Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

//Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019
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Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019 2021-11-04T22:04:07+00:00

best schools for psychology
Students looking for the best psychology schools for recent high school graduates often turn to their school counselors for assistance. These professionals are familiar with universities and colleges not only within their region but also those that offer high-quality programs. They are veritable experts on what institutions are best-suited for a specific type of student or particular major.

Methodology

This ranking list outlines the 30 best psychology schools for recent high school graduates in the United States. In addition to looking at the average cost of attendance and rankings provided by national organizations, we also gave particular weight to rankings given by high school guidance counselors. We understand that high school seniors can become overwhelmed by researching the thousands of available institutions of higher learning across the country, so we decided to make the process a little easier. Using information from the College Navigator database at the National Center for Education Statistics, we generated a list of 40 initial schools that were noted for their high-quality psychology undergraduate programs. We narrowed down these search results to the top 30 programs based on the following methodology.

Average Cost of Attendance

The first factor considered when developing this ranking is the average cost of attendance. Universities and colleges that offer academic training in psychology at affordable rates were awarded more points than those with more expensive undergraduate programs. We used data compiled from both the individual schools’ websites as well as the College Navigator database and assigned points according to the following table.

Points:
Under $20,000: 3 points
$20,001 to $25,000: 2 points
$25,001 or more: 1 point

Program Ranking by High School Counselors

Next, we considered whether the undergraduate program was acknowledged by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best undergraduate degrees according to high school counselors across the country. These rankings were gathered through a nationwide sample of guidance counselors from public high schools as well as some of the largest independent private schools throughout the U.S. Counselors were asked to outline which post-secondary institutions they felt offered the best undergraduate education for graduating high school seniors. We assigned points to the results as follows.

U.S. News & World Report: Best High School Counselor Rankings:
Top 10: 3 points
Top 25: 2 points
Top 50: 1 point

College Ranking

Recent high school graduates must also consider whether or not a school has been acknowledged by a national ranking body. The most well-known source of this national nod most often comes from the U.S. News & World Report, a national organization that compares schools and programs against others nationwide. For this ranking, we assigned points based on categories such as Best National University, Top Public School, Best Value School, and Most Innovative School

Points:
U.S. News & World Report: Best National University Ranking:
Top 10: 5 points
Top 25: 3 points
Top 50: 2 point
Top 100: 1 point

U.S. News & World Report: Top Public School, Best Value School, or Most Innovative School Ranking:
Top 25: 3 points
Top 50: 2 points
Top 100: 1 point

University Acceptance Rates

More students are realizing the benefits of a career in psychology. As this a bachelor’s degree becomes more in demand , the acceptance rates among undergraduate institutions are becoming increasingly competitive. We gathered data from U.S. News & World Report, giving schools with higher acceptance rates more points than those that are more selective in their admissions processes.

Acceptance Rates:
25 percent or above: 3 points
16 percent to 24 percent: 2 points
1 percent to 15 percent: 1 point

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates

30. Tufts University

Medford, Massachusetts

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology  introduces students to the philosophies and processes of behavior in animals and humans.

Points: 10
Program Website

Tufts University is a private research university located in Medford, Massachusetts. The Psychology Department, nestled in the School of Arts and Sciences, offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree. The program introduces students to the philosophies and processes of behavior in animals and humans. The  curriculum reflects the broad spectrum of the field, ranging from the social causes to the biological bases of behavior. Students gather a basic understanding of the field of psychology. They have the opportunity to pursue specialized interests in one of four concentration areas:

  • cognitive and brain science
  • engineering psychology
  • clinical psychology
  • biopsychology

Students may also take advantage of several research opportunities in which they work with faculty members and graduate students.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $56,381
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#26 in Best Value Schools
#27 (tie) in National Universities
#45 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
15 percent

29. Dartmouth College

Hanover, New Hampshire

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BS in Psychology requires students to complete a culminating experience prior to graduating.

Points: 11
Program Website

Founded in 1769, Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League research university located in Hanover, New Hampshire. It’s the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the country. The school’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences offers both a major and minor in psychology. It also has a major and minor in neuroscience.

