25 Best Online Masters in Educational Psychology [2021 Guide]

If you want to study the science behind learning and retention, then it may be time to earn an online masters in educational psychology.

Online Masters in Educational Psychology

You’ll explore topics like cognition, development, and motivation, and you may use that knowledge to improve instructional methods and learning outcomes for children or adults.

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As with earning an online masters in child psychology, earning an online masters degree in educational psychology could be a critical step on the road to becoming a licensed psychologist. It could also help you build a career in school administration, school counseling, or human resources.

Online Masters in Educational Psychology Programs

Training and Development Manager working with a colleague

Being an educational psychology student can help you become an expert in the science of learning. This degree program addresses the ways that people acquire new information and how to apply those concepts in educational settings.

As a professional in educational psychology, you may be able to help schools, businesses, or government entities develop strong leaders and learners. In preparation for this career, you’ll take classes in human development, learning theories, and neuropsychology. The courses will also teach you to conduct assessments and interpret the findings.

You may study multicultural classrooms, educational technology, aging, and learning interventions as well. Many educational psychology masters programs emphasize research. You may learn about research methods used in the social sciences and practice designing your own research models.

At the end of your program, you might conduct a research project that integrates the topics you’ve studied during grad school. Some master’s programs offer specialization tracks.

You may be able to study for a concentration in human development, educational research, school psychology, gifted education, classroom diversity, or educational technology.

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To earn a concentration, you’ll take several classes centered around the topic of your choice. Some schools allow you to customize your own concentration. A master’s degree could be one step along your way to becoming an educational psychologist. To become licensed, you may need to earn a doctoral degree as well.

Educational psychologists often provide data and insights to help educators or school systems improve their practices. You could also be a researcher or a government advisor in the field of education.

A doctorate isn’t a prerequisite for all jobs in educational psychology, though. You might not need licensure to work as a human resources director or a training and development coordinator. In some settings, you might find work as a college psychology professor or a university administrator.

Other types of licensure also pair well with an educational psychology degree. This can be a strategic degree path for school administrators or instructional coordinators. It might also help you become licensed as a school counselor or school psychologist.

Educational Psychology Careers & Salaries

Educational Psychology Careers & Salaries

Getting a masters degree in educational psychology could help you establish or expand your career in education, business, or scientific research. Many people pursue an educational psychology degree because they’re interested in making a difference for students and teachers.

Some educational psychologists are responsible for observing school districts’ practices and making recommendations for growth and improvement. Other responsibilities for educational psychologists might include training teachers and overseeing educational technology.

A doctorate is often required before you can become an educational psychologist. Those who want to work directly with students might pursue a career in school psychology or school counseling in public or private school systems. Qualifying for those positions might require specialized licensure.

Others may apply their degree in administrative roles within a school district. You might need separate licensure to work as a principal, a superintendent, or an instructional coordinator, especially at the elementary and secondary levels.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists earn an average annual salary of $82,180, and jobs for psychologists are growing at a 3% rate. You could also pursue the following positions with a degree in educational psychology.

Careers Annual Median Salary
Human Resources Manager $121,220
Training and Development Manager $115,640
Developmental Psychologist $105,780
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals $98,490
University Administrator $97,500
Social Scientist $87,260
Clinical, Counseling, or School Psychologist $79,820
Psychology Professor $78,180
Instructional Coordinator $66,970
School or Career Counselor $58,120

This degree could be useful in the university setting as well. For example, you could pursue a career as an administrator or a career counselor. You might even be able to teach classes in the psychology department.

Some educational psychologists want to have broader influence. You may be driven to conduct research related to learning and education or work to influence government policies related to schools and students.

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Businesses also depend on people who are experts in learning and motivation. In this field, you may enhance employee growth and development using psychological principles. This business aspect of educational psychology overlaps with some aspects of industrial organizational psychology.

Your background in educational psychology could also help you get started in the human resources or training and development department of an organization. With experience, you might advance to a managerial role.

