Earn an Online Master’s Degree in Psychology

A master’s degree in psychology is a graduate-level degree that will allow you to delve deeper into the field of psychology and broaden your job prospects. Some psychology masters programs offer terminal degrees, which are designed to prepare you for professional practice in your area of specialization. Terminal master’s degree programs open the door for psychology jobs in fields like mental health, industrial-organizational psychology and forensic psychology. However, if you want to obtain your doctorate in psychology, you should not enroll in a terminal program because many doctoral programs will not accept those credits.

If you want to earn your doctorate, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for admission to a doctoral program.

Types of degrees

  • Master of Arts (MA) in psychology technically focuses on the liberal arts. However, there is no significant difference between the MA degree and the MS.
  • Master of Science (MS) in psychology technically offers a stronger research and science curriculum. But in reality, the MS degree is very similar to the MA.
  • Education Specialist (EdS) applies psychology research to educational settings. The EdS degree is preferable if you want to work in the field of school psychology.

Admissions requirements

In addition to the general admissions requirements for graduate school, most programs require that you major or minor in psychology during your undergraduate education.

Length of study

Master’s degrees in psychology typically require students to complete 30-45 credit hours. Students typically finish master’s degree programs in 2-3 years.


Some of the courses you can expect to take in order to obtain your online master's in psychology:

  • applied therapeutic techniques
  • psychological testing
  • developmental psychology
  • pathology
  • courses in your specialization
  • thesis: required by some programs but optional in others

Job possibilities

Although a master’s degree opens up more job opportunities than a bachelor’s degree, your qualifications will still be limited and you will generally work under the supervision of doctorate-level psychologists.

  • industrial-organizational psychologist
  • forensic psychologist
  • school psychologist
  • social services manager
  • drug and alcohol specialist
  • behavioral counselor child protective services worker

Professional perspective: online master's in psychology

An Interview with Richard Valencia

Richard Valencia

Professor of Educational Psychology and Mexican American Studies, University of Texas, Austin

“The optimal level of education needed in the field of educational psychology is at least a masters degree, but even then, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to work in educational psychology without a higher degree.”

Read the Full Interview >>