Ranking Top 20 Most Affordable Doctoral Programs in Psychology 2016

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By Kristen Fescoe
Published September 2016

For information on how we developed this ranking of the most affordable doctoral programs in psychology, see our methodology statement at the end of this article.

Ranking Top 20 Most Affordable Doctoral Degree Programs in Psychology

#20: University of Minnesota  – Minneapolis, Minnesota

University of Minnesota Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Biological Psychopathology
Clinical Science and Psychology Research Program
Cognitive and Brain Science
Counseling Psychology
Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Personality, Individual Differences and Behavior Genetics
Quantitative/Psychometric Methods
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The College of Liberal Arts

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $15,844
Program Website

The University of Minnesota’s Psychology Department offers a constantly rotating sample of graduate courses each semester, covering the breadth and depth of the field. Students at this department have the option of earning their master’s degree on the way to their doctorate.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #9
Additional National Ranking:
#69 US News Best National University
#25 US News Top Public School
#4 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 45.4%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)

#19: University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

University of Washington Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs

The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Animal Behavior
Clinical Psychology
Behavioral Neuroscience
Social and Personality
Developmental Psychology
Quantitative Psychology
Diversity Specialization
Quantitative Psychology Minor
Affiliations:
The College of Arts and Sciences
The Graduate School

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $15,207
Program Website

University of Washington’s psychology doctoral program uses a mentor-based academic system where students train under the guidance of one or more faculty members whose subject areas are a good match. Applicants are asked to identify faculty they view as possible mentors.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #14
Additional National Ranking:
#52 US News Best National University
#16 US News Top Public School
#8 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 55.2%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

#18: University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Illinois

University of Illinois Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs

The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience (Brain & Cognition)
Clinical/Community
Cognitive
Developmental
Quantitative
Social-Personality
Industrial-Organizational
Visual Cognition and Human Performance
Affiliations:
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $15,023
Program Website 

The PhD can be earned with nine specializations as well as a Counseling Psychology program that is available through the Department of Educational Psychology. Students may also earn their master of arts or science as part of their doctoral training.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #7
Additional National Ranking:
#41 US News Best National University
#11 US News Top Public School
#11 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 59%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)

#17: University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Community Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Quantitative Psychology
Sensory and Systems Neuroscience
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $14,518
Program Website

Students can choose from the seven available areas of concentration as well as combine multiple specialties to suit their interests and professional goals. The overall goal of the department is to train students for research, both basic and applied, and teaching.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #26
Additional National Ranking:
#26 US News Best National University
#33 US News Best Value School
#3 US News Top Public School
#8 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 29%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#16: University of Oregon – Eugene, Oregon

University of Oregon Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Social / Personality Psychology
Systems Neuroscience
Affiliations:
The College of Arts and Sciences
The Graduate School

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $14,256
Program Website

The Department of Psychology offers training culminating in a doctoral degree in Clinical, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, Social / Personality, and Systems Neuroscience. The program boasts a student to faculty ratio of less than 2:1, with an intentionally selective application process.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #30
Additional National Ranking:
#103 US News Best National University
#47 US News Top Public School
#25 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 74.9%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

#15: Ohio State University – Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Decision Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Psychology Social Psychology
Quantitative
Affiliations:
The College of Arts and Sciences
The Graduate School

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $11,560
Program Website

In addition to the many exciting and innovative areas of concentration, doctoral candidates at Ohio State can choose to interact with one of the Cross-area Focus Groups that includes: the Group for Attitudes and Persuasion, the Social Behavior Interest Group, the Social Cognition Research Group, the Cognitive Neuroscience Group and the Decision Psychology Group.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #21
Additional National Ranking:
#52 US News Best National University
#16 US News Top Public School
#36 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 53%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)

#14: University of California – Davis, California

UC Davis Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Developmental Psychology
Perception, Cognition, and Cognitive Neuroscience
Biological Psychology (Comparative and Physiological Psychology)
Social-personality Psychology
Quantitative Psychology
Affiliations:
The College of Letters and Science
The Graduate School

