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Top Behavioral Psychology Schools: List of Top Schools

See which schools offering behavioral psychology degree programs rank most highly. Get information about schools and degree programs so that you can decide if one of them is right for you. View article »

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School Overviews

Behavioral psychology is the study of how people develop a tendency to act a certain way in response to specific conditions. The field integrates cognitive, developmental, experimental, physiological, and social psychologies. Programs in this field are usually offered at the doctoral level. Behavioral psychologists work in research, education, and clinical practice and investigate various mental issues, such as depression, anxiety disorders, developmental issues, and personality disorders. The three noteworthy schools profiled here provide training in the field, and they were highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report in its most recent rankings.

University of California at Los Angeles

UCLA's department of psychology features numerous research centers and institutes relevant to studies in behavioral psychology, such as the UCLA Baby Lab; the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development; and the Fernald Child Study Center.

UCLA was ranked as the school with the fourth best behavioral neuroscience psychology program by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. The psychology programs at UCLA are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The School of Psychology at the University of California - Los Angeles offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Neuroscience, which trains future educators, researchers, and professional psychologists to add to the total scientific knowledge in the field. Coursework includes neurophysiology, psychobiology of emotion and stress, behavior, genetics, and neuroimaging.

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

In addition to the graduate program in neuroscience through the psychology department, Yale offers an interdepartmental neuroscience program that draws together a diverse array of fields and researchers for a curriculum that covers all contemporary neuroscience research.

U.S. News & World Report named Yale, one of the oldest colleges in the U.S., as having the fourth best psychology program in 2013. The Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary program emphasizing research in the psychobiology of learning and memory. The APA accredits it and other programs in the psychology department. Classes include social cognition, cognitive science of pleasure, and addictions: etiology and treatment.

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Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

The graduate program focuses on three areas of study: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience, cognition and perception, and social/personality psychology. In 2013, Cornell was ranked #14 among schools with graduate programs in psychology by U.S. News & World Report. The department of psychology at Cornell University offers a Ph.D. in Psychology and students can choose to specialize their studies in behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience, cognition and perception, and social/personality psychology. Alternatively, students can also enroll in the more science-focused Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior program, which draws on diverse fields including molecular medicine, psychology, and biomedical engineering. The Department of Neurobiology and Behavior also provides courses and research opportunities for graduates.

Top Behavioral Psychology Programs

Here are some more schools that provide excellent behavioral psychology programs.

College/University Name Distinction Location
Indiana University at Bloomington Hosts the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic Bloomington, IN
Johns Hopkins University Home of the first psychological lab in America, established in 1883 Baltimore, MD
University of California at Irvine The Department of Psychology and Social Behavior hosts 13 research labs Irvine, CA
University of California at San Diego Ranked #1 for behavioral neuroscience among schools offering graduate psychology programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2013 La Jolla, CA
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Ranked #12 on the U.S. News & World Report list of top graduate psychology schools in 2013 Chapel Hill, NC
University of Virginia No terminal master's degree is offered; graduate students earn a master's degree as part of the Ph.D. program Charlottesville, VA
University of Washington Home to the Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Behavioral Research, and Therapy Clinics, and Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences Seattle, WA

Students who are interested in behavioral psychology can find programs in the field as well as specialization options within broader programs, most commonly at the graduate level.

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