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Master of Science: Online Psychology Degree

Get info about online master's degree programs in psychology. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

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  • Environmental Psychology
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Essential Information

Master of Science in Psychology programs may be right for students seeking a terminal degree, as well as those planning to transition into a Ph.D. program. It is important to note, however, that a doctorate is typically required to become a licensed psychologist. A master's degree would prepare one to become a psychological assistant.

A Master of Science in Psychology program can be completed online. Programs that focus on psychology aren't just for clinical psychologists; the knowledge and skills involved can translate to a wide range of career options. For example, graduates can work for marketing agencies, schools, prisons or the government.

Learning Environment

Most graduate course content is found on website-based content management systems. They communicate with each other and professors through message boards or discussion rooms. They may participate in live lectures or watch instructional videos on their own schedule. Some programs combine classroom meetings with online interaction.

Common Courses

Online Master of Science in Psychology programs traditionally take 2-3 years to complete, through many programs offering part-time study options. Coursework focuses on research methods and life span development. Specialized courses in neuropsychology, cognitive behavior and psychopathology are also common.

Neuropsychology

Students learn about neuroanatomy and the diagnosis of neuropsychological syndromes. They also examine the ethical and legal issues surrounding neuropsychological research.

Cognitive Behavior

This course covers the ways cognition affects human behavior. Students learn about knowledge acquisition, emotional regulation and language.

Psychopathology

This class explores behavior that is considered pathological, including emotional and personality disorders. Students learn standard methods of classifying and treating disorders.


Career Information

Graduates of an online Master of Science in Psychology program can find employment in mental health services, psychological research or counseling. Those with a background in industrial and organizational psychology may find work researching management and marketing problems in large companies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that overall employment for psychologists will grow 19% from 2014-2024; it also reported that competition for jobs will be most intense for positions requiring only a master's degree (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported a median salary of $94,590 for psychologists as of May 2015.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Psychologists who offer patient care must meet licensing or certification requirements in their state of employment. Clinical, counseling and school psychologists usually need a doctorate in psychology to attain state licensing credentials.

A master's degree in psychology allows students to work under the supervision of a Ph.D. psychologist or as a stepping stone towards a Ph.D. in psychology. Programs can be completed entirely online and feature advanced studies in research, cognition, and pathology.

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