Affordable Master’s in Psychology and Graduate Degree Programs
Pursuing a master’s or doctorate in psychology degree is an important decision that affects every aspect of achieving your personal career goals once you have decided on one of the many psychology career paths. Competence in practice, a sense of professional value, more job opportunities and an increase in salary are meaningful factors when making this decision. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that job candidates “with a doctoral or education specialist degree and postdoctoral work experience will have the best job opportunities in clinical, counseling, or school psychology positions.” Earning a master’s in psychology in one of the many branches has proven to be a pivotal career choice for many mental health professionals.
The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reports that there are thousands of higher education institutions offering bachelor’s or higher level degrees. Navigating through thousands of colleges and universities can be overwhelming. We feature comprehensive lists of U.S. colleges and universities, ranked by affordability, that offer master’s in psychology programs. In addition, we have also included a section for doctorate in psychology programs as well as related resources and podcasts. Edifying information relevant to the field of psychology can be found within our blog posts. Additionally, we are home of the Master’s in Psychology Podcast where the primary goal is to empower students to make educated career decisions and learn from those who are in the industry, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, psychology professors, students and more.
Recent Master’s in Psychology Podcast Episodes
Master’s in Psychology Programs by State
The most affordable Graduate Psychology Degrees by State including separate affordability rankings for Master’s in Psychology and Doctorate in Psychology Programs.
Master’s in Psychology Programs by Subject
The most affordable Graduate Psychology Degrees by Subject including separate affordability rankings for Master’s in Psychology and Doctorate in Psychology Programs.
- Applied Behavior Analysis
- Applied Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- Community Psychology
- Counseling Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Educational Psychology
- Experimental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- General Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Industrial Organizational Psychology
- Personality Psychology
- School Psychology
- Social Psychology
Applied Behavior Analysis
Developed in the 1960s, ABA is a type of applied science that has been researched and developed within the discipline of psychology that is used in the treatment of individuals with health conditions such as autism, dementia and brain injuries. It is also used in schools and workplace settings for positive behavior support, classroom instruction and organizational behavior management. The areas of pediatric feeding therapy, fitness training, substance abuse rehabilitation, and applied animal behavior have also benefited from the interventions of applied behavior analysis. ABA uses the principles of operant conditioning, classical conditioning, and other developed psychological procedures to help bring about positive changes in patient behavior. Helping individuals, families and groups of people change the quality of their lives is at the essence of what ABA accomplishes. A rewarding career as a certified ABA mental health specialist requires a master’s or doctorate degree level of education. Consider this extensive list of the most affordable options for applied behavior analysis master’s and doctorate programs as you continue to build your education for the career of your dreams.
German-American psychologist Hugo Munsterberg pioneered the founding principles of applied psychology in the early 1900s. His work inaugurated the use of scientific methods of psychology to help solve everyday life, real-world problems for diverse areas of behavior and experience. Applied psychology uses psychological research, theory and principles to help people who are involved in fields such as business, industry, engineering, school, military, forensics/courtroom, law enforcement, sports and healthcare. A few examples of real-life problem solving that applied psychology has supported include addressing workplace sexual harrassment, testing technology in the workplace, the study of astronaut living conditions and its affect on teamwork in space, opioid dependence research, grouping students for academic performance, and analyzing the profiling of criminals. Due to the diverse and wide range of options in the discipline of applied psychology, education requirements for each career may look drastically different. The majority of careers do require graduate degrees and internship work. As you assess your educational needs, ponder over these most affordable master’s in applied psychology and graduate programs. Finding the graduate degree program that is right for your impelling career path in applied psychology starts here.
