Hero Image 2020 Top Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Psychology

2020 Top Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Psychology

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Students who earn their bachelor’s degree in psychology will have a range of options for their next academic or career step. For students who hope to enter a career as a professional psychologist, counselor or therapist the next step would be entrance into either a master’s or doctoral program in the field. Other students may use their undergraduate psychology degree to enter graduate school or the workforce in a range of potential areas, including medicine, law, law enforcement, human resources, business and many others. Regardless of how the student will use their degree, most bachelor’s degree programs in psychology offer students training in the breadth and depth of the field of psychology. Students will learn about the many theories, methods and applications of psychological principles. They will have an introduction to conducting, analyzing and using psychological research. Many students will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects. Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from a top school will prepare students for a range of career and academic opportunities.

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For information about how we developed this ranking, please see the methodology statement at the end of the article.

Top 10 Undergraduate Psychology Schools

Rank School Location
1 Purdue University Hammond, IN
2 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
3 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
4 Berea College Berea, KY
5 University of Georgia Athens, GA
6 University of Washington Bothell, WA
7 Hunter College New York, NY
8 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
9 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
10 Indiana University Bloomington Bloomington, IN

Ranking Top 50 Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Psychology

  1. Purdue University
    Location

    Hammond, IN

    Purdue boasts the best on-campus bachelor's program in psychology in the United States. Students select one of two tracks: psychological sciences or brain and behavioral sciences. Both programs require 120 credits and 14 psychology courses, and incoming juniors with a minimum 3.5 GPA qualify for the honors program.

    Purdue offers several career services, including resume critiques, internship search strategies, and mock interviews. Purdue also maintains a blog and podcast that cover professional development and networking best practices. Thanks to these resources, 95% of recent Purdue graduates report a positive career outcome.

    Admission requirements include a high school diploma, ACT or SAT scores, and an essay. Indiana applicants who earned an Academic Honors Diploma in high school have the greatest chance of admission. Out-of-state students pay approximately three times more on tuition than in-state learners. Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences awards five departmental scholarships to psychology undergraduates.

  2. Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Harvard's psychology bachelor's program features two concentrations: cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience with evolutionary psychology. The cognitive science track limits enrollment to juniors and seniors with a minimum 3.5 GPA. Learners can customize their educational experience by selecting a secondary field that requires an extra five courses.

    Students can enhance a resume or prepare for graduate school by working in one of Harvard's research labs. At the Office of Career Services, learners can research jobs and internships, make resume revisions, and research employers attending upcoming career fairs. Other services include drop-in advising and 30-minute appointments with a career counselor.

    Harvard accepts the Common Application, and homeschooled prospective students can apply. High school seniors should ask two teachers for a recommendation letter. Fifty-five percent of undergraduates receive some form of institutional or departmental financial aid, and 20% of learners pay no tuition.

  3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Carolina's bachelor's in psychology program offers two concentration options. Each concentration includes general education, psychology, and statistical analysis courses that prepare students for graduate study.

    Nearly 90% of UNC's psychology undergraduates either find a job or enter graduate school within one year of earning a degree. Students can plan for life after graduation by consulting University Career Services' (UCS) Handshake software, internship opportunities, and the Career Readiness Workbook. UCS also offers virtual advising sessions.

    Application materials for prospective freshmen include the Common Application, two essays, one recommendation letter, and standardized test scores. Carolina residents save a significant amount on tuition compared to out-of-state learners. Psychology students may qualify for one of seven institutional scholarships and additional institutional financial aid.

  4. Berea College
    Location

    Berea, KY

    Berea's bachelor's program in psychology awards a BA and requires coursework in statistical research methods, principles of learning, and ethology. Students personalize the program by selecting four electives. Additional requirements include a senior research project in which learners design and implement an original experiment.

    Berea's Office of Internships and Career Development (OICD) offers numerous events and workshops throughout the year. Other OICD services include a four-year career plan that emphasizes identifying skills and matching them with potential careers. Students can also log in to Handshake to set up a virtual counseling appointment.

    Admission requirements include high school transcripts or GED scores, at least one recommendation letter, and ACT or SAT scores. All applicants also submit the FAFSA. Berea does not charge tuition to undergraduate students. Students who complete an internship or study abroad also do not pay out of pocket.

  5. University of Georgia
    Location

    Athens, GA

    UGA's psychology bachelor's program emphasizes the five goals that the American Psychological Association recommends for undergraduate programs. Learners can choose between UGA's general BS degree and a neuroscience emphasis. The latter requires additional biology and chemistry courses. Courses in both tracks include quantitative reasoning, research analysis, and learning.

    More than 95% of graduates find a job or enter another academic program within six months of earning a degree. UGA achieves this impressive statistic by offering resume templates, portfolio assistance, and a career guide through the Career Center (CC). On the CC website, students can also review blog posts that cover networking best practices and upcoming career fairs.

    Application materials include high school transcripts that meet UGA's high school prerequisites requirement, ACT or SAT scores, and two recommendation letters. Georgia residents save approximately 75% on tuition compared to out-of-state students. UGA boasts five institutional scholarships for first-year students.

  6. University of Washington
    Location

    Bothell, WA

    Students who enroll in UW's bachelor's in psychology program can earn a BA or a BS. In addition to major coursework, learners complete an optional teaching experience, fieldwork, or research course. Additionally, psychology students can enhance the educational experience by participating in a departmental study abroad experience in Indonesia.

    UW's Career and Internship Center offers multiple services, including virtual advising, blog posts that highlight career trends, and links to experiences perfect for students considering a gap year after graduation. Other 24/7 resources include virtual workshops and informational videos.

