Best College Psychology Programs

| Psychology.org Staff Modified on April 12, 2022

Best College Psychology Programs

Are you ready to discover your college program?

With more than 1,000 psychology bachelor's programs in the United States, finding the right choice for you can seem overwhelming. This guide to the best colleges for psychology degrees helps you narrow your choices to find the right school for your interests and goals.

What to Look For in a Bachelor's Program for Psychology

The most important factors in finding the best colleges for psych majors include program quality and reputation, application and admission requirements, cost and financial aid for psychology students, staff-to-student ratio, logistics, and how the curriculum matches your interests.

Psychology program accreditation is so vital to education value and your future career that this guide lists only accredited programs.

You have two options for psychology bachelor's programs, a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BS). A BA is a more general degree that prepares you for a broader range of study and careers, while a BS focuses on preparing you for further studies and careers in psychology practice. However, most master's programs accept students with either degree.

Most psychology bachelor's programs offer classes across a range of topics and populations. If you have a particular specialization in mind, such as child psychology, cognition, organizational psychology, or counseling, explore the curriculum to ensure course offerings match your career goals.

Career Relevance

A psychology bachelor's degree prepares students for a variety of psychology careers. While many psychology majors plan to become clinical psychologists, counselors, or therapists, other options include:

For interdisciplinary careers like management, artificial intelligence, design, or research, the best colleges to get a psychology degree also have strong programs in related fields and let you take classes across programs or schools. For example, if you're interested in psychology and artificial intelligence, take courses in computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, and philosophy. If you want a career in user experience design, your psychology bachelor's degree program should include courses in research methods, graphics, and informatics.

Best College Psychology Programs

View ranking methodology here.

#1 Online College in Missouri

College of the Ozarks

School Information
Location Point Lookout, Missouri
Admission Rate 10%
Graduation Rate 71%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

One of the best colleges for psychology, C of O is a Christian college located in Point Lookout, Missouri. The school's BS in psychology features theoretical coursework and practical experience. Students learn how to apply their Christian faith in the human services field.

The major explores topics including abnormal psychology, physiological psychology, and research methods. Students take electives such as developmental psychology and theories of personality. Enrollees study counseling techniques and learn how to apply psychology in workplace settings. An internship provides supervised practical experience.

Students can join the Christian psychology club and Psi Chi. Full-time students can work on campus to help pay for their tuition. C of O offers donor-sponsored scholarships.

Applicants must demonstrate academic potential and financial need. Candidates with a minimum 3.0 GPA receive preference.

#2 Online College in Maine

Bowdoin College

School Information
Location Brunswick, Maine
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

Established in 1794, Bowdoin is a liberal arts college located in Maine. The psychology major comprises 10 courses exploring behavioral motivations and mental processes. Enrollees study psychology concepts, theories, and research.

The psychology bachelor's curriculum features three required courses, including an introduction to psychology. Students explore research design methodology. Participants work with advisors to customize the degree plan and choose electives. Enrollees can pursue an independent study to conduct their own experiments and field investigations.

About 1,800 learners study at the Brunswick campus. Bowdoin boasts an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The college hosts more than 100 clubs and organizations. 

One of the best colleges for psychology, Bowdoin offers grants and affordable tuition rates. Admission requires a high school diploma or the equivalent. Bowdoin does not require ACT or SAT scores.

#3 Online College in California

Pomona College

School Information
Location Claremont, California
Admission Rate 7%
Graduation Rate 93%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Pomona is a private liberal arts college enrolling about 1,700 students. Learners study on campus in Claremont, near Los Angeles. The psychological science major introduces students to psychological science methods and perspectives. Learners develop foundational skills in research design methods and statistics.

Enrollees customize the curriculum through electives. Course topics include child development, psychological disorders, and the psychology of addictive behaviors. A behavioral economics course examines the motivations behind economic decision-making.

Students attend advanced seminars aligned with their personal interests and career objectives. Seminar topics include the psychology of climate change, social neuroscience, and Latinx mental health.

Students gain practical experience through psychological fieldwork. Enrollees take classes with an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Admission to Pomona, one of the best colleges for psych majors, requires a high school diploma and college prep courses.

#4 Online College in New York

Barnard College

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 12%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Associated with Columbia University, Barnard is a private women's liberal arts college. One of the best colleges for psychology, the institution delivers a psychology bachelor's degree on campus in New York City. Enrollees take introductory courses in psychology, statistics, and behavioral research methods and analysis.

Students choose core elective courses exploring topics such as perception, social psychology, and systems and behavioral neuroscience. The psychology major requires at least two lab courses.

To fulfill the senior requirement, students complete a capstone and a seminar, field practicum, independent study, or research thesis. Learners can conduct supervised psychological research during an internship.

Barnard students can access Columbia University's extensive resources. Admission requires a high school diploma, school transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores.

#5 Online College in Pennsylvania

Swarthmore College

School Information
Location Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Founded by Quakers in 1864, Swarthmore College is a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. The school offers more than 600 courses and undergraduate research opportunities. The psychology major provides a sound foundation in psychology principles and methodologies.

