The Top US Psychology Schools in 2023 and What Sets Them Apart

06/11/20239 minute read
The Top US Psychology Schools in 2023 and What Sets Them Apart

The field of psychology is vast and encompasses a wide range of sub-disciplines and topics. College psychology majors focus on the scientific study of the mind and behavior, aiming to understand and explain various aspects of human cognition, emotion, and behavior.

Psychology majors may also explore research methods, statistics, and ethics in psychology, as these are fundamental to conducting and understanding psychological research. The field is highly diverse, allowing students to specialize in specific areas of interest and providing a solid foundation in understanding human behavior and mental processes.

US Top 10 Psychology Schools in 2023

College majors can vary considerably from one institution to another, so choosing the right school based on your academic and career goals is crucial. With over 1,000 schools in the United States offering psychology majors, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Below are the top 10 rankings of colleges in the United States for aspiring psychology majors.

Stanford University (Ranked #1)

Ranked at #1 in the US, Stanford University's Department of Psychology consistently ranks among the top psychology schools in the nation. The university offers a variety of avenues for psychology students, ranging from undergraduate research opportunities to PhD programs.

University of California – Berkeley (Ranked #2)

The UC Berkeley School Psychology Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and is known for its groundbreaking research on topics such as cognition, perception, and social psychology. Established in 1965, the psychology program is dedicated to equipping students for future leadership positions, including roles as:

  • school psychologists
  • researchers
  • university educators
  • program directors at the state, local and national levels

A Day in the Life: UC Berkely Student

Harvard University (Tied for #3)

Psychology is one of the most popular courses of study among undergraduates at Harvard. As one of the oldest and most prestigious psychology departments in the United States, the department has a long and rich history. Its past faculty and researchers have included some of the most famous names in psychology, including:

  • B.F. Skinner
  • Gordon Allport
  • Jerome Bruner
  • George Miller
  • Henry Murray

University of California – Los Angeles (Tied for #3)

UCLA's psychology department is at the forefront of generating, communicating, and applying psychological science. The department offers three undergraduate majors – Psychology, Psychobiology, Cognitive Science – as well as a Departmental Honors Program, and UCLA Psychology Research Opportunities Programs (PROPS).

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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Tied for #3)

The University of Michigan's Department of Psychology has been recognized for decades as one of the most distinguished and productive departments of psychology in the world. It offers a PhD program in six different areas of psychology:

  • Biopsychology
  • Clinical Science
  • Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Personality & Social Contexts
  • Social Psychology

There are also three joint programs of study for doctoral degree candidates:

  • Combined Program in Education and Psychology
  • Social Work and Psychology
  • Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies

Princeton University (Tied for #6)

Princeton's Department of Psychology has been one of the most notable psychology departments in the country for more than a century. It offers both undergraduate and graduate psychology programs to students with a range of interests.

The psychology major provides foundational and advanced undergraduate courses on the core fundamentals of psychology. Graduate work in the Department of Psychology prepares students for their Ph.D. and a pronounced career in psychological science.

University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign (Tied for #6)

Psychology at the University of Illinois is considered to be among the premier psychology departments for undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate training.

The University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign offers numerous psychology programs for undergraduate students including majors in both psychology and cognitive science. It also houses a master's degree in psychology and a doctoral degree program.

Yale University (Tied for #6)

Yale University's Department of Psychology is known for its interdisciplinary approach to the field of psychology, and it organizes itself into five distinct programs:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Social / Personality Psychology

Each of these programs offers weekly seminars for faculty and students. The programs provide opportunities for scholars to present their research findings, discuss current developments in their respective fields, and engage with other members of the department.

A Day in the Life: Yale Student

Cornell University (Tied for #9)

Cornell University offers a robust psychology program that encompasses various branches of psychology. These subfields include:

  • Behavioral and Evolutionary Neuroscience
  • Perception
  • Cognition
  • Development
  • Social and Personality Psychology

The Department of Psychology is a cross-university department - housed in both the College of Human Ecology (CHE) and The College of Arts & Sciences (A&S).

Northwestern University (Tied for #9)

Psychology is one of the most popular undergraduate majors at Northwestern University.  The University's Department of Psychology was founded in 1909 and consists of five areas:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Brain
  • Behavior and Cognition
  • Personality
  • Development and Health
  • Social Psychology

The institution also offers three programs: Undergraduate major, Undergraduate minor, and Graduate study in Psychology.

University of Wisconsin.– Madison (Tied for #9)

University of Wisconsin–Madison's Department of Psychology has fostered excellence in research and scholarship for over 100 years. The Psychology major is one of the largest majors in the College of Letters & Science, focusing on several areas in the field of Psychological Science:

  • Biological
  • Clinical
  • Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Perception
  • Developmental
  • Social & Personality

The University also offers a graduate program, providing extensive training to prepare students for a variety of professional careers in academic, clinical, research, and other settings.

Choosing the Right School for You

The United States houses an array of top psychology colleges, each with its unique strengths and offerings. From renowned research institutions to smaller, student-focused programs, there's a psychology program out there for everyone.

In order to determine which school is right for you it's essential to explore your options, assess your own goals, and consider factors like location, class sizes, and the resources offered by each school.

If you need help deciding on the right school or program for you, our expert strategists can help! Students working with Crimson are 7 times more likely to gain admission to their dream university! Book a free consultation to talk to a Crimson Advisor and receive expert guidance on your college admissions journey.