Find Your Degree
onlinepsychologydegree.info is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

50 Most Innovative University Psychology Departments 2022

The field of psychology originated over 200 years ago in Germany when Wilhelm Wundt founded the first psychology research laboratory. Since then, the field has evolved as we have gained considerable knowledge in behavior, emotions, and human thought. The field has changed and evolved significantly over the last half century. Pioneers like Carl Jung and Alfred Adler paved the way for the study of modern psychology. New specializations have emerged in areas like neuroscience and cutting-edge technologies are being used in labs across the country. Research has advanced and methodologies have changed. 21st century psychological research includes computer modeling and medical and biological models. It has never been a more exciting time to become a psychologist! have emerged.

Psychology departments within universities are advancing the field of psychology. Innovative programs are bridging the gap between science and practice and engaging in cutting-edge research. Program faculty are mentoring students to become future leaders in the field. Through these innovations in education and research, psychology is a growing field, making a difference in the overall health and wellbeing of the human population.

Methodology

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 for 2021 rankings since their evaluation considered research and academic reputation….elements we felt were essential to be included in this list. We also consulted the NCES to review accreditation and degree information.
Additional Criteria
To create our list of the top innovative psychology departments, we considered other elements:

  • Major (national or international) faculty awards or grants for research or innovation
  • Facilities or research departments allowing research opportunity for both graduate and undergraduate students
  • Diverse course offerings with focus areas and research opportunities

50. University of Miami – Coral Gables, Florida

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Miami is focused on four academic endeavors including:

  • teaching
  • research
  • working with diverse populations
  • providing community service

 The National Institute of Health has ranked the research programs among the best in the country and the APA has consistently ranked their clinical program among the top in the nation. The Behavioral Medicine Research Center is recognized for providing collaborative research in a variety of medical settings. The UM Psychology Department also houses the Psychological Services Center which serves as its own community-based training clinic and the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.

49. University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa

Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences


Website
The University of Iowa has the seventh oldest psychology department in the U.S. and has been home to outstanding psychologists including Albert Bandura and Leon Festinger. Most faculty have ties to other departments, centers, and programs around the university, contributing to the department’s commitment to modern interdisciplinary research. Graduate psychology programs emphasize:

  • hands-on training
  • scholarly productivity
  • methodological rigor

Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in the vibrant research community.

48. University of Illinois at Chicago – Chicago, Illinois

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago is nationally recognized, with an interdisciplinary approach to faculty research. This innovative department actively collaborates with the Colleges of Education, Engineering and Medicine to conduct cutting edge research. The ethnically and culturally diverse campus brings different perspectives to the psychology program. The Psychology Department offers both a general and applied psychology major for undergraduates. It also offers graduate training leading to a PhD degree in Psychology. Graduate students can major in one of five areas:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical
  • Cognitive
  • Community and Prevention Research
  • Social and Personality

State of the art research techniques are used in each area of study, allowing students and faculty to make meaningful contributions to the field. Graduate students are supported through assistantships that include a tuition and fee waiver. The Department also supports the Office of Applied Psychological Services. This mental health clinic provides therapy and psychological assessment to those in the UIC community as well as people living or working in the Chicago area.

47. University of Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, California

Psychological and Brain Sciences


Website
The University of California, Santa Barbara’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences emphasizes empirically based teaching in research in experimental psychology. The Department is comprised of 42 faculty, 70 graduate students, and almost 2,500 undergraduate students. There are four primary areas of study including:

  • Cognition, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience (CPCN)
  • Developmental and Evolutionary Psychology
  • Neuroscience and Behavior
  • Social Psychology

CPCN students use technologies in the UCSB Brain Imaging Center and the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior. Faculty study perception, cognition and action through eye and limb tracking and high-density EEG. Developmental and Evolutionary Psychology program crosses traditional disciplinary lines. It’s linked closely with the Center for Evolutionary Psychology and the Evolution, Mind and Behavior Program. This unique approach brings together faculty and students from a variety of areas including social and biological sciences. Faculty in the Neuroscience and Behavior area are interested in three subareas of research including:

  • visual neuroscience
  • behavioral neuroscience
  • psychopharmacology

46. Florida State University – Tallahassee, Florida

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at Florida State University is dedicated to innovation and discovery. Graduate programs are offered in Neuroscience and in Clinical, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social psychology. Faculty conduct research in areas like:

  • children’s mathematical development
  • visual cognition
  • moral psychology
  • and sensory perception

In 2008, the Department of Psychology completed a 103,000 square foot facility that houses research laboratories including a neuroscience lab and an NIH-compliant vivarium. The neuroscience facility includes instruments like:

  • a gamma counter
  • Bio-Rad thermal cycler and real-time PCR
  • a Laser Capture Microdissection system

The Florida Center for Reading Research and the Psychology Clinic are also housed within the Department of Psychology.

45. University of Rochester – Rochester, New York

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Rochester offers a major and minor in psychology for undergraduates and three graduate training programs that lead to a PhD. There are three MA to PhD track programs including:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social-Personality Psychology

Graduate students can study areas like:

  • human motivation
  • developmental psychopathology
  • advanced quantitative methods

The Department of Psychology is affiliated with two research units including the Mt. Hope Family Center and the Children’s Institute. Students are encouraged to take advantage of interdepartmental opportunities with the University’s Medical Center and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

44. University of Pittsburg – Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh features six different training programs to meet the need of aspiring psychology professionals. They offer programs in:

  • Teaching
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Bio-Health
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology

The Department embraces the “hub” science approach by supporting 30 faculty members from other departments. The University of Pittsburgh is also ranked among the top universities in the world for psychiatry/psychology research for their high amount of research activity and reputation in the scientific community.

43. University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia

Department of Psychology


Website
The innovative Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia is a robust department offering degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. They offer a PhD in seven specialized areas including:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Community Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience

Ongoing research is happening in areas like quantitative methods and data science and the social determinants of health. The Clinical Training Program sponsors the Mary D. Ainsworth Psychological Clinic. This Department highlight provides short-term and long-term psychotherapy, including specialized psychological interventions.

42. University of Arizona – Tucson, Arizona

Department of Psychology


Website
The University of Arizona is home to the School of Mind, Brain, and Behavior which includes their innovative Department of Psychology. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of psychology, it makes sense to include psychology in this unique School. It allows students and faculty to collaborate with other departments such as Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. The Department features The Behavioral Health Clinic, a training facility for Clinical Psychology PhD students who provide high-quality and affordable assessment and treatment services to the community. They promote three key areas for research including:

  • Healthy Minds
  • Healthy Brains
  • Healthy Lives

These research areas serve the fundamental mission of the Department to promote overall health. PhD program offerings cover three distinct areas including:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognition and Neural Systems
  • Social Psychology

A joint PhD and JD program is also available through the College of Law.

41. Ohio State University – Columbus, Ohio

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University uses cutting-edge techniques and tools to pave the way for future psychology researchers and practitioners. Courses are taught by world-renowned faculty who have wide-ranging research experience in the brain and the human experience. Faculty labs include:

  • Attitudes and Persuasion Lab
  • Cardiopulmonary Behavioral Medicine Lab
  • Childhood Mood Disorders Lab

The Department is also home to The Psychological Services Center. The Center provides evidence-based psychological treatments for a variety of issues including depression and anxiety.

40. Michigan State University – East Lansing, Michigan

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at Michigan State University offers on-campus graduate training in six different research areas. Research areas include:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Science
  • Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Ecological/Community Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social/Personality Psychology

This innovative department also offers training in program evaluation. Faculty and students collaborate with other departments outside their primary area to add interdisciplinary value within the department. The  Psychology Department also offers a Psychological Clinic, providing therapy and assessment services to clients of all backgrounds.

