Ranking Top 25 Best Doctoral Degree Programs in Psychology in 2014

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By Kristen Fescoe
Posted June, 2014

Professional Psychologists with a Doctoral Degree in Psychology will be in the highest demand in the coming years. Psychologists are highly skilled clinicians who study thoughts, emotions, behaviors and the social interactions of people. They are professionals who work with clients to help individuals better understand their own thoughts, feeling and emotion. The field of psychology continues to grow each year in the United States and doctoral level psychologists are the most desirable candidates in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2012-2022, employment in the field of psychology will grow at least twelve percent. Individuals who hold a Doctoral Degree in Psychology are qualified for work in a private practice, rehabilitation facilities, schools, hospital, mental health facilities and many other related areas. Those individuals who earn a Doctoral Degree are also qualified to conduct psychological research and teach at the collegiate level.

Ranking Methodology

This ranking list was formulated to outline the top ranked Doctoral Degree Programs in Psychology in the United States according to a combination of several ranking factors. The highest weight was given to those programs that made the top Fourty Best Graduate Programs in Psychology according to US News and World Report. In order to be considered for ranking, each program must be fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Also being weighed into the ranking system is additional US News and World Report Ranking, tuition and Degree Options. The goal of this ranking list is to summarize the highest ranked Doctoral Psychology Programs while considering the cost of tuition and the achievements earned by the college or university. Also noted are additional achievements, awards and benefits of each program.

Ranking Top 20 Doctoral Degree Programs in Psychology

#25 – Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The Department of Psychology offers doctoral candidates graduate courses leading to the accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree as part of the doctoral training program. Six basic areas of doctoral programs form the core of the psychology department curriculum. These include:

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

The Psychology department promotes strong interactions between faculty and students throughout these areas of study. A central tenet of the Psychology Doctoral Degree Program is participation in ongoing research and educational programs in the department. Faculty and students are also actively involved with a number of other centers, institutes, and research groups on campus that promote interdisciplinary approaches to modern issues facing society.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: #38
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#142 Best National University
#73 Top Public School
#2 Up and Coming School
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Tuition: $10,002 in state, basic annual tuition

#24 – Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee

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The Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Science & The Department of Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

Vanderbilt’s Doctoral Psychology Program in Psychological Sciences is offered jointly by the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Science and the Department of Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College. The Psychological Sciences program focuses on psychological history and theory as well as the development of empirical research. Students can work toward a Ph.D. degree in the following areas:

  • Clinical Science
  • Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Quantitative Methods

The curriculum is designed to:

  1. Familiarize students with the major areas of psychology
  2. Provide specialized training in at least one of the five specific areas of psychology emphasized in the program
  3. Provide students sufficient flexibility to enroll in classes consistent with their interests and long-term developmental trajectory.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for # 30
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#17 Best National University
#11 Best Value School
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychological Sciences with Specialization in Clinical Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychological Sciences with Specialization in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychological Sciences with Specialization in Developmental Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychological Sciences with Specialization in Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychological Sciences with Specialization in Quantitative Methods
Tuition: $42,978 annually

#23 – University of Pittsburg – Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

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The College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

The Psychology Department within the College of Arts and Sciences places a strong emphasis on diversity. Students from socially and economically underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply to this program. Once accepted students will receive training in five core areas: Biological & Health, Clinical, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social psychology. Students can create a plan of study that will help them achieve their academic and career goals.

Following are the requirements for the award of the PhD Degree:

  • Master’s comprehensive/PhD preliminary exam (also the master’s final oral examination of thesis for students whose programs require the MS degree)
  • PhD comprehensive exam
  • Admission to candidacy for doctoral degree
  • Final oral examination
  • Approval of dissertation
  • A minimum of 72 graduate credits (including up to 36 credits earned elsewhere – see Arts and Sciences Graduate Bulletin for details)
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Departmental teaching requirement

This affordable Doctorate in Psychology Degree Program is an excellent start to a career as a professional psychologist.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #30
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#62 Best National University
#21 Top Public School
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSACSC)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Biological & Health Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $17,100 in state tuition and fees