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $11,220
Program Website

The UC Davis Psychology Department does not offer training in clinical or counseling psychology; instead, the focus is on academic and research areas of psychology. Students admitted to the PhD program have the option of obtaining their master’s degree while working toward the doctoral degree.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #21
Additional National Ranking:
#41 US News Best National University
#49 US News Best Value School
#11 US News Top Public School
Rate of Acceptance: 40.6%
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#13: University of California – Irvine, California

UC Irvine Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Health Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Social/Personality Psychology
Affective Science
Affiliations:
The Division of Social Behavior

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $11,220
Program Website

The Department of Psychology and Social Behavior offers a comprehensive degree program that culminates in the PhD in Psychology and Social Behavior. Each student chooses a primary, or major, specialization in one of the four core areas. They must then select another area as a secondary, or minor, field of specialization.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #30
Additional National Ranking:
#39 US News Best National University
#31 US News Best Value School
#9 US News Top Public School
Rate of Acceptance: 37.4%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#12: University of California – San Diego, California

UC San Diego Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Sensation & Perception
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The Graduate Division
The Division of Social Sciences

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $11,220
Program Website

The Department of Psychology offers rigorous training in academics and research in a wide range of specialty areas within experimental psychology. The department is home to state-of-the-art labs, a beautiful building, complete with a highly regarded faculty. Students can benefit from courses within the department as well as several supporting disciplines.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #14
Additional National Ranking:
#39 US News Best National University
#48 US News Best Value School
#9 US News Top Public School
#25 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
#21 US News Most Innovative School
Rate of Acceptance: 33.5%
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#11: University of California – Los Angeles, California

UCLA Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Health Psychology
Learning and Behavior
Quantitative Psychology
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The College of Life Science

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $11,220
Program Website

The Psychology Department encourages student participation in various experiential activities throughout related departments, schools, as well as research. With opportunities at the Brain Research Institute, the interdisciplinary Neuroscience and Cognitive programs, the Institute for Social Science Research, the Neuropsychiatric Institute and the Fernald Child Study Center.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #2
Additional National Ranking:
#23 US News Best National University
#2 US News Top Public School
Rate of Acceptance: 18.6%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#10: University of California – Berkeley, California

UC Berkeley Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience
Clinical Science
Cognition
Cognitive Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Social-Personality Psychology
Affiliations:
The School of Letters and Science

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $11,220
Program Website

Students at the top rated UC Berkeley Psychology department can earn their PhD in six areas of specialization. The program uses a cohort model with students moving through the program as a group, at the same pace.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #2
Additional National Ranking:
#20 US News Best National University
#21 US News Most Innovative School
#1 US News Top Public School
#2 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 16%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#8: University of Arizona – Tucson, Arizona

University of Arizona Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Clinical Psychology
Cognition and Neural Systems
Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The College of Letters and Sciences

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $10,610
Program Website

The doctoral program at the University of Arizona offers specializations in four unique program areas, many of which offer overlap to expose students to the breadth and depth of the field. Students can also participate in sub-programs of specialization, which include: Program Evaluation and Research Methods (PERM) and Forensic Psychology.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #38
Additional National Ranking:
#129 US News Best National University
#1 US News Most Innovative School
#62 US News Top Public School
#41 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 84.3%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)

#8: University of Texas – Austin, Texas

University of Texas Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Science
Developmental Psychology
Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology
Perceptual Systems
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The College of Liberal Arts

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $10,934
Program Website

Graduate training at the University of Texas is intentionally flexible, however there is a prescribed structure to earn the PhD degree. All students must complete two advanced statistics courses and a three core courses from at least two of the three content groups including: Physiology & Learning, Perception, Cognition, and Cognitive Development and Abnormal, Social, Personality, Developmental and Individual Differences.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #14
Additional National Ranking:
#52 US News Best National University
#16 US News Top Public School
#8 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 39.7%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#7: University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida

University of Florida Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavior Analysis
Developmental Psychology
Neurobehavioral and Cognitive Sciences
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $10,770
Program Website

The Department of Psychology offers a 90-credit PhD in Psychology as well as a 90-credit PhD in Counseling Psychology. Students pursuing the Psychology degree can choose from four specialty areas and also have the ability to develop a co-major with another training program in the department.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #40
Additional National Ranking:
#47 US News Best National University
#18 US News Most Innovative School
#14 US News Top Public School
#31 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 47.1%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#6: University of Wisconsin—Madison, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Biology of Brain and Behavior
Cognitive and Cognitive Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Perception
Social and Personality Psychology
Affiliations:
The Graduate School
The College of Letters and Science

