For many people, an online education can be far more convenient than more traditional methods. There are many options for earning an online degree, either through completely web-based institutions or more traditional ones. Before you look into earning an online masters in psychology, you should decide what type of degree you are looking to earn, what kind of career you are interested in and what schools might be able to offer you the best opportunities.

What is studied within the program?

Typically, a masters program will involve two to three years of graduate-level work. In psychology, the two most common masters degrees include the Master of Arts (M.A.) and the Master of Science (M.S.). The first type of degree typically focuses more on liberal arts and theory while the second focuses on research and scientific study. Some degrees are considered terminal degrees, meaning that they prepare students for employment directly after completing the program. Others are meant to prepare students to pursue doctoral-level education. Different programs will have different course requirements and offerings, so it’s important to consider this before you choose one. Students who are looking to enter a doctoral program typically complete graduate theses. In these theses, they focus closely on a research topic or experiment and spend a large part of their graduate study focusing on this thesis.

Why should someone pursue this degree?

There are many reasons why someone might choose to pursue a degree in psychology, particularly a Master’s degree. While there are many careers in psychology that can be obtained with a Bachelor’s degree, the higher-level and more specialized fields typically require at least a Master’s degree. With a Master’s degree, there is greater opportunity for advancement even at an existing position. Additionally, those who are interested in pursuing a PhD must first complete a Master’s program.

What standard courses are taken?

The courses offered in graduate-level psychology programs vary depending on focus and aim. In a more generalized program, students typically take courses in research theory and statistics and may also take courses in the following fields:

  • Psychology of Personality
  • Culture and Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Cognitive or Behavioural Psychology

Students may also choose to take a more specialized route. Depending on their interest, they may take courses in the following fields:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology of Culture
  • Psychology and Public Administration
  • Media Psychology
  • Social Psychology

This is only a limited selection of the types of courses and specializations offered. The courses a student takes will depend on the program and their own focus.

What career opportunities are available once completed?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in psychology show a faster than average rate of growth. This is largely due to the wide variety of options available to those with master’s degrees in psychology. For example, certain specializations will lend themselves to certain positions. Those with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology frequently go on to become therapists and, in some states, can even provide psychotherapy and psychological testing under a licensed psychologist. Those with a Master’s in Experimental Psychology might work as research assistants or lab technicians. They might also pursue a PhD in order to work in more administrative positions. Those with a Master’s in Applied Psychology can find work as forensic psychologists or in industrial psychology. Outside of these specializations, there are opportunities for teaching positions, as professors or professors’ assistants. There are also government jobs available to those with master’s degrees. These include positions in employment counseling, human resources, social services and more.

Why should someone pursue this degree online?

There are many advantages to pursuing a masters degree in psychology online. Those who have commitments such as full-time jobs or families might find online education to be much more convenient and accessible than more traditional routes. Additionally, online psychology institutions typically offer more flexibility and greater options for these types of students. Students are able to complete the work at their own pace and in the comfort of their own homes. Usually, online schools offer degrees that are just as valid and distinguished as those earned at traditional institutions.

What type of requirements are needed for admission?

In order to pursue an online master’s degree in psychology, students will need to have completed an undergraduate program including certain courses. Most frequently, graduate programs require students to have completed courses in statistics and experimental methods. Students should also have completed courses in fields such as abnormal, developmental and/ or personality psychology. Course requirements will depend on the school and the student’s particular focus. Additionally, most graduate programs require students to have completed the GRE.