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Best universities for psychology degrees in the US 2023

Explore the best universities the US for psychology degrees using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023

  • Best universities in
October 31 2022
best universities in the US for psychology degrees


Top 10 universities in the US for psychology degrees

Scroll down for the full list of best universities for psychology in the US

US psychology rank 2023 WUR psychology rank 2023 University State
1 1 Stanford University California
2 3 Princeton University New Jersey
3 5 Harvard University Massachusetts
4 6 University of California, Berkeley California
5 7 Yale University Connecticut
6 9 University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
7 10 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Michigan
8 11 University of California, Los Angeles California
9 12 The University of Chicago Illinois
10 15 New York University New York

The US higher education system offers flexible course options, and most undergraduates can study a range of subjects before declaring their specialisation or major at the end of their second year.

Psychology is a popular major or minor choice for students in the US. Students can study a range of topics, including cognitive psychology, social behaviours and abnormal psychology. Students often get the chance to be involved in research projects with academics at their institutions.

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Postgraduate options are varied and usually require students to undertake a large independent research project. 

Below are the best universities in the US for psychology degrees. 

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5. Yale University

Yale University's department of psychology offers programmes in psychology to undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD candidates.

Undergraduate students are able to pursue a psychology major or students more interested in neuroscience can take the neuroscience track. Students are able to then specialise further based on their interests and career goals. Undergraduate students are also able to take part in research opportunities within the department. 

The department offers doctoral training in the following areas: clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social/personality psychology. Applicants must indicate which of these areas they wish to focus on. 

The Psychology department was established at Yale University in the 1940s by Carl Hovland.

4. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley’s department of psychology was established as a stand-alone department in 1921, having previously been part of the department of philosophy.

UC Berkeley offers undergraduate and graduate degree programmes in psychology, focusing on six areas: behavioural neuroscience; cognition; development; clinical science; cognitive neuroscience and social-personality psychology.

Undergraduates can study either a major or a minor in psychology. There is a wide range of co-curricular activities for undergraduates, such as research, internships and field study.

The UC Berkeley Psychology Clinic has served the public of the Bay Area for more than 50 years and provides training to psychology students to help them prepare for their professional future.

What can you do with a psychology degree?

3. Harvard University

Psychology is one of the most popular courses among Harvard University undergraduates, and the subject can be studied alongside a range of other disciplines.

The undergraduate major in psychology at Harvard offers courses from introductory level to more advanced as students progress through their degree. 

Students are given flexibility in their learning through a number of tracks, such as the general cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology track or the cognitive science track.

The graduate programme in psychology at Harvard covers four major research areas: cognition, brain and behaviour; developmental psychology; social psychology and clinical science. 

2. Princeton University

Princeton University is a member of the Ivy League and its psychology department, was established more than a century ago.

Princeton undergraduates can study the psychology major as part of the Bachelor of Arts programme.

As well as learning about the psychology of language, movement and social interaction, students will learn basic statistical methods. They will also undertake courses in neuroscience.

At the graduate level, students can undertake the Doctor of Philosophy with psychology as their specialism.

The department is closely affiliated with the Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behaviour (CSBMB), which conducts research on the neural underpinnings of psychological function. The CSBMB houses facilities for the study of brain function, including a research-dedicated, high-field fMRI scanner, an EEG laboratory, an eye-tracking laboratory and high-performance computing facilities for data analysis and computational modelling.

1. Stanford University

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Jane and Leland Stanford.

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

Psychology courses at Stanford are split into five major areas: affective science, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology and social psychology. Students can choose courses from any of these departments.

Undergraduates can take the psychology major or minor programme as part of a Bachelor of Arts degree. They will study a range of topics, including abnormal psychology, cultural psychology and clinical psychology. Undergraduates also have the opportunity to conduct independent research for course credit. 

Graduate courses are available through Stanford’s extended doctorate in psychology programme, where no master’s degree is required. 

Among the department’s famous work is the Stanford prison experiment of the 1970s, which investigated the effects of perceived power on people’s conduct. The Stanford marshmallow experiment looked at delayed gratification in children and was completed in the same decade.