Students begin their undergraduate education with an understanding of observable behavior. This helps them develop models of the underlying physiological, affective, and cognitive processes. The psychology curriculum includes courses in:

  • behavioral disorders
  • social and cognitive development
  • learning
  • cognition and cognitive neuroscience
  • the physiological basis of behavior, sensation and perception
  • social interaction

Students must also complete a culminating experience prior to graduating.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $55,035
High School Counselor Ranking:
#6 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#10 in Best Value Schools
#12 (tie) in National Universities
Acceptance Rate:
10 percent

28. Washington University in St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BS in Psychology offers many degree concentrations.

Points: 11
Program Website

Washington University is a private research university with locations in St. Louis, Missouri as well as across the state. Founded in 1853 and named after George Washington, WashU enrolls students from more than 120 countries and all 50 states.

The school’s Department of Psychological and Brain Science offers a bachelor’s program in psychology as well as a bachelor’s in psychology with an emphasis on cognitive neuroscience. Students can choose from concentrations in:

  • personality and individual differences
  • experimental psychopathology
  • lifespan development
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • cognition in children
  • reading, language, and language acquisition

Throughout the curriculum, psychology majors learn to:

  • write proficiently and empirically
  • conduct literature reviews
  • gather data.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology: Cognitive Neuroscience
Average Program Cost: $53,399
High School Counselor Ranking:
#21 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#19 (tie) in National Universities
#20 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
16 percent

27. New York University

New York, New York

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology provides students with a broad assessment of the diverse field of psychology.

Points: 11
Program Website

Founded in 1831, New York University is ranked among the top 30 universities in the world. Located in New York, New York, NYU has 10 undergraduate schools and 15 professional/graduate schools. Its Department of Psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences offers a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

The psychology major provides students with a broad assessment of the diverse field of psychology. Students gather experience and knowledge in specialized areas of interest. Students are required to complete courses in:

  • psychological statistics
  • statistics for behavioral sciences
  • psychology as a social science
  • psychology as a natural science
  • electives
  • laboratory course

The program teaches students the rudimentary skills they need to further understand the field, as well as grasp the specialty area of study that best meets their professional goals.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $51,828
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#30 (tie) in National Universities
#37 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
#56 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
28 percent

26. Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology requires completion of 12 courses in psychology.

Points: 11
Program Website

Emory University is a private research university founded in Oxford, Georgia in 1836 as Emory College. The Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree.

The curriculum covers:

  • laboratory methods
  • statistical inference
  • cognition and development
  • neuroscience and animal behavior
  • social, personality, and applied psychology

Undergraduate psychology students must also complete five electives to round out the program. The Department encourages undergraduate majors to become involved in ongoing faculty projects as research assistants. Faculty interests cover research areas in:

  • neuroscience and animal behavior
  • cognition and development
  • clinical psychology.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $51,306
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#19 in Best Value Schools
#21 in National Universities
Acceptance Rate:
22 percent

25. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The psychology department offers three majors and two minors.

Points: 12
Program Website

Located in Los Angeles, California, the University of Southern California was founded in 1880. It’s the oldest private research university in the state. The school offers three majors and two minors in its Psychology Department, and there are a number of interdisciplinary minors related to psychology available.

Many students combine their psychology education with different areas of business such as:

  • public relations
  • industrial-organizational psychology
  • human resources, marketing
  • consumer behavior

In addition to completing the required undergraduate coursework, students may choose to pursue an internship to gain real-world experience. Those who take advantage of internships and research opportunities are in an excellent position to pursue graduate studies at major research universities.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences With an Emphasis in Psychology
Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science
Average Program Cost: $56,225
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#22 (tie) in National Universities
#28 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
#37 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
16 percent

24. Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology allows students to work under the supervision of faculty members to participate in independent study projects.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1851, Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. The Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences is home to one of the most prestigious psychology departments in the country. Northwestern’s undergraduate degree in psychology combines an emphasis on individuals while also focusing on the interpretation and analysis of scientific data. The program provides a strong foundation for career paths or for graduate study in the field.

All psychology undergraduates are required to complete a common core of courses that offer:

  • hands-on research opportunities
  • comprehension of the empirical research techniques used by professionals
  • a general introduction to the field

Many psychology bachelor’s students work under the supervision of faculty members to participate in independent study projects. Others become active in their own research projects.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $54,567
High School Counselor Ranking:
#12 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#10 (tie) in National Universities
#15 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
9 percent

23. Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology allows students to gain research experience by participating in active faculty research projects.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt University is a private research university named in honor of New York rail and shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. The school’s Department of Psychology offers undergraduate majors and minors in psychology through the College of Arts and Science.