#22 – The University of Oregon – Eugene, Oregon

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The goal of the University of Oregon’s Psychology Department is to familiarize all students with the theories and methodology of psychology in general psychology and other sub-specialties. Students will be able to make original contributions in research, teaching, and applied work. The Ph.D. degree is a research and scholarly degree, therefore it is expected that students in this program will be engaged in research throughout their graduate program. The primary goal of the psychology graduate program curriculum is to allow students to formulate relevant research questions and to put those questions to empirical test. The research areas of study include: Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology and Social/Personality Psychology.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #30
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#109 Best National University
#53 Top Public School
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSACSC)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Tuition: $9,763 basic annual tuition

#21 – University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa

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The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The Accredited Doctoral Psychology Degree offered at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences places a strong emphasis on preparation for research, teaching, and scholarly effort, whether in academic settings or in industrial, governmental, or medical institutions. The goal of the department of psychology is to produce graduates who are deeply committed to the study of psychology, acquainted with the basic knowledge about psychological processes, well trained in the methods and techniques for scholarly investigation of basic and applied problems, and determined to make contributions to the discipline of psychology and to society. The training areas offered by the department include:

  • Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognition and Perception
  • Developmental Science
  • Health Psychology
  • Social Psychology

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #30
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#73 Best National University
#29 Top Public School
#6 Best School for Veterans
#18 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognition and Perception
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Health Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $8,061 basic in-state tuition, annually

#20 – University of Colorado – Boulder, Colorado

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The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

Behavioral Neuroscience Program Website:

Clinical Psychology Program Website:

Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Program Website:

Social Psychology Program Website:

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder offers students doctoral level training in several areas of psychology and neuroscience. The faculty throughout the department pushes students to pursue a course of study that will match each student’s career aspirations. Students can pursue a Doctoral in Psychology Degree in one of the following areas:

  • Behavioral Genetics
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Psychology (There is no degree in this sub-specialty but students can choose a curriculum that allows for study in this area.)
  • Social Psychology

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #30
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#86 Best National University
#36 Top Public School
#18 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Genetics
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Tuition: $10,240 basic in-state tuition, annually

#19 – Penn State University – University Park, Pennsylvania

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The College of Liberal Arts

Doctor of Philosophy

Penn State’s Department of Psychology provides students with a top-ranked graduate education. The mission is to prepare the next generation of leaders, innovators, and cutting-edge mental health professionals. Students in this program:

  • Receive Sound Scientific Training: Students become evolved scientists and practitioners. They gather knowledge and exposure to the latest, most innovative research though classes, labs, and independent projects.
  • Learn through Active Participation: Students in this program learn by doing. All students are involved in all aspects of academia, including learning how to conduct their own research, use state of the art research methodologies, teach the next generation of students, and effectively use their education to aid and improve the scientific community.
  • Become Capable of Translating Research into Action: Science helps improve people’s lives. This program is founded in a strong tradition of taking research findings and turning them into meaningful information to institute change and action. Some of the ongoing research includes: biology and neuroscience, diversity and discrimination, team and organizational effectiveness, cognitive functioning, social and cognitive development, as well as mental health and well being.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #30
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#32 Best National University
#8 Top Public School
#1 Best School for Veterans
#18 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSACSC)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $16,992 basic in-state tuition, annually

#18 – University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia

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The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

The University of Virginia’s psychology graduate program is organized into seven broad areas of specialization: clinical, cognitive, community, developmental, quantitative, sensory and systems neuroscience, and social psychology. Doctoral candidates may concentrate their studies in one of these areas or may combine areas to meet their specific research interests. Students in each area meets on a regular basis for discussion seminars and colloquia, including the weekly developmental brunch, the cognitive studies group, the neuroscience seminar, the advances in community and clinical psychology groups, and social lunch. Seminars on research design and data analysis are available for students interested in quantitative psychology.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #30
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#23 Best National University
#2 Top Public School
#25 Best Value School
#18 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Community Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience and Behavior Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $12,458 basic in-state tuition, annually

#17 – Indiana University – Bloomington, Indiana

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The College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The mission of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is to lead scientific advances through innovative research with the goal of understanding how the entire brain-behavior system works – from molecular neuroscience to cognition to the social behavior of groups. Students in the graduate psychology degree program work  collectively towards this mission with the vision of graduate training with the following goals:

  • To give the skills and scholarly insight necessary to be ahead of the curve
  • To train you in state-of-the-art experimentation and theory
  • To build deep expertise in your domain as well as a broad vision of the field
  • To prepare you to integrate advances in basic science with applications through transitional research and clinical science
  • To create researchers with the highest professional ethics
  • To create a generation of excellent teachers and mentors
  • To train in practical matters of grant writing, publications and time organization

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: #26
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#75 Best National University
#31 Top Public School
#7 Best School for Veterans
#11 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Accreditations:
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling and Educational Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanisms of Behavior
Molecular
Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Systems Neuroscience
Social Psychology
Tuition: $10,209 basic in state tuition, annually

#16 – Ohio State University – Columbus Ohio

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

Graduate students admitting to our programs must meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • A combined undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher from all coursework.
  • GRE scores are also required of all applicants. Benchmark scores are 151 Verbal and 147 Quantitative.

Graduates of this program are prepared to:

  • Work as school psychologists in school settings.
  • Work as a school psychologist in mental health agencies, or other facilities.
  • Become a faculty member at an institution of higher education.
  • Serve in a leadership position with regards to advancing school psychological services at the local, regional, state and national levels.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #21
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#52 Best National University
#16 Top Public School
#32 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#5 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
Accreditations:
Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Couple and Family Therapy
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Counseling
Tuition: $10,037 basic in state tuition, annually

#15 – Duke University – Durham, North Carolina

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The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Doctor of Philosophy

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University awards an average of a dozen accredited graduate psychology degrees each year. Graduates of this school have gone on to become faculty at some of the finest institutions in the country, in clinical practice, business and industry. There are five specific areas within the graduate training program: Clinical, Cognitive & Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, Social, and Systems & Integrative Neurosciences. Students in these areas are given opportunities to examine the human mind, brain activity and behavior at different levels of analysis (e.g., neural, molecular, individual, and social) using a variety of techniques (e.g., brain imaging, animal models, computational models, experimental research with humans, surveys, and field studies). Students work closely with faculty members in a variety of related programs to answer questions that are central to an understanding of mind, brain, and behavior.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #21
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#7 Best National University
#12 Best Value School
#6 Best Graduate Program Clinical Psychology
#6 Best Graduate Program Behavioral Neuroscience
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting program
Doctor of Philosophy in Systems and Integrative Neuroscience
Tuition: $45,476 tuition and fees, annually

#14 – Washington University – Saint Louis, Missouri

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The College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

Graduate training in Washington University’s Department of Psychology is organized into four areas of specialization:

  • Aging and Development
  • Behavior, Brain and Cognition
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social and Personality Psychology

While students are encourages to declare a primary area of interest in one of these areas when applying to the graduate program, they will still be exposed to all areas through the curriculum, courses, research collaboration, and departmental colloquia. Requirements for the graduate psychology degree program are structured to give each student a comprehensive experience in several of the major areas of psychology. Students also receive training in statistics and research methods. Individual programs have additional emphases that reflect their training goals.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #4
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#14 Best National University
#26 Best Value School
#8 Best Graduate Program in Cognitive Psychology
Accreditations:
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Aging and Development
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavior, Brain and Cognition
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social and Personality Psychology
Tuition: $44,841 basic tuition, annually

#13 – University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

Graduate students entering the Doctorate Psychology Degree program at the University of Washington are offered a flexible degree program, which has been designed to prepare graduates for careers in several innovative areas of research and scholarship. While many programs encourage students to pursue a Master’s Degree in Psychology before working towards a Ph.D., The U of Washington does not admit students whose goal is a terminal Master’s Degree in Psychology. The Psychology Department offers the following areas of specialization:

  • Animal Behavior Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Child Clinical Psychology
  • Cognition and Perception
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social and Personality Psychology
  • Quantitative Psychology

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #14
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#52 Best National University
#16 Top Public School
#2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Animal Behavior Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Child Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognition and Perception
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social and Personality Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Psychology
Tuition: $12,383 in-state basic tuition, annually

