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2020 Best Colleges for Psychology

Approximately 175,257 psychology degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a challenge finding the best fit for you. This year's Best Colleges for Psychology ranking analyzed 835 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in psychology. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 schools for Psychology students.

Choosing a Great Psychology School

Best Colleges for Psychology The psychology program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

A school that excels in educating for a particular major must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 12% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 6%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 97 to 2 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

A psychology degree from colleges on this list typically translates into above average earnings after graduation. A psychology bachelors degree from a school in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 make $28,141 a couple years later.

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Psychology students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other psychology students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized psychology related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Psychology students.

Best Schools to Study Psychology in United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities in the U.S. for a Psychology degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 835 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Psychology Colleges

University of California - San Diego is a great decision for students pursuing a Psychology major. UCSD is a fairly large public school located in the large city of La Jolla. This college ranks 72nd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

With 424 undergrads, University of California - San Diego is one of most popular schools to study psychology in United States.

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It's hard to beat University of California - Los Angeles if you wish to pursue psychology as a major. Located in the city Los Angeles, UCLA is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 49 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCLA also offers 3 different higher degree levels in psychology, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#3

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University is among your top options if you're planning on studying psychology. Located in the city Nashville, Vanderbilt is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 18 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Vanderbilt is a great college overall.

There are roughly 148 psychology undergraduates studying this program at Vanderbilt.

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#4

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

It's difficult to beat Northwestern University if you want to pursue psychology as a major. Northwestern U is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Evanston. A Best Colleges rank of 10 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Northwestern U is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Northwestern U also offers 2 different higher degree levels in psychology, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#5

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Located in the suburb Stanford, Stanford is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great college overall.

With 72 students enrolled, Stanford University is one of most popular schools to study psychology in United States.

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#6

Yale University

New Haven, CT

Yale is a large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of New Haven. A Best Colleges rank of 4 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Yale is a great college overall.

With 92 students enrolled, Yale University is one of most popular schools to study psychology in United States.

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Located in the city Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill is a public college with a very large student population. This college ranks 50th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

For those interested in something more advanced, UNC Chapel Hill also offers 2 different higher degree levels in psychology, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#8

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

Brandeis is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Waltham. This college ranks 68th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

A favorite major for psychology undergrads, there are about 120 students enrolled in this program at Brandeis.

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#9

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Located in the city Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great college overall.

There are roughly 268 psychology undergraduates studying this program at UPenn.

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UCR is a very large public school located in the city of Riverside. This college ranks 214th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

A preferred major for psychology undergrads, there are about 538 learners studying this degree at UCR.

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#11

Duke University

Durham, NC

Located in the large city Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 1 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Duke is a great school overall.

With 163 undergraduates, Duke University is one of most popular colleges to study psychology in United States.

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#12

Colby College

Waterville, ME

Located in the remote town Waterville, Colby is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 83rd out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Maine.

There are roughly 44 psychology undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Colby.

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#13

Barnard College

New York, NY

Located in the city New York, Barnard is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This school ranks 104th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

Barnard College is one of the most popular college to study psychology in United States with more than 78 graduates last year.

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#14

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

Located in the suburb Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 33 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means University of Virginia is a great college overall.

There are about 319 psychology undergrads studying this program at University of Virginia.

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#15

Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT

Located in the small city Middletown, Wesleyan U is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 54th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Wesleyan U also offers a Master's Degree in psychology.

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#16

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC

Located in the midsize city Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 37 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Wake Forest University is a great college overall.

With 125 undergrads, Wake Forest University is one of most popular schools to study psychology in United States.

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Located in the city Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public school with a very large student population. This college ranks 65th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

University of California - Berkeley is a fairly popular college to study psychology in United States exceeding 290 graduates last year.

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#18

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Georgetown is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of 42 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Georgetown is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Georgetown also offers 2 different higher degree levels in psychology, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#19

New York University

New York, NY

Located in the city New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. This school ranks 129th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

With 493 undergrads, New York University is one of most popular schools to study psychology in United States.

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#20

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY

Located in the midsize city Rochester, University of Rochester is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 45 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means University of Rochester is a great school overall.

With 180 undergrads, University of Rochester is one of most popular colleges to study psychology in United States.

