Top 5 Masters in Psychology

Have you pictured yourself in a future career in psychology? Have you seen yourself in the role of a prominent scholar, earning your Ph.D. and teaching? Or have you visualized yourself as a secondary school psychologist? With the Top 5 Masters in Psychology programs, your bright future awaits you. 

While the following five degree programs are highly competitive and often expensive, they offer generous funding opportunities, professional networking, and access to the country's brightest and most active scholars in psychology.

You may be surprised to find that several schools on this list offer online classes, too. Two programs are specifically geared toward students who are seeking their Ph.D.s and engaging in research post-graduation. The curriculum offered by each program varies significantly. Some focus on particular ages and groups, where others are concerned with the methods and theories that make up the current field of psychology. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for psychologists is $79,010. Up to $100K a year is possible for private practice psychologists and industrial/organizational psychologists. The field is expected to expand by the year 2026. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an additional 23,000 jobs in the field by then. If you've applied yourself in your undergraduate work, and are confident and ready to pursue a promising future in psychology, one of these Top 5 Masters in Psychology will open doors to a rewarding career.

Ranking the Top 5 Masters in Psychology

Each ranking published by Top Master's in Healthcare requires a lot of research, fact-checking, and interest in the world of higher education and medical industries. The editors of TMHC utilize credible data resources from academic journals, government databases, job recruitment organizations, and, especially, degree alumni reviews. TMHC rankings are scored specifically on degree outcomes, alumni reviews, degree affordability, acceptance rates, MCAT and GRE scores, and degree completion rates.

To be considered for ranking by TMHC, degrees must be accredited by the National Science Foundation and, thus, provide appropriate doctorate certifications within the health care field and have institutional affiliations with scholarly peer-reviewed publications. For more information about how TMHC scores individual medical degrees, please visit our About Us page. 

Here are the Top 5 Masters in Psychology for 2020!

#5. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

Urbana Champaign, IL

Master of Science in Psychology


The Master of Science in Psychology at the University of Illinois is designed for students intending to continue toward doctorate-level work. The Department of Psychology organizes its curriculum around program areas and research themes. There are frequent openings for research assistants in the department, from marketing to cross-cultural coding to working in the attachment, personality, and emotion lab. Current students in the program have received such accolades as the Teaching and Advising Awards from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Among the alumni of the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, there are seven Nobel Laureates and nine Pulitzer Prize winners. 

In 2018-19, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois received over $75 million in grant funding for faculty research. Faculty have been named recipients of the Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Scholarship funding for graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is over $2 million. The Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois is home to the Psychological Services Center

Graduate Tuition: $ 15,068

Score: 92.23

#4. Harvard University 

Cambridge, MA

Master's in Psychology


The Master's in Psychology program at Harvard University emphasizes behavioral science research, social science research, and quantitative and qualitative methods for research. The program prepares its graduates to not only have a firm foundation and awareness of the most current knowledge in the field but to be able to communicate theories and knowledge succinctly. The program is comprised of 12 classes, only three of which are completed residentially. Remaining coursework can be completed online. Students will receive extensive support and tutoring to complete thesis work. Course offerings include topics on Stress, Coping, and Resilience, The Psychology of Emotional, Behavioral, and Motivational Self-Regulation, and The Neurobiology of Sex Differences. 

Admission to the program can be gained by taking three, four-credit graduate-level classes and earning a B or Higher. These classes include an Introduction to Graduate Studies and Scholarly Writing in the Social Sciences, a psychology course, and a statistical methods course. Students who complete these courses will then submit transcripts from previous institutions and a resume. Harvard offers many services to graduate students in the Masters in Psychology programs, such as the writing center, career services, on-campus activities, and full access to Harvard's libraries. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 46,384

Score: 96.89

#3. Stanford University 

Stanford, CA

Master of Arts in Psychology


The Department of Psychology at Stanford University grants Master of Arts in Psychology degrees to students who are already enrolled in a Stanford Ph.D. program. After 45 units of completed psychology classes, students may apply to receive a Master's degree. Core coursework in the program includes Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Affective Science, and the Foundations of Cognition. Additionally, two statistics classes and courses in lab work in experimental methods are also required. A first-year project that brings together the student's research activities is reviewed by the student's adviser and a second reader at the end of the student's first year. 

Stanford offers many services to graduate students. Counseling and Psychological Services offers therapy and medication management. The Hume Center for Writing and Speaking provides oral communication tutors. The Graduate Life Office has career support, support for children and families, housing, and many student communities and groups. Graduate students in the program are welcome to attend a variety of social events that take place on campus year-round. Funding opportunities for graduate students at Stanford are plentiful. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 50,703

Score: 96.92

#2. University of Wisconsin – Madison

Madison, WI

Master of Science in Educational Psychology


The Master of Science in Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin has five areas of specialization. The five areas of specialization represent pathways students may take to organize and complete the degree requirements. Such areas include educational psychology with special emphases, learning sciences, school psychology, or human development. The program is between a total of 33-36 credits in length, depending on the student's specialization. Course offerings include Child Development, Adolescent Development, Statistical Methods, and Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments. Students can also work with faculty completing research projects. Past research projects have taken place at the Waisman Center and the School of Education's Wisconsin Center for Education Research. 

While the program does not require a specific undergraduate major, qualified candidates will have at least 18 credit hours related to educational psychology. A 3.0 GPA is required, as are three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and a statement of purpose. The Educational Psychology department at UW-Madison offers some teaching and project assistantships to graduate students. UW-Madison's Graduate School also has numerous fellowships. The Graduate School also offers an application fee waiver to students who find the fee a financial burden. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 10,728

Score: 97.58

#1. University of California Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

Master of Arts in Psychology


The University of California Los Angeles' Master of Arts in Psychology degree is conferred upon students already in the doctorate program. The M.A. program is a total of 36 credits and comprises a teaching assistantship as well as a research project. Students are assigned an adviser based on their interests upon admission to the program. Course offerings in the program include subjects such as Pavlovian Processes, Current Issues in Learning and Behavior, Fear and Anxiety, and Basic Motivational Processes. Other topics include Clinical Psychopharmacology, the Physiology of Learning, and Behavior Genetics. UCLA's Psychology faculty is made up of over two dozen professors with a wide range of research and teaching interests. 

The UCLA College of Life Sciences and Psychology is home to 13 different Centers and Programs such as the Anxiety Disorders Research Center, the Center for Mental Health in Schools, and the Minority Mental Health Program. The Life Sciences and Psychology Department also offers research assistantships, traineeships, and fellowships. Admission applications to the program should include a personal history statement, three letters of recommendation, and the GRE general test and Psychology Subject Test. In 2019, the admissions committee for this program reviewed 799 applications, and only 37 new students were accepted. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 11,442Score: 100.00

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