Psychology has evolved significantly over the past 200 years. Psychologists continue to build upon and re-evaluate theories developed by early pioneers like B.F. Skinner and Sigmund Freud to improve understanding of behavior, emotions and human thought. Current psychological research now includes the use of computer modeling, medical and biological models and neuroscience.
PhD graduates of psychology programs have more options for employment than ever before as their skills are utilized in areas of public policy, computer program design, education, clinical settings and biological research. Institutions of higher education are expanding their psychology programs to include up and coming areas like industrial/organizational psychology, women’s psychology and health psychology.
It is through innovations in education and understanding of psychology as science that professionals in the field can remain on the cutting edge of trends and research in the field of psychology.
To develop our list of the top 50 innovative psychology programs in the United States, we started with the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014-Psychology rankings since their evaluation considered research, engagement and innovation….elements we felt were essential to be included in this list. We also consulted the 2013 Best Colleges Rankings by U.S. News & World Report since their methodology focused on peer assessment which adds valuable insight into the quality of an institution.
We considered other elements in determining our ranking:
- Major (national or international) faculty awards for research or innovation
- Facilities or research departments allowing research opportunity to students
- The offering of diverse coursework, focus areas, or research opportunities
- Ability for students to complete at least some coursework online
Where there are ties, the institution with the higher QS World University Ranking by Subject (Psychology) will be listed higher.
50. Department of Psychology, University of Kansas–Lawrence, Kansas
The Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas offers undergraduates the opportunity to pursue a traditional bachelors in Psychology degree or a bachelors in Behavioral Neuroscience. PhD programs in a number of areas including clinical, cognitive, developmental, quantitative, or social psychology. The University offers a unique dual title PhD in Psychology and Gerontology. This innovate degree allows students to gain the expertise needed to work with tan increase in the ageing population.
49. Department of Psychology, University of Iowa–Iowa City, Iowa
The University of Iowa offers several unique educational opportunities for psychology students. An interdisciplinary research training program called the Behavioral-Biomedical Interface Training Program is partially supported by a National Institutes of Health T32 pre-doctoral research training grant. The program teaches professionals how to use biomedical techniques with psychological research. The Health Psychology area allows students to further study statistics, research methods and diverse content areas outside their specialty area.
48. Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago–Chicago, Illinois
The University of Illinois at Chicago is one of only 88 Carnegie level-one research universities in the nation. The Department of Psychology is consistently top rated in terms of research productivity. There are over 30 faculty members in a department that is highly successful in attracting external funding including training grants. External research funding is usually over $5 million per year. The Department of Psychology is a member of the UIC Committee on Neuroscience and the UIC Committee on Educational Psychology. These collaborations allow students and faculty to work with other esteemed professionals on their research efforts.
47. Psychological and Brain Science, University of Santa Barbara–Santa Barbara, California
Psychology undergraduates’ involvement in research is among the highest of any discipline in the social or life sciences on the campus. The SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara is a catalyst for interdisciplinary study of the relationship of brain and mind powered by new advanced analytical technologies and tools in physics, chemistry, molecular biology and genetics, engineering and mathematics. has developed one of the largest and most active communities of researchers in evolutionary psychology and allied disciplines in the world. To provide support for research and comprehensive training in this area, and to facilitate multidisciplinary and multi-university collaboration, UCSB has established the Center for Evolutionary Psychology.
46. Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University–College Station, Texas
The Department of Psychology offers a Ph.D. in six areas of specialization: Behavioral and Cellular Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology,Industrial/Organizational Psychology, & Social Psychology. The I/O program ranks consistently in the top ten for research productivity. Faculty hold several million dollars in research grants that allow students the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research efforts.
45. Department of Psychology, Rutgers University–New Brunswick, New Jersey
Rutgers offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Psychology. Undergraduates can take advantage of an Internship in Applied and Community Psychology giving them applied experience in the field. Interdisciplinary Health Psychology is offered to students in the Psychology program with a distinct interest in research of physical health and well-being. The Center for Computational Biomedicine Imaging and Modeling (CBIM) provides 11,000 square feet of state of the art research facilities with projects funded by every major government research funder.