Clinical psychology emerged in the late 1800s and early 1900s after multiple psychologists developed scientific applications of psychology in clinical settings. In 1896, American psychologist Lightner Witmer established the world’s first clinic for psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Within the practice of psychology, clinical psychology was historically the first discipline to use scientific psychological procedures to diagnose and treat mental health problems. Witmer’s original work emphasized person-to-person client and clinician interviews to establish what could now be called a therapeutic relationship to help the client in improvements to mental health and well being. The broad scope of clinical psychology today includes addressing mental and behavioral health issues for people of all ages and diversities, as well as a wide range of systems that can include individuals, families, agencies and communities. A few problems that clinical psychology aids to remedy include intelectual, emotional, psychological, social and behavioral issues; disability and discomfort; and minor or severe psychopathology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the field of clinical psychology embodies the largest number of employed mental health professionals. Career paths in clinical psychology mainly fall under two types of categories – clinical practice or research and academia/teaching. Both career paths typically need a master’s or doctorate degree, internship/experience, and completion of state licensure requirements. Affordable options for clinical psychology master’s and doctorate programs are available for deliberation as you plan your educational journey towards becoming a clinical mental health professional. The options for career opportunities in clinical psychology are extensive and include occupations in areas such as private practice psychology, counseling, therapy, and social work. Each of these deeply meaningful professions in clinical mental health have the same goal of helping people live more stable and healthier lives.
Philosophy was the primary means of interpreting the ways of the human mind until the use of psychology as a science emerged in the late 1800s. During that time, a major breakthrough happened for the field of study that would eventually become cognitive psychology. Physicians and psychiatrists of that time discovered the areas of the brain that were used for language production and comprehension. Many influences ensuing these discoveries such as behaviorism, cognitivism, technology and computer science shaped the founding and subsequent development of brain science and cognitive psychology. Defining cognitive psychology can be as simple as stating that it is the study of how the human brain operates. A more in depth look at the meaning involves the examination of human mental activity and processes such as perceiving, learning, remembering, thinking, reasoning, and understanding. A few mental activities that are studied by cognitive psychologists are memory, decision making, problem solving, and language processing. The areas of government, industry, healthcare, education, forensics, engineering, and technology have all benefited from research and advancements in cognitive psychology. Many cognitive psychology careers are in the area of research/teaching in academia. Other dynamic cognitive psychology career options include clinical work that addresses health problems related to human mental processes; private sector work in technology advancements or organizational psychology; and private practice work. An extensive list of the most affordable cognitive psychology master’s and doctorate degree programs is available for your consideration, as these are needed for most research/teaching positions. Cognitive psychology has never been more versatile or more in demand due to the broad scope of professional interest in how the brain processes information. It is the perfect time to continue your education in the intriguing field of the study of the operation of the human brain.
The beginning of community psychology started in the late 1950s, mainly due to factors such as social changes after World War II, mental health care of veterans, psychologists evaluating psychotherapy methods with large numbers of people, and the establishment of community mental health institutions. Community psychology focuses on the research of how individuals live and behave within community and society, followed by engagement in collaborative action for change. Positive change, health, and empowerment for both individuals and all of humankind are the goals of community psychologists. Influences that are integrated into this research and action include the areas of social interaction, culture, economics, politics, environment, and international studies. A career in community psychology may include employment in academic settings, health and human service agencies, schools, community organizations, advocacy groups, religious institutions, nonprofit organizations, research centers, consulting groups, evaluation firms and private practices. Due to the broad range of career paths in community psychology, it is important to know your options in education. Some entry-level positions require an undergraduate degree; however, most research and teaching positions in community psychology require a masters or doctorate degree. The most affordable community psychology master’s and doctorate degree programs are accessible for your review as you explore your career choices. The well-being of individuals, groups, neighborhoods, cities, countries, nations, and humanity are all affected by community psychology. If you find value in mental health and social change, a career in this field is a worthy option to consider.
