Top Psychology Universities in the United States

psychology in the us

You might be wondering if studying psychology in the United States is worth it, and we are here to list all the motivating factors of this area of specialization. Choosing to study psychology means you will help yourself to a wide range of job opportunities, contrary to the popular belief that you can only become a counselor with a degree in psychology. A psychology degree or diploma earned in the US is recognized in multiple countries of the world; a great advantage for your future career, with an opportunity of employment in prestigious health institutions or even million-dollar companies. 

The requirements for enrolling in a psychology program in US universities depend on the level of studies and the courses that the students wish to pursue. To get admitted for a Master’s degree as an international student in any field of study, you need the equivalence to the American Bachelor’s degree obtained in your country of education. Secondly, for a P.h.D program you must have an American Master’s degree or the equivalent. Furthermore, exams such as GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS may be required, depending on the university.

Here are some of the best universities for psychology in the USA:

1. Harvard University

The field of psychology is one of the most popular degrees in Harvard University, among students. There are over 70 students currently enrolled in the Graduate Program in Psychology which includes four major research programs as Cognition (CBB), Brain & Behaviour; Developmental Psychology; Clinical Science, and Social Psychology.

The undergraduate psychology program provides students with academic advisors to help them make the right choice that best suits their interests for the future. Undergraduate students are also required to begin working on an original thesis by Junior year, the sooner the better.  They offer a wide variety of options for those interested in getting a Bachelor’s degree.

Here is the list of undergraduate courses:

  • General Psychology
  • Cognition Science: Mind/Brain/Behavior
  • Life Sciences: Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology
  • The Honors Program
  • Psychology as a Secondary Field
  • Advanced Placement
  • Study Out of Residence

Furthermore, you can get a Master’s and Doctorate degree in psychology from Harvard University. The admission requirements for undergraduate applicants include an excellent academic record of previous education. Secondly, to get accepted for a graduate psychology program you need to complete an undergraduate degree, with a great academic record as well.

2. Stanford University

Stanford University is one of the most notable universities for psychology with a highly capable academic staff. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at Stanford University. Undergraduates students are taught under some of the most prepared faculty, guiding them towards an industry full of career options.

Human behavior is the main focus in the undergraduate courses, with the intent of further advancing their studies at the graduate program, or pursue a career in social sciences, education, law, business, and several other prestigious job sectors. On the other hand, the graduate program is designed for those who are interested in building their career around research and clinical practice.

Some of the courses in the undergraduate program are: 

  • Introduction to Perception
  • Minds and Machines
  • Introduction to Learning and Memory
  • Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Introduction to Developmental Psychology

3. The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

The University of California, Berkeley offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology programs. The focus of the academic staff in teaching students enrolled in these programs is mainly on the issue of critical thinking. They need to produce graduates with skills that can be implemented in all branches of psychology.

The department of psychology at this university works around five main areas of research which are: 

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognition, Brain, & Behavior
  • Clinical Science
  • Change, Plasticity & Development
  • Social-Personality Psychology

The undergraduate program of psychology is mainly focused on teaching fundamentals to psychology, basically the basic idea behind psychology science. Some of the courses include clinical psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and a brief introduction to the research methods. Students at the undergraduate level are focused on developing a deeper understanding of general psychology

4. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The psychology department at UCLA is one of the largest and most diverse programs in the nation. It is ranked among the top universities for psychology, because of its highly qualified faculty with more than 200 Ph.D. students and almost 90 academic staff who only deal with the research area of psychology. 

Three undergraduate programs are available at UCLA which include the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology,  Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science, and Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology. You can also register for a minor in either Applied Developmental Psychology and/or Cognitive Science.

If you are interested in further advancing your psychology studies, UCLA offers a Ph.D. program in a wide range of options to choose from, depending on the field of specialization which suits your interests the best. 

Here are the concentrations of the Ph.D. program:

  • Clinic Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Learning and Behavior

5. Yale University

As an Ivy League school, it comes as no surprise that the psychology program at Yale University is among the best in the country. It is ranked 5th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and QS World Rankings and it has been at the top 10 universities in the country for psychology for over a decade.

The Ph.D. program at Yale University is highly competitive, and the admission rate is only 15 candidates per year. To be one of the lucky ones, you need to show exemplary academic records, great letters of recommendation, and unique work experience.

At Yale University you can choose between getting a Bachelor’s degree in either B.A or B.S. The main difference is that B.S. students are required to conduct a research project as part of the course since it is completely focused on psychology research methodologies. On the contrary, a B.A. degree is awarded to students who conduct only a literature review as opposed to engaging in the field of research. 

6. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan- Ann Arbor holds a reputation for its graduates and faculty’s valuable contributions to the development of the field of psychology. They are determined to transmit their eagerness for continual discovery to their students. The undergraduate and graduate programs offered at this university are known for their innovative classes and modern teaching methodologies.

The University of Michigan graduate program is focused on these main areas of psychology:

  • Biopsychology
  • Clinical Science
  • Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Personality & Social Contexts

7. The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)

The University of Pennsylvania offers the psychology program as a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Doctorate Degree, and it is considered the most prestigious program in the nation. The acceptance rate at the University of Pennsylvania is considerably low with a percentage of only 10% of students getting admitted in the undergraduate programs.

The teaching methodologies at UPenn are designed to teach students about the main idea of the science of psychology. The major of psychology consists of classes where it is thoroughly discussed how the brain processes information and its evolution with time. Three main courses are available at the undergraduate level such as Psychology is a Biological Science, Psychology is a Cognitive Science, Psychology is a Social Science.

Additionally, students who have completed their undergraduate courses with a great academic record and have gone through the entire curriculum of the Bachelor’s degree, are eligible to undertake seminars at the Graduate level. Additionally, the honors program involves completing a one-year-long research project, completing the second term of statistics, participating in a seminar for a year, and finally participate at the Undergraduate Psychology Research Fair in the Spring semester.