Best Psychology Programs in the World Today

by Melissa Sartore
reviewed by Megan Pietrucha, Psy.D.
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Psychology students learn how to interpret human behavior. The best schools for psychology in the world provide pathways to bolster our understanding of humanity.

Psychology explores human behaviors, the elements that drive human conduct, and how these actions influence personal and professional interactions. By studying psychology, students gain insight into the human mind, learning about themselves and others.

A degree in psychology trains learners to think critically, analyze, and implement the scientific method. Students learn psychological concepts, theories, and processes. They also explore conscious and unconscious human behavior.

The best colleges for psychology offer programs to assess human motivations, personalities, and emotions in the context of human interactions and psychological disorders. Graduates with advanced degrees in psychology can help others as therapists, social workers, and educators.

Students can find the best colleges for psychology worldwide. Whether you plan to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree, here are the top psychology programs from 10 different countries.

Top Psychology Programs in the World

true Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.

Established in 1636, Harvard has remained at the forefront of the psychology field since the late 19th century. Harvard currently offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, along with a postdoctoral program.

Divided into four research areas, Harvard's psychology department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with specializations in clinical, cognitive, social, and developmental psychology. Tutorials, research coursework, and projects keep learners engaged and on track throughout their programs.

Research opportunities within the department accompany non-departmental research work. Harvard provides scholarships and funding options for undergraduate and graduate students alike.

true University of Oxford Oxford, United Kingdom

Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, enrolls over 400 undergraduate, graduate, and research students in its psychology programs. Competitive admission allows for only fewer than 7% of applicants to study at Oxford. International students comprise roughly 45% of the student body at Oxford.

Undergraduate programs in experimental psychology and psychology, philosophy, and linguistics explore core psychological research areas. Additional topics include abnormal, developmental, and biological psychology.

Graduate and research students benefit from access to more than 30 concentrations. Harvard offers master's degrees in psychological research and neuroscience, as well as doctoral programs in experimental psychology and neuroscience.

true University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tracing back to 1632, the UvA houses six psychology research groups within its faculty of social and behavioral sciences. UvA offers several psychology programs in both English and Dutch.

Undergraduate students can earn bachelor's degrees in psychology in 36 months. Introductory coursework precedes research and specialized classes in one of six specializations.

Master's degrees in psychology include clinical health tracks, research programs, and concentrated degrees in behavioral data science and cultural psychology. Research programs span 24 months. Clinical and specialized master's degrees require 12 months of study.

true National University of Singapore Singapore

NUS offers the oldest psychology program in the republic. Undergraduate students can earn bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees in general psychology. The curriculum covers the fundamentals of biological, developmental, cognitive, and abnormal psychology, along with specialized subjects like health psychology.

NUS provides two psychology master's degrees. Full-time students can complete the clinical psychology degree in two years.

The master's program allows learners to specialize in six research areas. Students can earn their degrees in 36 months. The psychology doctorate includes up to 72 months of coursework and research requirements.

true University of British Columbia Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Founded in 1915, UBC maintains campuses in Vancouver and the Okanagan Valley. The department of psychology at UBC includes 60 faculty members who specialize in one of eight research areas.

UBC's bachelor's degrees include a bachelor of arts in psychology and a bachelor of science in behavioral neuroscience. The former integrates introductory coursework with advanced classes, while the latter focuses on the biological basis for behavior with specializations in behavioral neuroscience and cognitive systems.

Learners in UBC's graduate programs choose from seven concentration areas. Students also have opportunities for interdisciplinary study.

University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia

As one of UM's over 100 areas of study, psychology falls within the institution's bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of biomedicine programs.

Graduate options in psychology at UM include a biomedical science approach. Additional master's degrees in psychology include applied psychology, educational psychology, and professional psychology.

UM also offers graduate diplomas in psychology and youth mental health, along with a joint master's and doctoral degree in clinical psychology. All psychology courses hold accreditation from the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council.

KU Leuven Leuven, Belgium

KU Leuven offers academic programs in English, French, Dutch, and Spanish. English-language options for psychology students include a master of psychology in theory and research.

KU Leuven's master of psychology degree integrates classes in statistics and research methodology with coursework that explores the disciplines of psychology. Learners choose specialized courses in topics such as health psychology and neurobiology of psychiatric disorders.

Each psychology student completes individual and group-based coursework, interdisciplinary research, a master's thesis, and an internship. The internship lasts 120 days, with learners placed at KU Leuven's research labs or partner universities worldwide.

