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Top Psychology Degree Program - Nashville, TN

Nashville, TN, has few 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 eleven schools that award psychology degrees within 50 miles of Nashville; eight of these schools are located within Nashville's city limits. The following schools are considered the top three of these eleven schools based on graduation rates, rankings and program variety:

  • Winner: Vanderbilt University earned first place due to the high ranking its graduate general and clinical psychology programs received by U.S. News and World Report. VU also had the highest graduation rate, the largest variety of programs and offered more opportunities to gain research experience than the other two top schools. Vanderbilt offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in psychology.
  • 1st Runner-up: Tennessee State University landed second place due to its low tuition. TSU also awarded the most general psychology degrees of the three schools. The school offers psychology degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.
  • 2nd Runner-up: Lipscomb University won third place for its new on-campus therapy center that offers the local community mental health counseling.*** Psychology is also one of the most popular majors at Lipscomb. The school offers bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology.

School Comparison Chart

Category Vanderbilt University Tennessee State University Lipscomb University
Rankings 17th among national universities (2013)*
14th among graduate clinical psychology programs nationwide (2012)*
30th among graduate psychology programs nationwide (2013)*
214th among graduate psychology programs nationwide (2013)* 19th among regional universities (South) in 2013*
Location Nashville, TN Nashville, TN Nashville, TN
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $42,118 (undergraduate), $41,896 (graduate)** $6,426 (in-state, undergraduate), $18,954 (out-of-state, undergraduate); $8,310 (in-state, graduate), $19,790 (out-of-state, graduate)** $24,754 (undergraduate), $17,437 (graduate)**
General Psychology Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees** Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees** Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-graduate certificates**
General Psychology Degrees Awarded (all levels) in 2011-2012 90** 119** 72**
Most Popular Psychology, General Program in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree (62 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (82 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (37 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2006 Entering Class 92%** 35%** 56%**
Noteworthy Freshmen live in 'The Commons', which has six LEED certified green dorms One of the highest graduation rates among historically black colleges*** Mission is to integrate Christian faith and practice with academic excellence

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator, ***School website

Winner: Vanderbilt University

  • Ranked 16th among best value schools in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report
  • Study abroad program offers over 100 direct-credit programs in 20 countries
  • The overall student-faculty ratio is 8:1, according to NCES

VU offers a number of psychology degree programs, including a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a psychology major, a combined B.A./Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology, and Ph.D. programs with five concentrations. Students typically take the B.A. in psychology as the initial preparation for graduate school. Thirty general requirement credits are necessary, including courses like abnormal psychology, developmental psychology or neuroscience. The 36-credit research concentration requires five courses selected from vision, cognitive science and cognitive development. Courses in experimental psychology and quantitative methods are also required. The 5-year combined B.A./M.A. psychology degree program offers research-oriented careers or inside tracks for doctoral study. The Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences offers concentrations in clinical science, developmental science, and neuroscience. Students selecting any concentrations have further coursework specific to the noted areas of study.

Runner-Up #1: Tennessee State University

  • Counseling Psychology Doctoral Concentration is accredited by the American Psychological Association
  • Alumni include Oprah Winfrey; Olympic Gold Medalist Wilma Rudolph; and Jess Russell, inventor of the cell phone microchip
  • Ranked 19th among historically black colleges and universities in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report

Undergraduate options at TSU in psychology include a B.S. in psychology and a minor in psychology. The 4-year plan for the B.S. in psychology program has students taking psychology upper division courses in abnormal psychology, psychology of the Black Experience, physiological psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology.

TSU's master's degree offerings in psychology include specializations in counseling psychology, school psychology, and guidance and counseling. The counseling psychology can be completed within two years. A thesis is optional, but is recommended for those who intend to continue graduate studies. Non-thesis students need to complete additional credits as well as a comprehensive exam. The Doctor of Philosophy degrees have concentrations in counseling psychology, which is APA accredited, and school psychology. Doctorate requirements for the school psychology concentration include 63 semester units, residency, internships, and a dissertation.

Runner-Up #2: Lipscomb University

  • Students participate in the Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology
  • In the 2011-2012 school year, 100% of first-time undergraduates received financial aid (per the NCES)

Lipscomb University's department of psychology offers programs in both traditional daytime and adult studies formats, and includes undergraduate B.S. and B.A. programs in psychology. Graduate options include an M.S. in Professional Counseling, an M.S. in Psychology, a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.MFT), and a certificate for counseling psychology.

The undergraduate offerings require 45 hours of psychology courses, including behavior modification, life span development, behavioral statistics, social psychology, personality theories, and abnormal psychology. A psychology minor is also available, with 18 hours covering four courses and additional electives. Students can pursue internships and conduct psychological research with faculty members.

The M.S. in psychology is customizable to students' interests. The program requires 39 units, nine of which are devoted to electives reflective of interests, such as career counseling, addictive disorders, psychopharmacology, human sexuality, and gerontology. The two other graduate programs require at least 60 hours, with graduation leading to licensure as a professional counselor or a marriage and family therapist. The Certificate of Graduate Study in Counseling Psychology is a 15-hour program.


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