THE BEST SMALL COLLEGES FOR A PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE

Are you ready to find your fit?

Interested in learning more about the way that people think? Psychology might be the right career path for you. Currently, there are over 150,000 psychologists employed in America. Psychologists receive a median pay of $37.03 an hour, nearly double the national average. In order to become a practicing psychologist or own your own clinic, you will need more advanced education.

To help you make an educated college choice, we’ve curated a list of the 25 best small colleges for psychology majors on a budget. Through meeting the following criteria, each school on our list has proven its dedication to providing a quality, affordable education:

  • At least one full program for students seeking a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field
  • Overall undergraduate graduation rate of at least 40%
  • Estimated annual cost (as reported by College Navigator) of less than $27,000 a year

Need to know who’s at #1? Keep reading!

Rank School Location
1 Madonna University Livonia, MI
2 Christian Brothers University Memphis, TN
3 Carson-Newman University Jefferson City, TN
4 Avila University Kansas City, MO
5 Northwest Nazarene University Nampa, ID
6 Bethel College-North Newton North Newton, KS
7 Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, MD
8 Warner Pacific College Portland, OR
9 Morningside College Sioux City, IA
10 Multnomah University Portland, OR

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  1. Madonna University
    Location

    Livonia, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With a net price of just over $13,000 a year, Madonna University is the most affordable college for psychology majors on this list—if not in the country. And for the price, psychology majors can expect an unprecedented variety of exciting features and opportunities, from concentrations within the major (General Psychology, Mental Health, and Business) to undergraduate research. The campus even has an active chapter of Psi Chi! But most importantly, Madonna offers a comprehensive curriculum that gets the job done by preparing psychology majors for an array of career opportunities in academia, human services, clinical work, and education.

  2. Christian Brothers University
    Location

    Memphis, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Like many of the top schools in our psychology degrees ranking, Christian Brothers University has an excellent selection of unusual majors, minors, and concentrations within its Psychology Department. But few of these other schools can truly compete with CBU: this unabashedly Christ-oriented institution takes specialization to the next level with over 10 dedicated programs in fascinating fields like Speech Pathology, Cognitive Psychology, and even something called Engineering Psychology. What's more, CBU is a powerful incubator for undergraduate research, encouraging all students to produce original work and share their results with others in order to maintain a thriving intellectual community on campus.

  3. Carson-Newman University
    Location

    Jefferson City, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Carson-Newman University, the Psychology Department hosts a full house of programs - three majors and six minors - to provide an exceptionally customizable experience for intellectually ambitious students. With affordable undergraduate psychology degree programs in General Psychology, Applied Psychology, and Social Entrepreneurship, plus minors in Applied Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Mental Health, Positive Psychology, Social Entrepreneurship, and Criminology, it's hard to comprehend just how comprehensive Carson-Newman's Psychology Department is. Outside the classroom, CNU places a strong emphasis on community engagement, regularly recruiting psychology majors for outreach initiatives at local clinics and other human services organizations.

  4. Avila University
    Location

    Kansas City, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Glance even briefly at Avila University's Psychology Department website and one section of the page will immediately jump out: the list of psychology student award winners, which includes undergraduates who have earned recognition from national organizations like Psi Chi. While this doesn't speak directly to the quality of Avila's academics, it does provide a strong indication of the kind of educational values the school promotes - not to mention the types of students it attracts. But these values don't just exist in digital print. In fact they permeate campus culture, manifesting in everything from the abundance of available research opportunities to the flexibility of the undergraduate psychology degree program, which features optional concentrations in Mental Health and Research.

  5. Northwest Nazarene University
    Location

    Nampa, ID

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Northwest Nazarene University, psychology majors can choose from three areas of emphasis (Pre-Counseling, Neuroscience/Neuropsychology, and Scientist/Practitioner) in order to tailor their education to fit their individual aspirations. And while this flexibility alone would probably place NNU among the top small schools for psychology, the advantages don't end there. The university is also a strong proponent of undergraduate research (information on current undergraduate work is available on the departmental website), and features a number of related student groups, such as the Psychology Club and a chapter of Psi Chi (i.e., the national honor society in psychology).

  6. Bethel College-North Newton
    Location

    North Newton, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Bethel College at North Newton marries a strong liberal arts core with a hands-on psychology curriculum to produce lifelong learners with a passion for understanding the human mind. Experiential learning is integrated into every stage of Bethel's psychology major: from clinical internships and on-campus research assistantships to laboratory coursework, this top small college psychology program provides an abundance of opportunities for undergraduates to acquire a firsthand perspective on the impact of psychology on the real world. What's more, Bethel students can add either a Clinical and Counseling or Neuroscience Certificate to their major with minimal supplemental coursework.

  7. Notre Dame of Maryland University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Notre Dame of Maryland University is a women's college that is widely regarded for its innovative and integrated psychology programs. Both NDMU's Psychology and Behavioral Science majors emphasize several signature focuses: observation, communication, motor skills, conceptual and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social attributes. Students in these programs can also specialize in art or music therapy. A concentration in behavioral neuroscience is also available. Combined with an expansive curriculum that includes topics like animal behavior and gender roles, it's not difficult to see why NDMU appears so high up on our psychology degrees ranking.

  8. Warner Pacific College
    Location

    Portland, OR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With just over 500 undergraduates enrolled, Warner Pacific College is one of the smallest schools on our psychology degrees ranking—but it's also one of the strongest. In fact, if you consider the student-faculty ratio, its size is one of its strengths. WPC's core psychology curriculum is loaded with fascinating topics that range from sexuality and personality theory to the psychology of religion, deviant behavior, and even family violence. The major also introduces undergraduates to qualitative and quantitative research as well as therapeutic methods so that they are well-prepared for both clinical and counseling careers after graduation.

  9. Morningside College
    Location

    Sioux City, IA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the best small schools for psychology, Morningside College offers a wide range of degree programs within the department to appeal to students' diverse interests. For those who are particularly interested in interpersonal relationships, Morningside's BA in Counseling Psychology is a promising choice; those who would rather study how people change over time might prefer the degree in Developmental Psychology. A third degree in Biopsychology provides compelling coursework for majors who are considering a career in neurological research. Fortunately, students who have trouble choosing from these three distinct programs don't actually have to - the General Psychology degree will give them a taste of everything.

  10. Multnomah University
    Location

    Portland, OR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    There are many reasons why students choose to attend Multnomah University to earn their affordable undergraduate psychology degree, and price is just one of them. Flexibility is a major part of the appeal of Multnomah's Psychology Department, which offers 2- and 4-year degree tracks as well as flexible online coursework. The school also boasts a hard-to-come-by degree program in Business and Organizational Psychology, which is a burgeoning field with a median salary verging on six figures. And for religious practitioners, Multnomah's biblical emphasis is another strong selling point, as is the required senior practicum.

Want to find out exactly how much it will cost for you to attend one of these affordable small college psychology programs? Check out the U.S. Department of Education’s Net Price Calculator Center.

For information about our methodology, click here.

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Sources:

College Navigator

By Iris Stone

April 2017

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