39. Purdue University – West Lafayette, Indiana

Psychological Sciences


Website
The College of Health and Human Services at Purdue University features the Department of Psychological Sciences, home to outstanding researchers, students, and teachers. Hundreds of award-winning alumni are contributing to the advancement of the field through their research and practice. Undergraduate students can choose to major in either psychological sciences or brain and behavioral sciences. Graduate study is offered in six different areas including:

  • Clinical Psychological Sciences
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Mathematical and Computational Psychology
  • Neuroscience and Behavior
  • Social Psychology

Cutting edge research is conducted in labs like the Center for Research on Brain, Behavior, and NeuroRehabilitation (CEREBBRAL) and The Purdue Acceptance and Inclusion Consortium. Graduate students cab develop their skills by working at The Purdue Psychology Treatment and Research Clinics, providing psychological services to the community.

38. Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology, a part of the College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University, is an innovative department focused on research and teaching. Emory offers an undergraduate major in psychology and four different PhD concentrations including:

  • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience
  • Clinical Science
  • Cognitive and Computational Sciences
  • Developmental Science

Training opportunities are available through opportunities like the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity Program and the Scholarly-Inquiry and Research Experience Program Graduate Fellowship. The Psychology Department houses:

  • the Emory Child Study Center
  • Emory University Psychological Center
  • the Facility for Education and Research in Neuroscience.

37. City College of New York – New York, New York

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the City College of New York offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate training programs in psychology. Programs are offered in:

  • alcohol and substance abuse
  • mental health counseling
  • clinical psychology
  • general psychology
  • work psychology

Fieldwork is a critical component of most programs, giving students the opportunity to apply classroom learning to real-world situations. CCNY has many innovative research facilities including the Trauma and Addiction Project and The Applied Research on Health and Adaptation of Minority Populations. They are also home to the Antrobus EEG laboratory to map brain activity.

36. Carnegie Mellon University – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Services at Carnegie Mellon University has been researching psychology for over 100 years. The Department has been on the forefront of innovative technologies in:

  • artificial intelligence
  • cognitive science
  • the role of behavior in medicine

Recently, the Department has joined the university-wide efforts in brain research, focusing on the Science of Learning. The Psychology Department offers both a psychology PhD and a cognitive neuroscience PhD. Both offer training in:

  • Cognitive Science
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social/Personality and Health Psychology

Carnegie Mellon continues their innovative strategies developing cross-institution partnerships with the University of Pittsburg (the neural basis of cognition) and Effat University (curriculum development and teaching methodologies).

35. Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona

Department of Psychology


Website
The Arizona State University Department of Psychology is dedicated to uncovering the mysteries of the body, mind, and behavior. The Department has over 50 innovative research labs, including the Health Experiences Across Relations and Transitions lab (HEART) and the Adolescent Stress and Emotion Lab. ASU undergraduate students can choose to complete their degree in either psychology or neuroscience. At the master’s level, program options include:

  • applied behavior analysis
  • political psychology
  • addiction and substance abuse

The Department offers six different areas of PhD study, including:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology

ASU also provides several different evidence based services through the  Psychology Department, including the Clinical Psychology Center and the Child Study Lab.

34. Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences


Website
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS) at Boston University is globally recognized for their innovative research. Faculty are actively engaged in research in a variety of cutting-edge areas like genetics and brain processes. Degrees at the graduate and undergraduate levels focus on three programmatic areas including:

  • Brain, Behavior, and Cognition
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental Science

PBS has received research and training grants from organizations like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. On-campus research and clinical centers offer robust training opportunities for students and fellows. These include the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders and the Center for Autism Research Excellence.

33. University of Maryland College Park – College Park, Maryland

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland is a leader in innovative research and education. The Department is part of the Maryland Neuroimaging Center which fosters collaborative relationships among psychologists, neuroscientists, engineers, and physicists to observe the human brain in action. Psychology faculty have been able to closely study neural processes in areas like autism and neural development. The Department offers PhD programs in five areas, including:

  • Clinical
  • Cognitive and Neural Systems
  • Counseling
  • Developmental
  • Social, Decision, and Organizational Science

Across all areas of study are three research themes, including:

  • Brain, Mind, and Behavior
  • Mental Health
  • Social, Group, and Cultural Processes

The Department strives to provide the highest level of clinical training to clinical psychology students through their Psychology Clinic and the Maryland Psychotherapy Clinic and Research Lab.