The bachelor’s degree program introduces students to the major areas of contemporary psychology, including:

  • social psychology
  • neuroscience
  • developmental psychology
  • human cognition
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • clinical science

An honors program is also available for qualified students. Undergraduates may take advantage of opportunities to gain research experience by participating in active faculty research projects. While not required, this experience is strongly encouraged as a foundational component of the undergraduate psychology degree.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $49,816
High School Counselor Ranking:
#12 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#7 in Best Value Schools
#14 (tie) in National Universities
#37 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
11 percent

22. Columbia University

New York, New York

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology offers a balanced curriculum in the psychological sciences.

Points: 13
Program Website

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City, New York. Established in 1754, Columbia is the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the country and the oldest university in the state. Its Department of Psychology is also one of the oldest and most influential in the country, consistently ranking among top programs due to its world-renowned alumni and faculty.

Students may earn a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and benefit from a balanced curriculum in psychological science, including:

  • clinical areas
  • personality,
  • social
  • developmental
  • neuroscience
  • cognition
  • perception
  • research methods

The curriculum prepares students for graduate studies in these fields. It also offering a solid foundation for advancement in areas such as:

  • education
  • social work
  • business
  • law
  • medicine

Courses at every level cultivate skills in critical thinking, quantitative literacy, and research methods. This creates a respect for the values that underlie the field of psychology.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $59,430
High School Counselor Ranking:
#6 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#3 (tie) in National Universities
#6 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
6 percent

21. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology offers five undergraduate majors.

Points: 13
Program Website

Carnegie Mellon University, founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie as the Carnegie Technical Schools, is a private nonprofit research university located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Through the Department of Psychology,  undergraduates have their choice of one of five undergraduate majors in psychology, including degree programs in:

  • psychology
  • cognitive science
  • neuroscience
  • a dual degree in psychology and the biological sciences

The emphasis of the undergraduate curriculum is on developing highly informed and trained graduates. About about half the graduates go on to professional or graduate school. Psychology majors are expected to understand the current research in the field and become skilled in analyzing behavior. This includes developing skills such as:

  • writing reports
  • performing statistical analyses
  • carrying out research
  • designing experiments to test hypotheses
  • creating hypotheses
  • engaging in behavioral observation.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science
Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience
Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Biological Sciences
Average Program Cost: $55,465
High School Counselor Ranking:
#12 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#7 in Most Innovative Schools
#25 (tie) in National Universities
#34 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
22 percent

20. Georgetown University

Washington, D.C.

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology offers two areas of study.

Points: 13
Program Website

Founded in 1789 as Georgetown College, the school has since grown into Georgetown University, a private research university in Washington, D.C. It’s comprised of nine graduate and undergraduate schools. Through the Department of Psychology, undergraduate students may pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree, which consists of 31 credits, or a minor in psychology, which consists of 18 credits.

Both programs expose students to the various perspectives that make up modern academic psychology, including:

  • psychological development
  • theoretical and historical perspectives
  • biological, cognitive, clinical, cultural, and social approaches

Throughout the program, students receive a strong foundation in social science research methods. They have flexibility to choose from two separate areas of study. Undergraduates also act as research assistants, working in faculty laboratories on a variety of projects, including:

  • procedural justice with juvenile offenders
  • cultural studies of emotion
  • infant learning from screen media.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $54,104
High School Counselor Ranking:
#12 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#22 (tie) in National Universities
#25 in Best Value Schools
#32 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
16 percent

19. Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The psychology department offers several undergraduate degree options.

Points: 13
Program Website

Founded in 1701, Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. It’s the third-oldest institution of higher education in the country. It is also one of nine Colonial Colleges chartered prior to the American Revolution.

