Most Affordable Online Master’s in Psychology Degrees

Discover budget-friendly online master’s degrees in psychology and smart ways to get help paying for grad school.

Last Updated: 12/03/2021

If you want a grad degree that gives you a variety of job prospects and allows you to critically examine human behavior in fields ranging from education and marketing to sports and counseling, earning an online master’s in psychology can be a great choice due to its flexible format. Not only that, online programs are often less expensive than their on-campus counterparts, while delivering the same quality.

This page spotlights 50 accredited colleges with the most affordable online psychology master’s degrees programs and provides other helpful tips for reducing the cost of your degree. Use this resource to begin your search for an online master’s in psychology program that fits your budget and your career goals.

Top 50 Most Affordable Online Psychology Master’s Degrees in 2021

There are multiple considerations when looking for an online psychology master’s degree. Elements like length of the program, specialization options, and program reputation are important, but affordability is often the deciding factor for many students. The following ranking of the most affordable online psychology master’s programs can help you find low-cost programs from accredited colleges that still deliver on quality. The ranking combines key affordability and quality metrics pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). For more information on our ranking methodology, click the “about the ranking” button below for a complete rundown of how we calculate our rankings.

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About the ranking

Methodology for STEPS Most Affordable College Rankings

Step #1: Create Universe of Eligible Colleges

To be eligible for this ranking, colleges were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program(s) in subject area offered at least partially online.

Step #2: Assign Weightings and Rank Colleges Based on Scores in Key Areas

After creating the list of eligible colleges, STEPS’ data science team assigned weightings and ranked colleges based on a combination of affordability, online learning availability, and student support performance metrics. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Affordability

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid: Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Student Support Services

  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our College Rankings Data

Each ranking on STEPS utilizes the latest data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which colleges and universities across the country self-report via surveys from the U.S. Department of Education.

Accreditation Glossary

ABHE: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

ATS: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission

HLC: Higher Learning Commission

MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NECHE: New England Commission of Higher Education

NWCCU: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

TRACS: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

WSCUC: WASC Senior College and University Commission

1
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Based in North Carolina, Fayetteville State University offers a Master of Arts in Psychology that you can complete entirely online in an asynchronous format that is flexible, accessible, and affordable. In addition to standard psychology program expectations, Fayetteville’s MA in Psychology highlights social and cultural diversity, communication skills, and ethics-based professionalism.

Throughout the 36-credit curriculum, students focus almost entirely on psychology topics, with 27 credits dedicated to the program's core curriculum in courses covering psychology of diversity, biological aspects of behavior, research methods, and psychology of social and interpersonal communication. Students also complete a capstone seminar where they synthesize information and prepare for careers or further academic work.

Prospective students must submit completed applications along with official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and CVs documenting any professional or volunteer experiences. Applicants also submit official transcripts with an overall GPA of 2.6 or above.

Program Highlights:

Online Master of Arts in Psychology

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $191/credit (in-state); $478/credit (out-of-state)
  • Format: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association on Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
93%
AccreditationSACSCOC
2
Type: Public
Cost: $

Fort Hays State University, a public institution in Kansas, offers an online Master of Science in School Psychology. Designed to mirror the same requirements and academic rigor of on-campus options, this asynchronous psychology master’s provides a flexible and affordable option for students interested in school psychology careers and working with children, teachers, and parents in a K-12 environment.

This MS in School Psychology’s 30 credits gives students the practical and theoretical knowledge required for practice within the field. Core coursework includes methods in school psychology, advanced learning and motivation, curriculum-based measurement, and appraisal of children. Students complete comprehensive exams to graduate.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree in psychology or education with at least 12 credits of psychology coursework. Applicants must also have a 3.0 cumulative GPA in their undergraduate coursework, and GRE scores are required for applicants without a master's degree.

Program Highlights:

MS in School Psychology

  • Credits: 30 credits
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $299/credit
  • Format: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
77%
AccreditationHLC
3
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Northwestern Oklahoma State University's online Master of Science in General Psychology prepares students for various careers spanning from human resources to healthcare administration. Students complete coursework entirely online and engage through both asynchronous and synchronous deliveries.

