A social psychology masters allows you to study how people act, interact and think during social situations.
As a social psychologist, you can examine the complex psychological factors that shape interpersonal and group interactions. Popular topics of research in this field include bullying, criminal activity, bias and discrimination, and morality.
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You could graduate from a social psychology masters program ready to pursue a doctorate in the field. This degree can also prepare you for positions working for corporations, government agencies, and other organizations.
Online Social Psychology Masters Programs
Social psychology is a specialization within the larger discipline of psychology. This subfield explores how environmental factors and human perceptions influence behavior in social settings. For example, a person may act and think differently in the workplace than when they’re spending time with friends at home.
An online social psychology masters degree program enables you to develop expertise and skills in this fascinating field. You’ll have the opportunity to study many intriguing topics, such as:
- Child development
- Cognitive psychology
- Culture and psychology
- Emotions and behaviors
- Group dynamics
- Political Psychology
- Social psychology
- Psychology of gender
- Psychology of violence
- Research methods
Along with coursework, you may have the opportunity to participate in research projects with faculty. You can also gain hands-on experience by completing a clinical internship with a practicing psychologist.
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Many master’s in social psychology degrees require you to write a masters thesis or complete a capstone research project. These experiences enable you to contribute to the field and develop valuable research and writing skills.
Completing a social psychology masters degree can help you get admitted to a doctoral program in the field. Most social psychologists finish a PhD before they obtain licensure and begin practicing. But you can qualify for some entry-level social psychology jobs with only a masters degree.
Employers in every industry want to develop a deeper understanding of human behavior and interactions. As a result, this degree can open many career paths. Here are a few job titles often held by graduates of social psychology masters programs:
- Business Consultant
- College professor
- Human resource specialist
- Industrial-organizational psychologist
- Market research analyst
- Political strategist
- Public relations specialist
Social psychologists work in numerous settings, including corporations, colleges and universities, and political campaigns. The wide range of options means you can focus on positions that fit your personal goals and passions. A masters in social psychology could be a strategic choice if you want to hone your research skills and study the nuances of human behavior.
Social Psychology Careers and Salaries
Many people who earn a masters degree in social psychology want to work in academic or research positions. You may find these roles in colleges and universities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or the private sector.
Other graduates apply their social psychology knowledge to real-world problems. For example, some help business leaders resolve interpersonal conflicts in the workplace or research online consumer behavior for a marketing firm. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median annual salaries of some potential positions related to social psychology.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers||$133,380|
|Human Resources Managers||$126,230|
|Training and Development Managers||$120,130|
|Market Research Analysts||$63,920|
|Human Resources Specialists||$62,290|
|School and Career Counselors and Advisors||$60,510|
|Social Science Research Assistants||$49,720|
Salaries can vary according to many factors, such as your credentials, employer, location, and work experience. Pursuing additional certifications, networking, and participating in internships may help you secure higher-paying positions.
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If you’re interested in becoming a clinical psychologist, a masters in psychology can be a stepping stone toward a professional doctorate or PhD in Psychology. Clinical social psychologists, or personality psychologists, help diagnose, manage, and treat clients’ behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders.
MA in Social Psychology Curriculum & Courses
All master’s in social psychology degrees have their own curriculum and other requirements. Here are a few standard courses you may take:
- Affective Neuroscience: You’ll study how neurological processes influence affective disorders, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Applied Regression Analysis: You’ll gain valuable research skills as you learn how to apply linear regression to psychological research.
- Child Development: This course analyzes significant issues and theories in child development, including concept formation, language acquisition, and learning theory.
- Contemporary Social Psychology: You’ll explore the latest research questions and publications in social psychology by reading American and non-American sources.
- Counseling Applications of Social Psychology: You’ll learn practical applications of social psychology in clinical settings and research.
- Group Dynamics: This class studies theories of behavior in small and large groups and how individuals can influence groups.
- Psychology of Gender: You’ll examine how gender influences self-perceptions, social interactions, and gender-associated beliefs.
- Psychology of Social Behavior: This course investigates the links between individual and social behavior and covers topics like aggression and social exchange.
- Sensation and Perception: You’ll learn about experimental and theoretical approaches that seek to explain how humans perceive and interpret sensory input.
- Theories of Personality: You’ll explore personality development and changes from several theoretical perspectives, including cognitive, humanistic, and social-learning methods.
Coursework varies widely among programs, so it can be helpful to research each school’s curriculum before applying to ensure it’s a good fit for your interests and preferred career path.
A social psychology masters program typically requires a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a relevant field. Many schools have a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement.
You’ll also submit an application packet that may include:
- GRE scores (only some schools require them)
- Letters of recommendation from faculty, employers, or other professionals
- Personal statement describing your experience and interest in social psychology
- Resume or CV
- Transcripts from other postsecondary institutions you’ve attended
Each program has unique application requirements, so it’s beneficial to research each program of interest before applying.