32. University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California

Department of Psychology


Website
The Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina features an internationally recognized Department of Psychology. The Department has one of the most diverse student populations in the country. Both students and faculty are engaged in cutting edge research studies that address some of society’s most critical needs. Graduate training is offered in five areas, including:

  • Brain and Cognitive Science
  • Clinical Science
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Social Psychology

The Department includes 18 different areas of research, including human dimensions of climate change and behavioral decision making.

31. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina features strong undergraduate and graduate programs along with accomplished faculty who are committed to research, teaching, and mentoring their students. Undergraduates have exciting opportunities available through programs like the Karen M. Gil Internship Program in Psychology and Neuroscience. It exposes students to interdisciplinary collaborations and the neuroscience major. Graduate training is available in six subfields including:

  • Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology

Distinguished research areas include:

  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • health psychology
  • psychological aspects of medical illnesses

The Department is one of the top four departments in the country in terms of external grant funding generated by their faculty.

30. University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Florida is dedicated to generation, application and dissemination of psychological science. They offer graduate level training in five areas including:

  • Behavior Analysis
  • Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Counseling
  • Developmental
  • Social

They also offer several specialty psychology programs in areas like gerontology and an interdisciplinary study in neurobiology. The counseling psychology program is accredited by the APA. The behavior analysis program is approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.

29. University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

Department of Psychology


Website
The University of Washington features an innovative Department of Psychology that generates ground-breaking insights to the field of psychology. Their mission is to:

  • Promote social equality
  • Optimize human potential by increasing one’s resilience
  • Understand the mind through behavior and brain science

Their undergraduate program offers a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts program. The graduate program offers traditional doctoral education while emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to address societal challenges. Faculty have received numerous awards and honors, including eight Distinguished Contribution Awards from the APA and two PATHWAY to Independence Awards. The Department also features an award-winning graduate training clinic that promotes mental health while delivering innovative therapies and behavioral interventions.

28. University of Colorado at Boulder – Boulder, Colorado

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience


Website
The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder has a central mission to promote scholarship at the crossroads of psychology and neuroscience. The Department is comprised of faculty, staff, graduate students, research assistants and undergrads who are engaged in:

  • teaching
  • learning
  • research
  • community outreach

Faculty collaborate with peers within their department and in other departments and institutes throughout the university. With over 34 different faculty labs, the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is making significant contributions to the field. Most faculty are involved with one or more interdisciplinary research institutes and centers at CU Boulder.

27. University of California – Irvine, California

Department of Psychological Science and the Department of Cognitive Sciences


Website
The University of California Irvine has two options for students interested in studying psychology. The Department of Cognitive Sciences offers specialized programs in areas like cognitive development and computational modeling. The Department of Psychological Science specializes in areas like:

  • developmental psychology
  • environmental psychology
  • behavioral disorders

PhD students in the Department of Psychological Sciences can choose from four specialization areas including:

  • Affective Science
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Social and Personality Psychology

Concentrations are available in clinical psychology, along with psych and law. Research labs between the two departments offer undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to engage in cutting edge research with internationally renowned faculty. Honors opportunities are available for outstanding undergraduates who plan to pursue graduate study in psychology.

26. University of California-Davis – Davis, California

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at UC Davis is an innovative department, known for their cutting-edge research and nationally ranked faculty. The Department features five research areas including:

  • Developmental
  • Perception-Cognition
  • Biological Psychology
  • Quantitative
  • Social-Personality

Students are engaged in ground-breaking research alongside some of the top researchers in the country. Professors at UC Davis have received grants from the NIH to study areas like the neurobiology of social behavior and the presence and quality of pair bonds. Research labs like the Cognition in Context Lab and the Brain and Social Cognition Lab are using the latest technology to study the science of thinking. Both undergraduate and graduate students can participate in research opportunities, building a research foundation that will follow them throughout their career.

