A master's degree in psychology is one of the more versatile options available to would-be graduate students. Unlike advanced degree programs that pigeonhole students into a single career, psychology is a field with applications in business, education, organizational management, criminal justice, social work, sports, and research, among others. Since many grad school applicants already have jobs, it can be difficult to find the time to pursue this advanced credential. However, many online psychology degree master's programs are available online and offer immense flexibility for busy professionals.
In our search for the top affordable programs, we aimed to consider both quality and price. To start, we conducted somewhat of a meta-analysis of other ranking websites, looking for the schools that appear most often on "Best of" lists. For this article in particular we used rankings from GetEducated.com, BestPsychologyDegrees.com, BestCollegeReviews.org, and SuperScholar.org. We then made a note of all the online colleges that appeared on these rankings multiple times and filtered out the rest in order to determine those with the best reputations. Finally, we sorted the results by price (we recorded both the graduate-level tuition and fees information from College Navigator) and chose the 9 most affordable. The schools range from $18,000 a year down to less than $7,000, so you're practically guaranteed to find something in your price range!
9. University of Wisconsin
Online Master of Science in Educational Psychology/Professional Educators
Earn your online master's degree in Educational Psychology in just two years through this interdisciplinary program from the University of Wisconsin. Combining aspects of psychology with curriculum, instruction, leadership, and policy analysis, this unique degree will more than prepare you for top positions within the education system. The 24-credit program features primarily asynchronous online classes, but occasional audio conferencing sessions and face-to-face coursework (during the summer only) make sure that you stay in synch and have an opportunity to meet your professors. Get Educated and Best College Reviews have plenty of praise for this online master's degree in psychology, as does U.S. News.
Tuition & Fees:$18,528/yr
8. Southern New Hampshire University
Online M.S. in Psychology: Child and Adolescent Development, Forensic Psychology, and Industrial Organizational Psychology
Psychology isn't just about counseling individuals through mental health problems; it's actually a much broader field that can benefit individuals, businesses, and even the criminal justice system. Southern New Hampshire University understands this reality well and has crafted a master's degree in psychology online that will give you plenty of choices. Three concentrations – Child and Adolescent Development, Forensic Psychology, and Industrial Organizational Psychology – follow a solid foundation of core courses, which focus on such topics as statistics, research methods, measurement and assessment, and cognitive processes. The diverse program also allows you the flexibility to take one-of-a-kind electives in Sport and Society, Managing Difficult Conversations at Work, and Women and Leadership, among others.
Tuition & Fees:$18,495/yr
7. Capella University
Online Master of Science in Psychology (Multiple Concentrations)
Capella University is known for its variety of online undergraduate and graduate degrees – all of which come at an attractively low price. And its online master's program in psychology is not just affordable; it's also uniquely flexible, even compared to other online degrees. Capella's "FlexPath" option allows you to power through subjects with which you are already familiar and slow down in other classes where you might need more time. You'll still earn your diploma on schedule, but you'll feel more confident in your knowledge once you get there! The General Psychology track is a popular choice, but Capella offers an almost overwhelming list of potential specializations, including Clinical Counseling, Forensic Psychology, Addiction Studies, Leadership Coaching, and Applied Behavior Analysis.
Tuition & Fees:$13,770/yr
6. Walden University
Online MS in Clinical Psychology
Walden University is practically ubiquitous in the world of top online psychology master's degree programs. Get Educated, Best Psychology Degrees, Best College Reviews, and Super Scholar all name Walden to their ranking of the best online colleges in this field. Although the program does not officially lead to professional licensure, qualified advisors are available to help you determine the requirements in your state if you aspire to be a clinical counselor. California residents in particular may choose a concentration that will help put them on the right track toward meeting the licensure requirements. But regardless of your professional goals, Walden University's comprehensive program will serve as a solid stepping-stone, from the introductory classes to the hands-on practicums and supervised internships that will prepare you for the real world.
Tuition & Fees:$12,572/yr
5. Ottawa University
Online Master of Arts in Education: School Psychology
Ottawa University's psychology program isn't for everyone, but if you're interested in education, this interdisciplinary degree might be right up your alley. The master's degree in psychology online at Ottawa is targeted specifically to aspiring school psychologists; the curriculum focuses on assessment and intervention in classroom environments, collaboration with teachers and parents, the social and behavioral needs of children, and learning promotion within the school system. The program is blended – meaning there will be some required face-to-face visits – and includes mandatory practicums and internships. Although the coursework is rigorous, it is State-board-certified within Arizona and is one of the few affordable universities that will actually qualify you to work as a certified school psychologist after graduation.
Tuition & Fees:$11,010/yr
4. Grand Canyon University
Online Master of Science in Psychology: General Psychology or Industrial and Organizational Psychology
If you're looking for advanced but broad training in the field of psychology, make sure you consider Grand Canyon University. This program probes at the essential question all psychologists ponder: why do people act the way they do? Topics available for study include learning and motivation, psychopathology, culture and social norms, human development, research methods, statistics, and more. Although the education is broad, this online master's degree in psychology lets you keep your options open as you consider a career in business, sports, organizational training, or even life coaching. Numerous sources – including Super Scholar, Get Educated, Best College Reviews, and Best Psychology Degrees – agree that GCU is a top graduate school for psychology.
Tuition & Fees:$10,191/yr
3. Colorado State University
Online Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Industrial and Organizational Psychology isn't necessarily the kind of education most people think of when they hear "psychology degree," but it's nonetheless an essential area of human study. These types of psychologists help businesses manage their employees better, use research to improve products and services, and train organizations to improve their productivity and efficiency. This is the focus of the online psychology master's degree at Colorado State University, a 38-credit program that you can complete start-to-finish in just two years. CSU also offers supplementary certificates that can make you even more attractive to potential employers, including ones in Psychological Measurement and Methodologies, Organizational Development, and Performance Management.
Tuition & Fees:$9,000/yr
2. Saint Leo University
M.S. in Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychology Online
Another area of study that people don't typically associate with psychology is forensics. But Saint Leo University is looking to bring this specialty into the forefront through its online master's degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. The curriculum centers on the way that human thinking and the criminal code interact to produce criminal acts and deviant behavior. You'll learn to conduct interviews, analyze motives, and generally put yourself in the mindset of criminals. Coursework includes Psychopathology of Criminal Behavior, Hostage Negotiations, Correctional Leadership, and Courtroom Psychology, among other intriguing topics. Despite being a highly specialized program, both Super Scholar and Best College Reviews agree that SLU belongs on the national list of top graduate psychology programs.
Tuition & Fees:$8,442/yr
1. Fort Hays State University
Online Master of Science in School Psychology
Fort Hays State University rises to the top slot on many ranking lists because of its unparalleled affordability, but it has much more to offer than low prices. This program in school psychology is another one of the few that lead to professional certification – not only in Kansas, but also in many other states with similar licensing requirements. Although the degree is available almost entirely online, FHSU will require you to travel to campus for just two, three-day advanced workshops that will send your skills into high gear and give you a chance to network with classmates and professors. The masters degree in psychology online curriculum closely follows campus activities and includes classes in Professional Ethics in Psych, Advanced Learning and Motivation, Observation in School Psych, and Behavior Therapy, to name but a few topics.
Tuition & Fees:$6,564/yr