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Best undergraduate psychology schools

Many undergraduate psychology schools have produced some of history’s most famous and successful psychologists. To help you find the best undergraduate psychology program for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of our top schools based on their reputation for producing top-notch psychologists and ranking in the U.S. News & World Report considers factors such as faculty resources and selectivity when rating universities. Below are our picks.

Know that most state flagships have a reliable psychology undergrad. It might be difficult to narrow down what college you want to attend depending on what you intend to do with your psych degree after completing your BA or BSc.

If you are interested in school psychology, youth development or counseling, you should also look for schools that offer a great M.Ed program. Look for schools that offer great programs in business or organizational psych. Etc

UW-Seattle and I believe UC Berkeley, UCSD, and UMich have programs that allow psych undergrads to work as research assistants or test dummies for grad students. In Canada, UWaterloo and McGill have extensive programs in undergrad psych. This is something you might look out for in a college’s page on psych departments – how involved are the undergrads.

Do not pay much attention to Psych rankings, which are mainly grad school rankings. It’s possible to cross the bridge once you reach it!

best undergraduate psychology schools

1) Stanford University

The Department for Psychology at Stanford University was one of the first departments to be established at the university. It is a long-standing institution that has been conducting groundbreaking theoretical research that directly impacts the world. It has been a top-ranked program in psychology at US universities for decades and is still a leader.

The psychology programs at Stanford offer excellent training in understanding human behavior using scientifically sound methods. A Stanford psychology degree will give you a broad background that can be used to help you pursue a career in education, business, law, medicine or social work.

2) Harvard University

Harvard is ranked #2 on our list of top colleges for psychology. The Department of Psychology at Harvard aims to understand mind, brain and behavior through empirical research. This ambition is reflected in the high quality of Harvard’s teaching. Both students and faculty study fundamental psychological processes, including attention, perception and memory, categorization and reasoning, decision-making and language.

Harvard Psychology allows you to understand human behavior. Psychology department has professors who are as interesting, fascinating, and impressive as their material. Harvard’s psychology department will teach you many skills, including how to analyze data, work with data, write clearly, objectively, and analyze the results of other studies. These skills will help you in a variety of fields, such as consulting, finance and healthcare, marketing and computer science, or music and film.

3) Yale University

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.


UCLA is a public research university located in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1919 and had nearly 43,000 students enrolled.

UCLA is ranked #1 for admission to medical schools, and its School of Medicine is considered one of the best in the country. The campus also includes beautiful gardens and a state-of-the-art recreation center (“Rec Center”).

UCLA’s undergraduate psychology program is ranked #2 by U.S. News & World Report (behind UC Berkeley). It’s also ranked #1 by College Factual for its clinical psychology program, social psychology program, and cognitive psychology program.


5) University of Michigan

Michigan is one of the best undergraduate psychology schools in the world. The university is ranked #23 overall by QS World University Rankings, #3 for psychology, #1 for research, and #2 for teaching. Unfortunately, the graduate program has an acceptance rate of just 3%.

The University of Michigan is ranked #16 in Forbes’s “The Top 20 Best Colleges for Getting Rich” because it has a high graduation rate (90%) and students who earn an average salary ($57,600).

6) Princeton University

Princeton University is an Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. It was founded in 1746 and is now one of the leading institutions for undergraduate psychology studies.

The University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, which can be pursued part-time or full-time. Princeton University also offers students to complete their coursework online if they prefer this option.

As one of the oldest and most respected universities in America, it is no wonder that students who graduate from Princeton tend to go on to succeed as leaders in their fields or continue into graduate school at prestigious universities around the world, such as Yale University and Harvard University.

7) Cornell University

Cornell was ranked #3 in College Factual’s most recent rankings. This is a top 1% ranking for students in psychology who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree. It is also #1 in New York.
The unique Cornell department has a high percentage of students involved in cutting-edge, innovative research. This direct involvement gives Cornell students the opportunity to experience firsthand “do science”, as well as establish mentoring relationships with faculty.