Social Psychology Graduate Programs Accreditation
Many masters in social psychology degrees are offered by regionally accredited schools. Colleges and universities must meet high educational standards set by an external organization to earn accreditation. Regional accreditation is a prestigious status that carries a lot of weight with employers and other educational institutions.
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Many employers prefer to hire graduates of accredited programs, and colleges and universities often only accept transfer credits from other accredited schools. You can double-check a school’s accreditation status through the US Department of Education’s website before you apply.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
A social psychology masters degree can be costly, but you may be eligible for financial aid and scholarships. These resources can reduce the upfront costs of your online education, and many forms of assistance don’t require repayment.
Most students start their search for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application determines if you qualify for federal and state assistance. Possible forms of government aid include grants, student loans, and work-study programs.
Your college may provide grants and scholarships to eligible students as well. You can contact the campus financial aid office to discuss potential opportunities. Your current employer may also offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs to help you further your education.
What Can You Do with a Masters in Social Psychology Degree?
A masters degree in social psychology can make you competitive for many career paths. Many students who complete this degree plan to work in academia or research positions. They may pursue careers as professors, marketing directors, or research specialists. Businesses and the government frequently hire people with social psychology degrees. You might secure a position as an analyst, consultant, manager, or political strategist.
You could also apply your knowledge to real-world clients and problems by working as a clinical psychologist or industrial-organizational psychologist. These roles allow you to work directly with clients or businesses to help improve their relationships. Clinical psychologists are required to hold a doctoral degree.
A growing number of universities offer on-campus and online social psychology PhD programs for students interested in earning this degree.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master in Social Psychology Online?
The time it takes to complete an online masters degree in social psychology depends on several factors, including degree requirements and your enrollment status.
It’s possible to complete a 36-credit hour program with no thesis requirement in 1 year if you enroll full-time and take summer courses. If you choose a program that requires a thesis, it may take you 2 years or longer to graduate. Enrolling part-time will also increase the time it takes to complete your degree, but this option can make it easier to balance your academic, family, and work commitments.
What’s the Difference Between Sociology vs. Social Psychology Master Programs?
Sociology and social psychology both examine facets of human behavior in social settings, but these fields have a few key differences.
|Sociology Masters Degree||Social Psychology Masters Degree|
If you’re more interested in studying individuals than whole populations, a social psychology masters degree may be the right fit.
What’s the Difference Between Social Psychology MA vs. MS Programs?
Both MA and MS on-campus or online psychology degrees often cover similar topics and theories, but they are somewhat different. Here’s a quick comparison.
|MA in Social Psychology||MS in Social Psychology|
One degree may make more sense for you based on your career goals.
Is a Masters Degree in Social Psychology Worth It?
Yes, a masters degree in social psychology is worth it for many students. This online degree enables you to explore many areas of research in human behavior and psychology.
You can study topics like cognitive psychology, emotion, political psychology, and others. A graduate degree in social psychology can prepare you for many fulfilling careers in academia, clinical settings, or the private sector. If you want to pursue work as a clinical psychologist, a masters can also help prepare you for a doctoral program.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for many social psychology career paths is growing. For example, psychologists and human resources managers will experience 6% job growth and 7% job growth, respectively, over the next ten years.
Universities Offering Online Masters in Social 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.
Arizona State University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Psychology. This flexible, convenient program requires a total of twelve 7.5 week classes, or 36 credit hours. Potential courses in the program include Advanced Social Psychology, Fundamentals of Quantitative Research, and Capstone in General Psychology.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Bellevue University offers a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology that can be earned 100% online. Courses are designed to provide collaborative experiences and networking opportunities and taken one at a time with a cohort. Potential courses include Social Psychology, Practicum and Skills Development, Applied Organizational Psychology, and Job Analysis and Performance Appraisal.
Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Harvard University offers an industrial-organizational psychology master’s degree program in a hybrid format. The program requires the completion of 12 courses, 3 of which are on campus. Weekend options are available for the on-campus courses. Students typically take one course at a time and work full-time while earning their degrees.
Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
Lynn University offers a Master of Science in Psychology with an Industrial-Organizational Psychology track. The program uses an online, mostly asynchronous format. It offers opportunities to complete a supervised practicum and a thesis. Potential courses in the program include Personality Theories, Advanced Social Psychology, and Research and Program Evaluation.
Lynn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Medaille University’s MA in Psychology program is designed to prepare students for career advancements and doctoral study. It provides flexible scheduling options and can potentially be completed in just 2 years. Coursework is available both online and on campus, but either way, students are offered experiential learning opportunities and are part of a student-centered environment.
