Best universities for psychology degrees

Find the best colleges for psychology using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

Rankings for Students
October 28 2020
Best universities in psychology


Psychology is the study of the mind and human behaviour. Psychology students will learn about the feelings that humans experience, what motivates us and how we interact with each other. 

Many psychology graduates go on to become professional psychologists, however a degree in psychology can also lead to careers in childcare, social work or in the legal profession. Scroll down for a full guide to what you can do with a psychology degree. 

This year Times Higher Education has released a ranking of the 533 best universities for psychology degrees. The ranking features 47 countries. 

Stanford University takes first place in the 2021 ranking, followed by Princeton University. UCL is the only UK university in the top 10 (number 3). 

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More than a quarter of the universities in the overall ranking (153 universities) are US universities. The next most represented country is the UK, with 74 universities present. Australia, Germany and Canada are also well represented, with 34, 29 and 27 universities respectively.

The ranking uses the same methodology as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, but with a higher weighting for citations and a lower weighting for teaching. The full methodology can be found here

Best universities worldwide

Best universities in the world
Best universities in the United States
Best universities in the UK
Best universities in Canada
Best universities in Australia
Best universities in Europe
Best universities in Germany
Best universities in the Netherlands

The top 5 universities for psychology degrees

1. Stanford University

The department of psychology at Stanford University was one of the first departments to be established at the institution. 

Undergraduate and graduate programmes are available, with the latter emphasising research training. The department is split into five research groups known as department areas. The areas are affective science, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and social psychology. 

The department has close ties with many other departments at Stanford, such as biology, law, medicine and business. There are aims to increase participation in various interdisciplinary programmes on campus. 

Research is carried out in areas including addictive behaviours, psychopathology and risk, and stereotyping.

2. Princeton University

The psychology department at Princeton University has produced one Nobel prizewinner, six Distinguished Contributions awards from the American Psychological Association and three William James Fellow Awards from the Association for Psychological Science. 

Graduate study is focused on systems neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, perception and cognition, personality and social psychology, and physiological psychology. This is viewed as a preparatory programme for a PhD. 

The department is closely affiliated with the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, which fosters research on neuroscience and psychological function.

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3. UCL

The UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences is the largest department of its kind in the UK, with more than 120 academic staff members and approximately 1,500 students. 

The undergraduate programme at UCL is accredited by the British Psychological Society and graduates are eligible to become members. 

As well as undergraduate courses, the department offers 20 master’s degrees in topics including business psychology, neuroscience, decision science and human-computer interaction.

4. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley’s psychology department undertakes research in areas including development, cognition, social-personality and cognitive neuroscience among others. 

The department offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across a number of different areas, while providing the opportunity to focus on the areas students find most interesting. 

What can you do with a psychology degree?

5. The University of Chicago

The University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology was founded in 1893. 

Undergraduate psychology courses are centred around taught courses and research opportunities, which makes it one of the most popular majors at the university. The Undergraduate Research Initiative is a programme that aims to help psychology students find research opportunities to fit their interests and prepare them for future careers. The initiative includes a series of workshops, informational sessions, and career development events throughout the year to help students make the most of the many opportunities and research-related events available on campus and beyond.

The PhD programmes are also popular and students can choose between four research areas: cognition, developmental psychology, integrative neuroscience or social psychology. 

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Top universities for psychology degrees 2021

