Master's Degrees in Psychology in California

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Updated January 4, 2023

Looking for the best Master's Degree in Psychology in California? You should consider these top-tier graduate programs and jobs in the psychology field.

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Master's Degrees in Psychology in California

Earning a Master's Degree in Psychology in California

Students looking for the best degrees in California for psychology should consider accredited schools. These colleges and universities offer a wide variety of online learning opportunities. You can prepare for work in diverse fields with a master's degree. There are many benefits to earning a master's degree in order to advance your career.

Individuals with a master's degree earn approximately $1,574 per week. This equates to roughly $6,296 per month or $81,848 per year. Those with a master's degree face 2.6% unemployment, while those with a high school diploma have an unemployment rate of 6.2%.

Psychology Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in California in the Psychology Profession

A psychology degree program is an educational program that helps you learn more about yourself and the world. This includes learning how to think critically and improve your communication skills. There are many different fields of study within psychology, including clinical psychology and forensic psychology. You will learn about the social sciences and biology while completing a degree in psychology. You could also specialize in a particular area such as research or therapy.

The median salary in California is $47,920 annually or $23.04 per hour. This number applies to all of the state's employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the lowest-earning 10% of people make $29,780 annually, and the highest 10% make $130,430 a year. An example of the earnings of a psychologist is presented below.

Key

Psychologists in California
Psychologists Nationally
All Occupations in California
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Psychologists in California and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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MERIC ranks California as number 15 out of 51 states (including Washington D.C.) on its cost of living index. The index measures the average cost of living in specific states against the cost of living nationwide. Based on a U.S. average of 100, all locations within the country are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive) the average. The cost of living index for California is 139.8, which is 39.8% higher than the national average. Compare the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, and more in California.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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A 2% growth rate is projected for the psychology profession over the next decade. The BLS projects an increase in the total employment in the field from 55,200 in 2020 to 56,300 in 2030. Most degrees are required for these positions. The following are typical job titles:

Master's Degrees in Psychology in California

#1 Master’s Degrees in Psychology in California

Stanford University

  • Stanford, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in psychology at Stanford University offers high academic quality. The master of arts in psychology program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a degree in psychology or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. On-campus students benefit from the library and gym facilities provided by many institutions. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

Stanford University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 4%

Total Online Master's Programs: 11

Program Name: Master of arts in psychology

Graduate Tuition In State: $52,479

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $52,479

Average Tuition
In-state
$55,473
Out-of-state
$55,473
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
5%
Students Enrolled
15,953
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 Master’s Degrees in Psychology in California

University of California-Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The online master's degree in psychology at the University of California-Los Angeles offers high academic quality. The master's in psychology program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in psychology. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. Applicants with a background in psychology typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for use by students living on campus. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

University of California-Los Angeles at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 12%

Total Online Master's Programs: 1

Program Name: Master's in psychology

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,442

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,544

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
14%
Students Enrolled
44,589
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#3 Master’s Degrees in Psychology in California

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California offers an online master's in psychology. The master of science in applied psychology program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of psychology. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. The master's program recommends that applicants bring a background in psychology or a related field.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like the library or gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

University of Southern California at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 11%

Total Online Master's Programs: 55

Program Name: Master of science in applied psychology

Graduate Tuition In State: $46,272

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $46,272

Average Tuition
In-state
$59,260
Out-of-state
$59,260
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
16%
Students Enrolled
46,287
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Master’s Degrees in Psychology in California

University of California-San Diego

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The University of California-San Diego, located in La Jolla, offers a flexible online master's in psychology. The MA in psychology program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with a background in psychology typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for use by students living on campus. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

University of California-San Diego at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 31%

Program Name: MA in psychology

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,442

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,544

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
39,576
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 Master’s Degrees in Psychology in California

University of California-Davis

  • Davis, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The University of California-Davis offers an online master's in psychology. The MA in psychology program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of psychology. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The master's program recommends a background in psychology or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for use by students living on campus. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

University of California-Davis at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 39%

Program Name: MA in psychology

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,442

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,544

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
46%
Students Enrolled
39,074
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Financing a Master's Degree in Psychology

Many degree-seekers use financial aid to cover costs. Many opportunities for financial aid help students lower the cost of a degree. Some students qualify to receive federal and private student loans to pay for college. A college's financial aid office is a great resource for applicants who need help determining their financial aid options.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in California

Depending on the institution, college costs in California vary. However, there are some similarities that exist among both public and private institutions. The information below will assist you in determining whether attending a public institution is right for you.

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average

Key

California
National Average

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The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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What are the benefits of attending a private university instead of a public one? There is generally a higher cost associated with private schools. However, the figure below shows the benefits of attending private colleges in California.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average

Key

California
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

Do you plan to borrow student loans to finance your education? When considering a loan, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

You can determine how much students typically borrow by looking at the data below.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
The cost and format of classes are two of the main differences between an online degree and an on-campus program. Online degree programs are flexible, affordable, and convenient. On-campus degrees are more costly on average because of student fees. For many students, the advantages of attending classes in person outweigh the disadvantages.

Top Psychology Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Bachelors, phD
Florida Bachelors, Masters, phD
Georgia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
Illinois Bachelors, Masters, phD
New York Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
North Carolina Bachelors, Masters, phD
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, phD
Washington Bachelors, Masters, phD

Private vs. Public

Private colleges and public colleges differ in many respects. To begin with, the cost of a public school is often less than that of a private school. The government determines the tuition costs for public institutions, and grants and scholarships are funded by the government to cover these costs. A private college often awards merit scholarships based on each student's previous academic performance.

Private colleges tend to have smaller classes, allowing students to connect with professors directly. Here are some pros and cons of attending a private versus a public institution.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

For psychologists in California, what is the salary?

Psychologists report a mean annual salary of $112,210 in California.

In today's environment, are psychology majors in demand?

The total number of psychologists is expected to increase by 2% from 2020 to 2030.

Are there any opportunities to study for a master's degree in psychology online?

A master's degree in psychology can be earned online. In today's environment, most schools offer some form of online education.

For a full-time student, how long does it take to complete a master's degree?

Typically, a master's degree takes two years to complete for a full-time student. The completion time will vary for part-time students, and the process generally takes longer to complete.

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