Rankings

Fastest Online Masters in Psychology

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at GradSchoolCenter.com, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

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Updated: January 22, 2024, Reading time: 17 minutes

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Looking to graduate in psychology? Lengthy programs, skyrocketing course fees, unavailability of the desired specialization options, and lack of online learning format might be hindering your way. Don’t worry, we have done the research and hand-picked some of the fastest online masters in psychology in the USA. 

So, if you’re looking to start your psychology master’s degree from a reputed institute, then this write-up is for you. Let’s get into it.

Our Fastest Online Masters in Psychology Review

The demand for folks holding a psychology degree has hit an all-time high now, especially after COVID-19 highlighted the importance of personal well-being. Graduates with an online master’s degree in psychology are tapping into different fields, including marketing, forensics, and research. It’s a huge milestone for aspiring clinical psychologists and professors to be. 

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With the world going digital, more people are pursuing an online psychology degree. However, landing a college that perfectly suits you goes a long way in making your dreams come true. It’s best to consider factors such as accreditation, program duration, and fee structures before heading on with the admission process. Let’s explore it all! 

Fastest Online Masters in Psychology Overall: Capella University 

Capella University’s master psychology program is crafted to offer professional knowledge that directly applies to how humans think, learn, and develop. What sets it apart from other universities in the US is the availability of two different course tracks so you can proceed with keeping your finances in check. 

The GuidedPath course track follows a traditional academic schedule where you pay per course. However, you can also opt for their FlexPath track. In FlexPath, regardless of the classes you take, you can progress through courses at your own pace for one set price per semester. 

You can even earn a master’s in psychology with FlexPath for under $18,000 in just 15 months. However, if you find yourself perfect for GuidedPath, then the fee will be higher, and the program duration will be longer. 

Highest Ranked Master in Psychology: Harvard University

Since its founding in 1910, Harvard University has been transforming the future of students around the US. Employing the latest research and hands-on learning techniques, its psychology program ranks #1 in the latest QS ranking.  

Compared to other psychology colleges in the US, securing admission to Harvard University is quite challenging. Its acceptance rate is extremely low, i.e., only 3%, mainly because of its high prestige globally. However, it offers the best insights into mental processes and human behavior. Also, its program duration is quite long compared to Capella University. 

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Fastest Online Customizable Masters in Psychology: Ball State University

Ball State University, established in 1918, is designed for students seeking an accelerated MS in psychology degree. It allows students to complete their master’s program in 18 months as part-time students. Alternatively, you can even undertake the full course load and finish it within a year. 

Students at BSU can opt for 12 elective credits based on their interests and pre-approved specialization. It also offers four-course customization options in human development, gifted and talented, applied behavior analysis, and institutional research. It’s among only a few programs on the list that are entirely online. 

However, its online educational psychology program isn’t affiliated with a school psychologist license. If you want a licensed program from BSU, then you have to opt for on-campus classes.  

100% Online Best Masters of Psychology: Liberty University

Liberty University, founded in 1971, is famous for top-quality education, affordability, and accessibility. The online MS in psychology at Liberty is an accelerated program that can be completed within 1.5 years. 

Its acceptance rate is much higher than that of Ball State University and the University of Southern California. In addition to a relatively lower tuition fee than most universities on our list, Liberty offers its students several generous financial aid opportunities. So, your tight budget no longer has to stop you from pursuing your MS in psychology. 

However, being 100% online, it only covers the applied part of psychology. You won’t be doing research or developing theories. Instead, you’ll be applying them in the practical world. 

Fastest Online Masters in Psychology: Arizona State University 

Known for being the top innovative school in the US, Arizona State University features top-notch faculty for theoretical and practical knowledge. The online MS in psychology curriculum of ASU includes advanced subjects to help students interpret psychological theory.

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What makes Arizona State University stand out from other universities in the US is that its program offers the flexibility to opt for electives, so you can focus on areas that align with your professional interests. 

On top of that, it offers multiple online MS sessions throughout the year. So you can join it any time you want. However, the online program doesn’t train students for a career as a clinical psychologist. 

Smallest Sized-classes for Master of Arts Psychology: Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University is a private university founded in 1971 and is one of the highest-ranked institutions in the US. Its Master of Arts Psychology (MAP) program is carefully designed to gear students up for doctorate in psychology programs to pursue a career in psychology. Emphasizing clinical aspects, it focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological behaviors. 

One thing that makes Pepperdine University the top choice for most candidates is the university’s average class size, i.e., 14 for personalized attention. Even though it’s online, having small class sizes is beneficial still. It’s worth noting that its tuition fee is high compared to other top universities on the list, such as Harvard. However, it generously offers over $6,000,000 in scholarships each year. 