#12 – University of Texas – Austin, Texas

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The College of Liberal Arts

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The curriculum in the Ph.D. program consists largely of courses, seminars, reading, and research in each student’s graduate area of specialization. All graduate students are encouraged to discuss their proposed coursework with their mentor prior to registration. In addition to the curriculum for specialization there are departmental requirements that all students must satisfy. These requirements are designed to ensure that students acquire a reasonable breadth of experience within the field of psychology. The Psychology Department at the College of Liberal Arts offers specializations in the following areas of study:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Science
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology
  • Perception, Brain and Behavior
  • 

Social and Personality Psychology

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: #
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#52 Best National University
# 16 Top Public School
#2 Best School for Veterans
#11 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Perception, Brain and Behavior
Doctor of Philosophy in 

Social and Personality Psychology
Tuition: $9,790 basic in-state tuition, annually

#11 – Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois

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Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

Northwestern University’s Psychology Department is one of the largest and most respected psychology department in the United States. The Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology Degree is offered in five areas: Clinical Psychology, Personality Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, and the area of Brain, Behavior, & Cognition (BBC). Faculty and graduate students across all five areas of study actively conduct some of the most innovative and influential research being done in the psychological sciences throughout the world. Graduate students in the Ph.D. program receive thorough training in methodology, statistics, and broad content areas in psychology and the behavioral sciences. From the very beginning of their graduate career, students are involved in research projects under the direct supervision of Psychology Department faculty members.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #14
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#12 Best National University
#21 Best Value School
#14 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Accreditations:
Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Personality Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Brain, Behavior and Cognition
Tuition: $45,527 tuition, annually

#10 – University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Penn College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

Graduate study in Psychology at Penn is broken into two unique areas: Brain, Cognitive, and Decision Science and Clinical, Positive, and Social Psychology. For both areas, the first-year curriculum is divided between courses that introduce various areas of psychology and a focused research experience. Students have a continue involvement in research throughout the entire graduate program. This is supplemented by active participation in seminars, teaching, and general intellectual give-and-take.

The Brain, Cognitive, and Decision Science area of the department involves studying the neural and cognitive mechanisms that underlie perception, attention, learning, memory, language, decision processes, foraging, and neuro-regulatory mechanisms. This includes:

  • Animal Learning and Behavior
  • Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Decision Processes
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Language and Communication
  • Memory and Learning
  • Sensation and Perception

The Decision Science and Clinical, Positive, and Social Psychology area offers a broad range of research opportunities in clinical, positive, and social psychology. Faculty and graduate students in these areas study a variety of topics that cross traditional boundaries of psychology. Some of the included areas are:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Positive Psychology
  • Psychopathology and Psychotherapy
  • Social and Cultural Psychology

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #12
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#7 Best National University
#16 Best Value School
#6 Best Graduate Program for Clinical Psychology
#11 Best Graduate Program for Behavioral Neuroscience
Accreditations:
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSACSC)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Tuition: $45,890 tuition, annually

#9 – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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The College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The College of Arts and Sciences offers students in the graduate program several areas of concentration within Psychology. These areas of specialization include:

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

The affordable graduate psychology degree program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and judgment needed to become contributors at the highest level of research, teaching, public and professional service, as well as clinical practice in the behavioral science field. Graduates of this program are qualified to become faculty members in psychology at research universities or liberal arts colleges; researchers in government or private-sector laboratories; or policy makers or administrators in fields related to psychology. Those students who go on to receive clinical training may also become licensed clinical psychologists in private practice, hospitals, or other mental-health settings.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #12
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#30 Best National University
#5 Top Public School
#17 Best Value School
#2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
Accreditations:
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $8,340 basic in-state tuition, annually

#8 – University of Wisconsin- Madison, Wisconsin

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of Wisconsin rests on two fundamental assumptions:

  1. The practice of psychology will be best served by training clinical scientists who possess the knowledge, research training, theoretical sophistication, and clinical experience to increase understanding of the processes underlying mental health and mental illness, and
  2. Such understanding will ultimately foster methods that promote mental health, prevent mental illness, and ameliorate psychopathology.

Consistent with the programs membership in the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS), the program strongly emphasizes training clinical scientists which highlights a strong “commitment to empirical approaches to evaluating the validity and utility of testable hypotheses and to advancing knowledge by the scientific method” (APCS mission statement).