44. School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology–Atlanta, Georgia
The School of Psychology offers five different research areas including Cognition and Brain Science, Cognitive Aging, Engineering Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and Quantitative Psychology. Over 20 research facilities provide students the opportunity to explore their diverse interests. The Center for Advanced Brain Imaging is a 6,000 square foot facility offering a 3-Tesla Siemens Trio Magnetic Resonance Imaging system students can use to study brain function. The Institute offers a unique Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Program involving several different departments on campus studying the use of computers.
43. Department of Psychological and Brain Science, Dartmouth College–Hanover, New Hampshire
Undergraduates have the opportunity to major/minor in either psychology or neuroscience. Graduate students can focus on either Experimental Psychology or Cognitive Neuroscience. Dartmouth was ranked 2nd in the country by the National Research Center for its ability to place students in academic programs. The University offers impressive lab facilities including a dedicated MRI lab, primate laboratories, neurophysiological and psychophysical recording facilities, and a video production and editing center.
42. Department of Psychology, University of Virginia–Charlottesville, Virginia
The University of Virginia offers students the opportunity to participate in seven major areas of study including Clinical, Cognitive, Community, Developmental, Quantitative, Neuroscience and Behavior, and Social. Undergraduate students are encouraged to present their empirical research at the annual conference. Students in the Neuroscience area learn to provide interdisciplinary techniques to study neural and endocrine influences on behavior. The area of Community Psychology and Prevention Research conducts current public policy and social research in diverse socially relevant areas.
41. Department of Psychology, University of Arizona–Tuscon, Arizona
University of Arizona offers degrees at all three levels in psychology. Areas of focus include Cognition and Neural Systems, Social Psychology, and Clinical Psychology. Students have the opportunity to engage in cutting edge research opportunities which include a unique Forensic/Sex Research Lab conducting research to facilitate the understanding and prevention of illicit sexual behavior. Researchers at the Psychology, Policy and Law lab seeks to study the impact of the legal system and psychological distress.
40. Department of Psychology, Ohio State University–Columbus, Ohio
Ohio State offers graduate students the opportunity to take advantage of a cross-area training program in Decision Psychology. Student can utilize state of the art research facilities like the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Brain Imaging to research the brain and mental processes. There students have access to the latest in magnetic resonance imaging equipment, eye trackers, and auditory stimulus systems. The Department of Psychology consistently receives high rankings for the number of degrees awarded to minority undergraduates.
39. Department of Psychology, Michigan State University–East Lansing, Michigan
The Department of Psychology at Michigan State University recently began offering an online M.A. degree in Program Evaluation. On campus, research based graduate programs are available in six areas: Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience, Ecological-Community Psychology, Organizational Psychology, and Social-Personality Psychology. The area of Ecology-Community Psychology is designed to study social problems and solutions. Students have the opportunity to participate in research around issues such as diversity, domestic violence and the HIV epidemic.
38. Psychological Sciences, Purdue University–West Lafayette, Indiana
Interdisciplinary opportunities make Purdue University a Students have the opportunity to explore both the science and environmental/behavioral elements in a number of areas. The Ingestive Behavior Research Center, for example, provides students the opportunity to work with scientists from a variety of disciplines to research elements of food and fluid intake. Undergraduates interested in further research opportunities can apply for a Research Focused Honors Program. Graduate students interested in statistics can Graduate Certificate in Psychological Statistics. In addition to offering six different research areas which graduate students can focus, the Department offers “bridge topics” that provide students the opportunity to study a blend of areas which are of interest to them.
37. Department of Psychology, Emory University–Atlanta, Georgia
Emory University offers research and graduate programs in Clinical Psychology, Cognition and Development, Neuroscience and Animal Behavior. The Clinical Psychology are is accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System in May 2014. Students have the opportunity to hear experts in all areas of psychology from all over the country through the Department’s Colloquium. Graduate students in the Neuroscience and Animal Behavior area have the opportunity to conduct research at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Research is conducted in a variety of areas including communication, aggression and maternal behavior. Yerkes is part of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center which has a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.
