Online Master’s Degrees in Educational Psychology

Everything has a “psychology.” People talk about the psychology of addictive behaviors, the psychology of money, the psychology of being in the military. Education has a psychology too, and this is the area in which educational psychology counseling takes place.

Educational psychology counseling examines the conditions that contribute to learning, and other factors that go into learning such as motivation. As a person works through achieving a traditional or an online master’s degree in educational psychology counseling, they are learning what it takes to become an expert in the science behind how people learn.

While an educational psychologist can work in a school setting, the focus here is not specifically on academic progress and future planning for individual students. It’s the general science behind how people learn.

The field of educational psychology may be traced back to Plato and Aristotle, according to Atlantic International University, as the two ancient philosophers discussed the limits and the possibilities of education. Plato saw knowledge as an innate ability, while Aristotle’s view was that surrounding oneself with learning about many different things made a person more “balanced.”

This is very similar to the “nature versus nurture” debate that still goes on in academic halls today, and which educational psychology is profoundly concerned with: how much does an individual’s learning have to do with the type of person they “naturally” are, and how much has to do with “how” they are taught and what their learning environment is (the nurture aspect).

If you’re ready to apply developmental psychology to the field of learning, read on to get a comprehensive look at online master’s degrees in educational psychology.

Typical Admissions Requirements for Online Master’s Degrees in Educational Psychology

Most graduate programs prefer to admit students who have an educational foundation in a field that complements or relates to the student’s graduate field of study. To become an educational psychologist, school counselor, or school psychologist, a master’s degree is required. Most master’s programs require a bachelor’s degree and some work or volunteer experience prior to admission. As with many graduate programs, a graduate entrance exam (GRE or similar exam) may be required depending on the school.

Each graduate school will have its own requirements, but many require similar things, including:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts from previous schools
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average, typically 3.00 or higher
  • An application packet, which typically requires an essay outlining interest in the program and letters of recommendation
  • A resume or CV outlining relevant work and volunteer experience
  • A GRE, MAT, or another standardized test score

Psychology licensure, whatever the specialty, is different in each state. However, the general standard for licensure is the completion of a 60-credit-hour major with two years of post-degree supervised work and passing a state licensure exam. Students should determine the requirements for licensure in the state where they would like to practice.

The Oregon Board of Psychology, for instance, licenses two levels of psychologists: psychologists with a doctorate in psychology, and psychologist associates who have a master’s degree in psychology. Licensure at either level requires a degree in psychology from an accredited program. Candidates for licensure are required to take and successfully pass the Oregon Jurisprudence Exam and the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).

Courses in Online Master’s Degrees in Educational Psychology

The aim of courses in traditional or online master’s degrees in educational psychology counseling is to provide a student with both core concepts in psychology, counseling, and education. Specialization courses will explore more in-depth concepts such as childhood and lifelong development and the psychological foundations of education.

Some common courses include:

  • Foundations of Educational Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Educational Psychology for Diverse Populations
  • Psychological Tests and Measurements
  • Professional Ethics, Law, and Psychology
  • Research Design
  • Psychology of Learning
  • Applied Statistics
  • Gifted and Talented Education for Diverse Populations
  • Capstone for Educational Psychology
  • Internship for Educational Psychology
  • Principles and Techniques of Counseling
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Personality and Counseling Theory
  • Group Theory and Therapy
  • Research Methods and Statistics
  • Cultural Foundations and Social Justice
  • Neurobiology and Pharmacology
  • Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Perspectives on Diversity
  • History and Philosophy of Education
  • Learning Theories
  • Testing, Measurement, and Assessment
  • Learning and Behavior
  • Neuropsychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • School Counseling Group Interventions
  • Consultation in Special Education
  • Assessment in School Settings
  • Measurement & Evaluation in Education
  • Educating Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • The Transition from School to Work
  • Applied Behavior Management in the Classroom
  • Cooperative and Collaborative Learning
  • Motivation in the Classroom
  • Cognition and Memory
  • Cognition and Language from Birth to Eight
  • Memory Systems and Processes
  • Language Acquisition
  • Cognition and Motivational Learning Strategies
  • Child Psychology: Infancy Through Adolescence
  • Child, Family, and Community: Relationships in Development

Supervised Clinical Hour Requirements & Internships – Online Master’s Degrees in Educational Psychology

The Higher Learning Commission is the accrediting body for the largest region in the United States (more on that in the next section). Among the Higher Learning Commission’s eligibility requirements for accrediting an institution are that the school offers a minimum program length of 60 semester credits for associate’s degrees, 120 semester credits for bachelor’s degrees, and 30 semester credits beyond the bachelor’s for master’s degrees. There is no specified number of practicum hours specified for master’s degrees in education psychology.

Each school has different requirements for clinical hours in master’s degree programs. The University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, for example, requires 20 hours per week of work at an approved clinical site. Texas A&M requires at least 400 on-site hours and one hour per week of supervision.

