Accredited Online Master’s in Psychology Degrees in Illinois [Updated for 2024]

Are you a busy professional in Illinois looking to advance your career in psychology, but finding it hard to balance work, personal commitments, and further education? You are not alone, many individuals face this challenge.

But what if there was a flexible, high-quality solution right at your fingertips? Online master’s psychology programs in Illinois offer a way out of this problem. These programs provide a robust curriculum that allows you to explore various aspects of psychology, all from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere you choose.

With an online master’s in psychology, you can bridge the gap between your current situation and your career aspirations, transforming not just your professional future, but the lives of those you will impact along the way.

Online Master’s in Psychology in Illinois

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering online psychology master’s programs in Illinois:

  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Capella University
  • National Louis University
  • Northwestern University
  • Adler University
  • Arizona State University Online
  • Butler University

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Online MA in Psychology – Child and Adolescent Psychology

When you complete the online MA in Psychology, focusing on Child and Adolescent studies, at The Chicago School, you will gain the knowledge to deal with complex issues impacting the growth and behavior of children. This program will equip you with skills to kickstart your career in numerous settings.

The best part? This online program at The Chicago School allows you to enjoy an enriching educational journey without disturbing your other responsibilities.

You will complete 21 credit hours in fundamental psychology, 9 credit hours in Child and Adolescent studies, and a 6 credit hour applied research project centered on children or teens.

With the support of experienced faculty, you will explore a broad spectrum of subjects in this online psychology degree, such as:

  • Responding to trauma and crisis
  • Dealing with addictive disorders
  • Assessing and treating young offenders
  • Implementing evidence-backed programs for the youth

With an understanding of the various mental health challenges faced by today’s kids and adolescents, you will be ready to advance your career in several fields, including:

  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Government agencies
  • Social work
  • Nonprofits
  • Mental health care
  • Treatment centers

This Master’s in Psychology doesn’t require internships or a traditional thesis. Instead, you will complete an Applied Research Project throughout your studies. This project will demonstrate your understanding of the course and your ability to apply your learnings in a workplace or other real-world situations.

Online MA in Psychology – Forensic Psychology

By enrolling in the online Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology at The Chicago School, focusing on the Professional Counselor Licensure Track, you will learn how to use psychological theories and counseling techniques to make positive changes in mental health and the justice system.

This program aims to equip you with the skills to work as a mental health counselor in forensic settings. Plus, it can set you on the path to pursue doctoral programs in forensic psychology if you wish.

With the guidance of practitioner faculty, you will graduate from this program with crucial skills in areas like theory, diagnosis, treatment, risk management, and research methods. These skills will enable you to serve diverse groups in a range of forensic or clinical settings, such as:

  • Forensic mental health counseling
  • Corrections
  • Law enforcement
  • Government organizations
  • Child welfare agencies
  • Specialized treatment units
  • Rehabilitation facilities

During the program, you will also study theories, research, and treatment approaches related to different types of trauma, including combat stress, childhood abuse, exposure to violence, and more. You will gain insights into post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder. You will also learn about vicarious stress and the unique aspects of working with trauma survivors.

You will also explore key legal cases that have significantly impacted the practices of mental health professionals, the civil rights of people with mental disabilities, and the use of mental health knowledge in the legal field.

To apply for the online MA in Forensic Psychology program, you need to have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and meet other admission criteria. Your overall ability to pursue graduate work will be assessed based on factors like undergraduate and graduate coursework, GPA, work history after obtaining your Bachelor’s degree, your admission essay, and letters of recommendation. Typically, you will need to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for admission.

National Louis University

Online MA in Psychology

At National Louis University, you have the chance to deepen your understanding of human behavior with the Master of Arts in Psychology program. This program will prepare you for a range of career paths in fields like counseling, business, and education. It could also pave the way for further graduate studies. You can choose to complete this degree online or on-campus in just 18 months.

Core courses of the program include:

  • Introduction to Psychological Assessment
  • Advanced Abnormal Psychology
  • Advanced Theories of Personality
  • Advanced Development and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychological Statistics and Analysis
  • Research Design

You get to customize your degree to align with your career aspirations by choosing one of four specializations:

  1. General Psychology: Here, you will build a robust foundation in psychology with subjects like biopsychology and career development.
  2. Community Psychology: This concentration allows you to explore the relationship between individuals and their communities and how they influence each other. You will also learn about using behavioral science to address community issues.
  3. Psychological Assessment: This concentration will equip you with advanced skills in individual and organizational assessment. You will get hands-on experience using psychological assessment.
  4. Teaching of Psychology: In this specialization, you will gain specialized knowledge and skills in college-level teaching and learning, instructional design, distance education, and get a practicum experience.

During your time in the program, you will also study:

  • Research and Analysis: You will understand qualitative and quantitative research designs, learn to interpret and critique published research, collect and analyze data, use software for statistical analysis, and consider ethical issues.
  • Social Psychology: You will explore theories of self, cognition, social perception, biases, relationships, violence, aggression, the impact of culture on social interaction, and group processes.
  • Assessment: You will learn about assessments of personality and intellect, objective, and evaluative tests, the validity and reliability of instruments, and understanding the data you collect.
  • Core Theories: You will explore abnormal psychology, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, social, political and cultural contexts, developmental and cognitive psychology, language development, memory and perception, and socio-cognitive aspects of human interaction.

To graduate from the online Master of Arts in Psychology program at NLU, you will either write a thesis or take a comprehensive examination seminar.

Northwestern University

Online MS in Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Science  program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Northwestern University provides a rich mix of hands-on learning and cutting-edge research in a setting that encourages teamwork and clinical excellence. As a graduate, you will be skilled in delivering therapy to a wide range of individuals and addressing a variety of issues.

