50 Best Value Colleges for a Psychology Degree in 2021

Updated November 15, 2022

A psychology degree is very popular among undergraduate students, and if you look at median salary and career growth, it’s easy to see why.

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Psychology has long been a popular choice for undergraduate majors, and once you look at the data, it’s easy to see why. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for psychology jobs to grow by about 3% between 2019 and 2029 — an average growth rate for most jobs. A job in the psychology field can also pay well — as of 2019, this field had a median salary of $80,370 — and it can be especially lucrative if you obtain your doctorate degree

Psychology is also an appealing route for students because it’s broad enough to give you the space to explore careers in other industries, such as business, marketing, law, education, social services, medicine, and healthcare.

Keeping job growth opportunities and median salary in mind, a psychology degree can be a great way to start carving a path to future employment. If you’re considering your undergrad options and are thinking of pursuing a B.S. or B.A. in Psychology, you’re probably weighing multiple factors, including affordability and selectivity, while looking for the colleges with the best schools for psychology. Keep reading to learn more about how to get the most value out of your dollar and the best education in a college psychology program.

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What jobs can you get with a psychology degree?

One of the attractive perks of a psychology degree is that it offers a flexible area of study and there are a number of different directions you can take in your career. Among those options are research, education, social work, business, and law.

What is the best college to get a psychology degree?

The best college to get a psychology degree depends on what you think makes a school stand out. If you’re looking for the most affordable option, consider schools such as CUNY Bernard M Baruch College and the University of North Carolina, both of which offer low tuition costs for residents. If you’re looking for a top-rated school, consider University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, though it is a bit more expensive.

Is it worth it to get a degree in psychology?

A degree in psychology can be worth it if you enjoy studying how the mind works and/or if you are interested in taking your education beyond your undergrad. If you’re considering the financial aspect of a degree in psychology, the median salary for a psychologist is $80,370 and the growth rate for industry is rising at a steady 3%.

Can you get a good paying job with a psychology degree?

Yes — the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median pay for psychologists as $80,370 per year and $38.64 per hour. However, in order to earn this type of salary, you’ll typically need to pursue a doctorate degree. That said, in some instances, a masters degree is considered sufficient.

Our Top 10 Best Value Colleges for Psychology Degrees

#1 CUNY Bernard M New York, NY
#2 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
#3 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Socorro, NM
#4 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA
#5 Brigham Young University at Provo Provo, UT
#6 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
#7 University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
#8 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
#9 University of California San Diego La Jolla, CA
#10 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA

Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools

At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs. We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.
Metric Data Used Percentage
Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%
You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.

The requirements to graduate with a degree in psychology will depend on which school and program you choose to attend. However, there are generally a few typical expectations you’ll need to meet in order to graduate from most psychology programs. These include:

General education courses

Most universities and colleges require you to take general core classes and electives in order to graduate with a degree in your major. This can include courses in math, science, English, languages, and communication. These courses will give you a chance to explore introductory classes to other programs at your school and provide you with a well-rounded education.

Major course requirements

If you want to graduate with a degree in psychology, all universities and colleges will require you to complete courses specifically focused on psychology. At Georgia Tech, you’ll have to take a general psychology course before moving on to more in-depth psychology classes, such as Cognitive Psychology, Human Development Over the LifeSpan, and Abnormal Psychology.

Elective requirements

Many psychology programs will require you to take coursework that isn’t specifically focused on your major but will tie in to your studies. For example, the University of North Carolina requires B.A. psychology majors to take Principles of Biology as well as a computer programming or calculus course in order to graduate.

Senior thesis, capstone, or internship

To finish off your undergrad in psychology, most programs require you to complete a senior thesis, capstone, or internship to graduate. At BYU, for example, students can choose to take an academic internship or senior practicum course in either teaching, research, or community projects. These types of experiences will offer more practical experience in the specific areas of psychology you’re interested in working in.

