Popular Accredited Online Psychology Master’s Programs in Pennsylvania [2024 Guide]

Many aspiring psychology professionals in Pennsylvania face challenges in balancing their work, family, and educational commitments. Traditional on-campus programs may not provide the flexibility they need to pursue their career goals.

Online psychology master’s programs in Pennsylvania offer the perfect solution to this dilemma. These programs provide the same rigorous education as their on-campus counterparts while offering unparalleled flexibility, allowing you to learn at your own pace and accommodate your busy schedule.

In this guide, we will explore some of the popular online psychology master’s programs available in Pennsylvania, covering various specializations, course formats, and admission requirements.

Best Accredited Online Psychology Master's Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

Online Psychology Master’s Programs in Pennsylvania

Here is a list of some of the popular schools offering online psychology master’s programs in Pennsylvania:

  • Shippensburg University
  • Capella University
  • Pennsylvania Western University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Carlow University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Walden University

Shippensburg University

Master of Science in Applied Psychology

The Master of Science in Applied Psychology (MSAP) program at Shippensburg University focuses on applying psychological concepts and methods to solve real-world problems. This program has three main objectives:

  1. Moving forward in your career
  2. Preparing you for a new job or profession
  3. Getting you ready for doctoral studies

The coursework has a balanced mix of theory, practical applications, and techniques that are useful in the workplace. The program is offered entirely online and has a fast-paced format, allowing you to complete it in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study.

Understanding that you might have a busy and changing schedule, the program has rolling admissions, so you can start and finish at any time that works for you. To earn your MSAP degree, you will need to complete 10 courses (30 credits) of graduate work.

The curriculum is a combination of required research methodology courses, applied psychology courses in various areas, electives, and a final Capstone course. The program continuously evaluates the job market to ensure the curriculum stays relevant and prepares you for a constantly changing work environment.

You will need to take three methodology courses, four core courses (one from each core), two electives, and the Capstone course. Courses usually last eight weeks, except for the 10-week Capstone course taken in your final semester.

You can begin and complete the program during any semester, and you will be assigned an academic advisor when you enroll.

Additionally, the program offers a Behavior Specialist Certificate (BSC), which can help meet some requirements for a Behavior Specialist License (BSL) in Pennsylvania. You can earn this certificate as part of your MSAP degree without needing extra courses, or as a post-graduate certificate if you already have a graduate degree. To get the certificate, you’ll need to finish these three courses:

  • Behavior Analysis
  • Community Psychology
  • Behavioral Treatment and Systems Support

While the program provides the master’s degree and evidence-based coursework, you will need to obtain 1,000 hours of clinical experience and one year of functional behavior assessment experience on your own.

Pennsylvania Western University

Online Master’s in Educational Psychology

The CAEP-accredited 30-credit online Master’s in Educational Psychology at Pennsylvania Western University offers a diverse selection of practical and theoretical courses for you to explore.

In PennWest’s online Masters in Educational Psychology program, you will gain the skills needed to support PreK-12th grade students with evidence-based methods while helping teachers understand the most effective ways to demonstrate student growth and development.

Based on PennWest’s strong reputation in Education and Psychology, the curriculum covers a wide range of practical and theoretical topics. With the support of experienced faculty members, you will learn how to track student progress and implement research-proven practices while emphasizing the psychological growth of children.

During the program, you will take eight core courses, including:

  • Advance Psychology of Learning
  • Crisis Management and Violence Prevention
  • Research in Education and Psychology
  • Academic Interventions and Program Evaluations

The M.Ed. Educational Psychology program is designed to provide you with a thorough understanding of theories related to education and psychology. You will learn how to apply these concepts to support children, adolescents, teachers, and families.

This program is a great fit for those considering pursuing certification in school psychology, expanding their knowledge of human development and learning, or exploring evidence-based practices. Throughout the curriculum, the importance of diversity among individuals, groups, and communities is highlighted.

The program aims to help you identify and utilize your unique abilities while adopting a problem-solving, data-driven approach when working with P-12 students, teachers, and families. The program encourages the use of evidence-based methods to promote academic success, social competence, and emotional and physical well-being for all children.

With a 100% online delivery format, you can maintain your current position as a teacher, counselor, or social worker. Upon completion, you will be ready for a higher level of career achievement.

Program outcomes include:

  • Understand and apply educational and psychological theories and best practices.
  • Implement educational and psychological principles to support children, adolescents, teachers, and families.
  • Use evidence-based methods to help P-12 students, teachers, and families.
  • Understand research techniques applicable to education and psychology.
  • Adopt a problem-solving, data-driven strategy when collaborating with students, teachers, and families.
  • Acknowledge the significance of diversity in planning and implementing interventions.
  • Understand trauma-informed practices and interventions for students facing social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

To apply, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Pennsylvania State University

Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Psychology of Leadership

The 33 credits online master’s in leadership psychology at Pennsylvania State University is tailored for working professionals looking to expand their knowledge in leadership. Throughout the program, you will learn how to use psychological theories and research to address real-world leadership challenges within organizations.

The MPS in Leadership Psychology is structured for working professionals who are eager to learn about the social and cultural dimensions of leadership. Gaining knowledge and skills from this program can help enhance your career, contribute to organizational goals, and effectively manage diverse teams.

Created in partnership with the College of the Liberal Arts, the leadership psychology program explore the interactions between leaders and their followers. It is built upon solid psychological research and theories that are proven to improve leadership effectiveness in organizations.

Although the program has a research foundation, it puts a strong emphasis on applying the acquired knowledge in real-life situations. Generally, the coursework explores how diverse leadership approaches and techniques can positively impact the motivation, attitudes, and performance of individuals and teams in work organizations.

During the program, you will have the opportunity to learn from faculty members who are well-known researchers and practitioners in the field of leadership. They have showcased their leadership abilities in various settings, including entrepreneurship, the military, Fortune 500 companies, and education.

Upon completing the Master of Professional Studies in Leadership Psychology program, you should be able to:

  • Investigate ethical dilemmas in leadership and realize the significance of ethical decision-making.
  • Review leadership behaviors and devise steps for improvement.
  • Formulate strategies to enhance leadership and organizational effectiveness.
  • Show a comprehensive understanding of leadership psychology.
  • Explain theories related to leadership psychology.
  • Implement psychological theories to address leadership challenges.

The leadership psychology program also aims to help students build upon their leadership abilities and skills. The assignments in the courses are designed to reflect real-world applications, providing students with the opportunity to apply newly acquired knowledge and skills in their current positions. The program emphasizes the following leadership competencies:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Implementation
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration

To be admitted to MPS in Leadership Psychology, you need to have either (1) a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a postsecondary degree that is considered equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. If your GPA is below 3.0, you might still be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis, depending on the overall quality of your application.

Carlow University

Master of Arts in Psychology

Carlow University’s 36-credit MA in Psychology program is perfect for those looking to pursue a career that doesn’t require licensure or for those planning to continue to a doctorate in psychology. You can choose between online and on-campus formats to suit your needs.

The program offers six elective specializations. With the help of experienced and supportive faculty, you will be able to choose the pathway that aligns with your goals. Tailor your psychology courses to fit your career aspirations by selecting a specialization that allows you to learn the theories, skills, tools, and treatments specific to that area:

  • Forensic Psychology: Explore theories and applications relevant to criminal and civil legal settings.
  • Assessment Psychology: Learn techniques and tools for understanding personality, symptoms, behavior, and cognitive ability.
  • Treatment Psychology: Gain knowledge of theories and treatment skills for working with diverse individuals facing mental health challenges.
  • Therapeutic Arts Psychology: Combine your passion for arts and humanities with your psychology studies.
  • Exploration Psychology: Explore a broad range of courses across various areas to create a unique academic path.
  • Educational Psychology: Apply psychology skills in primary and secondary school settings, focusing on supporting educational needs and overcoming learning barriers.

To apply, you can submit a free online application anytime and provide the following materials:

  1. Official transcripts from all institutions where you earned a degree
  2. A personal essay describing your academic objectives
  3. Your current resume or CV
  4. Two recommendation letters from professors or clinical/research supervisors addressing your leadership potential and ability to succeed in graduate-level work

While an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred, provisional admission may be possible if you don’t meet all admission criteria but show a strong likelihood of academic success.

University of Pennsylvania

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP)

The University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program was the first of its kind in the world, offering a graduate degree in the field of positive psychology. Founded by Dr. Seligman, a pioneer in positive psychology, the program features top-notch researchers and practitioners who educate students on the latest advancements in the field.

The program’s hybrid model enables you to explore positive psychology theories and practice without having to move to Philadelphia, allowing you to maintain your full-time job. This low-residency format includes 10 mandatory on-site visits to the campus for intensive weekends of learning and networking.

Whether you are a professional looking to transform your career or workplace, or you are laying the groundwork for further graduate studies, the MAPP curriculum lets you focus on topics that align with your interests and goals.

As a student in the MAPP program, you will take a series of courses during one year of full-time study.

  • Starting in the fall, you will be introduced to fundamental concepts in positive psychology, research methods, and factors that promote well-being among individuals, groups, and communities.
  • In the spring semester, you will learn how to apply positive psychology in settings like workplaces, schools, and nonprofits and create positive interventions for a real organization.
  • The summer capstone project provides an opportunity to apply everything you have learned to the professional or research area most relevant to you.

To apply, you should have a bachelor’s degree and at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Your application must include:

  • A completed online application
  • A $75 nonrefundable application fee
  • Your current resume
  • An application essay
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation

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

With a master’s degree in psychology in Pennsylvania, you have various career opportunities in diverse fields. While it’s important to note that some careers may require additional certifications or licenses, here are some options to consider:

  • Mental Health Counselor: As a mental health counselor, you can work in hospitals or mental health clinics providing therapy and support to individuals, couples, and families dealing with various emotional and mental health issues.
  • School Counselor: As a school counselor in Pennsylvania, you can work in primary and secondary schools, helping students with academic, personal, and social development. In addition to a master’s degree, you will need to obtain the appropriate school counseling certification for Pennsylvania.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist: As an I-O psychologist in Pennsylvania, you can work with businesses and organizations to improve employee productivity, satisfaction, and organizational culture.
  • Human Resources Specialist: As a HR Specialist, you will apply your understanding of human behavior in recruitment,  training, and employee development within organizations.
  • Rehabilitation Counselor: As a Rehabilitation Counselor in Pennsylvania, you will assist individuals with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities to live independently and achieve their personal goals.
  • Research Analyst: You may be able to work in various industries, conducting research, analyzing data, and providing insights to inform decision-making processes.
  • College or University Instructor: With a master’s degree in psychology, you may teach psychology courses at the undergraduate level in colleges and universities. A master’s degree may be sufficient for teaching at community colleges or some universities, while others may require a doctorate.
  • Program Coordinator or Manager: As a Program Manager, you may oversee and manage programs in nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or healthcare facilities that focus on mental health, community outreach, or other psychology-related areas.
  • Career Counselor: A master’s degree in psychology may also enable you to guide individuals in exploring career options, identifying strengths and skills, and making informed decisions about their professional paths.

It’s important to research specific licensing or certification requirements in Pennsylvania for your desired career, as regulations may vary.

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