Counseling psychology has its roots in the work of American psychologist Carl Rogers, and also from the psychological needs that arose during the time of World War II. In the 1940s and 1950s, and throughout the 20th century, the developments of counseling psychology have formed the foundation for what it means to practice client-centered approaches and establish clinician-patient therapeutic relationships. Counseling psychology’s main focus is to better understand how people behave personally and within relationships to improve overall well-being, ease feelings of distress, and help solve problems with crisis situations. Counseling psychologists assess, diagnose and treat patients with both minor and severe psychological symptoms. All life development stages can be treated; however, some counseling psychologists may choose to specialize in certain time frames of life, such as childhood, adolescence, adulthood, or elderly ages. A few issues counseling psychotherapy addresses include social problems, emotional problems, relationship difficulties, learning/skill deficits, stress management, and mental disorders. Counseling psychology can be used by a wide array of mental health professionals with varying educational degrees. It is essential to carefully examine the educational requirements and career options in counseling psychology to better understand what path is best for you. Most counseling careers require at least a master’s degree in a psychology related field of study. As you organize your educational plan, consider the most affordable master’s and graduate degrees in counseling psychology. Millions of people have experienced positive changes in their lives because of counseling psychology. Helping people with mental health issues, building relationships, solving problems and changing lives is the fundamental impact counseling psychology has had on our nation. Being a part of this kind of impact is important and rewarding.
The onset of developmental psychology happened in the middle part of the 1700s when Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote about the stages of development. Modern psychologists such as Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Lev Vygotsky and Albert Bandura further advanced the theories and models of developmental psychology. Developmental psychology focuses on how and why we grow and change throughout all of the different ages of the human lifespan. Emotional, cognitive, behavioral, social, and physical well being are all addressed within the practice of developmental psychology. Developmental psychologists can choose to specialize in the research and treatment of people in specific ages of life. The career path options are vast in development psychology. Academia, health care facilities, assisted living for elderly, mental health clinics, government agencies and schools are among the many different environments where developmental psychology is practiced. The majority of careers in developmental psychology require a master’s or doctorate degree. The most affordable developmental psychology master’s and doctorate programs are accessible for your deliberation on our extensive list of schools as you plan your educational needs. Studying childhood anxiety, developing toys for children, researching the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, understanding babies, and finding ways to help people with Alzheimer’s disease are all ways developmental psychology changes lives. Discoveries in the field of developmental psychology have assisted individuals, groups, and society to better understand how we mature both personally and communally. A fulfilling and lucrative career in developmental psychology awaits you.
Although the study of human learning dates back to ancient Greek and western philosophy, much of educational psychology’s theories, principles and methods were developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s when the application of observation and experimentation were used in the classroom setting. During this time, around 37 million people had immigrated to the United States. Elementary and secondary schools were built to accommodate the growing numbers of children in public schools, creating more opportunities for psychologists to use scientific methods to develop the different perspectives of educational psychology. American psychologist William James was one of the prominent leaders in this development in the field of educational psychology. Educational psychology isn’t applied only in schools, which sets it apart from the branch of school psychology. It’s practice can overlap or collaborate with other branches of psychology to include study of learning in workplaces, elderly communities, organized sports groups, the military, and any place (or age group) where learning occurs. Typically, a master’s degree or higher is needed for a career in educational psychology. When creating your plan for your educational needs, check out these most affordable master’s in educational psychology and doctorate programs. Research or teaching in university academia, textbook or text development, curriculum design consulting, program evaluation in workplace settings, and educational instruction consulting are just a few examples of the type of work you can pursue in a career in educational psychology. Joining educators of all types to enhance the experiences of learning has historically been, and will continue to be, edifying and admirable work.
Mathematical and experimental approaches were added to the field of psychology in the late 1800s by German physiologist, philosopher and professor, Wilhelm Wundt. He was the first person to ever call himself a “psychologist” and founded the first laboratory for psychology in Leipzig, Germany. His work as a physician and neurophysiologist led him into sensory physiology and psychophysics. He was convinced that psychological principles were a part of things that could not be explained physiologically. Wundt pioneered many experiments in his laboratory that others further developed into modern experimental psychology applications. At the heart of experimental psychology is the exploration of behavior through methods of empirical research. Sensation, perception, memory, attention, emotion and cognition are all examined in experimental psychology. Experimental psychology is applied psychology, but also informs other branches of psychology. Psychologists of all types can use experimental psychology in their application, but experimental psychologists may focus their entire career on solving a very distinct issue or finding the answer to a specific question. Most careers in experimental psychology require at least a master’s degree. Consulting a comprehensive list of affordable master’s and doctorate experimental psychology degrees may help guide the decision making process of choosing the right career path in experimental psychology. Research and/or teaching in academia is one of the most popular career choices in experimental psychology. Research in varied settings such as research centers, government facilities, private businesses, and technology industries are also career paths to consider. Researching the safety of NASA cockpit systems, using experimental psychology to help designing video games, and analyzing the effectiveness of conservation and wildlife programs are just a few examples of real world career paths in this field of psychology. If you enjoy psychological research and experiments that help change lives, this is the career for you.
