Ranking Top 20 Graduate Programs in Experimental Psychology in 2014

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Badge - Online Psyc Degrees - Top Graduate Degree Programs

By Kristen Fescoe
Posted December, 2014

This list of graduate psychology programs will outline the top programs in experimental psychology. While most people are aware of the clinical/therapy sub-field of psychology, many are unaware of the large sub-field of experimental psychology. This is the empirical side of psychology that is responsible for the production, evaluation and implementation of psychological research. Experimental psychologists use human subjects as well as animals to study a variety of topics, including sensation and perception, memory, cognition, learning, motivation, emotion, developmental processes, social psychology, and the underlying causes of all of these. This research is critical in finding effective treatments, testing theories, finding the most effective psychotropic medications and many other relevant topics in psychology. Most experimental psychologists will hold a minimum of a Master’s degree, with a preference by most employers of a Doctoral Level Degree. Experimental Psychologists can be found working for various government agencies, colleges and universities, research centers and private businesses. PayScale.com states that the average salary for experimental psychologists ranges between a low of $29,773 to a high of $80,389, depending upon education, experience, geographic location, and sector of employment.

Ranking Methodology

This ranking list has been created to evaluate the top ranked Experimental Psychology Graduate (sometimes referred to as Quantitative Psychology) programs in the United States according to a combination of several factors. Attention was specifically paid to whether or not the program has been given accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA). The list is then ranked according to the 2014 US News and World Report Best Colleges list, National Research Council Rankings of Experimental Psychology programs, additional national rankings, rate of tuition and special commendations. The goal of this ranking list is to summarize the highest ranked online 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 Graduate Programs in Experimental Psychology

#20 – Northeastern University – Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The College of Science – The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

Each year, the Psychology Department accepts a small group of aspiring students to its doctoral program. Upon acceptance, each student is assigned to work with a particular faculty mentor. This pairing will; lead to collaboration in research that gradually shifts from the faculty mentor to the student, culminating in the student’s doctoral dissertation. The PhD program was designed to complete in five years, with students earning a Master’s degree at the end of their second year, and eventually working towards their PhD. Students entering the program with a Master’s degree in an appropriate field will not be required to earn another. Requirements for the Ph.D. degree include:

  • Four proseminars
  • Two quantitative methods courses
  • One research methods course
  • One ethics and professional issues course
  • At least three elective courses/seminars
  • First-year paper
  • Master’s project (including proposal, oral presentation, and write-up)
  • Ph.D. research (including proposal, dissertation, and defense)
  • Fifty semester hours (for students entering with a bachelor’s degree; 20 semester hours for students entering with an appropriate master’s degree)

The experimental areas currently being pursued by students and faculty in this department include Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognition, Perception, Personality/Social Psychology and many more.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 74.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: Unranked
US News and World Report Rankings:
#42 Best National University
#4 Up and Coming School
#92 Best Graduate Psychology Program
Tuition: $43,440 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#19 – University of Missouri – Columbia, Missouri
University of MIssouri Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The Department of Psychological Sciences

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychological Sciences offers a PhD Program in Psychology with optional emphasis areas of in Clinical Psychology, Cognition and Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, Quantitative Psychology and Social/Personality Psychology, as well as a dual program in Child Clinical and Developmental Psychology. The goal of the program is successful completion of a doctoral degree, although a Master of Art Degree is typically earned within the first three years. The goal of the graduate program in Quantitative Psychology is to educate future researchers who will be capable of developing, evaluating and applying advanced empirical techniques to psychological research questions. The program offers a diverse range of faculty research interests as well as extensive coursework offerings. The areas of interest span clinical, social, health, developmental, and cognitive psychology. Quantitative areas of study include a range of linear and non-linear approaches to modeling, including categorical techniques, structural equation modeling, time series, state-space models, and issues in large-scale data management. Notable research achievements in the department include:

  • In the past six years, faculty members have published more than 400 scientific papers, nearly 100 book chapters, and 12 books.
  • Faculty members were cited in the scientific literature more than 42,000 times between 2007 and 2012.
  • Faculty members have been awarded over $15 million of direct research support in the last five years.
  • Programs offered by the department are ranked in the top 50 among psychology departments nationwide.
  • There is an NIH funded training grant for graduate students in addictions.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 65
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: Unranked
US News and World Report Rankings:
#189 Best National University
#106 Top Public School
#58 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
#104 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Tuition: $9,582 in state / $22,641 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degrees Offered:
Master of Arts in Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#18 – University of Maryland – College Park, Maryland
University of Maryland Graduate Experimental Psychology

