Masters in Psychology Programs
A Masters in Psychology degree is a graduate advanced degree that consists of an intensive curriculum focusing on the theoretical conceptualization, assessment, and treatment of psychological and mental disorders. Most programs at this level of education prepare students for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), (Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in some states), a Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA), or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Besides preparation for licensure, master’s programs also prepare students for further education at the doctoral level, if that is a path they wish to pursue.
The requirements for admission to master’s programs typically include good standing in a bachelor’s program in the field of mental health or a related area, along with letters of recommendation, prior work and educational experience, and, in the past, GRE scores. Since the pandemic, a large number of programs have moved towards waiving the GRE requirement, saving students time and money that could be dedicated elsewhere. This article will highlight some psychology programs that do not have a GRE requirement.
Accredited No GRE Master in Psychology Programs
Taking the step to pursue a graduate degree comes with many considerations, including location, time, and life obligations. Within the field of psychology, you would have the opportunity to pursue a wide range of career opportunities with a master’s degree. Most individuals pursue psychology with the hopes of practicing as mental health clinicians at either a master’s or doctoral level. If this is your goal, it is recommended that you pursue an accredited program, and most accredited programs no longer require the GRE for entry.
Accreditation is a prestigious status that an educational institution can obtain from an accrediting body to demonstrate that the program complies with the standards and guidelines promoting competence in education and training. Over the last few years, the GRE has been removed as a requirement for admittance to most accredited programs. This is due to ongoing data supporting that standardized tests (like the GRE) are not necessarily good indicators of academic success once a student is admitted into a program.
Upon graduation from a master’s program, most states require specific requirements to be met in order to qualify for licensure as an LPC, LPA, or LMFT. An accredited program offers the assurance that students will have those requirements met at the time of graduation, thus setting them on track for a smooth transition into the working world.
For psychology programs, the accrediting body that oversees education and training requirements at the master’s level is the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This agency is globally recognized and encompasses mental health-related programs in counseling, marriage and family therapy, addictions, rehabilitation counseling, and school and educational counseling. Another widely recognized accrediting body is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This agency accredits higher education institutions in southern states.
While an accredited program is preferred in most states, it is not always a requirement. Some programs qualify to meet the requirements for state licensure and offer the same standards and quality of education and training. These include psychology masters programs that do not require the GRE for entry.
Highlighted below are some psychology programs that do not require GRE scores for admission.
- Texas Tech University – Texas Tech offers several options for students pursuing a degree in psychology. The terminal Master of Arts degree in Human Factors Psychology consists of 10 courses and 6 hours of research. This degree is also available as a non-thesis option. The thesis track prepares students for further education at a doctoral level. The accelerated master’s program encourages students to complete graduate-level coursework soon after the completion of their bachelor’s degree. The accelerated program is typically completed in about five years, whereas the terminal master’s degree can be completed in two years. Neither requires the GRE for entry.
Texas Tech also offers a Master of Education degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that is CACREP-accredited. This prepares students for licensure as an LPC upon graduation. The program consists of a 60-credit-hour curriculum and can be completed in two and a half to three years.
- California State University – Cal State offers a Master of Arts degree and a Master of Science degree in psychology. Both programs consist of a 34-credit-hour curriculum that can be completed in two and a half years. The Master of Arts degree is designed for students wishing to pursue education at a doctoral level with a heavy emphasis on research. The Master of Science degree is designed for students interested in working or studying areas that intersect with the criminal justice system. This degree has an emphasis on clinical training and has a forensic psychology specialization option. Both degrees have a thesis option that further adds to student portfolios through a demonstration of competence in academic research.
- Regent University – This institution offers a Master of Science degree in Psychology that can be taken online or in person. The program focuses on cognitive neuroscience and human-social interactions. This program offers many concentrations including industrial-organizational psychology, addictions, and marriage and family therapy. The program also has a thesis option for those wanting to pursue a doctoral degree. The curriculum consists of 39 credit hours that are broken into 8-week course sessions and take about two years to complete.
- Liberty University – Liberty offers a Master of Arts degree in Psychology that has concentrations in general psychology, developmental psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and public mental health. The program consists of 36 credit hours and can be typically completed in one and a half years. This degree is 100% online and is SACSCOC accredited. The program is split into convenient 8-week courses that are perfect for working professionals pursuing a graduate degree.
- Grand Canyon University – This Master of Science degree in Psychology meets the standards established by the American Psychological Association (APA). The program has a faith-based curriculum and is offered in-person during evenings, or completely online. Most online classes are 8-weeks long. The curriculum consists of 36 credit hours and can be completed in about two years.
- Lynn University – This online Master of Science degree in Psychology meets the standards set by APA and offers a general track and an industrial-organizational track. Students are able to be enrolled part-time and can complete the degree as soon as within a year. The curriculum consists of 37 credit hours and enrollment is flexible depending on student requirements.