Common Psychology Degree Courses

General Psychology
Most psychology programs will offer an introduction to psychology course that you will have to complete. This class will often serve as a prerequisite for your other psychology courses. In a general psychology class, you can expect to learn an overview of the major principles of psychology and scientific approaches to thoughts and behavior.
Abnormal Psychology
In an abnormal psychology course, you’ll learn the most common forms of psychological disorders. You’ll also learn about the major theories regarding the causes of abnormal psychology and how to classify and treat psychological disorders.
Child Psychology
In a course like child psychology, you’ll learn about the social and intellectual behavior developments in children as well as the processes that guide these progressions. Courses like this typically emphasize theory and research.
Research Methods in Psychology
Psychology is a major that relies on and heavily utilizes research, so chances are you’ll have to take a research course or two to learn how to conduct research. In a course like this, students will explore the various methodologies used in psychology to conduct research. These approaches vary depending on the practice. Students can also expect to conduct research on their own and write up the results of their project.

Career Path for Psychology Degrees

One of the perks of getting a psychology degree is the wide range of career options you have at your disposal once you graduate. However, while you may get hired if you only have your undergrad or masters degree, many positions in the psychology field will require you to take the steps to obtain your doctoral degree. 

Career options within the psychology field include conducting research, meeting with clients or patients, and working in healthcare, social work, or in schools. Most psychologists will also be required to get a license, especially if you choose to work with clients.

Job Outlook & Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average income for a psychologist is $80,370, as of May 2019. Employment opportunities for psychologists are projected to grow by about 3% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average occupation. 

In particular, these states pay the highest median wages for psychologists: Oregon ($112,010), California ($111,750), District of Columbia ($106,900), New York ($96,170), and Louisiana ($96,040). Keep in mind, however, that most high-paying job prospects for psychologists are geared toward those who obtain their doctoral degree in psychology. That said, your masters or even your undergrad degree can also be considered suitable depending on the specific field you go into. 

The American Psychological Association lists more than 100 financial aid opportunities for high school and undergrad students alone. Some options you can consider applying to include:

  • Point Foundation LGBT Scholarships: The Point Foundation provides scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated leadership and academic excellence and identify as a member of the LGBT community. To qualify, you must be at least a senior in high school and be enrolled full-time for a full academic year. 
    • Amount: $5,000 to $28,000
    • Deadline: January 30, 2022
  • Sharon Stephens Brehm Undergraduate Psychology Scholarships: The Brehm Scholarship recognizes psychology undergraduate students who demonstrate academic excellence as well as financial need. To qualify, you’ll need to provide a resume, your transcript, a personal essay, a letter or recommendation, and the following documents to demonstrate financial need: your most recent financial aid award letter from your college or university, your FAFSA Student Aid Report, cost of attendance, expected family contribution (EFC), and amount of financial aid. 
    • Amount: Six $5,000 scholarships
    • Deadline: July 1, 2021
  • AP-LS Award for Best Undergraduate Paper: This award recognizes outstanding undergraduate research papers focused on the study of psychology and law. To qualify for this award, you’ll need to submit an APA-style paper of up to 25 pages as well as a letter of recommendation.
    • Amount: $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $150 for third place
    • Deadlines: June 30, 2021; June 30, 2022; June 30, 2023

Common Psychology Degree Majors

In a neuroscience major, you’ll study subjects like psychology and chemistry in order to understand the human brain and nervous system. With a degree in neuroscience, you can pursue careers in medicine, research, clinical psychology, and pharmaceuticals.

If you pursue a degree in social work, you’ll learn how to offer support services to children, adolescents, and adults. To do this job well, you’ll need to have some working psychology knowledge in order to better understand those in your care. With a social work degree, you can find work as a social worker or work in other various human services positions.

With an education degree, you’ll be learning how to teach and manage students within the K-12 grades. A working knowledge of psychology within this field will also come in handy — child psychology in particular — so you can best understand how to help the students you’re working with. Careers with this major include teaching or tutoring.