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences – The Department of Psychology

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology at the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences admits doctoral candidates into the following specialty areas:

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

Each specialty area offers several subspecialties and educational opportunities that combine expertise across several areas. The Department and all the specialty areas share the common goals of training doctoral students to successfully conduct research and scholarship, and the clinical, counseling and industrial/organizational areas train students in a scientist-practioner model for professional careers in human services delivery. All members of the Psychology Department concur that students and faculty operate most successfully when they are in an environment with a diversity of interests and perspectives, mutual respect, and hard work. Each specialty area offers a doctoral level program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy. Those students seeking a terminal Master’s Degree are not admitted to the program. Some students in the various doctoral programs may, however, earn an MS degree while pursuing their PhD.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 51.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: Unranked
US News and World Report Rankings:
#62 Best National University
#20 Top Public School
#40 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
#37 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Tuition: $9,427 in state / $29,720 out of state annual average tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Master of Science
Doctor of Philosophy

#17 – University of Wisconsin – Milwaukie, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The College of Letters and Science – The Department of Psychology

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology at the College of Letters and Science offers a PhD program in experimental psychology, where students earn both a Master of Science (MS) as well as a Doctor of Philosophy. The training program follows an apprenticeship model, where each student is exposed to hands on, individualized research experiences within the laboratory of his or her major professor and, in some cases, other faculty as well. This research training is accompanied by an integrated curriculum of courses that helps bolster the development of an area of specialization. The greatest emphasis is placed on the role of the psychologist as a scholar. There are five major areas of study available to students in the experimental doctoral program, however the department has particular strengths in three particular areas: Behavior Analysis, Health and Social Psychology, and Neuroscience. Due to this fact, the vast majority of students in the doctoral level experimental program major in one of these areas.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 14.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: Unranked
US News and World Report Rankings:
#47 Best National University
#13 Top Public School
#9 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
#2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Tuition: $10,410 in state / $26,660 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Experimental Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Psychology

#16 – Stony Brook University – Stony Brook, New York
Stony Brook University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The College of Arts and Sciences – The Department of Psychology

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology offers training programs in Integrative Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Social and Health Psychology. One of the great strengths found throughout the department, is the high degree of interdisciplinary collaboration that occurs beyond the typical academic boundaries and the various cross cutting themes of study available as part of the graduate training program.

The One-Year Master of Arts (MA) Program in Psychology offers an advanced training program designed to transfer to a career right after graduation or to further graduate education in a variety of fields such as law, business, medical school, social work, and psychology. The full-time program begins during the first summer school session and includes the second summer session and the next two academic semesters. Students receive traditional and general theories in psychology by courses chosen from the regularly offered graduate courses. In addition, MA students are provided with:

  • A faculty advisor specifically for the MA program who is available for consultation on course selection, career opportunities, and other relevant issues
  • Professional development opportunities that address concerns about graduate school, career and personal choices, professional presentation, etc.
  • Courses in statistics, clinical psychology, cognitive science, developmental psychology, integrative neuroscience, and social/health psychology
  • The opportunity to engage in research under the direction of Psychology and Psychiatry Department faculty
  • “Brown bag” seminars (Social/Health, Cognitive Science, or Integrative Neuroscience)

The Doctoral Program in Experimental Psychology is now referred to as the Cognitive Science Program. This program sustains active laboratories with cutting edge equipment for research and graduate training. Students in the doctoral program engage in both first- and second-year research papers. During graduate training, students are strongly encouraged to work directly with more than one faculty mentor, in order to broaden professional and research opportunities. Required courses include statistics courses, First Year Lectures, three depth courses within the Cognitive Science Area, and three breadth courses. Upon graduation, PhD and postdoctoral trainees from this program have achieved excellent placement in academic and industry positions.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 39.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.20
US News and World Report Rankings:
#88 Best National University
#38 Top Public School
#15 Best College for Veterans
#11 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#46 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $8,430 in state / $21,850 out of state annual average tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Master of Arts in Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#15 – University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa
University of Iowa Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – The Department of Psychology

