Training in Educational Psychology: 22 Master’s & Online Degrees

Training in educational psychologyEducational psychology is complex, challenging, and yet fascinating, requiring in-depth knowledge of multiple, interdisciplinary fields.

Practitioners engage in the theory, methodology, and application of their skills to a “broad spectrum of teaching, training and learning issues” and have the ability to apply the scientific method to education (Harris, 2018).

The educational psychologist’s mission is to employ psychological skills and techniques in education, improving teaching and learning in schools, workplaces, and beyond (Harris, 2018).

This article explores the training available to become an educational psychologist and increase your knowledge of the skills, theories, and tools for associated learning roles.

Before you continue, you might like to download these three Positive Psychology Exercises for free. These science-based exercises explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology, including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.

Qualifications Needed

Educational psychologists rely on multiple skills to perform evidence-based research leading to practical and helpful outcomes (American Psychological Association, 2020).

Educational psychologists are typically engaged in one or more of the following roles (Psychology.org, 2021):

  • Identifying successful approaches to student learning and retention
    Using expertise to form a complete picture of a learning institution’s needs, the educational psychologist works with staff to develop programs appropriate to the environment.

  • Educating teaching staff on how to implement tailored programs
    Teachers may need support and training to incorporate new approaches and programs into existing curriculum.

  • Psychometric testing and assessment
    Tests and assessments are highly effective methods of understanding and comparing learning methods that lead to educational reform.

  • Designing educational materials
    Designing and manufacturing effective learning materials and tools are vital aspects of successful education.

Students who wish to become educational psychologists must have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and sometimes, a doctorate in educational psychology. Next, finding an internship offers real-world experience and the chance to apply the theories learned (Psychology.org, 2021).

Educational psychologists must be licensed at the state level in the U.S. and meet the regional psychology licensing board’s requirements.

Becoming a nationally certified school psychologist shows that a you have met rigorous, nationally recognized education and training standards.

For more on that, read our related article discussing School Psychology and what the job description entails.

 

Top 10 Master’s & Bachelor’s Degree Opportunities

There are many opportunities to study educational psychology across the globe. We have included some of the most relevant and exciting bachelor’s and master’s degree programs below.

 

Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, MEd – University of Missouri–St. Louis, U.S.

Missouri

This master’s degree program offers students the opportunity to gain the knowledge and practical skills required to improve learning and behavior across multiple environments.

Courses can be selected and combined from educational psychology, research, technology, and evaluation methods to provide a tailored learning experience.

The program aims to ready students for an additional advanced degree in education or psychology and career advancement for teachers and other educators.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, MA – University of Arizona, U.S.

Arizona

This program provides specialized courses in teaching, learning, and foundational knowledge of concepts, theories, and educational psychology methods.

Specific areas of study include human cognition and problem solving, the psychology of teaching and learning, human development, and research methodology and measurement.

The goal is to prepare students for potential roles in government, education, and industry by offering a grounding in emerging psychological research and theory.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, MEd – Wichita State University, Kansas, U.S.

Wichita State University

Whether aiming to enhance an existing career or study toward a new one, this MEd in educational psychology offers a customizable program.

Several study programs are available, including general and higher education, student affairs, research, and healthcare. Study options are flexible and include in-person, online, or a combination thereof.

Students can work toward their degree with or without a thesis option, based on interests and career goals.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, MA – Marist College, New York, U.S.

marist

The master’s degree in educational psychology at Marist College meets the academic requirements of the New York State Professional Teacher certification.

There are two tracks available. Childhood education (grades 1–6) meets the application requirements for Professional Certification in Childhood Education, and adolescent education (grades 7–12) meets the requirements for Professional Certification in Adolescent Education.

All students complete and defend an electronic portfolio as part of their capstone project, using knowledge gained throughout the program.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s degree in Educational Psychology: Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation, MEd – University of Hawaii at Manoa, U.S.

Hawaii

This master’s program focuses on increasing students’ competence in educational inquiry, including human learning and development in education, measurement, evaluation, and applied statistics.

Specific courses include:

  • Human learning
  • Cognition and development
  • Statistics and measurement
  • Evaluation, research design, and methodology

Graduating students will be prepared for instruction and consultation at all education levels, as well as applied research in educational settings.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, MSc – University of Nevada, Las Vegas, U.S.

This program is suitable for students who want to achieve a core understanding of educational psychology, including research tools and skills required to succeed in various educational settings.

This master’s degree is invaluable for elementary, secondary, and special education teachers wishing to improve classroom skills, students wanting to continue with doctoral studies, and those planning to apply their skills in government and business settings.

The program can be tailored according to preferred specializations and is available with or without a thesis.

Find out more on their website.

 

Bachelor’s degree in Education and Psychology, BSc (Hons) – University of Lincoln, U.K.

