Palo Alto University Online Master of Science in Psychology

Why Palo Alto University? 

This online Master of Science in Psychology  offered by this very small private university in Palo Alto, California. Students are not required to have completed any prerequisite coursework in their undergraduate program. No standardized test results are required for your application. Students are expected to have earned a minimum GPA of 3.3 in their undergraduate coursework. 

Program Snapshot

University Name Palo Alto University
Location Palo Alto
State California Grade none
Name of Degree Master of Science in Psychology
School or Department Administering Program N/A
Credits 25
Cost per credit $1,321.50
Tuition for Entire Program $33,037.50
Test Requirements none
Minimum GPA 3.3
Prerequisite Courses and Skills none
Campus Visit Required? depends on specialization
Typical Time to Complete 6 or 7 quarters
When Can Students Start the Program? Fall
Program Concentrations General, Forensic, PhD Prep, Tech and Mental Health
Synchronous classes yes
Required Courses
  • Research Methods and Statistics I, II and III
  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Psychopathology and Psychodiagnosis I and II
  • Social and Personality Psychology
  • Ethics in Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Bases of Behavior
  • Affective Bases of Behavior
Does the Program Include a Capstone? No
Does the program include a practicum or internship? No
Other Features that Make the Program Unique not approved to offer education to students in AL, AK, AR, CT, DE, DC, GA, IA, IN, KS, MD, MN, MO, NM, NY, ND, R, PR, RI, WI, WY; does not prepare students for licensure to practice clinical psychology; synchronous classes; transition to PhD program; designed for working professionals who are changing careers or pursuing advancement in their field; courses delivered in evening; way to ramp up for rigor of academic work; supports career advancement in fields that require social science research capability and an understanding of human behavior; degree that can be applied to careers in human services and related non-profit causes, publishing, technology, assisting in psychological research, teaching at the community college level, or other professions and businesses
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program)
  • Ability to conduct research in psychology including research methods and statistics
  • Knowledge of psychopathology
  • Ability to behave ethically as a psychology professional
  • Knowledge of psychological science including human development, psychological history and systems, affective and biological bases of behavior, social psychology, theories of personality, and psychopharmacology
Program Description .The program’s 25 credits can be completed within 6 or 7 quarters, and includes neither capstone nor internship. Students can specialize in one of four concentration areas: General, Forensic, PhD Prep, Tech and Mental Health. Students are equipped with foundational knowledge in psychological concepts as well as skills in quantitative research.

What will I Learn?

This program introduces students to fundamental concepts in psychological science including human human development, psychological history and systems, affective and biological bases of behavior, social psychology, theories of personality, and psychopharmacology. Students gain skills and techniques necessary for rigorous research in the field of psychology, including statistics and other quantitative approaches.  

Students begin the program by studying foundational topics in courses such as Child and Adolescent Development, Adult Development and Aging, Psychopathology and Psychodiagnosis I and II. Students deepen their understanding through coursework in Social and Personality Psychology, Ethics in Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Bases of Behavior and Affective Bases of Behavior. Students gain fundamental skills while taking Research Methods and Statistics I, II and III. 

Students can choose to specialize in one of the following concentrations: General, Forensic, PhD Preparation, Tech and Mental Health. Forensic psychology is the application of psychological approaches and skills to the legal arena, primarily through the psychological assessment of individuals involved with the legal system, such as suspected criminals. Students focus on the interaction between humans and technology in the Tech and Mental Health concentration, examining problems that can arise from technology use as well as the role of technology in society.

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within 6 or 7 quarters and pay $1,321.50 per credit for a total of 25 credits, or just over $33,000 for the entire degree.

How does the program fit into my life?

Courses are synchronous, meaning that students attend “live” class sessions online each week at a scheduled time. Students in some specializations will be required to come to campus for short visits. Students complete the program within 6 or 7 quarters. Students can enter the program in the Fall semester every year. Because the curriculum employs a lockstep approach, in which every student in a cohort completes the very same courses in the same order, this program has less freedom than peer programs.


In contrast to many other peer programs, this program offers neither a capstone nor an internship, and therefore will be attractive to applicants who would prefer to complete program requirements through coursework only. It is designed for students working in 9-5 jobs outside of school, as synchronous classes are offered in evenings only.  The program provides a pathway for students who wish to transfer to the in-person PhD program at the same institution. Applicants should be aware that this program is not approved for students in the following states: AL, AK, AR, CT, DE, DC, GA, IA, IN, KS, MD, MN, MO, NM, NY, ND, R, PR, RI, WI, WY. While the program does not prepare students for clinical psychology practice,  it supports advancement for applicants pursuing careers in the social sciences and in other fields such as business.

Applicants should be informed that this program follows a lockstep cohort curriculum format and is highly structured. This approach lowers time spent on administration and logistics and gives students the chance to get to know their peers, but it may not be the best solution for those who are unsure of their educational aspirations. The program offers excellent options while being more pricy than many of its competitors.