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Graduate Program in Psychology was created for students seeking a doctoral degree. Students enrolled in the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program may choose to receive a Master of Arts (MA) Degree once they have completed the MA in Psychology Degree requirements. Students who enter the program with no graduate work completed generally require a minimum of four years to complete the program. Those entering with some graduate training usually require three to five years in the department, depending on the nature of the earlier preparation. The PhD program places an emphasis on preparation for research, teaching, and scholarly endeavor, whether in academic settings or in industrial, governmental, or medical institutions. The goal is to train graduates who have a strong commitment to the study of psychology, are comfortable with fundamental knowledge about psychological processes, become well trained in the methods and techniques for careful investigation of basic and applied problems, and have a determination to make contributions to the discipline of psychology and to society. Graduate training is organized in six broad training areas: behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognition and perception, developmental science, health psychology and social psychology.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: tied at 35
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.25
US News and World Report Rankings:
#71 Best National University
#27 Top Public School
#10 Best College for Veterans
#18 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#30 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $8,079 in state / $27,409 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degrees Offered:
Master of Arts in Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#14 – Brown University – Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The Graduate School – Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

Brown University’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of mind, brain, behavior and language. It offers three PhD programs in Cognitive Science, Linguistics and Psychology. Doctoral candidates are accepted by the department and are asked to choose one of the three programs after completion of the first year. The department does not accept students interested in obtaining terminal Master’s degrees. The graduate program in Psychology is designed to train students for careers as scientists and teachers who will make meaningful contributions to the community in academic and applied settings. Doctoral Students gain a broad competence in the empirical issues, theories, and experimental methods of psychology and will develop expertise in one or more research specializations. Programs of study are highly individualized and decisions about research and coursework are made in collaboration with a research advisor and graduate committee chosen by the student.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: Tied at 35
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.28
US News and World Report Rankings:
#16 Best National University
#12 Best Value School
#26 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $47,434 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#13 – Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland
Johns Hopkins University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The College of Arts and Sciences – The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

In 1883, the first psychological laboratory in America was created at Johns Hopkins University. Since that time, Modern American Psychology has vastly evolved and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins has been critical is helping that evolution. The faculty of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has designed a doctoral training program where students are trained in psychological science through general and advanced seminars in the various sub-disciplines of psychology, with active engagement in research. The two main areas of Instruction and Research include Biopsychology and Cognitive and Developmental Psychology. The discipline in Biopsychology includes training in the following areas:

  • Animal Cognition and Learning
  • Animal Models of Neurocognitive Aging
  • Auditory Perception and Communication
  • Biological Rhythms
  • Brain Mechanisms of Memory
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Hormones and Behavior

The discipline in Cognitive and Developmental Psychology includes training in the following areas:

  • Age-related Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Attention
  • Cognitive and Perceptual Development
  • Cognitive Neuroscience and Functional Neuroimaging
  • Language Development
  • Memory
  • Visual Perception and Psychophysics

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is affiliated with three training programs supported by the National Eye Institute, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute on Aging.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: Tied at 35
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.29
US News and World Report Rankings:
#12 Best National University
#19 Best Value School
#26 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $47,060 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#12 – Duke University – Durham, North Carolina
Duke University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology & Neuroscience At Duke grants, on average, twelve doctoral degrees each year, placing its graduates on the faculty at some of the finest institutions in the country, in clinical practice, business and industry. Five areas that make up the bulk of the graduate training include: Clinical, Cognitive & Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, Social, and Systems & Integrative Neurosciences. Doctoral level training offers students excellent opportunities to investigate the mind, the brain and behavior at different levels of analysis (neural, molecular, individual, and social) using a variety of techniques (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 in order to apply knowledge and state of the art techniques to answer questions that are central to an understanding of mind, brain, and behavior.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: Tied at 35
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.33
US News and World Report Rankings:
#8 Best National University
#13 Best Value School
#6 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#21 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $47,488 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#11 – New York University – New York, New York
New York University Graduate Experimental Psychology

NYU Department of Psychology

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Master of Arts (MA) in General Psychology Degree program is a flexible program offering students the opportunity to pursue a terminal Master’s Degree. Areas of specialization in this program include Psychopathology, Cognition and/or Perception, Forensic psychology, Biopsychology, Social Cognition, Developmental psychology and Quantitative psychology. The MA Program offers an exclusive opportunity for training in one of the most respected departments of psychology, with a distinguished faculty of over 35 full-time professors plus a large adjunct faculty. The program is structured as a terminal degree open to qualified students who wish to develop or improve their academic and work qualifications in psychology. Many graduates go on to gain acceptance in doctoral programs across the country.

