Best universities for psychology degrees in the US

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

Best universities in
April 6 2021
best universities in the US for psychology degrees


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.

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

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

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.

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.

What can you do with a psychology degree?

3. 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.

4. The University of Chicago

Psychology is one of the most popular majors at The University of Chicago. Undergraduate programmes combine taught courses and research opportunities. Students can choose from five major areas: biological psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and sensation and perception. 

The doctoral programme typically covers eight subject areas as well as a trial research project. 

Students can also participate in “Psi Chi”, the local unit of the National Honor Society in Psychology. Members can attend events such as Lab Night, where researchers describe their latest projects.

5. 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. 

Top universities in the US for psychology degrees 2021

US Psychology Rank 2021  WUR Psychology Rank 2021 


1  1  Stanford University California
2  2  Princeton University New Jersey
3  4  University of California, Berkeley California
4  5  The University of Chicago Illinois
5  6  Harvard University Massachusetts
6  7  Yale University Connecticut
7  8  University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
8  9  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Michigan
9  10  University of California, Los Angeles California
10  =13  Northwestern University Illinois
11  15  New York University New York
12  =17  Carnegie Mellon University Pennsylvania
13  20  Duke University North Carolina
14  =21  Columbia University New York
15  24  Cornell University New York
16  25  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Illinois
17  26  University of Washington Washington
18  27  University of Wisconsin -Madison Wisconsin
19  28  University of Virginia (Main campus) Virginia
20  29  University of Minnesota Minnesota
21  30  University of Texas at Austin Texas
22  33  Michigan State University Michigan
23  36  University of California, San Diego California
24  37  Ohio State University (Main campus) Ohio
=25  =41  Penn State (Main campus) Pennsylvania
=25  =41  Vanderbilt University Tennessee
27  45  Johns Hopkins University Maryland
28  46  University of California, Davis California
29  47  University of California, Irvine California
30  49  University of North Carolina at  Chapel Hill North Carolina
31  54  Boston University Massachusetts
32  55  Brown University Rhode Island
33  58  Washington University in St Louis Missouri
34  61  Arizona State University (Tempe) Arizona
35  62  University of California, Santa Barbara California
36  63  University of Rochester New York
37  =68  University of Maryland, College Park Maryland
38  76  University of Southern California California
=39  =92  Emory University Georgia
=39  =92  Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia
41  94  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus Pennsylvania
42  =96  University of Colorado Boulder Colorado
=43  101–125  University of Arizona Arizona
=43  101–125  Dartmouth College New Hampshire
=43  101–125  University of Notre Dame Indiana
=43  101–125  University of Oregon Oregon
=47  126–150  University of California, Riverside California
=47  126–150  University of California, Santa Cruz California
=47  126–150  University of Delaware Delaware
=47  126–150  University of Florida Florida
=47  126–150  George Mason University Virginia
=47  126–150  University of Illinois at Chicago Illinois
=47  126–150  Mizzou - University of Missouri Missouri
=47  126–150  Northeastern University Massachusetts
=47  126–150  Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey New Jersey
=47  126–150  Wake Forest University North Carolina
=57  151–175  University of Connecticut Connecticut
=57  151–175  Florida State University Florida
=57  151–175  Iowa State University Iowa
=57  151–175  University of Kansas Kansas
=57  151–175  Stony Brook University New York
=62  176–200  Boston College Massachusetts
=62  176–200  Drexel University Pennsylvania
=62  176–200  University of Iowa Iowa
=62  176–200  University of Massachusetts Massachusetts
=62  176–200  University of Miami Florida
=62  176–200  Rice University Texas
=62  176–200  Temple University Pennsylvania
=62  176–200  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Virginia
=70  201–250  Brandeis University Massachusetts
=70  201–250  University of California, Merced California
=70  201–250  Case Western Reserve University Ohio
=70  201–250  Clark University Massachusetts
=70  201–250  University of Georgia Georgia
=70  201–250  Mississippi State University Mississippi
=70  201–250  University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nebraska
=70  201–250  The New School New York
=70  201–250  North Carolina State University North Carolina
=70  201–250  University of South Florida (Tampa) Florida
=70  201–250  Tufts University Massachusetts
=70  201–250  University of Utah Utah
=82  251–300  University of Alabama Alabama
=82  251–300  Auburn University Alabama
=82  251–300  Bowling Green State University Ohio
=82  251–300  University at Buffalo New York
=82  251–300  University of Central Florida Florida
=82  251–300  University of Denver Colorado
=82  251–300  Florida International University Florida
=82  251–300  George Washington University Washington D.C
=82  251–300  University of Houston Texas
=82  251–300  Illinois Institute of Technology Illinois
=82  251–300  University of Kentucky Kentucky
=82  251–300  Miami University Florida
=82  251–300  University of Missouri-St Louis Missouri
=82  251–300  University of Nevada, Las Vegas Nevada
=82  251–300  University of North Carolina at Greensboro North Carolina
=82  251–300  San Diego State University California
=82  251–300  Texas A&M University Texas
=82  251–300  University of Toledo Ohio
=82  251–300  William & Mary Virginia
=101  301–400  Baylor University Texas
=101  301–400  Binghamton University, State University of New York New York
=101  301–400  Chapman University California
=101  301–400  University of Cincinnati Ohio
=101  301–400  Clemson University South Carolina
=101  301–400  University of Colorado Denver Colorado
=101  301–400  Colorado State University, Fort Collins Colorado
=101  301–400  Florida Institute of Technology Florida
=101  301–400  Georgia State University Georgia
=101  301–400  University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Hawai'i
=101  301–400  Hofstra University New York
=101  301–400  Kent State University Ohio
=101  301–400  Lehigh University Pennsylvania
=101  301–400  Louisiana State University Louisiana
=101  301–400  University of Memphis Tennessee
=101  301–400  Ohio University (Main campus) Ohio
=101  301–400  Old Dominion University Virginia
=101  301–400  Portland State University Oregon
=101  301–400  University of South Carolina-Columbia South Carolina
=101  301–400  State University of New York Albany New York
=101  301–400  Syracuse University New York
=101  301–400  University of Texas at Arlington Texas
=101  301–400  University of Texas at Dallas Texas
=101  301–400  Texas Tech University Texas
=101  301–400  Tulane University Louisiana
=101  301–400  Washington State University Washington
=127  401–500  University of Alabama at Birmingham Alabama
=127  401–500  American University Washington D.C
=127  401–500  University of Arkansas Arkansas
=127  401–500  California State University, Long Beach California
=127  401–500  East Carolina University North Carolina
=127  401–500  Florida Atlantic University Florida
=127  401–500  James Madison University Virginia
=127  401–500  Kansas State University Kansas
=127  401–500  Marquette University Wisconsin
=127  401–500  University of Maryland, Baltimore County Maryland
=127  401–500  Montana State University Montana
=127  401–500  New Mexico State University (Main campus) New Mexico
=127  401–500  Oakland University Michigan
=127  401–500  Oklahoma State University Oklahoma
=127  401–500  Oregon State University Oregon
=127  401–500  University of Rhode Island Rhode Island
=127  401–500  Southern Illinois University Carbondale Illinois
=127  401–500  The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Tennessee
=127  401–500  University of Texas at El Paso Texas
=127  401–500  The University of Texas at San Antonio Texas
=127  401–500  Texas State University Texas
=127  401–500  Wayne State University Michigan
=127  401–500  Western Michigan University Michigan
=127  401–500  University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee Wisconsin
=151  501+  University of North Carolina Wilmington North Carolina
=151  501+  Nova Southeastern University Florida
=151  501+  University of South Dakota South Dakota
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