25. Pennsylvania State University – University Park, Pennsylvania

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at Penn State College of Liberal Arts features five unique program areas. They offer:

  • Clinical (Adult and Child)
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Industrial-Organizational
  • Social

The Department also offers cross-cutting program initiatives that include a specialization in cognitive and affective neuroscience and dual degree programs in language science and psychology and women’s studies. Research themes revolve around five main areas including:

  • Neuroscience
  • Context and Culture
  • Social Inequality
  • Translational and Collaborative Research
  • Quantitative Methods

World-renowned faculty have set up a variety of centers and labs to further their research efforts. Labs like the Child Study Center and Parents and Children Together are making a difference in the community. They also allow students and faculty to implement community-engaged research projects.

24. John Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences


Website
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1883 and had the first psychology laboratory in the country. They offer an undergraduate major in psychology that gives students a strong background in both psychological and brain sciences. The Department supports interdisciplinary research in areas of biopsychology and cognitive/developmental psychology.

Each faculty member has their own state of the art research laboratory to work on their specific research efforts. Since the study of psychology is broad, research efforts extend beyond the department and into other areas of the university. University labs include the Zanvyl Krieger Mind-Brain Institute. This Institute focuses on cognitive neuroscience and has several primate neurophysiology labs. The F. M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging is another cutting-edge research facility. They have 3.0T and 7.0T MRI scanners to study cognitive neuroscience.

23. Indiana University-Bloomington – Bloomington, Indiana

Department of Psychological and Brain Science


Website
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington is known for their innovative teaching strategies and groundbreaking research. The Department offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs with interdisciplinary connections to:

  • natural sciences
  • social sciences
  • humanities
  • medical sciences

The PhD program features seven different specializations including:

  • Clinical Science
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Mechanisms of Behavior
  • Molecular and Systems Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology

Award-winning researchers and teachers manage 52 different research labs, allowing students gain valuable research experience in a collaborative and diverse environment. In the last 10 years, the department has received of $10 million in external funding from organizations like the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation.

22. Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois

Psychology Department


Website
Northwestern University founded their Department of Psychology in 1909. The Department is comprised of five program areas including:

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

Recent research in areas like infant cognition and childhood trauma align with Northwestern’s commitment to make meaningful research contributions to the field. Both graduate and undergraduate students are engaged in research activities, working alongside nationally recognized faculty. The Department has over 40 faculty members and offers more than 80 courses to graduate and undergraduate students.

21. Cornell University – Ithaca, New York

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at Cornell University is an innovative department focused on investigating behavior at the cognitive, neural, and hormonal level in environmental situations. Programs focus on four areas of psychology including:

  • development
  • cognition
  • neuroscience
  • social and personality psychology

Undergraduate students can choose to major in either human development or psychology. Graduate study is defined by program fields. The Psychology Field is focused on three broadly defined areas including:

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

Graduate students in the Human Development Field are prepared for careers in research and academia. Cornell also offers a dual PhD/JD in developmental psychology and law.

20. University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Psychology Department


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota is one of the largest departments in the College of Liberal Arts, with over 1500 undergrads and 140 PhD students. The Department is dedicated to unlocking the secrets of human behavior and making life-changing discoveries that improve people’s lives. Undergrads can complete a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Psychology or pursue a psychology minor in the field. The PhD program incorporates seven different areas of specialization including:

  • Clinical Science and Psychopathology Research Program (CSPR)
  • Cognitive and Brain Science (CAB)
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (I/O)
  • Personality, Individual Differences and Behavior Genetics (PIB)
  • Quantitative/Psychometric Methods (QPM)
  • Social Psychology

Graduate students begin working with faculty on cutting-edge research efforts in their first semester of the program. Internationally recognized faculty in the department have labs and research centers that span different areas of study in psychology. The Department has over $43 million in external funding to support their research efforts.