Contact program administrators for any inquiries about clinical hour requirements.

Program Accreditation for Online Master’s Degrees in Educational Psychology

For the best job prospects, students should seek out an online master’s degree in educational psychology from an accredited institution. There are six regional accrediting bodies for psychology education in the United States.

According to CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the six accreditation regions are New England, Middle States, North Central, Southern, Western, and Northwest. Seven accrediting commissions operate in these regions. All regional accrediting commissions review entire institutions, as opposed to programs or schools within institutions.

Schools in the Northwest region are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, or NWCCU. A large swath of the country, including the Southeast, the Midwest, and some of the Northeastern states are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Schools in California are accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Southern states are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The mid-Atlantic area states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia are accredited by the Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association (MSA-CESS). Note that CHEA does not recognize accreditation by the MSA-CESS, but the United States Department of Education does. Finally, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) is the regional accreditation agency for colleges and universities in the six New England states.

Note that the American Psychological Association only accredits programs at the doctoral level. There are no APA-accredited bachelor’s or master’s programs.

Featured Online Master’s Degrees in Educational Psychology – MA, MEd, MS

Northcentral University – School of Social and Behavioral Science

Northcentral University’s master of science degree in educational psychology is 100 percent online. The program is 30 credit hours of ten courses and takes 18 months to complete. Because this is a self-guided program with no cohort (i.e., the student is not moving through the coursework as part of a larger group of students), the program has a start date of each Monday. All of the program’s instructors have doctoral degrees.

  • Location: Scottsdale, Arizona / Online
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition: $2,616 per course; $872 base tuition rate plus fees; $27,860 estimated cost of the program

Capella University – Harold Abel School of Psychology

Capella University’s online master of science in psychology includes specializations in educational psychology, along with child and adolescent development, general psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, sport psychology, and applied behavior analysis.

Capella offers two paths: Guided Path and Flex Path. The Flex Path program is accelerated and lets students complete as many courses and they want in 12 weeks. There’s no limit to the number of courses students can complete per session; they will still pay the same flat tuition rate every 12 weeks. The Guided Path is a more traditional format of one to three courses per ten-week semester.

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota / Online
  • Duration: 48 credits
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: Guided Path: $495 per credit plus fees; Flex Path: $2,800 per 12-week session plus fees

Purdue Global – College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The master of science in educational psychology program at Purdue prepares students to pursue professions in educational, instructional, and governmental institutions. Purdue’s website says this degree program is not focused on the clinical practice of school psychologists and does not lead to licensure or certification, although it is helpful for students who are interested in pursuing careers as psychometricians, program evaluators, or school consultants.

Students enrolled in several human services-related programs have the option of completing an accelerated master of science in educational psychology option while they earn their bachelor’s degree.

  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana / Online
  • Duration: 52 credits
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $420.00 to $700.00 per quarter-credit for online graduate programs; Indiana residents get a 10 percent discount

Walden University – College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Walden’s master of science in educational psychology program is 48 credits. They offer this program as a course-based learning program or as one that is specially designed to prepare students for a doctorate in the same program.

  • Location: Columbia, Maryland / Online
  • Duration: 48 credits
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $535 per quarter-hour plus fees

Texas A&M University – College of Education and Human Development

Texas A&M University offers a master’s in education program in educational psychology with an emphasis in school counseling. This program prepares individuals for careers as school counselors in K-12 schools. The program is entirely online in both asynchronous and synchronous formats.

The internship experience lasts two semesters, and students are required to complete 400 onsite hours of counseling activities and weekly one-hour supervision. Their admissions page says that prospective students with two years of classroom teaching experience as a certified educator in a K-12 setting are highly preferred. This program is not designed to prepare students to become licensed professional counselors.

  • Location: College Station, Texas / Online
  • Duration: 48 credits
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $25,000 to $30,000, estimated cost of the program

Ball State University – Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling

Ball State’s master of arts in educational psychology is a 30-credit, entirely online program which can be completed in 18 months. For students willing to take a full load of courses each term, including summer term, the program can be completed in less than one year.

This program does not lead to psychology licensing; however, Ball State University offers an on-campus master of arts and educational specialist degree in school psychology that can prepare students to be licensed as a school psychologist. Twelve credits may be chosen from one of several specializations: gifted and talented; human development; neuropsychology; applied behavior analysis; or a specialization that is customizable based on relevance to the students’ professional interests and needs.

  • Location: Muncie, Indiana Online
  • Duration: 30 credits, 12 to 18 months
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $339 per credit plus fees, Indiana residents; $551 per credit plus fees, non-resident

Marist College – School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Marist College began more than 100 years ago as a seminary but is now nonsectarian. Marist’s master of arts in educational psychology meets the academic requirements for New York State Professional Teacher Certification.