Lincoln

This degree focuses on how children and young people learn and how to apply psychology to support a broader, more complete understanding of education.

Learning and teaching are explored through courses in philosophy, sociology, history, and psychology to understand how to shape and deliver education locally and globally.

Teaching takes place in small groups, workshops, and seminars, and all resources are made available through a virtual learning environment.

Find out more on their website.

 

Bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology, BSc (Hons) – Bath Spa University, U.K.

Bath

This multidisciplinary degree in educational psychology provides the opportunity to explore career options and professional identity through a work placement in the second year.

Areas of study include how we learn as individuals and groups, and how policy and practice can transform social justice and lives.

The program aims to explore and respect diversity while developing the skills needed for students to find employment or study further within educational psychology.

Find out more on their website.

 

 

Master’s degree in Psychology in Education, MSc – Cardiff Metropolitan University, U.K.

CardiffThis program offers an in-depth look at how psychological theory and research can apply to behavior and learning within education.

The British Psychological Society accredits this master’s degree, and it is ideal for those wishing to gain a greater knowledge of the application of psychology in education.

The goal is for students to finish with transferable skills for future study or employment, and courses combine numerical reasoning, communication skills, computer literacy, critical thinking and problem solving, project management, and teamwork.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s degree in Developmental and Educational Psychology, MSc – University College London, U.K.

This master’s degree delivers extensive research training in developmental and educational psychology and serves as a basis for doctoral study.

Students learn specialized research skills and develop a range of methodological approaches to conduct research within educational psychology.

Two compulsory modules include Advanced Quantitative Methods and Qualitative Data Analysis, and students can select others according to personal interests or future research inclinations.

Find out more on their website.

 

8 Best Programs and Departments Available

Below is a list of some of the best departments and programs available for studying educational psychology.

Several factors influenced their selection, including the content and ratings from independent organizations including the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, U.S. News, and other ranking sites.

Ultimately, the best degree will be the one that meets your needs, engages with your interests, and matches your financial and location considerations.

The following educational psychology departments include a selection of those ranked most highly by U.S. News. While many of them do not offer specific bachelor’s or master’s level study in educational psychology, they provide an exemplary education to a doctorate level and include educational psychology minors and/or concentrations.

 

Stanford Graduate School of Education, California, U.S.

Stanford

Stanford’s Graduate School of Education provides graduate training and research leading to a PhD.

Their goal is to promote theory and research to improve educational practice in education by focusing on the psychology of learning, teaching, development processes, learning environments, and technologies.

Find out more on their website.

 

University of Michigan School of Education, U.S.

School of education

The school aims to address educational problems and prepare practitioners, policy makers, and researchers to develop equitable educational opportunities.

They offer combined programs in education and psychology, minor degrees, and PhD opportunities.

Find out more on their website.

 

University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education, U.S.

They aim to enhance education-related theory and methodology while improving knowledge around the processes of learning and mental health in diverse education populations.

Master’s degrees and doctoral studies are available within the department.

Find out more on their website.

 

College of Education, Michigan State University, U.S.

Michigan

Michigan State’s College of Education is committed to promoting the study of human learning and development by nurturing conceptual, technical, and therapeutic perspectives.

There are multiple master’s degree and doctoral programs on offer, including educational psychology combined with technology, special education, and rehabilitation counseling.

Find out more on their website.

 

College of Education, University of Texas at Austin, U.S.

Texas

Their educational psychology department focuses on advancing our understanding of behavior in education, including human development, the psychology of education, and learning theory.

Courses are available as electives and as part of master’s degrees and doctoral programs.

Find out more on their website.

 

Outside the U.S., where dedicated educational psychology departments are less common, we have included several highly ranked undergraduate and master’s degrees.

 

Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in Education, BSc (Hons) – Loughborough University, U.K.

Knowledge and understanding of psychology are vital for helping children develop, learn, and fulfill their potential.

The degree builds core psychological knowledge and the skills needed to apply them in real-world educational settings. It can be completed either as a three-year degree or over four years, including a work-placement year.

The degree is an ideal foundation for postgraduate study or those wishing to work within an educational setting, and was ranked highly in the 2019 and 2020 Whatuni Student Choice Awards.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s in Psychology and Education, MEd/MPhil – University of Cambridge, U.K.

Cambridge

This master’s program is for those interested in understanding the psychological processes involved in learning and development through studying the latest innovative, cross-disciplinary research.

It is a valuable degree for those wishing to develop new skills and knowledge in critical analysis applied to education, learning, and human development. The master’s degree provides a basis for further study at the doctorate level or for students wishing to apply skills directly in an educational role.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s in Psychology: Learning Sciences – LMU Munich University, Germany

The Munich Center of Learning Sciences offers this accredited master’s degree as part of an interdisciplinary research program in the internationally emerging field of learning sciences.

This program is suited for students wishing to progress to a doctoral training program or apply their skills to educational institutions or businesses.

