A master’s in psychology degree can open the door to a variety of rewarding career options. Psychology is a diverse discipline, and there are many different graduate degrees available. Some programs act as preparation for further graduate education leading to a Ph.D. Others are called terminal degrees that allow the student to enter the job market after receiving their master’s degree.

Ranking Methodology

We looked at approximately 250 accredited colleges and universities listed by U.S. News and World Report and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered ranked doctoral or master’s in psychology degree programs. We narrowed our search by selecting programs that were ranked the highest with U.S. News and World Report, and then listed our schools in order of affordability based on the graduate tuition and fees published by NCES College Navigator.

#30 – University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Website
University of Chicago - 30 Best Master's in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $52,713

The University of Chicago offers a top-ranked psychology graduate school that is known for its legacy of innovative research and discoveries. Master’s in psychology programs intersect key areas of psychological science, including cognitive, developmental, and social psychology. The school is unique in that it offers in lieu of an MA in psychology degree, a master’s in the social sciences with a concentration in psychology. This intense, one-year program is comprised of nine graduate courses and weekly mentorship for an extensive research project. While the institution is a top-ranked national university, the psychology school is also ranked. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Chicago #21 among the best graduate schools for psychology.

#29 – Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

Website
Johns Hopkins University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $50,510

Recognized as one of the top research institutions in the country, Johns Hopkins University also offers a top-ranked graduate psychology program uniquely designed for those interested in a PhD program. There is no terminal master’s in psychology degree, but rather a PhD program in psychological and brain sciences that allows students to earn an MA while working towards their doctoral degree. A student must be admitted into the PhD program to earn a master’s in psychology. Courses include advanced statistical methods and fundamentals of psychological and brain sciences. According to U.S. News and World Report, Johns Hopkins ranks #26 among the best graduate psychology schools.

#28 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Website
MIT - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $49,272

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a rigorous, cross-disciplinary doctorate program that is designed for those interested in pursuing a master’s in psychology and beyond. While not a traditional master’s in psychology degree, students move directly from a bachelor’s to a doctoral degree in approximately five to six years. Coursework is limited to six psychology-related subject areas completed during the first two years of study. Admission to the program is highly selective. The application package includes a clear statement of objectives, GRE scores, recommendation letters, and transcripts. Approximately 15-20 new students are admitted each year. MIT ranks #9 among the best graduate psychology schools in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

#27 – Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island

Website
Brown University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $49,146

Brown University’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences offers a master’s degree program in applied psychology that is highly individualized and research-driven. Both terminal master’s and degrees earned on the way toward a PhD are available. Since all programs are research-intensive, students are strongly encouraged to work with faculty and advisors who share their research interests so that professional relationships may be developed. Admissions to the program is highly selective and requires a GRE score, transcripts, completed application, and statement of objectives or essay. Brown University is ranked as a top institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, Brown ranks as the 26th best graduate psychology school in the country–tied with Indiana University, University of Virginia, and Johns Hopkins University.

#26 – Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Website
Northwestern University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $49,064

Northwestern University’s Department of Psychology offers graduate programs for those interested in an accredited master’s in psychology degree from a top-ranked institution on their way towards a PhD. While there is no terminal master’s degree, students earn a master’s while pursuing a PhD. Each student receives a primary research advisor, and in some cases, multiple advisors. Northwestern University is a top-ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Graduate Psychology Schools published by U.S. News ranks Northwestern #14 in the nation–tied with University of Washington and University of Texas.

#25 – Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Website
Duke University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $48,656

Duke University’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience offers five graduate training areas in clinical psychology, cognition, developmental psychology, social psychology, and systems and integrative neuroscience. For those interested in a master’s in psychology, the doctoral-level psychology programs allow students to earn a master’s while pursuing their PhD. There is no terminal master’s in psychology degree offered by Duke. Duke University is ranked by all major publications. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 8th best national university in the country. Also, Duke ranks #21 among the best graduate psychology schools in the country–tied with Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State, and University of Chicago.

#24 – Washington University

St. Louis, Missouri

Website
Washington University - 30 Best Master's in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,620

Washington University offers preparation for academic and applied research careers that emphasize social and personality psychology. The program provides training in research design, statistics, and theory designed to equip students with contemporary approaches to facing challenges in the field of psychology. Admission to the graduate school is highly competitive and granted on the basis of achievement, research potential, and number of openings in each psychology program. Washington University is ranked by all major publications, including U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists the school as the 19th best national university and 31st best value school. Also, the graduate psychology school ranks #14 in the country.

