How Much Does It Cost to Get a Masters in Psychology?

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Masters in Psychology?

Key Takeaways

  • Attending an in-state public university is the most affordable option for students interested in a master’s in psychology.
  • Financial aid, including government aid, scholarships, and grants are important in helping to lower tuition costs.
  • Many employers offer tuition assistance programs to their employees who wish to continue their higher education.

Earning a master’s degree can be your first step towards a promising future. However, huge tuition fees, accommodation charges, transportation fees, and other academic expenses can get expensive. Today, we are answering the question, “How much does it cost to get a master’s in psychology?“, so students like you can get a better idea about what they should be prepared for financially.

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How much does it cost to get a master’s in psychology?

For in-state students at public universities, the tuition cost of a master’s in psychology comes out to be between $4,000 to $30,000 or more each year. However, if you’re an out-of-state student or attending a private university, you might have to pay between $25,000 to $50,000 or even higher annually for tuition.

Beyond tuition fees, there are a multitude of other expenses to consider, such as textbooks, materials, transportation, and living expenses. Oftentimes, these costs add up to a substantial sum, making most students shy away from pursuing a master’s. Fortunately, you can keep your costs down by applying for scholarships and managing your finances wisely.

When applying for a master’s degree, consider the potential return on investment and prepare a budget beforehand. Exploring factors such as job prospects and salary expectations also gives you a clear idea of whether a master’s in psychology is worth it. On top of that, check for funding opportunities beforehand so the hefty tuition fee doesn’t interfere with your degree.

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Factors That Influence the Cost of a Master’s Degree in Psychology

When it comes to the costs associated with a master’s degree in psychology, one size doesn’t fit all. The good news is that you may have some degree of control over how much you pay for the master’s. Here’s a list of factors that influence the expenses of your degree:

Type of Institution

First things first, the type of institution you choose to attend for your master’s in psychology largely determines the price you pay. Generally, public institutions are way cheaper than private universities in terms of tuition costs. Public universities also have different fees for in-state and out-of-state students, with in-state students enjoying lower costs.  


The geographical location of your chosen institution also impacts the cost of your degree. For instance, if you’re considering getting your master’s in psychology in cities with a higher cost of living, such as New York or San Francisco, be prepared to pay higher tuition rates.

On the other hand, if you’re exploring universities offering psychology masters in areas with lower costs of living, you might find the tuition rates relatively more affordable. Universities in smaller towns or rural areas usually factor in the local cost of living when setting their fees. So, if you’re on a budget, attending a school outside metropolitan areas significantly minimizes your financial burden.

Program Length

Like with any other degree, the duration of your master’s in psychology program is another deciding factor of the total tuition cost you’ll bear. Typically, full-time students complete their degree within two years, while others may require three or more years.

Needless to say, the longer you extend your degree, the greater the financial strain becomes. Each additional year of study adds up in terms of tuition fees, as well as other expenses like books, supplies, and living costs. Keep in mind that programs with shorter duration may also come with higher annual costs, so it’s best to check with your desired school beforehand.

Additional Costs

As mentioned earlier, the tuition fee isn’t the only expense when it comes to earning a master’s in psychology. Other expenses like textbooks, materials, enrollment fees, program-specific requirements, transportation costs, or health insurance also factor into your budget.

Considering these costs upfront helps you better plan and manage your finances throughout your master’s program. It’s worth noting that some universities might allow access to institutional resources, reducing your financial burden.

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Top Schools for Earning a Master’s in Psychology

Luckily, the US is home to several prestigious institutes offering a master’s in psychology, both in urban and suburban settings. When choosing which school to attend, it’s best to look at critical factors like program length, courses, accreditation, and fees.

We’ve meticulously reviewed the top schools offering this master’s degree to save you the legwork. Here’s a breakdown of the top US psychology institutions you could consider:

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees






    Student body


    Career Outlook for Psychology degree at Arizona State University

    Cost of Degree: $12,914
    Expenses: $19,509
    Starting Salary: $52,746
    Salary after 4 years: $62,832
    Cost Recoup Time: 6 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Arizona State University stands out as the top choice for students looking to pursue a master’s in psychology. Students are trained extensively for clinical or counseling, social, cognitive, and developmental specialties. Once you graduate with a master’s in psychology from ASU, you may pursue research careers in marketing, education, or health care.

