What Are the Best Schools for Psychology?

Learn about top schools offering psychology programs and the kinds of specializations available at each. Find out the degree levels available in the field as well as coursework and facilities housed at these schools. Schools offering Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Psychology School?

You can find useful education and career information on psychology and its many subfields through the American Psychological Association (APA). If you have a specialty in mind, you could look for independent school rankings in that subfield or for an overall ranking if you are not interested in one specific area.

Since you probably need at least a master's degree for licensing or certification in your state, and a doctoral degree for some positions, you might prefer schools with strong, diverse graduate options. You may also want to look for schools with plenty of internship or practicum opportunities and institutes or research facilities relevant to your specialty. All three of the schools below have doctoral programs in clinical psychology that are accredited by the APA.

What Are Three Top Psychology Schools?

Stony Brook University in NY

This public university's graduate clinical psychology program tied for 11th on U.S. News & World Report's 2012 rankings, and the department has awarded 800 Ph.D. degrees since 1960. Resources at this school include the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Center; Krasner Psychological Center; anxiety disorder clinics; marital therapy clinics; and a family translational research lab.

The Department of Psychology offers research and internship opportunities beginning at the undergraduate level. Psychology majors may also earn a joint bachelor's degree with an MBA. Graduate students can pursue biopsychology, social and health, clinical or cognitive science psychology concentrations in addition to multiple affiliated research themes. Interdisciplinary training is available in behavioral neuroscience and cognitive science. Psychology degrees include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Master of Arts in Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

UNC tied for second for graduate clinical psychology programs in 2012 and for 12th in 2013 in graduate general psychology programs according to U.S. News & World Report rankings. Training is offered in clinical, cognitive, developmental, behavioral neuroscience, quantitative and social psychology. Affiliated units include the Center for Developmental Science, the L.L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory, the FPG Child Development Institute and the UNC Department of Psychology Community Clinic. The clinic provides doctoral training opportunities through its reduced fee clinics related to anxiety, children and families, adults and couples.

Undergraduates may participate in the Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research Symposium, pursue experiential education opportunities, participate in the honors program or be elected to the Psi Chi national honor society. Graduate admission is only to the Ph.D. program, though an M.A. may be awarded along the way. Degrees available at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Master of Arts in Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

University of Wisconsin in Madison

The University of Wisconsin (UW) tied for second among graduate clinical psychology programs in U.S. News & World Report's 2012 rankings and it tied for ninth in 2013 among graduate general psychology programs. The six areas of concentration available at this school include cognitive and cognitive neuroscience, biological, clinical, social and personality, developmental and perception psychology. The annual Hertz Poster Session gives graduate students an opportunity to showcase research, and undergraduates may participate in an honors program or earn credit as research assistants in some labs. These degrees are offered at this school:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Master of Arts in Psychology
  • Master of Science in Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

More Top Psychology Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Stanford University4-year, PrivateStanford, CA
University of California - Berkeley4-year, PublicBerkeley, CA
University of California - Los Angeles4-year, PublicLos Angeles, CA
Harvard University4-year, PrivateCambridge, MA
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor4-year, PublicAnn Arbor, MI
Yale University4-year, PrivateNew Haven, CT
Princeton University4-year, PrivatePrinceton, NJ
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign4-year, PublicChampaign, IL
Massachusetts Institute of Technology4-year, PrivateCambridge, MA
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities4-year, PublicMinneapolis, MN

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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