The use of psychology in legal settings was first attempted by American-German psychologist Hugo Münsterberg in the early 1900s. He founded the beginning of applied psychology and tried to introduce the research to the legal community of the time. Most of the legal professionals rejected his advances in sharing his ideas. It wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that clinical psychologists were considered to be mental health professionals who could aid in legal proceedings. Clinical skills such as making assessments, interviewing, report writing, verbal communication, and case presentation are vital to the success of the application of forensic psychology. Most forensic psychology degrees are grounded in clinical psychology study, but are also in combination with training in law/forensics. Much of what a forensic psychologist does includes performing tasks that encompass the psychological assessment of individuals that are somehow involved with the legal system. Most forensic psychologists that work in the legal system have a Ph.D. or Psy.D. Taking the time to find the right degree program is of paramount value when planning the education needed to become a forensic psychologist. An extensive list of the most affordable options for master’s and doctorate forensic psychology degrees is accessible for review during this process of deciding which career path is right for you. Along with choosing a degree program, contemplating all of the different aspects of forensic psychology can be worthwhile. Forensic psychologists not only help with criminal assessments, but may also be involved in jury selections, legal research, crisis management, designing treatment programs, and testifying as expert witnesses in the courtroom. It isn’t surprising that interest in this career field that combines psychology and forensics has grown substantially in the last few decades. The work that forensic psychologists do is crucial to determining the outcome of many legal cases. Will you be the next expert forensic psychologist witness or criminal profiler?
Many ancient cultures questioned existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle were all a part of questioning the workings of the mind. Even ancient physicians such as Hippocrates wrote about mental disorders having physical causes. The questions that ancient philosophers contemplated eventually became the working ground for the beginning of the scientific discipline of psychology. The word psychology is derived from the Greek words “psyche” for spirit or soul and “logia” for study or research. Definitions have changed throughout the centuries, but the most modern basic meaning for psychology is that it is the study of mind and behavior. Psychology is used in research of the mind and of behavior. It is also used to clinically treat dysfunction. Psychology methods that have been developed by the study of human mind and behavior are applied to a broad spectrum of areas of life and can be grouped into the following branches of psychology: biological, clinical, cognitive, community, counseling, developmental, educational, engineering, experimental, forensic, health, measurement and mathematics, neuropsychology, personality, personnel (I/O psychology), school and social psychology. Becoming a psychologist customarily requires at least a master’s degree, but most hold a doctorate degree. Deciding which area of psychological study is best for you can start with a search for the most affordable master’s in general psychology programs. Many people pursuing a master’s degree in general psychology also choose a specialty area of focus or concentration that is emphasized in their continuing doctoral work. The breadth and adaptability of the field of psychology brings life to a plethora of opportunities for helping individuals, groups, communities and nations. Trending areas of work include program evaluation, geropsychology, veteran affairs (VA) psychology, homeland security, government service, workplace applications (I/O psychology), forensics, practice niches, and multidisciplinary applications. Being a part of the ever growing, and ever fulfilling work of psychology has proven to be a rewarding life’s work for many mental health professionals. A few of them are highlighted in our podcast interviews. Real life people making real life differences. You can join them.