Fastest Online MS in Psychology with Transferable Credits: University of Southern California 

The University of Southern California is a globally recognized leader in online education that traces its roots back to the 1870s. It’s one of the most renowned psychology institutes in the US and thrives by following a modern, 21st-century approach to learning.  

With a relatively lower acceptance rate of 12%, gaining admission to the MS in psychology program at the University of Southern California can be quite competitive. If you aspire to be part of a challenging learning environment and have a strong grip on psychology, USC can be worth considering. 

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Fastest MS in Clinical Psychology: University of Texas, Tyler 

The University of Texas at Tyler is part of an internationally renowned University of Texas System with a deep focus on mental well-being. Completable in under two years, its MS in psychology program requires you to complete 48 hours of coursework. The curriculum also includes a supervised internship. 

One of the distinguishing factors of the University of Texas is that its alumni rank among the most highly qualified in Texas. So, if you’re looking for a highly prestigious university that’s easy to get into, UT Tyler might top your list with a 94% acceptance rate.  

This program is only limited to students with an interest in clinical psychology.  

Fastest Online MA in Educational Psychology: University of Northern Colorado

The University of Northern Colorado is a public doctoral research and education institution that is deeply committed to its students-first approach. Achievable in 19 months, the short 30-credit hour coursework allows for quicker graduation by taking two courses consecutively in two eight-week sessions.

Recognized by the HLC, UNC offers an inclusive environment for students from all backgrounds. However, applicants with a GPA below 3.0 must fulfill additional requirements within a year for degree completion. 

Top MS in Psychology for Real-world Perspective: Southern New Hampshire University 

Southern New Hampshire University offers an affordable and accelerated online master’s in Psychology. This program is designed to empower aspiring psychology professionals to level up their competencies and contribute to mental wellness in all social settings. 

With 36 credit hours, the curriculum includes research techniques, cognitive psychology, personality, learning theory, and ethical practice. The high acceptance rate of 89% makes it an attractive option for psychology enthusiasts. However, it has a slightly lower graduation rate than other universities, such as Pepperdine University.

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Fastest Online Master’s in Applied Behavioral Analysis: Eastern Kentucky University 

Founded in 1906, Eastern Kentucky University is a brick-and-mortar accredited public institution that excels in social and human sciences. With a 33-credit hour curriculum and the option for up to 12 transfer credit hours, their 100% online program is ideal for students aiming to acquire their master’s degree earlier.

Specialization in behavioral analysis opens employment opportunities in the field of behavioral disorders, substance abuse, and mental health counselors. Such fields are expected to see a job growth rate of 22% between 2021 and 2031. With a 98% acceptance rate that’s higher than most universities on the list, it’s a great deal for aspiring psychology professionals.

However, as this master’s in psychology has a concentration on applied behavioral analysis, research opportunities will be limited.  

Top Master in Psychology from Highly Recognized Faculty: Angelo State University 

Angelo State University’s MS in Applied Psychology is an affordable online program. Featuring 8-week classes, students can conveniently complete their degrees in less than two years span. Angelo State University’s psychology program is nationally recognized, with many of its students having written college textbooks.  

What makes it different from other top universities is that ASU’s psychology masters is open to applicants with a bachelor’s degree from any field. Nevertheless, it requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 to ensure academic excellence among participants and build a solid foundation for a successful career in psychology.

Part-time, Full-time Fastest Master’s in Psychology: Regent University 

Regent University, accredited by SACSCOC, is also recognized among the Best Colleges in National Universities by the US News & World Report. Once you complete the required 60 credit hours, you will be taught to begin your career as a counselor.

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Guided by highly qualified teachers, Regent University emphasizes a Christian worldview approach to helping youth in its online master’s in psychology coursework. However, an acceptance rate of 32% shows that it’s crucial to work hard to get in. 

Top Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology: National University

National University’s online MA in Counseling Psychology opens doors to countless career opportunities for aspiring psychologists. With a quick 30-credit hour coursework, you can complete the program in 18 months in a personalized learning environment. The program includes two specializations, i.e., General Psychology and Gender & Sexual Fluidity. 

This program meets the state licensing requirements. However, the National University has the lowest graduation rate on our list. It’s worth noting that you might want to dig into why most people drop out with a graduation rate as low as 11%. 

Christian-oriented Fastest Psychology Master: Grand Canyon University 

Grand Canyon University, founded in 1949, was known to be the largest Christian university in 2018. It offers a 36-credit master’s in psychology online degree, with a core focus on forensic psychology. Eight-week-long courses come with an innovative online learning platform and expert psychology faculty to ensure high-quality education.

What makes GCU stand out is its simplified graduation process. All you need to do is – submit your academic transcripts along with the application without any application fee. Once you’re done, an admission advisor from GCU will get back to you. 

