How Much Does a Psychology Degree Cost?

Gina L | January 10, 2010

You will embark on a career as a psychologist after pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to gain the education and training needed to understand human behavior. A doctorate degree typically is required for psychologists to work in an independent practice and most frequently earned in a five-year program, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The median annual tuition in doctoral programs offered by public schools for in-state residents was $6,819, while nonresidents paid more than double the amount at $16,334, according to an American Psychological Association survey of 2007-2008 tuition costs by 293 U.S. psychology departments and 25 Canadian departments. The breakdown comes to $309 per credit hour for in-state residents in U.S. public schools and $704 per credit hour for non-residents in public university settings. In-state students at public institutions paid one-fourth of the costs of state residents at private schools, the APA found. Nonresidents at public schools paid 64 percent of the tuition paid by nonresidents attending a private school.  

Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree Costs
You will find the same types of tuition differences when pursuing a master’s degree in psychology. These are often structured as a two-year program that will allow you to work as industrial-organizational psychologists or as psychological assistants in a research setting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

State residents in public doctoral departments with a master’s program paid $6,013, with tuition doubling to $15,567 for nonresidents (based on an APA survey of 2007-2008 tuition costs from 355 U.S. departments and 21 Canadian departments). The hourly breakdown: a median of $288 per credit hour for state residents in public U.S. institutions compared to $694 per credit hour for nonresidents.

State residents in public master’s departments (with a master’s being the highest degree granted) was $4,590 in 2007-2008, doubling to $10,532 for nonresidents, according to the APA. The hourly breakdown: a median of $272 per credit hour for state residents in public U.S institutions compared to $498 per credit hour for non-residents.

In-state residents at public schools paid about one-third of the tuition paid by their counterparts at private institutions in the U.S. while nonresidents at public schools paid 85 percent of their counterparts at private schools. Financial assistance is available through teaching assistantships, research assistantships, traineeships, and fellowships/scholarships.

Bachelor’s degree in psychology costs vary depending on the type of institution and residency and are not tracked by the APA. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree can find employment in community mental health centers, vocational rehabilitation offices, and correctional programs as well as areas such as sales, service, and business management, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you pursue a degree from a traditional colleges and universities, you could pay the average $7,020 annual tuition from a public four-year school and $26,273 annual tuition from a private four-year school, according to College Board data.   

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