The program allows students to pursue two tracks: childhood education (grades 1-6) and adolescent education (grades 7-12) plus the middle school extension (grades 5-6). Both tracks require the successful completion of 36 credit hours of coursework.

In order to graduate, students must complete, submit, and defend an electronic portfolio based on the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards as their capstone project. An early course, Content Area Assessment and Portfolio Development (EPSY 506), prepares candidates to use the online Marist system for portfolio development. Students start the hybrid model only in summers.

The program requires one-week summer sessions each of two consecutive summer semesters in Poughkeepsie with work during the remaining five weeks of the summer semester completed online. The summer sessions will take place on campus for two weeks and continue online for the other three weeks. All fall and spring semester courses are delivered online.

  • Location: Poughkeepsie, New York / Hybrid
  • Duration: 36 credits, two years (full-time or summer hybrid option), part-time options also available
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $850 per credit plus fees; the master of arts in educational psychology summer hybrid program is $425 per credit plus fees

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – Graduate School of Education

Rutger’s offers an online master’s in education, where multidisciplinary faculty integrate knowledge in learning, cognition, and development. There is an option for students to also attend classes on campus if they wish to.

Students can choose electives in special education or in educational technology. The online program features three new classes specifically for those interested in educational technology.

  • Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey / Online
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $900 per credit for online programs

University of North Texas – College of Education

The University of North Texas offers a master’s degree program designed for people already working in the field of education by offering courses in summer months. The master of science in educational psychology program offers a concentration in gifted and talented education through the “Executive Summer-to-Summer” program. This consists of 33 hours, all of which are available online.

Courses begin in May and include rotations of consecutive three-week, five-week, and eight-week courses. The gifted and talented certificate may be earned concurrently with the master’s degree in educational psychology or as a certificate-only option if the candidate already has a master’s degree. This degree prepares students to sit for the Texas Examination of Educator Standards Gifted and Talented Supplemental Certificate.

  • Location: Denton, Texas / Online
  • Duration: 33 hours, 15 months, summer courses
  • Accreditation: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  • Tuition: Tuition varies by number of credits taken

University of Alabama – The College of Continuing Studies

Students at the University of Alabama can earn a master of arts in educational psychology with a concentration in learning and assessment. This program does not lead to certification, but this online program does provide training in cognition and the learning sciences coupled with educational research and program evaluation skills.

The program is open to educators and non-educators alike. For those planning to pursue an educational specialist or doctoral degree in the area of educational research or educational psychology, this is an excellent foundational degree.

  • Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama / Online
  • Duration: 30 hours
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
  • Tuition: $420 per credit plus fees

Professors to Know in Online Master’s in Educational Psychology Programs

Jamilia Blake, PhD

School Psychology Division Coordinator

Texas A&M University

Dr. Jamilia Blake’s research interests surround children’s peer relations. Specifically, she is interested in exploring peer-directed aggression in ethnic/minority populations and females and the relation between peer-directed aggression and children’s psychological/social adjustment, academic achievement, and familial risk and protective factors. She is also interested in the application of multivariate analytic approaches to clinical and developmental research.

Melinda Docter, EDD

School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Northcentral University

Dr. Melinda Docter is a Fulbright Scholar with areas of expertise in applied behavior analysis, special education, autism spectrum disorder, curriculum and program development, behavior treatment plans and assessments, data collection, moderate to severe disabilities, and school administration. Her dissertation was on the topic of the influence of parent involvement on secondary student leaders.

Dr. Docter earned a doctorate in education with a focus on organizational leadership from Pepperdine University along with a master of arts in education, also from Pepperdine. She is board certified as a behavior analyst and has other credentials, including an administrative, special education, and general education credential. She earned a BA in music from the California State University – Northridge

Lorraine D. McCune, EdD

Rutgers University

Dr. Lorraine McCune is director of the infant/early childhood specialist certificate program at Rutgers and has extensive experience in research work with students in the field of language acquisition and development. She specializes in the cognitive and emotional development of infants and young children from birth to age 8. Her focus on early childhood development and education has resulted in several books and publications, including her own foundational book, How Children Learn to Learn Language, published in 2008 by Oxford University Press.

Jobs for Those With an Online Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology Counseling

Professionals with a master’s in educational psychology often work as educators or school psychologists. They study and apply the social, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of learning and education. These tasks are often carried out in an academic setting or in instructional institutions that promote and develop effective classroom environments.

Educational psychologists work in elementary and high schools, at universities, in childcare and learning centers, at research organizations, and as independent consultants.

Vanessa Salvia

Vanessa Salvia

Writer

Vanessa Salvia is an Oregon-based freelance writer and editor with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. As fun as rigorous studies in math and science were, Vanessa took an independent path and developed a prolific career covering lifestyle and healthcare topics for magazines and newspapers, important industries such as concrete construction and building waterproofing, and even hard science. You can get in touch at Sage Media and Marketing.

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