Top 20 Most Innovative Graduate Psychology Degree Programs 2016

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Badge - Best Psychology DegreesAs competition becomes increasingly intense for jobs in psychology, it is more important than ever for students to choose graduate psychology degree programs that provide an edge in the workforce. Although many practicing psychologists are deciding to put off retirement, and psychology jobs are growing at the rate of just three percent, the Center for Workforce Studies still reports that 5,000 new psychology doctorates are handed out annually. In order to help you get the most out of your training and beat out the competition for a limited number of jobs, we’ve identified a set of highly innovative graduate-level psychology degree programs for you to consider. Most of the programs described below assume that you’ve already earned a psychology master’s degree.

At this time, the three fastest growing areas of the field are thought to be neuropsychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and geropsychology, so we put special emphasis on including programs with offerings in those areas. In addition, our editors also sought to highlight the following types of programs.

1) Those whose faculty is among the most highly cited in the field.

2) Those that have shown exceptional progress in the area of diversity.

3) Those with at least some online offerings.

Since cost is a concern for many, we’ve sorted the list from high to low tuition based on data from the College Navigator.

Ranking the 20 Most Innovative Psychology Degrees

 

20. Harvard University: Cambridge, MA

Department of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

As a five-year degree with a primary focus on severe psychopathology, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at Harvard has been ranked as the 14th best clinical psychology program in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. With unique accreditation through the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), the clinical psychology program is home to the most highly cited researchers in the top 100. With a long history at the forefront of the field producing world-famous researchers like B.F. Skinner, Gordon Allport, and George Miller, the Department of Psychology has been named #1 in the world for faculty scholarly productivity by the Times Higher Education.

Program Website

Tuition: $38,888

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19. University of Southern California: Los Angeles, CA

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

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Ph.D. in Clinical Geropsychology

As one of the first graduate psychology degree programs of its kind in the country, the Ph.D. in Clinical Geropsychology program focuses in the single largest growing psychology field for working with older adults. In addition, the Dorsnlife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences offers an online Masters in Applied Psychology with a concentration in Organizational Psychology, which is another major area of field growth. With a ranking in the top 50 most diverse schools by the U.S. News and World Report, USC also provides the valuable opportunity to pursue an innovative degree in the heart of the multicultural Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Program Website

Tuition: $36,864

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18. Drexel University: Philadelphia, PA

Department of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with Neuropsychology Concentration

With a commitment to promoting diversity within the field of psychology among traditionally underrepresented groups, the Drexel Department of Psychology is currently ranked 7th nationally among colleges offering doctoral clinical psychology programs by the U.S. News and World Report. Rooted in a scientist-practitioner model, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program offers an innovative concentration in Neuropsychology for preparation in one of the largest growing fields. At the undergraduate level, the Department also presents a B.S. in Psychology program fully online from the comfort of home with guidance by award-winning faculty.

Program Website

Tuition: $29,295

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17. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology: Chicago, IL

Division of Graduate Studies

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Online Psychology Programs

Renowned for being an innovator in distance learning for the field of psychology for three decades, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a non-profit private accredited institution with over 4,500 students nationwide in more than 20 psychology degree programs fully online. Among the programs in the Division of Graduate Studies, students can pursue a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in the rapidly growing area of Neuropsychology on-campus in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., or New Orleans. From anywhere with an Internet connection, there is also a Ph.D. in International Psychology and Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Program Website

Tuition: $22,014

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16. University of Michigan: Ann Arbor, MI

Department of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Biopsychology

Within the biggest growing psychological field, the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan offers a research-oriented Ph.D. in Biopsychology that was recently ranked as the 3rd best behavioral neuroscience program in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. In order to further investigate the relationships between the brain and behavior, the Department of Psychiatry also provides an innovative APA-accredited clinical neuropsychology post-doctoral residency program with the option to specialize in geriatrics. The University of Michigan has also ranked eighth in the number of highly cited researchers in the top 100 most influential scientific minds nationwide.

Program Website

Tuition: $19,598

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15. Pennsylvania State University: State College, PA

Department of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

In an effort to prepare students for positions in one of the fastest growing psychology fields for positions in industrial, governmental, consulting, business, and academic settings, Penn State has established an innovative Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program. Although recognized for having the 30th best graduate psychology programs in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report, Penn State also offers an online B.A. in Psychology program through its high-tech World Campus. Furthermore, Penn State is home to the world’s first official fully online psychology club to provide students with a community for sharing ideas, enhancing leadership skills, accessing research opportunities, and supporting professional goals.

