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How to Take Advantage of Fully Funded Psychology Master’s Programs

5 minute read

By Lesley Harrison

Earning a master’s degree in psychology can unlock many doors when starting a career in the field. In the U.S., the average cost of a master’s degree is between $30,000 and $40,000, although some prestigious universities charge even more than that.1

Studying abroad or getting a scholarship can greatly reduce that cost, allowing would-be psychologists to graduate without the burden of student debt.

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What Is a Fully Funded Master’s Program?

Fully funded psychology master’s programs cover the cost of tuition for the student, helping them avoid student debt. In addition to this, the program also offers a stipend that the student can use to cover the cost of living expenses. The stipend frees the student from having to work part-time while studying, giving them the opportunity to concentrate on their examinations or dissertation. Many universities offer fully funded programs for students based on academic merit and financial need.

How to Find Fully Funded Psychology Master’s Programs

Psychology master’s programs are in high demand, so it’s hard to find ones that are truly fully funded. Students who earned particularly good grades in their undergraduate program are more likely to have a chance at earning a scholarship. There are many scholarship search tools that can help would-be students find programs they’re eligible for.2 In addition to using these tools, it’s worth speaking to the alumni network at the university where you earned your bachelor’s degree.

The Best Psychology Master’s Programs Offering Funding

Several universities in the United States and abroad offer funding for qualified psychology students. The eligibility criteria differ depending on the university, with some scholarships targeted at specific demographics, while others focus on academic merit or students who are facing economic hardship. Would-be students should look for scholarship and funded program options that match their circumstances. Universities carefully vet applicants, so it’s important to be truthful and not waste time applying for opportunities that aren’t a good match.

1. Illinois State University

Illinois State University offers a fully funded scholarship program in Clinical Psychology. Tuition fee waivers and funding programs are highly competitive, and the entry criteria for the course are rigorous. Students have the option of enrolling in an internship alongside their studies, and the university can also recommend other sources of financial support for students who do not qualify for a scholarship. It restricts some support programs to residents of Illinois, but out-of-state or international students may still be able to get help to cover the cost of their studies.3

2. Fulbright Foreign Student Scholarship Program

The Fulbright program for foreign students covers the cost of studies at a variety of universities in the United States. The program is aimed at master’s and doctoral level studies and welcomes applications from students from more than 150 different countries worldwide. Each year, the program awards around 4,000 scholarships. The eligibility criteria vary depending on the student’s country of origin. The scholarship includes tuition fees, airfare and a stipend to cover the student’s living costs. This makes it one of the most generous programs available at the master’s degree level.4

3. Netherlands Government Scholarships 2023

The Netherlands government offers undergraduate scholarships for international (non-European Economic Area [EEA]) students who meet certain academic and IELTS criteria. The scholarship covers a variety of applied sciences courses at universities across the country. Students who live in an EEA country are not eligible for this scholarship but may be able to get tuition fee support through more traditional routes. A student can apply this scholarship to other university-specific scholarships or financial support programs. It covers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.5

4. Bond University Gold Coast Australia International Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships

The Bond University Gold Coast Australia International Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship is open to international students who can demonstrate strong academic performance. The scholarship is only partially funded, but it covers a significant portion of the cost of tuition fees, and students can supplement it with other opportunities to take care of living expenses. The university accepts applicants for several subjects, including Psychology at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. Successful students will receive help with visa applications.6

5. Open University MSc in Psychology

The Open University is a U.K. university that accepts international applicants in some cases. Eligible British students can receive a government-subsidized loan for their studies. In Scotland, a grant may cover tuition fees. In addition to this, there are maintenance loans, as well as hardship grants available to cover a portion of the cost of things such as laptops and other equipment related to studying, transportation, and childcare. Grants are non-repayable, and payments on loans do not start until the learner’s income exceeds a certain threshold.7

How to Apply for a Fully Funded Master’s Program

Entry into scholarships or funded programs can be incredibly competitive. Before applying, it’s a good idea to:

Other Support for Your Psychology Master’s Degree

In addition to funded programs, students may qualify for support in other areas. The United Kingdom offers student loans, subsidized by the government, for eligible learners. Scotland gives learners the chance to study tuition-free for their first degree if they’re from Scotland or a European Union (EU) country.8 In America, the VA offers support for former service people and their immediate families, which may offset the cost of studying for a degree. Grant-finding tools can help would-be students find support in their country.

Part-time Psychology Master’s Degrees

Many people who are studying for a master’s degree in psychology are mature students who already have a career. For these students, distance learning may be an option. Studying via an institution such as the Open University allows learners to complete their master’s degree part-time while working. This usually means taking two years to complete the course, but it may give the student the chance to earn some valuable experience in mental health, counseling or business while they study.

Next Steps After a Master’s in Psychology

After completing a master’s degree in psychology, many people work in academia, clinical psychology or counseling, depending on their specializations. Those who would prefer to continue their studies have the option of progressing to a doctoral qualification, and there are fully funded study options at this level, too. Psychology is a vast field, and while master’s degrees are highly specialized, there are still many opportunities for further learning for those who are interested in the subject.