Graduate Programs in Social Psychology Online

Online Social Psychology Graduate Programs enable students to conveniently study the dynamics of social behavior. Graduate students who pursue a degree in social psychology online often research into crucial concerns in the modern world. Things such as what drives stereotypes, bullying, criminal activity, substance abuse and conformity.

written by Rana Waxman

Types of Online Social Psychology Graduate Programs

Interested students could find online Social Psychology Graduate Programs at all levels: Masters, Doctorate and Certificate. Each program could provide a deeper look at individual behavior in group contexts as well as group behavior and issues related to interactions.

Curriculums for social psychology online programs are feature a dynamic mix of course topics. Students might learn social theories, basic and applied research methods, and practices used in the field of personality and social psychology.

Social psychology is the study of how individuals affect and are affected by other people and by their social and physical environments. i

Application Information for Online Social Psych Programs

Applicants to online social psychology programs generally need to have a minimum of a Bachelors degree, earned through an accredited institution. The precise major and acceptable GPA are variables.

Ultimately, programs have their own standards and criteria for admission. Each prospective student may want to explore those articulated by programs of interest.

What is Social Psychology?

Social Psychology is the branch of psychology that uses science to answer questions about why and how individuals think, feel, and act. It aims to uncover how people affect and are shaped by other people and by their social and physical environments.

Online Social psychology research topics explore many issues that relate to key questions. “Why do people do what they do and feel how they feel?” Therefore, they often revolve around things such as social influence, social perception, and social relationships.

Take a look below at some potential topics to keep an eye out for in online Social Psychology Graduate Programs. Then read through programs to select one that might align with your interests, research and professional goals.

  • Social cognition: How do people store, process and apply social information? Courses might discuss schemas and mental short-cuts
  • Attitudes: Why do people act aggressively or engage in violent behavior? Students might look at social variables, media influences and how people learn
  • Prosocial behavior: Why are some people bystanders and others altruistic? Topics could examine motives and intention
  • Prejudice: What makes us discriminate? Themes could include perception, sex roles, gender, social identity and stereotypes
  • The Self and Social Identity: How do people come to know and understand themselves? Key topics could span self-esteem, self-expression, and self-awareness
  • Group Behavior: Why do groups behave differently than individuals? Important matters such as conflict, leadership and decisions might be examined
  • Social Influence: What role does social influence have on decisions? Crucial concepts could include persuasion, conformity and obedience
  • Interpersonal Relationships: What role do relationships have in the formation of behavior, attitude and emotions? Topics of interest could include attraction and love

Online Social Psychology Masters Programs

Online Masters in Social Psychology could award either a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degree. Degree plans vary, but often require students to complete about 36 credits. Full-time students might need about 2 years to earn their degree.

For some students, a masters degree in Social Psychology might serve as a platform to a doctoral degree and licensure as a professional psychologist.iiFor this reason, one could find graduate schools that roll a masters into a PhD or PsyD program.

In these cases, it serves as the first two years of a 4 to 6 year doctoral degree. Along the way, a conferred MA or MS in social psychology could allow graduates to pursue assistant-based roles in research under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist. i

An online MA or MS in Social Psychology could also prove a valuable asset on its own. Students could build a knowledge base, an incisive point of view and the ability to think critically. Below are a few examples from partner schools that show the variety of program choices at the Masters level.

Online Master of Science in Psychology: Social Psychology

A MS in Social Psychology online program might help students learn to use the lens of social psych to examine both social cognitions and (group) social behavior. Students might consider how knowledge of the suggested topics below might be used to effect positive social change.

  • Perceptions and Attitudes
  • Relationships and Attraction
  • Motivation
  • Prejudice and Aggression
  • Conformity and Obedience

Curriculums typically stack a wide array of topics with research design, theory and methods. A course in data analysis and statistical software could provide the framework for a final required project. The final project is typically a synthesis of knowledge and skills gleaned from coursework.

Core courses might include the psychology of personality. Learners might study some of the major theories of personality (E.g. behaviorist, psychoanalytic) as well as personality assessment approaches.

Other courses might offer insight into cultural and social behaviors, attitudes and intergroup relations. Intergroup relations deals with issues such as social identity, minority and majority influence, language, conflict and cooperation.

Online Master of Science in Clinical Psychology: Sex Therapy

An online MS in Clinical Psychology with a focus in sex therapy could help graduates who want to work with issues that present as sexual difficulties.

Some programs may help prepare students to pursue other credentials. For instance, students who meet eligibility may gain the required education to pursue certification as a sex therapist. This is usually granted through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (ASSECT).iii

At the same time, this type of masters degree could prepare students for graduate work at the doctoral level. Either way, if one of these is what you want to plan for, make sure to check into other requirements you may need along the way.

Curriculums for a MS in Sex Therapy could cover core theories in counseling, psychotherapy and psychopathology. Additional required courses typically expand on tests, measurements and research methods.