Medaille University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
National Louis University offers a Master of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Community Psychology. The degree is available online and on campus and can potentially be completed in just 18 months. Potential courses in the program include Introduction to Psychological Assessment, Advanced Abnormal Psychology, and Advanced Social Psychology.
NLU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Pepperdine University offers an online program for an MA in Psychology that can typically be completed in 18 to 24 months, depending on full-time or part-time enrollment. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for work in a variety of professional settings. Start dates for new cohorts are offered four times a year. GRE scores are not required to apply.
Pepperdine is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission.
Point Park University offers an MA in Community Psychology that can be earned online. This flexible program requires the completion of 36 credit hours of 8 week courses and typically takes 5 semesters to complete. Potential courses in the program include Foundations of Community Psychology, Psychopathology in the Context of Society and Culture, and Critical Race Studies.
Point Park University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Regent University offers an online program for an MS in Psychology with a concentration in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. The program’s 8 week courses are designed to allow students to earn their degrees at an accelerated pace. Potential courses include Research Methods in Psychology, Statistics I and II, and Biological Bases for Behavior. All courses are taught from a Christian perspective.
Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Saint Leo University offers an online program for an MS in Psychology with a specialization in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Students take one 8 week course at a time with a cohort. The curriculum emphasizes research, hands-on learning, and student-led discussions. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours and can typically be finished in 2 years.
Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southern New Hampshire University offers an online program for an MS in Psychology with a concentration in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Courses are completely asynchronous to allow students to work at their own pace. Potential courses include Motivation in the Workplace, Psychology of Leadership, and Organizational Consulting. The program culminates with a capstone project.
Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an online program for an MA in Psychology with a concentration in Social and Community Psychology. Coursework may be tailored to suit personal career goals and interests. Potential courses offered include Social Psychology of Cultures, International Psychology of Gender, and Acculturation.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Tiffin University’s online Master of Science in Science in Psychology program requires the completion of 37 credits and can potentially be finished in 18 months.
The program’s instructors have real-world experience and provide experiential learning assignments. Potential courses include Developmental Psychology, Advanced Theories of Personality, and Psychopathology. There are six start dates offered every year, and prospective students can apply at any time.
Tiffin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Touro University Worldwide offers a Master of Arts in Psychology that can be earned online. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours and can potentially be finished in just 1 year. Each course is 8 weeks long. Concentration options offered by the program include Educational Psychology, Media Psychology, Health Psychology, Forensic Psychology, and Child and Adolescent Development.
Touro University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Houston—Clear Lake offers a Psychology MS, with optional concentrations available in Human Factors Psychology and Neuroscience and Behavior. Students can choose to complete either a thesis to gain research experience or an internship to gain teaching and human services experience.
The University of Houston-Clear Lake is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Louisiana—Lafayette offers a Master of Science in General Psychology. All students must complete a thesis and have the option to additionally complete a practicum. Students may choose coursework to better match their career goals and interests. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for doctoral programs in experimental and applied psychology.
The University of Louisiana – Lafayette is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Louisiana—Monroe offers a Master of Science in Psychology. Students may choose the general program or a concentration in Forensic Psychology. Potential courses in the program include Quantitative Methods in the Behavioral Sciences, Research Methods, and Neuropsychology. The program also requires the completion of 24 credit hours of electives.
The University of Louisiana – Monroe is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Phoenix offers a Master of Science in Psychology that can be completed online. Students typically take one 6 week course at a time, completing a total of 8 classes per year. The program requires the completion of 36 credits and can potentially be finished in 18 months. The curriculum was designed in consultation with labor market researchers.
The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of West Alabama offers an online program for an MS in Experimental Psychology. The program requires the completion of 36 to 54 credit hours and usually takes 1 to 2 years to finish. Each course is 8 weeks long. The program offers three concentration options: General, Clinical Psychology, and Health Sports Psychology.
The University of West Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Walden University offers an online program for an MS in Psychology with a specialization in Social Psychology. The program requires the completion of 48 quarter credits. Potential courses include Themes and Theories of Psychology, Lifespan Development, Culture and Psychology, and Applied Psychology Research Methods. The program culminates with a capstone project.
Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Master’s Degree in Social Psychology Online
An online masters degree in social psychology can enable you to take a deep dive into the science of human behavior and group interactions.
Through coursework and hands-on research opportunities, you can explore how factors like conformity and self-perception shape everyday actions and choices. This social psychology degree online may help you secure positions in many industries, including higher education, marketing, and nonprofit organizations. If you want to become licensed as a practicing psychologist, a masters can also help prepare you for a doctoral degree program in the field.
If the field of social psychology sounds like a good fit, you can start the next step of your educational journey today by researching online masters programs from accredited schools.