Program Website

Tuition: $18,270

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14. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey: Newark, NJ

Department of Psychology

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Graduate Program of Psychology

Within the Graduate Program of Psychology at Rutgers, students have the option to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Behavioral Systems Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Intradisciplinary Health Psychology, or Social Psychology. Regularly admitting underrepresented ethnic minorities, women, students with disabilities, first-generation college graduates, non-traditional students, and mid-career changers, Rutgers is currently ranked #1 in the United States for its campus ethnic diversity, with a high diversity index of 0.77 by the U.S. News and World Report. Centrally located in New Jersey with over 50,000 students, Rutgers boasts many internationally recognized scholars who have received prestigious honors.

Program Website

Tuition: $15,552

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13. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities: Minneapolis, MN

Department of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Founded with a unique emphasis in one of the biggest growing fields in psychology, the Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities is focused on developing the research skills needed for the scientific study of the workplace. Not only has the accredited graduate psychology degree program been highly ranked within a recent study by the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology (SIOP), but it has also ranked in a tie for #1 among I-O psychology doctoral programs nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report. Within one of the world’s top psychology departments, there is also a Ph.D. in Cognitive and Brain Sciences for those interested in neuropsychology.

Program Website

Tuition: $15,008

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12. Michigan State University: East Lansing, MI

Department of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology

With a research focus on quantitative methods of psychology, Michigan State University offers an innovative Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology program that prepares graduates for research or faculty positions in academia for one of psychology’s fastest growing fields. In addition to being highly ranked within a recent study by the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology (SIOP), the Ph.D. has also ranked in a tie for #1 among I-O psychology doctoral programs nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report. For online graduate psychology degree learners, the Department of Psychology also offers a fully online M.A. in Program Evaluation degree with skill-building activities available on your own schedule, so if a master’s in psychology is what you’re looking for, be sure to check it out.

Program Website

Tuition: $14,910

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11. Fielding Graduate University: Santa Barbara, CA

School of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Neuropsychology Concentration

Featuring 600 hours of clinical practicum and a three-month internship under the supervision of a licensed clinical neuropsychologist, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at Fielding Graduate University is focused on the fast-growing field studying the biological bases of behavior. As a “distributed learning program,” the innovative curriculum is designed to incorporate in-person and online delivery methods to accommodate adult learners balancing study with professional obligations. Fielding is renowned for offering the only APA-accredited clinical psychology doctoral program in the nation to be selected as a Top 100 degree producer for minorities by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, as well as the only program of its kind to not require a specific physical location.

Program Website

Tuition: $13,567

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10. Argosy University: Atlanta, GA

Georgia School of Professional Psychology

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Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with Neuropsychology/Geropsychology Concentration

As a highly innovative degree that combines two of the fastest growing areas of psychology for unparalleled career opportunities, the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program at Argosy University’s Georgia School of Professional Psychology offers a concentration in Neuropsychology/Geropsychology. With full accreditation through the American Psychological Association (APA), the program provides qualified graduate students with a well-rounded generalist training in clinical psychology with a growing emphasis on the emerging role of brain sciences and aging. For completion of the degree, doctoral students must actively participate in a 2,000-hour internship full-time at an APPIC-approved facility within the field of neuropsychology or geropsychology.

Program Website

Tuition: $13,158

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9. Xavier University: Cincinnati, OH

Department of Psychology

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Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology – Geropsychology Concentration

Within its APA-accredited Clinical Psychology program leading to a Psy.D. degree, Xavier University offers a Geropsychology Concentration as an “area of interest” for students wishing to become competent clinical psychologists in serving elderly adults and their families. As part of the 145th best clinical psychology doctoral program in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report, the concentration features coursework in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment intervention, and health issues of one in the rapidly growing field of geropsychology. Since 1962, Xavier has also presented a M.A. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program for another fast-growing psychology field.

Program Website

Tuition: $10,692

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8. University of Maryland: College Park, MD

Department of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Psychology, Social, Decision, and Organizational Sciences with concentration in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

As one of the top 50 most diverse schools in the nation according to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Maryland offers an innovative Ph.D. in Psychology Social, Decision, and Organizational Sciences (SDOS) program with a concentration in the rapidly growing field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology. In addition to being named among the 40th best psychology graduate programs in the United States, UMD features an inter-disciplinary Doctoral Program in Gerontology through a collaboration of the university’s six professional schools. With a faculty full of the world’s most influential scientific minds, the Department also presents a B.S. in Psychology for completion online.