For the emphasis in sex therapy, students often study clinical interventions for various issues and may take a class about psychological testing. Other course topics could focus on human sexuality and multi-cultural issues.

Online Master of Arts in Psychology: Gender Diversity

An online MA in Psychology with a focus in gender diversity could help students learn key theories of psychology and human growth through the lifespan.

Degree plans could first cover foundational psychology courses. In these courses, students might discuss standards of practice, state licensure and practice regulations, research requirements, and professional ethics codes.

Students might also take a course in research design. This could include quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods styles to psychological research. Through this type of course, students could hone their ability to write scholarly papers and conduct literature reviews. Both of these skills are typically put to use in a final project.

For the emphasis in gender diversity, students may be required to devote about 18 credits to a series of compulsory topics.

  • Personality Theories
  • Psychology of Sex and Sexuality
  • Psychology of Gender
  • Gender Variance
  • LGBTQ Affirmative Psychology

Online Social Psychology PhD Programs

An online PhD in Social Psychology is the highest degree in social psych research. Students could develop broad and deep insight as they work to contribute original knowledge to an area of interest.

In some universities, social psychology is offered as an area of emphasis in a PhD in Psychology program. Students might learn to apply their knowledge of social and personality theories to conduct research into key areas such as social cognition, attitudes, interpersonal processes, and group dynamics.

Degree completion plans could include electives, core courses, and a hefty focus on statistics, analysis, research design and research methods. Students typically learn which type of research strategy to use to test their hypothesis and take supportive classes to help them write a final dissertation.

Most social psychology online PhD include a class in social cognition. This generally covers the key elements of how people develop attributes and come to understand themselves. Social cognition also relates to themes such as schema theory, biases, person memory, and attitudes.

Students might also take a course in personality psychology to develop a sense of how traits, thoughts and emotions are formed, as well as how to assess personality scientifically. Other courses might expand on topics similar to the ones listed below.

  • Contemporary Models of Attitudes
  • Mental Health
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • Group Socialization
  • Advanced Social Psychology

Online Social Psychology Graduate Certificates

An online Graduate Certificate in Social Psychology could provide a short series of courses targeted to a single topic such as coaching or pedagogy.Students take graduate level classes but without the length and full curriculum of a Masters degree.

Solution Focused Coaching: An online Graduate Certificate Program in Solution Focused Coaching may require 15 credit hours. (five courses). Coaching is a brief and goal-oriented alternative to psychotherapy.

Students who decide to continue their studies may be able to apply some of these credit hours toward a MS, PhD, DMFT in Family Therapy, if accepted into the program.

Coursework often stacks professional development with practical techniques and theories. Students might learn about patterns of communication and the various types of personalities and behaviors.

A course in human development could cover the stages of the individual life cycle, and of the family life cycle, in cultural context as well as therapy techniques geared to these stages.

Certificate in Social/Emotional Development: An online Graduate Certificate in Certificate in Social/Emotional Development could target educators who want to help their students develop key social and emotional skills.

Often just 15 credits, current educators could learn a variety of help-oriented techniques and mindfulness. The aim of the courses is to help teachers work with students. For instance, to help them improve their ability to solve problems, manage their self-concepts and build relationship and social awareness skills.

Why Study Social Psychology Online?

Online Social Psychology Graduate Programs typically make use of a web based platform to deliver potentially interactive and engaging course content. Formats do vary, but are often a really great way for at-work students to access higher education.

Some schools may use a modular system where students progress at their own pace. These are often very flexible, as students really decide when, where and how fast they want to move through the material.

There are also programs where students follow with a cohort. These usually have recorded material that may be derived from live lectures. Students still commonly access courses at their own pace, log in when they are able, and study from laptop, home computer or mobile device.

Of course, deadlines may have to be met and many schools work to keep online learners motivated through group chat, online discussions and instructor feedback.

In terms of resources, many grad schools have online libraries, databases and research tools. Some may even have inter-library loan systems in place. Prospective e-learners may also be paired with an enrollment counselor and academic advisor.

Don’t be too surprised if your online social psychology degree program entails a brief residency from time to time. These are usually scheduled into the course of study. The goals of an on-campus visit vary but are typically for the student’s benefit.

  • Orientation
  • Integrate Course Content
  • Research Skill Development
  • Professional Development
  • Team Building

How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Psychologist?

The length of time it takes each student to achieve their goals could vary. A doctoral degree is typically required to pursue a career as a research social psychologist. iiIn most cases, a masters degree in social psychology takes approximately 2 years (full-time) to complete. A PhD might take 4-6 years longer than a Masters.

Choose an Online Graduate Program in Social Psychology

It’s simple to choose and apply to online Social Psychology Graduate Programs. Just choose the level of social psychology online degree – Masters, PhD, Certificate. Read through details, then right away, fill out an on-page form to contact the sponsored schools.

[i] | [ii] | [iii]

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