Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
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Masters in Psychology Online
Many students who have completed an undergraduate degree in a non-psychology field might find that they would like to switch to psychology for graduate school. Is this even possible? Not everyone figures out where their passions and interests lie during the busy undergraduate years, but it’s really never too late to start. It really just depends on how much time, effort, and commitment you are willing to put into making the change. Let’s take a look at things you might want to consider before switching to pursue psychology in grad school.
Do I need a Bachelor’s in Psychology to Get Into a Psychology Master’s Degree Program?
FEATURED PROGRAMSSPONSORED LISTINGSSCHOOLPROGRAMMORE INFOGrand Canyon UniversityDegrees in Psychology & CounselingRequest InformationRegent UniversityM.S. in PsychologyRequest InformationPurdue University GlobalMaster of Science in PsychologyRequest InformationCapella UniversityOnline programs include a BS in Psychology, as well as Master’s, PhD, and PsyD programs in over a dozen specialty areas.Request InformationSNHUOnline bachelor’s and master’s programs in Psychology with the option to focus in Addictions, Applied Psychology, Child & Adolescent Development, Forensic Psychology, Mental Health, Social Psychology, or I/O Psychology.Request Information
Academic psychologists contend that psychology is simply the study of behavior and mental disorders. Others in the field take a more expansive and philosophical approach in defining psychology as the interaction between mental states and the environment. Both definitions are correct. As psychology is such a diverse field, the degree requirements for social workers, school psychologists and clinical psychologists can differ markedly.
Social Work and Psychology: Master’s Degree Only
A Master of Social Work (MSW) is a master’s degree housed within the field of social work. Although students working towards a master’s degree will be expected to complete internship and practicum experiences, a Bachelor of Social Work degree is not a prerequisite for admission into a Master of Social Work program.
Students may apply to a Master of Social Work program with a broad gamut of liberal arts majors, but attaining a Bachelor of Social Work degree beforehand may confer benefits. That is, many programs offer an abbreviated one-year master’s degree curricula for students already holding a Bachelor of Social Work degree; without such a bachelor’s degree, the MSW program is normally two years in duration.
Today’s School Psychology: Beyond the Bachelor’s
School psychology is the top-ranked social services job, according to U.S. News and World Report. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that school psychologists earn approximately $67,000 per year. Although a master’s degree or doctorate in school psychology is required to become a nationally-certified school psychologist, students may be admitted into school psychology master’s programs from a range of psychology bachelor’s concentrations.
Popular precursors for an education specialist school psychology master’s degree are majoring in human development or human services whilst an undergraduate. School psychologists will eventually help correct learning and behavioral issues in child and adolescent populations. The job prospects for school psychology are highly favorable, as many current school psychologists are reaching retirement age. School psychology bridges clinical psychology and educational psychology to bolster student, family and community outcomes.
It’s Getting Clinical: Doctorate Required
Clinical psychology is equal parts research, application, science and theory. The overarching goal within clinical psychology is to understand and relieve psychologically-based maladaptive thoughts and behaviors in families and communities. A clinical psychologist is expected to deliver psychological assessment alongside diagnoses of mental disorders.
A master’s degree in clinical psychology is increasingly rare. Most programs encourage students to pursue either a Ph.D. or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. With respect to the latter, the American Psychological Association provides counseling psychology, clinical psychology and educational psychology Psy.D degrees to students enrolled within accredited programs.
For these higher degrees, admissions committees typically require a bachelor’s degree in psychology or statistics. Many of today’s clinical psychology programs favor a cognitive-behavioral approach rather than a psycho-dynamic bent, so all aspiring students should tailor their bachelor’s degrees accordingly.
Psychology: Then and Now
The field of psychology has been around for over a century. Today, psychologists aid in behavioral and mental health assessments in schools, educational institutions and even prisons. While some sub-disciplines within psychology require a doctorate, others do not. For instance, one can go from a Master of Social Work degree straight to being a licensed social worker. To become a licensed clinical psychologist, however, a doctorate is required. Applying students are encouraged to research their intended course of study before applying to master’s programs.
Master’s in Psychology
A master’s degree in psychology offers the chance to further develop a broad base in the subject area or gain in-depth knowledge of a particular area of psychology. Master’s degrees in psychology are offered as either terminal, stand-alone programs for students who plan to work in organizations or research settings outside of academia or research-oriented programs for students who plan to continue with doctoral-level studies. Stand-alone programs are often in concentrated areas of psychology, such as industrial and organizational (I/O) or business psychology, human factors psychology, sport psychology, forensic psychology, or human factors psychology. Stand-alone degrees take approximately one to two years to complete.
