Top 25 Best Doctoral and Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs

| Staff

Top 25 Best Doctoral and Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs
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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.

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Top 10 Best Doctoral and Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs

Rank School Location
1 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
2 Indiana University Bloomington, IN
3 University of Texas Austin, TX
4 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC
5 University of Wisconsin Madison, WI
6 University of Colorado Boulder, CO
7 Ohio State University Columbus, OH
8 University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
9 University of Washington Seattle, WA
10 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA

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.

  1. University of Iowa
    Location

    Iowa City, IA

    The Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa offers doctorates in fields such as clinical science, health psychology, and social psychology. The department's student centered approach allows graduate students to design an individualized program around their career goals and research interests. With its focus on mental illness and public health, the clinical science program emphasizes research on mental and physical health, behavioral health problems, and the treatment of psychopathology. The program integrates research and training with dissemination through publishing and teaching, and Ph.D. students earn a master's in psychology as part of their training. In addition to APA accreditation, the University of Iowa's program holds accreditation from the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS).

  2. Indiana University
    Location

    Bloomington, IN

    Psychology doctoral students at the University of Indiana earn degrees in seven areas: clinical science, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, mechanisms of behavior, molecular and systems neuroscience, and social psychology. The research-oriented program emphasizes career preparation for positions such as clinical scientist over practitioner roles, while still providing clinical skills. Doctoral students participate in the department's research efforts, building the skills, scholarly knowledge, and experimentation abilities to understand the brain behavior system. All students admitted to the Ph.D. program benefit from a full funding support guarantee for five years, including a stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance.

  3. University of Texas
    Location

    Austin, TX

    UT Austin admits candidates with a bachelor's degree into its doctoral program in psychology, and most students earn a master's degree while completing their Ph.D. requirements. The 30-credit master's in clinical psychology degree includes required courses in core content areas, a statistics course, and two thesis courses, building to an empirical thesis. Both clinical and non-clinical tracks emphasize physiology and learning; perception, cognition, and cognitive development; and abnormal, social, developmental, and individual differences. Students on the clinical psychology track complete an internship to gain professional experience, with the time to Ph.D. for clinical students averaging six years, or five years for non-clinical students.

  4. University of North Carolina
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    The Ph.D. program in psychology at UNC includes six subfields in behavioral and integrative neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, quantitative psychology, and social psychology. The program's training emphasizes the skills required for careers in research, teaching, and clinical practice. Doctoral students earn a master's in psychology as they complete their Ph.D. requirements. Within clinical psychology, graduate students choose to focus on adults or on children and families, learning through clinically-informed research and evidence-based clinical work. The program holds accreditation from the APA and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS).

  5. University of Wisconsin
    Location

    Madison, WI

    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.

  6. University of Colorado
    Location

    Boulder, CO

    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.

  7. Ohio State University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    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.

  8. University of California Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    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.

  9. University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    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.

  10. University of Virginia
    Location

    Charlottesville, VA

    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.

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