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The 20 Best In-Person Schools for Therapy Degrees in 2023

If you are interested in pursuing research it is highly likely that you will need to join a lab.  Some of the best departments in psychology come from the best schools in the world so some of the schools on our list are not going to come as a surprise. Still others may surprise you!

You may see more programming in neuroscience or computational programming that has an overlap in psychology. In fact, almost all programming in psychology is interdisciplinary.  Take a look at our picks for the top 20 best schools for therapy. 

The 20 Best In-Person Universities For Therapy

Harvard University

Graduation Rate: 98%

Website

Harvard University is one of the top-ranked universities in the world. According to the QS ranking Harvard ranks as the 3rd best university in the world.  Harvard is a traditional Ivy League university that attracts students from across the globe.  It currently enrolls over 30,000 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1.  What makes Harvard a great school for therapy?  Do names like William James and B.F. Skinner ring a bell? These are just a couple of the pioneers who have worked in Harvard’s Department of Psychology. Harvard is a research powerhouse. Take a look at the research conducted in the Department of Psychology: 

  • Cognition, Brain and Behavior
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology

The department takes a decidedly interdisciplinary approach and often these areas of research overlap and cross.  If you are interested in psychology research take a deeper look at the individual research labs of those on faculty at the school.


University of Pennsylvania

Graduation Rate: 96%

Website

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is an ivy league institution located in Philadelphia.  There are over 26,000 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 6:1. What sets UPenn apart is their positive psychology department. UPenn is the oldest psychology department in North America and continues to provide innovative research.  Take a look at their current areas for research:

  • Animal Learning and Behavior 
  • Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Judgment, Decision Making and Processes 
  • Individual Differences and Behavior Genetics
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Language and Communication
  • Memory and Learning 
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Positive Psychology
  • Psychopathology and Psychotherapy
  • Social and Cultural Psychology

UPenn has made particular headway where resilience is concerned and includes programming for undergraduate and graduate students alike. If you are looking to make a positive difference in the lives of others or pursue a research career in psychology then it is time to investigate UPenn.


University of Chicago

Graduation Rate: 93%

Website

The University of Chicago is private institution located in Chicago, Illinois. There are 17,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 5:1. According to the US News, the University of Chicago ranks as the 6th best school in the nation. Their department of psychology is one of the best in the world that engages with a wide variety of research.  Here’s a glimpse at the work of just a few labs at the University of Chicago: 

  • Attention, Perception and Experience
  • Visual Working Memory and Selective Attention
  • Child Development
  • Cognition Attention and Brain 
  • Cognitive Development
  • Chronobiology and Neuroimmunology
  • Environmental Neuroscience
  • And More! 

The University of Chicago is an incredible place to study psychology as it is nestled in the great city of Chicago.  If you are looking for an urban perspective and a connection to interdisciplinary research then take a look at UC.


Vanderbilt University

Graduation Rate: 93%

Website

Vanderbilt University is a private 4-year university located in Nashville, Tennessee. There are about 13,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. According to US News Vanderbilt University ranks as the 15th best university in the nation, 7th for best value schools, and 31st for most innovative school and 26th for best psychology departments. Vanderbilt made it to our list of the best therapy schools for its high graduation rate, high salary for its graduates, and high academic rankings. Take a look at the areas for research for its graduates students in the department of psychology: 

  • Clinical Science
  • Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Quantitative Methods

The department of psychology and human development at Peabody offers the following undergraduate majors in psychology: child development, cognitive studies, and child studies.  Looking to “open the lid” and explore the developmental brain? Research programming at Vanderbilt.


Northwestern University

Graduation Rate

94%

Website

Northwestern University is a private 4-year institution located in Evanston, Illinois. There are 22,127 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1. According to the US News and World Report, Northwestern ranks as the 9th best school in the nation, 14th best for value and 57th best for innovation. The core faculty in their department of psychology focus on the following areas of research: 

  • Brain, Behavior and Cognition
  • Clinical
  • Cognitive 
  • Personality Development and Health
  • Social 

The majority of faculty are interdisciplinary as their research is relevant across disciplines. There is therefore a lot of opportunity to individualize your research to match your interests and goals.


Columbia University

Graduation Rate

92%

Website

Columbia University is a private institution located in New York, New York. Columbia enrolls over 30,000 students and maintains a student-teacher ratio of 6:1. According to the US News, Columbia ranks as the 3rd best university in the nation, 6th best for value and 42nd for innovation. The department of psychology is very diverse with faculty members focusing on research that includes developmental psychology, circadian rhythms and more. Take a closer look at their research areas: 

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Circadian Rhythms 
  • Attention Perception, Learning and Memory
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology of Close Relationships
  • Personality Development
  • Judgement and Decision Making 
  • And Much More! 