Many of the top psychology graduate schools in the country do not offer a stand-alone master’s degree to applicants who do not plan to continue with doctoral studies; therefore, it is important to choose the right school based on your career plans. Master’s in psychology programs have either a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) designation. Master of Arts degrees typically focus on psychological theories and applications while MS degrees typically have a greater focus on quantitative coursework focused on data collection and analysis. Some schools even offer online master’s in psychology degrees.
Graduates with a master’s degree in psychology are well-prepared for a variety of careers or further study at the doctoral level, but keep in mind this degree does not meet the requirements for clinical psychology licensure. Salaries vary depending on the career path. For example, according to O*NET OnLine, the median salaries for two psychology-related careers, industrial-organizational psychologists and educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors, were $82,760 and $54,560 respectively in 2016.1,2 In the research field, survey researchers earned $54,470 and social science research assistants earned $43,190.3,4
Master’s in psychology degree programs generally require a bachelor’s degree with prerequisite coursework in psychological theory, statistics, and research methods. A psychology major is not required, but some programs may have minimum grade requirements or a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) requirement for entry. The minimum GPA required is typically 3.0, but a competitive GPA is typically much higher. Scores from the GRE are also usually required, along with a personal statement, letters of reference, and a resume outlining relevant academic and research experience. Applicants may also be asked to describe how the degree will help them achieve their career goals upon graduation.FIND SCHOOLS
Core Concepts and Coursework
Courses offered in a master’s degree in psychology program vary depending on whether the curriculum is general or specialized. General programs offer a cross-section of topics in psychology while specialized programs require many courses in one particular area. Some examples of master’s level courses in psychology include:
- Learning and Cognition
- Memory and the Brain
- Organizational Behavior
- Bias, Ethics and Reasoning
- Group Dynamics
- Clinical Psychopharmacology
- Multicultural Psychology and Diversity
- Principles of Neuroscience
- Psychological Statistics
- Graduate Research Methods in Psychology
Traditional Master’s in Psychology Programs
There are many master’s degree programs offered across the country with either general curriculums or concentrations. The following profiles showcase schools with well-known programs available as stand-alone master’s in psychology with or without a specialization.
At Brandeis University, students can earn a general MA in psychology on either a full-time or part-time basis. The full-time degree takes a minimum of nine months to complete, although most students spend 12 months completing all course requirements. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for a fall start date. The curriculum includes courses on social, cognitive, and developmental psychology as well as statistics and research methods to provide breadth to the experience. To further specialize, it is possible to complete a joint master’s degree program with women’s, gender, and sexuality studies as well. As Brandeis University is part of the Boston Area Graduate Consortium, students can also take up to one course per term at Boston College, Boston University, or Tufts University. The program can prepare students for doctoral programs in psychology or careers in organizations, government, or the nonprofit sector. Brandeis was ranked in a tie for 34th place among all national universities and the 30th best value school by US News & World Report in 2016.
For applicants interested in a program with specialization options, Cleveland State University’s College of Sciences and Health Professions offers MA degrees in several areas of psychology, including clinical psychology, industrial-organizational research, diversity management, experimental research, and school psychology. Each specialization takes approximately two years to complete and has different curriculum and research requirements. Only students in the experimental research track are required to write a thesis, although students in the industrial-organizational track have the option to do so. The diversity management track is open to working professionals and operates in an executive style by offering classes one weekend per month for 21 months. The clinical psychology program has two possible options for completion. The research track requires a thesis and is designed to prepare students for further doctoral study. Note that it does not meet the requirements for licensure as a clinical psychologist. The second option prepares students to work with or under licensed clinical psychologists as assistant practitioners. Cleveland State also offers an undergraduate degree in psychology and a PhD in psychology in adult development and aging.
