While a doctoral degree is typically required to work as a psychologist, those degree programs are typically not available online due to heavy clinical requirements and hands-on learning opportunities. However, students can find master's degree and graduate certificate programs in psychology from several schools. Some online graduate schools provide all degree coursework online, while others feature hybrid programs requiring a few days on campus to complete the program.
Profiled below are three top schools offering online graduate psychology programs. The University of Southern California, Kansas State University and Angelo State University all offer strong programs, and each school was regionally or nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.
University of Southern California in Los Angeles
|School Highlight: The University of Southern California is the only school among U.S. News and World Report's top 25 best colleges to offer a fully online applied psychology master's degree program.|
U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Southern California (USC) 23rd among national universities in 2017 and 40th for its graduate psychology programs in 2013. USC offers a Master of Science in Applied Psychology through its Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The fully online program can be completed in 16 months and offers concentrations in consumer psychology and organizational psychology. These programs teach students to use the psychology of human behavior in a business setting, and skills learned in these programs can be applied to a number of business fields, including human resources and market research. All courses are taught by professors who are current practitioners in the field.
Kansas State University in Manhattan
|School Highlight:Graduates of Kansas State University's Ph.D. program in industrial psychology have gone on to work in academics, federal government agencies, major corporations and consulting firms around the globe.|
Kansas State University was ranked 64th among top U.S. public national universities in U.S. News & World Report's 2017 rankings. KSU's Department of Psychological Sciences offers a distance-learning Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Students complete four web-based courses and must attend 2-week in-person summer session for two consecutive summers to complete four on-campus courses. A guided practicum is also required. This programs takes two-and-a-half years to complete.
Angelo State University in San Angelo, TX
|School Highlight: The school offers a fully online applied psychology program.|
The Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work at Angelo State University offers an online master's degree program in applied psychology. The program consists of 36 semester credit hours, and students can choose between thesis and non-thesis options. While the classes are available entirely online, local students also have the option of attending on-campus classes. Graduates are prepared to work in the human services field or enroll in higher level educational programs. For those who want to teach psychology at the college level in the future, the school also offers a Teaching of Psychology Certificate program. Princeton Review ranked Angelo State among the best colleges in the country, as well as the best Western colleges.
Top Schools Offering Online Graduate Programs in Psychology
Here is a list of other schools that offer strong online psychology programs:
- At Ball State University in Muncie, IN, the online educational psychology program has three specialization options.
- Through Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, the terminal master's degree in industrial/organizational psychology can be completed fully online.
- Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA, offers unique online programs in media psychology.
- The University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign was ranked #44 among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.
- The online graduate education programs at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO, including its MA in Educational Psychology, were ranked #139 by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.
- At the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND, students in the online master's program in forensic psychology pay in-state tuition, regardless of where they live.
Online graduate-level psychology programs are primarily offered at the master's degree level, although some certificates are also available. Students can find these programs at top public and private universities.