Program Website

Tuition: $10,314

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7. Colorado State University: Fort Collins, CO

Department of Psychology

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Online Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MAIOP)

For completion fully online from a distance anywhere in the world, the Online Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MAIOP) program is designed to prepare students for becoming practitioners in one of the fastest growing psychology fields to study the behavior of individuals in business to improve performance. At the doctoral level, Colorado State also offers an on-campus Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with an innovative optional concentration in Occupational Health Psychology (OHP). With its commitment to ethnic and racial diversity, Colorado State is nationally acclaimed for being among the top 100 institutions for conferring the most degrees to minority students by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Program Website

Tuition: $9,000

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6. University of Houston: Houston, TX

Department of Psychology

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Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Concentration in Clinical Neuropsychology

Featuring the Boulder Model of training with an emphasis on the integration of scientific and professional aspects of one of psychology’s fastest growing fields, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at the University of Houston offers an innovative concentration in Clinical Neuropsychology for studying disorders of brain function. In addition, the University of Houston promotes an in-demand Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program and an online B.A. or B.S. completion program in psychology at the undergraduate level. With its strategic position in the nation’s fourth most populous city near the Mexican border, UH is also recognized among the top 5 universities for campus ethnic diversity by the U.S. News and World Report.

Program Website

Tuition: $8,694

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5. University of Kansas: Lawrence, KS

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Gerontology

Within the University of Kansas’ College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Gerontology is available for master’s-level students who have been admitted to the doctoral program in Communication Studies, Psychology, or Sociology. As an innovative and affordable graduate psychology degree that blends study within the traditional discipline of gerontology and an inter-disciplinary field, the Ph.D. leads to career options within one of the largest growing fields of psychology to work with older adults. Renowned for being one of only 34 public research institutions in the Association of American Universities, KU is also recognized for having the 6th best clinical psychology program in the entire nation by the U.S. News and World Report.

Program Website

Tuition: $8,308

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4. Illinois State University: Normal, IL

Department of Psychology

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Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational-Social Psychology

In one of psychology’s biggest growing fields, Illinois State University offers qualified psychology graduate degree students the opportunity to pursue a two-year master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational-Social Psychology full-time. Not only has Illinois State been recognized for the 191st best graduate psychology programs by the U.S. News and World Report, but it has also become acclaimed for its diversity with 26% of its student body being from underrepresented minority groups. In fact, the Department of Psychology has established an innovative Diversity Task Force to actively pursue the recruitment and retention of students from diverse backgrounds in partnership with the American Psychological Association (APA).

Program Website

Tuition: $8,226

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3. San Diego State University: San Diego, CA

Department of Psychology

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Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology

In partnership with the University of California at San Diego, the Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at San Diego State University has received full accreditation through the APA to prepare graduate students in the scientist-practitioner model with a concentration in the rapidly growing major area of neuropsychology. In addition to stealing the #1 spot on the best behavioral neuroscience degrees named by the U.S. News and World Report, SDSU is nationally acclaimed for being among the 50 most diverse schools in the United States with its location in sunny Southern California. All graduate psychology degree students are required to take a course on multicultural issues in their first semester and participate in clinical experiences at the SDSU Psychology Clinic with diverse community members of low socioeconomic status.

Program Website

Tuition: $6,738

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2. University of North Dakota: Grand Forks, ND

Department of Online and Distance Education

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Master of Arts (M.A.) in Forensic Psychology

Through the Department of Online and Distance Education, students at the University of North Dakota can pursue the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Forensic Psychology program fully online with just one on-campus visit. Within another rapidly growing specialty area, the 34-credit program is focused on applying psychological theories and skills to solving issues related to the criminal justice system. With low in-state tuition guaranteed regardless of your state of residence, the innovative graduate psychology degree program builds the skills needed for addressing issues related to child custody, sexual harassment, domestic violence, parental alienation, malpractice, and more. Furthermore, the UND Quentin N. Burdick INPSYDE Program promotes diversity by preparing mental health providers to offer services to underserved Native American tribes across the Midwest.

Program Website

Tuition: $6,626

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1. Widener University: Chester, PA

School of Human Service Professions

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Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with Neuropsychology Certificate Track

As the longest-running Doctor of Psychology program in the entire United States, the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program at Widener University is well-known for having a Neuropsychology Certificate Track to prepare graduates as independent professional practitioners in one of the field’s fastest growing specialty area. With the program’s focus on theories of brain function to design appropriate intervention strategies, students enrolled in this cheap graduate psychology degree program can benefit from hands-on experiences gained at the on-campus Neuropsychology Assessment Center (NAC). For studying human behavior and mental processes from a distance, Widener University also offers a fully online bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Program Website

Tuition: $6,626

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Since competition is heating up within the field of psychology, innovative degree programs are stepping to the forefront in preparing graduate students for launching successful careers in today’s changing world. Enrolling in one of these innovative degree programs geared towards career growth in the 21st century can be the best way to advance your skills and make strategic career moves into one of the rapidly growing areas of psychology. Whether you are a recent graduate looking to increase your job prospects or a mid-career professional seeking to change paths, earning one of these innovative graduate psychology degree programs can unlock professional doors in specialty areas that are here to stay.

 

See also: 50 Most Affordable Selective Small Colleges for a Psychology Degree

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