Many early psychologists were originally medical doctors who understood the importance of both physical and mental health; however, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the unique discipline of health psychology emerged. The APA’s opening proposal in 1973 was to form a team of psychologists who could establish groundwork of how to help people manage behaviors related to health and manage physical health issues. They also began the framework for training healthcare staff members to more effectively help patients with their health-related issues. Health psychology seeks to understand how behavior, cognition and emotion influence mental and physical health. Psychosocial and behavioral factors can positively or negatively affect health. Health psychologists identify these factors and use them to design and evaluate interventions to help people with their overall health. This includes both disease/illness prevention and improvement in healthcare treatment and quality of life while having a disease/illness. Education for health psychology normally entails an undergraduate degree in a psychology related area of study, along with a master’s or doctorate degree in health psychology (or psychology with a specialization/concentration in health psychology). A thorough list of the most affordable master’s in health psychology and doctorate degrees is provided for your examination as you map out your educational path. Due to the broad scope of the practice of health psychology, there are many career options. A few different areas or environments of work include academia, pharmaceutical companies, non-profit research, government organizations, private clinical practice, holistic health care, community health, assisted living or geriatic facilities, and school health. At the intersection where health meets psychology and psychology meets health is where you stand. It is a good place to be.
Industrial Organizational Psychology
The pioneers of applied psychology used psychology principles to develop methods for selecting and training sales personnel. This application that happened in the early 1900s became a part of the onset of what we know now as industrial/organizational psychology. Historically, military and industry growth around wartime throughout the years provided opportunities for the development of military placement testing, along with industry research for employee effectiveness and job satisfaction. Industrial organizational psychology (I/O psychology) uses science to study behavior in the workplace. Retaining employees, fostering employee engagement, positive workplace environment, and team building are a few areas of study focus for I/O psychologists. Most people pursue at least a master’s degree in I/O psychology, because there are more career choices available in this field with a master’s degree. Doctorate level degrees are looked upon favorably for many companies looking for an I/O psychologist. There are hundreds of I/O degree options in the United States. Finding affordable industrial organizational psychology master’s and doctorate degrees to consider for educational planning is important. Some popular careers in industrial organizational psychology include human resource management, workforce insight analysis, consulting for business development, executive coaching, organizational effectiveness management, team development, strategy management, change management, staffing and recruiting, policy management, and technology/engineering management. The average person works about 1800 hours a year. How will that time be experienced for each individual, team or company? Work settings can become more positive, enjoyable and profitable with the help of I/O psychologists.
Although ancient philosophers sought to understand the functions of the brain and how behavior is linked to the brain, the first person to use the term neuropsychology was Canadian physician, Sir William Osler. Osler was one of the founding professors who started John Hopkins Hospital in the early 1900s. American psychologist Karl Lashley assimilated neuroscience into psychology in the mid 1900s with his research that focused on the connections between the anatomy of the brain and the psychological processes of cognition such as memory and learning. Neuropsychology continued to develop throughout the 20th century in different parts of the world as many psychologists created and integrated methods and tools for both clinical and cognitive neuropsychology. Much of neuropsychology is practiced with patients who have been diagnosed with a brain disorder or have had an injury to the brain. Expertise of brain structures and systems is required for this branch of psychology. Typical education for a career in neuropsychology begins with an undergraduate degree in a psychology related field, followed by a master’s degree and doctorate degree in neuropsychology. Many master’s and doctorate degrees are offered in psychology or clinical psychology with a concentration/specialization in neuropsychology. A wise approach in planning educational needs for a career in neuropsychology includes finding the most affordable master’s in neuropsychology and doctorate degree programs, because most professions in this area of psychology ask for a graduate degree as a prerequisite for hiring eligibility. Neuropsychological assessment, patient rehabilitation, clinical supervision/training, collegiate research/teaching, and policy planning are a few examples of work that neuropsychologists undertake in a wide variety of workplace settings. Neuropsychology client populations are of all ages, from infants to elderly people. Cutting edge technology also assists neuropsychologists as they dive deep into understanding the brain-behavior relationship. Brain function curiosity mixed with the application of clinical psychology in a modern world with advances in technology. This is a formula for success in helping people with brain injuries and illnesses.
