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Master of Science Degree in Psychology

Address emerging issues in the mental health field with a graduate degree in psychology. 


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MS in Psychology Admissions Deadlines Apply by August 5, 2022 Learn More

The Master of Science in Psychology program at Palo Alto University is designed for working professionals who are changing careers or pursuing advancement in their field. Specialized master's degree options and a fully online format make our graduate psychology program convenient and accessible. Most student can continue to earn an income while in the program, as courses are delivered in the evening.

The MS program is an excellent opportunity to ramp up for the rigor of graduate-level work within a supportive academic environment.

An MS in Psychology supports career advancement in fields that require social science research capability and an understanding of human behavior. 


Online Program Format and Three Program Tracks

Achieve your academic and career goals with a Master of Science in Psychology from Palo Alto University. Apply now to our online program to get started.

General Psychology Track (37.5 units)

Students take a wide range of psychology and research classes. This coursework is widely applicable, and graduates continue into fields such as higher education, business, technology and teaching.

The MS in Psychology degree does not include clinical coursework and does not qualify graduates for licensure to practice clinical psychology, marriage and family therapy, or clinical mental health counseling.


Curriculum Details Frequently Asked Questions

Forensic Psychology Track (37.5)

Students take a wide range of psychology and research classes, along with two elective courses in forensic psychology. This is a great choice for someone interested in careers in the criminal justice or legal disciplines.


  • PSYS 520 Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • PSYS 525 Assessing and Managing Risk
Students may also supplement their curriculum with free courses from PAU's Continuing and Professional Studies program. 

The MS in Psychology degree does not include clinical coursework and does not qualify graduates for licensure to practice clinical psychology, marriage and family therapy, or clinical mental health counseling.

PhD Preparation Track (47 units)

Planning on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology? MS students may apply to transition into the PAU residential PhD in Clinical Psychology program entering into the second year of the program. The PhD program is selective, and MS students must meet academic qualifications in order to be invited to interview. Admission to the PHD program is not guaranteed.

  • Students in the PhD Prep Track attend a one-week, in-person intensive course at the Palo Alto campus during the spring break of the second year.
  • Experience a cost savings of approximately $6,000 in tuition compared to the equivalent courses in the full-time PhD program.
  • ​The MS program is an ideal way to demonstrate academic readiness for graduate-level work.


Learn More about our PhD in Clinical Psychology
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Graduate Courses Delivered Online

Are you ready to earn your Master’s degree without uprooting your life? Our master’s program gives you flexibility, with all coursework delivered synchronously online via Zoom. Live evening classes provide a supportive learning environment that encourages interaction with both students and instructors and small group discussions.

Learn more about our program details Learn more about the online structure
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Career Advancement

Students who successfully complete all coursework are awarded a terminal MS in Psychology degree that can be applied to careers in human services and related non-profit causes, publishing, technology, assisting in psychological research, teaching at the community college level, or other professions and businesses.

Alumni Success Stories

Admissions & Financial Aid

Applications & DeadlinesToggle Accordion

The MS in Psychology program begins in the fall quarter only and classes typically begin after Labor Day weekend in early September. Review the admission deadlines below:

  • April 30, 2022: Priority Deadline
  • August 6, 2022: Regular Deadline

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications well in advance of deadlines. Allow plenty of time for transcripts and letters of recommendation to arrive at Palo Alto University. Applications submitted closer to the deadline frequently cannot be reviewed because supporting documents are not received in a timely manner.

Admission FAQ’s

Tuition & CostsToggle Accordion

Palo Alto University's Tuition Stabilization Plan guarantees that students pay the same tuition and fees each year they are enrolled with no tuition increases. Students enrolled during the 2020-21 academic year pay $941 per unit.

Generalist and Forensic Tracks

  • Terminal degree is 37.5 units, for a tuition total of $35,287.50.
  • In addition to tuition and fees, students are responsible for textbooks.

PhD Prep Track

  • PhD prep track is 47.5 units for a tuition total of $41,404.
  • Students pay tuition and fees for seven quarters of coursework and pay fees only for the one-week residency.
  • In addition to tuition and fees, students are responsible for textbooks as well as travel expenses for the one-week clinical interviewing course in Palo Alto, California
Tuition & Fees

CurriculumToggle Accordion

The MS Psychology program consists of 37.5 or 47 quarter units of coursework, depending on the chosen track. There is no thesis requirement. Courses are taken over six or seven consecutive quarters (including summer) beginning only in fall quarter.

  Units Quarters 
PhD Prep Track 47 7
Generalist Track  37.5 6
Forensic Psychology Track 37.5 6

Students take two or three courses during most quarters. Students in the PhD Prep Track are required to travel to Palo Alto for a one-week intensive course in clinical interviewing.

Program Structure

Financial AidToggle Accordion

Students should complete the FAFSA, then work with the Office of FInancial Aid to recieve a financial aid offer. Financial aid is available in the form of student loans as long as the student is enrolled in six units per quarter. Because this is an online program, financial aid is available for tuition and fees, but not for living expenses.

Palo Alto University does not offer fellowships for this program.

Contact a Financial Aid Advisor today

How to ApplyToggle Accordion

Visit our detailed MS Admission page for information on how to apply. 

How to Apply Admission FAQ's

Program DetailsToggle Accordion

The MS in Psychology program requires six or seven quarters of coursework, depending on the chosen track to receive a terminal degree. Those accepted into Palo Alto University's PhD program transition directly into PhD coursework during the summer quarter after completing this program. Students have a maximum of five years to complete the PhD program.


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MS Psychology Classroom
Learn from the Expert Faculty

The MS in Psychology program at PAU is an online program led by highly qualified professors with extensive knowledge of their concentrations.

Meet the Faculty
Alumni Success Stories

Students seeking a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credential should apply to Palo Alto University's MA in Counseling program, which leads to licensure in many of the 50 U.S. states and other countries.

MS and PhD Virtual Open House 9-18-20
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Contact Admissions.

Chelby Tookey
Senior Admissions Counselor

PSYCAS offers an online centralized application portal for you to apply to master’s and doctoral programs across the discipline of psychology.
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