In this program’s 34-credit curriculum, 18 core credits include topics like advanced social psychology, statistics for assessment, and advanced cognitive psychology. Students fill their remaining requirements with elective courses, choosing from topics like advanced human sexuality, family systems, and multicultural counseling. Before graduation, students either complete a degree-culminating capstone project or a thesis.

Applicants to this online master's in general psychology must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited program. Prospective students must also submit official transcripts showing an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and provide three letters of recommendation. While GRE scores are not required, students can submit them to enhance their applications.

Program Highlights:

MS in General Psychology

  • Credits: 34 credits
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $274/credit (in-state); $552/credit (out-of-state)
  • Format: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
79%
AccreditationHLC
4
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Arizona State University plays home to an extensive roster of online degrees, including an online Master of Science in Psychology that full-time students typically complete in about two years. Throughout their coursework, master’s students expand their empirical research skills while tackling a curriculum that underscores subject areas spanning cognitive to social psychology.

ASU’s online psychology curriculum requires 36 credits (12 classes). Core courses include topics in advanced social psychology, fundamentals of quantitative research, and professional issues in psychology. Before graduating, online learners complete a capstone course where they synthesize contemporary research through written exams.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and provide official transcripts showing a minimum 3.0 GPA over their last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework. Applicants also submit letters of recommendation, current resumes, and personal statements outlining academic and career goals.

Program Highlights:

Online Master of Science in Psychology

  • Credits: 36 credits
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $543/credit
  • Format: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
53%
AccreditationHLC
5
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Based in Springfield and established in 1905, Missouri State University offers an online master's degree in psychology where students complete a curriculum that covers both general and specialized areas in the field. This psychology master’s track prioritizes critical thinking and communication skills while promoting diversity, service, and ethical leadership.

During this online psychology master’s program, students complete 47 credits of coursework. Core requirements include classes in social psychology, statistics and research design, and ethical and professional issues. Online learners complete the remainder of their requirements through specialized coursework in three areas: industrial/organization psychology, experimental psychology, or clinical psychology. Before graduating, students complete either a thesis project or an internship.

When making admission decisions, MSU faculty consider applications holistically while assessing academic and professional potential. Prospective students must hold bachelor’s degrees and submit three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and official transcripts.

Program Highlights:

Psychology Graduate Program

  • Credits: 47 credits
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $334/credit (in-state); $622/credit (out-of-state)
  • Format: Fully online or partially online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationHLC
6
Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
89%
AccreditationSACSCOC
7
Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationSACSCOC
8
Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationSACSCOC
9
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
66%
AccreditationHLC
10
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationSACSCOC
11
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
32%
AccreditationNWCCU
12
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
85%
AccreditationNECHE
13
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
73%
AccreditationHLC
14
University of Idaho Moscow, ID
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
88%
AccreditationNWCCU
15
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
52%
AccreditationDEAC
16
Union College Barbourville, KY
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationSACSCOC
17
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHLC
18
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
56%
AccreditationSACSCOC
19
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationHLC
20
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationHLC
21
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
58%
AccreditationSACSCOC
22
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
51%
AccreditationHLC
23
McNeese State University Lake Charles, LA
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
42%
AccreditationSACSCOC
24
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
80%
AccreditationHLC
25
Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
78%
AccreditationHLC
26
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
88%
AccreditationSACSCOC
27
The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
57%
AccreditationSACSCOC
28
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
66%
AccreditationSACSCOC
29
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationMSCHE
30
Aspen University Denver, CO
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationDEAC
31
Tiffin University Tiffin, OH
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
93%
AccreditationHLC
32
Life University Marietta, GA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
63%
AccreditationSACSCOC
33
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationMSCHE
34
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
64%
AccreditationHLC
35
Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
89%
AccreditationSACSCOC
36
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
84%
AccreditationHLC
37
University of Memphis Memphis, TN
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
39%
AccreditationSACSCOC
38
Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
44%
AccreditationWSCUC
39
Baker College Flint, MI
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
88%
AccreditationHLC
40
Simpson University Redding, CA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
95%
AccreditationWSCUC
41
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
92%
AccreditationWSCUC
42
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
24%
AccreditationSACSCOC
43
Lynn University Boca Raton, FL
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
89%
AccreditationSACSCOC
44
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
51%
AccreditationNWCCU
45
Capella University Minneapolis, MN
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
50%
AccreditationHLC
46
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
63%
AccreditationMSCHE
47
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationWSCUC
48
Purdue Global University Indianapolis, IN
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHLC
49
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
16%
AccreditationHLC
50
Walden University Minneapolis, MN
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHLC

Funding Your Online Psychology Master’s: 5 Ways to Lower Costs

Funding your online psychology master’s degree is a daunting task. Fortunately, there are many ways – from scholarships, grants and fellowships, to tuition reimbursement, assistantships, and loan forgiveness – to reduce what you have to pay in tuition.

1

Apply to scholarships, grants, and fellowships created for psychology grad students.

Many professional associations, foundations, nonprofit groups, and government entities provide scholarships, grants, and fellowships designed to support students working towards a Master in Psychology. The American Psychological Foundation, for example, awards 21 different graduate-level scholarships ranging from $2,000-$5,000 each year. These awards are highly competitive, so start your search early and stay organized so you don’t miss any deadlines.

2

Take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs

If you already work in the psychology field or a related discipline, ask your employer if they would provide tuition reimbursement for your graduate program in exchange for you working for the company for a set time after graduating. Employers can provide up to $5,250 each academic year in tuition reimbursement that you won’t be taxed for as income. These funds can be used to pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies, and educational fees.

3

Apply for teaching or research assistantships

Many master’s in psychology programs provide teaching and/or research assistantships to help lighten the burden of faculty while also providing an opportunity for students to gain real-world, transferrable skills. They come with financial incentives such as tuition remission or stipends to cover educational costs. These programs are usually highly competitive. The University of Kentucky provides an example of what to look for.

4

Seek out work-study opportunities

Work-study funds are available to students with financial need as determined by their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information. If you qualify, you can apply for a campus-based or virtual part-time job at your school. Most of these positions pay at least the Federal minimum wage, sometimes more, and some may relate to your master’s degree.

5

Apply for public service loan forgiveness

Depending on where you plan to work, you may qualify for the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. If you work for a local, state, or federal government agency or a nonprofit organization for 10 years, you can apply for forgiveness on the remainder of your direct loans. You must make 120 qualifying payments before becoming eligible.

What Impacts How Affordable an Online Psychology Master’s Is?

Many factors affect the final price tag of your online psychology master’s degree and understanding each one can help you save thousands of dollars by the time you graduate. This section examines some of the common areas where costs can expand or contract based on your decisions.

Public Vs. Private

The Education Data Initiative reported that students attending public schools in their home state in 2021 paid an average tuition of $9,580. That number rose substantially to $37,200 for learners enrolled at private schools.

Out-of-State vs. In-state

Even if you attend a public college or university, residency status can make a big difference. In-state tuition averaged $9,580 during the 2020-2021 school year while out-of-state students paid an average of $27,437 for the same education.

Online Student Tuition Rates

In some cases, colleges provide discounted tuition rates for online students to incentivize their enrollment. Private schools may offer a reduced tuition rate as compared to campus-based learning, while public schools may let all students, regardless of where they live, pay the in-state rate.

School-Based Scholarships

Many psychology departments provide degree-specific awards and scholarships for students pursuing Master in Psychology degrees. At Nova Southeastern University in Florida, for example, there are various awards available only within the College of Psychology. Some are awarded based on grades, while others focus on financial need.

Miscellaneous Fees

Online students typically pay less in associated fees since they avoid those associated with in-person learning. Distance learning doesn’t require a parking pass or access to the student center gym, for example. Online students should, however, look out for fees related to technology, digital education, and student services as these can quickly add up.