Masters in Psychology in the US – Rankings, Specializations, Deadlines, PSYCAS and Cost

by yashika.goel

A masters in psychology could be Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS). MA in Psychology focuses more on theoretical knowledge while MS in Psychology focuses more on data collection and analysis, it is more research based.

QS World Ranking – University Wise

Mentioned are the top psychology schools which are well-known for masters in psychology program:-

Harvard University2
Stanford University3
University of California, Berkeley5
University of California, Los Angeles=7
Yale University=7
University of Michigan10
Columbia University12
University of Pennsylvania=13
Princeton University16

The students pursuing psychology can choose to become professional psychologists such as counselors, human resource manager or school psychologist but apart from that, they can be an expert in childcare, legal and social work.

Though a bachelor’s degree in the US is required for entering masters in psychology, applicants from the relevant field will be preferred. Work experience in a related field is an added advantage for a few branches of psychology such as counseling.

Schools prefer students who can understand thoughts, emotions, and experiences of the people and are able to interact with them.

Psychology has a wide scope which is spread across various fields such as mental health, education, business, and criminal justice. With the growing popularity, psychology is being opted by more students each year. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 19% growth for psychologists by the year 2024.

Top Specializations in Masters of Psychology

Mentioned are the well-known psychology specializations in masters, offered in US schools:-

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Child Development
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Neuropsychology

Application Deadlines 2019

Mentioned are the university application deadlines for the students applying to them in fall 2019.

UniversityApplication Deadlines
Harvard UniversityDecember 15
Stanford UniversityJanuary 1
University of California, BerkeleyNovember 30
University of California, Los AngelesNovember 30
Yale UniversityJanuary 2
University of MichiganNovember 1
NYUJanuary 1
Columbia UniversityJanuary 1
University of PennsylvaniaJanuary 5
Princeton UniversityJanuary 1

Admission Requirements 

  • Filled Application form
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • GRE score
  • Minimum GPA – 3.0
  • Official Transcripts
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • CV
  • English Proficiency Test score
English Proficiency TestMinimum Score
TOEFLiBT – 80 Paper based - 550
IELTS6.5 with no subscore less than 6.0

Note: Data values may change at any point in time.

Applications without TOEFL or IELTS

For international students with the non-English background, the toughest exam is English proficiency test which could be mostly TOEFL or IELTS. It is compulsory in a lot of institutions to provide the English proficiency test score.

There are universities in the US where it is not compulsory to present English proficiency test score. In another case, there are universities where they exempt the students from providing TOEFL/IELTS score if the students have studied in an English medium school or graduated from an English medium institution.

Apart from that, there are also a few cases where the students are exempted if they have spent a few years in an English speaking country. Also, IELP (Intensive English Language Program) is another solution where students are trained in English under this program.

Some universities which do not require TOEFL/IELTS (for non-native English speakers):-

  • Rice University
  • California State University
  • Drexel University
  • State University of New York
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Delaware
  • University of New Orleans

PSYCAS Application Portal

In the US, PSYCAS (Centralized Application Service for Graduate Psychology) offers a streamlined and smart admission process through which graduate psychology applications are processed centrally.

Click Here To know about universities participating in PSYCAS program 2018-19

How to Apply?

Prospective students are supposed to submit the application form, official transcripts and upload any supplemental information required at PSYCAS portal. Universities have real-time access to the applicants’ profile.

PSYCAS Fee Waiver Program

PSYCAS Fee Waiver Program has further 2 categories:-

Financial income fee waiver

The financial income fee waiver is available for the applicants who can demonstrate their financial need.

Service organization participation fee waiver

If an applicant is a participant or alumni of any of the following programs, they can request a waiver:-

  • Leadership Alliance
  • Gates Millennium Scholars and Alumni
  • Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program
  • Current Peace Corps in-country volunteers who are in good standing may also request a fee waiver.

Note: the waiver request must be submitted and approved before submitting application forms through the portal. No refunds will be made.

The participants in the programs can get the first waiver for 65 USD and additional 65 USD and 35 USD making the total amount to be 135 USD.

Click Here To know more about PSYCAS Application

Cost of Studying Masters in Psychology

The expenses of education are different for in-state and out-state students. Considering international students, the average tuition cost lies around 35,000 USD per year.


Mentioned are the scholarships dedicated to a masters degree in psychology:-

Scholarship NameValue
Scott and Paul Pearsall Grant10,000 USD
Harry and Miriam Levinson Scholarship5,000 USD
NAJA Graduate Scholarships1.2 million USD for 530 graduate scholarships
Dr. Peter Zucker ScholarshipVariable
Evelyn E. Gunst Scholarship FundVariable

Best Masters in Psychology Schools in California

Mentioned are the names of the top schools which are well-known in California, US:-

  • Stanford university
  • UCLA
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • Pepperdine university
  • University of California – San Diego
  • University of California – Riverside
  • University of California -  Santa Cruz
  • University of san Francisco
  • University of California – Irvine
  • Loyola Marymount university

Online Masters in Psychology at Harvard

The length of an online masters in psychology program varies by institution, but most are designed for completion within two years.

Requirements - Undergraduate coursework in statistics & research methods, Harvard psychology course, GPA at least 3.0 and Work-ex at managerial position

Program Length – 2 years

Tuition – 2,750 USD per course, overall 33,000 USD

The program features a unique "earn your way in" admissions model, through which prospective students take three graduate-level courses covering statistical methods, psychology, and graduate research. Learners who earn a grade of "B" or higher in each of these courses are eligible for admission into the masters in psychology degree online program. Open application periods occur in the fall, spring, and summer.

This program is not fully online. By the end of the program, students must have conducted their own research and written a thesis that Harvard deems “publishable.”

Job Prospects and Salary in the Online Psychology Course from Harvard

Salaries for psychology careers are mixed. Human resources specialists make a median annual salary of $59,180 – nearly $10,000 higher than the average salary for all industries. However, the yearly salaries of social workers, marriage and family therapists, substance abuse, mental health, and behavioral disorder counselors fall around $42,000 to $49,000.

Best Colleges for Masters that do not Require GRE

There are degrees which do not require GRE such as Masters, Ph.D., and MPH programs. MFA programs (Master of Fine Arts) waive GRE as they require a CV which is full of creative work. Also, few executive programs may prefer work experience over GRE score.

Mentioned are the universities that do not require GRE score for admission:-

  • Saybrook University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • Northcentral University
  • Walden University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • California Southern University
  • Vanguard University
  • Lynn University
  • Argosy University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Looking for Admissions here? or need Help?Register Now