    Even after students enroll at UW, they still must meet the psychology program's admission requirements, including an overall minimum 3.2 undergraduate GPA and prerequisite coursework in introductory mathematics and psychology. In-state learners save a significant amount on tuition at UW. The university awards merit-based scholarships to both freshman and transfer learners.

  7. Hunter College
    Location

    New York, NY

    An excellent choice for New York City residents, Hunter's bachelor's program in psychology offers seven concentrations, including in animal behavior and clinical psychology. No matter the concentration, students receive in-depth instruction in statistical methods, laboratory science, and experimental psychology. Additionally, electives allow degree-seekers to earn an honors diploma or complete an internship.

    Hunter's career services professionals work one on one with students to create an effective resume, improve interviewing skills, and explore career paths. Learners can also keep track of upcoming career fairs, workshops, and panels on Hunter's website.

    Undergraduate admission requirements include high school transcripts or GED scores and ACT or SAT scores. Hunter considers transfer credit on a case-by-case basis and accepts up to 90 credits. New York residents save a significant amount on tuition. Incoming students may qualify for a federal grant, state grant, or institutional scholarship.

  8. Florida State University
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    FSU's psychology bachelor's program features coursework in research methods, an introduction to the brain and behavior, and human memory and learning. The flexible curriculum allows learners to complete a second major or minor. Additionally, the program offers an optional honors curriculum for qualified students and a study abroad opportunity in London, England.

    High-achieving psychology students can join Psi Chi, an honors society in which members network with peers and potential employers. The FSU Career Center also helps degree-seekers by offering virtual advising sessions, resume critiques, and brief videos that convey essential job hunting skills.

    FSU accepts the Common Application and GED scores. All applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants should have a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. In-state students save significantly on tuition compared to out-of-state learners. However, some out-of-state students may qualify for a scholarship that reduces tuition to the in-state rate.

  9. University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    A superb option for Florida residents, USF's bachelor's in psychology includes a 34-credit major curriculum featuring coursework in introduction to psychology, psychological statistics, and research methods. After completing these introductory courses, students select electives in cognitive, social, and applied psychology. In their senior year, learners complete either a directed-study program or an internship.

    On the USF Career Center website, students can sign up for a 15- to 60-minute coaching session, view presentations on job search strategies, and complete career modules that impart valuable skills. Degree-seekers can also research and apply for internship opportunities through Handshake.

    USF accepts GED scores, and all prospective freshmen submit ACT or SAT scores. The university uses different GPA cutoffs for transfer credit depending on the applicant's educational background. Out-of-state students pay more than double the in-state tuition rate. The Department of Psychology awards two departmental scholarships to qualifying applicants.

  10. Indiana University Bloomington
    Location

    Bloomington, IN

    IU's bachelor's program in psychology includes both a BA and a BS track. Both degrees offer concentrations, perfect for prospective students who want a customizable educational experience. The BS program emphasizes upper-division psychology coursework and requires additional laboratory experiences. Additionally, the program's selective honors program allows students to complete original research and write a thesis.

    Students can log in to One.IU to make an appointment with an academic advisor. Career coaches at IU's Career Development Center can direct learners to internship opportunities and networking events. The center also provides students with resume and cover letter workshops.

    Prospective freshmen must hold a high school diploma and submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer credit should reflect a minimum 2.3 GPA. In-state students pay a much lower tuition rate than out-of-state learners. IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences awards four departmental scholarships to deserving undergraduates.

Ranking Methodology

This ranking list has been created to outline the 50 best bachelor’s degree programs in psychology. Factors considered:

Net Cost of Attendance – Four Years

One of the major factors considered is the average annual graduate tuition. Data was collected from the College Navigator Tool.

Points:
Under $13,000 / $13,001 – $15,00/ $15,001 – $18,000
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Number of Degree Options or Areas of Specialization

While it may not be imperative in some fields to offer an array of areas of specialization, psychology is not one of those fields. With a vast number of possible specializations and concentrations it is important to graduate psychology students to have the ability to pursue a degree specialized to fit their career goals.

Points:
Number of Available Degree Options or Areas of Specialization
More than 1 Degree Options = 2 Points
More than 1 Specialization or Concentration Options = 2 Points

College Ranking

The next consideration was whether or not a school has been granted acknowledgement by a national ranking body. The major source of such national notoriety comes from the US News and World Report and the Gourman Report for best undergraduate psychology degrees.
Points:
US News and World Report Best National University Ranking, Top Public School Ranking, Best Value School Ranking, Most Innovative School Ranking and Best Psychology Program Ranking:

Top 5 / Top 10 / Top 25 / Top 50
5 Points / 3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Gourman Report Best Undergraduate Psychology Degree Ranking:
Top 5 / Top 10 / Top 20 / Top 30
5 Points / 3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Accreditation

In order to be included in this ranking list an appropriate ranking body must regionally accredit each college or university.

Points:
Each Accreditation: 1 Point

Likelihood of Acceptance

As more and more individuals are pursuing psychology degrees the ability to be accepted to a college program is becoming increasingly competitive. Those schools with higher acceptance rate were given additional points. US News and World Report provided the data for this score.

Points:
Acceptance Rates Above 50% / Above 60% / Above 70%
1 Points / 2 Points / 3 Points

Grading Process

Once the points have been tallied the schools are arranged into groups by the amount of points they have earned. In the cases of ties, preference was given to those schools with the lowest tuition rates.

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 Fescoe 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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