19. Brown University – Providence, Rhode Island

Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences


Website
Brown University created the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences in 2010 after a merger of the Department of Psychology and the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences. The creation of this new department is a direct reflection of Brown’s commitment to build bridges and encourage interdisciplinary study. Undergraduates can choose from five specialized concentration areas, including:

  • Behavioral Decision Sciences
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Science
  • Linguistics
  • Psychology

The Department offers three PhD programs, including:

  • Cognitive Science
  • Linguistics
  • Psychology

The Department also has nine core research focus areas, including behavioral neuroscience/comparative and phonetics and phonology. Faculty from the department work in interdisciplinary research centers like the Carney Institute for Brain Science and the Brown Initiative for Computation in Brain and Mind.

18. Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee

Department of Psychological Sciences


Website
Vanderbilt University psychological sciences are represented by both the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Science and the Department of Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College. The graduate program emphasizes theory and research. There are seven concentration areas including:

  • Clinical Science
  • Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognition in Context
  • Cognitive Psychology in Context
  • Developmental Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Quantitative Methods

Undergraduate majors include:

  • child development
  • cognitive studies
  • child studies

Master’s programs are available in child studies and quantitative methods. Students are continuously involved in research throughout their time at Vanderbilt. They have the opportunity to interact with other programs and disciplines across campus for an interdisciplinary experience.

17. University of Texas at Austin – Austin, Texas

Department of Psychology


Website
The College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin is home to the Department of Psychology. The Department has core values rooted in:

  • innovation
  • respect
  • equity
  • engagement

They seek to advance knowledge through science and education and encourage interdisciplinary relations among diverse groups of professionals. Faculty have a longstanding reputations for bringing in significant grants that support wide-reaching research efforts and state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment. The Department has two centers, including the Center for Perceptual Systems and the Institute for Mental Health Research.

Faculty are also involved in interdisciplinary collaborations across the university.

16. University of California at San Diego – San Diego, California

Department of Psychology


Website
The University of California San Diego Department of Psychology is a robust department offering 10  undergraduate majors and a graduate program in experimental psychology. Both undergraduate and graduate students work with top-tier scientists, engaging in cutting edge research. Research areas fall into five different categories, including:

  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Social Psychology

The University of California also supports the Center for Brain and Cognition. The Center supports both a practical and theoretical research agenda. Researchers work to develop innovative approaches for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric conditions.

15. Duke University – Durham, North Carolina

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience


Website
The Department of Psychology at Neuroscience at Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences is recognized for their exceptional research and training in psychology. They offer five primary graduate training areas including:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Systems and Integrative Neuroscience

Undergraduate students can choose a major or minor in psychology or neuroscience. Faculty are engaged in world class basic and applied research using cutting-edge methods. Graduates are taught using an apprenticeship training model that allows them to learn by doing and working closely alongside a mentor.

14. University of Wisconsin-Madison – Madison, Wisconsin

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers programs at the undergrad and graduate level while supporting research in a variety of areas. The department features six concentration areas, including:

  • Biology of Brain and Behavior
  • Clinical
  • Cognitive and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental
  • Perception
  • Social and Personality

The psychology major is one of the largest majors in the College of Letters and Science. Students can focus on several areas, including clinical and developmental psychology. The Department also offers a Master of Science in Data Science in Human Behavior. Department faculty, students, and staff are affiliated with research centers and institutes throughout the university, including the Institute on Aging and the Center for Healthy Minds.

13. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Illinois

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois was founded in 1893. It’s considered one of the premier psychology departments in the country for its research and education programs. The Department has affiliations with over 100 professionals and has many outstanding faculty who have served in leadership roles with:

  • professional journals
  • professional societies
  • government

The undergraduate program offers majors in Brain and Cognitive Science and Psychology. Graduate studies include an MS in Psychological Science and a PhD in Psychology. There are nine program areas in the Department, including:

  • Attention and Perception
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical-Community
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Industrial-Organizational
  • Quantitative
  • Social-Personality

The U of I Psychology lab is also world renowned for their cutting-edge research. Labs include the Cultural Heritage and Racial Identity Lab and the SCoPE Neuroscience Lab. These give students the opportunity to work alongside top researchers on projects that are changing lives and furthering the field of psychology.

12. The University of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at The University of Chicago was founded in 1893 and is world renown for their innovative interdisciplinary scientific research and scholarship. They offer an undergraduate major in psychology and four distinct PhD programs. The Department does not offer a terminal master’s degree in psychology. PhD areas of study include:

  • Cognition
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Integrative Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology

Joint programs are available in Cognition and Linguistics and Business and Psychology. A joint BA/MA in the social sciences is also available. Faculty are actively engaged in research in specialized labs and as part of numerous focused centers and institutes. Both graduate students and undergrads are encouraged to take advantage of innovative research opportunities.

11. Columbia University – New York City, New York

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at Columbia University is one of the oldest programs in the United States. Undergraduates can major in psychology and take advantage of unique research and professional development opportunities in the Department. Students can:

  • volunteer to work with faculty in a research lab
  • participate in Supervised Individual Research
  • be a part of the two-year Honors Program in psychology

Graduate students can focus on four areas of psychology, including:

  • behavioral neuroscience
  • perception
  • cognition
  • social-personality psychology

Students begin working on research in their first semester and are encouraged to fully invest themselves in both research and instructional training. Faculty are engaged in over 60 different areas of research. The Department is also affiliated with programs in the University and on the outside, including the Center for Decision Sciences and the Institute for Child and Family Policy.

10. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania is the oldest continuously functioning psych department in the country. Undergraduates can choose to major or minor in psychology. An honors program and mentored research opportunities are available to exceptional students. The graduate program emphasizes research and scholarship. This highly distinctive program includes an APA approved clinical program.

Faculty include members of the National Academy of Sciences, Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and past presidents of the APA. The Department maintains strong connections with other areas of the university, fostering unique relationships with the cognitive sciences and neurosciences.

9. Princeton University – Princeton, New Jersey

Psychology Department


Website
Princeton University features an innovative Department of Psychology with rigorous training programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The psychology concentration in the Division of Natural Sciences gives students a strong foundation in neuroscience. Students can work closely with faculty members on cutting-edge research in areas like memory and attention and social cognition. The PhD program prepares students for a career in productive scholarship in the field of psychology. Specialization areas include:

  • Behavioral Economics
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Language, Learning and Memory
  • Perception and Cognition
  • Psychology of Inequality
  • Social Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology
  • Systems Neuroscience

The Department also offers joint degrees in psychology and neuroscience or psychology and social policy.

8. University of California Berkeley – Berkeley, California

Department of Psychology


Website
Berkeley Psychology is celebrating its 100th anniversary during the 2021-2022 school year. Psychology research and education were taking place in the late 1800s. The Department is a national and international leader in psychological research and education. Undergraduate students can major in psychology. Graduate students can focus on six specialized areas, although the Department encourages students to take courses across disciplines or in other areas of the university. Specialized areas include:

  • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience
  • Clinical Science
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental
  • Social-Personality

For over 50 years, the UC Berkeley Psychology Clinic has been a center for excellence in clinical training. The Clinic offers a variety of therapeutic and assessment services to individuals and families in the Bay area.

7. New York University – New York, New York

Psychology Department


Website
The NYU Department of Psychology offers a variety of innovative undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Psychology is one of the most popular bachelor’s degrees programs at NYU. The Department also offers master’s programs in Psychology and I/O Psychology. It has PhD programs in Cognition and Perception and Social Psychology. A concentration in Developmental Psychology is also available.