DePaul University offers an MS degree in psychology with a general curriculum. The program admits only five to six new students each year and suggests a minimum 3.5 GPA to apply. The program prepares students for further doctoral study by including courses in all major areas of psychology as well as statistics and research methods. As a science degree, this master’s program approaches psychology from a scientific perspective and focuses on how psychological theories can be tested using data. All students must complete the required core courses, such as advanced statistics and quantitative research design, a diversity elective, and either a master’s thesis or directed research project. A 3.20 cumulative GPA must be maintained throughout the program and the requirements must be completed within five years, although full-time students can finish the program in as little as two years. DePaul also offers a combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science degree in industrial-organizational psychology and combined Master of Arts/PhD degrees in psychology, including clinical, community, industrial-organizational, and psychological science.FIND SCHOOLS
Online Master’s in Psychology Programs
Completing a master’s in psychology online offers greater flexibility without sacrificing quality or specialization options. Online master’s in psychology programs are often more affordable than traditional programs since students theoretically pay only for the course delivery, not for room/board, parking, and other on-campus expenses. While getting your master’s degree in psychology online may be attractive, it’s not for everyone. People who choose an online psychology master’s program should be self-disciplined and able to set and meet deadlines for coursework. To read more about online psychology degrees, check out our Guide to Earning an Online Psychology Degree. While the page focuses primarily on online degrees at the baccalaureate level, you can still find some helpful tips for earning your master’s psychology degree online. The following programs are well-known or popular and offer a range of options for students considering an online learning experience.
Adler University offers two Master of Arts degrees in psychology fully online with specializations in either industrial and organizational psychology or military psychology. Classes are offered in eight-week blocks throughout the year and each program concludes with a final capstone project or action plan allowing the student to apply theories to real-world case studies. The programs take two years to complete with reasonable breaks and comprise 37 credit hours each. The industrial-organizational program prepares students to apply psychology theories in business and organizations to better manage change, diversity, and behavior. This program may benefit individuals who are already working in an organization or individuals looking to specialize in this area. The military psychology program is designed for individuals who work or plan to work with military veterans and their families to address mental health needs. This program may benefit a wide variety of professionals who work with these populations and desire a greater knowledge of issues such as trauma, grief, and psychological resilience.
In 2015, CUNY School of Professional Studies began offering a fully-online psychology master’s degree, a Master of Arts in psychology with specializations in either industrial-organizational or developmental psychology. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with prerequisite courses in introductory psychology, statistics, and research methods with at least a B grade. The program is designed to prepare students for further doctoral-level study or provide in-depth knowledge about psychology in a variety of other work settings. Both concentrations are comprised of 36 credits including nine credits of core courses, six credits in research methods, nine credits of electives, six credits of electives, and six credits of a capstone project. Some examples of elective courses include Cognitive Development, Atypical Development, and Group Dynamics. The capstone project involves collecting and analyzing data and preparing a written report in collaboration with a faculty supervisor. Students must successfully defend the capstone to a faculty committee. In 2016, CUNY was ranked in a tie for 26th top public schools by US News & World Report.
Master’s level graduates from psychology programs are not generally eligible for licensure in the clinical or school psychology professions. As many individuals with this degree pursue applied or non-academic research careers, licensure is not required. If you plan to pursue a doctoral degree, your master’s degree may be accepted as transfer credit by some universities. Be sure to check whether your preferred master’s degree in psychology program meets these requirements to avoid duplicate coursework in clinical or school psychology doctoral degree programs. If you want to learn more about becoming licensed in psychology, read our How to Become a Psychologist page.
Jobs with a Master’s in Psychology
A master’s degree in psychology can be a versatile asset relevant to many different career paths. Depending on the area of specialization, you may find career options in a variety of areas, such as:
- Developmental Services Worker
- Family Services Worker
- Educational Consultant
- Guidance Counselor
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
- Laboratory Manager
- Mental Health Care Coordinator
- Police Chief
- Product Designer
- Rehabilitation Officer
- Research Coordinator
- Victim Advocate
Choosing a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology may be a good choice if you want or need to strengthen your knowledge of a particular type of psychology or your research methods skills but do not want to commit to a doctoral program. Obtaining a master’s degree may also be beneficial when applying for leadership or management positions in applied or laboratory settings outside of academia.
Should I pursue an online master’s in psychology degree?
Whether you pursue a degree in a traditional format or an online format is entirely up to you. Many schools do offer online psychology master’s programs, and these can be a good fit for working or busy students. If you decide to get your master’s in psychology online, choose a program that is fully accredited and that offers the same classes and services to online students as it does to on-campus students. If you prefer a more traditional classroom setting and do not enjoy self-study, an online master’s in psychology may not be for you.
9 Online Masters in Psychology with No GRE Required
Whether you didn’t score high enough on the GRE or you simply don’t have the time to study for and take the test, but if you want to earn an online master’s in psychology you may not have to worry any more. Here, you’ll find 11 online master’s in psychology no GRE required and the admissions requirements at each.
