Top Ranking Child Psychology Graduate Schools in the U.S.

Learn about some of the top-ranking schools in the nation to offer graduate programs in child psychology. Get program and ranking details for three of these schools, and see a list of other top contenders. View article »

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  • 0:00 School Overviews
  • 0:41 University of Minnesota
  • 1:22 Yale University
  • 2:08 Pennsylvania State University
  • 3:08 Other Top Graduate Programs

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Video Transcript

School Overviews

Child psychology is a specialty that deals with the mental and social development of pre-adolescents. Many highly ranked public and private universities offer distinguished doctoral-level graduate programs in the field. Many highly ranked graduate schools offer child psychology programs across the nation, including the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Yale University in Connecticut, and Pennsylvania State University in University Park. Each of these schools offers a Ph.D. program in child psychology and was nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

University of Minnesota

The Department of Child Psychology, also called the Institute of Child Development, at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is one of the oldest centers for the study of child development in the country. It offers several graduate degree programs about and related to child psychology, such as social work and human development. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked this as the best graduate school in the nation for developmental psychology. Graduate students can pursue a Ph.D. in Child Psychology in which students can select an area of focus, including psychology, educational psychology, and neuroscience. Most graduates obtain careers in research or academia related to child psychology.

Yale University

According to U.S. News and World Report's rankings in 2013, Yale University ranked #11 among graduate developmental psychology programs in the nation. Yale University's Department of Psychology offers graduate programs in developmental psychology, with topics in social development, moral cognition, and causal understanding. The developmental psychology graduate program is also closely linked to child psychology and pediatrics through the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, Haskin Laboratories, and the Child Study Center. The psychology department also has ties to numerous renowned research centers, such as the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and the Yale Parenting Center.

Pennsylvania State University

Graduate students who are interested in child psychology can choose between two relevant programs at Pennsylvania State University. The Ph.D. program in developmental psychology integrates theoretical studies with advanced training and research focused on the developmental changes between birth and adolescence. Concentration areas include perceptual and cognitive development, gender and ecology of development, among others. Alternatively, students who are more interested in practice can enroll in the clinical psychology Ph.D. program and choose the child clinical track, which includes a combination of developmental psychology research and clinical experience in the field. A minor in developmental psychology is also available. Students have access to the Child Study Center, which supports five research facilities and a federally funded graduate training program. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school as tied for #5 on the list of the top grad schools for developmental psychology.

Other Top Graduate Programs

There are other schools that offer notable, top-notch child and/or developmental psychology programs.

College/University Name Distinction Location
University of California - Berkeley Provides post-baccalaureate students with hands-on career counseling and planning assistance. Berkeley, CA
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Students can access seven developmental laboratories as well as a Child Development Laboratory Champaign, IL
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tied for the #5 spot on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 ranking of graduate developmental psychology schools Chapel Hill, NC
University of Virginia Hosts the annual L. Starling Reid Undergraduate Psychology Conference Charlottesville, VA
University of Wisconsin - Madison Students can participate in the Psychology Research Experience Program, which provides mentorship and professional development to those from underrepresented populations. Madison, WI

Graduate-level psychology programs can include research and/or clinical training and often include concentrations, such as social or cognitive development and neuroscience. Schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report for their developmental psychology programs provide some of the best options.


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