Click on each institution to view its World University Ranking 2021 profile

Psychology Rank 2021  Psychology Rank 2020  University Country/region
 1   1  Stanford University United States
 2   2  Princeton University United States
 3   4  UCL United Kingdom
 4   NR  University of California, Berkeley United States
 5   5  The University of Chicago United States
 6   6  Harvard University United States
 7   7  Yale University United States
 8   3  University of Pennsylvania United States
 9   8  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
 10   9  University of California, Los Angeles United States
 11   NR  King’s College London United Kingdom
 12   14  University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 =13   10  University of British Columbia Canada
 =13   16  NorthWestern University United States
 15   11  New York University United States
 16   =22  University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 =17   =22  Carnegie Mellon University United States
 =17   28  KU Leuven Belgium
 =17   12  London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
 20   13  Duke University United States
 =21   18  Columbia University United States
 =21   =22  University of Toronto Canada
 23   33  University of Melbourne Australia
 24   15  Cornell University United States
 25   27  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 26   17  University of Washington United States
 27   =25  University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
 28   20  University of Virginia (Main campus) United States
 29   21  University of Minnesota United States
 30   =25  University of Texas at Austin United States
 31   41  University of Sydney Australia
 32   19  Karolinska Institute Sweden
 33   36  Michigan State University United States
 34   52  UNSW Sydney Australia
 35   29  McGill University Canada
 36   37  University of California, San Diego United States
 37   31  Ohio State University (Main campus) United States
 38   44  Cardiff University United Kingdom
 39   42  Utrecht University Netherlands
 40   34  University of Groningen Netherlands
 =41   35  Penn State (Main campus) United States
 =41   43  Vanderbilt University United States
 =41   38  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 44   46  LMU Munich Germany
 45   NR  Johns Hopkins University United States
 46   32  University of California, Davis United States
 47   90  University of California, Irvine United States
 48   39  Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
 49   30  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 50   51  Tilburg University Netherlands
 51   =61  Ghent University Belgium
 =52   =72  University of Manchester United Kingdom
 =52   47  The University of Queensland Australia
 54   68  Boston University United States
 55   40  Brown University United States
 56   60  University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 57   45  National University of Singapore Singapore
 58   55  Washington University in St Louis United States
 59   83  University of Kent United Kingdom
 60   =100  University of Mannheim Germany
 61   50  Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
 62   56  University of California, Santa Barbara United States
 63   57  University of Rochester United States
 64   95  University of Zurich Switzerland
 =65   =58  Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
 =65   49  University of Tübingen Germany
 67   =61  Australian National University Australia
 =68   48  University of Maryland, College Park United States
 =68   =63  Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 70   91  Aarhus University Denmark
 71   =63  Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 72   67  University of Padua Italy
 73   =79  Maastricht University Netherlands
 74   70  University of Vienna Austria
 75   =58  Heidelberg University Germany
 76   53  University of Southern California United States
 77   NR  Leiden University Netherlands
 78   101–125  University of Waterloo Canada
 79   =92  Free University of Berlin Germany
 80   =65  Peking University China
 =81   74  University of Sussex United Kingdom
 =81   =72  The University of Tokyo Japan
 83   126–150  University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 84   54  University of Bristol United Kingdom
 85   76  Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 =86   =85  University of Bath United Kingdom
 =86   =85  University of Warwick United Kingdom
 88   =79  Queen’s University Canada
 89   101–125  University of Potsdam Germany
 90   96  University of Konstanz Germany
 91   87  The University of Western Australia Australia
 =92   82  Emory University United States
 =92   99  Georgia Institute of Technology United States
 94   =77  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus United States
 95   89  Birkbeck, University of London United Kingdom
 =96   =77  University of Colorado Boulder United States
 =96   126–150  Tel Aviv University Israel
 =98   126–150  University of Barcelona Spain
 =98   151–175  Lancaster University United Kingdom
 100   101–125  TU Dresden Germany
 101–125   NR  University of Arizona United States
 101–125   88  University of Auckland New Zealand
 101–125   =65  University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 101–125   =100  University of Cologne Germany
 101–125   126–150  Dartmouth College United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Dundee United Kingdom
 101–125   151–175  Durham University United Kingdom