The NYU Department of Psychology also offers doctoral level, research-based training in Cognition & Perception as well as Social Psychology. Students can also opt to complete a minor in Quantitative Psychology. This minor helps students further their understanding of statistics and research methods. The Program course requirements include completion of seventy-two credits, the equivalent of twenty-four single semester, three-credit courses. A student must earn at least thirty of these credits (ten courses) with a letter grade of B or better.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: Tied at 35
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.33
US News and World Report Rankings:
#32 Best National University
#30 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $46,170 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Master of Arts in Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#10 – Pennsylvania State University – University Park, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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College of the Liberal Arts – The Psychology Department

Doctor of Philosophy

The Department of Psychology at Penn State offers students a top-ranked graduate education. The mission of the department is to “train the next generation of leaders, innovators, and cutting-edge professionals”. Students in this program:

  • Receive Sound Scientific Training: Upon graduation from the doctoral program students become leading scientists and practitioners. Students gain knowledge and experience in the latest research though classes, labs, and independent projects.
  • Learn through Active Participation: Students learn experientially. From the start students become actively 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 expertise to assist and improve the community.
  • Become Capable of Translating Research into Action: The Psychology Department has a tradition for translating research findings into meaningful data to institute change and action. 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.

The Department of Psychology offers Ph.D. programs in 5 areas:

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

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 29.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.37
US News and World Report Rankings:
#48 Best National University
#14 Top Public School
#2 Best College for Veterans
#18 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#30 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $17,502 in state / $30,452 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#9 – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
University of North Carolina Graduate Experimental Psychology

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UNC College of Arts and Sciences – The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctoral program in psychology offered by the UNC College of Arts and Sciences was created to offer motivated students with the knowledge, skills, and judgment needed to become active contributors at the highest level to research, academics, public and professional service, and clinical practice in the behavioral science field. Graduate training is offered in six specialty areas of Psychology, including: Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Quantitative Psychology, and Social Psychology. The Department of Psychology offers an integrated course of studies leading to a PhD in Psychology with Specialization in Quantitative Psychology. Students are prepared for faculty positions in colleges and universities, and for research positions in educational, governmental, and commercial organizations. The program of graduate studies involves core curriculum courses during the first and second years, and a number of psychology courses both in and out of the quantitative program during the second, third, and possibly fourth years. Students are encouraged to pursue interest areas in a substantive area of psychology and also to complete a formal minor in mathematics, statistics, biostatistics, computer science, or in another related area.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: Tied at 21.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.39
US News and World Report Rankings:
#30 Best National University
#5 Top Public School
#17 Best Value College
#2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#12 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $8,374 in state / $33,624 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with Specialization in Quantitative Psychology

#8 – University of Colorado – Boulder, Colorado
University of Colorado Graduate Experimental Psychology

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado offer motivated graduate student’s doctoral training in the following areas of Psychology:

  • Behavioral Genetics
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology

The Department consists of over 50 full-time faculty members, over 90 graduate students, and over 2000 undergraduate Psychology majors. Graduate students work closely with their faculty mentors to develop a strong professional relationship to help bolster both research and practical sills. Multidisciplinary study is encouraged and facilitated by several interdepartmental institutes.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: Tied at 21.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.42
US News and World Report Rankings:
#88 Best National University
#38 Top Public School
#18 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#30 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $10,789 in state / $33,151 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#7 – Ohio State University – Columbus, Ohio
Ohio State University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The College of Arts and Sciences – The Psychology Department

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology at Ohio State is celebrated for a long history of excellence in research, teaching, and service. With over 50 full-time faculty, 150 graduate students, and 1800 undergraduate majors, psychology is one of the largest departments found at Ohio State. The Department is also one of the top ranked psychology departments in the country offering extensive course offerings and research opportunities in seven program areas. Faculty members in the department work in diverse areas of human and animal cognition, emotion, and behavior and engage in many interdisciplinary research activities. he Department of Psychology awards the Ph.D. in seven programs, each covering a wide range of research topics, as described below. The areas of specialty training available are:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Psychology
  • Quantitative Psychology/Judgment and Decision Making
  • Social Psychology
  • Decision Psychology