Educational Psychology Master’s Curriculum & Courses

School Psychologist giving advice to a college student

To earn a masters degree in educational psychology, you’ll need to earn at least 30 credits. Some colleges require closer to 60 credits for this type of program. The classes that contribute toward your degree may include:

  • Assessments and Tests: In this course, you will learn to conduct psychological tests, interpret findings, and maintain ethical standards.
  • Classroom Diversity: This class will address how diverse backgrounds influence learning and classroom practices and equip you with methods for reaching many students.
  • Educational Technology: Not only will you explore how technology is used in classroom settings, but you’ll also explore how the principles of academic psychology can enhance digital learning practices.
  • History of Education: You’ll study the development of schools and other educational systems and discuss how they have influenced modern practices.
  • Human Development: This course will cover physical, cognitive, emotional, and social growth and change throughout the human lifespan.
  • Introduction to Educational Psychology: Early in your program, you’ll take a course that lays the foundation for your studies in this field.
  • Learning Theories: You will learn about major psychology theories related to learning and education, and you’ll also discuss classroom applications for those concepts.
  • Neuropsychology: In this course, you’ll gain a better understanding of the role that the brain and the nervous system play in learning.
  • Program Implementation and Evaluation: You’ll learn how to design interventions that meet schools’ or learners’ needs, put those programs into practice, and analyze whether your efforts have achieved the desired results.
  • Social Science Research: Your time in this course will teach you to gather data related to educational psychology and perform statistical analyses.

Specializing in a particular area of educational psychology, such as neuropsychology or gifted education, will influence your graduate school curriculum.

Admissions Requirements

Masters in Educational Psychology student studying in a cafe

Each school sets its own admission requirements, but there are common themes from one college to the next. Many admissions committees want to see:

  • Bachelors degree: Not only will you need to have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited college, but colleges may prefer a minimum GPA, demonstrated with official transcripts.
  • Personal statement: In this brief essay, you’ll share your goals for your academic studies and your career.
  • Reference letters: You may need two or three statements of recommendation from professional or academic contacts.

GRE or GMAT test scores are not always required. Some programs or concentrations may ask to see proof of teacher licensure.

Accreditation

Online Masters in Educational Psychology Accreditation

Whether on-campus or online, the best schools for a masters degree in educational psychology are the ones that hold regional accreditation.

Regional accreditation leads to respected degrees. Other colleges are more likely to accept transfer credits or admit doctoral candidates with accredited degrees. Employers put more stock in accredited degrees as well.

Seven organizations in the US are qualified to grant regional accreditation. Visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for more information on approved accreditors.

Licensure for Educational Psychologists

Psychologist comforting a patient

For some jobs in educational psychology, such as educational psychologist, you’ll need to pursue licensure. Each state sets its own licensure requirements.

Depending on the state, the minimum educational requirement may be a masters degree or a doctorate. School psychology licensure often operates according to different rules than other types of psychology licensure. In addition to getting a graduate degree, you’ll probably need to earn practicum and internship hours and pass an examination.

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Depending on the type of licensure, you might take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) or the Praxis School Psychologist exam. You can consult your state licensure board to find your particular state’s requirements for licensure.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Online Masters in Educational Psychology Financial Aid

Government and private assistance may be available to help you pay for school. Applying for government aid begins with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Based on your FAFSA results, you may be able to take advantage of federal grants or loans.

Grants won’t need to repaid. Loans must be paid back with interest, but government loans often carry low interest rates. State assistance may further lessen your tuition burden. Many states have both grants and loans available.

You can look for scholarships from private sources as well. Organizations award these gifts to the most qualified applicants. The scholarships you receive may be one-time prizes or renewable awards.

You may also receive tuition assistance from your workplace. If your education will benefit your work, you may inquire whether your employer will cover part of the cost.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Educational Psychology?

Educational Psychologist studying online

You could use an educational psychology masters degree in schools, colleges, businesses, or research institutions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24% of psychologists are employed by school systems, including both public and private schools. If you want to work in elementary, secondary, or postsecondary settings, you could consider a job in education administration, school psychology, school counseling, or career counseling.

You may also be self-employed, like 31% of psychologists. You could be a self-employed educational psychology professional who offers consulting services for schools or businesses. You could also work independently as a social science researcher.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Educational Psychology Online?