Yale’s Department of Psychology offers several degree options for undergraduates pursuing the field of psychology. The Bachelor of Arts degree is awarded to students who conduct a non-empirical literature review.  The Bachelor of Science degree is awarded to students who complete independent empirical research via a directed research course. The project includes:

  • designing an experiment
  • collecting data
  • analyzing the results

Students may also take a neuroscience track in the bachelor’s degree in psychology. Since this field is broad by design, students may further narrow their studies in one area such as:

  • developmental
  • clinical
  • social
  • affective
  • cognitive
  • cellular and molecular
  • behavioral neuroscience.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $53,430
High School Counselor Ranking:
#1 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#3 (tie) in National Universities
#4 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
7 percent

18. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The psychology department offers two undergraduate degree programs.

Points: 13
Program Website

The University of Notre Dame is a private, non-profit Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, Indiana. Nestled within the College of Arts and Letters, the Department of Psychology offers two different majors in the field of psychology.

In the Bachelor of Arts program, students are exposed to basic psychological principles, research methods, and theories before moving to areas such as:

  • developmental disabilities
  • counseling
  • child education and development

In the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior, students study neuroscience in the context of:

  • the brain
  • mind
  • behavior

These programs engage experts in collaboration across diverse fields, including:

  • psychology
  • physics
  • philosophy
  • medicine
  • mathematics
  • linguistics
  • engineering
  • computer science
  • chemistry
  • biological sciences

Undergraduates earn a B.S. through the College of Science or a B.A. through the College of Arts and Letters’ Department of Psychology.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior
Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Behavior
Average Program Cost: $53,391
High School Counselor Ranking:
#12 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#18 in National Universities
#22 in Best Value Schools
#27 in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
19 percent

17. Rice University

Houston, Texas

Ranking Top 30 Best Value Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Psychology in 2019

The BA in Psychology breadth of research interests creates a unique learning environment

Points: 13
Program Website

Rice University is a private research university located in Houston, Texas. The Department of Psychological Sciences at Rice University’s School of Social Sciences is a unique blend of applied and basic psychology. The program’s breadth of research interests creates a unique learning environment. The primary emphasis in the department is on research in both applied and laboratory settings.

The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology curriculum challenges students to better understand the empirical study of behavior and the mind from different analysis levels. Students must complete 120 credit hours of coursework, 60 of which must be taken at Rice. Many psychology graduates go on to:

  • law school
  • medical school
  • graduate school.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $47,350
High School Counselor Ranking:
#21 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#14 in Best Value Schools
#16 (tie) in National Universities
#28 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
16 percent

16. University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The psychology department offers both a BA and a BS in Psychology.

Points: 13

The University of North Carolina, also known as Chapel Hill, is a public research university. It’s the flagship of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The school’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience offers both a B.A. and a B.S. in Psychology. Both programs offer comprehensive exposure to the behavioral sciences. There’s  an emphasis on the empirical and statistical tools used in modern psychological research. Students are prepared for careers in either teaching or basic research as well as positions in:

  • counseling
  • social work
  • business
  • human resources
  • education
  • management
  • law
  • nursing

A number of courses are available in neuroscience and psychology, allowing students to further tailor the curriculum to meet their career goals and interests.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $55,656
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#5 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#8 in Best Value Schools
#30 (tie) in National Universities
Acceptance Rate:
24 percent

15. Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The department offers both a BA and a BS in Psychology.

Points: 14
Program Website

Founded in 1764, Brown University is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island. It’s the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the country. Brown’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences offers several degree programs from which undergraduates can choose, including concentrations in:

  • psychology
  • behavioral decision sciences
  • linguistics
  • cognitive science
  • cognitive neuroscience

Though their coursework may overlap to a degree, these concentrations, the equivalent of majors at other institutions. They represent distinct paths to the study of mind, behavior, brain, and language.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $55,656
High School Counselor Ranking:
#6 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#14 (tie) in National Universities
#17 in Best Value Schools
#21 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
9 percent

14. Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology requires 40 credits within the major.

Points: 15
Program Website

Founded in 1865, Cornell University is a private and statutory Ivy League research university located in Ithaca, New York. Cornell’s Department of Psychology provides both a minor and a major in psychology as well as the opportunity for undergraduates to combine the major with a minor in cognitive science.

Students complete 40 credits for the Bachelor’s in Psychology. Students work with their advisors to develop a curriculum that analyzes the basic processes in psychology. Psychology majors are also encouraged to complete fieldwork or independent studies.

