Psychology is an extremely popular major at many undergraduate institutions; students are provided with a comprehensive introduction to the field. In addition to many other careers, a psychology major can help prepare students to work as counselors in the future.
Top 10 Schools for Psychology
These are ten of the best schools featuring undergraduate psychology degrees. As of 2017, each of these schools was highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private||$45,278|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private||$46,320|
|Yale University||New Haven, CT||4-year, Private||$47,600|
|University of California - Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, Public||$12,763 for in-state/$37,471 for out-of-state|
|Columbia University||New York, NY||4-year, Private||$53,000|
|University of California - San Diego||La Jolla, CA||4-year, Public||$13,530 for in-state/$38,238 for out-of-state|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Private||$49,536|
|University of Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh, PA||4-year, Public||$18,192 for in-state/$28,958 for out-of-state|
|Duke University||Durham, NC||4-year, Private||$49,241|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||$13,856 for in-state/$43,476 for out-of-state|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
There are many factors to consider when selecting a school at which to earn an undergraduate psychology degree. Here are some things for prospective undergraduates to consider:
- Students who want real-world experience may want to find out whether the school facilitates research and/or internship opportunities for undergraduates.
- For students who are particularly interested in counseling, it may be helpful to find out if the school offers a major, minor or concentration in the field.
- Students must determine whether a school offers a more research-oriented B.S. or a more general B.A. program in psychology, and then decide which curriculum better meets their educational needs.
- Aspiring counselors must enroll in a master's degree program after finishing their undergraduate degree; prospective students may want to look at the acceptance rates of graduates into these programs.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
The most common undergraduate degree offering in the field of psychology is the B.A. degree, which provides a comprehensive overview of the field. Students take both lecture- and lab-based courses, and they may have the opportunity to conduct research leading to a final honors thesis. They also usually have the chance to take electives outside the major, and they must also fulfill general education requirements.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology programs contain much of the same introductory-level coursework as B.A. programs, but they generally focus more heavily on the quantitative and research aspects of the field. They may also provide fewer opportunities for outside electives. When they finish, graduates are more likely to apply to medical school or Ph.D. programs than master's degree programs in counseling.
Bachelor's Degree in Counseling
At a few schools, it is possible to earn a B.A. or B.S. in Counseling. Compared to traditional psychology degrees, these programs focus more specifically on clinical psychology, and they may include a practicum or internship experience in a clinical counseling setting. A related option is a minor in counseling, which can be pursued in conjunction with a psychology degree or any other major.
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology can prepare students for a career in counseling or many other positions within the field. Some of the best schools in the country offer undergraduate education in this discipline.