    Better yet, the program is available both online and on-campus to help working professionals with their academic journey. The coursework is designed around psychological theory and empirical research findings related to human behavior, cognition, emotion, and attitudes. Plus, the broad spectrum of electives offered at ASU strengthens your psychological concepts.

    • Program duration: 36 credit hours (18-months long)
    • Accreditation: Yes (Higher Learning Commission)
    • Courses: Advanced Social Psychology, Capstone in General Psychology, Fundamentals of Quantitative Research, Professional Issues in Psychology, Research Methods
    • Tuition fee: $884 (per credit hour)
  2. At the University of Pennsylvania, there’s a wide range of psychology specializations to choose from, such as clinical, cognitive, and social psychology. With top-notch research facilities and professors, Penn LPS emphasizes both research and practice, even offering internship opportunities to gear you up for different roles.

    Graduates holding a master’s in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania are in high demand by employers for their practical skills. Requiring only 27 credit hours, you can enter the field way sooner than with other programs. While securing a spot here might be relatively competitive, it’s totally worth it.

    • Program duration: 1 year (full-time)
    • Accreditation: Yes (MSCHE)
    • Focus Areas: Introduction to Psychology, Research Methods & Evaluation, Foundations of Positive Interventions, Perspectives on well-being, Positive Psychology & Individuals
    • Tuition fee: $29,712 (Fall and Spring), $7,428 (Summer)
  3. #3

    Harvard University

    Cambridge , MA
    Other Rankings

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    Student body


    Median SAT/ACT


    Career Outlook for Psychology degree at Harvard University

    Cost of Degree: $53,760
    Expenses: $26,277
    Starting Salary: $101,431
    Salary after 4 years: $123,706
    Cost Recoup Time: 7 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    At the Harvard Extension School, the curriculum includes a wide range of topics in psychology topics, including cognitive science and human development. Their master’s in psychology is designed to be flexible and adaptable to your needs. Whether you prefer to study part-time or full-time, online or in person, there’s something to fit your schedule and career aspirations.

    Through the program, students engage in courses that build their core concepts in psychology and deepen their understanding of neurobiology, racial equity, mindfulness, and other areas. You’ll wrap up the degree with either a capstone project or a thesis, further strengthening your credentials in the field.

    • Program duration: 2-5 years
    • Accreditation: Yes (New England Commission of Higher Education)  
    • Courses: Clinical Psychology, Social, Developmental, and Cognition, Brain, and Behavior
    • Tuition fee: $3,220 per course
  4. Woman typing in her laptop while sitting on her bed
  5. #4

    American University

    Washington , DC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees






    Student body


    Median SAT/ACT


    Career Outlook for Psychology degree at American University

    Cost of Degree: $39,126
    Expenses: $17,814
    Starting Salary: $49,367
    Salary after 4 years: $60,208
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    American University offers a comprehensive, 33-credit-hour master’s in psychology program with two specialized tracks: Psychological and clinical science. The psychological science track includes a well-rounded curriculum that provides extensive training in research methods and statistics, along with numerous electives.

    On the flip side, the clinical science track offers a more focused approach. It covers clinically relevant topics while strengthening the core areas like general psychology, research methodologies, and statistical analysis. As the name suggests, this track is ideal for those who are specifically interested in pursuing careers in clinical psychology.

    • Program duration: 3 years
    • Accreditation: Yes (MSCHE)
    • Courses: Clinical Science Track and Psychological Science Track
    • Tuition fee: $2000 per credit
  6. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees






    Student body


    Median SAT/ACT


    Career Outlook for Psychology degree at Northeastern University

    Cost of Degree: $27,009
    Expenses: $21,230
    Starting Salary: $54,107
    Salary after 4 years: $65,988
    Cost Recoup Time: 8 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Applied Psychology is one of the most popular choices among students eyeing doctoral programs in the future. At its core, the curriculum addresses complex issues like mental health, domestic violence, and discrimination. Plus, you get to choose between child, adolescent, and family psychology or prevention science.