Through the minor in cognitive science, students may decide to pursue a specialization in:

  • development
  • cognition
  • perception

Also available are concentrations in:

  • personality and social psychology
  • behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $55,584
High School Counselor Ranking:
#6 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#8 (tie) in National Universities
#12 in Best Value Schools
#32 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
9 percent

13. University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology curriculum examines the underlying contexts and mechanisms of attitudes, feelings, thoughts, and perceptions that affect behavior.

Points: 15
Program Website

The University of Chicago is a nonprofit, private research university in Chicago, Illinois. It’s   composed of seven professionals schools and five academic research divisions. The  Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program  approaches the field as the study of the mental processes and states that give rise to behavior.

The curriculum examines the underlying contexts and mechanisms of what affects behavior, such as:

  • attitudes
  • feelings
  • thoughts
  • perceptions

It also incorporates the social structures and relationships in which people are affected.

The program familiarizes students with the empirical research methods used by professional psychologists. It offers a foundation of core knowledge that covers the major areas of the field. Graduates are prepared for master’s or doctoral programs in psychology or a related field such as education or neuroscience. Graduates are also prepared for careers in:

  • medicine
  • business
  • public policy
  • social work

Undergraduates are encouraged to participate in ongoing research.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $57,006
High School Counselor Ranking:
#12 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#3 (tie) in National Universities
#16 in Best Value Schools
#18 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
9 percent

12. Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The psychology department offers multiple undergraduate degrees.

Points: 15
Program Website

Founded by Quakers and Methodists in 1838, Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina. The Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke offers undergraduate majors and minors in both psychology and neuroscience.

The psychology major focuses on five areas of study and practice, including:

  • social psychology
  • developmental psychology
  • cognitive psychology
  • biological psychology
  • abnormal/health psychology

Students are prepared for a wide range of careers in which understanding human behavior is fundamental. The neuroscience major is comprised of courses from several departments, including:

  • the Department of Biology
  • the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • the Duke University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurobiology
  • the Pratt School of Engineering’s Biomedical Engineering Department.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience
Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience
Average Program Cost: $55,960
High School Counselor Ranking:
#12 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#8 (tie) in National Universities
#13 in Best Value Schools
#16 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
10 percent

11. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology has an interdisciplinary curriculum.

Points: 15
Program Website

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The program educates students in the field of psychology so that they may better understand the empirical study of the brain and its functions. The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree outlines how people:

  • perceive information
  • how they process that information
  • how they respond both cognitively and emotionally

Students also analyze the change in mental processes over time. Most of the curriculum is interdisciplinary. It’s designed to cover the depth of the field of psychology as well as the breadth of the content areas. Students may study the major as a core scientific discipline by itself or in combination with other areas of study such as:

  • sociology
  • linguistics
  • philosophy
  • biology
  • cognitive science.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $55.584
High School Counselor Ranking:
#6 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#8 (tie) in National Universities
#12 in Best Value Schools
#32 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
9 percent

10. University of California – Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BS in Psychology covers six key ares of research.

Points: 15
Program Website

The University of California Berkeley was founded in 1868. It’s located in the city of Berkeley. The University of California Berkeley is the flagship institution of the 10-school University of California System. The school’s Psychology Department covers six key areas of research in its Bachelor of Science in Psychology program:

  • social-personality psychology
  • developmental psychology
  • cognition
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • clinical science
  • behavioral and systems neuroscience

The program also strives to provide students with critical-thinking, statistical, and empirical skills that are not specific to any one specialization area but are relevant for all.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $59,430
#12 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
High School Counselor Ranking:
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#2 in Top Public Schools
#22 (tie) in National Universities
#24 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
#112 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
17 percent

9. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BS in Psychology consists of intro-level courses, upper-level courses, small group experiences, and classes in experimental methods, design, and analysis.

Points: 16
Program Website

Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins University is a private research university located in Baltimore, Maryland. The school was named for its first benefactor, the American philanthropist, abolitionist, and entrepreneur Johns Hopkins. The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree that features an emphasis on psychology’s underlying scientific elements.

