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What Are The Best Universities To Study Psychology?

SEP 02, 2020 • 13 min read

If you want to become a leading clinical or organisational psychologist, you will almost certainly need undergraduate and graduate psychology degrees. Keep reading below to find out which universities take the Top 5 slots when it comes to studying psychology!

Psychology is the study of the mind and human behaviour. It includes analysing things such as our conscious and unconscious phenomena, our emotions, our attention, our cognition, our personalities and our perception. In broader society, this science has a wide array of applications, from the treatment of mental health problems to solving problems in human activities and relationships.

Those who study psychology at university often go on to careers as professional psychologists, either in a clinical or organisational setting. However a degree in psychology can also lead to careers in many other industries, such as childcare, social work or sport. Overall, it is an immensely useful, flexible and enjoyable field to study at either an undergraduate or graduate level.

As a result of the degree’s popularity, jobs can be competitive, and it helps to have a psychology degree from a top university to stand out from the crowd. Read on to find out more about Times Higher Education’s list of the top 5 psychology universities in the world.

1. Stanford University

Among the first departments established at Stanford University, the Department of Psychology is known for producing some of the best graduates and the most ground-breaking theoretical research in the world.

Amongst some of their most famous work was the “Stanford prison experiment” conducted in the 1970s, which investigated the effects of perceived power on people’s conduct. They are also known for the “Stanford marshmallow experiment” on delayed gratification in children, also completed in the 1970s.

You can study undergraduate psychology at Stanford by taking the psychology major or minor as part of a Bachelor of Arts. You can also study graduate psychology through Stanford’s extended PhD program in Psychology (no masters degree required).

Stanford’s Psychology department is split into five department areas, including affective science, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and social psychology, with courses available to students in each of these departments.

Check out our Youtube channel for what a day in the life of a Stanford psychology major looks like here.

Did you know- Crimson Students are 3x more likely to gain admission to Stanford University. If you would like to understand how likely you are to get into Stanford University based on your current scores, use our US College Admissions Calculator!

2. Princeton University

The Princeton University Department of Psychology is perhaps best known for being home to some of the psychologists who have shaped the fields of psychology as we know it today, including James Mark Baldwin, Hadley Cantril, Edward E. Jones and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.

Princeton undergrads can study psychology through the psychology concentration within the Division of Natural Sciences, as part of the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.). The graduate program in the Department of Psychology is designed to prepare, and ultimately confer upon students the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

In both programs you can specialize in a diverse array of areas, including behavioral economics, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, language, learning and memory, perception and cognition, the psychology of inequality, social neuroscience, social psychology, and systems neuroscience. It is very popular to undertake interdisciplinary programs in psychology & neuroscience or psychology & social policy.

3. The University of Pennsylvania

The Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania is the oldest and most pioneering psychology departments in the USA.

UPenn faculty were among the founders of the American Psychological Association, and the organisation’s first annual meeting was held at the University in 1892. Further, UPenn faculty member Lightner Witmer is credited as the inventor of the term "clinical psychology" and the founder of the first psychological clinic in the USA at the University in 1896.

You can study psych at UPenn as an undergraduate by undertaking the psychology major as part of a BA, and as a graduate through the PhD program. Minors and interdisciplinary programs are also available.

Did you know - Crimson Students are 4x more likely to gain admission to Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and other Ivy League Colleges. If you would like to understand how likely you are to get into an Ivy League college based on your current scores, use our US College Admissions Calculator!

4. University College London

UCL is the first university on our list outside of the USA, and has the largest psychology department of its kind in the UK.

Indeed, the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL is known for having an immense amount of resources, faculty and students, as well as being a powerhouse of research.

At UCL you can study psychology as part of a BSc Psychology, or a combined BSc Psychology & Language Sciences or BA/BSc Psychology with Education.

You can also study a range of graduate masters degrees in over 20 topics, including an MSc in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice, MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology and MSc in Industrial-Organisational and Business Psychology. Finally, you can round off your studies in psychology with a UCL PhD or Professional Doctorate.

Did you know - Crimson Students are 3x more likely to gain admission to UCL. If you would like to understand how likely you are to get into UCL based on your current scores, use our UK University Admissions Calculator!

5. The University of Chicago

Rounding out our prestigious list is UChicago with their Department of Psychology, which is also one of the US’s oldest and most groundbreaking psychology schools.

Amongst their most famous people is George Herbert Mead, who pioneered the study of social behaviorism based on his work on the emergence of mind and self from the communication process with others. Additionally, former faculty Louis Leon Thurstone was responsible for research that was responsible for the development of IQ scores, which are still used today.

Like many of the US universities mentioned above, you can study Psychology at UChicago as an undergraduate through the Psychology major, and as a graduate through the PhD program.

Did you know - Crimson Students are 4x more likely to gain admission to UChicago. If you would like to understand how likely you are to get into UChicago based on your current scores, use our US College Admissions Calculator!

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