Online Master’s in Psychology No GRE
Many online psychology master’s degrees don’t require the GRE for admissions. Other psychology programs only require the GRE if you have earned less than the recommended GPA. However, usually these schools are still competitive in nature and have other admissions requirements.
No GRE Required
A Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence, Pepperdine University strives to strengthen students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.
GRE Requirements at Pepperdine
The admissions requirements for the online master’s in psychology programs at Pepperdine do not include the GRE, but do include:
- Official transcripts
- Two letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose
In addition, if your native language isn’t English and you did not earn the equivalent of a four-year US undergraduate or graduate degree, you must provide TOEFL scores.
Online Master’s in Psychology
One of three online master’s in psychology programs at Pepperdine is:
This program is designed to provide you with a thorough understanding of how to use techniques and researchh methods based on applied behavior analysis, or ABA, to improve behaviors with those who have been diagnosed with autism or have other developmental disabilities.
No GRE Required
The unique model of education at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology is based on more than just theory, which is why the practitioner faculty integrates classroom learning with relevant, applicable examples from their own experience.
GRE Requirements at CSPP
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology doesn’t require the GRE for any of the master’s in psychology programs, including all of the online programs.
Many of the master’s programs require a 3.0 GPA, however every applicant is viewed holistically, including an emphasis on personal and professional experience and accomplishments.
Online Psychology Programs at CSPP with No GRE
- MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Clinical Psychology
- MA Psychology
- MS in Applied Behavior Analysis
- MA in Industrial & Organizational Psychology: ARP Track
GRE Only for Those with GPA Less Than 3.0
Designed to offer a diverse array of innovative academic programs that foster academic excellence, intellectual inquiry, leadership, research, and commitment to community, Nova Southeastern University offers a dynamic, life-long learning environment that may start with earning your master.
Nova Southeastern only requires applicants who have less than a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of undergraduate study to submit GRE results with a preferred score of 300 (verbal and quantitative). You may also avoid having to submit your GRE scores if you’ve completed a minimum of 18 credits of graduate study with a 3.0 or higher.
Psychology Programs at NSU
No GRE Required
With more than 1,600 graduate students, the University of Hartford strives to provide a robust, distinctive educational experience in order to prepare students for success in the 21st century.
GRE Requirements at Hartford
There are no GRE requirements for the online psychology programs at the University of Hartford.
The other admissions requirements include:
- Completed online application
- Official transcripts
- Letter of intent
- Three (3) letters of recommendation
Online Master’s in Psychology at the University of Hartford
This program addresses the critical leadership skills required to enhance organizational effectiveness through a theoretical framework combined with research design, data collection and analysis, communication, facilitation, and organizational issues.
No GRE Required
By mentoring students one-on-one via advanced delivery modalities, Northcentral University is committed to helping students achieve their academic goals and become valuable contributors to their communities.
GRE Requirements at NCU
There are no GRE requirements for any of the master’s programs at Northcentral, including the online master’s in psychology programs.
When applying, you work with an Enrollment Advisor who reviews your application materials, including a bachelor’s degree from an accredited academic institution and your official transcripts.
Online Master’s in Psychology at NCU
- MS in Health Psychology
- MS in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology
- MA in Psychology – Gender Diversity Studies
- MS in Forensic Psychology
- MA in Psychology – General Psychology
No GRE Required
Designed to build upon Purdue’s mission to provide greater access to affordable, high-quality education, Purdue University Global is a pubic, nonprofit institution that offers adult learners the flexibility while earning a world-class education to fit their busy lives.
GRE Requirements at Purdue Global
There are no GRE requirements for master’s programs at Purdue Global, which include the online psychology degrees.
The other admissions requirements include:
- Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution
- Informational interview
- Unofficial transcripts (official transcripts needed by end of the first term)
Online Master’s in Psychology at Purdue Global
- MS in General Psychology
- MS in Applied Behavior Analysis
- MSPY – Industrial / Organizational Psychology Specialization
- MS in Educational Psychology
No GRE Required
As of 2016, Walden had more than 57,000 students enrolled in the various degrees and levels offered by the school because for the past 45 years, the school has been serving the higher education needs of adult learners.
GRE Requirements at Walden
When applying to graduate programs at Walden, there are no GRE requirements. However, there are other admission requirements, which include:
- Unofficial transcripts (used as pre-admission evaluation)
- Official transcripts (needed once you are admitted)
- Employment and educational history
Online Master’s Programs at Walden
- MS in Forensic Psychology – General
- MS in Psychology – Social Psychology
- MS in Psychology – Organizational Development
- MS in Psychology – Crisis Management & Response
- MS in Psychology – Psychology, Public Administration, and Social Change
No GRE Required
Founded in 1978, California Southern University is regionally accredited. They’re focused on offering non-traditional students affordable, convenient, and exceptional higher education programs.