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $10,728
Program Website

The goal of this program is to offer doctoral candidates the best possible training to adequately prepare them for careers in academics, clinical work, research, and a range of other settings. The curriculum emphasizes academic training in general psychology paired with rigorous research training in a chosen area of concentration.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #9
Additional National Ranking:
#41 US News Best National University
#11 US News Top Public School
#4 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 49.8%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)

#5: Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University Most Affordable PhD Psychology ProgramsUniversity of Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs

The Department of Psychology

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Science
Developmental Psychology
Social Psychology
Quantitative Research Methods
Affiliations:
The UA College of Science

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $11,040
Program Website

Throughout the department, research is the most fundamental aspect of study, with 40 cutting edge labs that provide the unique opportunity to participate in real-world experiences. Students have the ability to contribute to important research projects that have an impact beyond the classroom.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #38
Additional National Ranking:
#121 US News Best National University
#58 US News Top Public School
#31 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 74.6%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)

#4: University of Colorado – Boulder, Colorado

University of Colorado Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral Genetics
Behavioral Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Social Psychology

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $10,530
Program Website

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience offers PhD degrees in five unique areas, and while there is no specialization in developmental psychology, several faculty members have research interests in this area. The department also supports a number of interdisciplinary degree and certificate programs.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #30
Additional National Ranking:
#89 US News Best National University
#37 US News Top Public School
#16 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 84.2%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)

#3: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

UNC Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs
The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Quantitative Psychology
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The College of Arts and Sciences
The Graduate School

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $9,143
Program Website

The UNC Department of Psychology faculty members are some of the most respected researchers, making significant contributions to the furthering of psychology as a practice and science. The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is ranked 1st in the National Science Foundation survey for total Research and Development Funding.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #12
Additional National Ranking:
#30 US News Best National University
#13 US News Best Value School
#5 US News Top Public School
#2 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 28.5%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#2: Indiana University – Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Clinical Science
Cognitive Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Mechanisms of Behavior
Molecular and Systems Neuroscience
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $8,442
Program Website

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences offers seven tracks to accompany the doctoral degree in psychology, which gives students the ability to pursue a course of study that matches their interests. Students can also pursue joint graduate degrees with the programs in Cognitive Science, Neuroscience and Animal Behavior.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #26
Additional National Ranking:
#75 US News Best National University
#29 US News Top Public School
#16 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 76.1%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)

#1: University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa

University of Iowa Most Affordable PhD Psychology Programs

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Specializations Offered:
Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognition and Perception
Developmental Science
Health Psychology
Social Psychology
Affiliations:
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Average Annual Graduate Tuition: $8,396
Program Website

The doctoral program in psychology is organized into six broad training areas, with each new student identifying which area is the primary area. From that time forward they will follow this specific program to gather an understanding of the relevant information and scientific methods essential to that area. The health psychology domain also offers a secondary track for students planning to possess a specialty in that area, but intend to pursue their PhD in one of the other training areas.

US News and World Report Graduate Psychology Program Ranking: #30
Additional National Ranking:
#82 US News Best National University
#34 US News Top Public School
#25 US News Best Graduate Clinical Psychology Program
Rate of Acceptance: 81%
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS)


Ranking Methodology

This ranking list was formulated to outline the most affordable graduate programs in psychology in the United States according to a combination of several ranking factors. To be considered for this list, the college or university must have been ranked as a top 50 school on the US News and World Report’s rankings of top graduate schools in psychology, as well as have received accreditation by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation.  The final criterion is each school must have an annual graduate tuition of less than $16,000.

Schools were ranked according to the lowest average graduate program tuition. In the cases of ties, preference was given to those schools with the highest national ranking, followed by the best graduate psychology ranking, according to US News and World Report. Specializations, awards and achievements earned by the school or department have also been noted.

About the Author

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen began a career as a therapist at two prisons in Philadelphia. At the same time she volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, also in Philadelphia. After a few years in the field she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. Kristen began writing in college and still enjoys her work as a writer, editor, professor and mother.

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