There are three areas of specialization within the quantitative program:

  • Traditional quantitative methods, including multivariate quantitative methods and models, measurement theory, and model
    selection
  • Judgment and decision-making, including modeling and experimental studies of human judgment and decision processes
  • Mathematical psychology, including development and application of mathematical models of psychological processes

Students can focus their studies in one area, or a combination of two or all three. The program is designed to assist students in developing and expanding their mathematical, statistical, and computer skills, while encouraging them to apply those skills to substantive areas in psychology. There is flexibility built into the program to accommodate students with a variety of interests.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: Tied at 21.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.43
US News and World Report Rankings:
#54 Best National University
#18 Top Public School
#5 Best College for Veterans
#32 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#21 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $10,037 in state / $26,537 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#6 – University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania Graduate Experimental Psychology

The School of Arts and Sciences – The Psychology Department

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Graduate Program in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania places an emphasis on both scholarship and research accomplishment. The first-year of the program is divided amongst courses, which introduce various focus areas of psychology, as well as focused research experience. A commitment to research continues throughout the graduate program, and is fostered by active participation in seminars, classroom learning and general intellectual interactions. Graduate students are admitted into the program as a whole, not into specific subfields. Students then have the freedom to define their field of interest. A high level of interaction between students and faculty helps create a shared set of interests in the theoretical, historical, and philosophical foundations of psychology and active collaboration in research projects. The Graduate Program in Psychology is highly respected and represents a broad range of work in psychology. Two full-time faculty and two emeritus professors are members of the National Academy of Sciences, and three regular faculty members are Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Department also includes past presidents of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and of the Linguistics Society of America.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 9.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.46
US News and World Report Rankings:
#8 Best National University
#10 Best Value College
#6 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#12 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $47,668 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#5 – Columbia University – New York, New York
Columbia University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Doctoral Program in Psychology at Columbia offers training of PhD students in research, teaching and scholarship in the areas of behavioral neuroscience, perception, cognition and social-personality psychology. This graduate program is not designed to offer training in clinical psychology, school, counseling or industrial psychology. Throughout the history of the department the research programs focused on the interactions of the social, cognitive and biological areas. The program promotes high levels of interaction between students and faculty across many areas, while working to broaden students’ knowledge of the theories and methodologies of the empirical science of psychology. Students begin personal research beginning in their first year and are encouraged to do cutting edge, original work throughout their graduate career. Graduate students have the opportunity to fully invest themselves in their research and in their instructional training. They also regularly attend area research seminars and colloquia. The department typically supports between thirty and fourty graduate students in residence whose programs are funded from university fellowships or external fellowships. The majority of graduates of this program seek positions in academia; some students have sought out research jobs in applied settings such as medical institutions and market research departments.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 16.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.48
US News and World Report Rankings:
#4 Best National University
#6 Best Value College
#14 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $51,008 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

#4 – Cornell University – Ithica, New York
Cornell University Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The College of Arts and Sciences – The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Department of Psychology at Cornell supports a graduate field of Psychology, which includes 39 full-time faculty members from departments across the university including Psychology, Human Development, and Neurobiology and Behavior. The Department only admits those students seeking doctoral training; the department does not offer a Master’s Degree Program. The goal of the Department is to train doctoral candidates to become researchers, scholars, and teachers who will make lasting contributions to the field of psychology as an empirical discipline in academic or other research-oriented settings. The Department provides training to doctoral students in three Concentration areas of psychology. These include:

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

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 14.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.51
US News and World Report Rankings:
#15 Best National University
#15 Best Value College
#14 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $47,286 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy with Concentration in Behavioral and Evolutionary Neuroscience
Doctor of Philosophy with Concentration in Perception, Cognition and Development
Doctor of Philosophy with Concentration in Social and Personality Psychology

#3 – University of Washington – Seattle, Washington
University of Washington Graduate Experimental Psychology

The College of Arts and Sciences – The Psychology Department

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Doctoral Program in Quantitative Psychology at the University of Washington is comprised of research on applied statistics and research methodology, mathematic models of human and animal behavior and the overall philosophy of psychology as a science. The research areas in this field of study range from pure mathematical equations to more sophisticated research in a substantive domain of professional psychology. Some broad examples of questions encountered in Quantitative Psychology are:

  • How is the conceptualization of a psychological construct operationalized and measured?
  • Does a specific system of equations and distributions reproduce obtained data sufficiently well?
  • How well do the assumptions underlying a statistical model correspond to a class of research problems?
  • What novel hypotheses does a new analytic technique allow one to pose?