The primary goal of the UW-Madison Clinical Program is to train clinical psychological scientists who will:

  1. Generate new and significant knowledge about the factors that influence mental health and illness
  2. Develop more effective methods for treating mental illness and promoting mental health
  3. Deliver evidence based, cost effective, clinical care to treat psychopathology and improve mental health.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #9
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#41 Best National University
#11 Top Public School
#2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#9 Best Graduate Program in Behavioral Neuroscience
#5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Tuition: $10,403 basic in-state tuition, annually

#7 – University of Minnesota Twin Cities- Minneapolis, Minnesota

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The College of Liberal Arts and The College of Education & Human Development

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The Graduate Psychology Program places a central focus on the understanding, prediction, and enhancement of individual behavior, from a variety of perspectives. The Psychology Department works to represent a broad spectrum of these various perspectives. They range from cognitive neuroscience; to the biological and physiological bases of behavior; to clinical and counseling psychology; to behavior in social and work environments, to behavior genetics; to the assessment of individual differences in personality, abilities, and interests; to the quantitative modeling of individual performance in a variety of settings. The areas of specialization provided by the department are:

  • Biological Psychopathology
  • Clinical Science & Psychopathology Research
  • Cognitive and Brain Sciences
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Personality, Individual Differences, & Behavior Genetics
  • Quantitative/Psychometric Methods
  • Social Psychology
  • School Psychology (Which is located in the College of Education & Human Development)

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #9
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#69 Best National University
#25 Top Public School
#6 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
#1 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#1 Best Graduate Program in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Accreditations:
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
American Psychological Association (APA)
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (CAMFTE)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Psychopathology
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Science and Psychopathology Research
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Personality, Individual Differences, & Behavior Genetics
Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative/Psychometric Methods
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology
Tuition: $13,555 basic in-state tuition, annually

#6 – University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Illinois

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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a long-standing reputation for being one of the best in the nation. From its creation in 1904, the psychology department has stood out as a result of outstanding faculty, innovative research programs, and the best and brightest graduate students. The graduate psychology degree program is typically named one of the top five graduate programs in the United States. The department creates an environment of collaborative and independent research and outstanding scholarship. The Department is organized into nine Divisions.

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience (Brain & Cognition )
  • Clinical/Community
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Quantitative
  • Social-Personality
  • Industrial-Organizational
  • Visual Cognition and Human Performance
  • Counseling Psychology – This program is offered through the Department of Educational Psychology.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #7
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#41 Best National University
#11 Top Public School
#6 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#3 Best Graduate Program in Cognitive Psychology
Accreditations:
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Neuroscience – Brain and Cognition
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical/Community
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental
Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative
Doctor of Philosophy in Social-Personality
Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial-Organizational
Doctor of Philosophy in Visual Cognition and Human Performance
Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology
Tuition: $15,258 basic in-state tuition, annually

#5 – Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

The primary goal of the graduate program in psychology at Yale University is “the training of researchers, for academic and applied settings, who will broaden and deepen the knowledge base on which the science of psychology rests”. The graduate psychology program in the Department of Psychology enrolls approximately fifteen new Ph.D. students each year. When applying to the Department, each applicant must indicate which one of five areas of concentration is of particular interest. In addition to the five areas offered it is also possible to collaborate with faculty and students in other labs and participate in programs that cut across these traditional areas (e.g., cognitive, affective and social neuroscience; health sciences). The five areas of research currently offered by the department are:

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

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #4
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#3 Best National University
#2 Best Value School
#2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#5 Best Graduate Program in Cognitive Psychology
#11 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
#3 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Social/Personality Psychology
Tuition: $44,000 tuition and fees, annually

#4 – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The Psychology Department offers an accredited Doctoral program in six specialty areas of psychology. Students may prepare for careers in both academic and applied settings—for positions in colleges and universities, in governmental agencies, in industrial plants and unions, in research organizations, in clinics and in schools. The general objectives of the Ph.D. program are to permit the student to achieve:

  • A general knowledge of the broad subject matter of psychology
  • Mastery of a specialized field
  • Competence in organizing, interpreting, and communicating effectively
  • Competence in research skills and creative work
  • Professional skills relevant to their field of specialization

The department is organized into six areas:

