Psychology Degree: Top Ranked Psychology Program - Santa Ana, CA

The Santa Ana, CA, area has many schools with programs in psychology. Find the best program for you by reading about schools' rankings, program offerings, and tuition info.

School and Ranking Information

There are more than 20 schools within a 15-mile radius of Santa Ana that have psychology degree programs. The following schools are considered the top three based on school rankings, psychology degree options and quantity of degrees awarded in the field:

  • Winner: The University of California in Irvine has the top spot for its top-50 national rankings from U.S. News & World Report. It also awarded the most psychology degrees in 2011 and has the highest graduation rate of the top three schools.
  • Runner Up #1: California State University in Fullerton secures the first runner up spot due to it having the lowest tuition rates among these schools and awarding the second most number of psychology degrees in the 2011 school year.
  • Runner Up #2: Biola University, located in La Mirada, is at the third spot for its multiple degree levels in psychology offered, high demand for the field of study at the school and the high percentage of graduate students who secure internships.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of California - Irvine California State University - Fullerton Biola University
Rankings 30th among graduate psychology programs (2013)*,
49th among national universities (2014)*
35th for regional universities (West) in 2014* 177th among national universities (2013)*
Location Irvine, CA (7.3 miles from Santa Ana) Fullerton, CA (9.5 miles from Santa Ana) La Mirada, CA (14 miles from Santa Ana)
School Type Four-year, public Four-year, public Four-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $13,122 (undergraduate, in-state), $36,000 (undergraduate, out-of-state); $12,962 (graduate, in-state), $28,064 (graduate, out-of-state)** $6,195 (undergraduate, in-state), $17,853 (undergraduate, out-of-state); $7,461 (graduate, in-state), $17,007 (graduate, out-of-state)** $31,004 (undergraduate); $9,018 (graduate)**
Psychology Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees
Psychology Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 698** 476** 132**
Most Popular Psychology Program in 2011-2012 Bachelor's in Social Psychology (348 awarded)** Bachelor's in General Psychology (447 awarded)** Bachelor's in General Psychology (87 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2006 Entering Class 86%** 51%** 62%**
Noteworthy 14th for top public schools in 2014* 7th for top public schools in 2014* N/A

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: University of California - Irvine

  • Social psychology was fourth most popular major and general psychology was fifth in 2012, according to U.S. News & World Report
  • Students for Industrial-Organizational Psychology program helps prepare majors for their post-graduate life
  • Psi Chi honor society for psychology students has chapter on campus

The School of Social Ecology offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology and Social Behavior, in which students learn social, clinical, and developmental psychology through internships, research projects, and coursework. This school also provides a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology and Social Behavior program. It has specializations in behavioral disorders, social/personality psychology, and health or developmental psychology, to name a few. Students graduate with a foundation in theory and methodology, combined with an expertise in a chosen core area.

UCI's School of Social Sciences has a B.A. in Psychology that provides a foundation in general and experimental psychology. Through electives, students may focus on areas including research, sensory perception, learning deficits in children, and statistics. Additionally, the social sciences school administers a psychology Ph.D. program with or without a concentration in cognitive neuroscience. Required coursework includes quantitative and computational methods. A final written- and oral-based advancement test needs to be defended.

Runner-Up #1: California State University - Fullerton

  • Psychology was third most popular major in 2012, according to U.S. News & World Report
  • Psychology Department Student Association, Peer Mentors, and Psi Chi are some of the psychology organizations students can join

The Department of Psychology at CSUF has a 41-credit undergraduate major and 21-credit minor degree offering. Students in the B.A. in Psychology program can choose a concentration in such areas as child, clinical, cognitive, and industrial psychology. Required laboratory sessions cover topics like perception, animal behavior, and biopsychology.

CSUF offers two graduate programs in psychology. The Master of Arts (M.A). in Psychology prepares students for Ph.D. programs with a curriculum covering research and methodology. About 20 students each year are selected to pursue the Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Psychology, which offers a unique clinical training program. M.S. graduates can continue their education in doctoral programs or pursue licensing with Marriage and Family Therapist or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor credentials.

Runner-Up #2: Biola University

  • Psychology was Biola's fourth most popular major in 2012, according to U.S. News & World Report
  • The school says its graduate school of psychology has a 98% placement rate for internships
  • NCES showed in the 2011-2012 school year, 96% of first-time undergraduates received financial aid, which is the highest of the three profiled schools

Biola's Psychology Department has one undergraduate psychology program with eight areas of specialization. Some of the concentrations include health psychology, psychology and ministry, industrial/organizational psychology, family and child, and clinical/counseling.

Biola's American Psychological Association-accredited Rosemead School of Psychology offers Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and Ph.D. degree programs in clinical psychology. Students in the 133-hour programs are required to complete laboratory work, seminars, research, coursework in theology, and four years of residency. Students upon graduation also earn a minor in theology.


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