Fall 2020 Plan and Covid-19 Resource Page.

two smiling students
Home › Graduate

Online Master of Science in Psychology

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology program at Palo Alto University (PAU) 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 no matter where you live.

The M.S. in Psychology is an online program that provides three options for students:

  • Ph.D. Preparation Track (47 units): Upon satisfactory completion of the program requirements, accepted and qualified students may apply to transition into the PAU residential Ph.D. program entering the second year of the Ph.D. program.
  • Master of Science in Psychology, General Psychology Track (37.5 units): Students take a wide range of psychology and research classes.
  • Master of Science in Psychology, Forensic Psychology Track (37.5 units): Students take a wide range of psychology and research classes, along with two elective courses in forensic psychology.


  • All classes are graduate-level.
  • All coursework is delivered synchronously online via Zoom, requiring live evening meetings that allow students to interact with instructors and other students.
  • Students in the Ph.D. track attend a one-week, in-person intensive course at the Palo Alto campus during the spring break of the second year.
  • The program is highly structured, but its part-time format enables students to continue working while in school.

In addition to its flexibility, the M.S. program provides some cost savings for students planning on transitioning to the Ph.D. program:

  • Approximately $6,000 in tuition savings compared to the equivalent courses in the full-time Ph.D. program
  • Savings on cost of living for those planning to relocate to the Bay Area
  • Most student can continue to earn an income while in the program, as courses are delivered in the evening

Why Choose This Program?

  • For students who are career changers, or those who have been out of school for some time, the M.S. program is an excellent opportunity to ramp up for the rigor of graduate-level work within a supportive academic environment.
  • The M.S. program is an ideal way to demonstrate academic readiness for graduate-level work for students who may have had a rocky academic undergraduate experience.
  • No GRE is required for entry to the M.S. program, and no GRE is required for students transitioning from the M.S. to the Ph.D. program.
  • An M.S. degree in psychology may support career advancement in fields that require social science research capability and an understanding of human behavior.
  • An M.S. degree in psychology with a forensic area of emphasis may support career advancement in forensic settings.
  • Students who successfully complete all coursework are awarded a terminal M.S. degree in psychology 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.
  • The M.S. 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. Students seeking a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credential should apply to Palo Alto University's M.A. in Counseling program, which leads to licensure in many of the 50 U.S. states and other countries.

Career Opportunities With the M.S. in Psychology

An M.S. in Psychology can prove to be a valuable investment for:

  • Career Advancement: A master's degree in psychology can lead to additional job opportunities and/or higher pay.
  • Job Opportunities: A master's degree qualifies graduates to teach psychology at the community college level, and some of PAU M.S. graduates have successfully pursued this career path. Given that this is an online program, graduates will be particularly suited to teach online psychology courses at community colleges. Alternatively, the M.S. in Psychology can be used to advance a career as a research assistant for psychological research. Graduates may also pursue social science publishing in traditional and digital formats.
  • Expanded Professional Skills: The M.S. in Psychology provides skills to succeed in a variety of fields, such as forensic psychology, User Experience (UX) research, or human resources, which involve an understanding of consumer and employee behavior. The degree can be applied to any profession or project that requires insight and understanding of human nature. Graduate-level psychology skills are valued in work on behalf of social causes, advocacy organizations, non-profit organizations, and businesses.

Job Opportunities for M.S. in Psychology

With a terminal master’s degree in psychology, the APA states that it is possible to obtain careers in marketing research, government, management or sales development, business research and development, jobs in education, and business administration.

Data on job opportunities can be found here.

For professionals working in corrections and probation services in California, graduate education in psychology can replace years of experience required for initial hire or advancement in the following roles:

The M.S. in Psychology program was established in the year 2000 and has since provided online education to almost 400 students. Using cutting edge technology, students can interact with each other from all over the U.S. and the rest of the world. Currently, students take classes from the U.S, China, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada.

M.S. in Psychology PAU alumni have followed diverse career paths, including:

  • Forensics Specialists
  • Medical Center Management
  • Teachers/Instructors
  • Clinical Trial Researchers
  • UX Researchers
  • Department of Family and Children's Services (DCFS) Professionals

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.


graduate application:


Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017