Ranking Top 20 Best Graduate Programs in Developmental and Social Psychology in 2014

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By Kristen Fescoe
Posted September, 2014

A Graduate Degree in Psychology can be the start of an exciting and fruitful career in professional psychology. Two of the most popular graduate programs in psychology are Developmental Psychology and Social Psychology. Earning a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in one of these areas puts graduates on the path to a successful career as a professional psychology. The most opportunities and highest salaries will be granted to those holding a Doctoral Degrees in Psychology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, the field of Psychology is expected to see a growth rate of 12 percent over the next ten years. The highest rates of new positions will be available in schools, hospitals, mental health centers and social service agencies. They also note that the greatest increase in positions will be those psychologists who earn a specialized degree in areas such as Developmental and Social Psychology.

Social Psychology is the empirical study of how human cognition, feeling and behavior are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. Individuals earning a degree in Social Psychology are prepared for employment in research facilities, at universities, in businesses and several other locations. According to the Occupational Handbook, on average, Social Psychologists earn from $76,000 to $115,000 (some higher).

Developmental Psychology is the study of the unfolding of human development over the lifetime. Some of these professionals work with more specific age groups (such as children, adolescents, adults, etc), while others study the lifespan in its entirety. Developmental Psychologists are most frequently found working in schools, colleges and universities, research facilities and hospitals. The American Psychological Association (APA) reported that the median salary for Developmental Psychologists employed at universities for 9-10 months a year was $71,000 in 2008. The median salary for Developmental Psychologists employed for 11-12 months a year was $90,000. Those working as research administrators averaged $110,000 a year.

Ranking Methodology

The goal of this ranking list is to outline the ten best graduate psychology programs for both Social Psychology and Developmental Psychology based upon a number of specific criteria. The first factor that was weighed was the programs placement on US News and World Report’s 2014 lists of Best Graduate Programs in Social Psychology and Developmental Psychology. The next consideration was given to the National Research Council Graduate Psychology Program rating. Those programs accredited by the American Psychological Association are given preference over programs without the esteemed accreditation. Each list is then ranked according to other notable rankings and commendations, the annual cost of attendance and the options for what type of degree you can earn. The primary goal of this list is to highlight the highest ranked, fully accredited graduate psychology specialty 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 10 Graduate Programs in Developmental Psychology

#10 – University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin Graduate Developmental Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Graduate Psychology Degree Program at the University of Wisconsin is based upon two fundamental factors:

  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
  2. Such understanding will ultimately foster methods that promote mental health, prevent mental illness, and ameliorate psychopathology.

The department provides PhD students with the best available training to prepare each of them for a wide variety of professional careers in academic, clinical, research, and other settings. A strong emphasis is placed on both academic training in general psychology as well as intensive research training in the student’s area of concentration. All students must participate in a first-year research project and present their findings to the department in the fall of their second year. Many students have multiple significant publications before receiving the doctoral degree.

The departmental curriculum requirements for the Doctoral Degree in Psychology are made up of three unique segments:

  • Content courses including seminars – The goal of the content courses are to provide students with a thorough groundwork in psychology and to allow them to become familiar with faculty and students from area groups other than their own.
  • Methodology courses – The methodology courses are designed to offer the skills required to design and analyze research projects. Seminars allow for depth in areas of special interest to the student.
  • Workshops – The workshop are offered to provide training in the responsible conduct of research and professional development.

Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Tuition: $10,410 in-state, annually / $26,660 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report #2 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report #47 Best National University
US News and World Report #13 Top Public School
US News and World Report #9 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
US News and World Report #2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 14.5
Accreditations:
Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#9 – University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia  Graduate Developmental Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The goal of the graduate psychology program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia is “to prepare the student for research, both basic and applied, and teaching”. The department offers doctoral training programs in seven areas of psychology: clinical, cognitive, community, developmental, quantitative, sensory and systems neuroscience, and social psychology. Students can choose various combinations of these specialties, depending on their interests and professional goals. Students must apply to one of these seven areas of specialization. The Developmental Area of study is often ranked among the top PhD programs in the country. The program is enriched with research strengths in social and cognitive development from infancy through adulthood. The curriculum is based upon collaborations with several other areas of the department (quantitative, social, clinical, cognitive, community) as well as with the Curry School of Education and the School of Medicine.

Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Tuition: $12,998 in-state, annually / $42,184 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report #23 Best National University
US News and World Report #2 Top Public School
US News and World Report #27 Best Value School
US News and World Report #18 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
US News and World Report #26 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking:21.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

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

University of North Carolina  Graduate Developmental Psychology

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UNC College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The affordable DoctoralPsychology Degree Program in Developmental Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was created for students who enjoy working independently and are driven by their own sense of scientific motivation and curiosity about developmental psychology. There are a minimal number of required courses, which creates a path through the program that allows for variability and independence. The ultimate goal is to help each student become a developmental scientist, with a complete understanding that each student’s preparation must be unique to be effective. Most graduates go on to become college and university professors and choose careers that combine teaching and research. Others have chosen work in applied settings, including research institutions, government, and industry.
Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Tuition: $8,374 in-state, annually / $33,624 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report #30 Best National University
US News and World Report #5 Top Public School
US News and World Report #17 Best Value
US News and World Report #2 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #12 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 21.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#7 – University of California – Los Angeles, California

UCLA  Graduate Developmental Psychology

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UCLA College of Life Science – Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Developmental Psychology graduate program at UCLA embodies the extent of the discipline of developmental psychology, ranging from infancy to adolescence. Students are provided with extensive training in graduate level Cognitive, Social, Language, and Emotional Development. The research, academic and professional training, and curriculum are united by three core themes:

  • Culture, Ethnicity, and Development
  • Neurobiological Basis of Development
  • Education and Learning in Formal and Informal Settings

The program is designed to examine human development from infancy through young adulthood using a variety of laboratory-based and naturalistic techniques. The overall mission of the psychology graduate program is to train independent scholars. All incoming students are expected to become active in research upon beginning the program. Students receive top-notch support for their research endeavors. Students are given access to the most state of the art methods and technologies (including MRI, EEG/ERP, genetic, physiological, eye-tracking, school-based research, and cross-cultural field work in several countries) and resources for research in affective and cognitive neuroscience, perceptual and cognitive development, language acquisition, family processes, peer influence and relationships, the study of culture and development, and developmental disorders.

Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Tuition: $12,702 in-state, annually / $35,580 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report #23 Best National University
US News and World Report #2 Top Public School
US News and World Report #1 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #2 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 3.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#6 – University of California – Berkley, California

University of California Berkeley  Graduate Developmental Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Change, Plasticity & Development Doctoral Program at Berkeley maintains the research goal to “understand how the organism and its capabilities develop throughout the lifespan”. The program uses an interdisciplinary approach that is considered to be multi-species, multi-system, and multidisciplinary in nature. The goal of the psychology doctoral program is to study change over time in cognitive, social, emotional, and physiological processes. Research within the department investigates several areas of development, plasticity, and change including sensory processes, cognitive capacities, language, everyday knowledge of the world, emotions, and social relationships. Courses teach students to examine both typical and atypical development, providing valuable insights for better understanding both and suggesting new approaches for effective treatments and preventive interventions.

Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Change, Plasticity & Development
Tuition: $13,844 in-state, annually / $25,064 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report #20 Best National University
US News and World Report #1 Top Public School
US News and World Report #26 Best Value
US News and World Report #11 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #2 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 9.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#5 – Pennsylvania State University – University Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University Graduate Developmental Psychology

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College of the Liberal Arts – Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Penn State’s Department of Psychology upholds the mission to “train the next generation of leaders, innovators, and cutting-edge professionals”. All students in this program are expected to:

  • Receive Sound Scientific Training
  • Learn through Active Participation
  • Become Capable of Translating Research into Action

The doctoral program in Developmental Psychology provides a flexible program created to offer students a broad theoretical and empirical background in Developmental Psychology matched with knowledge of one or more areas of specialization. Specialty areas can be as simple as basic research questions in cognitive or social development or issues related to the application of developmental psychology to various real-world settings. Training involves course work, research projects, practicum experiences, and the departmental structure requiring mastery of a major and minor area. Some specializations allow student’s to be employed in academic departments, research institutes, governmental agencies, or various service-delivery settings.

Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Tuition: $13,844 in-state, annually / $25,064 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #5 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report Tied for #48 Best National University
US News and World Report #1 Top Public School
US News and World Report #26 Best Value
US News and World Report #11 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #2 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 29.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#4 – Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University Graduate Developmental Psychology

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Graduate School of Education – Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Master’s Degree Program Website

The Graduate School of Education offers a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology (HDP). Students in this psychology graduate degree program work closely with a nationally recognized faculty that offer extensive training in early childhood development, organizational psychology, emotional, cognitive and moral development, trauma and child advocacy, and much more. Students have the opportunity to participate in internships and research that will allow them to better integrate theory and practice in order to become better teachers, leaders, researchers, and advocates. The HDP program is a one-year, full-time master’s program that immerses students in the latest theories and findings related to child, adolescent, and adult development. Some of our program’s greatest strengths include:

  • Applied Research –HDP students are taught to understand how research can strengthen practice.
  • Thought Leaders – HDP is one of the longest-running programs at the college and has been recognized globally for the influential research and writing of the faculty,
  • Cohort Community –HDP students are a part of a cohort of students representing a rich diversity of personal and professional backgrounds.

Doctoral Degree Program Website

The Department of Psychology offers programs of study leading to the PhD degree in psychology. Students are admitted if they intend to complete the doctoral degree. Harvard’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies houses faculty and students who mutually seek to better uncover the human mind and human nature by “studying their origins and development in infants and children, in relation to the mental capacities of non-human animals and of human adults in diverse cultures”. Some of the ongoing research includes studies of the nature and development of knowledge of objects, persons, language, music, space, number, morality, and the social categories that distinguish some human groups from others.

Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Master of Arts in Human Development and Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Tuition: $43,938 tuition and fees, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report #4 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report #2 Best National University
US News and World Report #1 Best Value
US News and World Report #14 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #4 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 6
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

#3 – Stanford University – Stanford, California

Stanford University Graduate Developmental Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

Stanford Universities Department of Psychology offers a PhD in Psychology with five different areas of study including, Cognitive, Developmental, Neuroscience, Affective Science, and Social Psychology. The Developmental psychology specialization teaches doctoral students how to examine how the human mind develops throughout the lifespan. Students can participate in observations and experiments with infants, children, teenagers and adults that will enable them to understand important changes and the origins of mental processes. This ultimately provides students with insight into the developmental changes of different age groups as well as individual differences.

Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Co-Terminal Master of Arts in Developmental Psychology
Tuition: $44,757 tuition and fees, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report #3 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report #4 Best National University
US News and World Report #4 Best Value
US News and World Report #79 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #1 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 1
Accreditations:
The Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#2 – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan Graduate Developmental Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Psychology Department at the University of Michigan offers a PhD Degree in Developmental Psychology that is designed to prepare highly skilled developmental psychologists. Students graduating from this program will be sensitive to issues of applied importance and trained to apply sound, meaningful social science research. One of the notable strengths of this program is the diversity of research interests, theoretical perspectives, and findings that are applied to issues of central human concerns. The program in Developmental Psychology covers all elements of the life span from infancy to late life. The esteemed faculty offers collaborative research opportunities in social, cognitive, linguistic and brain development. Special strengths of the program include opportunities for training in:

  • Basic and applied research
longitudinal methods
  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Development in the context of schools
  • Family and community influences on the life course
  • Including research with both normal and at-risk populations

The program has a strong tradition in interdisciplinary research and cross-cultural studies, and maintains active ties with outstanding programs around the world.
Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology
Tuition: $13,977 in-state, annually / $41,811 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report #2 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report #29 Best National University
US News and World Report #4 Top Public School
US News and World Report #26 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #4 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 3.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#1 – University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minnesota