GRE Requirements at California Southern
There are no entrance exam requirements at Cal Southern, including the GRE. Plus, courses start monthly throughout the year, so most of the time, once accepted you can start as soon as your schedule permits.
Other admissions requirements include:
- Enrollment Application
- Official undergraduate transcripts
- Personal Statement
- Application fee
Online Master’s in Psychology Programs at Cal Southern
GRE Not Required, but Recommended
Sacred Heart University believes that the true value of your experience while earning your degree won’t be in the facts you’re taught, but in the pursuit of knowledge and intelligent reflection, which will challenge your curiosity and lead to new opportunities.
GRE Requirements at SHU
GRE scores are not required, but are recommended as additional evidence of eligibility. The other admissions requirements include:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Official transcript
- Statement of Professional Goals
- Minimum GPA of 3.0
- Two letters of recommendation
Online Master’s in Psychology at SHU
- MS in Applied Psychology – Community Psychology
- MS in Applied Psychology – Industrial-Organizational Psychology
4 Reasons Some Online Master’s in Psychology Don’t Require the GRE
For many years, the GRE has been the standardized test that graduate schools used to determine if an applicant was ready to handle the rigors of pursuing a master’s degree.
However, some recent studies suggest that there is no correlation between GRE scores and final graduate school GPA. In fact, there are better determining factors, including your undergraduate GPA.
Masters in Psychology Online No GRE
As a result, there are many online master’s in psychology programs that don’t require the GRE. In addition to the lack of correlation, there are four other reasons that a graduate school may choose not to require the GRE, which are listed below.
#1: Good GPA
As mentioned, there is a higher correlation between your undergraduate GPA and your final graduate school GPA than between your GRE score and GPA. As a result, many online psychology master’s programs will not require you to submit GRE scores if you have a higher GPA.
On the flip side, some schools only require you to submit your GRE scores if you do not meet certain GPA requirements. Check with each of your potential schools before applying to see specific requirements.
#2: Already Have a Graduate Degree
Another of the most common reasons a master’s program won’t require the GRE is because you’ve already earned a graduate degree. After all, one of the best ways to prove you can handle the rigors of a master’s degree is if you’ve already earned one.
#3: Relevant Professional Experience
If you have a number of years of professional experience, especially in leadership or management positions, online psychology master’s programs are more likely to not require the GRE as part of your admissions process.
This is usually a benefit to both you, the potential student, because you don’t have to take the time studying for and taking the GRE, but also a benefit to the school because you’ll be a valued contributor in your classes because of your professional experience.
#4: Way to Enroll More Students
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of psychologists will increase 11% during the years 2016 to 2026.i As demand for psychologists continues to increase, many graduate schools are looking to enroll students in their master’s and PhD programs.
By not requiring the GRE, or only requiring it if an applicant doesn’t meet certain criteria, these schools are opening their doors to more potential students and applicants.
Find partner institutions for online psych masters programs that don’t require a GRE below.
List of Online Psychology Masters Programs That Don’t Require GRE
|Other Admission Requirements
|1. Pepperdine University
|Official Transcripts, Two letters of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose
|2. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
|All applicants full application is viewed on an individual basis
|3. Nova Southeastern University
|3.0 Undergraduate GPA or 18 graduate credits to avoid GRE
|4. University of Hartford
|Online Graduate Application, Transcripts, Statement of Purpose, Letters of Recommendation
|5. Northcentral University
|Completed Application, Bachelor’s Degree, Transcripts
|6. Purdue University Global
|Bachelor’s Degree, Transcripts, Interview
|7. Walden University
|Bachelor’s Degree, Resume, Employment and Educational history
|8. California Southern University
|Bachelor’s degree, Completed Application, Official Transcripts
|9. Sacred Heart University
|Bachelor’s Degree, Transcript, 3.0 GPA, Resume, Letters of Recommendation
Different Types of Psychology Master’s Degrees
Some of the most common concentrations while pursuing an online psychology master’s degree are:
- Online Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s
- Clinical Psychology Online Master’s
- Developmental Psychology Online Master’s
- Forensic Psychology Online Master’s
- Industrial Organizational Psychology Online Master’s
- Sports Psychology Online Master’s
Also, don’t forget to discover the available careers with a master’s in psychology.