#23 – Stanford University

Stanford, California

Website
Stanford University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $46,320

Stanford University is one of the top research institutions in the world, characteristically ranked among the top five national universities by all major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. Also, the psychology graduate school is ranked #1 in the most recent edition of Best Grad Schools. Academic programs include the PhD in Psychology, which allows students to earn a master’s on their way to earning a doctoral degree. There is no terminal master’s in psychology degree, but a co-terminal program. Five specialty areas include affective science, cognitive, developmental, neuroscience, and social psychology. Admission is highly selective and requires GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose among other documentation.

#22 – Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Website
Princeton University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $45,350

Princeton University’s Department of Psychology offers a doctoral program in psychology that allows students to obtain a master’s degree while pursuing their doctorate. Specializations provide students with areas of focus, helpful for research and satisfying career goals. Some areas of specialization include cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, the psychology of inequality, and social psychology. Princeton is a top-ranked national university. Major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report consistently rank the school among the top tier. In the most recent edition of Best Grad Schools, U.S. News ranks Princeton’s psychology school #7 in the nation–tied with University of Illinois.

#21 – Columbia University

New York, New York

Website
Columbia University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $44,176

Like many of the top-ranked schools on our list, Columbia University’s PhD psychology programs offer master’s degrees on the path towards the doctorate. Also, the Teachers Colleges of Columbia offers master’s degree programs in school psychology and counseling. Admission is highly selective to all programs. GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and complete application packages are required. Columbia is a highly ranked research institution that is recognized by all major publications like Forbes and U.S. News and World Report. The graduate school of psychology ranks #14 in the nation–tied with other schools like Cornell, Northwestern, UCLA, and Washington University, to name a few.

#20 – Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Website
Harvard University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $42,874

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University offers a PhD program with two tracks of study. Students may follow one of the study tracks. The common curriculum is the first track, which includes several areas of focus, including behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, perception, and social psychology. The second track is clinical science. While there is no terminal master’s in psychology degree, students may earn their master’s while pursuing a doctorate. Four areas of specialty are available so that students may tailor their degree for research interests and career goals. Harvard is ranked #4 by U.S. News and World Report as having the best graduate psychology school in the country–tied with University of Michigan and Yale University.

#19 – Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Website
Carnegie Mellon University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $41,371

With a 30-year award-winning faculty and national rankings by major publications like U.S. News and World Report, Carnegie Mellon University offers a top-notch psychology graduate program that provides rigorous and research-backed curriculum. Graduate studies include an intense and challenging training program that leads to a Ph.D. degree. Admission to the program is highly competitive. Approximately ten out of 120 applications are admitted each year. GRE scores are required and generally range from 149-170 in quantitative and 158-170 in verbal components. Carnegie Mellon is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News. The graduate psychology school ranks #21 in the country–tied with other schools like Duke University and University of Chicago.

#18 – New York University

New York, New York

Website
New York University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $40,984

New York University’s Department of Psychology ranks in the top 30 for best graduate psychology schools by U.S. News and World Report. This ranking reflects the school’s reputation for offering quality content and rigorous academic programs. Master’s and doctoral programs are available and admission can be competitive. All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and demonstrate intellectual curiosity, motivation, and the promise of scholarly achievement. Students may earn a master’s in general psychology or master’s in industrial organizational psychology. Two PhD programs are also available, including cognition and perception and social and personality.

#17 – Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

Website
Yale University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $38,700

Yale University’s Department of Psychology organizes itself into five programs of study: clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social and personality psychology. The graduate program enrolls approximately 15 new PhD students each year. When applying, students indicate one of the five areas of concentration and, if admitted, are placed into this “home” lab to work with faculty and colleagues. It is possible for students to work with others outside of the “home” lab and participate in more than one concentration. Yale University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national institution. Also, the graduate psychology schools rank #4 in the country–tied with Harvard and University of Michigan.

#16 – University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Website
University of Pennsylvania - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $34,268

University of Pennsylvania’s psychology graduate programs emphasize scholarship and research accomplishment. The school offers a full-time PhD program that focuses on teaching and research. Several clinical training programs are also available. Admission can be highly competitive and requires GRE scores, statement of interest, evidence of research experience and accomplishment, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts showcasing a high GPA. University of Pennsylvania is a ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school’s graduate psychology programs rank #12 among U.S. News’ Best Graduate Psychology Schools–tied only with University of North Carolina.