The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong

Undergraduate and graduate programs in psychology at HKU align with the department's four research areas. Undergraduate students can major in psychology, cognitive science, or neuroscience, with additional opportunities to minor in human resource management.

Master's degrees include specializations in clinical, educational, or general psychology. HKU also offers doctoral degrees in clinical and educational psychology, with accompanying research degrees in the same subdisciplines.

The nearly 20 research laboratories at HKU allow undergraduate and graduate students to engage with research and participate in ongoing studies. Faculty members get involved in community services.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Berlin, Germany

As one of the 11 Universities of Excellence in Germany, HU Berlin offers a 180-credit bachelor's degree in psychology that prepares students for careers in diagnostics, counseling, education, and business.

Undergraduate learners engage with a curriculum based in the psychology fundamentals, with opportunities to complete research with 14 faculty members during their degrees.

The master's degree in psychology at HU Berlin includes optional specializations in neurocognitive psychology, lifespan psychology, clinical psychology and psychotherapy, and methodology and diagnostics. Students can also specialize in general psychology and participate in short or long internships.

University of Zurich Zürich, Switzerland

With nearly 30,000 enrollees, UZH is the largest university in Switzerland. The institution offers most classes and examinations in the bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology in German.

Psychology programs at UZH include a 120-credit-hour bachelor's degree, which students can complete in six semesters. The master's degree in psychology spans four semesters. Didactic coursework, research seminars, and group assignments prepare learners for master's thesis projects.

Master's and doctoral programs in psychology at UZH include concentrations in four research areas. Doctoral students participate in the LIFE program to enhance research and teaching abilities through seminars and residency requirements.

Best in the World

Best Psychology Programs in the World Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following programs according to graduation rates, graduate placement rates, programmatic excellence, accreditation status, and financial support availability.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Psychology Programs

What Can You Do With a Degree in Psychology?

Graduates can pursue careers in psychology, such as counseling and therapy, education, and business. Most psychology students work in positions that allow them to apply their understanding of human behavior to help others facilitate positive interactions.

A bachelor's degree in psychology presents opportunities for entry-level roles in social work, community engagement, and business. To become counselors, learners often need to earn master's degrees and state licensure. Doctoral programs in psychology can lead to executive positions and teaching jobs in higher education.

Interview With a Psychologist

Jeanne M. Slattery, Ph.D. is professor and chair of psychology at Clarion University. She has been especially active in the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, where she currently serves as president-elect. She has a small private practice working with adults and children with mood and anxiety disorders, especially after a history of trauma.

What level of education do you have, and what did you look for in your psychology program(s)?

I have a Ph.D. in experimental psychology and later went back to school to become licensed as a clinical psychologist. I particularly wanted a program with faculty who valued their teaching and were interested in my personal and intellectual development.

What classes or experiences were the most beneficial (personally or professionally) in your psychology program?

There were two kinds of experiences that were especially important for me.

I remember and value those people who were there for me and who framed what I did in a positive way. One professor, for example, talked with me about my choice of graduate programs and how to think about and choose among them.

I also remember and value those courses that were more hands-on, where we collected and considered some data together (we looked at the Moon Illusion in a series of studies when I was an undergraduate), or where I received feedback on my clinical skills. In each of these situations, I felt I was a collaborator with my professor and that I had something valuable to contribute.

What was one of the biggest challenges of your psychology program, and what advice would you have for students just starting out?

One of the biggest challenges that I experienced was in being confident about my opinion and skills. I had difficulty in believing in myself, so my professors' belief in me provided a bridge that helped me learn to believe in myself.

For students just starting out, I'd say that you should talk to your professors and find a mentor who believes in and supports you. A good mentor makes a world of difference!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Psychology Programs

true What College Has the Best Psychology Program?

The college with the best psychology program offers what you need to meet your personal and professional goals.

true What's the Best Psychology Degree?

The best psychology degree leads to your desired career. To become a counselor or therapist, an individual needs at least a master's degree. A master's degree also serves as a pathway to a doctoral program.

true What Is the Best School for Clinical Psychology?

The best school for clinical psychology integrates practical and didactic learning to prepare you to work with individuals and groups in clinical settings. The institutions on our list rank among the top colleges in the world for clinical psychology.

Melissa Sartore holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her BA and MA in history are from Western Illinois University. A medievalist by training, she has published on outlawry in medieval England with additional publications on outlaws in popular culture and across geographic and historical boundaries.

Header Image Credit: ferrantraite | Getty Images

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