Top School for Earning a Psychology Degree - Atlanta, GA

School and Ranking Information

Though Atlanta has more than a dozen schools that offer psychology programs, the top psychology schools have nationally ranked graduate programs in the field. Besides national rankings in psychology, the overall graduation rate for each school was considered to determine the top schools for this article, which include Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University. Each of these schools offers psychology programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

To become licensed as a psychologist in Georgia, candidates need to complete a doctoral program in psychology that's approved by the American Psychological Association. Additional requirements include acquiring 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience after graduating and passing licensure exams. The state also licenses marriage and family therapists and professional counselors as well as clinical social workers. Candidates for licensure in these areas also need to meet a combination of education, supervised clinical experience, and examination requirements; these mental health professionals can enter their respective fields by earning a minimum of a master's degree through a board-approved program.

  • Winner: Emory University offers psychology programs at the bachelor's through doctoral degree levels.
  • Runner Up #1: Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Psychology has five primary research areas and 20 labs dedicated to them.
  • Runner Up #2: Georgia State University offers doctoral programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology.

School Comparison Chart

Category Emory University Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia State University
Rankings Graduate program in psychology ranked 38th in the nation*
Ranked 20th best national university*
Graduate program in psychology ranked 63rd in the nation*
Ranked 36th among national universities*
Graduate program in psychology ranked 101st in the nation*
Location Atlanta, GA Atlanta, GA Atlanta, GA
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $42,980 (undergraduate)
$38,914 (graduate)**
$10,098 (undergraduate, in-state)
$29,402 (undergraduate, out-of-state)
$12,964 (graduate, in-state)
$29,240 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$8,157 (undergraduate, in-state)
$22,725 (undergraduate, out-of-state)
$8,176 (graduate, in-state)
$23,728 (graduate, out-of-state)**
Psychology Programs Offered Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; postgraduate certificates
Psychology Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in (2011-2012) 155** 54** 373**
Most Popular Psychology Program (2011-2012) Bachelor's in General Psychology (128 awarded)** Bachelor's in General Psychology (31 awarded)** Bachelor's in General Psychology (313 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 88%** 79%** 47%**
Noteworthy Professional training available for graduate students through Counseling and Psychological Services;
department hosts colloquium series
School of Psychology offers a doctoral program in engineering psychology but not clinical psychology Offers accredited programs to prepare for a variety of careers related to psychology and counseling

Sources: *2013 rankings from U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: Emory University

  • The school's clinical psychology program was ranked #18, and the behavioral neuroscience program was ranked #11 in 2013, according to USNWR
  • The clinical psychology doctoral program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation
  • The school had a student-faculty ratio of 7:1 in 2011, according to USNWR
  • Over 95% of freshmen returned for a second year in 2011, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • Undergraduates can participate in the Behavioral Research Advancements in Neuroscience (BRAIN) program through the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience

Emory University is a Methodist school that offers psychology programs at the bachelor's through doctoral degree levels. Undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology receive a broad background in psychology, in which they're introduced to a variety of subfields of psychology. Undergraduates are encouraged to serve as assistants in faculty research projects.

At the graduate level, students can pursue a doctoral degree with three areas of concentration: clinical psychology, cognition and development, or neuroscience and animal behavior. Ph.D. candidates in the top-ranked clinical psychology program receive both research and clinical training as well as undertake an APA-approved internship, which is required for eventual professional licensure as a psychologist. A graduate certificate program is also available in psychoanalytic studies through the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts.

Runner-Up #1: Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Ranked #7 among national public universities in 2013 by USNWR
  • 95% of freshmen returned for a second year in 2011, according to NCES
  • School of Psychology has five primary research areas and 20 labs dedicated to them
  • Several programs and centers encourage multidisciplinary involvement, such as the Human Computer Interaction Program and the Graphics, Visualization, and Usability Center
  • The School of Psychology has over 125 faculty members

At Georgia Tech, School of Psychology programs emphasize science and math. Undergraduate students can major or minor in psychology. Additionally, certificates in psychology supplement a wide variety of majors. Certificates include biopsychology, engineering psychology, and cognitive psychology, among others. Undergraduate students can gain experience as research assistants, do a research-based senior thesis, and complete internships. On-campus student groups include the Psychology Club, a student chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and Psi Chi, a psychology honors society.

Graduate students in the psychology Ph.D. program choose from the following areas of focus: cognitive science, cognitive aging, engineering psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, or quantitative psychology. A clinical psychology program isn't available. Students can pursue an M.S. in Human Computer Interaction, an interdisciplinary program, as a terminal degree; otherwise, the School of Psychology only offers master's degrees en route to the Ph.D. The doctoral programs typically take five years to complete.

Runner-Up #2: Georgia State University

  • The school's doctoral programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology are accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation
  • The mental health counseling and school counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • The rehabilitation counseling program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE)
  • The school psychology program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists
  • Over 90% of undergraduates received financial aid in 2011-2012, according to NCES

Undergraduates have the option to obtain a B.S. or a B.A. in Psychology, and psychology majors can add a concentration in pre-education, pre-medicine, or community psychology. There are five doctoral programs in the psychology department: clinical psychology, cognitive science, community psychology, developmental psychology, and neuropsychology. The clinical psychology program prepares graduates for licensure as a clinical psychologist in Georgia.

The Department of Counseling and Psychological Services in the College of Education offers master's degree programs in mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and school psychology. All programs include internships and make graduates eligible for professional licensure and certification. Students can also obtain doctoral degrees in counselor education, counseling psychology, and school psychology. Completion of these accredited programs also makes graduates eligible to practice in these fields in accordance with state law.

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