- California Southern University – CalSouthern offers a Master of Arts degree in Psychology that prepares students for licensure at a master’s level upon graduation as an LPCC or MFT in the state of California. The program can be completed 100% online and is clinically focused with an emphasis on clinical education and training. The program consists of a 60-credit-hour curriculum and typically takes about 4 years to complete.
- The University of North Dakota – This institution offers an accelerated master’s program in psychology that can be completed in conjunction with a bachelor’s degree. The degree is offered on campus and can be completed within 5 years. The university also offers a MA and MS degree in forensic psychology that is offered online and is a specialty degree specifically preparing students for work in the field of forensic sciences. This degree consists of 30 credit hours and can be completed in two years.
- Pennsylvania State University – Penn State offers an online psychology of leadership master’s degree program closely related to industrial organizational psychology. The curriculum consists of 33 credit hours and emphasizes organizational employment along with further education at a doctoral level.
- Southern New Hampshire University – This Master of Science in Psychology program consists of 36 credit hours and has three areas of specialization for students to choose from. The program is offered fully online and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The program prepares students for work as a clinician but the curriculum does not lead to direct licensure.
- National University – This Master of Arts degree is 100% online and concurrently prepares students for clinical practice and further education at a doctoral level. The program has two tracks including the general psychology and sexual fluidity specialization. This program is WASC accredited and consists of a 30-credit-hour curriculum that can be completed in two years.
- Baylor University – Baylor offers a Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology that consists of four degree plans for students to choose from depending on specialty interests. The program is offered in person and consists of 30 credit hours along with the completion of a master’s thesis. This program emphasizes training for further education at a doctoral level with high involvement in academic research.
- Capella University – This Master of Science degree in Psychology is a clinically focused program that emphasizes training in experiential settings. The program is 100% online with five specialization courses to choose from. The curriculum consists of 48 credit hours including the specialization and integrative project. The institution offers other graduate programs in psychology that are COAMFTE and CACREP accredited.
- Pepperdine University – This university offers a Master of Arts degree in psychology, preparing students for work as a clinician and further education at a doctoral level. The program is offered in person and online. This program is typically completed in 1.5 to 2 years and is perfect for working professionals as students can take courses at a pace they are comfortable with. This program is WASC accredited.
- New York University – The Master’s program in Mental Health Counseling prepares students for licensure upon graduation. The program takes 21 months to complete (seven semesters). The program is heavily clinically focused and emphasizes practicum training in community sites.
- Arizona State University – ASU offers a Master of Science degree in psychology that emphasizes human behavior, cognition, emotion, and attitudes. The program is offered online and has an emphasis on clinical training to prepare students for licensure upon graduation. The curriculum consists of 36 credit hours and has 12 classes to complete the program.
- Our Lady of the Lake University – This 100% online Master of arts degree in Counseling integrates a specialization in clinical mental health counseling. The program consists of a 60-credit-hour curriculum and takes 3.5 years to complete and prepares students for licensure upon graduation. The program has an emphasis on clinical training and prepares students for a career in mental health.
- University of West Alabama – The Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling consists of a 60-credit-hour curriculum and is also offered online. Students are prepared for licensure upon graduation and can complete other specialty programs in special education in conjunction with their current degree.
- Colorado Christian Univerisity – This program is 100% online and is CACREP accredited. The Master of Arts program in Mental Health Counseling prepares students for licensure and consists of a 60-credit-hour curriculum. Students can complete the degree in as little as 2.5 years.
- Sacred Heart University – The Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a two-year program that consists of a 60-credit-hour curriculum and is offered in flexible online formats. The program is geared towards preparing students for licensure and clinical practice. The program is CACREP accredited, doesn’t require the GRE for entry, and is on track to prepare students for licensure upon graduation.
- University of Pheonix – The University of Pheonix offers a Master of Science degree in Psychology that consists of a 36-credit-hour curriculum and can be completed in 18 months. The coursework is offered online and has a flexible schedule available. This program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission but does not have a track for students to prepare for specific licensure in the field as it is a general degree.
- University of Arizona – The Master of Arts degree in psychology is offered completely online and can be taken in accelerated 6-week courses. The program is WASC-accredited and prepares students for a clinical career upon graduation. The curriculum consists of 36 credit hours, students can typically graduate in two years, and does not require the GRE for entry.
- The University of Oregon – UO offers an online Masters in Psychology that consists of 49 credit hours and can be completed in two and a half to three years. Students are trained for professional employment and further education at a doctoral level.
- Nova Southeastern University – The Master of Science degree in Psychology prepares students for practice in the field as well as a doctoral education in Psychology. The program is not clinically focused and consists of 30 credit hour coursework with a 9 credit hour specialization track, one of which is applied health science.
- Washburn University – This university offers a Master of Arts degree that is specifically designed to prepare students for licensure in Kansas. The program has an emphasis on clinical practice and offers students support in establishing and maintaining practicum sites. The curriculum consists of 60 credit hours and meets the state requirements for the licensure process.