Educational Psychologist working in a cafe

Traditionally, it takes 1 to 2 years to get a masters degree. If you enroll at a school with standard 16 week semesters, 2 years is a fairly reliable estimate of how long your program can take.

Many educational psychology graduate programs online use accelerated terms that can be completed in less time. If you’re willing to take back-to-back classes until your program is finished, you may be able to graduate in 18 months or less. Some students can finish in just 12 months.

If you have prior graduate classes to transfer in, those credits may help contribute to a speedy program.

What Is an Educational Psychologist?

Educational Psychologist with a child

An educational psychologist is an expert in the science of acquiring and retaining information.

As an educational psychologist, you might conduct assessments or research. By applying your findings, you’ll be able to implement programs or recommend interventions that will help increase learners’ skills and knowledge. Keep in mind that a masters alone won’t qualify you to bear the title of educational psychologist.

You’ll also need to be licensed by your state board. In some states, a masters degree will fulfill the educational requirements for licensure. Other states require a doctoral degree.

What Does an Educational Psychologist Do?

Educational psychologists working in an office

Educational psychologists study the ways that people learn. Their findings can promote deeper learning, better retention, and more effective teaching.

Some educational psychologists conduct research. They do studies and analyze data to develop new and better ideas about teaching and learning. The information that they find might be useful for schools and businesses. It may also contribute to the development of government policies.

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Others work with school administrators or teachers to advise them on best practices. They may run assessments, evaluate data, and recommend improvement plans. This can be useful in elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and adult-learning settings.

How Do I Become an Educational Psychologist?

First, you’ll need to earn a bachelors degree. You might want to major in psychology, but some people come to educational psychology graduate studies with a background in education or another field.

Next, it’s helpful to research licensure requirements for psychologists in your state. You may need to earn a masters degree or a doctorate before you can become licensed. After completing educational psychology graduate studies, you’ll spend time earning field experience. You’ll also need to pass a licensing examination.

After fulfilling your state’s requirements, you can apply for licensure. Finally, you’ll be able to call yourself an educational psychologist!

Where Do Educational Psychologists Work?

Educational psychologist in a group therapy

Many educational psychologists work for educational institutions. That can include schools for all ages, from preschool through college.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24% of all psychologists work in elementary and secondary schools. Similar positions may be available in community-based agencies. The government also employs educational psychologists. Many of those professionals are engaged in conducting research. Private research firms also hire psychologists.

Other educational psychologists are consultants. They may work for a consulting service or be self-employed.

How Much Do Educational Psychologists Make?

Educational psychologist with a patient

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that, in general, psychologists earn an average annual salary of $82,180. School psychologists make about $79,820 each year.

Psychologists not classified as clinical, counseling, industrial-organizational, or school psychologists—educational psychologists, for example, along with others—earn an average of $105,780 each year.

Some of the top-paying jobs for psychologists are with government agencies. Psychologists who work for government organizations bring in an average of $100,360 each year. In comparison, those who work for public or private elementary and secondary schools make an average of $77,560.

Can I Be a School Psychologist with a Masters in Educational Psychology?

School Psychologist with a student

School psychology and educational psychology are not one and the same. There are some situations, though, in which educational psychology graduates qualify for school psychology positions.

Becoming a school psychologist requires a particular state license. To qualify, you’ll often need to take related graduate coursework—usually around 60 hours—and complete practicums and internships.

Some educational psychology programs offer the needed coursework and hands-on experiences. There may also be a school psychology specialization track in which you can enroll. If your goal is to be a school psychologist, it’s helpful to double-check whether an educational psychology program aligns with your state’s requirements.

What Is the Difference Between a Masters in Educational Psychology vs. School Psychology?

Essentially, school psychology is a branch of educational psychology. While all educational psychologists study the science of learning, school psychologists are more likely to apply that knowledge in settings where they work one-on-one with students.

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You could think of educational psychology as a field focused on research and academics while school psychology is a field for practitioners. Also, school psychology usually addresses elementary and secondary school settings, but educational psychology applies to learners of all ages, including preschoolers, college students, and senior citizens.

Is a Masters in Educational Psychology Worth It?