36. Department of Psychology, City University of New York–New York, New York
The Department of Psychology offers a a bachelors and a general Master’s in Psychology. They also offer an affordable Master of Arts Degree in Mental Health Counseling with a focus on prevention and community development. The University created the Trauma and Addiction Project to conduct cutting edge research in addiction and PTSD. Studies include the use of Evoked-Related Potentials (ERP) markers using electroencephalography (EEG) in PTSD research. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has awarded $1.5 million to support TRACC (Translational Research Training in Addictions for Racial/Ethnic Minorities at the City College of New York and Columbia University Medical Center) which will provide funding to increase the number of minorities in translational addiction research.
35. Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University–Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University offers bachelor and PhD programs in three areas including Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, and Social/Personality/Health Psychology. They also offer three “Allied” programs. The CNBC Graduate Training Program offers additional training opportunities for students interested in neuroscience. The Master in Educational Technology and Applied Learning Sciences (METALS) is a one year professional program training students in evidence based learning program. The Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER) is an interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program focusing on issues and solutions in education and is funded by the US Office of Education.
34. Department of Psychology, Arizona State University–Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State University’s Department of Psychology is preparing to kick off its new Applied Behavior Analysis program in Fall 2015 The only known masters program of its kind, this will offer students the opportunity to study at a top notch Research I institution and receive all of the coursework necessary and 1500 hours of practicum experience. Graduate students in the clinical area can develop their clinical skills at the outpatient psychology clinic. Innovate laboratories include the Institute for Interdisciplinary Salavary Bioscience Research and a child development lab in a preschool setting.
33. Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University–Boston, Massachusetts
Boston University offers psychology degrees at each of the three levels. The masters degree is a one year general psychology degree offered to students who may or may not be moving on to a PhD program. The PhD program is offered in three different research areas. The Brain,
Behavior & Cognition Program works on the apprenticeship model allowing students work closely with seasoned faculty on their research efforts. The Clinical Psychology program was one of the first twelve programs approved by the American Psychological Association in 1948. The newest area, Developmental Science was created in 2010. Over 20 faculty laboratories allow students the opportunity for a diverse research experience to meet their professional and educational goals.
32. Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis–St. Louis, Missouri
Washington University is home to a $28 million psychology facility which has doubled the size of the department since opening in 1996. In 2006, another 16,000 square feet were added to allow for additional growth opportunity. The Psychology Department has four main areas of study including Aging and Development, Clinical Psychology, Behavior Brain & Cognition, and Social and Personality Psychology. Graduate students interested in neuroscience have the opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary research training program called “The Interface of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Genetics” (IPNG) program. The IPNG program is supported by a NIH T32 pre-doctoral training grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
31. Department of Psychology, University of Southern California–Los Angeles, California
The University of Southern California is home to the Dana & David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center, a state of the art brain research center. They offer both an online and residential Masters in Applied Psychology. In addition,they are one of ten clinical science programs accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). Two unique specialty tracks include Clinical Geropsychology and a Clinical Child-Family Track.
30. Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill–Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The Department of Psychology offers six focus areas of study including Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Quantitative Psychology, and Social Psychology. UNC-CH Psychology ranked #1 in the most recent National Science Foundation Research & Development funding! Distinguished professors are plentiful including Dorothy Adkins (measurement), W. Grant Dahlstrom (clinical and personality), Lyle Jones (quantitative), and Harold McCurdy (social and personality). The Behavioral Neuroscience Program offers an innovative Predoctoral Training program in Research on Drug Abuse which is financially supported by a training grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
29. Department of Psychology, University of Florida–Gainesville, Florida
The Department is home to several specialty programs and certificates including a joint PhD with the College of Education for those seeking applied careers, and a graduate certificate in Gerontology. A predoctoral research training program is available for top notch students seeking research careers in aging. Professor Robin West received the 2014 American Psychological Association Division 20’s M. Powell Lawton Distinguished Contribution Award for Applied Gerontology for her research in memory. The department (the Behavioral Analysis area in particular) is ranked number one in frequency of publications in behavioral research journals when compared to other institutions.
