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Top Psychology Schools in the United States: How They are Ranked

Higher Education Articles January 11, 2013

Students in psychology degree programs explore how the human brain responds and develops. Schools offer both graduate and undergraduate degree programs in psychology, but students seeking to practice as professional psychologists must necessarily hold master degrees. In this article, we will look at some of the premier psychology schools in the United States.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Cambridge, Massachusetts

In 2009, MIT was ranked eleventh among the best psychology schools in the United States by the U.S. News & World Report, which also rated MIT as fifth best for both experimental psychology and cognitive psychology, and sixth best for behavioral neuroscience. Students can pursue a bachelor degree in the brain and cognitive sciences. Graduate degree programs at MIT involve a lot of research work in laboratories. There are also several doctoral programs offered, including computation or systems neuroscience, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, and molecular and cellular neuroscience.

Stanford University – Stanford, California

In 2009, the U.S. News & World Report rated Stanford University as the best psychology school in the United States and the cognitive psychology program offered at the university is the best of its kind in the country.  Specialty tracks including health and development, cognitive sciences, neuroscience, culture and society, and mind are offered in Stanford’s bachelor degree programs. The specialty track options offered to doctoral degree students include cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, affective psychology, social psychology, or neuroscience.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

In 2009, U.S. News rated the University of Illinois seventh among the nation’s leading psychology schools, and in 2012, 45th among national universities. Apart from a comprehensive Bachelor of Science program in Psychology, this school allows students enrolled in its doctoral programs to select from nine divisions, distinct from one another. Students have a plethora of programs to choose from, including Cognitive psychology, clinical-community psychology, behavioral neuroscience, visual cognition and human performance, social-personality cognition, industrial-organization psychology, brain and cognition, quantitative psychology, and developmental psychology. A doctoral degree in counseling psychology is offered by the Department of Educational Psychology.

Top Psychology Schools in the United States: How They are Ranked

School Name Location
Cornell University Ithaca, New York
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey
Stanford University Stanford, California
University of California – San Diego La Jolla, California
University of Illinois Champaign, Illinois
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia
University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri

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  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
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  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
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