    At NU, you may study full-time or part-time, and the 100% online curriculum gives you a chance to pursue a master’s without compromising your work life. This program is ideal for those who wish to dig deeper into applied psychology fields. Within 30 credit hours, a psychology master’s at NU refines your interests and gears you up for your professional life.

    • Program duration: 1-2 Years
    • Accreditation: Yes (New England Commission of Higher Education)
    • Courses: Advanced Quantitative Analysis, Research Methodologies Psychology, Ethics and Professional Issues
    • Tuition fee: $1,880 (per credit hour)

Applying to a Master’s in Psychology Program

When considering a master’s in psychology, knowing the prerequisites and the right ways to apply is important. While most psychology master’s programs require a bachelor’s degree in psychology, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in psychology. For instance, you’re still eligible to apply even with an undergraduate degree in engineering or accounting.

However, many universities prefer applicants who have taken some psychology-related courses. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, some schools may admit you based on your life or work experience. Although the basic requirement for applying to a master’s in psychology remains the same, it also boils down to the program you’re applying to.

Generally, you’ll need to submit the following documents when applying:

  • Undergraduate GPA
  • Transcripts
  • Essay
  • Letters of recommendation
  • GRE Score
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How Much Can You Earn With a Master’s Degree in Psychology

Generally, holding a master’s degree sets you up for higher-paying careers in the field of psychology. Data suggests that the average annual salary of a master’s in psychology graduate is $67,697, with top earners predicted to make as much as $144,000 in 2024. However, some individuals may earn around $40,000 or lower, especially if they’re employed in under-paying industries.

Additionally, how much you earn with a master’s degree in psychology depends on your level of skill set or specialization. Typically, more specialized roles require a unique skill set or expertise that is less common among professionals. If you take up a specialized role, you can expect a highly competitive salary for your knowledge.

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Tips to Make Master’s in Psychology More Affordable

The thought of bearing the hefty costs associated with a master’s degree can make any prospective student second-guess their decision. Luckily, there are ways to cut down on expenses and make the process of earning this degree more affordable. Here are a few tried and tested tips:

Apply for Scholarships and Grants

A pro tip is to check out multiple funding options, especially scholarships and grants you don’t have to pay back. Luckily, financial aid comes in different forms, including government aid, scholarships, and grants. To apply for most aid, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA form. Scholarships awarded based on merit are also a great way to cover college expenses.

Explore Tuition Assistance Programs

If you’re employed, check if your employer provides tuition assistance. Many workplaces offer this perk to cover some or most of the tuition costs for eligible employees. Also, check with your school to see if they offer payment plans. If you’re lucky enough, these payment plans will allow you to split your education costs into smaller, more manageable payments over a period of time.

Prefer Studying In-state or Online

Lastly, and most importantly, it’s best to attend a public college in your state, especially if you’re looking for an affordable master’s degree. Alternatively, consider getting an online degree. Many schools offer online psychology degrees, and studying online can significantly lower your expenses.

Related Questions

Is getting a master’s worth it for psychology?

Yes, getting a master’s degree in psychology is worth it, both in financial and non-financial aspects. According to the American Psychological Association, a professional with a master’s in psychology earns 20% more than someone who just has a bachelor’s degree. Plus, the knowledge from psychology master’s programs can be applied to various non-clinical roles too.

How many years does it take to master psychology?

On average, completing a master’s degree in psychology takes between one to four years. This duration may vary depending on factors such as program format, individual course load, and additional requirements like internships or research projects. The exact time required may also depend on the school you attend.

Is it cheaper to get a psychology master’s online?

Typically, online master’s in psychology programs offer more flexibility than traditional on-campus programs, making them more affordable. Plus, online programs often have lower tuition fees and fewer associated costs like commuting or housing expenses, further reducing the cost of getting the degree.


A master’s in psychology is a big financial commitment for students. However, with scholarships or choosing more affordable institutions, even those on a budget can earn this degree. Start by figuring out what program you want to do, where you want to do it, and then do your homework and explore your financial aid options thoroughly.

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