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How to Find the Best Psychology School

Updated on August 28, 2013
Library of Congress research library
Library of Congress research library | Source

Plan Your Methods of Search

A number of ways can be used to find a psychology school - specifically, a graduate program - that is right for your intended career path.

If you are attending high school or college, you can ask career counselors within the school system to help you locate a school that meets your needs and specific psychological interests, whether these might be Space Psychology (how to live in space, simply put), Industrial Psychology (workforce related), Clinical, Experimental, or one or more of other areas of specialty. You might not even have a specialization chosen.

One local student suffered a rude awaking when he went about choosing a graduate school for psychology work. His own university had endured some research, ethical, and protocol problems with the psychology graduate department previously and lost accreditation. When it was restored, it was done so with the condition that undergrads from the colleges of that university were not permitted to enter the graduate school of psychology on that campus.

Check Your Own School First.

About twenty years later, the chair of the graduate department of psychology stopped sanctioning Educational Counseling degrees from the grad school of education as equivalent to psychological degrees and that alternative avenue of PhD level attainment in psychology was closed to this surprised student form the former paragraph. After much consideration and the fact that he could not leave the city for a number of reasons, he went into medicine instead. He may even have continued on to a speciality in psychiatry.

If possible, when you begin your undergraduate work at a college or university, make sure to find out if you can stay for graduate school for psychology - or whatever your field of pursuit. Remember that if you apply out of state, you may be required to pay higher non-resident fees.

Check your Own City and County

By using the Yellow Pages, check your own city and county for colleges and unviersities and look for graduate schools of psychology. Thsi can be dione online with MSN directory listings as well. When using the Google search tool, enter

psychology school Memphis Tennessee (or whatever city you want).

Search results will list various schools and programs, and some cities will pop up a Google Map with the schools map-pinned in place with contact information given.

Youc an check any number of cites in this manner.

Harvard | Source

Look to the APA For Information

The American Psychological Association publishes a book for about $25 that rates and reviews 500 different psychology programs of study in the USA. It is a thorough, information packed book that is worth your time and investment.


ITEM #: 4270091



Accredited academic programs for psychology can be found at this link at the bottom of the page:


Stanford | Source

US News & World Reports Best Psychology Graduate Schools

The Top 22 Graduate Schools In This Analysis

  • 1 - Stanford University Stanford, CA
  • 2 - University of California--Berkeley CA
  • Tie - University of Michigan--Ann Arbor MI
  • 4 - Yale University New Haven CT
  • 5 - Harvard University Cambridge MA
  • Tie - Princeton University -- NJ
  • Tie - University of California--Los Angeles
  • Tie - University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign IL
  • 9 - Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
  • Tie - Harvard University (Human Development & Psychology) Cambridge, MA
  • Tie - University of Wisconsin -- Madison
  • 12 - University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign Il
  • Tie - Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- Cambridge
  • Tie -Stanford University (Psych Studies in Education)
  • Tie - University of Minnesota--Twin Cities Institute of Child Development
  • 16 - University of Texas--Austin TX
  • Tie - Columbia University NYC
  • Tie - Cornell University Ithaca, NY
  • Tie - University of California-Irvine (Neurobiology and Behavior)
  • Tie - University of California--San Diego. La Jolla CA
  • Tie - University of Minnesota--Twin Cities
  • Tie - University of Pennsylvania PA

Surveys were sent to academic heads and other academic professionals in each of many considered schools. They requested ratings the academic program quality for each institution on a 5-point scale: outstanding (5); strong (4); good (3); adequate (2); or marginal (1). The averages were figured for each school, the highest being 4.5 out of 5.0.

These insititutions can be found on the Internet for further information. You may be able to contact former graduates and speak with them about their experiences in the programs of study.

You might ask school officials what the graduate success rate is for their program, and what percentage of graduates find fulltime employment withitn the first quarter after graduating.

Cornell Library
Cornell Library | Source

Study the Curricula Offerings of Several Schools

Study the websites of several colleges and universities to determine what their specialty fields of expertise and research seem to be. This will help you decide if you want to attend that particular school.

For example, the Ohio State University Department of Psychology is pursuing the following areas, with additional choices added each semester:

  • Adjustment
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Concepts and Learning
  • Cardiopulmonary Behavioral Medicine
  • Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine
  • Cognition and Language
  • Cognitive Neurophysiology
  • Cognitive Development
  • Depression
  • Developmental Language & Cognition Lab
  • Emotions and Quantitative Psychophysiology
  • Experimental Psychology/Research Design
  • Industrial Psychology
  • The Group for Attitudes and Persuasion
  • Language Perception
  • Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Psychopathology
  • Social Cognition Research Group
  • The Stress and Immunity Cancer Projects
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience/Psychoneurology
  • Vision

Another example is interesting. About an hour or an hour-and-a-half to the west of OSU in the Fairborn-Dayton juncture near Wiright Patterson Air Force Base is the Wright State School of Professional Psychology that offers the PsyD instead of the PhD. The school is located inthe growing Ohio Space Corridor with its large State and National Parks dedicated to the history of flight. Specifically designed as a Practitioner Model program, Wright State's program trains students for professional psychology practice.

See their website for details: WSU: School of Professional Psychology

Look over a number of schools, arrange for site visits if possible, especially if you are considering moving out of state, and enlist the help of academic and vocational counselors through your school and/or local County Workforce (WIA) office to help you plot your career path in psychology.

Wright State University School of Professional Psychology

Wright State University School of Professional Psychology:
Wright State University, Wright State Unversity, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, OH 45435, USA

get directions

Phone: (937) 775-3333

The Ohio State University Department of Psychology

The Ohio State University Department of Psychology:
Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

get directions

Phone: (614) 292-8185


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