- Purdue University – Purdue offers a Master of Science degree that takes a scientist-practitioner approach to psychology. Students are encouraged to be involved in academic research and are offered four concentration areas. This program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and prepares students for clinical practice and further education.
- Murray State University – The Master of Arts degree in general experimental psychology or clinical psychology, involves education and training in clinical work and preparation for further education at a doctoral level. Both programs have a thesis requirement, do not include the GRE as an entry requirement, and are accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).
What Will I Learn?
As you embark on your graduate degree journey, it is important to know what areas of coursework you will be completing as a part of the program. In psychology, the general requirements for most accredited programs and state licensure consist of similar courses. Highlighted below are those areas.
- Human growth and development – The stages of human intellectual, social, and emotional development and the psychological theories of development as it pertains to psychological practice.
- Abnormal human behaviors – Understanding of the patterns of dysfunctional human behavior and social disorganization. Competence in the assessment of dysfunctional patterns of behavior.
- Assessment techniques – Competence in understanding the concepts, procedures, and assessment of individuals’ attitudes, aptitudes, achievements, interests, and personality characteristics using test instruments and non-testing procedures.
- Counseling theories – understanding of the development of psychological counseling theories and contemporary approaches to counseling. Modalities of counseling with individuals of different demographics, and counseling within groups.
- Research – Methods of research and conducting effective academic research within the field. The completion of a thesis project or a statistics course of study.
- Lifestyle and career development – theories of vocational and career development, educational information, and theories driving career choices and counseling.
- Cultural, social, and family issues – studies of change, ethnic groups, gender studies, family systems, population, cultural patterns, differing lifestyle changes, and associated issues.
- Professional orientation – Comprehensive understanding of professional organizations, code of ethics at a state and national level, legal aspects of practice, standards of preparation, legal and ethical obligations, standards, and limitations within the field of psychology. Role identity as a practitioner within the field as a provider of direct psychological services.
- Training – completion of required clinical training hours per state requirements.
Career Opportunities with a Masters in Psychology
In comparison to a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree opens up a myriad of opportunities for personal and professional development. Individuals can work in administration, social services, case management, academia, business, public relations, and, most commonly, clinical services. Most individuals pursuing a graduate degree in psychology either want to practice as a clinician providing mental health services or use it as a stepping stone to further education at a doctoral level to pursue a career in healthcare, research, or academia.
With a Master’s degree, one can practice as a clinician in a variety of settings including schools, private practice, in-patient and outpatient clinics, community mental health services, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and government settings. As a master’s level clinician, you have the ability to climb the ranks and explore a variety of specialized opportunities as you further your career.
As we progress in society, there is a growing demand for awareness and accessibility of mental health services across the board. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth in jobs for mental health professionals is expected to be at 11%, which is much higher than the average for other professions. The pay range for mental health counselors annually is $30,870 to $77,980. The median wage nationally is $48,520. It is also projected that there will be approximately 43,600 job openings for mental health counselors in the next decade.
Deciding to commit to a graduate degree is a huge undertaking, and knowing if this move would be the right fit for you takes significant consideration. Individuals that thrive in the field of psychology have been found to show trends in work values and styles that help them personally and professionally.
Work values common to successful individuals include the ability to form and maintain relationships with co-workers and clients. To be of service and collaborate with several individuals in working towards a common goal. Individuals also value achievement where they constantly have the drive to work efficiently and maintain competence within their scope of practice. Individuals value independence and feeling a sense of confidence in making independent decisions, and being able to utilize creativity in problem-solving.
Some work styles common to professionals in the field include a genuine concern for others, where individuals are sensitive to the needs of others, helping them be of service and a team player. Higher stress tolerance and self-control are integral to success on the job, given the unpredictable nature of working in mental health. Also, most jobs are in fast-paced, high-stress environments that require quick decisions and the ability to accept criticism. Individuals value and require integrity at all times as a mental health professional, where it is expected to uphold the ethical and legal obligations, rules, and expectations of the field. Social orientation enables professionals to be adaptable to a variety of work environments where they are able to form connections and relationships with other professionals, have multi-disciplinary consultations, and have good client relationships.
Given all the resources and information in this article about what to look for in a graduate program, the expectations within a master’s program, opportunities as a professional in psychology, and personal and professional attributes that help you thrive in the field, you may have a better understanding if this field is the right fit for you. Mental health and psychology are fascinating yet demanding fields to be a part of, however, one is guaranteed to feel an unmatched sense of purpose and fulfillment within it.
No GRE-Required Alternatives To A Masters in Psychology
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) can be a challenging exam to prepare for and take. The upfront time needed to dedicate to studying, in addition to the costs associated with study materials and, at times, tutoring, can add a burden of stress that potential students don’t need prior to enrolling in a full-time graduate degree program. For those looking to avoid taking the GRE, in addition to the programs included on this page, the following are links to no gre required MFT programs, masters in counseling programs with no GRE, and no gre required msw programs.