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#21

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Located in the city Chestnut Hill, Boston College is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. This college ranks 58th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are roughly 369 psychology undergrads enrolled in this degree at Boston College.

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#22

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA

Located in the city Worcester, Holy Cross is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 24 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Holy Cross is a great college overall.

With 110 undergrads, College of the Holy Cross is one of most popular colleges to study psychology in United States.

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#23

George Washington University

Washington, DC

Located in the large city Washington, GWU is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 105th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

For those interested in something more advanced, GWU also offers 4 different higher degree levels in psychology, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#24

Boston University

Boston, MA

Boston U is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Boston. This college ranks 56th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

For those interested in something more advanced, Boston U also offers 2 different higher degree levels in psychology, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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UC Irvine is a very large public school located in the large city of Irvine. This college ranks 81st out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There are roughly 885 psychology undergrads enrolled in this program at UC Irvine.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for Psychology

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Colleges for Psychology badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 835 different United States psychology schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Colgate University Hamilton, NY
52 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
53 Bates College Lewiston, ME
54 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
55 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
56 Christopher Newport University Newport News, VA
57 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
58 Binghamton University Vestal, NY
59 Saint Mary’s College of California Moraga, CA
60 Stonehill College Easton, MA
61 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
62 Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA
63 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
64 Davidson College Davidson, NC
65 Gettysburg College Gettysburg, PA
66 Spelman College Atlanta, GA
67 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
68 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
69 Washington State University Pullman, WA
70 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
71 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
72 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
73 University at Albany Albany, NY
74 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
75 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
76 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
77 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
78 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
79 Grinnell College Grinnell, IA
80 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
81 Fordham University Bronx, NY
82 University of Georgia Athens, GA
83 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
84 Rice University Houston, TX
85 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
86 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
87 Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA
88 Rutgers University - Camden Camden, NJ
89 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
90 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
91 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
92 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
93 Virginia Military Institute Lexington, VA
94 Providence College Providence, RI
95 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
96 CUNY Hunter College New York, NY
97 Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA
98 Occidental College Los Angeles, CA
99 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
100 Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
101 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
102 Rhodes College Memphis, TN
103 Florida International University Miami, FL
104 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
105 SUNY Geneseo Geneseo, NY
106 Whitman College Walla Walla, WA
107 Seattle University Seattle, WA
108 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
109 Pomona College Claremont, CA
110 Union College New York Schenectady, NY
111 Dickinson College Carlisle, PA
112 Kenyon College Gambier, OH
113 Southwestern University Georgetown, TX
114 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
115 DePauw University Greencastle, IN
116 Creighton University Omaha, NE
117 Clark University Worcester, MA
118 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY
119 American University Washington, DC
120 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
121 Presbyterian College Clinton, SC
122 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
123 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ
124 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
125 Denison University Granville, OH

Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Psychology award.

Rank College Location
126 Connecticut College New London, CT
127 University of Denver Denver, CO
128 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
129 John Carroll University University Heights, OH
130 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
131 Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo, MI
132 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
133 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
134 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
135 Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington, IL
136 Lafayette College Easton, PA
137 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
138 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
139 Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, MA
140 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
141 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
142 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
143 University of Maryland - Baltimore County Baltimore, MD
144 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
145 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
146 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX
147 Wheaton College Massachusetts Norton, MA
148 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
149 Loyola University Maryland Baltimore, MD
150 Drew University Madison, NJ
151 Carleton College Northfield, MN
152 Clarke University Dubuque, IA
153 Ursinus College Collegeville, PA
154 University of South Florida - Main Campus Tampa, FL
155 Willamette University Salem, OR
156 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
157 Iowa State University Ames, IA
158 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
159 University of Richmond University of Richmond, VA
160 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
161 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
162 The College of Wooster Wooster, OH
163 Cedarville University Cedarville, OH
164 Le Moyne College Syracuse, NY
165 Hope College Holland, MI
166 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
167 Hobart and William Smith Colleges Geneva, NY

Psychology by Region

View the Best Colleges for Psychology for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Psychology Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
General Psychology 131,061
Clinical, Counseling & Applied Psychology 29,110
Child Development & Psychology 11,968
Other Psychology 3,118

View All Psychology Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Education 306,214
Social Sciences 199,576
Communication & Journalism 120,570
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 60,305
History 32,644

View All Psychology Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Nevit Dilmen.

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