Costs and Frequently Asked Questions

Tuition and Financial Aid

What are the total tuition and fees for the program?

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.

For students enrolled during the 2019-20 academic year total tuition and fees for the full 44-unit program is $43,809. This is based on:

  • Tuition charged at $6,794 per quarter
  • Fees charged at $435 per quarter (including summer)

Students pay tuition and fees for six quarters of coursework and pay fees only for the one-week summer residency.

In addition to tuition and fees, students are responsible for textbooks and test proctoring as well as travel expenses for the one-week summer clinical interviewing course in Palo Alto, California.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Students complete the FAFSA then apply through the PAU financial aid office to see what aid they are qualify for. 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.

Are fellowships available?

No. Palo Alto University does not offer fellowships for this program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can graduates do with this degree?

The primary goal of this program is to prepare students for a variety of educational and career options utilizing foundational principles of psychology.  Students may graduate with a degree in psychology that may be well suited for a number of career choices or choose to continue their graduate studies in psychology at PAU or another institution. Visit the M.S. Psychology Careers page for more information about the wide range of careers available to recipients of Palo Alto University's M.S. Psychology degree.

Can graduates see patients with the M.S. in Psychology degree?

No. This degree is not designed for those who want a Master's degree in order to see patients or clients. If you are interested in doing clinical work as a marriage and family therapist (MFT) or clinical mental health counselor (LPCC), PAU offers an M.A. Counseling degree with an emphasis on Marriage, Family, and Child or Clinical Mental Health, which can also be completed online.

Can students from outside the United States participate in the program?

Absolutely. The M.S. Psychology program takes place online and has only a one-week residency requirement. The program has had students from across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Middle East and South America. Because much of the work is asynchronous, differences in location are not an issue. When scheduling synchronous activities, instructors work to find times that work for all students wherever they live.

Will students need to travel to Palo Alto at any point during the program?

Yes. During the first year, typically in late July, all students are required to travel to Palo Alto, California for a one-week intensive course in clinical interviewing. Those who continue into the Palo Alto University Ph.D. program, which is a residential program, need to relocate to the Palo Alto area.

How do the online classes work?

Every class includes real-time interaction in a virtual classroom as well as materials that students read and complete on their own. Typical class formats include:

  • Slides accompanied by lecture notes.
  • Slides accompanied by an audio track of the instructor.
  • Threaded discussion groups were students and professors discuss course materials.
  • Chat sessions with the professor that typically serve as forums for questions.
  • Video or phone conferencing and webinars where instructors display their computer screen to all students simultaneously and the class to engages in discussion while viewing the same materials at the same time.

Real-time classes generally take place between 8 am and 7 pm PST Monday through Thursday, or between 8 am and 5 pm PST Friday. Scheduling chat times can be tricky when students live around the world. All students' schedules are considered when scheduling real-time sessions. Every reasonable effort is made to schedule class meetings at times that enable all students to attend. If this is not possible, alternative arrangements are made.

Readings for the classes are from texts or articles that are available on the course website in PDF format.

For more information, visit the Program Format page.

What kind of computer and internet connection are needed?

Students need access to a computer with a Web connection to be successful in this program. PAU strongly recommends that students have a powerful computer with a DSL or cable modem connection, in addition to a headset and microphone to join real-time audio discussions. Students can get by with dial-up modems, but it will slow them down a great deal as there is a lot of information to download over the course of the program.

What documents and test scores are required with the application?
  • Transcripts. Applicants must be graduates accredited undergraduate institutions and provide official transcripts to document their undergraduate degree. International transcripts must be translated through the World Education Service (WES).
  • References. Applicants must provide three Letters of Reference in support of their application. Each recommendation must be accompanied by the Graduate Admissions Recommendation Form.
  • Statement of Purpose. The applicant must write a two to three page statement of purpose outlining goals and reasons for applying.
  • GRE scores are not required for admission to the MS program.
  • See the Admissions page for details.
Is a psychology bachelor's degree required to apply?

No. Applicants do not need to have been psychology majors. They just need a Bachelor's degree from an accredited undergraduate institution. Students who come from non-psychology backgrounds must take four prerequisite courses:

  • Developmental psychology
  • Physiological psychology
  • Personality or abnormal psychology
  • Statistics

For more details on application requirements, please visit the Admissions page.

Is this degree accredited by the American Psychological Association?

No. The APA does not accredit Master's degrees. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain APA accreditation for the M.S. Psychology degree. The program is accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and Universities Commission (WSCUC). PAU's Ph.D. program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and has been since 1988. We also offer a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology through a consortium with the Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences which is accredited by the APA.

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