Online master’s in clinical psychology programs cultivate advanced, specialized knowledge and clinical skills. Master of science in clinical psychology degrees emphasize research and science courses, while master of arts in clinical psychology programs emphasize more liberal arts coursework.
Common careers for master’s graduates include clinical psychologist, psychology professor, consultant, and manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists make a median annual salary of $78,200. Professionals often need doctoral degrees to qualify for jobs as researchers, professors, and clinical psychologists.
This guide ranks the best online master’s degree in clinical psychology programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities.
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What can you do with a master's in clinical psychology?
Master’s in clinical psychology degrees support various career paths in mental health and social services. Graduates may also work in fields such as marketing, management, or human resources.
Is a MA or MS in clinical psychology better?
MS programs often provide better preparation for research-oriented careers, while MA programs better suit learners seeking practice-oriented careers.
How long is a master's in clinical psychology?
Master’s degrees typically take two years of full-time study to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that expedite degree completion.
Is a master's in clinical psychology hard?
Graduate programs are challenging for many students. However, learners with strong research, analysis, and writing skills often thrive in clinical psychology master’s programs.
Best Online Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology 2021
Why Get a Clinical Psychology Degree?
Master’s in clinical psychology degrees offer many personal and professional advantages, including the benefits described below.
- Career Transition
- Clinical psychology master’s degrees can help working professionals qualify for new jobs in industry, social services, mental health clinics, and nonprofit organizations.
- Widely Applicable Skills
- Studying clinical psychology cultivates advanced skills in active listening, observation, analysis, and communication. These skills prove useful in most work contexts involving people.
- Qualification for Doctoral Programs
- Clinical psychologists in many states need doctoral degrees to qualify for licensure. To enter clinical psychology doctoral programs, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology or a related field.
- Career Advancement
- Professionals in entry-level social services, business, and nonprofit jobs can pursue a master’s in psychology to qualify for higher-level positions.
How Much Does a Clinical Psychology Major Make?
Master’s in clinical psychology graduates sometimes pursue management careers that demand sophisticated interpersonal skills. Graduates with relevant professional experience may qualify for high-paying jobs such as human resources manager or marketing manager. These positions pay median annual salaries of $116,720 and $137,000, respectively.
Many clinical psychology master’s program graduates pursue doctoral degrees and licensure as clinical psychologists, who make a median salary of $78,200.
Master’s in Clinical Psychology Program Requirements
Master’s degree applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree. Some master’s in clinical psychology programs seek applicants with relevant undergraduate coursework and/or professional experience. Applicants may need to submit recommendation letters, resumes, official transcripts, and essays. Many programs also require GRE scores.
Most master’s in clinical psychology programs require around 30-36 credits. Enrollees complete core psychology courses and specialized coursework in areas such as multicultural psychology, clinical health psychology, forensic psychology, and long-term mental illness. Most master’s programs require a capstone thesis, project, or examination to culminate the degree.
Students also participate in various clinical courses and practicum experiences. Enrollees seeking licensure as psychologists must meet the American Board of Professional Psychology’s (ABPP) requirements, including earning a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.
The best clinical psychology master’s programs also prepare graduates to meet experience requirements for certification by the American Board of Clinical Psychology, a specialty board of the ABPP. This certification grants specialty-level standing, indicating a higher competence level than jurisdictional licensure alone.
Courses in a Clinical Psychology Master’s Program
The best master’s in clinical psychology programs build core skills in observation, active listening, analysis, and supportive communication. Participants also hone advanced research and writing skills while completing their master’s theses or capstone projects.
Some programs offer concentrations in areas such as forensic psychology, neuropsychology, or child and family psychology. Courses vary by program, but the following three courses appear in many master’s in clinical psychology programs.
Ethics and multicultural issues courses cultivate skills for serving clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Learners also study how to support clients of differing ages, abilities, sexual preferences, and religious beliefs.
A core course in many psychology programs, psychopharmacology examines the uses, effects, and abuses of various illegal and legal drugs. Students learn how drugs influence the human body’s major systems, functions, and organs.
This course surveys major counseling and psychotherapy theories and systems. Enrollees learn various clinical applications, studying how and when these theories might apply in various situations and cultural contexts. Course participants usually get to practice their clinical skills in this course.
Scholarships for Clinical Psychology
Many clinical psychology master’s enrollees qualify for scholarships. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students pursuing an online master’s degree in clinical psychology.
Who Can Apply: This American Psychology Foundation (APF) scholarship goes to graduate students pursuing accredited master’s degrees in psychology. Applicants must receive a nomination from a psychology department that belongs to the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP).
Who Can Apply: This APF scholarship supports master’s students seeking thesis funding and attending interim accredited psychology programs. Candidates must be nominated by a COGDOP-member psychology department.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports undergraduate and graduate psychology students. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA and submit an essay on the psychology of online dating.