Top Ten Psychology Graduate Schools

Get details about top-ranked schools and program options in the field of psychology. Read on to see if one of these profiled schools is a good fit for you; see more good schools that offer graduate programs in psychology in the table below.

During graduate school, various sub-areas of psychology are further explored, and some of these diverse programs are offered by top U.S. colleges. The three main schools discussed here offer some of the best psychology programs in the country.

School Overviews

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior. Many graduate schools in the United States offer programs in psychology, which may feature one of several specialty areas, such as cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, experimental psychology or social psychology. The three universities profiled in-depth here are considered some of the best due to high rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

Stanford University in California

School Highlight: The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and the Stanford Neurosciences Institute are among the university's numerous research labs, centers and institutes.

The Department of Psychology at Stanford University was ranked number one among the nation's graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2013, the most current year for non-clinical psychology rankings. Led by a distinguished faculty, the graduate-level psychology programs at Stanford University strive to create balance between scientific research and teaching. Through the Ph.D. in Psychology program, graduate students can learn cognitive, developmental, neuroscience, effective science, and social psychology. A co-terminal master's degree program is also offered for students pursuing a doctoral or bachelor's degree in psychology.

University of California - Berkeley

School Highlight: The Department of Psychology operates a psychology clinic offering therapy, assessment, consultation and preventative intervention services.

The University of California - Berkeley's clinical psychology program tied for the number two spot in U.S. News & World Report's program rankings as of 2016. The school's non-clinical psychology programs were tied for second as of 2013, per U.S. News & World Report. Six training units cover cognition, clinical science, behavioral and systems neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, developmental and social-personality. Studies may lead to a terminal Ph.D. in Psychology.

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

School Highlight: Students can choose from four psychology research areas: developmental, clinical science, social, and cognition, brain and behavior.

Harvard's non-clinical psychology programs were ranked at number four by U.S. News and World Report for 2013, while the school's clinical psychology program was ranked 16th as of 2016. This advanced study program focuses on social, brain and behavior, developmental, and clinical science psychology. Depending on one's interest, those in the Ph.D program may choose the common curriculum track or clinical science track, attuning their research to certain themes.

Top Psychology Graduate Programs

The following schools offer some of the top psychology programs in the country:

  • Psychology graduate students must teach at least three class hours during their time in the program at Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey.
  • The University of California in Los Angeles, California, has a psychology department that includes the Fernald Child Study Center, focusing on behavioral disorders in children.
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana in Champaign, Illinois, allows scholars and students to participate in interdisciplinary research at the university's Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.
  • The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, offers joint degree programs in psychology and women's studies, social work or education.
  • At the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota, eight areas of psychology specialization are offered, including biological psychopathology, cognitive and brain sciences, and personality, individual differences and behavior genetics.
  • The University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, lets psychology graduate students create an individualized major.
  • Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, has the Yale Psychology Department Clinic (YPDC) which is among the university's research-based clinics where graduate students can get experience to meet licensing requirements.

Stanford University, Harvard University, and the University of California all have graduate psychology programs that are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. These programs are available from a multitude of other respected institutions as well.

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