From Applying to Graduating, Resources for Psych Students

Psychology graduates are in-demand: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of psychology professionals is projected to grow by 19 percent between 2014-2020, about three times faster than the national average. Many of these new positions - case managers, rehabilitation managers, social service managers and more - will require at least a master's degree. Others will require master's degrees plus Doctor of Psychiatry (PsyD) or PhD degrees. The following guide outlines how online master's in psychology degrees commonly work, highlights some of the best online master's in psychology degrees and provides resources for finding the right program for you.

Psychology professionals pursuing master’s degrees may find that online programs fit their schedules and budgets better than face-to-face coursework. As demand for these programs grows, so do the number of online degrees available. While this trend offers students new options, it can make it more difficult to sift through them and find programs that suit them best. To simplify the process, we’ve developed a ranking system to discern the best online master’s in psychology degrees. We evaluated schools using a number of factors, like not-for-profit status, graduation rates, tuition costs, student support services and job placement rates, and compiled the top schools here for easy review.

1 Eastern Michigan University

Graduate students who pursue the general clinical master of psychology degree program at Eastern Michigan University will be prepared for master's level clinical practice and licensure. Upon graduation, students will emerge from the program as limited license psychologists (LLP) in Michigan who are prepared to design and analyze clinical research. Graduate students will have access to a variety of academic and research tools, including those affiliated with the university's library services. They will also benefit from academic advising, technical help, counseling, career services and access to the university's vast alumni network.

2 Michigan State University

The graduate training in program evaluation at Michigan State University is offered completely online. The program, which combines both real-world experience and theoretical academic knowledge, requires distance learners to consult with both instructors and their peers to tackle skill- and knowledge-building activities. Students will also complete a supervised practical application course over the term of two semesters. Students will gain hands-on experience by working closely with evaluation practitioners in a professional setting. Upon completion, students will be prepared for careers as professional evaluators at the federal, state or local levels, as well as in the private sector.

3 Syracuse University

The Syracuse University psychology graduate program is led by instructors who are renowned in the field for both practice and research. Graduate students can choose from four separate programs, each with its own specialization, and they will have the opportunity to receive financial support with research assistantships, clinical assistantships and teaching assistantships. Students will publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals, and then present those findings at industry conferences. There is also a program called FPP, or future professoriate program, which enables students with professional academic aspirations to pursue university-level training and certification.

4 Seton Hall University

The master of science in experimental psychology program at Seton Hall University boasts very low student-teacher ratios, and large numbers of graduates are currently employed in the field or went onto pursue PhD programs. Upon graduation, students will be immediately qualified to enter a doctorate program or begin work in a research-intensive professional position. Possible careers include laboratory assistant, academic researcher, college instructor and science writer. There are three possible concentrations, all of which require the completion of a thesis, as well as two non-thesis specializations. All students, however, will have access to the university's cutting-edge laboratories and facilities.

5 Nova Southeastern University

The Nova Southeastern University School of Psychology offers graduate programs that culminate in both master of science and specialist degrees. Upon graduation, students will be able to move on to PhD-level degree programs, begin clinical research, begin professional practice or advance in their current fields. The MS program offers six individual concentrations. The specialist program, which can be completed in three years, requires students to possess at least a bachelor's degree. Students will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and research centers, and will benefit from academic advising, career services and library services.

6 Ball State University

The central purpose of the Ball State University master's degree programs in psychological science are to prepare students for doctoral work and to present them with opportunities to conduct research. It is common for faculty to collaborate with students on projects. Master of arts degrees are available in both clinical psychology, and cognitive and social processes. The vast majority of students seeking assistantships find one, and the program boasts high numbers of graduates accepted into doctoral programs. Prospective students are encouraged to participate in a live, online webinar where they can learn about the program, meet students and ask questions.

7 Wright State University-Main Campus

Master's degree options at Wright State University-Main Campus include industrial organizational psychology and human factors. Department-specific academic advisors help students plan their degrees, and fulfill all the program requirements. There are many organizations available for graduate program participants to join, including Psi Chi and the Psychology Club. Each faculty member maintains his or her own research facility, and on-campus laboratories are supplemented through partnerships with several local specialty facilities. The university owns the Virtual Environment Research, Interactive Technology, and Simulation facility, which is housed in the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

8 Barry University

The clinical psychology graduate program at Barry University culminates in master of science degree. Students will graduate prepared for either entry into doctoral programs or to begin work in the field of mental health. There is a 60-credit track, which qualifies students for work as mental health counselors in Florida, and a 36-credit track, which prepares aspiring doctoral degree candidates. The College of Arts and Sciences hosts a Preview Day, where prospective students can learn about programs, ask questions and meet the faculty. Students considering entering the program are encouraged to schedule a visit to the school.

9 Boston University

The Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences at Boston University offers an eight-course master of arts degree that can be completed in one year. Students will explore a wide range of societal, behavioral and cognitive subjects and issues. Faculty not only supervise academic work, but coordinate with students for research projects. The program is open both to dedicated psychology students and students with minimal experience in the field of study. The program does not, however, qualify students for professional practice. Students are required to complete a minimum of at least an introductory psychology course. There is no thesis requirement, but students must complete a research apprenticeship.

10 Temple University

Graduate-level psychology students can pursue a master of science degree in psychological research at Temple University. The program covers advanced coursework and research-intensive study, while instructing students on professional development. The program is intended for students who intend to progress to a doctoral program involving any study in the field of psychology. The program, which can be completed at the main campus, can be finished in two years. Students must enroll full time. The interdisciplinary program prepares students for careers in universities, the private sector, research, consulting, and the nonprofit and marketing sectors.

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