Students looking for a psychology graduate school have many options, depending on their chosen specialization and how far they'd like to advance in this field. Psychology graduate education is often provided through doctoral degree programs, but some master's degree programs are also available.
Top Psychology Graduate Schools
The following table outlines the top schools in the country offering psychology programs at the graduate level. Details include tuition costs for the 2015-16 academic year.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Graduate Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-16)*|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, private not-for-profit||Doctoral||$45,729|
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||4-year, public||Doctoral|| $11,220 (in-state),
|University of California - Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, public||Master's, Doctoral|| $11,220 (in-state),
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||4-year, private not-for-profit||Doctoral||$41,832|
|University of Michigan-Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, public||Master's, Doctoral|| $20,638 (in-state),
|Yale University||New Haven, CT||4-year, private not-for-profit||Doctoral||$38,700|
|Princeton University||Princeton, NJ||4-year, private not-for-profit||Doctoral||$43,450|
|University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||4-year, public||Master's, Doctoral|| $15,023 (in-state),
|University of Minnesota-Twin Cities||Minneapolis, MN||4-year, public||Doctoral|| $15,844 (in-state),
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
Selecting a Psychology Graduate School
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering a graduate degree in psychology:
- Not every school offers graduate psychology programs in a specific specialty.
- Some psychology graduate programs require students to have also majored in the subject as an undergraduate so the student understands which facet of the degree program he or she would like to choose as a major.
- Graduate coursework that combines group activities with written work may be most beneficial.
- Check that the school and program of choice are accredited by the American Psychological Association.
Master's Degree Programs
Master's degree programs in psychology may result in either a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA) degree. Depending on the school, these programs may focus specifically on either psychology research or clinical practice, or they may provide a combination of coursework in both fields. Most programs take two years to complete, but some programs are offered in accelerated formats. It is important to note that at some universities, master's degrees are only awarded as intermediate degrees on the way to a Ph.D.
Ph.D. programs in psychology include a mix of advanced coursework and supervised research in the candidate's field of interest. These programs usually take about five years to complete, and they culminate in a final thesis or dissertation. Specialization options differ between programs, but they may include developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, behavioral neuroscience and learning and memory. There are also some schools that allow doctoral candidates to pursue a clinical track; students who choose this course must complete practicums in the field alongside coursework and doctoral research.
Doctoral degrees are offered at all of the top psychology schools in the country, while some programs also include master's programs or accelerated master's programs. It should be noted that only select institutions offer lower tuition for in-state students.