#15 – Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

Website
Cornell University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $29,581

The graduate program at Cornell University only admits PhD candidates in order to educate them to become researchers, scholars, and teachers who contribute to the discipline of psychology. Three areas of specialty are offered so that students may tailor their coursework and research. These areas include behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; perception, cognition, and development; and social and personality psychology. Admission to the program is highly competitive. Applicants must submit GRE general test scores, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement of interests. Prior research experience is also desirable by the admissions committee and students are recommended to submit research reports or work that showcases their research capability. Cornell’s graduate psychology school ranks #14 in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

#14 – University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Website
University of Michigan - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,966

Graduate studies in psychology at University of Michigan consist of a PhD program that offers six areas of study: biopsychology, clinical science, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, personality and social contexts, and social psychology. There is also an accelerated and research-based master’s program for undergraduates already engaged in research with a psychology faculty member. No matter the program, admissions can be highly selective as the University of Michigan is a top-ranked research institution. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Graduate Psychology Schools published by U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Michigan #4–tied only with Harvard and Yale.

#13 – Pennsylvania State University

University Park, Pennsylvania

Website
Penn State - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,270

Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Psychology offers several undergraduate and graduate programs, including the master’s of professional studies in psychology and leadership and five PhD tracks. There are over 40 faculty committed to providing graduate students with mentorship, supervision, and research direction. Five PhD programs include clinical (adult and child psychology), cognitive, developmental, industrial-organizational, and social psychology. Admission to any of the psychology programs is competitive. Requirements include GRE scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a showcase of research capability that may take the form of papers or theses. Penn State is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as having the 30th best graduate psychology school in the country.

#12 – University of Illinois

Champaign, Illinois

Website
University of Illinois - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,041

University of Illinois offers graduate psychology degrees that focus on research and teaching. The master’s in psychology (MS) degree is awarded as an intermediate degree to PhD candidates who have successfully completed 32 hours of graduate work, including a thesis. The PhD program offers areas of specialization and requires at least 96 hours of graduate work. Admission is highly competitive and requires GRE scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. University of Illinois is a top-ranked research institution. Also, U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Illinois’ graduate psychology school as the 7th best in the nation–tied only with Princeton University.

#11 – University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website
University of Minnesota - 30 Best Master's in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,289

University of Minnesota’s graduate psychology school is ranked among the top 10 psychology graduate schools in the country. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #9–tied with University of Wisconsin and MIT. The school offers a PhD training program with eight areas of specialization, including counseling psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and social psychology. Both clinical and counseling psychology programs at University of Minnesota are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Admission is highly competitive since the programs are recognized among the best in the world. General requirements include a bachelor’s degree, cumulative GPA above 3.0, 12 semester credits of college-level psychology coursework, and GRE scores.

#10 – University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Website
University of Virginia - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,094

Graduate studies in psychology at University of Virginia include PhD programs with seven different areas of specialization. There is no terminal master’s degree, but PhD candidates earn enough credits to obtain the master’s along the journey toward the PhD. Areas of specialization include clinical, cognitive, community, developmental, neuroscience and behavior, quantitative, and social. Admission to the graduate program includes writing samples, resume, GRE scores in verbal and quantitative, and unofficial transcripts. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Virginia’s graduate psychology school #26 in the nation–tied with Brown University and Indiana University. Also, the institution is nationally ranked and recognized by major publications.

#9 – University of Washington

Seattle, Washington

Website
University of Washington - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,278

University of Washington offers a top-ranked PhD in psychology program that allows students to earn a master’s in psychology while pursuing their doctoral degree. The program is mentor-based and designed for students to train under the direction of one or more faculty members whose scholarly interests align with their own. Several sub-disciplines within psychology include behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognition perception, development, and social and personality. There are also two minors, including diversity and quantitative psychology. University of Washington is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national institution. Also, the graduate psychology school ranks #14 in the nation.