The PhD program is highly selective and multidisciplinary in nature. The curriculum, research opportunities and other experiential opportunities provide students the necessary flexibility. This means that each student can tailor the program of study to her or his academic and career goals and interests. In addition to the resources and expertise found within the Psychology Department, the University of Washington also offers outstanding opportunities in statistics, mathematics, computation and modeling. Students are encouraged to become immersed in the broader UW experience.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 12.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.51
US News and World Report Rankings:
#48 Best National University
#14 Top Public School
#2 Best College for Veterans
#2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#14 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $12,394 in state / $33,513 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Psychology

#2 – University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minnesota
University of Minnesota Graduate Experimental Psychology

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The College of Liberal Arts – The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The Doctoral Program in Quantitative/Psychometric Psychology offered by the University of Minnesota offers students an education from an international leader in applications and theory of psychological measurement. This program combines the talents of this unique program as well as the affiliated faculty. Students can specialize in one or more areas of psychometrics, including multivariate methodology such as factor analysis, structural equation modeling, item response theory, computerized adaptive testing, multi-way data analysis, and nonparametric methods. Students are encouraged to engage in research with more than one faculty member over the course of their studies. Affiliated faculty interests include methodological and substantive problems in cognitive measurement (including the measurement of abilities, aptitude, and achievement), psychopathology, personality measurement, and the measurement of preferences. This PhD program will ready students for research, teaching, and technical careers. Students will gain the research skills needed to develop solutions to problems in psychological measurement and the analysis of psychological change. The program embraces a broad perspective, which incudes finding solutions to problems of translating psychological observational data into numerical form. This is done by creating measurement instruments and developing new methods for scaling psychological data, then used to test the reliability and validity of psychological data. The program also maintains a close collaboration with the UMN School of Statistics and many students acquire an Master of Science in Statistics while enrolled in the program.

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 7
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.53
US News and World Report Rankings:
#71 Best National University
#27 Top Public School
#6 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#9 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $13,626 in state / $20,876 out of state average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative/Psychometric Psychology

#1 – Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut
Yale University Graduate Experimental Psychology

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences – The Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Website

The primary goal of graduate education 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 doctoral program accepts approximately fifteen new doctors candidates each year. When applying to the Department, each candidate must indicate which of the five areas of concentration they would like to declare as their “home” program. This means that the students will spend the bulk of their time in this particular lab. However, it is also possible for students to work with faculty and students in other labs and participate in programs that cut across these traditional areas. One of the main objectives of the PhD program in Psychology is to promote research that is created out of an understanding of the substantive and methodological bases of scientific psychology as well as from other social and biological sciences. Students are encouraged to better understand the historical and theoretical contexts from which the field has emerged, and to then create an environment that fosters student and faculty interest and participation in research activities. Many members of the faculty are committed to exploring the impact of their work on individual, community, and societal problems. The five areas of concentration offered by the department are:

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

National Research Council Experimental Psychology Score: 3.5
National Research Council Overall Psychology Ranking: 4.55
US News and World Report Rankings:
#3 Best National University
#3 Best Value College
#2 Best Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
#4 Best Graduate Program in Psychology
Tuition: $45,800 average annual tuition
Accreditations:
The American Psychological Association (APA)
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
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

Opportunities for a Graduate Degree in Experimental Psychology

Experimental Psychologists have one of the most important jobs in all of the specialty areas of psychology. These highly skilled professionals are responsible for conducting the research that affects all areas of professional psychology. They influence trends and changes in the field and represent what is most important to the field. The level of education to become an Experimental Psychologist varies depending upon the state in which you plan to practice, the area of preferred employment and the level of responsibility in the research. While some states allow Master’s level professionals to conduct research, many states and employers require a doctoral degree in order to become an Experimental Psychologist in that state. As the need for experimental psychologists steadily increases, it is an ideal time to earn a Graduate Degree in Experimental Psychology from a fully accredited, 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 Developmental and Social 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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