The Best Value Colleges for Psychology Degrees, Ranked 1-50

  1. CUNY Bernard M

    New York, NY



    For one of the most affordable psychology programs in the country, you may want to choose CUNY Bernard M Baruch College, a public university in New York City. With an in-state tuition cost of about $7,462 per year and out-of-state cost of about $15,412 a year, this university will keep your student debt low, freeing you to focus on more important matters - like psychology! The university has two options for students interested in human behavior, including a general track and a focused track in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. The latter trades coursework in abnormal and developmental behavior for classes in personality theory, occupational health, and diversity in the workplace. A psychology major here will take you about four years to graduate. Like all good psychology schools, CUNY supports a long list of elective courses that cater to every interest, including the Psychology of Religion, Political Psychology, and Literature and Psychology.

  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Chapel Hill, NC



    The University of North Carolina is a well-known public institute that touts top academic programs, and its Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is no exception. You have the option to earn either a B.A. or B.S. in the subject, or tack on a Cognitive Science minor to another academic interest. Both a B.A. or B.S. in psychology will take you about four years to complete. UNC's department is rife with extra options if you’re feeling ambitious; in addition to an Honors Program, you can also strive for the prestigious (and paid) Karen M. Gil Internship, which offers extensive hands-on training to the school's brightest future psychologists. Other activities include the Minority Psychology Student Association, the Neuroscience Club, and the Psi Chi National Honor Society. In-state tuition at UNC is an affordable $8,980. If you live out of state, however, a psychology degree at this school is going to be more expensive, with tuition averaging about $36,159 for out-of-state students.

  3. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

    Socorro, NM



    The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology is a public tech school with a reputation for programs in science and engineering, but it has plenty to offer outside of these programs as well. NMIMT is a good school for psychology majors who prefer the B.S. to the B.A. approach. The curriculum requires multiple biology and mathematics courses in addition to a long sequence of psych requirements. You should also note that New Mexico Tech's general curriculum mandates that all students complete coursework in computer science, chemistry, and physics, so you will need to be just as good with numbers as words. The psych courses emphasize research and techniques for testing variables, and they typically include lab experiences. The university even has an animal care facility if you want to conduct independent projects. In-state tuition here averages about $8,361, while out-of-state tuition averages about $24,190. If you choose to go with NMT’s psychology degree, expect it to take you about four years to complete.

  4. Georgia Institute of Technology

    Atlanta, GA



    The B.S. in Psychology at Georgia Tech offers a versatile program that can launch your career in a variety of industries. You may attend law or medical school, choose another graduate program, or find a job in business, advertising, or computer science. Uniquely, GT incorporates an "International Plan" into its psychology coursework that allows you to develop "global competence" during your studies. In addition to all the typical psych requirements, International Plan members must also take three specified international courses, demonstrate language proficiency, and complete a capstone class that focuses on a global experience. Alternatively, the "Research Option" gives you more targeted training in experimental design - an ideal choice if you see grad school in your future. In-state tuition here will cost you about $12,852 per year, while the pricier out-of-state tuition is about $33,964 per year. Like most undergrad degrees, a B.S. in psychology at Georgia Tech will take you about four years to complete.

  5. Brigham Young University at Provo

    Provo, UT



    Good psychology schools often emphasize research as an important aspect of academics; at Brigham Young University, a private university based in Utah, busy labs and active faculty provide plenty of evidence for quality in this regard. Programs are available from the undergraduate to doctoral level and include both general and clinical options. As a student, you would be regularly involved in projects on family relationships, physical health, neuropsychology, clinical assessment, cognitive development, and more. As an undergraduate, you can participate through the SONA Research System, get help finding internships in the social services sector, or talk to an advisor about graduate school. You can also join the Psi Chi Honors Society, network with classmates through the Psych Association, or potentially get research published in Intuition, the on-campus academic journal. At BYU, tuition only costs $5,970 per year on average, and an undergraduate degree in psychology will take you about four years to complete.