American psychologist Gordon Allport was one of the first psychologists to target the study of personality. His work in the early 1940s contributed to the establishment and growth of research in the area of human personality. This scientific study of how each individual has different thoughts, feelings and behavior that form the whole of a person has helped us better understand why people behave, think, and feel the way they do. Both psychological research and application are a part of personality psychology. Clinical work in private practice or research in academia are two fulfilling traditional career paths for personality psychologists, but there are also many other exciting opportunities for personality psychologists. The design, implementation, and evaluation of programs for a variety of public or private sector entities is at the top of the many successes in the area of personality psychology. Examples include hiring and training employees, coping with disease and illness, and advocating for positive social change. Personality psychologists pursue the minimum of a master’s degree, but most earn doctorate degrees. Affordable personality psychology master’s and doctorate programs are accessible throughout the U.S., and are best chosen based on area of interest. Many master’s and doctorate degrees in personality psychology are completed as a psychology degree with a specialization in social/personality psychology. Personality psychology is often associated with social psychology. In 1974, the APA formed an organization called the Society for Personality and Social Psychology to aid in the growth of science, teaching and application of social and personality psychology. Although the research and application of both social psychology and personality psychology are different, the two branches of psychology are sometimes paired together in graduate degree programs. Personality psychologists can also work in government, non-profit organizations, businesses, schools, mental health hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. There are many questions yet to be answered about how our personality is formed and why it influences our behavior. If seeking these answers is of interest, a career in personality psychology is definitely an option to prudently consider.
The late 1890s surge of psychological establishment and advancement encompassed the beginnings of school psychology. This time period in history brought forth child social reforms including compulsory schooling, child labor laws and juvenile courts. The foremost reason for the need for school psychologists was due to the compulsory schooling laws that were established. Many children needed special education, creating the need for psychologists and a process of child selection for special education. School psychologists were also interested in childhood behavior, learning, dysfunction, and brain activity. These interests were directly related to the pursuit of understanding on how childhood behavior affects learning. The progress and refining of school psychology throughout the years has formed modern school psychology methods that help create positive learning environments for children, teachers, parents, and communities. School psychologists today carry out tasks such as assessment and evaluation of individuals and schools; creation of prevention and intervention programs; crisis intervention; consultation with teachers, parents, administrators and health service providers; supervision of psychological services; and managing professional development services. School psychologists hold doctorate degrees in different forms, including Ph.D., Psy.D., or EdS. Finding affordable school psychology master’s and doctorate programs is essential for planning the educational requirements for becoming a school psychologist. A few examples of life-changing problems that school psychologists address include solving educational and developmental problems that impair learning; alleviating social or interpersonal problems or disorders that hinder learning; providing guidance and assistance in the ceasing of chronic or acute situations of personal or school crisis; and offering support throughout adverse social conditions such as violence, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and delinquency. The APA has stated that school psychologists are in high demand. There has never been a better time to begin a career helping the youth of our country. Your contributions in the field of school psychology can impact children, families, communities and society for many generations to come.
The earliest social psychology experiments that focused on group behavior were in the late 1890s. The beginning of formal writings and textbooks on the topic of social psychology were published in the early 1900s. An outburst of development in the scientific discipline of social psychology happened in the 1940s and 1950s when multiple social psychologists focused experimentation and systematic tests on the dynamic interactions among people. Since that time forward, social psychology has played a major role in helping society to better understand why people behave the way they do in social settings. Actual, imagined or implied presence of others can influence people’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. Social psychology studies how people think about one another, how they influence one another, and how they relate to one another. Employment as a social psychologist in an academic setting to teach or do research normally requires a doctoral degree. Social psychology career options outside of academia may only need a master’s degree. A broad list of the most affordable master’s in social psychology and graduate programs is worthwhile to check out when planning educational needs. A few noteworthy types of careers in social psychology include positions that create healthier workforces, assisting in forensic expertise, examining relationship dynamics, researching behaviors of prisoners in confinement, and analyzing data for major social media companies. Social psychology research will continue to be important as we navigate changes in areas of life such as health, culture, business/marketing, education and technology. You can be certain that work done during your career as a social psychologist will help people in their interpersonal relationships on both a personal and societal level.