Best Psychology Schools: How They Are Ranked

Students in psychology degree programs explore how the human brain develops and responds. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in psychology, but to become a psychologist, students need to earn a graduate degree.

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Top Schools with Psychology Programs

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge

U.S. News & World Report ranked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) eleventh in its Best Psychology Schools rankings in 2009. Additionally, MIT was ranked fifth for cognitive psychology, fifth for experimental psychology and sixth for behavioral neuroscience by U.S. News in 2009. MIT offers a bachelor's program in brain and cognitive sciences. Students can pursue a doctoral degree specializing in molecular and cellular neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive science, computation or systems neuroscience. Students spend half of their graduate studies in laboratories conducting research.

2. Stanford University in Stanford, CA

Stanford University was ranked first on the U.S. News list of Best Psychology Schools in 2009 and first on its list of top cognitive psychology programs. Students completing a bachelor's degree in psychology at Stanford can specialize in mind, culture and society, neuroscience, cognitive sciences or heath and development. Doctoral students can specialize in neuroscience, social psychology, affective psychology, developmental psychology or cognitive psychology.

3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

U.S. News ranked the University of Illinois seventh in its Best Psychology Schools rankings in 2009 and 45th on its national universities rankings list in 2012. The University of Illinois offers a comprehensive Bachelor of Science in Psychology program. Doctoral students in psychology can choose from nine distinct divisions. Program options include developmental psychology, quantitative psychology, brain and cognition, industrial-organization psychology, social-personality cognition, visual cognition and human performance, behavioral neuroscience, clinical-community psychology and cognitive psychology. The Department of Educational Psychology also offers a doctoral degree in counseling psychology.

Schools Offering Leading Psychology Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Cornell University Students interested in both psychology and biology can earn a bachelor's degree in biopsychology Ithaca, NY
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Students complete an apprenticeship before selecting a graduate specialization Cambridge, MA
Princeton University Ranked first on the U.S. News national university rankings list in 2012 Princeton, NJ
Stanford University Offers an affective science specialization for those interested in how emotion and culture interact Stanford, CA
University of California - San Diego Ranked third in the U.S. News cognitive psychology and behavioral neuroscience specialty rankings in 2009 La Jolla, CA
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign The Visual Cognition and Human Performance research facility includes EEG/ERP, fMRI, eye tracking and optical imagining equipment Champaign, IL
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ranked first in the U.S. News social psychology and behavioral neuroscience specialty rankings in 2009 Ann Arbor, MI
University of Virginia Graduate programs in psychology are only offered as Ph.D. programs Charlottesville, VA
University of Wisconsin - Madison Students can create an individualized graduate major to combine several psychology specializations Madison, WI
Washington University in St. Louis Aging and development specialization allows students to study both early language development in children and aging issues faced by the elderly St. Louis, MO
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