  6. College of William and Mary

    Williamsburg, VA



    The interdisciplinary psychology degree at William and Mary, a public institute, gives you the option to combine multiple areas of interest under the umbrella of cognition and human behavior. For example, if you pursue a B.S. in psychology, you might lean heavily on coursework in biology or kinesiology, while the B.A. tract might sample a great deal of coursework from sociology or anthropology. Regardless of the path you take, the college will give you plenty of opportunities to participate in research with faculty, even at the undergraduate level. Professors have a reputation for both their excellence in research and their attention to students — just two ways William and Mary has earned its position as a college with a good psychology program. Should you choose to pursue a psychology degree at William and Mary, expect it to take about four years to complete. In-state tuition here will cost you about $23,628 per year, while the much more expensive out-of-state tuition is about $46,854 per year, making attending William and Mary much more affordable for residents of Virginia.

  7. University of California Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA



    UCLA attracts students for a variety of reasons, only one of them being the beautiful weather in Southern California. For psychology students, UCLA is a top choice for its selection of degree paths; undergrads can get a B.A. in Psychology, a B.S. in Psychobiology, or a B.S. in Cognitive Science. Plus, extracurricular opportunities abound at UCLA, from the Cognitive Science Student Association to the Undergraduate Research Journal of Psychology. Students can also participate in the annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference or even sign up to volunteer as participants in on-campus experiments. The curriculum also creates space for students to complete fieldwork, internships, and assistantships in the surrounding community. At UCLA, a psychology degree will take you about four years to complete. In-state tuition at this public university costs about $13,249 per year. Out-of-state tuition is more than three times more expensive at about $43,003 per year.

  8. Stony Brook University

    Stony Brook, NY



    Stony Brook's two psychology degrees provide a broad foundation across a multitude of subjects, and both will adequately prepare you for graduate school. The relevant coursework spans the five essential areas of study: clinical and abnormal psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, cognition and perception, and biopsychology. SBU also emphasizes experiential learning outside the classroom, and students can both network and socialize through the Psi Chi National Honors Society, the Psychology Student Alliance, and the Neuroscience Axis group. Faculty members are also available to help you find psychology-related community service opportunities or internships for credit. A psychology degree at this public university will cost state residents about $10,091 per year, and the out-of-state tuition isn’t bad either at about $27,761 per year. It should take you about four years to finish a psychology degree at Stony Brook.

  9. University of California San Diego

    La Jolla, CA



    UC San Diego goes beyond just offering B.A. and B.S. options in psychology. Here, B.S. students can choose to specialize in one of six concentrations: Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology, Human Health, Developmental Psychology, Sensation and Perception, or Cognitive Psychology. Regardless of concentration, psych students can explore learning opportunities in undergrad research, internships, or even apprentice teaching. The latter option turns highly capable students into learning assistants for classes in which they have excelled, letting them solidify their knowledge and help others in the process. The UCSD Psychology Department also supports study abroad opportunities and can help you make sure your international credits will transfer back to San Diego. Tuition at this public university is much more reasonable for residents of California. In-state tuition will cost you about $14,648 per year, while out-of-state students will have to pay about $44,402 per year for tuition. Should you pursue a psychology degree here, expect it to take around four years to complete.

  10. University of Virginia

    Charlottesville, VA



    UVA is one of the top public schools and hosts one of the best psychology programs in the nation. In fact, psychology is one of the most popular majors at the University of Virginia, attracting a horde of undergraduate and graduate students every year. For B.A. students, course options include the Neural Basis of Behavior, Research Methods and Data Analysis, Child Psychopathology, and Brain Systems Involved in Memory. The best students can also apply for The Distinguished Majors Program, which turns their fourth year of study into a two-semester, research-intensive project that culminates in a thesis. At UVA, in-state tuition will cost you about $18,960 per year while out-of-state tuition has a much higher price tag at about $52,843 per year. Expect an undergrad degree in psychology to take you about four years to complete at UVA.

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Amanda Push


Amanda Push is a freelance writer who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Grad School Hub, and Criminal Justice Degree Schools, and others. Her writing has also been featured at TheSimpleDollar.com, Interest.com, MyMove.com, and Safety.com.

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