University of Minnesota Graduate Developmental Psychology

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The Institute of Child Development – Department of Child Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The doctoral program in Child Psychology at the University of Minnesota focuses on preparing graduates for research position regarding normal human development. Students choose an area of specialization in such fields as cognitive development, language, learning, executive function, social development, or developmental psychobiology and neuroscience. The strong focus on research found throughout the program offers opportunities for research at the doctoral level. Most graduates of the program take positions in academic or research settings. The goal of the program is to “train all students for careers in research and college teaching in child psychology, and to prepare students in the collaborative program options for careers in applied areas of child psychology, as well”. Interested Doctoral Candidates may specialize in developmental psychopathology and clinical science or school psychology. The developmental psychopathology and clinical science (DPCS) program is a cooperative effort between the Institute of Child Development and the Department of Psychology to train leaders in research and teaching.

Type of Program Developmental Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Child Psychology
Tuition: $13,626 in-state, annually / $20,876 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report #1 Best Graduate Program in Developmental Psychology
US News and World Report Tied for #71 Best National University
US News and World Report #27 Top Public School
US News and World Report #6 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #9 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 7
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

Ranking Top 10 Graduate Programs in Social Psychology

#10 – University of Illinois – Champaign, Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana Graduate Social Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Arts and Master of Science

Program Website

The Social-Personality Psychology graduate program at the University of Illinois is among the oldest and most respected in the United States. More research conducted at University of Illinois labs has been highlighted in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology than from any other university in the world. The graduate training programs provide training in research methods, statistical analysis, and a many other theoretical perspectives keeping the focus of the cognitive and emotional basis of social interaction. Students can pursue study in Social Psychology, Personality Psychology or both. Social psychology outlines the strength of various social situations as a determinant of individual behavior, thinking, and emotion. Personality psychology outlines traits of individuals that remain stable over time but may also determine the individual’s behavior, thinking, and emotion. The social-personality program provides “particular emphasis on attitudes, culture, emotion, attachment, close relationships, personality development and assessment, genetic and environmental etiology of individual differences, social cognition, social status and power, religion, and subjective well-being”.

Type of Program Social-Personality Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social-Personality Psychology
Master of Arts in Psychology
Master of Science in Psychology
Tuition: $15,602 in-state, annually / $30,228 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report #42 Best National University
US News and World Report #11 Top Public School
US News and World Report #6 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #7 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 3.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#9 – New York University – New York, New York

New York University Graduate Social Psychology

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Graduate School of Arts and Sciences – Psychology Department

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Social Psychology program at NYU offers training in the psychological theories, principles, and research methods relevant to understanding the behavior of individuals and groups in social and organizational contexts. Doctoral Students have exposure to a wide range of training in social psychology, with research training that will allow them to become independent contributors to the field. One of the distinguishing features of the program is the balance between quality and breadth. There are twelve core faculty members and a number of affiliated faculty, all highly acclaimed for cutting-edge research in a wide range of topics in the following areas:

  • Social cognition and attitudes: Person perception and social judgment; relational processes, inferences about self and other; spontaneous trait inference, culture and social cognition, implicit/explicit attitudes, stereotypes, and prejudice; political ideology; developmental social cognition and social categorization.
  • Motivation, emotion, and self-regulation: Action control and goal pursuit; self-regulation of thought and action; motivation and cognition; motivation and visual perception; intrinsic and extrinsic motivation; system justification, roles of emotion and motivation in self-regulation, affect in the relational context, affective neuroscience.
  • Relationships, personality, and social development: Significant others and the self, social cognition and personality, hopelessness/depression; relationships, stress, and coping and methods for studying these processes, attitudes and relationship formation; social cognitive development.
    Groups, organizations, and societies: Stereotyping and prejudice in the workplace; interracial groups; and social justice.