Find out more on their website.

 

4 Online Options

Many universities and training providers currently offer online programs in educational psychology at varying academic levels.

 

Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, Applied Cognition & Development, MEd – University of Georgia, U.S. (online)

Georgia

This exciting program combines applied cognition and developmental processes in education with educational psychology to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue careers in nonclinical educational, research, training, or military settings.

Secondary areas of focus include learning across the lifespan, qualitative approaches to education, development of high intellectual ability, and learning with technology.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s degree in Educational Psychology with a major in Learning and Cognition, MEd – Florida State University, U.S. (online)

Florida

The master’s degree in educational psychology with a major in learning and cognition is aimed at students who want to focus on learning, cognition, development, and group processes in multiple settings, including private enterprises, government, nonprofits, and the classroom.

Students can personalize the program to their needs and gain experience in internationally recognized research.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s in Educational Psychology, MA – Ball State University, Indiana, U.S. (online)

Ball State UniversityThis online MA offers a convenient, research-based curriculum aimed at education professionals and others interested in learning and human development. Specialties can be selected according to students’ interests and the skills needed for their career development.

The knowledge gained can move students forward to teach at an undergraduate level, design teacher training programs, work as development specialists, and pursue a doctorate.

Find out more on their website.

 

Master’s in Educational Psychology – Learning and Assessment, MA – University of Alabama, U.S. (online)

Alabama

This program will familiarize students with psychological theories involved in learning, educational assessment, and the evaluation process.

The program is designed for educators and non-educators, including those wishing to pursue a doctoral degree in educational psychology or become an educational specialist.

Find out more on their website.

 

PositivePsychology.com’s Relevant Resources

We have many resources and tools that can help create the right mindset for learning and the opportunity for growth.

  • Learning From My Work
    It can be helpful to learn from our performance in any situation, including education. Use this scale to see where your performance went well and how you could improve.

  • The Performance Goal Orientation and Learning Goal Orientation Scales
    Understand the reasons behind why you are striving to obtain competence in a task and whether you are driven by performance or learning goals.

  • 20 Guidelines for Developing a Growth Mindset
    Use these guidelines to start to see challenges as opportunities and develop a growth mindset.

  • Teaching a Growth Mindset
    Explore and explain a growth mindset to students using carefully selected videos, personal reflection, and group discussion.

  • Meditation Grounding Scripts for Children
    These grounding meditation scripts are written for children and can help them be open and ready for learning.

  • 17 Positive Psychology Exercises
    If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others enhance their wellbeing, this signature collection contains 17 validated positive psychology tools for practitioners. Use them to help others flourish and thrive.

If educational psychology is calling you, make a pit stop at our Educational Psychology Books, Interventions, and Apps article and stock up on good reading material and resources for the road ahead.

 

A Take-Home Message

Educational psychology is a complex, interdisciplinary field that requires students and professionals to gain a robust grounding in learning theory, research techniques, and appropriate tools and techniques.

It is about understanding and solving problems and applying appropriate theory and knowledge from psychology to education (Burnham & Phillips, 2019).

Through a deep understanding of learning and how the brain works, individuals can work in multiple contexts to “psychologize” educational experience, recognizing everyone’s input while concentrating on the students’ needs (Seifert & Sutton, 2010).

Theoretical concepts learned can be applied to students’ own learning and the practice of teaching and learning sciences.

This article contains a broad range of programs available, some of which are classroom based, while others are online. When considering each, it is crucial to form a picture of your needs as a student and your ultimate destination.

Choose the program that will capture your interests, take you to the next step in your path as an educational psychologist (or someone who will use the skills in a related field), and meet financial and location considerations.

We hope you have obtained great guidance from this brief article and will find the resources it contains useful. Don’t forget to download our free Positive Psychology Exercises.

If you wish to access more exercises, our Positive Psychology Toolkit© contains over 370 science-based positive psychology exercises, interventions, questionnaires, and assessments for practitioners to use in their therapy, coaching, or workplace.

  • American Psychological Association. (2020). Educational psychology. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.apa.org/about/division/div15
  • Burnham, S., & Phillips, N. (2019). What’s happening to education? Five lessons from educational psychology. KDP Publications.
  • Harris, K. R. (2018). Educational psychology: A future retrospective. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110(2), 163–173.
  • Psychology.org. (2021, March 5). How to become an educational psychologist. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.psychology.org/careers/educational-psychologist/
  • Seifert, K., & Sutton, R. (2010). Educational psychology (2nd. ed.). The Saylor Foundation. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Educational-Psychology.pdf

About the Author

Jeremy Sutton, Ph.D., is a writer and researcher studying the human capacity to push physical and mental limits. His work always remains true to the science beneath, his real-world background in technology, his role as a husband and parent, and his passion as an ultra-marathoner.

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