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

In addition to these three specialty areas, there are an additional three joint programs of study:

  • Social Work and Psychology
  • Education and Psychology
  • Women’s Studies and Psychology

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking:Tied for #4
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#28 Best National University
#4 Top Public School
#3 Best Graduate Program in Behavioral Neuroscience
#5 Best Graduate Program in Cognitive Psychology
#2 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
#1 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
Accreditations:
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Biopsychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Personality and Social Contexts
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $13,819 basic in-state tuition, annually

#3 – Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The Psychology Department at Harvard is organized into four areas of study: clinical science; developmental; social; and cognition, brain, and behavior. These areas of focus consist of faculty members whose research interests create a cohesive plan of study and research in one of the subfields of psychology. Individual faculty members are encouraged to participate in more than one group. Faculty members in the Department of Psychology have a wide range of interests, and the focus of their research often span the limitations of traditional areas in psychology. Ongoing research is being conducted in each of the specialty areas, largely by the faculty. There are regular research seminars on these topics, and numerous opportunities to become involved in research with the relevant faculty. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program may follow one of two tracks:

  • The Common Curriculum, which includes Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Perception;
  • Clinical Science Curriculum – Students may only be considered for Clinical Science during the initial graduate school application process, and may not transfer in at a later date. Students within the Common Curriculum may change advisers as long as they have agreement from the new adviser.

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #4
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#2 Best National University
#1 Best Value School
#14 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#4 Best Graduate Program in Behavioral Neuroscience
#2 Best Graduate Program in Cognitive Psychology
#4 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
#3 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
Accreditations:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Tuition: $42,292 basic tuition, annually

#2 – University of California – Los Angeles

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The UCLA Psychology Department offers graduate psychology degree training with area emphases in Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, Developmental, Health Psychology, Learning and Behavior, Quantitative, and Social Psychology. In all of these fields, the central objective is to create researchers dedicated to increasing the body of scientific knowledge upon which the discipline of psychology rests. The program is designed to prepare psychologists to function effectively as researchers, college and university instructors, and professional research psychologists. The Majors and Specializations offered are:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Specialization in Computational Cognition
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Learning & Behavior
  • Quantitative
  • Social Psychology

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #2
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#23 Best National University
#2 Top Public School
#1 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#4 Best Graduate Program in Behavioral Neuroscience
#9 Best Graduate Program in Cognitive Psychology
#5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
#3 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with a Specialization in Computational Cognition
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Health Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Learning & Behavior
Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $12,696 basic in-state tuition, annually

#1 – University of California – Berkley, California

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College of Letters and Science

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website:

The goal of the graduate program in Psychology at Berkeley is to produce researchers with the range necessary to maintain perspective in the field of psychology and adequate depth of understanding to permit successful independent and significant research. The faculty members of the department have organized themselves into five training units:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Change, Plasticity and Development
  • Clinical Science
  • Cognition, Brain and Behavior
  • Social-Personality Psychology

US News and World Report Psychology Graduate School Ranking: Tied for #2
Additional US News and World Report Ranking
#20 Best National University
#1 Top Public School
#11 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#7 Best Graduate Program in Behavioral Neuroscience
#12 Best Graduate Program in Cognitive Psychology
#5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
#8 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with a specialization in Behavioral Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with a specialization in Change, Plasticity and Development
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with a specialization in Clinical Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with a specialization in Cognition, Brain and Behavior
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with a specialization in Social-Personality Psychology
Tuition: $12,864 basic in-state tuition, annually

Opportunities for a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

Individuals holding a Doctoral Degree in Psychology from an APA accredited school have a vast range of options for employment. These individuals can open a private practice, work in a hospital, conduct research or teach at a college or university. Regardless of your area of interest or career goals, there is a doctoral program that will help you achieve your goals. The field of psychology is predicted to continue growing in the coming years, therefore more and more skilled clinicians will be needed. As the need for Doctoral Level Mental Health professionals grows each and every year, the optimal time to pursue a Doctoral Degree in Psychology is now.

For More on the Best Graduate Programs in Psychology Please Refer to the Following Articles:

Ranking Top 20 Online Master’s Degree Programs in Psychology

Ranking Top 20 Doctoral Programs in Clinical Psychology

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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