Type of Program Social Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $46,170 tuition and fees, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report #9 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
US News and World Report #37 Best National University
US News and World Report #30 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 35
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#8 – University of California – Berkeley, California

University of California Berkeley Graduate Social Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

Students in the Social-Personality program at UC Berkeley are exposed to numerous topics in social and personality psychology through a one-year pro-seminar for first-year graduate students. Upon completion of this part of the curriculum, students then focus on their preferred aspect of the field of study. The program is designed to encourage the development of quantitative skills and a theoretical background preparing students for later research endeavors. The goal of the program is “to prepare students for careers in research and university teaching”. Social psychology involves the effects of others on the individual as well as with interaction between individuals. Personality psychology involves the ways individuals perceive, react and understand their respective worlds as they seek to establish adaptive life modes. The joint, integrated program provides training in six core areas:

  • Self, identity, and culture
  • Social cognition
  • Emotion, motivation, and health
  • Personality processes and adult development
  • Interpersonal and intergroup relations
  • Groups and organizations

Type of Program Social-Personality Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social-Personality Psychology
Tuition: $13,844 in-state, annually / $25,064 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report #8 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
US News and World Report #20 Best National University
US News and World Report #1 Top Public School
US News and World Report #26 Best Value
US News and World Report #11 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #2 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 9.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#8 – Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut

Yale University Graduate Social Psychology

The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

The Social/Personality Psychology Doctoral training program at Yale University has trained research scholars for over sixty years. The program was establishes under the guidance of Carl Hovland in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The program was designed to focus on persuasion and attitude change. The founding group of psychologists, some of whom continue to be active in the Department, laid the foundation for the PhD program through their study of issues such as the links between frustration and aggression, public opinion formation, and the cognitive basis of social behavior. Since that day the program has remained steadfast in their commitment to train students interested in both laboratory-based methods as well as field research. The Social/Personality program focuses on furthering the basic knowledge about intrapersonal and interpersonal processes, as well as encouraging applications of these theoretically driven investigations.

Type of Program Social-Personality Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social-Personality Psychology
Tuition: $45,800 tuition and fees, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #3 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
US News and World Report #3 Best National University
US News and World Report #3 Best Value
US News and World Report #2 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #4 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 3.5
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

#6 – University of California – Los Angeles, California

UCLA Graduate Social Psychology

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UCLA College of Life Sciences – Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The most important foundation at UCLA’s Psychology Department is adhering to a rigorous scientific training protocol that leads to highly skilled researchers and clinicians. The Department encourages students to participate in the activities of a number of related departments, schools, or organized research units of the University. The graduate program in Social Psychology offers students the opportunity to study under distinguished faculty with opportunities for research opportunities in laboratory and field settings. The faculty areas of expertise are varied and center on basic research on close relationships, intergroup relations, and social cognitive neuroscience. Additional faculty interests include political psychology, positive psychology, sport psychology, stress and coping, and issues pertaining to culture, ethnicity, gender, and evolutionary psychology.

Type of Program Social Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $12,702 in-state, annually / $35,580 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #3 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
US News and World Report Tied for #23 Best National University
US News and World Report #2 Top Public School
US News and World Report #1 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #2 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 3.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#5 – Stanford University – Stanford, California

Stanford University Graduate Social Psychology

Image Source

The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology at Stanford University offers doctoral training in a number of areas of psychology. The focus of the Social Psychology Program is to investigate the connection between individual minds and the social world in which they live. Students are taught to use empirical methods to examine various aspects of the human experience, such as prejudice and stereotyping, person perception, social norms, conflict resolution, biases in judgment, affective processes, cultural diversity in thinking, morality, helping and aggression, identity and the self, attitudes and persuasion, and motivation.

Type of Program Social Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $44,757 tuition and fees, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #3 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
US News and World Report Tied for #4 Best National University
US News and World Report #4 Best Value
US News and World Report #79 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #1 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 1
Accreditations:
The Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#4 – Princeton University – Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University Graduate Social Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

Princeton University’s Social Psychology PhD program offers students courses and research training across a wide range of areas within social psychology. In addition to the traditional coursework students attend weekly research meeting and a speaker series. Students are able to work closely with faculty mentors, in many cases with a faculty member who matches students’ research interests. Being involved with ongoing research is the critical element of the training program. From the start of the program, students become involved in a number of research projects, typically with more than one faculty member. By the end of their training, students are expected to function as independent investigators. The curriculum covers many of the major topics within social psychology, offering many courses that reflect the diversity of its areas of specialization. The three areas of concentration available are:

  • Social Cognition In Interaction
  • The Social Self
  • Morality, Conflict, and The Law

Type of Program Social Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $41,820 tuition and fees, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #3 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
US News and World Report #1 Best National University
US News and World Report #2 Best Value
US News and World Report #7 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 12.5
Accreditations:
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#3 – Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University Social Developmental Psychology

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The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences – Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The goal of Harvard University’s Social Psychology Doctoral program is to “develop new understanding about how people perceive themselves and others, how people relate to one another, and how social psychological knowledge can be used to make constructive differences in people’s lives”. Students and faculty in this program work to better understand human experiences and behaviors in various social settings. The research and teaching covers many levels of analysis, “from the neural and physiological etiology of social cognition, through individual and group behavior, to the social and cultural contexts within which people think, feel, and act”. This multidisciplinary program interacts regularly with other areas of psychology, including cognitive neuroscience and developmental psychology; with other departments, such as Economics and Sociology; and with Harvard professional schools, such as the Law School, the Business School, the Medical School, and the Kennedy School of Government.

Type of Program Social Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $43,938 tuition and fees, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #3 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
US News and World Report #2 Best National University
US News and World Report #1 Best Value
US News and World Report #14 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #4 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 6
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

#2 – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan Graduate Social Psychology

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College of Literature, Science, and the Arts – Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Doctoral Program in Social Psychology at the University of Michigan has steadily been ranked among the top such programs in the country, with many of the leading contributors to the field graduated from the program. There are eighteen core faculty in social psychology and over ten emeriti and affiliated faculty. The program covers a large and diverse range of research topics and methodologies. The interdisciplinary program offers several training programs where social psychology students can be active participants. These include, among others, a Culture & Cognition Program in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology, a Decision Program that cuts across many departments and professional schools, an Evolution and Human Adaptation Program, a program in Organization Studies, a program in Social Work and Psychology, and a program in Women Studies and Psychology.

Type of Program Social Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $13,977 in-state, annually / $41,811 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #1 Best Graduate Program in SocialPsychology
US News and World Report #29 Best National University
US News and World Report #4 Top Public School
US News and World Report #26 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #4 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 3.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#1 – The Ohio State University – Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University Graduate Social Psychology

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Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University offers doctoral level training in seven individual areas of psychology, each covering a wide range of research topics. The Social Psychology Program emphasizes the following critical topics: attitudes and persuasion, social cognition, attribution, political pyschology, intergroup relations and personality processes and individual differences. Students are given opportunities to apply their skills as well as training in consumer psychology and health psychology. The program also emphasizes the acquisition of research and practical skills. Students must stay active in their research endeavors and knowledge of theory is evaluated in weekly seminars, many of which are conducted by outstanding visiting scholars.

Type of Program Social Psychology
Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology
Tuition: $10,037 in-state, annually / $26,537 out-of-state, annually
US News and World Report Rankings:
US News and World Report Tied for #1 Best Graduate Program in Social Psychology
US News and World Report Tied for #54 Best National University
US News and World Report #18 Top Public School
US News and World Report #5 Best School for Veterans
US News and World Report #32 Best Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
US News and World Report #21 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
National Research Council Psychology Ranking: 21.5
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Opportunities for a Graduate Degree in Social and Developmental Psychology

Social and Developmental Psychology are two specialty areas of professional psychology that are expected to see continued growth in the coming years. Earning a Master’s or Doctoral Degree can put graduates on the path to a rewarding career as a professional psychology. Graduates of these esteemed programs will be prepared for employment in schools, universities, research settings, hospitals, businesses and many more. Upon completion of one of these highly respected graduate degree programs, employment opportunities are plentiful. As the need for highly trained psychologists with experience in specialty areas grows, it is the perfect time to earn a Graduate Psychology Degree in Social or Developmental Psychology from a top rated university.

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

Ranking Top 20 Best Graduate Programs in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience

Ranking Top 25 Best Doctoral Degree Programs in Psychology

Ranking Top 20 Online Master’s Degree Programs in 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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