Best universities for psychology degrees 2020

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

November 19 2019
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 will go on to careers as 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 494 best universities for psychology degrees. The ranking features 47 countries. 

Stanford University takes first place in the 2020 ranking, followed by Princeton University. UCL is the only UK university in the top 10 (number 4) and the University of British Columbia, which rounds out the top 10, is the only Canadian institution. 

More than a quarter of the universities in the overall ranking (141 universities) are US universities. The next most represented country is the UK, with 72 universities present. Australia, Germany and Canada are also well represented, with 31, 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, law 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. 

Best universities by degree subject

Best universities for arts and humanities
Best universities for business and economics
Best universities for clinical, pre-clinical and health

Best universities for computer science
Best universities for life sciences
Best universities for physical sciences

Best universities for social sciences
Best universities for law degrees
Best universities for education degrees
Best universities for engineering degrees

3. University of Pennsylvania

The Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania is the oldest continuously functioning psychology department in North America.

One of the courses offered within the department at undergraduate level is “The Pursuit of Happiness”, which aims to explore the theoretical, scientific and practical aspects of well-being and how students can use these methods to increase their own feelings of happiness. 

Graduate research groups are split into two areas: brain, cognitive and decision science and clinical, positive and social psychology.

4. 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.

What can you do with a psychology degree?

5. University of Chicago

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

Undergraduate psychology courses are centred around faculty-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 to focus their work on: cognition, developmental psychology, integrative neuroscience or social psychology. 

Student experience of studying psychology

Opportunity and adventure at the Florida Institute of Technology
Using an academic learning diary
International perspective: students from Hong Kong in the UK
International perspective: an Iranian student in Poland
Going to university with cerebral palsy
Vlog: A week in the life of a student in Canada

