ip target image
You are currently browsing our site with content tailored to students in your country

Our cookies

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience with personalized content, relevant ads and enhanced functionalities. By allowing all you agree to the use of cookies as per the cookie policy and remember you can manage your preferences anytime.
The basics
THE USA: Subject Guides - Must read

Best universities for psychology in the USA

Find out which universities come out on top for psychology degrees in the USA...

share image

So, you want to study psychology at university and you’re considering the USA for your studies. Great choice! Psychology enables graduates to enter a wide range of professions as understanding human behaviour is a valued skill across many sectors. The USA is home to many world-leading institutions with an excellent education system and promising employment prospects for international students. But which university is best for psychology? We’ve taken a look at the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 to examine the top-ranking institutions for this popular degree subject to help you make an informed decision. 


1. Stanford University 


Ranking 1st for psychology in the USA and 2nd in the world, Stanford University leads the rankings for this subject. Based in California, international students can benefit from both excellent teaching and the natural beauty of the area. Stanford university is also ideally located in the heart of Silicon Valley, home to large tech companies such as Google and Yahoo!. The psychology department at Stanford also has a long-standing reputation for producing ground-breaking psychological research, which has had a profound impact around the world. 


2. Harvard University 


Psychology first arose at Harvard in the late 1800s and since then has become a leading institution within the field. Previous faculty and alumni include world-renowned experts such as Gordon Allport, B.F. Skinner and George Miller who had a major impact on the study of psychology. This subject is a particularly popular undergraduate degree at Harvard and the department expects a high standard when it comes to applications.

American flag

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


The department of psychology at MIT was founded and later led by Professor Hans-Lukas Teuber who was one of the founders of neuropsychology. His theory that the mind and brain are interlinked was revolutionary at the time and dominates in the field today.


Located in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT is not far from Boston, on the east coast of the USA. The university has also produced 95 Nobel laureates, 77 MacArthur Fellows and 59 National Medal of Science Winners, further reflecting its prestigious reputation.


Remember, there are several branches within the field of psychology such as child psychology, social psychology and forensic psychology. Do a bit of research into which area interests you most as this will give you more direction during your degree.


4. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)


An international pioneer in psychological research, with a track record of contributing ground-breaking research, UCB is another well-renowned university for psychology in the USA. Psychology PhD graduates at UCB often find success within academia, health, policy, and technology.


In 2018, the department moved to a new, state-of-the-art building that has excellent clinical services and an environment that encourages cutting-edge research. UCB is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, just a 20-minute drive to the centre of San Francisco, enabling UCB students to access a buzzing and exciting city.


5. Yale University 


The psychology department at Yale University is comprised of five programs: clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social/personality psychology. Research is of major importance within the psychology department at Yale and both students and faculty are encouraged to participate.


The graduate psychology program only admits 15 students out of around 700 applicants each year, as Yale values small class sizes and close contact between students and faculty. Yale University is based in New Haven, Connecticut, based just 90 minutes from New York City.


university students



Find a master’s degree in psychology in the USA.


6. Princeton University 


Established in 1746, Princeton University is the fourth-oldest institution in the USA. Psychology graduates tend to go into careers in public policy, teachingbusinesslawmedicine, and clinical psychology. Students have the opportunity to get involved in research early on in their studies at Princeton, equipping them with lab and research skills.


The undergraduate psychology program at Princeton also qualifies students for clinical psychology graduate schools after their undergraduate programme. The graduate programme at Princeton covers several areas of specialisation including:


  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Learning and memory
  • Perception and cognition
  • Psychology of inequality
  • Social neuroscience


Gaining admission to one of these universities will equip you with plenty of opportunities and exposure to world-renowned teaching and research. However, psychology is a competitive field as it is such a sought-after degree. You will need top grades and evidence of your interest and dedication to the field.

If you don’t make the grades or you don’t manage to secure a place for whatever reason, don’t fret. The USA is home to approximately 5,300 colleges and universities offering high-quality psychology programmes. Check out the following institutions for further inspiration and inspection:



Start browsing psychology courses or use our course matcher tool to find a programme tailored to your preferences and qualifications. 


Make sure you also check out our news bulletin for regular updates on international education in the USA.


Study in the USA


'Study in the USA' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in the USA into one handy digital book.

Get your eBook