Top Psychology Colleges in the Nation

Read about degree programs in psychology, which include the scientific study of human behavior, emotions and mental illness. Learn about levels of study and areas of specialization at three noteworthy universities, and find a list of other renowned institutions in the United States that offer programs in psychology.

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There are many highly ranked schools with psychology programs to choose from. Programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Behavioral Sciences, General
  • Biopsychology
  • Clinical Psychology, General
  • Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
  • Cognitive Science
  • Community Psychology
  • Comparitive Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology, General
  • Environmental Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Family Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology, General
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Medical Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Psychology, General
  • Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology

School Overview

The schools discussed below offer a range of degrees in psychology, and they include an Ivy League institution and a highly ranked national university. Graduate programs in psychology are especially designed to help students prepare for careers as mental health counselors, researchers and psychologists. These schools were ranked highly by U.S. News and World Report for their graduate psychology programs.

Stanford University in Stanford, CA

School Highlight: Psychology students at Stanford have the opportunity to gain clinical experience as a research assistant, volunteer or teacher's aid at Stanford's Bing Nursery School for developmental psychology.

Stanford University is a private college that U.S. News and World Report ranked fifth among national universities in 2017. Additionally, the university's psychology department was considered the best in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report in 2013, which is the most recent year that psychology programs were ranked. Students in the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology program can pursue one of five concentrations, including cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, neuroscience or effective science. Undergraduate and postdoctoral programs are also available.

University of California - Berkeley (UC Berkeley)

School Highlight: The department of psychology at UC Berkeley features the Psychology Clinic, which provides mental health services to Bay Area communities and offers scientific training and research in the field of psychology.

In 2013, the Psychology Department at the University of California in Berkeley tied for second on U.S. News and World Report's list of top-ranked psychology departments in the nation. The department offers a research-intensive Ph.D. program for graduate students with six concentrations, including brain and systems neuroscience, clinical science, cognition, cognitive neuroscience, developmental neuroscience, and social-personality. Undergraduates in their junior year undertake an independent or supervised research project or research assistantship, which can help them prepare for a graduate program.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: Undergraduate psychology students at Harvard have unparalleled access to research and training at Harvard's prestigious faculty research labs, which focus on research areas such as cognition, brain, & behavioral psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, clinical science, and organizational behavior.

The Department of Psychology at this Ivy League School was tied for fourth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2013. Ph.D. students can pursue one of five concentrations, which include biological and behavioral, social and organizational, clinical, cognitive or developmental psychology. Programs for postdoctoral fellows are also available. Harvard also offers an undergraduate program in psychology, which is considered one of the most popular majors in the school. Renowned faculty members include the psychologist Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works.

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Minneapolis, MN

School Highlight: The University of Minnesota is the origin of behavioral genetic research.

The University of Minnesota's psychology program was tied for ninth in the nation in the U.S. News and World Report rankings for 2013. Students can receive a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in psychology, and minor options in psychology and health psychology are available as well. Graduate students can pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in counseling psychology, cognitive and brain science, quantitative/psychometric methods or one of five other areas. The school also offers students the opportunity to study abroad; options include a program called Psychology & Research in Madrid, which offers students coursework and research lab experience in Spain.

Top Psychology Programs.

These top-rated schools also have psychology programs:

  • The University of Illinois, located in Urbana, IL, is home to the Beckman Institute for interdisciplinary research in psychology and artificial intelligence.
  • The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, offered the first joint program in psychology and women's studies in the U.S.
  • In Los Angeles, CA, the University of California has graduate programs that feature several research departments, divisions and institutes.
  • The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, features the oldest psychology department in the U.S.
  • At Yale University in New Haven, CT, all graduate students must complete a practicum training requirement.
  • Princeton University in Princeton, NJ offers a neuroscience certificate to undergraduates.

Many of these top schools offer research studies in different areas of psychology, from developmental psychology to cognition. Students may complete practicums or study abroad, and schools typically offer bachelor's degrees in psychology in addition to their graduate offerings.

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