The program consists of:

  • intro-level courses
  • upper-level courses
  • small group experiences
  • classes in experimental methods, design, and analysis

Students may also choose to double-major in psychology and another field such as philosophy or biology. Students are prepared for advanced graduate study and career paths in psychology and related fields.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $53,740
High School Counselor Ranking:
#6 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#10 (tie) in National Universities
#18 in Best Value Schools
#18 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
12 percent

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BS in Brain and Cognitive Sciences is a tiered system of education, building upon the information learned at the prior level.

Points: 16
Program Website

Founded in 1861, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was established in response to the increasing industrialization of the U.S.

The Department of Brain and Cognitive Science at MIT provides a Bachelor of Science in Brain and Cognitive Science. This robust undergraduate program uses a tiered system of education, building upon the information learned at the prior level.

The first year introduces students to:

  • computation
  • cognitive science
  • neuroscience

It emphasizes skills in statistics and programming. Students may choose a specialization or area of interest as they pursue their degree. During the second and third tiers, students focus more deeply on areas such as:

  • genetic engineering
  • psycholinguistics
  • cellular neurobiology

Nationally renowned faculty members teach classes and lectures. Students gain additional experience through:

  • independent projects
  • laboratories
  • research.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Science in Brain and Cognitive Science
Average Program Cost: $47,140
High School Counselor Ranking:
#1 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#3 in Best Value Schools
#3 in Most Innovative Schools
#3 (tie) in National Universities
Acceptance Rate:
7 percent

7. Stanford University

Stanford, California

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology allows students to choose courses that closely match their career goals and individual interests.

Points: 16
Program Website

Stanford University, one of the top universities in the world, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Its Psychology Department offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree. It consists of courses that provide a strong liberal arts background for those pursuing careers in:

  • social work
  • medicine
  • law
  • education
  • business

It also prepares students for graduate study. The challenging curriculum exposes students to a number of specialty areas within the field of psychology. Students may choose courses that closely match their career goals and individual interests. They may choose to become involved in independent studies and research projects to further enhance their education.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $51,354
High School Counselor Ranking:
#1 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#5 in Best Value Schools
#5 in Most Innovative Schools
#7 in National Universities
Acceptance Rate:
5  percent

6. Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The psychology department offers both a BA and a BS in Psychology.

Points: 16
Program Website

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university that serves more than 15,000 post-graduate students and 6,700 undergraduate students. Harvard’s Psychology Department offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science. The major also includes three optional tracks from which students can choose:

  • a general track
  • a cognitive science track
  • a cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology track

Most of the research in the major is related to fundamental psychological processes such as:

  • morality
  • intergroup relations
  • social cognition
  • cognitive and social development
  • language
  • decision-making
  • reasoning
  • memory
  • perception
  • attention.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $50,420
High School Counselor Ranking:
#1 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#2 in National Universities
#2 in Best Value Schools
#14 in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
5 percent

5. Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology allows students the opportunity to conduct research.

Points: 16
Program Website

Founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton’s Department of Psychology offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree that provides high-level undergrad courses in areas such as:

  • quantitative analyses
  • research methods
  • empirical findings

Psychology majors will also master basic processes such as movement, perception, and sensation as well as complex processes such as:

  • social interaction
  • decision-making
  • reasoning
  • language

Students also have the opportunity to conduct research. Those interested in neuroscience may choose to earn a certificate in neuroscience as part of their studies.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $47,140
High School Counselor Ranking:
#1 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#1 in National Universities
#1 in Best Value Schools
#15 in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
6 percent

4. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BS in Psychology curriculum consists of courses in human sensation and perception, social psychology, and biopsychology.

Points: 16
Program Website

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university and institute of technology. It’s a member institution of the University System of Georgia. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology that emphasizes both experimental and quantitative approaches to the study of behavior.

The curriculum consists of courses in:

  • human sensation and perception
  • social psychology
  • biopsychology

Students also benefit from undergraduate research opportunities. They also may customize their curriculum plan to match their specific career goals and interests via:

  • a business option
  • research option
  • international plan

Graduates are prepared to enter fields such as:

  • management
  • personnel selection and training
  • system design
  • human factors
  • marketing
  • medicine
  • law
  • education
  • academic research.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $12,424
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#4 in Most Innovative Schools
#8 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#35 (tie) in National Universities
#92 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
23 percent

3. University of California Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The psychology department offers three undergraduate degrees.

Points: 17
Program Website

Located in Los Angeles, California, the University of California Los Angeles is the second-oldest undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California System. UCLA’s Department of Psychology offers three degrees in the field of psychology:

  • a B.A. in Psychology
  • a B.S. in Cognitive Science
  • a B.S. in Psychobiology

The majors overlap in certain basic and fundamental knowledge bases. However, they differ considerably in their focus and in terms of the different student needs and interests they satisfy. Beyond basic core courses, students may take specialized courses in areas such as:

  • health psychology
  • community psychology
  • developmental psychology
  • social psychology
  • clinical psychology

Also included in the program are such areas as:

  • personality
  • measurement
  • cognition
  • perception
  • motivation
  • learning and memory
  • animal behavior
  • psychobiology

Minors are also available in applied developmental psychology and cognitive science.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science
Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology
Average Program Cost: $13,280
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#1 in Top Public Schools
#19 (tie) in National Universities
#23 in Most Innovative Schools
#85 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
16 percent

2. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The BA in Psychology students participate in independent work through internships or field experiences and research.

Points: 18
Program Website

Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia is a public research university and the flagship university of the state. It’s located in Charlottesville, Virginia.

UVA’s Department of Psychology offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology that covers topics such:

  • as social relations
  • complex thought processes
  • the study of human development

Undergraduate students can expect classes in:

  • brain systems and memories
  • child psychopathology
  • research methods and data analysis
  • the neural basis of behavior

Students may also participate in independent work through an internship or field experience and research. Qualified students may also apply for UVA’s Distinguished Majors Program, which turns the fourth year of their undergraduate program into a two-semester, research-intensive project that culminates in a thesis.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $17,350
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#3 in Top Public Schools
#25 (tie) in National Universities
#28 in Best Value Schools
#32 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
Acceptance Rate:
27 percent

1. University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ranking 30 Best Psychology Schools for Recent High School Graduates in 2019

The psychology department offers two undergraduate degrees.

Points: 18
Program Website

Founded in 1817 in Detroit, the University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s the oldest institution of higher learning in the state.

The school’s Department of Psychology offers a traditional bachelor’s degree in psychology. Focus areas in personality and social contexts and biopsychology as well as:

  • social psychology
  • developmental psychology
  • cognitive clinical psychology

In addition, students may choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience — a rare program that goes beyond the typical concentration in neuroscience.

Students build their undergraduate degree in the study of:

  • mental processes
  • perception
  • biochemistry
  • behavioral ecology
  • cognitive psychology
  • the philosophy of cognition

Qualified students may be eligible for admission into an honors program. Students are prepared to attend professional conferences, do one-on-one research with faculty, and work with a mentor to complete two semesters of independent study courses.

Degree Options:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience
Average Program Cost: $15,262
High School Counselor Ranking:
#23 (tie) in High School Counselor Rankings
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#4 in Top Public Schools
#12 in Most Innovative Schools
#27 (tie) in National Universities
#47 in Best Value Schools
Acceptance Rate:
27 percent

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for a Bachelor’s in Psychology Degree?

Nowadays, throughout the education world, people claim that a bachelor’s degree no longer opens up opportunities for college graduates. For example, in business, the MBA has become the new BA. In psychology, most experts argue that a master’s degree in psychology is almost mandatory for certain types of specialty practice in the field. Across the board, it is clear that a graduate degree is becoming the norm for many desirable jobs in psychology and beyond.

However, if you are not interested in pursuing a higher degree and you’re eager to move into the workplace, you will be pleased to know that a bachelor’s in psychology degree can bring about a number of rewarding positions — just not as a psychologist. Some of the most common occupations that employ students with a four-year degree in psychology include:

  • Recreation Worker
  • Meeting and Convention Planner
  • Flight Attendant
  • University Faculty
  • Probation or Parole Officer
  • Psychiatric Aide
  • Psychological Research Assistant
  • Human Resources Assistant
  • Religious Activities Director
  • Paraeducator or Teacher’s Aide
  • Correctional Treatment Specialist
  • Human Services Assistant
  • Market and Survey Research Analyst
  • Advertising Sales Agent
  • Health Educator

As you can see, most of these positions involve dealing with people. Psychology is the study of organizational and human behavior. A four-year degree offers a strong foundation in understanding people, their motivations, and why they act as they do. In addition, bachelor’s degrees in psychology teach students to think creatively as well as critically, so graduates typically enter the field with strong communication skills. This kind of versatility is attractive in professions that demand positive interactions with others.

How Much Can You Earn in This Field?

The field of psychology is a broad one, and the salary one can command will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • education
  • level of experience
  • industry
  • position
  • the area in which one intends to work

There are three levels of education for psychology students:

  • bachelor’s
  • master’s
  • doctorate

In most cases, the salary expectation for one with a bachelor’s degree is not vastly different from any other undergraduate degree. For those seeking a career as a therapist or counselor, some graduate work is required for most positions.

Depending on the organization and the job, pay rates for psychology students entering the workforce with a bachelor’s degree can range from minimum wage to $50,000 per year. Many entry-level administrative jobs or low-paying jobs like retail sales can quickly lead to higher-paying positions once you have some hands-on experience. Keep in mind that positions directly related to a psychology degree pay the best. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for a social worker in 2017 was $47,980.

The BLS offers a great deal of information regarding salaries in the field of psychology, and it breaks down these positions further into subcategories. However, in general, psychologists reported a median annual wage of $77,030 or $37.03 per hour in 2017. The highest 10 percent earned more than $124,520, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,330. According to the BLS, “all other” psychologists, industrial-organizational psychologists, and clinical, counseling, and school psychologists reported the highest salaries. The median annual wages for psychologists for the top industries in which they worked are:

  • Government: $94,910
  • Private, local, and state hospitals: $83,910
  • Ambulatory healthcare services: $77,030
  • Private, local, and state elementary and secondary schools: $74,470

What Are the Various Disciplines of Psychology?

Psychology is a vast field with many disciplines, each of which focuses on a different group of people or condition. If you are considering an undergraduate degree in psychology, you could find a lucrative career in one of the following five most common disciplines of psychology.

1. Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychologists study the “how” behind mental processes. They may investigate:

  • how the brain handles what it’s learned
  • how people understand information and learn
  • how these processes influence common mental conditions

Cognitive psychology is well-suited for people interested in the mechanics behind:

  • language
  • judgment
  • reasoning
  • decision-making
  • problem-solving.

2. Clinical Psychology

As the most recognized, largest discipline of psychology, clinical psychology covers a wide range of behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders. Clinical psychologists typically choose a specific group of people with whom to work or a problem to address. For example, a clinical psychologist may focus his or her attention on teenagers or specialize in bipolar disorder. Clinical psychologists use information from psychological research and the principles of psychology to assess patients and clients in order to provide the most appropriate treatments.

3. Sport Psychology

It is common for sports teams and athletes to have their own psychologists or for coaches to ask for the professional opinion of a sports psychologist. These professionals help improve athletic performance by reducing stress, increasing motivation, and honing concentration by working directly with athletes and their coaches. While some sports psychologists work with schools, others concentrate on research to increase the industry’s understanding of various psychological challenges athletes face.

4. School Psychology

School psychologists enjoy working with children and want to see them succeed in their personal lives as well as their academic ones. School psychologists partner with parents and teachers to help kids:

  • achieve academic excellence
  • work with teachers to overcome challenges in the classroom
  • administer cognitive assessments to students
  • counsel children in dealing with emotional, developmental, or personal issues.

5. Developmental Psychology

Professionals who choose to pursue a career in developmental psychology study cognitive and physical development over the course of the lifespan. This includes how emotional influences and social factors affect development at various stages throughout life. Since human development is such a broad area, most developmental psychologists focus on a specific age group such as geriatrics, childhood, and adolescence.

Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology will benefit from a range of options for their next career or academic step. For students looking to enter a career as a professional therapist, counselor, or psychologist,  a master’s or doctoral program is ideal. Other students may use their undergraduate psychology degree to enter the workforce in areas such as:

  • business
  • human resources
  • law enforcement
  • law
  • medicine

No matter your personal or professional goals, the above-ranked best psychology schools for recent high school graduates will prepare you for a range of career and academic opportunities.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 30 Best Psychology Schools for High School Graduates.

By OPD Staff
July 2019