28. Department of Psychology, University of Washington–Seattle, Washington
U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Clinical Psychology Graduate Training Program first or second in the nation for the past 10 years. Within the College of Arts and Sciences at University of Washington, , the Psychology Department ranks among the top four department in terms of grant and contract expenditures (over $9.4 million). Undergraduates are provided with special opportunities to gain further knowledge and expertise through the Honors Program, the Writing Center, the Statistics and Methods Lab, and the Undergraduate Study Center. In 2014, the Psychology Department created a professional certificate program in Early Childhood Leadership. Research facilities are top notch and include a neuroimaging facility, an electrophysiological research facility, and a new child behavior testing facility.
27. Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado at Boulder–Boulder, Colorado
The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is a blended effort appreciating the role that neuroscience plays in behavior and mental processes. The Department grants separate undergraduate degrees in Psychology and in Neuroscience. The various labs in the department boast the latest research equipment including several research/photography microscopes (one with flourescent microscopy capability), CCD video camera, cryostats, a liquid scintillation counter, and a slide processor. Graduate program areas include: Behavioral Genetics, Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, and Social Psychology. Department researchers have access to the Janus Supercomputer which is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world,
26. Psychology at University of California–Irvine, California
The University of California at Irvine was selected as the best U.S.university under 50 years old according to the Times Higher Education rankings (2014). The University offers two outstanding options for students pursuing an education in psychology. The Department of Cognitive Sciences offers studies in Cognition and Information Processing, Mathematical Behavioral Science, Perception and Action, Language, and Cognitive Neuroscience. Cutting edge research facilities in areas such as Cognitive Anteater Robotics and Visual Neuroscience allow student the opportunity to deepen their understanding of brain development and activity. The Department of Psychology and Social Behavior offers Field Study internships to undergrad seeking additional field experience. Undergraduates can apply for an Excellence in Research Program their junior year which provides an advanced research opportunity, Graduate students can choose four core areas of study including health psychology, developmental psychology, social/personality psychology, and affective science.
25. Department of Psychology, University of California-Davis–Davis, California
UC Davis is probably best knows for its social-personality area of focus and was recognized as one of the top programs in the nation. Students have a minimal course-load, with the heaviest emphasis on research training and development. Professor Charan Ranganath was selected as a National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow by the U.S. Department of Defense. Professor Ranganath’s Dynamic Memory Laboratory will benefit from the $2.6 fellowship lasting five years as researchers study learning and memory. UC Davis provides a rich opportunity for integrative research through the California Regional Primate Research Center, the Center for Neuroscience, and the UC Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute (UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute).
24. Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University– University Park, Pennsylvania
The Department of Psychology offers PhD programs in five core areas including: Clinical, Cognitive, Developmental, Industrial/Organizational, and Social Psychology. Three “Cross-Cutting Program Initiatives” provide students the opportunity to pursue a specialization in additional areas of study including Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, a Women’s Study-Psychology dual PhD, and a dual title degree in Language Sciences/Psychology. The Department has a commitment to diversity related research and initiatives. The Department now occupies a newly renovated building which houses state of the art lab facilities and classrooms. A Psychological Clinic provides Clinical Psychology students the opportunity to work with a diverse community population in order to complete their professional training.
23. Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, John Hopkins University– Baltimore, Maryland
Two primary areas of research/instruction include Biopsychology and Cognitive and Developmental Psychology. There are three training programs affiliated with the National Eye Institute, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, and the National Institute on Aging. Each faculty member is provided with a state of the art laboratory for their research needs. Students at the undergraduate level are encouraged to be actively engaged in research. The University also offers an Undergraduate Neuroscience program and a Behavioral Biology Program for those with more diverse interests.