#8 – University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Los Angeles, California

Website
UCLA - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,629

UCLA’s Psychology Department offers one of the most prestigious and top-ranked graduate psychology degree programs in the nation. While there is no separate master’s in psychology program, students do earn enough credits to satisfy the requirements of a master’s degree. The PhD program offers eight areas of emphasis, including clinical psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, and social psychology. The program offers rigorous scientific training and focuses on research in both academic and applied settings. Admission is highly competitive due to the program’s high rankings and reputation. In the most recent edition of Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools, U.S. News and World Report ranks UCLA as having the 2nd best graduate psychology school in the country–tied only with University of California at Berkeley.

#7 – Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

Website
Ohio State University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,425

Ohio State University’s Department of Psychology is recognized for its extended history and contribution to research and teaching in the field of psychology. Over fifty faculty and 150 graduate students explore research offerings at this highly ranked public institution. Seven PhD programs are available in psychology, including behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, intellectual and developmental disabilities, quantitative psychology, and social psychology. Students may complete a master’s degree as the doctorate is pursued, but a master’s thesis based on empirical research must be completed. Ohio State’s psychology graduate school is ranked #21 by U.S. News and World Report.

#6 – University of Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Website
University of Colorado - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,320

The University of Colorado’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience provides quality research training for its undergraduate and graduate students. The department offers PhD programs in five areas of specialization, including behavioral, psychiatric, and statistical genetics; behavioral neuroscience; clinical psychology; cognitive psychology/cognitive neuroscience; and social psychology. Admission can be selective and highly competitive due to the university’s rankings among the top 30 psychology schools in the country. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Colorado as having the 30th best graduate psychology school–tied with Penn State, University of Iowa, and University of Oregon.

#5 – University of Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Website
University of Wisconsin - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,870

University of Wisconsin’s Department of Psychology is known for providing excellent research and scholarship for over 100 years. Graduate programs in psychology include the PhD in psychology with several specialization options. The department is committed to preparing students for careers in academic training in general psychology and rigorous research within the chosen area of concentration. Consideration for admission is extremely competitive. The program reports an average of 450 applications each year and only admits 25 students. U.S. News and World Report lists University of Wisconsin as having the 9th best psychology graduate school in the country–tied only with MIT and University of Minnesota.

#4 – University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Website
University of North Carolina - 30 Best Master's in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,074

The University of North Carolina is a top-ranked public institution recognized by major publications for having a quality research-based psychology program. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Graduate Schools ranks UNC’s psychology school #12 in the nation–tied only with University of Pennsylvania. Graduate programs include the PhD with training offered in six specialties: Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience; Clinical Psychology; Cognitive Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Quantitative Psychology; and Social Psychology. Admission is based on a variety of factors, including academic record, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, test scores, and relevant work or experience. An undergraduate degree in psychology is not required; however, a bachelor’s in some field is necessary to qualify for admission.

#3 – University of Texas

Austin, Texas

Website
University of Texas - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,934

The Department of Psychology at University of Texas offers a PhD program in psychology with several available areas of specialization. The goal of the graduate program is to provide quality and rigorous training so that students may become contributors in academic or research settings. The general time for students to complete the PhD program varies, although four to six years is a reasonable estimation. While there is no terminal master’s degree offered, students can earn a master’s while progressing to the doctorate. University of Texas is nationally recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News lists the graduate psychology school as the 14th best in the nation–tied with Columbia, Northwestern, and Washington University.

#2 – Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana

Website
Indiana University - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,743

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University offers seven tracks toward a PhD in psychology. Specialization options include clinical science, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, mechanisms of behavior, molecular and systems neuroscience, and social psychology. Joint graduate degrees are also available in cognitive science and neuroscience and animal behavior. There is no terminal master’s degree offered through the program. Admission is selective and based on an application review, test scores, undergraduate coursework, three letters of recommendation, and personal statement. Indiana University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as having the 26th best graduate psychology school in the country–tied with Brown, Johns Hopkins, and University of Virginia.

#1 – University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Website
University of Iowa - 30 Best Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,693

The most affordable graduate degree program on our list is offered at University of Iowa. This top-ranked institution is recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as having the 30th best graduate psychology school in the country. The graduate program is designed for students seeking a doctoral degree. However, those enrolled in the PhD program may elect to receive a master’s in psychology when requirements have been completed. Six areas of graduate training are offered so that students may tailor their research and scholarly work. These specializations include behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognition and perception, developmental science, health psychology, and social psychology. University of Iowa is our #1 pick for most affordable and best doctoral or master’s in psychology degree programs for 2017.

Related Resource: Top 30 Best Online Graduate Schools

By GSH Staff
February 2017