8) Northwestern

At Northwestern there are more courses to choose from when you aren’t filling your distribution requirements and it’s also well-known which boosts your chances at getting a job due to its alumni network.

9) Duke

USA Today has named Duke University the best college for a psychology major. Duke is also the top-ranked college in the nation for graduating with the highest salary in the mid-career for psychology majors. The undergraduate program is unique because it offers two different areas of study: one in psychology and the other in neuroscience. Their students have many opportunities to learn beyond the classroom through research and service.

10) University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an excellent choice for aspiring psychology majors. It offers a broad range of coursework, research opportunities, and excellent career services for grad school applicants.

The university’s psychology department has more than 100 faculty members who teach courses in all field areas, including cognitive science, personality theory and measurement, social psychology, developmental psychology, and health psychology.

Psychology majors can also participate in one of two undergraduate research programs: The Undergraduate Research Program (URP) encourages students to pursue their projects with a faculty member. At the same time, the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) provides hands-on training through faculty mentorship on existing projects.

Students can join one or more clubs or organizations related to their interests; these include groups like Psychologists at Work (PAW), which connects students with professionals in the field.

Psychology Club; Student Association for Psychological Science (SAPS); Women’s Studies Student Union (WSUSU); and many others.

11) Washington University in St. Louis

WUSTL ranked #25 in College Factual’s latest rankings of the top schools for psychology majors. It is now in the top 5% in this field. It is also #1 in Missouri.

The most sought-after majors at Washington University in St Louis are Computer Science and Experimental Psychology. Biology/Biological Sciences is also a popular choice. General is another popular major. Washington University in St Louis awards 157 degrees each year to Computer Science graduates.

12) Rice University

Rice is seen as a good school for psychology.

13) University of California at Berkeley (UC-Berkeley)

UC Berkeley is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Founded in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, UC Berkeley is a public research university with a strong focus on undergraduate education.

It’s known for its political activism and innovative spirit—you can expect to find some of the best professors teaching here.

In addition to its top-notch academics and research opportunities, this school also offers plenty of extracurricular activities to keep you busy outside of class.

The Cal Bears sports teams have produced some Olympians over the years (including 4×400 relay runner Sanya Richards-Ross). If you’re an art lover, check out their extensive collection at BAMPFA (the Museum of Art at the University of California).

14) UC San Diego

The University of California, San Diego is a private research university in La Jolla, California. The institution was founded in 1960 and offered undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees across six colleges. UCSD is a college that is underrated for psychology, but good.

Arts & Humanities; Behavioral & Social Sciences; Biological Sciences; Jacobs School of Engineering; Physical Sciences and Mathematics; and Rady School of Management.

The undergraduate psychology program at UC San Diego provides students with extensive opportunities for research experience and internships in and or abroad.

Students can choose from over 20 options for psychology research labs on campus, or they may work with faculty members on independent projects that support their interests within this significant field of study. 

15) UChicago

UChicago’s Department of Science and Technology is unique in that it has an unusually high percentage of their students involved directly in cutting-edge and innovative research. This direct involvement gives our students the opportunity to experience firsthand “do science”, as well as establish mentoring relationships with faculty.


16) The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

UIUC has a psychology department with a large faculty (over 40 full-time faculty members) and a solid undergraduate psychology program.

It is consistently ranked among the best schools for undergraduate research opportunities. The research interests of UIUC’s faculty span neuroscience, cognitive science, social psychology, and behavioral genetics.

UIUC also offers joint degrees with other departments, such as biochemistry, chemistry, and Earth System Science (ESS), as well as an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences that allows you to focus on areas like neuroscience or clinical psychology if you wish.


We hope this article has given you a better idea of what it takes to get into the best undergraduate psychology schools and which universities are the best options.

If you’re interested in studying psychology at an Ivy League school like Yale or Princeton, we recommend applying as early as possible. On the other hand, if you want to look at an affordable state university like UIUC, then using early is still essential but not necessary since these schools have rolling admission processes throughout the year.

Finally, if you want to pursue graduate studies in psychology, consider attending one of these schools because they offer some of the most competitive graduate programs in the world.

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