You will learn to apply the Integrative Systemic Therapeutic (IST) framework, blending knowledge from various areas into your practice, and showing cultural sensitivity and ethical responsibility in your profession.

Earning a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy is your initial step towards becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Once you are licensed, you ill be prepared to offer collaborative care to individuals, couples, and families in different settings like private practices, schools, mental health organizations, and more. As a licensed professional, your services can include:

  • Various therapeutic approaches
  • Certified behavioral healthcare
  • Combined therapeutic strategies for couples and families
  • Positions of supervision

During your studies, you will obtain 500 hours of clinical fieldwork, including 200 hours focused on relationships, at a location near your home. Northwestern’s dedicated team of placement specialists will assist you in finding suitable locations that meet your personal career aspirations and interests.

The online Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Northwestern University has earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The program, consisting of 24 graduate-level courses, can be finished full time in roughly 21 months or part time in approximately 36 months.

For admission consideration, you need to possess a bachelor’s degree from a regional accreditation institute. Although having a undergraduate degree in areas such as psychology, behavioral sciences, social sciences, human development and family studies, or child and family services is beneficial, it’s not mandatory.

If your undergraduate degree is in a different field, you will need to take (or have taken) a college-level psychology and human development course or their equivalents.

GRE and GMAT are not required for admission.

Adler University

Online MA in Psychology

In the online Master of Arts in Psychology program at Adler University, you will gain essential knowledge and skills that could advance your career or set you on the path to a higher degree. This program is versatile, opening doors across many professions and sectors.

During the program, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with seasoned academics, learning how to leverage data-backed analysis and ethical, socially conscious psychological principles in a variety of environments, from businesses to diverse international communities.

The spirit of this program is rooted in the ideals of Alfred Adler, with a strong focus on social justice and inclusivity. It’s designed to equip you with the means to instigate positive change in workplace environments to better meet the needs of individuals and the wider community.

During the program, you will be required to earn 36 credit hours. This includes a combination of 22 hours of fundamental coursework, 9 hours of optional courses, 2 credits from hands-on Social Justice Practicum, and 3 credits from either a Capstone project or a Thesis.

The online master’s program offers you a choice of four distinct concentrations that align with your personal career or education aspirations. These include: Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Crisis Management, Child and Adolescent Development, and Health and Wellness.

If you choose to concentrate in Gender and Sexuality Studies, you will explore influences of gender and sexuality in societal contexts. You will understand power dynamics associated with gender and sexuality, and scrutinize issues particular to sexual and gender minorities. You will also investigate the effects of media, law, and policy on gender and sexuality. This path can prepare you for a multitude of careers, such as roles in corporate gender diversity, family support, and mental health.

Selecting the Crisis Management concentration will equip you with the skills to manage a variety of crises, whether they are natural disasters, accidents, or deliberate actions. This path has a particular emphasis on aiding vulnerable populations during crises.

If you opt for the Child and Adolescent Development concentration, you will focus on the growth of youth and the significance of nurturing social interest and community ties among young people. This is especially critical for underserved populations. You will be introduced to models of psycho-social development and learn how to apply these models in various social contexts.

Finally, in the Health and Wellness concentration, you will learn how to leverage psychological principles to boost individual and community wellbeing. You will utilize the biopsychosocial model to delve into health promotion and community health. Additionally, you will explore illness management and recovery from a research-backed viewpoint, with an emphasis on positive psychology theory and practical application.

To apply, are are required to have:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • A GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Two letters of recommendation

Capella University

Online MS – Psychology

Capela University’s online Master of Science in Psychology program is designed to give you a deep understanding of how people think, learn, and grow, both individually and in groups. This knowledge is directly applicable to a variety of fields. To graduate, you will have to complete four core courses, five specialized courses, and one comprehensive project.

The online MS in Psychology gives you a strong theoretical foundation as well as practical techniques to help you understand yourself better, empathize with others, and remain resilient in various professional situations. You will learn to use critical thinking effectively, simplify complex ideas, uphold the highest ethical standards, and use reliable research methods in the field of psychology. You can use these skills in different areas like business, policy-making, academics, and professional practice, helping others reach their full potential.

As a student in the MS in Psychology program, you will start with the core courses that form the base of your program and help you improve your skills in important areas of the field. Then, you will progress to courses in your chosen specialization to broaden your expertise and work towards your final project. You can select one of the following specialization:

  • General Psychology
  • Child and Adolescence Development
  • Educational Psychology
  • Industrial Organizational Psychology
  • Sports Psychology

Capela University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which means that it meets standards for the quality of its faculty, curriculum, learner services, and financial stability.

To apply to the online MS in Psychology program, you need to provide:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an institution that’s accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or from an internationally recognized institution.
  • Your official transcripts from your bachelor’s degree, with a minimum grade point average of 2.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • A valid, government-issued photo ID.

GRE and GMAT are not required for admission.

Can You Be a Psychologist With a Master’s in Illinois?

In Illinois, if you wish to become a licensed psychologist, you are required to complete a doctoral program. Therefore, a master’s degree alone is not enough to become a licensed psychologist in Illinois​.

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Psychology in Illinois?

A master’s degree in psychology can open doors to various career paths in Illinois, even though it won’t let you become a licensed psychologist. Here are a few options:

  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • School Counselor
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Human Resource Specialist
  • Behavioral Analyst
  • Behavioral Therapist
  • Employee Relations Specialist

How Much Does a Master’s in Psychology Pay in Illinois?

As of May 2023, the average annual salary for the master’s psychology jobs in Illinois is $98,316 a year or approximately $47 an hour.

Even though salaries for master’s psychology jobs in Illinois are as high as $150,000, the majority of salaries range between $60,000 to $90,000, with top earners making over $140,000 annually.

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