 101–125   84  University of Exeter United Kingdom
 101–125   151–175  University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  University of Göttingen Germany
 101–125   126–150  University of Helsinki Finland
 101–125   126–150  Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
 101–125   97  University of Macau Macao
 101–125   126–150  Macquarie University Australia
 101–125   101–125  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 101–125   101–125  University of Notre Dame United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  Nottingham Trent University United Kingdom
 101–125   81  University of Oregon United States
 101–125   126–150  University of Southampton United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  University of St Andrews United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  University of Twente Netherlands
 101–125   126–150  University of Victoria Canada
 101–125   101–125  Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand
 101–125   101–125  University of York United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  University of Alberta Canada
 126–150   151–175  Aston University United Kingdom
 126–150   201–250  Autonomous University of Madrid Spain
 126–150   98  Beijing Normal University China
 126–150   151–175  University of Bologna Italy
 126–150   151–175  University of Bonn Germany
 126–150   151–175  University of California, Riverside United States
 126–150   151–175  University of California, Santa Cruz United States
 126–150   176–200  University of Cyprus Cyprus
 126–150   126–150  Dalhousie University Canada
 126–150   151–175  University of Delaware United States
 126–150   101–125  University of Florida United States
 126–150   126–150  University of Freiburg Germany
 126–150   251–300  George Mason University United States
 126–150   101–125  University of Illinois at Chicago United States
 126–150   151–175  Keele University United Kingdom
 126–150   151–175  Kyoto University Japan
 126–150   151–175  Mizzou - University of Missouri United States
 126–150   126–150  Monash University Australia
 126–150   126–150  Newcastle University United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  Northeastern University United States
 126–150   101–125  University of Otago New Zealand
 126–150   126–150  Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey United States
 126–150   101–125  Stockholm University Sweden
 126–150   94  Wake Forest University United States
 126–150   71  York University Canada
 151–175   251–300  Aalborg University Denmark
 151–175   201–250  Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
 151–175   126–150  University of Basel Switzerland
 151–175   151–175  University of Bern Switzerland
 151–175   151–175  City, University of London United Kingdom
 151–175   101–125  University of Connecticut United States
 151–175   201–250  Curtin University Australia
 151–175   201–250  University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
 151–175   101–125  Florida State University United States
 151–175   176–200  Iowa State University United States
 151–175   126–150  University of Kansas United States
 151–175   176–200  Korea University South Korea
 151–175   176–200  University of Luxembourg Luxembourg
 151–175   126–150  McMaster University Canada
 151–175   75  National Taiwan University (NTU) Taiwan
 151–175   201–250  University of Neuchâtel Switzerland
 151–175   151–175  University of Reading United Kingdom
 151–175   101–125  Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
 151–175   151–175  Ruhr University Bochum Germany
 151–175   176–200  Sapienza University of Rome Italy
 151–175   151–175  Simon Fraser University Canada
 151–175   101–125  Stony Brook University United States
 151–175   151–175  University of Surrey United Kingdom
 151–175   201–250  Western Sydney University Australia
 176–200   176–200  Australian Catholic University Australia
 176–200   126–150  Boston College United States
 176–200   101–125  University of Cape Town South Africa
 176–200   176–200  Coventry University United Kingdom
 176–200   201–250  Drexel University United States
 176–200   201–250  University of East Anglia United Kingdom
 176–200   176–200  University of Fribourg Switzerland
 176–200   NR  Friedrich Schiller University Jena Germany
 176–200   =92  Goldsmiths, University of London United Kingdom
 176–200   151–175  University of Graz Austria
 176–200   151–175  HSE University Russian Federation
 176–200   151–175  University of Iowa United States
 176–200   201–250  University of Leeds United Kingdom
 176–200   201–250  University of Massachusetts United States
 176–200   101–125  University of Miami United States
 176–200   201–250  University of Montreal Canada
 176–200   176–200  University of Münster Germany
 176–200   201–250  University of Oslo Norway
 176–200   251–300  University of Portsmouth United Kingdom
 176–200   126–150  Rice University United States
 176–200   201–250  University of Stirling United Kingdom
 176–200   126–150  Temple University United States
 176–200   201–250  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University United States
 176–200   151–175  Western University Canada
 176–200   151–175  University of Würzburg Germany

View the full table of the best universities for psychology degrees

Read more: the most detailed subject guide you will ever see to help you pick your degree   


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