2021 Best Colleges for Psychology in California
Psychology is a popular major and California is the 1st most popular state for students studying this major. 33,523 of the 174,215 Psychology degrees earned last year were given by schools in California. With so many choices it can be a challenge finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Psychology in California ranking analyzed 51 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in psychology. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of schools for Psychology students in California.
Choosing a Great Psychology School
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 15% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 13%.
Better Early and Mid Career Salaries
A psychology degree from colleges on this list typically results in above average salaries following graduation. A psychology bachelors degree from a college in California helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 earn $28,225 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 full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Psychology students in California.
More Ways to Rank Psychology Schools
Since picking the right college can be one of the most important decisions of your life, we've developed the Best Psychology Schools ranking, along with many other major-related rankings, to help you make that decision.
In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Go ahead and give it a try, or bookmark the link so you can check it out later.
Best Schools to Study Psychology in California
Top 10 Best Psychology Colleges California
It is hard to beat University of California - San Diego if you want to study psychology. Located in the city of La Jolla, UCSD is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 94 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCSD is a great university overall.
There were approximately 435 psychology students who graduated from this degree at UCSD in the most recent data year.More… Request Information
University of California - Los Angeles is a wonderful option for individuals interested in a Psychology major. Located in the large city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.
There were approximately 1063 psychology individuals who graduated from this program at UCLA in the most recent year we have data available.More… Request Information
Any student pursuing a degree in psychology needs to check out Saint Mary's College of California. SMC is a small private not-for-profit college located in the suburb of Moraga. This college ranks 28th out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of California.
With 72 individuals who graduated from this program in the most recent data year, Saint Mary's College of California is one of the most popular colleges to study psychology in California.More… Request Information
University of San Francisco is one of the best schools in the country for psychology. USFCA is a large private not-for-profit university located in the city of San Francisco. This university ranks 26th out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of California.
University of San Francisco is one of the most popular universities to study psychology in California with approximately 250 graduations in the most recent data year.More… Request Information
Located in the large suburb of Malibu, Pepperdine is a private not-for-profit university with a moderately-sized student population. This university ranks 19th out of 116 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.
There were about 347 psychology students who graduated from this program at Pepperdine in the most recent year we have data available.More… Request Information
Located in the large city of Irvine, UC Irvine is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 15th out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of California.
There were approximately 951 psychology individuals who graduated from this degree at UC Irvine in the most recent data year.More… Request Information
SCU is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the medium-sized city of Santa Clara. A Best Colleges rank of 68 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means SCU is a great university overall.
With 180 students who graduated from this program in the most recent data year, Santa Clara University is one of the most popular universities to study psychology in California.More… Request Information
Located in the city of Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 40 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means USC is a great university overall.
A favorite choice for psychology undergraduates, there were roughly 268 individuals who graduated from this program at USC in the most recent data year.More… Request Information
UC Merced is a moderately-sized public university located in the rural area of Merced. This university ranks 38th out of 116 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.
University of California - Merced is a fairly popular university to study psychology in California with approximately 231 graduates in the most recent year we have data available.More… Request Information
UC Santa Cruz is a large public university located in the city of Santa Cruz. This university ranks 30th out of 116 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.
For those interested in something more advanced, UC Santa Cruz also offers 2 different higher degree levels in psychology, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree.More… Request Information
Best Psychology Colleges in the Far Western US Region
Explore all the Best Psychology Colleges in the Far Western US Area or other specific states within that region.
More Psychology Rankings in California
Rankings in Majors Related to Psychology
Psychology Majors to Study
|Clinical, Counseling & Applied Psychology||4,668|
|Child Development & Psychology||3,564|
Most Popular Related Majors
|Related Major||Annual Graduates|
|Communication & Journalism||17,090|
|Family, Consumer & Human Sciences||8,169|
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. More about our data sources and methodologies.
Featured Psychology Schools
Southern New Hampshire University
You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs ... Learn More >
Building on Purdue’s mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that’s tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, we make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from the prestigious Purdue University system—completely online ... Learn More >
Grand Canyon University (GCU)
With a spotlight on intellectual creativity and innovation for the 21stcentury, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU provides a job focused education. It blends the study of traditional humanities in a modern context. Through academic inquiry and beyond the box thinking, the college advances our society and its accomplishments ... Learn More >
Northcentral University (NCU) was founded to provide accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. As a regionally accredited, online university, NCU serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degree programs in the Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Sciences ... Learn More >
Colorado Technical University (CTU)
CTU could help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional community, aculty who are real-world professionals, and innovative technology ... Learn More >