Top universities for psychology degrees 2020 

Click on each institution to view its World University Ranking 2020 profile

Psychology Rank 2020  Psychology Rank 2019  University Country/region
 1   1  Stanford University United States
 2   3  Princeton University United States
 3   5  University of Pennsylvania United States
 4   2  UCL United Kingdom
 5   4  University of Chicago United States
 6   7  Harvard University United States
 7   10  Yale University United States
 8   11  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
 9   8  University of California, Los Angeles United States
 10   12  University of British Columbia Canada
 11   22  New York University United States
 12   9  London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
 13   6  Duke University United States
 14   =20  University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 15   13  Cornell University United States
 16   14  Northwestern University United States
 17   15  University of Washington United States
 18   16  Columbia University United States
 19   24  Karolinska Institute Sweden
 20   26  University of Virginia (Main campus) United States
 21   17  University of Minnesota United States
 =22   23  Carnegie Mellon University United States
 =22   18  University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 =22   19  University of Toronto Canada
 =25   30  University of Texas at Austin United States
 =25   =20  University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
 27   29  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 28   =49  KU Leuven Belgium
 29   35  McGill University Canada
 30   27  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 31   28  Ohio State University (Main campus) United States
 32   NR  University of California, Davis United States
 33   37  University of Melbourne Australia
 34   38  University of Groningen Netherlands
 35   34  Penn State (Main campus) United States
 36   32  Michigan State University United States
 37   31  University of California, San Diego United States
 38   =56  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 39   48  Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
 40   33  Brown University United States
 41   68  University of Sydney Australia
 42   =46  Utrecht University Netherlands
 43   42  Vanderbilt University United States
 44   78  Cardiff University United Kingdom
 45   =52  National University of Singapore Singapore
 46   36  LMU Munich Germany
 47   67  University of Queensland Australia
 48   =56  University of Maryland, College Park United States
 49   =62  University of Tübingen Germany
 50   =49  Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
 51   44  Tilburg University Netherlands
 52   =52  UNSW Sydney Australia
 53   43  University of Southern California United States
 54   40  University of Bristol United Kingdom
 55   39  Washington University in St Louis United States
 56   =56  University of California, Santa Barbara United States
 57   45  University of Rochester United States
 =58   83  Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
 =58   41  Heidelberg University Germany
 60   54  University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =61   61  Australian National University Australia
 =61   =74  Ghent University Belgium
 =63   73  Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =63   69  Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 =65   =62  University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 =65   =56  Peking University China
 67   101–125  University of Padua Italy
 68   55  Boston University United States
 69   60  Indiana University United States
 70   =74  University of Vienna Austria
 71   87  York University Canada
 =72   101–125  University of Manchester United Kingdom
 =72   =46  The University of Tokyo Japan
 74   =89  University of Sussex United Kingdom
 75   70  National Taiwan University Taiwan
 76   151–175  Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 =77   =96  University of Colorado Boulder United States
 =77   82  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus United States
 =79   84  Maastricht University Netherlands
 =79   88  Queen’s University Canada
 81   NR  University of Oregon United States
 82   51  Emory University United States
 83   =71  University of Kent United Kingdom
 84   101–125  University of Exeter United Kingdom
 =85   101–125  University of Bath United Kingdom
 =85   101–125  University of Warwick United Kingdom
 87   126–150  University of Western Australia Australia
 88   =89  University of Auckland New Zealand
 89   =85  Birkbeck, University of London United Kingdom
 90   101–125  University of California, Irvine United States
 91   101–125  Aarhus University Denmark
 =92   =76  Free University of Berlin Germany
 =92   NR  Goldsmiths, University of London United Kingdom
 94   101–125  Wake Forest University United States
 95   101–125  University of Zurich Switzerland
 96   126–150  University of Konstanz Germany
 97   151–175  University of Macau Macao
 98   NR  Beijing Normal University China
 99   100  Georgia Institute of Technology United States
 =100   NR  University of Cologne Germany
 =100   =85  University of Mannheim Germany
 101–125   101–125  University of Cape Town South Africa
 101–125   =71  University of Connecticut United States
 101–125   126–150  University of Dundee United Kingdom
 101–125   =76  University of Florida United States
 101–125   =65  Florida State University United States
 101–125   151–175  University of Göttingen Germany
 101–125   81  University of Illinois at Chicago United States
 101–125   =98  University of Miami United States
 101–125   126–150  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 101–125   =89  Northeastern University United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Notre Dame United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  University of Otago New Zealand
 101–125   101–125  University of Potsdam Germany
 101–125   151–175  Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  University of São Paulo Brazil
 101–125   101–125  University of St Andrews United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Stockholm University Sweden
 101–125   126–150  Stony Brook University United States
 101–125   =94  TU Dresden Germany
 101–125   151–175  Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand
 101–125   101–125  University of Waterloo Canada
 101–125   201–250  William & Mary United States
 101–125   80  University of York United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  University of Alberta Canada
 126–150   126–150  University of Barcelona Spain
 126–150   =94  University of Basel Switzerland
 126–150   151–175  Boston College United States
 126–150   151–175  Dalhousie University Canada
 126–150   =62  Dartmouth College United States
 126–150   126–150  University of Freiburg Germany
 126–150   =65  University of Geneva Switzerland
 126–150   =96  University of Georgia United States
 126–150   126–150  University of Helsinki Finland
 126–150   101–125  University of Kansas United States
 126–150   93  Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
 126–150   176–200  Macquarie University Australia
 126–150   176–200  McMaster University Canada
 126–150   126–150  Monash University Australia
 126–150   126–150  Newcastle University United Kingdom
 126–150   176–200  Nottingham Trent University United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  Rice University United States
 126–150   151–175  Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey United States
 126–150   151–175  University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  University of Southampton United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  Tel Aviv University Israel
 126–150   NR  Temple University United States
 126–150   126–150  University of Twente Netherlands
 126–150   176–200  University of Victoria Canada
 151–175   201–250  Aston University United Kingdom
 151–175   126–150  University of Bern Switzerland
 151–175   151–175  University of Bologna Italy
 151–175   NR  University of Bonn Germany
 151–175   126–150  University of California, Riverside United States
 151–175   251–300  University of California, Santa Cruz United States
 151–175   151–175  City, University of London United Kingdom
 151–175   201–250  University of Delaware United States
 151–175   126–150  Durham University United Kingdom
 151–175   101–125  University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 151–175   201–250  University of Graz Austria
 151–175   151–175  Higher School of Economics Russian Federation
 151–175   =98  University of Iowa United States
 151–175   176–200  Keele University United Kingdom
 151–175   79  Kyoto University Japan
 151–175   201–250  Lancaster University United Kingdom
 151–175   101–125  Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
 151–175   NR  University of Missouri-Columbia United States
 151–175   201–250  University of North Carolina at Greensboro United States
 151–175   126–150  University of Reading United Kingdom
 151–175   176–200  Ruhr University Bochum Germany
 151–175   101–125  Simon Fraser University Canada
 151–175   126–150  University of Surrey United Kingdom
 151–175   126–150  Tufts University United States
 151–175   151–175  Uppsala University Sweden
 151–175   NR  Western University Canada
 151–175   126–150  University of Würzburg Germany
 176–200   101–125  University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
 176–200   251–300  University of Adelaide Australia
 176–200   151–175  Auburn University United States
 176–200   201–250  Australian Catholic University Australia
 176–200   176–200  Bangor University United Kingdom
 176–200   151–175  University of Bergen Norway
 176–200   251–300  Case Western Reserve University United States
 176–200   151–175  Coventry University United Kingdom
 176–200   201–250  University of Cyprus Cyprus
 176–200   176–200  Florida International University United States
 176–200   201–250  University of Fribourg Switzerland
 176–200   176–200  Iowa State University United States
 176–200   151–175  University of Jyväskylä Finland
 176–200   151–175  Korea University South Korea
 176–200   201–250  La Trobe University Australia
 176–200   126–150  University of Luxembourg Luxembourg
 176–200   176–200  University of Münster Germany
 176–200   201–250  National Taiwan Normal University Taiwan
 176–200   301–400  University of Nebraska-Lincoln United States
 176–200   126–150  North Carolina State University United States
 176–200   NR  University of Paris France
 176–200   151–175  Sapienza University of Rome Italy
 176–200   151–175  University of South Florida (Tampa) United States
 176–200   NR  Tampere University Finland

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   


Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Study Business & Management

Study Computer Science

Study Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Study Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Study Accounting & Finance

Study Biological Sciences