want to change schools. In addition, many professional organizations only recognize degrees from accredited institutions. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) is one such accreditation; one of the non-regional accreditations to look for is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Program?

Students who get accepted into an online master’s in behavioral psychology program should expect classes that take their undergraduate foundation of psychological knowledge and build on it through coursework with a particular focus: learning more about what makes humans behave in specific ways in certain situations and stimuli.

Because of this focus, students who tend to excel in such a program are naturally curious about such behaviors and have the analytical minds necessary to conduct in-depth research to discover and articulate answers to the kinds of psychology questions that would otherwise remain unanswered.

Most of these online programs are designed to take two years for full-time learners and three years for part-time learners. Those who enroll in an accelerated program can complete their necessary courses in only one year. And unlike some online graduate programs, remote learners should not have to complete any labs or other requirements that necessitate a visit to the campus.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in behavioral psychology program

  • Research Methods in Psychology I. This course provides a strong foundation for students to learn the different methodologies and technologies that help fuel psychological research. Course instruction includes how to find and analyze specific data and contextualize the findings using theories and recent developments from contemporary psychology.
  • Social Psychology. This course helps students learn more about how people interact with society, technology, and the environment and what can be known from these interactions.
  • Cognitive Processes. Compared to social psychology courses, this class focuses more on the processes that go into our everyday cognitive processes. Those processes include learning, language, memory, and decision-making, and students will learn more about how to apply this understanding to a diverse set of real-world problems and social challenges.
  • Theories of Personality. This course uses a theory-based approach to help students learn more about the historical theories of behavioral psychology that Sigmund Freud put forth and more contemporary theories that have evolved (and, in many cases, diverged) from his original research.

Online Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in behavioral psychology degree program?

To apply to an online master’s in behavioral psychology course, students need only to visit the appropriate school website and access the online application. That application will specify what additional paperwork to include with the application, including a cover letter, undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.

It’s important to remember that different programs may have other guidelines for students to abide by. When in doubt, students should contact the admissions office for schools they are interested in. These counselors can provide important information about the school, the program, and the application.

How much does an online master’s in behavioral psychology degree cost?

U.S. News reports that the cost of such an online master’s degree ranges from $18,000 to $45,000. The reason for the range is that some schools are much more expensive than others, with private schools charging more than public schools. And students who are attending from out-of-state may potentially pay much more than in-state students will pay. Generally speaking, programs that require more credit hours to complete will be more expensive than those requiring fewer credit hours, and students who complete coursework within two years will pay less than those who take longer.

Regardless of the cost, this online degree is usually cheaper than its on-campus counterpart because remote learners will not need to relocate to a university town, pay for a parking pass, or pay other assorted campus fees.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in behavioral psychology degree?

Most schools have designed their online master’s in behavioral psychology programs to be completed within two years by full-time learners. Accelerated programs may be available, which students can complete in as little as one year.

Fortunately, most online programs are designed with a certain degree of schedule flexibility in mind, which is excellent for students who might need to take classes at night after they attend their part-time or full-time job in the morning. Students who know in advance that they can only attend part-time or who otherwise have many non-academic responsibilities should focus on applying to online programs that offer schedule flexibility for remote learners.