How do you make students learn? It’s important to have great teachers and engaged students.
But learning doesn’t just automatically happen, and someone needs to understand how lesson-planning and classroom structures help students to get motivated to learn. This is where educational psychology comes in to play.
What Is Educational Psychology?
Educational psychology is the branch of psychology engaged with studying children in educational settings. It looks at teaching and learning methods, cognitive development, and the assessment of aptitude. Key concepts within the branch include motivation, individual differences in intelligence, and self-regulation.
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How Much Money Can I Earn Working in Educational Psychology?
Educational psychology can lead to a number of different careers in both the educational and academic circles. Graduates can become educational researchers, but most choose to pursue the budding profession of school psychologist.
The median income for school psychologists is over $75,000 a year. And in areas of the country like California and New York, this median increases to more than $90,000/year.
Why Choose a Master’s in Educational Psychology?
There are a number of different ways to positively affect children and their development at school. Educational psychology is a great field for those interested in the personal development of students and who enjoy quantitative research.
By pursuing this subject at the graduate level, students can delve more deeply into the quantitative research that informs our knowledge about teaching methods and students’ growth. They can also pursue careers that allow them to interact directly with students and help to encourage positive growth.
What are the 15 Best Online Master’s in Educational Psychology?
College Choice considers a multitude factors including institutional excellence, student satisfaction, and return on investment to develop rankings.
Institutional excellence looks at stats such as graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios and endowment sizes to judge each school’s ability to follow through on providing an excellent education for each student.
Student satisfaction measures how satisfied current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at each school. And finally return on investment looks at the financial benefits students are likely to receive from the school’s education, weighed against the costs of attendance. In the end, we are confident that these are the 15 Best Online Master’s in Educational Psychology.
Best Online Master’s in Educational Psychology Degrees
See our rankings methodology page.
The University of Georgia, also referred to as UGA, is a public university located primarily in Athens, GA. It was the first university in the Georgia Public University system, and also considers itself to be the oldest public university in the United States. Georgia has more than 37,000 total students and an endowment of around $1.1 billion. They have additional campuses in Atlanta and Gwinnett.
The University of Georgia offers an online MEd degree through their College of Education. It is a Master of Education in Educational Psychology, Applied Cognition and Development. It is a two-year program that requires the completion of 34 credits, and includes courses such as:
- Foundations of Human Development for Education
- Foundations of Motivation for Education
- Nurturing Independent Learners
- Applied Project in Educational Psychology
In their second year, students complete an applied project that showcases the culmination of the knowledge that they gained in the program.
Students may transfer in a maximum of six credits. Students are still required to complete the necessary number of hours for graduation, which likely means completing additional hours above and beyond the normal amount. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.6 from an accredited institution, as well as present GRE scores.
The University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is a public university located in Tuscaloosa, AL. It is the oldest and the largest public university in the state of Alabama, having been founded in 1820. Academic programs are divided between 13 schools and colleges, which serve a student body of just under 40,000 students. They are also home to one of the country’s most celebrated college football programs.
The University of Alabama offers a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology – Learning and Assessment through their Bama by Distance online learning service. It is a 30 credit-hour program, and includes courses like:
- Life-Span Development
- Evaluation of Classroom Learning
- Advanced Educational Psychology
- Self-Regulation and Motivation
Students complete a capstone project during their final semester, instead of a comprehensive examination.
The program is open to educators and non-educators alike. Recent students have included youth ministers and counselors, business managers, education professionals, and individual working in the social sciences. Applicants to the program should have an undergraduate minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 hours of degree study.
Ball State University is a public university located in Muncie, IN. The school is often referred to simply as Ball State, and they have additional campuses in Fishers and Indianapolis. Ball State originally began as a normal school, educating teachers starting in 1918. They now have 1,200 academic staff members and 22,500 total students.
Ball State offers an online Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology. The program can be completed in as little as 18 months, and includes 30 credit-hours of study. Courses within the program include 18 credits of core courses and 12 credits of electives and specializations. Available specialization include:
- Gifted and Talented Specialization
- Human Development Specialization
- Statistical and Research Methods
Students may also design a unique course of study that does not necessarily conform to the pre-set paths/specializations.
Students applying to the program are required to provide two professional references, a personal statement, and a resume or Vita. GRE scores are not required for the MA degree in Educational Psych. There are three education deadlines for Fall, Spring, and Summer.
Marist College is a private liberal arts college located in the town of Poughkeepsie, NY. Marist also has a branch in Florence, Italy, which supports one of its many study abroad programs. The college was founded by Catholics educators looking to prepare brothers for careers in education. The school maintains an affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church.
Marist offers a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology. The online program utilizes a cohort-based model, which is designed to be completed in two years. Courses in the program:
- Educational Assessment & Evaluation
- Social Foundations of Education
- Early Adolescent Development
- Engaged in Science Education
Students can take online classes during the year, which may then be combined with short, summer residency sessions that help to provide students with professional experience/internship opportunities.
One of the school’s alumni, Michelle Carras, was recently named the Windsor Public Schools Teacher of the Year in 2015-16. Teaching candidates are also required to complete, submit, and defend an electronic portfolio at the end of their course of study. This portfolio is based off of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and operates as their capstone project.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also known as U of I, is a public research university located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, IL. U of I was a founding member of the Big Ten sports Conference, and is considered the flagship of the Illinois Public University system. The school has an endowment of more than $3.5 billion and a student body of nearly 50,000 students.
Illinois Urbana-Champaign has a Master of Education in Educational Psychology program, which involves 32 credit-hours of study. The courses required in the program include:
- Teaching & Educational Reform
- Principles of Measurement
- Evaluation in Society
- Econ Analysis & Ed Policy
Students finish their course of study with an advanced seminar in Educational Psychology. Applicants to the program are expected to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and to submit three letters of reference.
Students must complete a minimum of 12 hours of study at the 500 level of courses. They must also have a minimum GPA of at least 3.0. This particular degree offers a specialization in Evidence-Based Decision making, which is why it also includes a course entitled “Data, Evidence, & Decisions.”
University of Northern Colorado
The University of Northern Colorado is a public university located in Greeley, CO. The school was originally opened in 1889 as the State Normal School of Colorado. UNC has since expanded to six different academic colleges, who operate with around 500 academic staff members and serve a student body of just over 12,000 students.
Northern Colorado offers a Master of Arts program in Educational Psychology, with an emphasis in teaching applications. It is a five-semester program, during which students are expected to take two courses per semester. Course options include:
- Educational Assessment
- Brain and Education
- Cognition and Instruction
- Educational Psychology for Teachers
The program utilizes the cohort model, such that admitted students for a particular semester will take the same classes together in an identical sequence. This is why the ideal course of study involves taking all five semesters consecutively.
Applicants are required to have either a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Students should have a minimum GPA of at least 3.0, or else they will be required to submit GRE scores. Students also submit a personal statement that covers the student’s background and connection to the program/area of study.
Florida State University is a public research university located in Tallahassee, FL. FSU is the oldest, continuous institute of higher learning in the state of Florida, having been founded in 1851. More than 40,000 students attend Florida State annually, including almost 10,000 postgraduates. They have around 6,000 academic staff members and an endowment of $652 million.
Florida State offers a Master of Science degree in Learning and Cognition, which involves 33-36 credit-hours of study. Students complete classes including:
- Cognition and Perception
- Theories of Social Psychology
- Linguistic Research in Language Arts
- Measurement and Evaluation in the Classroom
Students choose to complete either a thesis track or examination track degree plan. Students will then either complete an original thesis or take a comprehensive exam to end the program.
To apply to the program students must have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students are required to submit GRE Test scores for either the master’s or doctoral program, with preference given to those at the 75 and 35 percentiles for verbal and quantitative, respectively.
The University of Memphis, also known as U of M, is a public university located in Memphis, TN. Memphis was founded in 1912 and has 930 academic staff members and a student population of 21,500 students. It is home to the Center for Earthquake Research and Information, in addition to a law school and school of nursing.
The University of Memphis has an online Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology. MS students build a 36 credit-hour schedule within their major or concentration. Courses within the Educational Psych concentration are:
- Human Development
- Learning and Cognition
- Quantitative Research Methods
- Qualitative Research Methods
The other available concentration is the Educational research concentration. This concentration focuses more on research design and the quantitative analysis of evidence and data collection.
Students applying to the program are required to submit GRE scores. Students come from a variety of different personal and academic backgrounds. Recent students have included ministers and law enforcement officials, with a wide variety of undergraduate academic backgrounds.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of Nevada, Las Vegas is a public university located in Paradise, NV. UNLV is home to the only dental and law schools in the state of Nevada. They have 1,000 academic staff members and around 30,000 total students. From this group, around 25,000 students are undergraduates and the other 5,000 are postgraduates.
The University of Nevada Las Vegas has a Master of Science program in Educational Psychology. The program is considered appropriate for all teachers below the collegiate level, as well as for students looking to apply the learning in a business or government setting. Example courses from the program include:
- Research Methods
- Human Growth & Development
- Foundations of Learning & Cognition
- Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
There are thesis-track and non thesis-track options for the program. Students who choose not to pursue a thesis will instead take a capstone seminar class at the end of their course of study.
Graduates from the program have gone on to pursue a wide variety of careers: educational assessment coordinator, community college faculty, human resource education specialist, and program evaluator. Students from some states are not able to access the online program, due to state authorization reciprocity issues.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is a public university located in Knoxville, TN. UT Knoxville is considered the flagship university of the University of Tennessee system, with just under 30,000 total students. Tennessee has an endowment of a little over $1.1 billion and maintains an academic staff of around 1,700.
UT Knoxville has an online Master of Science degree program in Educational Psychology. The program involves 36 credit-hours of non-thesis coursework. Students take 24 hours of core coursework, before then choosing between a concentration in Adult Education or Educational Psych. Courses in the latter concentration include:
- Introduction to Education Research
- Motivation in Learning
- Program Development and Operation in Adult Education
- Facilitating Change in Educational Environments
Since students do not complete a thesis in the program, they finish their degree requirements by taking a comprehensive exam.
There is also an Applied Educational Psychology concentration. This includes 12 hours of graduate study, in courses that do not overlap with the baseline educational psychology concentration. Students taking the Applied track also take a relevant graduate level course in IT, offered online and approved by their advisor.
Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University is a public research university located in West Lafayette, IN. Purdue offers more than 200 undergraduate programs, along with over 69 masters and doctoral programs, as well as professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. At around 40,000 students, Purdue has the second largest student population in the state of Indiana, and also maintains the fourth largest international student population of any university in the country.
Purdue Global offers a Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology. This is a 52 credit program of study, which requires 38 units of core credit and 14 open elective credits. Example courses include:
- Perspectives on Diversity
- Life Span Development
- Learning and Behavior
Students are not required to complete a capstone course or a comprehensive exam. However, they are required to know the standards for certification and to complete them independently, though with support from the college.
Students are eligible to earn transfer for community college classes, classes at the collegiate level, or even for professional/life experience. Students from the program have gone on to pursue careers including educational administration, program evaluation, and operations research analysis.
University of North Texas
The University of North Texas is a public university based in Denton, TX. The school is organized into 11 colleges and 2 schools, which offer a number of undergraduate and graduate programs, including 38 doctoral degree programs. They have a student population of 38,000, which includes approximately 7,000 postgraduate students.
North Texas offers a Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology, which involves 27 hours of core course study and 6 hours of elective study, for a total of 33 credit-hours. Courses available to students include:
- Program Planning for the Education of G&T Students
- Introduction to Educational Psychology
- Educational Statistics
- Social and Emotional Components of Giftedness
There are also online Executive Master’s program available for specializations in Autism Intervention, Educational Diagnostician, Gifted and Talented, and Research and Evaluation.
Through its online and on-campus offerings, North Texas has 13 different concentrations that educational psychology graduate students may pursue. Many of these include concentrations in special needs students, such as the concentrations in High Incidence Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Capella University is a for-profit, online university with its headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. Capella offers 142 graduate and undergraduate specializations. They have around 1,500 administrative staff members, along with roughly approximately 36,000 students enrolled through their online courses. Eighty-six percent of their faculty hold doctoral degrees.
Capella has an online Master of Science degree in Psychology, which has an option for a specialization in Educational Psychology. Students take four core courses and five specialization courses. Some of these courses include:
- Learning Theories in Psychology
- Lifespan Development
- Quantitative Design and Analysis
- Program Evaluation
Students complete the program by taking part in an integrative project, which combines all of the elements of learning that they have been engaged in during the program.
Capella offers FlexPath courses, which allow students to progress through courses and degree programs at their own pace. Students may take two weeks or twelve weeks to complete a course, and can then begin a new course immediately, without having to wait for a new course to begin. The student’s pace determines the cost of these courses.
The University of Iowa is a public research university located in Iowa City, IA. UOI was founded in 1847 and is the oldest university in the state of Iowa, and has a student population of approximately 34,000 students. The school is organized into 11 different colleges, which offer more than 200 areas of study and seven professional degree programs.
Iowa’s College of Education offers a Master of Arts degree in Learning Sciences. It is a 30 credit-hour program, which includes a program of required courses and a pair of two electives. Courses from within the required group include:
- Tools and External Representations in Learning Processes
- Design of Learning Environments
- Web-based Learning
- Design of Instruction
There are three areas of specialization that students may pursue through their choice of electives: Human Development and Motivation, Technology and Media, and Measurement and Evaluation.
Each of the offered specializations has five course options from which students can choose their two electives. Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students must also present GRE scores. Teaching experience is also desirable.
Walden University is a for-profit university with its headquarters located in Minneapolis, MN. Walden offers primarily online degrees, including Masters of Science, Business Administration, Doctor of Education, and Doctor of Business Administration. They have a student body of around 51,000, and are part of a group of 80 universities in 29 countries owned by Laureate Education Inc.
Walden offers a Master of Science degree in Psychology, with an emphasis in Educational Psychology. It is a 48 quarter-credit program, which involves the completion of 11-week long courses, including:
- Lifespan Development
- Theories of Learning
- Educational Psychology
- Themes and Theories of Psychology
There is also a doctoral preparation track available for students who are considering continuing their graduate study to the PhD level. Both routes involve completing the program with an MS in Psychology capstone course.
Students in the program are able to conduct basic or applied research. Walden has a PhD program that the doctoral preparation track is intended to prepare students for. There are also psychology specializations available in applied, general, health, and social psychology.