22. Department of Psychological and Brain Science, Indiana University-Bloomington–Bloomington, Indiana
The Department of Psychological and Brain Science is home to the longest running psychology labtakes a holistic approach to brain-brehavior system. The Department operates the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic and the Parent-Child Clinic for community and campus members, providing therapeutic servies and assessments to those in need. . The National Institute of Health recently funded a study on brain connectivity and marijuana use which will utilize the Imaging Research Facility (IRF) to image the brain networks of study participants
21. Psychology Department, Northwestern University– Evanston, Illinois
The Psychology Department at Northwestern University is rich in history. From offering the first course to use the term “Psychology” to the first meeting location for the Midwest Psychological Association, Northwestern has been on the forefront in the field of psychology. The Department offers over twenty research laboratories for graduate and undergraduate students to work side by side with faculty members. Professor David Uttal received the American Psychological Association’s Best Article award. There are several diversity research initiatives to study the psychology of diversity. The University is poised to become a leader in the field of diversity research.
20. Department of Psychology, Cornell University– Ithaca, New York
Cornell offers three areas of concentration for their PhD program: Behavioral and Evolutionary Neuroscience, Perception, Cognition and Development, and Social and Personality Psychology. Research centers on the three program areas and includes a Computational Physiology Laboratory, a Cognitive Neuroscience Lab and a Self and Social Insight (SaSI) Lab among many others. Only students intending to work toward their PhD are admitted into the graduate program. Cornell is home to one of the largest educational facility supercomputers in the country. Technology is an important part of the research culture within the University.
19. Psychology Department, University of Minnesota–Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Minnesota offers students eight different program areas within the Department of Psychology including Biological Psychopathology and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Students pursuing a PhD in Quantitative/Psychometric Methods are able to work cutting edge computer technology through the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute. There are also professional training programs in clinical psychology and counseling psychology which include a 12 month internship prior to earning a PhD. The Department is home to the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research– one of the largest facilities of its kind, studying genetic and environmental influences on twins as well as biological and adoptive siblings.
18. Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University– Providence, Rhode Island
The Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences was created in 2010 when the Department of Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences and the Department of Psychology joined. The department moved into a newly remodeled 36,000 square foot building which provides the latest in research technology including a brain stimulation facility and the Virtual Environmental Navigation Lab. Several state of the art research laboratories allow students the opportunity to be a part of cutting edge research in everything from the treatment of brain injuries in the Simmons Lab to electrophysiology, neuroanatomy and optogenetic research in the Burwell Lab. There are three PhD programs to choose from: Cognitive Science, Linguistics, and Psychology. Nine research areas allow students in each of the PhD program the opportunity to engage in meaningful research opportunities. Examples of research areas include Psycholinguistics, Semantics and Syntax, Perception and Action, and Behavioral Neuroscience.
17. Department of Psychological Sciences, Vanderbilt University– Nashville, Tennessee
The Department of Psychological Sciences is comprised of the Department of Psychology (focusing on adult psychology) and The Department of Psychology and Human Development at Peabody College (focusing on abnormal psych). There are a number of training grants awarded to students who pursue research benefiting those with disabilities and those interested in visual studies, developmental psychopathology and experimental research training. Modernized research facilities include EEG, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, positron emission tomography, electrophysiology and optogenetics among others.
16. Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin–Austin, Texas
The Department of Psychology offers eight specialty areas of study including Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience and Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology. The Behavioral Neuroscience program is part of the University wide Institute for Neuroscience made up of faculty in diverse areas like Anthropology, Kinesiology, Pharmacy and Biomedical Engineering. Neuroimaging Track in Psychology provides students with the training and education to apply human neuroimaging research techniques (including MRI) in their area of study. Two psychology professors received a $2.3 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to study genetic influences on risky behavior including drinking.
15. Department of Psychology University of California at San Diego–San Diego, California
The University of California at San Diego offers undergraduate and PhD options in five research areas including Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, Sensation & Perception and Social Psychology. U.S. News & World Report ranked UCSD number one in Behavioral Neuroscience in their ranking of best graduate schools. Innovative research includes the first empirical study of jealousy in dogs and a study on Misophonia (the hatred of sound). Undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in research, assist in the classroom, take advantage of internship opportunities and even study abroad.
14. Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University– Durham, North Carolina
Duke University offers a unique perspective in their Department of Psychology and Neuroscience by blending the levels of analysis with various research techniques including braining imaging and computational models. Research facilities include the Duke Institute for Brain Science which was founded in 2007 to develop an interactive and interdisciplinary approach to brain research. Innovative degree programs include a PhD in public policy with a concentration in psychology and several cross-program interest areas such as graduate training in Wireless Intelligent Sensor Networks (WISeNet) and research in Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics. Duke is home to current leaders in the field of psychology including Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Mark Leary, who was recently appointed President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
13. Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison–Madison, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin Psychology Department strives to provide students with an exceptional academic setting and top notch research experience. The Psychological Research Experience Program provides intensive research experience and mentoring opportunities to students from underrepresented populations. Innovative research opportunities include the Games Learning Society which focuses on how gaming can influence learning. The Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior studies developmental disabilities to develop preventative or assistive interventions. University of Wisconsin also has a psychophysiology laboratory and a Biotechnology Center.
12. Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign– Champaign, Illinois
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers psychology degrees at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. In 2014, the Department created the Student Leader Program for select undergrads to work within the department to become more engaged, become an ambassador and participate in service projects. The Department offers eight areas of study including Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Industrial-Organizational and Visual Cognition and Human Performance. The University boasts exceptional research facilities including the Beckman Institute. The Beckman Institute is a 313,000 square foot facility conducting interdisciplinary research across physical and biological sciences, engineering, psychology and neuroscience. The program has also created a Psychology Mentor Program which allows alumni to share their professional and educational experience with psychology students.
11. Department of Psychology, The University of Chicago–Chicago, Illinois
Undergraduate Research Initiative provides information and career development opportunities for undergraduates interested in research. Doctoral students can study in four major areas of psychology: Cognition, Developmental, Integrative Neuroscience, and Social. The University of Chicago offers extensive opportunities students to engage in interdisciplinary research through a variety of state of the art laboratory environments. The Institute for Mind and Biology conducts scientific research looking at the interaction of the mind and biological systems of the body. The Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center allows collaboration from researchers from across disciplines including psychology, cognitive science, computer science, geoscientists and engineers who have a distinct interest in spatial cognition and learning. Esteemed former faculty include Nobel Prize recipient Roger Sperry who conducted “split-brain” research.
10. Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania–Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania has the oldest psychology department in North America and is home to many esteemed faculty members including members of the National Academy of Sciences, Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and past presidents of the American Psychological Association. Research areas fall into two broad categories: Brain, Cognitive, and Decision Science or Clinical, Positive, and Social Psychology. Both undergrad and graduate students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful research opportunities. Undergrads can apply to participate in the Honors Program which enables students to participate in additional research opportunities.
9. Department of Psychology, Columbia University– New York City, New York
Columbia University has produced world renowned social psychologists including Solomon Asch, Muzafer Sheriff, Theordore Newcombe and Kenneth Clark. Research programs at Columbia include social, cognitive and biological areas. Primate Cognition Lab, the Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind, and the Metacognition and Memory Lab are examples of faculty research laboratories providing research opportunities for their students. Students from all over the world have been admitted into the graduate program and taken advantage of the unique interdisciplinary perspective of the program.
8. Psychology Department, Princeton University–Princeton, New Jersey
The Psychology Department at Princeton is closely connected to the Princeton Neuroscience Institute Imaging Center. Students and faculty engage in research using high field FMRI scanner, high density scalp electrical recorders and high tech computer modeling programs. Princeton offers a Neuroscience Certificate that undergraduates interested in pursuing additional brain function can work toward in their Junior and Senior years of study. A new joint degree program in Psychology and Social Policy for those interested in social issues.
7. Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley (UCB) – Berkeley, California
Students at UC Berkeley can specialize in one of five areas of research including Behavioral Neuroscience, Change, Plasticity & Development, Clinical Science, Cognition, Brain, & Behavior, and Social-Personality Psychology. The Psychology Clinic provides students with clinical training and research experience. The Affective Cognitive Neuroscience Lab uses methodologies including fMRI, MEG, EEG, cognitive modeling and functional genetics to study human behavior. Currently, there is no terminal masters degree offered, so students either pursue a bachelors or their PhD. UC Berkeley is home to many esteemed professors including Steven Hinshaw who has conducted studies on ADHD and externalizing disorders and has received over $18 million in National Institute of Health funding.
6. Psychology Department, University of Michigan –Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University of Michigan is considered to have one of the top psychology programs in the nation. Currently, there are 103 externally funded research projects taking place within the department. The University offers an accelerated degree program for seniors invited to start taking graduate level coursework prior to starting their masters program. There are a wide variety of program areas including biopsychology, women’s studies and psychology, and cognition and cognitive neuroscience. Research facilities are state of the art. In the Aragona Lab, studies about the neuroscience behind drug abuse and motivated behavior are conducted. The University of Michigan is also home to the Michigan Neurogenetics and Developmental Psychopathology (MiND) Lab which studies risk and resilience among youth and families.
5. Psychology Department, New York University (NYU) –New York, New York
New York University (NYU) is very proud of its state of the art psychology research centers. The NYU Center for Brain Imaging has a Siemens Allegra 3T head-only MRI scanner and an EEG lab. The department also has a 160 channel whole-head Magnetoencephalography (MEG) system. Several laboratories have video-based systems for measuring eye movements. The Center for Experimental Social Science uses paid human subjects to engage in decision-making tasks related to economics, psychology, political science and neuroscience. Center for Neuroeconomics focuses on decision making related to areas like addiction, obesity, finance and business.
4. Psychology Department, University of California at Los Angeles – Los Angeles, California
The psychology department at UCLA is one of the highest rated departments at the university. Their emphasis is on diversity. The department is home to the Diversity Science Initiative whose purpose is to advance theoretical and research perspectives on minority groups who are often underrepresented in behavioral scientific research. The Minority Mental Health Training Program develops courses and provides research opportunities in areas related to mental health of minority populations. UCLA offers a psychology undergraduate research conference where students can showcase their efforts. UCLA psychology department houses the UCLA Psychology Clinic and an infant development program providing assistance to the community to improve the mental health and development of families and children.
3. Department of Psychology, Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut
Yale University focuses on developing scholars and researchers to be leaders in diverse areas of psychology. Undergraduate and graduate students have a wealth of research opportunities available in settings such as the neuroscience laboratory, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and the Yale Parenting Center. Yale offers several different types of speaker series presentations inviting world renowned scientists and researchers to share their experience and research with students and faculty. Yale is not without its own esteemed researchers. Professor John Bargh received 2014 APA award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions for his research is social psychology. Marcia Johnson, faculty at the Memory and Cognition Lab, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences for her original research in cognition and cognitive neuroscience.
2. Department of Psychology, Stanford University – Stanford, California
The Department of Psychology at Stanford has a rich history of providing significant contributions to the field of psychology. In 2014, James McClelland, the director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Computation at Stanford received the Heineken Prize, an international prestigious award, for his work using neural networks to model cognitive processes of the brain. Historically, several professors have become presidents of the American Psychological Association. Department areas currently include Affective Science, Cognitive, Developmental, Social and Neuroscience. Cutting edge research is carried out by faculty in each area and there are opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to take part if appropriate. Honors programs and the Psych-Sumer program offer additional opportunities to engage in ground breaking research.
1. Department of Psychology, Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Department of Psychology at Harvard University was founded in the late 1800’s under direction of William James. Some of the most prominent names in psychology including B.F.Skinner and Gordon Allport have been faculty at the esteemed university. In 2007, Harvard was ranked by the Chronicle of Higher Education as #1 in Faculty Scholarly Productivity for psychology programs. Harvard has four research programs: Cognition, Brain, and Behavior, Developmental, Clinical Science, and Social. Advanced methodologies for research include computer-based behavioral tests and functional neuroimaging techniques. The Clinical Psychology Program is accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System and by the American Psychological Association.