Top universities in the US for psychology degrees 2023

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2023 results 

US psychology rank 2023 WUR psychology rank 2023 University State
1 1 Stanford University California
2 3 Princeton University New Jersey
3 5 Harvard University Massachusetts
4 6 University of California, Berkeley California
5 7 Yale University Connecticut
6 9 University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
7 10 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Michigan
8 11 University of California, Los Angeles California
9 12 The University of Chicago Illinois
10 15 New York University New York
11 16 Columbia University New York
12 18 Northwestern University Illinois
13 21 Cornell University New York
=14 =23 Carnegie Mellon University Pennsylvania
=14 =23 Duke University North Carolina
=14 =23 Johns Hopkins University Maryland
17 =29 University of Minnesota Minnesota
18 32 University of California, Davis California
19 33 University of California, San Diego California
20 34 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Illinois
21 =35 University of Virginia (Main campus) Virginia
22 37 University of Texas at Austin Texas
23 38 University of Washington Washington
24 39 University of Wisconsin-Madison Winconsin
25 44 Vanderbilt University Tennessee
26 =48 Boston University Massachusetts
27 52 University of California, Irvine California
28 53 Ohio State University (Main campus) Ohio
29 55 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill North Carolina
30 57 University of California, Santa Barbara California
31 58 Washington University in St Louis Missouri
32 59 Indiana University Indiana
33 60 Penn State (Main campus) Pennsylvania
34 =61 Brown University Rhode Island
35 =64 University of Rochester New York
36 66 University of Maryland, College Park Maryland
37 =74 Dartmouth College New Hampshire
38 81 Arizona State University (Tempe) Arizona
39 89 University of Colorado Boulder Colorado
40 90 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus Pennsylvania
=41 101–125 Emory University Georgia
=41 101–125 Michigan State University Michigan
=41 101–125 University of Notre Dame Indiana
=41 101–125 Purdue University West Lafayette Indiana
=41 101–125 University of Southern California California
=41 101–125 Stony Brook University New York
=47 126–150 Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia
=47 126–150 Rutgers University – New Brunswick New Jersey
=49 151–175 University of Arizona Arizona
=49 151–175 Boston College Massachusetts
=49 151–175 University of California, Santa Cruz California
=49 151–175 University of Connecticut Connecticut
=49 151–175 University of Florida Florida
=49 151–175 University of Georgia Georgia
=49 151–175 University of Massachusetts Massachusetts
=49 151–175 University of Miami Florida
=49 151–175 Mizzou - University of Missouri Missouri
=49 151–175 University of North Carolina at Greensboro North Carolina
=59 176–200 University of Denver Colorado
=59 176–200 Florida State University Florida
=59 176–200 University of Iowa Iowa
=59 176–200 Northeastern University Illinois
=59 176–200 Washington State University Washington
=64 201–250 Baylor University Texas
=64 201–250 University of Delaware Delaware
=64 201–250 George Washington University Washington
=64 201–250 University of Illinois at Chicago Illinois
=64 201–250 Iowa State University Iowa
=64 201–250 University of Kansas Kansas
=64 201–250 The New School New York
=64 201–250 Saint Louis University Missouri
=64 201–250 Temple University Pennsylvania
=64 201–250 Texas A&M University Texas
=64 201–250 University of Toledo Ohio
=64 201–250 Tufts University Massachusetts
=76 251–300 University at Buffalo New York
=76 251–300 University of California, Riverside California
=76 251–300 University of Central Florida Florida
=76 251–300 Clark University Massachusetts
=76 251–300 Drexel University Pennsylvania
=76 251–300 George Mason University Virginia
=76 251–300 Lehigh University Pennsylvania
=76 251–300 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nebraska
=76 251–300 North Carolina State University North Carolina
=76 251–300 Rice University Texas
=76 251–300 University of Utah Utah
=76 251–300 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Virginia
=88 301–400 University of Arkansas Arkansas
=88 301–400 Auburn University Alabama
=88 301–400 Bowling Green State University Ohio
=88 301–400 Brandeis University Massachusetts
=88 301–400 University of California, Merced California
=88 301–400 Case Western Reserve University Ohio
=88 301–400 Chapman University California
=88 301–400 Clemson University South Carolina
=88 301–400 University of Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado
=88 301–400 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Colorado
=88 301–400 Colorado State University, Fort Collins Colorado
=88 301–400 Florida International University Florida
=88 301–400 University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Hawaii
=88 301–400 University of Houston Texas
=88 301–400 Illinois Institute of Technology Illinois
=88 301–400 University of Kentucky Kentucky
=88 301–400 University of Memphis Tennessee
=88 301–400 Northern Illinois University Illinois
=88 301–400 Ohio University (Main campus) Ohio
=88 301–400 Portland State University Ohio
=88 301–400 San Diego State University California
=88 301–400 University of South Florida Florida
=88 301–400 SUNY University at Albany New York
=88 301–400 University of Texas at Dallas Texas
=88 301–400 University of Texas at El Paso Texas
=88 301–400 Texas Tech University Texas
=88 301–400 Tulane University Louisiana
=88 301–400 Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia
=88 301–400 Wake Forest University North Carolina
=88 301–400 William & Mary Virginia
=118 401–500 The University of Alabama Alabama
=118 401–500 American University Washington
=118 401–500 Florida Atlantic University Florida
=118 401–500 Georgia State University Georgia
=118 401–500 Kansas State University Kansas
=118 401–500 Louisiana State University Louisiana
=118 401–500 Marquette University Wisconsin
=118 401–500 University of Maryland, Baltimore County Maryland
=118 401–500 University of Missouri-St Louis Missouri
=118 401–500 University of Nevada, Las Vegas Nevada
=118 401–500 Oklahoma State University Oklahoma
=118 401–500 Old Dominion University Virginia
=118 401–500 University of Rhode Island Rhode Island
=118 401–500 Rowan University New Jersey
=118 401–500 University of South Carolina-Columbia South Carolina
=118 401–500 Southern Illinois University Carbondale Illinois
=118 401–500 SUNY Binghamton University New York
=118 401–500 Syracuse University New York
=118 401–500 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Tennessee
=118 401–500 Wayne State University Michigan
=118 401–500 Western Michigan University Michigan
=118 401–500 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Winconsin
=140 501+ Florida Institute of Technology Florida
=140 501+ Georgia Southern University Georgia
=140 501+ Mississippi State University Mississippi
=140 501+ Montana State University Montana
=140 501+ New Mexico State University (Main campus) New Mexico
=140 501+ University of North Carolina at Charlotte North Carolina
=140 501+ University of North Carolina Wilmington North Carolina
=140 501+ Nova Southeastern University Florida
=140 501+ Oakland University Michigan
=140 501+ University of South Dakota South Dakota
=140 501+ University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Texas
=140 501+ The University of Texas at San Antonio Texas
=140 501+ Texas State University Texas
=140 501+ University of Wyoming Wyoming

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