Do you want to advance your understanding of the human mind and human behavior to help others? Whether you need an advanced degree to take the next step in your career or you’re interested in learning psychological concepts and theories that can be applied in the workplace, an online graduate master’s in psychology program may be in your future.
Online education is a growing field, and psychology is just one of the many graduate degrees available through a distance learning program. But is an online Master of Psychology degree right for you? If you’re asking yourself that question, it might be helpful to start with some of the traits and characteristics of online students:
- Self-motivated and able to learn outside of a classroom setting
- Comfortable working independently
- Good at planning ahead and meeting deadlines
- Prefer flexible scheduling options
- Have a computer and reliable internet access
Does this sound like you? If so, you may enjoy an online Master of Psychology degree program.
Online Accredited Programs
Online Master of Psychology degrees may either be accredited at the programmatic or institutional level. Accreditation is a voluntary process, as accrediting bodies have no basis for evaluating programs that have not applied for review.
Because each state has its own laws regarding the educational requirement for licensure of psychologists, you may still be able to become licensed if you receive a master’s degree from a non-accredited program. However, some states do require students have a degree from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), so it’s important that you check with the licensing body in the state you intend to practice to determine if accreditation is a requirement for becoming a licensed psychologist.
Course titles and content may vary by program and concentration. Curriculum may also vary depending on whether the degree is designated as “terminal” or “doctoral-preparatory.” The difference between these degrees is the graduate’s intended path after graduation. Terminal degrees are intended for students who wish to practice after receiving their master’s as non-licensed psychologists (you may still achieve mental health licensure by studying psychology at the master’s level). Doctoral-preparatory degrees are intended for students who wish to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD).
In either case, an online Master of Psychology degree program will provide you with a foundation in the theories, principles and methodologies of psychology. Subjects in a Master of Psychology program may include:
- Quantitative research methodology and statistics
- Assessment, diagnosis and psychopathology
- Human development through the lifespan
- Counseling and interviewing skills
Practicum and/or internship
Online Master of Psychology degree programs may include a practicum and/or internship requirement. Both experiences provide students with the opportunity to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice. Practicum placements and internships help graduate student sharpen their clinical psychology skills. Supervised practical experiences are required for licensure, though specific requirements (hours, placement setting, etc.) may vary in your state.
As you explore different online graduate psychology programs, keep these questions in mind regarding the practical component of the degree:
- What is the length of the practicum/internship?
- Do placement sites have different time commitment requirements?
- Does the program offer placement services or support?
Online Master of Psychology degree programs may require you have an undergraduate degree in psychology or in another discipline and have completed relevant coursework in social science statistics, research methods and introductory psychology. If you do not satisfy either requirement, you may still be admitted but required to complete additional coursework.
Other requirements to apply for an online Master of Psychology degree program may include:
- Minimum GPA (e.g., 3.0)
- Resume and/or cover letter
- Statement of Purpose
- Multiple letters of recommendation
- Undergraduate transcripts
- Virtual admissions interview
What Can You do?
Learn about careers and salaries with a Master of Psychology