If you are looking to pursue graduate studies in psychology then we highly recommend taking some time to review the research currently underway at Columbia. Familiarizing yourself with faculty is an essential first step.


Johns Hopkins University

Graduation Rate

92%

Website

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is a private institution located in Baltimore, Maryland. There are over 26,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. Currently, JHU ranks 10th for best universities in the nation, 19th for best value school, 23rd for most innovative schools and 26th for best psychology department. Let’s take a look at a few of their areas of research at the JHU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences: 

  • Brain Development and Plasticity
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Real-World Memory
  • Working Memory
  • EyeWitness Testimony
  • Neurobiology of Aging 
  • Learning and Decision Making 
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • And More

As you can see there is a heavy emphasis on neuroscience at JHU- an area that readily overlaps with their engineering programming and computer sciences programming. Though students of psychology are not limited to that, in fact the entire department is interdisciplinary also drawing on areas like the biological sciences, philosophy, linguistics, and more.  If you are interested in psychology and the brain check out the exciting research at JHU.


Washington University

Graduation Rate

92%

Website

Washington University is a private research university located in St. Louis Missouri. This is a research university with the highest research activity according to Carnegie.  The university currently enrolls 16,000 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. Their psychology department is highly specialized and focuses on the following areas: 

  • Aging and Development
  • Behavior, Brain and Cognition
  • Clinical Science
  • Social and Personality Psychology
  • Diversity Science 

If you are admitted to a program you may pursue graduate studies in multiple disciplines.  The clinical science program has ties with the medical school. The diversity science program encourages students to apply what they have learned in other areas of psychology to understanding bias and disparity in healthcare and in society.


University of Southern California

Graduation Rate

92%

Website

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private university located in Los Angeles, California. There are over 47,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. According to the US News USC ranks as the 22nd best university in the nation, 5th best college for veterans, 37th for best value schools and much more. We selected USC for our ranking for the high academic ranks, high graduation rate and high salary upon graduation. The department of psychology is extremely diverse with areas of research ranging from infants and youth to substance abuse and violence. Take a look at USC’s areas of research: 

  • Adult Development and Aging 
  • Affective and Decision Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Molecular and Psychiatric Genetics
  • Computational Psychology
  • Cognition and Emotion
  • Culture and Ethnicity 
  • Health 
  • Infants Children and Youth
  • Language and Literacy
  • Learning and Memory
  • Neuroimagery 
  • Vision
  • Violence and Aggression
  • And More! 

We like the diversity of this department.  If you are interested in pursuing advanced studies in psychology there is bound to be something for you at USC.


University of Notre Dame

Graduation Rate

96%

Website

The University of Notre Dame is currently ranked as the 15th best school in the nation, 24th best value school, 77th most innovative school . The research activity is “very high” according to Carnegie. The parent university is located in Notre Dame, Indiana. There are over 12,000 students enrolled at the parent location and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1.  The psychology department at Notre Dame offers programming for undergraduate and graduate students. Take a look at their areas of research: 

  • Clinical
  • Cognition
  • Brain and Behavior 
  • Developmental 
  • Quantitative Psychology

Students have the opportunity to pursue joint doctoral programs with Computer Science and Engineering and with the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Their undergraduate degree focuses on research.


University of Virginia

Graduation Rate

93%

Website

The University of Virginia is a public school located in Charlottesville. There are 24,639 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. According to the US News, UVA ranks as the 28th best school in the nation and 9th for veterans, 4th for top public schools. Their department of psychology ranks among the top in the nation and the research conducted there is varied and interdisciplinary.  Take a look at some of their areas of research: 

  • Development in the Lifespan
  • Quantitative Methods and Data Science
  • Innovation and Advancing Methods
  • Molecules, Neuronal Circuits and Behavior
  • Theory and Application in Social Psychology

As you can see, this is a highly interdisciplinary department and students have the opportunity to work with professors that specialize in areas like race and gender identity, public policy, Montessori education, autism spectrum disorders, brain training with online innovation and much more.


Tufts University

Graduation Rate

93%

Website

Tufts University is a private institution located in Medford, Massachusetts. There are 11,586 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. This is a doctoral university with very high research activity according to Carnegie. US News ranks Tufts as the 29th best school in the nation, 28th best value school, and 72nd most innovative school among others. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programming in the field of psychology. The undergraduates are welcome to pursue a psychology major as well as a major in biopsychology, engineering psychology, cognitive and brain science, or clinical psychology. Take a look at the areas of research for graduate students: 

  • Biological
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Experimental Clinical
  • Social
  • Joint Ph.D. program Cognitive Science 

Graduate students may also elect to pursue studies through the department of education as a school psychologist or through the Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development for clinical developmental psychology.


