Online Masters in Psychology No GRE Required Degree Programs

If you’ve ever wanted to pursue graduate work but didn’t take the GRE (or didn’t score well), now you can earn a master’s degree in psychology without a GRE. Moreover, you can study this discipline online rather than attending in-person courses. Unlike a typical degree, you’ll take classes like psychotherapy, psychological disorders, childhood development, and behavioral science in a digital learning environment and engage with instructors via webinars, live streams, online workshops, video tutorials, forums, and email.

 Studying for an online master’s in psychology could increase career opportunities and earning potential. Upon graduation, you could get a job as a psychologist, therapist, counselor, or mental health practitioner. In addition, many online learning providers have connections with local healthcare organizations and public health agencies, allowing you to get hands-on experience in a real-world medical setting and develop the skills required for your future career.

 Read on to learn more about earning an online master’s degree in psychology with no GRE required. This guide tells you the costs associated with these programs, course content, learning methods, grading systems, and the job outlook for graduates.


What Is an Online Master’s in Psychology Degree?

An online master’s in psychology is a graduate-level degree primarily taught over the internet. You won’t have to attend school in person or stay in a dorm room on a college campus in a faraway city. That means you can maintain any family, travel, or existing work requirements.

Instead of earning your master’s in a physical location, you will communicate with tutors through a learning management system (LMS). Here, you will submit all course content and assignments and receive feedback from academic staff.

Online psychology degrees typically consist of group work, video tutorials, live debates, and digital workshops. In addition, you will communicate with tutors and support staff via email and video conferencing tools.

Do I Need to Take the GRE Test to Apply?

You can enroll in an online psychology master’s program even if you have no GRE. Many online schools look beyond this traditional admissions requirement, opening up new learning and career opportunities for those interested in psychology.

Here are some skills you might learn in a no-GRE psychology master’s program:

  • Knowledge of cognitive and social psychology concepts
  • An understanding of the mind, brain functions, and behavior
  • Psychological research methodologies
  • Therapeutic skills
  • Psychotherapy
  • Physiology

Depending on the program, you might take all your classes over the internet or mix online lessons with real-world psychology experience at a local hospital or mental health facility. Many programs let you specialize in specific areas, like forensic psychology, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and biopsychology.

Why Are Online Psychology Master’s Programs No Longer Requiring the GRE?

In recent years, many online master’s programs in psychology have shifted away from requiring the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for admission. This change reflects a broader trend in higher education, where the relevance and utility of standardized tests are being re-evaluated. Here are some key reasons behind this trend:

  1. Holistic Admissions Approach: Institutions are increasingly adopting a more holistic approach to admissions. This means they are considering a wider range of factors, such as work experience, undergraduate performance, recommendation letters, and personal statements. The aim is to gain a comprehensive understanding of an applicant’s potential, beyond what standardized test scores can provide.
  2. Access and Equity: Standardized tests like the GRE have been criticized for not being equitable. Studies have shown that performance on these tests can be heavily influenced by socioeconomic factors, access to preparatory resources, and educational background. By removing the GRE requirement, programs aim to create a more level playing field for applicants from diverse backgrounds.
  3. Validity and Predictive Power: There has been ongoing debate about the predictive validity of the GRE for graduate school success, particularly in the field of psychology. Some studies suggest that GRE scores are not strong predictors of a student’s ability to succeed in graduate-level coursework or in their subsequent professional career.
  4. Convenience and Flexibility: Online programs cater to a diverse student population, including working professionals and those with family obligations. The process of preparing for and taking the GRE can be time-consuming and logistically challenging for these individuals. Removing this barrier makes the program more accessible to a broader range of applicants.
  5. COVID-19 Pandemic Impact: The pandemic led to temporary closures of testing centers and disruptions in test scheduling, prompting many institutions to waive GRE requirements. Some programs have extended these waivers, reassessing the necessity of the GRE in their admissions process.
  6. Focus on Specific Skills and Qualities: Psychology programs may prioritize specific skills and qualities that are not adequately measured by the GRE, such as empathy, communication skills, and a strong ethical foundation. Admissions committees might prefer to assess these attributes through other means, like interviews and written submissions.
  7. Feedback from Alumni and Employers: Feedback from program alumni and employers in the field of psychology may also influence the decision to waive GRE requirements. These stakeholders might emphasize the importance of practical experience and interpersonal skills over standardized test scores.

The move away from the GRE requirement in online master’s programs in psychology is driven by a desire to improve access, fairness, and the overall effectiveness of the admissions process.

What Are Admission Requirements for Online Master’s in Psychology Programs That Don’t Require the GRE?

Online master’s programs in psychology that do not require the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) often have a set of diverse admission criteria designed to assess a candidate’s readiness and suitability for graduate-level study in psychology. Here are common requirements that applicants might encounter:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Applicants are generally required to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The degree does not necessarily have to be in psychology, although having a background in psychology or a related field can be advantageous.
  • Undergraduate GPA: Many programs set a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA), often around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. This criterion helps programs assess academic readiness for graduate-level coursework.
  • Relevant Coursework: Some programs may require or prefer that applicants have completed certain undergraduate courses, such as introductory psychology, statistics, and research methods, especially if their bachelor’s degree is not in psychology.
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose: Applicants typically need to submit a personal statement or statement of purpose. This document provides insight into the applicant’s motivations for pursuing a master’s in psychology, their career goals, and how the program aligns with their aspirations.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Most programs require two or three letters of recommendation. These should ideally come from academic instructors or professional supervisors who can vouch for the applicant’s potential as a graduate student and future psychology professional.
  • Professional Experience: While not always mandatory, relevant work or volunteer experience in psychology or related fields can strengthen an application. Such experience demonstrates practical understanding and commitment to the field.
  • Interviews: Some programs may conduct interviews (either in-person or virtual) as part of the admissions process. Interviews allow admissions committees to assess an applicant’s communication skills, professional demeanor, and fit for the program.
  • Writing Samples or Additional Essays: Certain programs might request writing samples or additional essays. These can be used to evaluate an applicant’s critical thinking, writing skills, and understanding of psychological concepts.
  • Resume or CV: A current resume or curriculum vitae is often required to provide a comprehensive overview of the applicant’s educational, professional, and volunteer experiences.
  • English Language Proficiency: For non-native English speakers, proof of English language proficiency, typically through tests like TOEFL or IELTS, may be required.

It’s important to note that admission requirements can vary widely between different online master’s programs in psychology. Prospective students should carefully review the specific requirements of each program to which they are considering applying. Additionally, some programs may offer conditional admission to students who do not meet all the standard requirements but show potential in other areas.

Do I Need Work Experience as a Psychologist to Be Accepted in an Online Master’s in Psychology Program?

Many online master’s programs in psychology do not mandate professional experience as a psychologist for admission. These programs are tailored to introduce foundational knowledge and skills to students who may be new to psychology or transitioning from another career path. This approach makes these programs accessible to a broader range of applicants, including recent undergraduates and professionals from other fields.

Varies by Program Focus

The necessity of work experience can depend significantly on the specific focus of the program. Specialized programs, particularly those in clinical or counseling psychology, might prefer applicants with some exposure to healthcare or therapeutic settings. However, this is less common in programs emphasizing research or experimental psychology, where practical experience in a psychologist role is not a primary concern.

Beneficial, But Not Mandatory

While not a strict requirement, relevant work experience can enhance an application. It showcases a candidate’s commitment to the field and provides a practical framework for applying theoretical knowledge. For those without direct experience as a psychologist, related activities such as volunteering, internships, or part-time roles in relevant fields can also add value to their application.

Check Specific Program Requirements

Prospective students should carefully review the admission criteria of each program they consider. Requirements can vary widely, with some programs explicitly stating their stance on the necessity of work experience. This research is crucial for understanding what each program values and expects from its applicants.

Alternative Ways to Demonstrate Suitability

For programs where work experience is not a prerequisite, there are alternative ways to demonstrate readiness for graduate study in psychology. A strong academic background, especially in psychology or related disciplines, persuasive personal statements, robust letters of recommendation, and a keen interest in psychological topics can all play a significant role in the admissions process.

Graduate Certificates or Preparatory Courses

Individuals without a background in psychology or relevant work experience might consider enrolling in graduate certificate programs or preparatory courses in psychology. These educational pathways can provide essential foundational knowledge and may enhance one’s chances of being accepted into a master’s program.

In conclusion, the requirement for work experience as a psychologist varies among online master’s programs in psychology. It’s essential for applicants to understand the specific expectations and requirements of each program to align their application effectively with these criteria.

What Type of Bachelor’s Degree Do I Need to Be Accepted in an Online Master’s of Psychology Degree Program?

When applying to an online master’s of psychology degree program, the type of bachelor’s degree you hold can play a significant role in the admissions process. Here’s a closer look at how different undergraduate degrees are viewed:

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology is often considered ideal for admission into a master’s program in the same field. This degree demonstrates a foundational understanding of psychological theories, research methods, and statistical techniques, providing a strong base for advanced study.

Degrees in Related Fields

Applicants with degrees in fields related to psychology, such as sociology, education, or neuroscience, are also frequently considered strong candidates. These disciplines often cover topics and skills relevant to psychology, such as understanding human behavior, research methodologies, and data analysis.

Degrees in Other Disciplines

Candidates with bachelor’s degrees in disciplines outside of psychology or related fields can still be eligible for admission. These applicants may need to demonstrate their interest and aptitude for psychology through other means, such as relevant work experience, volunteer activities, or completing prerequisite courses in psychology.

Prerequisite Courses

Some master’s programs may require applicants to have completed certain undergraduate courses in psychology, regardless of their degree background. Common prerequisites include introductory psychology, research methods, and statistics.

Comprehensive Review of Qualifications

Admissions committees often conduct a comprehensive review of each applicant’s qualifications. Factors like a strong overall GPA, a compelling statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation can significantly influence admissions decisions, especially for those from unrelated academic backgrounds.

Continuous Education and Certificates

For those with an unrelated bachelor’s degree, pursuing continuing education courses or certificates in psychology can also enhance their application. These courses demonstrate a commitment to the field and help build a foundational knowledge of psychology.

In summary, while a bachelor’s degree in psychology is typically the most straightforward pathway to a master’s program in the same field, many programs welcome applicants from a variety of academic backgrounds. Candidates are encouraged to review the specific requirements and recommendations of each program to which they are applying and to showcase their strengths and interests in psychology through their application materials.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Psychology?

A master’s degree in psychology opens up a wide range of career opportunities. Below are some common roles, along with insights into their responsibilities and statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) where available:

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists focus on improving mental health and overall well-being in patients. While many clinical psychologists hold a Ph.D., those with a master’s degree can also find roles, especially in settings under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for psychologists was $85,330 as of May 2022.

School Psychologist

School psychologists are crucial in supporting the emotional and behavioral well-being of students. They collaborate with parents, teachers, and other school staff to address and manage students’ emotional and behavioral issues. The BLS reported a median annual wage of $81,500 for school psychologists as of May 2022.


Counselors, like clinical psychologists, provide mental health support but do not prescribe medication. They play a vital role in helping individuals with mental health challenges through reflection and discussion. The BLS states that the median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors was $49,710 as of May 2022.

Social Worker

Social workers, particularly those in clinical settings, often hold a master’s degree in psychology. They may work in various settings, including Child Protective Services and hospitals, to help families in crisis. As per the BLS, the median annual wage for social workers was $55,350 as of May 2022.

Academic Advisor or Career Counselor

Individuals with a master’s degree in psychology can find roles as career counselors, academic advisors, or professors at universities and colleges. These professionals guide students in their academic and career choices. The median annual wage for school and career counselors was $60,140 as of May 2022, according to the BLS.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists apply psychology to the criminal justice system. They assess offenders, work with prison populations, and consult on criminal cases. While specific salary data for forensic psychologists is not readily available, the field is a specialized area of psychology, which had a median annual wage of $85,330 as of May 2022, according to the BLS.

Sports and Exercise Psychologist

These psychologists focus on the mental aspects of sports and physical activity, helping athletes with performance, motivation, and coping with the psychological demands of sports and competition.

Further Studies: PsyD or Ph.D. in Psychology

After earning a master’s in psychology, some may pursue a PsyD or Ph.D. in psychology to further their knowledge and credentials. This advancement can lead to higher-level positions in research, academia, or clinical practice. The BLS notes that postsecondary teachers, including those in psychology, had a median annual wage of $80,840 as of May 2022.

Doctoral degree options include:

In conclusion, a master’s degree in psychology offers diverse career paths across various sectors. The BLS data underscores the potential for stable and rewarding careers in these fields, with opportunities for further advancement through additional education and experience.

Benefits of an Online Master’s Program in Psychology No GRE

The benefits of studying for your psychology master’s online include the opportunity to balance existing work or family commitments while you develop new skills that further your career. You might also learn transferrable soft skills in your psychology master’s that could increase future career opportunities. These skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. You might not acquire these skills in a traditional classroom learning environment.

Additionally, a key benefit of attending an online master’s in psychology program that doesn’t require the GRE is that you know the faculty and program leadership care more about your direct field experience and expertise, instead of being evaluated solely on a GRE test score. Many psychology master’s students enjoy knowing that they were accepted into a program that took the time to research their portfolio and industry experience.

How do I Choose the Right Master’s Program in Psychology?

There are hundreds of psychology master’s degrees available on the internet. So, which one should you choose? There are many things to consider when choosing a master’s program, some of which are below: 

Do I need to take the GRE?

Online learning providers have different admissions criteria, so it’s essential to choose a program that’s right for you. For example, if you have a low GRE score or no GRE, select a school that lets you earn a psychology master’s degree without that requirement.

What is the course content like?

You should also consider course content in a psychology degree program. Some programs take a generalized approach to psychology and teach popular topics such as criminology, sociology, and child development. Other programs let you specialize in the topics that interest you or pertain to your future career.

What kind of experience do the instructors have?

Whatever you do, choose a school that provides the most outstanding learning and employment opportunities. The best programs have tutors with years of psychology experience who teach students the required skills for a career in this field. Learning skills from these instructors could increase your earning potential when you graduate and kick-start an exciting new career in psychology. 

Can you gain real-world experience during the program?

Many schools have links with local healthcare organizations and public health agencies, allowing you to garner real-world psychology experience. There could also be opportunities to work for these organizations when you graduate. Learn more about internships, work experience, and post-graduate training, and employment opportunities by talking to program directors and reading about the course content on a learning provider’s website.

Is an Online Master’s Program Worth It?

You might still be reluctant to enroll in a digital psychology program. That’s because online qualifications used to carry a stigma, and some recruiters favored traditional college degrees over those earned on the internet.

Thankfully, perceptions towards online education have changed over the last few years, and most employers consider internet degrees equal to traditional college-based ones. These employers look at students’ grades, previous academic history, and work experience during the job application process. They don’t care whether that student earned a degree online or in a physical location.

What is the Application Process for an Online Psychology Master’s Program that Doesn’t Require the GRE?

Applying for a master’s degree in psychology differs from a bachelor’s in psychology. First, you will submit your application to the school that teaches the program and wait for a response, which can take several weeks or even months. Submitting the correct documents with your application will prevent delays.

Most schools will ask you to provide the following paperwork:

  • Evidence of previous academic experience: You should demonstrate previous educational experience by submitting academic transcripts and other documents from schools and colleges you have attended in the past. Your transcripts will typically show your Grade Point Average (GPA) and the courses you studied. You can also include a reference from a tutor or program director.
  • Evidence of internship and work-related opportunities: You should also demonstrate previous work experience with your application. You might want to submit proof of prior internships and work-related programs, especially if these opportunities were psychology-related. You can also include a reference from an internship coordinator or previous manager.
  • Personal statement: This is your chance to tell the program director why you want to study for a master’s degree in psychology at that particular school. You might want to include your career aspirations in your statement and aspects of the program that will benefit you the most.

After you have submitted your application, you will typically have an interview with the program director online, over the phone, or in person.

How Much Does a Master’s in Psychology Cost?

According to The National Center for Education Statistics, whether you study for your master’s in psychology online or at a college campus, expect to pay an average of $19,749 in tuition. However, these costs usually don’t include registration fees, exam fees, program supplies, travel costs, or room and board rates. One important thing to note- an online master’s degree in psychology may cost less than a classroom degree because you don’t have to pay for room and board or commuting costs.

Receiving a scholarship or another type of financial aid could offset the costs associated with a master’s degree in psychology. There are many funding opportunities for students who want to enroll in online programs, and there are no limits on the number of scholarships you can apply for within the academic year. In addition, many scholarships cater to students from low-income backgrounds and cover some or all of the costs of a psychology master’s degree. You can find funding opportunities for psychology programs online or by talking to your program director after you enroll at a school.

Average Salary for a Master’s in Psychology

The median annual salary for psychologists is $85,330, based on 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The mean annual wage for a school psychologist is $87,550, whereas for industrial-organizational psychologists, it is $144,610. There are many jobs that one can get with a master’s in psychology, and the salary ranges with each position. It’s also important to note that some industries, metropolitan areas, and states pay higher, so those are important factors to consider when researching potential employers.

Highest Paying Industries

The top five highest paying industries as of 2022 for Clinical and Counseling Psychologists are:

  1. Employment Services $ 128,300
  2. Offices of Other Health Practitioners $ 111,750
  3. Insurance Carriers $ 111,420
  4. Home Health Care Services $ 110,570
  5. Educational Support Services $ 108,530

Highest Paying States

The top five highest paying states as of 2022 for clinical and counseling psychologists are:

  1. New Jersey $ 164,110
  2. Oregon $ 134,830
  3. New York $ 128,520
  4. Arkansas $ 128,130
  5. California $ 124,450

Highest Paying Cities

The ten highest paying metropolitan areas in 2022 for clinical and counseling psychologists are:

  1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $ 145,390
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $ 135,460
  3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $ 127,780
  4. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI $ 104,190
  5. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH $ 102,900
  1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV $ 102,190
  2. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL $ 88,280
  3. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD $ 85,290
  4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX $ 79,890
  5. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN $ 78,530

There are many things to consider when applying for a job after earning a master’s degree in psychology. First, any employment experience and recommendations from previous employers will boost your resume. In addition, any internships or research completed within your program can also help with your job search. Salary will depend on many factors, such as location (city and state), position, industry, and previous work experience. So, those with several years of experience in a psychology-related job might earn a higher salary than average.

What Is the Job Outlook for Psychology Master’s Degree Holders?

The job outlook for psychology graduate students is good- with overall job growth expected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032. However, the demand for clinical and counseling psychologists is increasing faster, with a projected growth of 11% over the next decade. The growth of jobs in the psychology sector is due to the high demand for mental health services in hospitals, schools, social service agencies, and mental health centers.

Courses within a Psychology Master’s Degree

There are various psychology courses to study. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Family psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • School psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Engineering psychology
  • Rehabilitation psychology
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Behavioral science
  • Counseling 

Different schools include different classes in their curricula. Therefore, research course content before you enroll in a program so you can develop the required skills for your chosen career.

Daily assignments and exams

A master’s degree in psychology will typically comprise essays and assignments where you will analyze topics such as biopsychology, personality disorders, and criminal psychology. You might also take exams after each course in your program or toward the end of the program. The frequency of exams depends on the learning provider. Your school will test your cognitive, developmental, and behavioral psychological knowledge.

Dissertation or thesis

You will also likely complete a dissertation toward the end of your program, where you focus on a topic that interests you and carry out independent research about that subject. You will communicate with tutors throughout the project and submit your dissertation via your school’s LMS. Your dissertation will influence your final grade.

Training program or internship

Many online learning providers offer credit for completing a training program or internship at a local hospital or medical facility. As a result, you can get hands-on experience in a real-world healthcare environment and network with industry professionals.

Typical Grading for an Online Master’s Degree in Psychology

You will usually receive grades for all completed coursework and exams during your psychology program, and the learning provider will convert those grades to a GPA. The typical grading system for a master’s degree in psychology looks like this:

  1. Fail
  2. Pass
  3. Merit/credit
  4. Distinction

These are the typical grading boundaries for each category:

  • 50% for a pass
  • 60% for a merit/credit
  • 70% for a distinction
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FAQs About a Psychology Master’s

What jobs require a master’s in psychology?

These jobs might require a psychology master’s degree or a similar certification: 

Clinical psychologist
Developmental psychologist
Mental health specialist
Behavioral scientist

Not all jobs in the psychology sector require a master’s degree. However, studying for a post-graduate certification could present exciting new career opportunities and increase earning potential.

Does a psychology master’s offer good job prospects?

There will be a 14.7% increase in employment opportunities for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists from 2018 to 2028, according to the Department of Labor.

What are the different fields of psychology?

Different fields of psychology include:

Developmental psychology
Child psychology
Clinical health psychology
Divorce psychology
School psychology
Forensic psychology
Behavioral science

How long does it take to get a psychology master’s degree?

Online psychology master’s degree programs take around two to three years to complete — the same time as a regular college degree. You can speed up this timeframe by taking extra courses during the weekend or in the evening. (If the learning provider allows this.) Also, you might be able to transfer credit from any psychology-related courses you have completed in the past to your new program. This will also reduce the length of your program and allow you to graduate faster.

If you have work or family commitments and decide to study for your online psychology master’s part-time, it might take longer than two or three years to graduate.

What does a psychology master’s curriculum typically include?A psychology master’s curriculum might include classes about brain functions, the way people behave, psychotherapy, physiology, childhood development, psychological research methods, and more.

Some schools have links with local healthcare organizations and public health agencies, and you can complete an internship at one of these organizations during your studies. Doing so will present you with new learning opportunities, and you can apply new skills to your degree and future career.

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