Educational Psychologists in a meeting

Yes, a masters degree in educational psychology is worth it for many students. Jobs in education, training, and library field are projected to grow at a rate of 5% in the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Common educational psychology careers in this field include social scientist, school administrator, training and development manager, school psychologist, and instructional coordinator.

Whether you want to work for a school, a government agency, or a business, this degree program can help provide valuable career preparation. With your psychology training, you may help teachers provide effective instruction and help learners gain lifelong knowledge.

Universities Offering Online Master’s in Educational Psychology Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Ball State University

Ball State University campus

Ball State University’s Master of Arts in Educational Psychology program is a non-licensure program that offers a convenient, flexible schedule and a comprehensive, research-based curriculum. Full-time students should be able to complete the program in about 18 months, and there are a variety of specializations from which they can choose.

Ball State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Capella University

Capella University campus

Students enrolled in Capella University’s online Master of Science in Psychology program can select the Educational Psychology concentration and potentially finish the program in only 12 months.

This program includes four core courses, five concentration-related courses, and one integrative project. The curriculum focuses heavily on both critical and psychological theory.

Capella also offers both PsyD and PhD in educational psychology online programs.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University campus

The educational psychology masters program at Eastern Michigan University is offered almost entirely online.

It’s a good program for current K-12 teachers and other education-related professionals who want to learn how to conduct and utilize their research findings, apply educational principles and psychology, and gain a better understanding of diversity.

Eastern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Edinboro University

Edinboro University campus

Edinboro University’s educational psychology masters degree is a 30 credit, non-licensure degree that takes 2 years to earn. It teaches students about all aspects of the theoretical and practical aspects of education and psychology through an advanced, collaborative curriculum. There are no required field experiences, and students can complete it online.

Edinboro University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Florida State University

Florida State University campus

The Master of Science in Educational Psychology program at Florida State University features a concentration in Learning and Cognition.

There’s a thesis and a non-thesis track available. Notable courses in the curriculum include theories of learning and cognition in instruction, theories of social psychology, educational psychology, and motivation and emotion.

Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University campus

Fort Hays State University offers both Master of Science in School Psychology and Educational Specialist in School Psychology programs to its students. Both programs can be undertaken by full-time and part-time students. There are a few overlapping courses in both, but the Educational Specialist (EdS) degree requires an internship to complete.

FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Marist College

Marist College campus

Students in the Master of Arts in Educational Psychology program at Marist College can select from two tracks: childhood education (grades 1 to 6) or adolescent education (grades 7 to 12) with an additional middle school extension (grades 5 to 6). This degree requires 36 credits for completion and can lead to licensure in New York.

Marist College is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Northcentral University

Northcentral University campus

Northcentral University’s Master of Science in Educational Psychology program teaches students to utilize ethical principles of psychology, examine and understand issues of diversity, and study research methods and data analysis that could be useful to the field.

It’s good for students interested in becoming behavioral therapists, guidance counselors, or youth counselors.

Northcentral University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University campus

Students pursuing careers as adjunct professors, data analytics managers, or researchers could benefit from Oklahoma State University’s Master of Science in Educational Psychology program.

It’s a 36 credit program that includes courses on the psychology of learning, creativity for teachers, elementary statistical methods in education, and human development in psychology.

Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Purdue University

Purdue University campus

The 52 credit Master of Science in Educational Psychology program from Purdue University features online courses that run for either 6 or 10 weeks at a time. Graduates of the program should have a broad understanding of the latest educational trends, learning behaviors, and instructional techniques and theories used in education.

Purdue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Rutgers University

Rutgers University campus

Rutgers University offers a Master of Education in Learning, Cognition, and Development program that has a concentration in Educational Psychology.

The goal of the program is to teach students how people learn, think, and grow. Courses include statistical methods, educational psychology, language acquisition, cognitive development, and motivation in the classroom.

Rutgers is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Texas A and M University

Texas A & M University - Commerce campus

The Master of Education in Educational Psychology program at Texas A&M University is a 36 credit program that can be taken online or in blended format. Students can select one of the program’s four available concentrations in either creativity and cognition, school counseling, developmental sciences, or research, measurement, and statistics.

Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Touro University Worldwide

Touro University Worldwide campus

Touro University Worldwide’s Master of Arts in Psychology program features a concentration in Educational Psychology. There are six start dates throughout the year, and students don’t have to take the GRE or GMAT for entrance into the program. Tuition is affordable, and classes are taught by professors with real-world experience.

Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

University of Alabama

University of Alabama campus

Students hoping to earn their educational psychology masters degrees from University of Alabama can select the learning and assessment concentration.

It’s a 30 credit program that’s offered entirely online, but it doesn’t lead to licensure. Students will take courses on development of self-regulation, life-span development, and evaluation of classroom learning.

The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Georgia

University of Georgia campus

University of Georgia has several options for students hoping to pursue degrees in educational psychology. In addition to a bachelors degree in the field, the school also offers an Educational Specialist in Educational Psychology program and a Master of Education program in the field with two distinct areas of concentration.

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus

The online Master of Education in Educational Psychology program at University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign features four areas of concentration from which students can choose.

These include developmental sciences, counseling psychology, cognitive science of teaching and learning, and studies in interpretive, statistical measurement, and evaluative methodologies for research.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Memphis

University of Memphis campus

University of Memphis’s online Master of Science in Educational Psychology program accepts students from a wide range of different backgrounds, including teachers, military personnel, school administrators, school psychologists and counselors, and ministers.

The program teaches these students about research and statistics, learning and cognition, and human development. It’s an affordable, flexible program.

The University of Memphis is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Missouri

University of Missouri campus

While the University of Missouri doesn’t specifically have an educational psychology masters program, it does offer a Master of Education in Student Learning and Well-Being program, which is practically the same. The 33 credit program is offered entirely online and has received accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Nevada – Las Vegas

University of Nevada - Las Vegas campus

University of Nevada – Las Vegas offers both a thesis and a non-thesis option with its Master of Science in Educational Psychology program. Students have quite a lot of input in designing their individualized programs and can choose specific areas of interest. The program is mainly designed for current teachers.

The University of Nevada – Las Vegas is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of North Texas

University of North Texas campus

Students in University of North Texas’s educational psychology masters program can select a concentration specifically designed to teach them to work with gifted and talented students. It is a very unique Executive Summer-to-Summer program that starts each May and features classes that run for 3 weeks, 5 weeks, and then 8 weeks.

The University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Northern Colorado

University of Northern Colorado campus

University of Northern Colorado offers a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology program with a concentration in Teaching Applications. Graduates of the program should have firm grasps of how the brain works, how to develop confidence, interest, and motivation in students, and what role culture and society have in learning.

The University of Northern Colorado is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Southern Maine

University of Southern Maine campus

University of Southern Maine offers both a Master of Science in Educational Psychology and a post-masters graduate certificate in the field. The programs can lead to students becoming board certified behavior analysts, and there are no GRE requirements for admittance. The school offers lower e-tuition rates for out-of-state students.

The University of Southern Maine is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Tennessee – Knoxville

University of Tennessee - Knoxville campus

Students enrolled in the University of Tennessee – Knoxville’s Master of Science in Educational Psychology program can select from one of two areas of concentration: adult education or applied educational psychology.

Courses vary depending on the concentration, but some include learning in the workplace, motivation in learning, and adult learning.

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Wisconsin – Madison

University of Wisconsin Madison campus

The Master of Science in Educational Psychology program at University of Wisconsin – Madison features the named option Professional Educator. It’s a fully online psychology degree program that pulls courses from three departments in the university’s School of Education.

The curriculum includes courses on technology integration, collaborative teamwork, and teaching diverse learners.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University offers a Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Educational Psychology. Students will learn about teaching students with different needs (special needs to high achievers), lifespan development, motivation, and cognition. There’s also an emphasis placed on understanding, evaluating, and applying research.

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Masters in Educational Psychology Online

Getting Your Masters in Educational Psychology Online

In an educational psychology career, you can help make a difference for students and teachers. The sooner you enroll in a masters program, the sooner you can begin making valuable contributions to this field.

With an online degree program, you won’t have to wait for just the right time to get started. Online studies are flexible enough to fit around professional and family responsibilities. With the right program, you may have your degree in hand in under 2 years.

You can start exploring educational psychology departments at accredited schools to find the online graduate program that’s best for you.

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Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.