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Top School for a Degree in Psychology - Arlington, VA

Many schools in the Arlington area have top ranking psychology degree programs. Read on to find out more about what these top schools have to offer for psychology, as well as tuition and degree information.

School and Ranking Information

More than a dozen institutions in the Arlington, VA area offer academic awards in the field of psychology. However, Georgetown University in Washington D.C., George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and Marymount University in Arlington are the most highly rated colleges when it comes to psychology. Each of these colleges offers degree programs at undergraduate and graduate levels. US News & World Report also recognizes all three colleges in various rankings as well.

  • Winner: Georgetown University offers degree programs at undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate program offers students the choice of three concentrations.
  • Runner Up #1: George Mason University offer three undergraduate psychology programs.
  • Runner Up #2: Marymount University was the first university in the Arlington-Washington, DC area to implement a Master of Arts-Forensic Psychology program.

School Comparison Chart

Category Georgetown University George Mason University Marymount University
Ranking #21 National Universities in 2013
#25 Best Value Schools in 2013
#139 National Universities in 2013
#70 Top Public Schools in 2013
#46 Regional Universities (South)
Location Washington, DC Fairfax, VA Arlington, VA
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition (2013) $42,870 (undergraduate, in-state and out-of-state)
$40,320 (graduate, in-state and out-of-state)*
$9,620 (undergraduate, in-state)
$27,764 (undergraduate, out-of-state)
$9,080 (graduate, in-state)
$25,010 (graduate, out-of-state)*
$25,178 (undergraduate in-state and out-of-state)
$14,580 (graduate in-state and out-of-state)*
Psychology Program Levels Offered Bachelor's and graduate degrees Bachelor's and graduate degrees Bachelor's and graduate degrees
Psychology Certificates and Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 85* 433* 155*
Most Popular Psychology Program (2012) Bachelor's in General Psychology* Bachelor's in General Psychology* Master's in Forensic Psychology*
2011 Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) 94%* 64%* 48%*
Noteworthy Founded in 1789, Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit University in the country Was rated in the top 200 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, which was conducted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Institute of Higher Education Marymount University was the first Catholic College to be created in Virginia

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

Winner: Georgetown University

  • Based on studies by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the student-faculty ratio at the college was 11:1
  • Was rated #25 in U.S. News and World Report's grad rankings for Best Business Schools
  • U.S. News and World Report rated the university #12 for its International Grad School Rankings

The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program has required courses such as statistics, research methods and one class from each of three concentration areas: conceptual and development foundations, social psychology or personality psychology. Students can choose from topics like behavioral neuroscience, theories of personality and the philosophy of psychology. The Ph.D. in Human Development and Public Policy degree program is only offered on a full-time basis and requires completion of 42 credit hours. Participants take courses in quantitative methods and the context of human development, as well as a graduate teaching tutorial. Combining development and analysis of public policy, this program prepares graduates for careers in research and academics.

The Ph.D./Master of Public Policy joint degree program is nearly identical to the Ph.D. in Human Development and Public Policy, except that students must take classes in finance, public management and a policy analysis research practicum. They must complete 51 credit hours and may spend two years working on thesis projects.

The Ph.D. in Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience is based around the conceptual foundations of developmental science to ethics and public policy, a variety of courses composes this program, including seminars in cognition and cognitive science. Cellular neuroscience, social and emotional development and two semesters of statistics are required. Students can focus on developmental disorders or development through the lifespan. Each year, they're required to complete a research project or articles for publication. In their fourth and fifth years, they must prepare and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation based on original research.

Runner-Up #1: George Mason University

  • According to NCES, the three-year cohort default rate at the college was 2.6% for the 2009 fiscal year
  • Was ranked the #1 Up-and-Coming School by U.S. News and World Report in 2013
  • U.S. News and World Report rated the university #20 for its Special Education ratings

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University offers three undergraduate programs for psychology majors. The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program focuses on teaching students elements of social psychology, abnormal psychology, and biopsychology. There are even facets of day to day relationships and forensic psychology are touched upon as well. The Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience degree program is designed to study the link between how an organism behaves to the biology and chemistry of the nervous system. This program gets students ready for medical school as well as graduate study.

For those interested in the Bachelor of Science in Psychology program, you will have the chance to conduct an independent research project with a faculty member, work in a lab to get first-hand research experience, and participate in a service learning course. Coursework for all three degree programs will include areas such as basic concepts, cognitive aspects, statistics, engagement, and cross-cultural.

When it comes to graduate programs in psychology, the Applied Developmental Psychology program is designed on development during childhood. Students will have the chance to participate in mentored research, advanced statistical analysis training, teaching experience, and work at community sites with faculty supervision. A PhD and Master's degree are both offered in this program.

The Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience program entails studies of the biological substrates of behavior. Students will learn about nuances as such as substance abuse, cognition, perception, decision making, and human error. The PhD in Clinical Psychology program requires 76 graduate credits of doctoral work and a minimum of 12 credits of dissertation studies. The objective of the program is to prepare clinical psychologists who can combine research and clinical activities.

Runner-Up #2: Marymount University

  • Rated #63 for Healthcare Management Grad School rankings
  • The retention rate at the university was 70% for students who began their studies in Fall 2010 based on data by NCES
  • Was founded as a two-year college for women originally in 1950

Students who graduate from Marymount University's Bachelor of Arts-Psychology program will be able to pursue a career in mental health agencies as well as conduct research for companies. Facets such as statistics, research design, cognition, measurements, social sciences, and human growth will be covered in the major requirements area. There are also liberal core and university requirements that must be completed as well.

Marymount University was first university in the Arlington-Washington, DC area to implement a

Master of Arts-Forensic Psychology program. The program gives students a look at how psychological knowledge is linked to the civil, juvenile, and criminal justice systems. Ultimately, the curriculum mixes the areas of sociology, criminal justice, and public policy. Students can expect to take classes in areas that revolve around intervention, forensic science, behavior, assessment, and investigation.


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