Students complete an introduction to psychology course or an early social cognition seminar. The psychology major requires coursework in research design and analysis. Students customize the rest of the curriculum. Available classes cover behavioral neuroscience, perception, and clinical psychology.

All students complete a culminating research experience that may include a thesis or field placement in clinical psychology. The college maintains an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Admission to the major requires prerequisite coursework. Applicants to Swarthmore College submit high school transcripts.

#6 Online College in Maine

Bates College

School Information
Location Lewiston, Maine
Admission Rate 12%
Graduation Rate 91%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

Located in Lewiston, Maine, Bates enrolls about 2,000 degree-seeking students.

Learners can only declare the psychology major as sophomores. The major comprises 11 courses. Enrollees apply classroom knowledge in laboratory settings.

The curriculum features core courses in the principles of psychology, statistics, and research methods. Foundational coursework covers the biology of neuroscience and the nature of helping relationships.

Students customize the major with course options such as sensation and perception, animal learning, and positive psychology. Participants can study computational or affective neuroscience. The psychology bachelor's program culminates with a thesis.

Admission to Bates requires high school transcripts and teacher recommendations. Applicants can submit SAT or ACT scores to strengthen their application.

#7 Online College in North Carolina

Davidson College

School Information
Location Davidson, North Carolina
Admission Rate 18%
Graduation Rate 91%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Davidson students choose from 31 majors. One of the best colleges for psychology, the North Carolina institution offers a psychology major that explores the processes underlying human and animal behavior. Students declare the major by the fall semester of their junior year. The 10 major courses explore topics including research design and statistics.

Students choose at least one course in each of three areas. Enrollees can pursue training in subfields including cultural psychology, child psychopathology, and industrial-organization psychology. Students take at least one seminar in a field such as gender and psychopathology.

Seniors complete a thesis or a capstone course. Learners who plan to attend graduate school typically choose the thesis option. Seniors also complete an oral interview with a psychologist outside the department. Applicants to Davidson need a high school diploma and college-prep coursework.

#8 Online College in Massachusetts

Amherst College

School Information
Location Amherst, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

Amherst enrolls nearly 2,000 students on its Massachusetts campus. The school offers 42 majors in the arts, humanities, natural, and social sciences. The psychology major provides training in biological psychology; social, personality, and abnormal psychology; and cognitive and developmental psychology.

Students choose from courses on topics such as clinical, social, and cognitive psychology. The customizable curriculum features required seminars, each with 15-18 students. Seminars explore issues such as psychotherapy or personality and political leadership.

Enrollees further customize the major through electives in topics such as race relations, health psychology, and sports psychology. Psychology students can choose a second major or study abroad.

One of the best colleges for psych majors, Amherst boasts a 7-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent.

#9 Online College in California

Claremont McKenna College

School Information
Location Claremont, California
Admission Rate 10%
Graduation Rate 91%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Located 30 miles from Los Angeles, CMC is part of a seven-school consortium. Students take classes and participate in activities with 7,000 peers at sister institutions. Students in CMC's psychology program learn to apply scientific theories and methods to daily life.

Psychology majors complete 10 courses and typically begin with an introduction to the field. Enrollees choose one course from each of three clusters exploring psychology subfields. Course topics include psychological disorders and sensation and perception. A neuropsychology course examines the psychological functions of various parts of the brain.

Participants further customize the degree with three elective courses. The applied curriculum provides hands-on experience through lab work. Learners conduct research in areas such as autism and cognitive neuroscience. Some labs offer paid internships and research assistantships during summer months. Admission to CMC, one of the best colleges for psych majors, requires a high school diploma and school transcripts.

#10 Online College in Massachusetts

Williams College

School Information
Location Williamstown, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 13%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

A private liberal arts school located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Williams offers various bachelor of arts programs. Psychology is the sixth most popular major at Williams, one of the best colleges for psychology. The psychology major requires coursework in experimentation and statistics.

Participants build on foundational knowledge during elective courses exploring psychology subfields. Students can learn about psychological disorders or the psychology of education. During seminars and labs, enrollees can conduct original research or work in applied settings.

Psychology degree-seekers can pursue a double major or a concentration. Students can work in faculty members' research labs. Enrollees can choose to complete a year-long research project culminating in a thesis.

Students benefit from the college's 7-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. About 125 student organizations offer extracurricular activities. Admission to Williams requires high school transcripts and teacher and counselor recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the best colleges for psychology?

The best psychology bachelor's program depends on your interests, strengths, and preferences. In addition to school rankings and reputation, consider the school size, program format, and curriculum, as well as cost, financial aid, and value.

Is a BA or BS better for psychology?

Choosing between a BA or BS in psychology depends on your plans. If you know you want to practice psychology, a BS program may be a better choice, while if you want to use psychology in a related field or aren't certain of your career, a BA program offers more versatility.

Is a BA in psychology worth it?

A psychology bachelor's degree can open doors to a variety of career options with a wide range of salaries. Because psychology is a popular major, attending one of the best colleges for psychology can give you an edge in job hunting and/or getting into a graduate program.

What can you do with a psychology degree?

A bachelor's in psychology is a versatile degree that can prepare you for careers in human resources, administration, marketing, law, medicine, government, or even technology. However, most high-paying careers require a graduate degree in psychology or another discipline.

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