The program in Cognition and Perception is offered at both the NYU New York campus and in Abu Dhabi. Research efforts cover areas of behavioral methods and the measurements of motor responses and brain responses. Social Psychology students are fully funded through the Henry M. MacCracken Program or the NYUAD Global PhD Fellowship. Students are part of a highly active research culture that allows them to explore a variety of methodological approaches and research issues.

6. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Psychology Department


Website
The University of Michigan Department of Psychology has been recognized for decades for their innovative research and pioneering contributions in the classroom. The Department offers an undergraduate degree in psychology and a PhD program with six specialized areas of study. The areas include:

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

Three additional joint programs are available, including:

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

The University of Michigan, including the Department of Psychology, maintains a strong commitment to research and interdisciplinary study. Active research labs are engaged in ground-breaking studies in areas like affective neuroscience and biopsychology and human brain electrophysiology. Research opportunities are available to both undergrad and graduate students.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, Massachusetts

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences


Website
The MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences has an innovative mission to reverse engineer the brain to understand the mind. They offer undergraduate programs Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Computation and Cognition and a PhD program in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Unique programs like the Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience program allow students to explore research opportunities in this innovative area of study. Students have access to neuroscience-based labs throughout the MIT campus.

PhD students are innovators, taking on riskier projects and pilot students that test the limits of both technical and scientific knowledge. Students are encouraged to become “out of the box” thinkers, seeking out collaborations with different labs, centers, and departments. The Department headquarters is in Building 46, the largest neuroscience research facility in the country. Students are trained by world renowned faculty using state-of-the-art equipment. Graduates are innovative leaders and make significant contributions to both psychology and neuroscience.

4. Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at Yale University continues to reinvigorate itself through outstanding research and scholarship in the field of psychology. The PhD program features five different concentration areas including:

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

Undergrads can choose from a BA or BS in psychology with an optional track in neuroscience. Faculty are actively engaged in research across the five substantive domains. This allows undergrad and doctoral students to work on research that aligns with their specific area of interest. Research centers include the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program and the Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. The Yale Psychology Department Clinic allows advanced doctoral students to use evidence-based assessment and psychotherapy under the leadership of licensed clinical psychologists.

3. University of California at Los Angeles – Los Angeles, California

Psychology Department


Website
The Department of Psychology at UCLA is a large community with 84 core, adjunct, and active emeriti faculty and over 4,000 students. The Department is housed in the Psychology Complex, with over 800 rooms and three connected buildings. They offer undergraduate majors in:

  • psychology
  • psychobiology
  • cognitive science

The Departmental Honors Program and the Psychology Research Opportunities Programs are available to select groups of students seeking mentored research opportunities and advanced study. PhD and post-doc students can focus on areas like:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Learning and Behavior
  • Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology

The Department is also home to the UCLA Psychology Clinic which serves as a training ground and research site for clinical psychology PhD students.

2. Stanford University – Stanford, California

Department of Psychology


Website
The Department of Psychology at Stanford University is an innovative department, developing ground-breaking theoretical research that has wide reaching impacts in the real world. The Department was one of the first established at Stanford and maintains a strong reputation in the field for their research and education. In 2003, they were recognized by the Smithsonian Institute for their achievements.

The department offers undergraduate and graduate programs. PhD students can conduct in-depth research in one of five areas including:

  • Affective
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology

Graduate students are expected to spend half of their time engaged in research efforts throughout the  program.

1. Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts

Department of Psychology


Website
The Harvard University Department of Psychology has been a leading innovator in the field of psychology since the late 1800’s when it was directed by William James. Past researchers and faculty have included famous names like B.F. Skinner and Henry Murray. The Chronicle of Higher Education considers Harvard one of the best psychology departments for Faculty Scholar Productivity. The undergraduate major in psychology is one of the most popular at Harvard. The PhD program focuses on four areas including:

  • Clinical Science
  • Social
  • Developmental
  • Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Postdoctoral Fellows can work in labs of faculty members with similar research interests. Students at all levels are encouraged to participate in the vibrant research community, developing research skills that will help them advance the field of psychology.

Additional Resources: