Best Colleges for Psychology

Psychology continues to be one of the most popular majors in the country. In fact, more college grads obtain psychology degrees each year than English, Math, Economics, and Philosophy combined. Of course, the world is not populated by billions of “psychologists”; many degree holders enter related fields like social work, rehabilitation counseling, or mental health case management, while others explore private sector jobs in marketing, sales, or human resources. To become an actual psychologist, you’ll have to enter highly-competitive graduate programs. Whether you have years of training beyond your undergraduate degree ahead of you or a career in social services or business, earning a degree from a school on our list of the Best Colleges for Psychology is a step in the right direction.

See the bulleted key facts and click the links below for additional information about each of the best psychology colleges. Click here to read our methodology.

1) University of Michigan

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 727
  • Program areas include: Clinical Science, Biopsychology, Developmental Psychology, Gender & Feminist Psychology, and Personality and Social Contexts.
  • 36% of grads elect to immediately pursue an advanced degree.

2) Wesleyan University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 161
  • 18 faculty provide expertise in six subareas of study: cognitive, cultural, developmental, social, psychopathology, and neuroscience.
  • The psychology department offers a BA/MA degree program.

3) Williams College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 54
  • The department has 16 faculty members whose subfields include behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, the psychology of education, and social psychology.
  • Multiple avenues exist for conducting undergraduate research.

4) Columbia University

5) University of California, Santa Barbara

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 579
  • This large program is supported by 42 faculty members.
  • There are presently 2,500 undergraduate psych majors at UCSB and 70 PhD students.

6) University of Chicago

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 119
  • The Undergraduate Research Initiative offers psych majors a wealth of options.
  • Majors take four classes chosen from five subfields: biological psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and sensation and perception.

7) Duke University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 129
  • One of the best colleges for psychology, Duke offers two undergraduate degree options, an AB and a BS.
  • View research options here.

8) Stanford University

9) Harvard University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 77
  • There are 27 current faculty members in the department.
  • Four pathways of study exist for undergrads: General track, Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology Track (a Life Sciences initiative), Cognitive Science Track (a Mind, Brain and Behavior initiative), Secondary Field in Psychology.

10) Boston College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 251
  • Can choose a more flexible BA majors or a BS with a more of a research emphasis.
  • Many earn Research Participation Credits.

11) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 479
  • Those in the Honors Program conduct independent research with a faculty member.
  • Students choose between a BA and BS in Psychology.

12) Barnard College

13) University of California, San Diego

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 463
  • There are 10 undergraduate majors in the UCSD Department of Psychology.
  • A multitude of pathways for experiential learning.

14) University of Pennsylvania

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 71
  • Psychology majors are required to take a total of 13 credits.
  • Students must arrange their own mentored research project and may pursue a one-semester project or a or two-semester project.

15) Washington University in St. Louis

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 159
  • A wealth of undergraduate research opportunities
  • Topics covered include: biological bases of behavior; brain-behavior interactions; learning; memory; cognition; motivation; sensation and perception; the study of social interactions, persuasion, and attitudes; aging and development; personality; clinical, abnormal, and health psychology; and leisure and work experiences.

16) Claremont McKenna College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 28
  • Students can take advantage of the full resources of any of the Claremont Colleges.
  • Many students study psychology alongside economics, biology, government, and more.

17) University of California, Berkeley

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 275
  • Yet another UC that is among the best colleges for psychology, Berkeley’s program cover six major areas of research: Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience, Clinical Science, Cognition,                    Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, and Social-Personality Psychology.
  • The Psychology Major Map covers the nuts and bolts of the program.

18) Dartmouth College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 63
  • Dartmouth has two prerequisite courses for the Psych major: PSYC 1 (Introduction to Psychology) and PSYC 10 (Experimental Design, Methodology, and Data Analysis Procedures).
  • Students with strong grades have the option to pursue honors field research with a faculty member in fall of senior year.

19) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 542
  • Concentrations are available in (Clinical/Community + Developmental, Behavioral Neuroscience + Cognitive Neuroscience, Industrial/Organizational + Social or Personality, Diversity Science + Clinical/Community, etc.).
  • Plenty of community organizations allow UIUC students to gain experience via an internship.

20) Wellesley College

Number of CS graduates annually: 56

Coursework covers many areas including: clinical psychology, personality psychology, child development, social psychology, neuropsychology, educational psychology, cultural psychology, and cognition.

Click here for more on research and internship opportunities.

21) Bates College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 58
  • Majors must complete a thesis in one of four ways: empirical research, community-based research, theoretical review and integration, or neuroscience-focused capstone.
  • Students take a minimum of three upper-level courses.

22) Princeton University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 4
  • Majors take advanced undergraduate courses on sensation, perception, movement, language, reasoning, decision making, and social interaction.
  • Undergrads routinely work alongside faculty researchers.

23) Davidson College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 47
  • Davidson has research opportunities available in the summer as well as during the academic year.
  • Course offerings include Cultural Psychology, Child Development, and Psychological Research—Behavior Pharmacology.

24) University of Wisconsin – Madison

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 463
  • Coursework covers the following topics: biological, clinical, cognition & cognitive neuroscience, perception, developmental, and social & personality.
  • Students are encouraged to engage in research with their professors in one of six concentration areas.

25) University of Texas at Austin

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 431
  • There are over 1,500 undergraduate Psychology majors and double majors at UT Austin.
  • 64% of undergrads indicate they have pursued or are planning to pursue further education after their Psychology undergraduate degree.

26) University of Rochester

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 199
  • Research conducted covers four major areas: Developmental psychopathology, Interpersonal relationships, Adolescence, and Motivation.
  • The undergraduate experience includes large lecture courses with smaller discussion sections to individual laboratories, practicums, and internships.

27) Carleton College  

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 41
  • The degree covers three general areas: Biological and behavioral processes, Cognitive studies; and Social, developmental, personality, and clinical psychology.
  • Senior psychology majors complete a comprehensive project that includes reading, research, or teaching.

28) Emory University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 148
  • Majors encounter a balanced curriculum in social, personality, clinical, neuroscience, animal behavior, cognitive, computational, and developmental psychology areas.
  • Emory does offer a minor in psychology.

29) University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 626
  • A number of student organizations in this discipline are active on campus.
  • The Psych major is offered as a BA or BS. The BA required four semesters of foreign language study.

30) Cornell University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 78
  • Admission to the major is usually granted to any student in good standing in the college who has passed three or more psychology courses with grades of C+ or better.
  • Majors take at least one course in the following three areas: Behavioral and Evolutionary Neuroscience, Perception, Cognition and Development, and Social/Personality Psychology.

31) Haverford College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 26
  • The major includes a breadth requirement, a general research requirement, a discipline-specific research requirement, and a senior project.
  • The Senior Capstone is completed over two semesters.

32) Smith College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 64
  • There are three tracks of study in this department: Mind and Brain, Health and Illness, and Person and Society.
  • Students can work in a faculty member’s lab or conduct independent research as an undergraduate psych major.

33) Yale University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 7
  • Senior psych majors must write a substantial final paper (a minimum of 5,000 words).
  • 33 faculty members teach in this department at Yale.

34) Pomona College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 16
  • A plethora of research opportunities are available for undergrads.
  • Per 100 graduates, Pomona College is one of the top producers of psychology Ph.D.s in the nation.

35) Colby College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 44
  • Another liberal arts addition to our list of best psychology colleges, Colby’s coursework covers: cognition, development, emotion, health, language, motivation, neuroscience, perception, personality, psychopathology, and social psychology.
  • Many students become paid research assistants or work on independent studies as part of their undergraduate education.

36) College of William & Mary

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 141
  • Students can pursue a B.A., B.S., or a minor in Psychology.
  • Areas of research interest include: Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, Clinical and Community/Prevention, Cognition and Perception, Developmental, and Social and Personality.

37) Tufts University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 97
  • Eleven courses of at least 3 semester-hour credits are required to complete the major.
  • There are 19 core faculty members in the department.

38) Northwestern University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 19
  • Many psych majors at Northwestern join the Undergraduate Psychology Association.
  • PSYCH 397 and 399 allow students to do research for course credit.

39) Brandeis University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 93
  • Opportunities for hands-on learning include: volunteering to work in a laboratory or mental health facility; registering for research with a specific professor as a formal course; or completing an independent research project or honors thesis.
  • Undergraduates have published academic research with Brandeis faculty members.

40) Brown University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 7
  • The Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences (CLPS) was created in 2010.
  • The department focuses on 9 specific research areas.

41) Vassar College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 44
  • Current areas of faculty research include psychology in the law, brain development and behavior in adolescence, personality disorders and interpersonal processes, behavioral neuroendocrinology and gene expression, and knowledge and cognition in humans and artificial agents.
  • 17 faculty members teach in the Vassar Psychological Science department.

42) University of Southern California

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 156
  • See where recent students have interned here.
  • PSYC 490x allows students to conduct independent research under faculty direction.

43) Skidmore College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 71
  • Upper-level courses typically have about 18 students, except for seminars, which typically have about 15 students.
  • Learn more about research opportunities for Skidmore undergrads.

44) Rice University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 5
  • You may get involved in research at any point during your time at Rice; most students wait until at least their sophomore year.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities are available for credit.

45) Bucknell University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 46
  • Bucknell Psych majors have secured jobs with organizations ranging from the Child Mind Institute to Amazon and the Peace Corps.
  • Students will have opportunities to conduct faculty-guided research in our animal lab.

46) Connecticut College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 45
  • Faculty includes experts in the study of clinical/counseling psychology, gender psychology, multicultural psychology, neuroscience and social psychology.
  • The department offers more than 35 courses across a broad range of psychological specialties.

47) Grinnell College

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 24
  • Thanks to a lab-based curriculum, undergrads design and conduct research while gaining experience with the methods and ethical responsibilities of research.
  • 62% of recent psych grads entered employment while 21% began graduate school.

48) Vanderbilt University

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 16
  • Undergraduate coursework covers the following topics: clinical science, human cognition and cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology.
  • Learn more about undergraduate research available to Vandy undergrads.

49) Binghamton University (SUNY)

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 316
  • Offers a traditional Psychology track as well as a Psychology Major Track in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Students can earn academic credit for their research by registering for a course that includes an independent research component.

50) University of Colorado Boulder

  • Number of CS graduates annually: 485
  • Upper-division courses are offered in behavioral genetics, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, child development, women’s health, and judgment and decision making.
  • Members of the departmental Honors Program have special opportunities including in the area of research.

Final Thoughts: Best Colleges for Psychology

We hope you have found our list of the best psychology schools to be helpful. Students interested in exploring related fields may find the following Best Colleges list to be of interest:

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