However, it’s a Christian-oriented university, which might not go well with students of other religions. 

Factors to Consider for the Fastest Online Masters in Psychology

Choosing a college for an MS in psychology is a huge decision that goes a long way and decides your future career prospects. Especially if you’re opting for online mode, it’s only natural for you to carefully consider your choice of college. Before discussing all factors, let’s recap the top three considerations while choosing the fastest online master’s in psychology.

Colleges/Universities Tuition Fee Program DurationAcceptance Rates
Arizona State University $20,340About 2 years 90% 
Capella University$20,65015 months (FlexPath track) 100% 
Harvard University $38,640 2-5 Years 3% 
Pepperdine University $45,300 1.5-2 Years 49% 
University of Southern California $32,700 4 Years 12% 
Ball State University $17,280 About 2 Years 69% 
University of Texas, Tyler $26,250 1.5 Years 94% 
Liberty University $20,340 1.5 Years 99%
University of Northern Colorado $36,780 2 Years 84% 
Southern New Hampshire University $22,932 1-2 Years 89% 
Eastern Kentucky University $22,737 Almost 2 Years 98% 
Angelo State University $23,636 12-24 Months78% 
Regent University $34,240 15 months 32% 
National University $26,640 Almost 2 Years55% 
Grand Canyon University $20,700 8 weeks 83% 

Keeping in mind these considerations, let’s quickly discuss the main factors that you should weigh higher while selecting for a master’s degree.  

Cost 

Let’s be honest: bearing master’s degree costs is why most people back off in the first place. However, the good news is that many online programs cost less than $30,000 for many students. For instance, The Grand Canyon University’s degree costs only $20,700. Even you have the option of Ball State University for just $17,280. 

However, if you can afford it, then top-ranked universities like Harvard can be your best bet. 

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The total cost depends on factors such as the chosen program, institution, and residency. In addition, many psychology universities offer financial support, including loans, scholarships, and discounts. So, before choosing a college, thoroughly research available assistance so you can complete your degree without any financial constraints. 

Accreditation 

Accreditation is important because employers look at your university, and attending a non-accredited one can reduce your chances of acquiring your dream job.

In addition to your job applications, this can also negatively impact your chances of licensure and credit transfers. For instance, you don’t get licensed after graduating from BSU’s online program. Hence, you must seek regional accreditations or accreditation from bodies like the Higher Learning Commission, CACREP, and WSCUC to ensure your program’s legitimacy. 

Program Duration

Based on the time you have to get your master’s degree, you need to go for one that suits your planned schedule. Typically, an online master’s degree in psychology is two to three years for full-time students. 

However, some may take four to six years to complete based on their course load or program structure. Fortunately, some universities offer accelerated online programs that can be completed in 1.5 years or less. On top of that, course tracks like the one offered by Capella University can help you complete your degree at your own pace. 

Curriculum Details 

When considering an online degree, it’s crucial to understand what and how you will learn and whether it complements your bachelor’s degree. Rather than static content consumption, it’s best to dig into program descriptions, course listings, and degree attributes to ensure active participation. 

Looking for curriculum details like internships, courses offered, and projects can be a great way to determine whether you’re signing up for the right program. Don’t forget to confirm whether your selected degree is related to applied psychology or general. 

For instance, graduation from EKU will only allow you to apply theories of psychology instead of researching and creating them. 

Graduation Rate 

A low graduation rate translates to a high drop-out rate, which can lead you to question the program’s quality, delivery, and credibility. It’s an effective statistic that helps you gauge a program’s effectiveness and impact on graduates’ professional lives. 

For instance, a lower graduation rate of National Univeristy can be a question mark in your selection process. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Types of Specializations Are Available in Online Psychology Master’s Programs?

Psychology is a pretty diverse field with plenty of specialization options for your future career prospects. These specialized areas include forensic psychology, sports psychology, health psychology, social and cultural psychology, community psychology, and, most importantly, clinical psychology. 

Will Employers Take an Online MS in Psychology Degree Seriously? 

Yes, with the digital world gaining more prominence, employers now accept online psychology master’s, especially from accredited and reputable institutes. They now gauge skills and experience over degree format. 

What Is the Job Market for Online Masters in Psychology Graduates? 

People with an online master’s in psychology have many job opportunities, such as helping with mental health or working in schools. The job market is good, especially for behavioral disorders, substance abuse, and mental health counselors. These professions have an expected job growth of 22% between 2022-2032. 

Conclusion

When selecting a university for the fastest online master’s in psychology, one size doesn’t fit all. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there you can go for. 

As you go on, don’t forget to consider some crucial factors, including costs, accreditation, duration, and graduation rates. While this guide might simplify the process for you, it’s vital to do your part of the research beforehand. 

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.