Boston College

Graduation Rate

92%

Website

Boston College is a private research university located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. There are 14,720 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. According to the US News, Boston College ranks as the 37th best college nationally as well as 34th for best value, 52nd for innovation, 8th for service learning, and 31st for undergraduate research among many other accolades. Boston College offers joint programming in psychology and neuroscience for both undergraduate and graduate students. Take a look at the areas of research for graduate students: 

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Quantitative and Computational
  • Social Psychology

Students looking to pursue a career in counseling psychology should do so through their Boston College school of education.


Lehigh University

Graduation Rate

89%

Website

Lehigh University is a private research university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There are 6,849 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. US News ranks Lehigh University in the top 50 for best national universities and highly for undergraduate teaching, value, and innovation among others. We selected Lehigh for the high quality academic programming as well as for the high salary that its graduates receive and graduation rate of its students.  Undergraduate students are welcome to get involved in research and at the department of psychology students may take part in supervised or independent research research at the undergraduate level.  Graduate students focus on research in the following areas: 

  • Cognition and Language 
  • Social and Cognitive Development
  • Social Cognition and Personality 

These broad categories of psychology include areas of study like language, memory, cognitive changes, gender and identity development and more.


New York University

Graduation Rate

85%

Website

New York University (NYU) is a private 4-year university located in New York City. There are over 50,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. According to US News NYU ranks as the 29th best university in the nation, 62nd for best value, 10th for best colleges for veterans, 4th for study abroad and 5th for business. These are the areas of study in their department of psychology: 

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental psychology
  • Perception
  • Personality Psychology
  • Social Psychology

All undergraduate students have the opportunity to pursue studies in psychology at any one of the NYU study abroad campuses.


Georgia Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate

87%

Website

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is a highly-ranked public technology school located in Atlanta.  There are 32,723 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. Georgia Tech is known for its exemplary engineering programming but is also ranked among the best universities in the nation, 10th best best for colleges for veterans, 5th best for top public schools, 8th for undergraduate research, and 5th for co-ops and internship among many more accolades.  It appears that Georgia Tech also maintains a high level of research activity. The psychology department is decidedly interdisciplinary with a focus on neuroscience, engineering and quantitative biosciences. Take a look at the areas of research: 

  • Cognition and Brain Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Aging
  • Engineering Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Quantitative Psychology

As an undergraduate students may purse a major or minor in psychology or choose to specialize.


University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Graduation Rate

91%

Website

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) is a public university that enrolls over 30,000 students. Regardless of its large student body, the university maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 which is likely due to its very high levels of research activity. US News ranks UNC Chapel Hill as the 29th best university in the nation, 10th best colleges for veterans, 10th best value school, 5th best public school, and much more.The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill focuses on psychology and neuroscience as well as the ways in which they overlap. Take a look at the areas of research: 

  • Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Undergraduate students may pursue either a BA in Psychology or a BS in Psychology or a BS in Neuroscience.


University of Rochester

Graduation Rate

88%

Website

The University of Rochester is a public doctoral university with very high research activity. There are over 30,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. According to the US News and World Report the University of Rochester ranks as the 29th best university in the nation, 10th best college for veterans, 22nd best value school, and much more. We selected Rochester for their high academic standing and the success of its graduates. The department of psychology offers programming for their undergraduate and graduate students and includes research opportunities in the following areas: 

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social-Personality Psychology

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to study a variety of subfields related to psychology including neuroscience and developmental psychology.


Bucknell University

Graduation Rate

89%

Website

Bucknell University is a private 4-year university located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. There are 3,668 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. This is a specialty focus school with an emphasis on Arts and Sciences. Though Bucknell certainly focuses on undergraduate studies, the university also offers a MS in psychology. Students gain insight into different theoretical perspectives including: 

  • Adult and child development
  • Cognition and learning 
  • Health psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical and counseling work

Their master’s program is highly selective, accepting two or three students each year. The candidates that are appropriate for this program should have previous research experience that matches the research interests of the faculty.  Like with all programs, it is important to do your research on the program itself before applying.


Santa Clara University

Graduation Rate

88%

Website

Santa Clara University is a private Roman Catholic institution that enrolls around 9,000 students each year. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. According to the US News and World Report, Santa Clara ranks as the 54th best university in the nation and also highly for veterans, undergraduate teaching and value. Santa Clara made it to our ranking for their academic excellence and the high average salary of its graduates. Santa Clara offers an undergraduate degree in psychology some of the upper division courses include: 

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Social/ Personality
  • Learning/Cognition/Perception 

There are five tracks undergraduates may follow including in industrial/organizational psychology and clinical psychology among others. 

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor