By BPD Staff
Psychology has long been one of the top majors for undergraduates, in part because of its flexibility. Indeed, psychology is a broad field of study that opens up paths to many different career choices and graduate programs. That doesn’t mean that all psychology programs are created equally, though. To find the best school and degree path for them, students must consider many factors, including available programs and concentrations, undergraduate research opportunities, and community connections. This sometimes requires digging beneath the surface to find the ideal school—one that is within budget but also packs a punch in all of the right areas. We’ve looked beyond the obvious choices to uncover psychology programs that share many of the admirable qualities of some of the consistently top ranking schools in the field.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
- Presence of Master’s Degree Program – 1 point
- Presence of Doctoral Degree Program – 1 point
- Innovative Instructional Methods (e.g., experiential learning) – 1 point
- Use of Cutting-Edge Technological Resources – 1 point
- Recent Facility Additions/Renovations – 1 point
- Psychology Research Opportunities – 1 point
- Study Abroad Opportunities in Psychology – 1 point
- Psychology Internship Opportunities – 1 point
- Affiliated Centers and Institutes on Campus – 1 point
- Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point
- Psychology Colloquium or Lecture/Speaking Series – 1 point
1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
Ranking the Top Up and Coming Undergraduate Psychology Programs in the East
After researching scores of college and university psychology programs that usually float just below the radar, we’ve discovered ten programs in the East that shouldn’t be missed. These schools shine, not because of a glossy reputation but because of the very real opportunities they offer undergraduate students. We present them here according to the rating and ranking methodology above. Where two or more schools receive the same number of points, we’ve listed them according to net price with the most affordable schools appearing higher in the rankings.
#10 – Kalamazoo College
Net Price: $26,064
The psychology department at Kalamazoo College allows students to study, research, and examine case studies in small classes. Psychology majors are able to gain experience working in local settings including schools, a domestic abuse shelter, and the county juvenile home. Students’ studies culminate in Senior Individualized Projects, which resemble Masters Theses and are presented publically at a symposium in the spring. These projects are designed to display the students’ abilities and give them an advantage in finding employment. Many of Kalamazoo’s graduates are accepted into prestigious doctoral programs.
#9 – Northeastern University
Net Price: $30,546
Psychology students at Northeastern University can participate in hands-on learning through the program’s research and cooperative education opportunities both on-campus and in the community. These experiences give psychology majors insight into what field they would like to pursue after graduation. Students can also broaden increase their understanding of a topic by integrating three disciplines in an Interdisciplinary Cluster. Perception, Cognition, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Social Psychology are studied in group and individual experiments and seminars.
#8 – Ursinus College
Net Price: $31,490
Psychology students at Ursinus get valuable hands-on experience in a variety of settings and are able to participate in activities usually only available to graduate students. Students spend at least a semester gaining experience in internships at day care centers, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other settings. Students are also afforded many opportunities to share their work at conferences and publish research with their professors. Students can also take advantage of the schools Independent Learning Experience by participating in summer research programs, student teaching, and studying abroad.
#7 – Allegheny College
Net Price: $27,773
The Psychology department at Allegheny College gives students a broad understanding of psychology as well as in-depth education in areas of interest. The program focuses on human thought and behavior, but animals are also occasionally studied, especially to compare their behavior to humans’. A recently renovated lab complex and state-of-the art smart classrooms provide students with an ideal place to research and learn. The program’s unique Senior Comprehensive Project allows students to apply everything they have learned and demonstrate their abilities to potential employers.
#6 – Drexel University
Net Price: $37,244
Drexel University’s psychology students study the human brain and behavior alongside highly-qualified faculty. Undergraduate students learn how to research, ask questions, and apply their knowledge to gain a better understanding of human behavior. Graduate students can go on to earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology or Applied Cognitive Brain Sciences. The Department of Psychology is actively involved in cutting-edge research in areas such as neuropsychology, forensic psychology, and clinical psychology. The Drexel Psychological Services Center is also available to give doctoral students an opportunity to apply their skills to real-world scenarios as well as serve the community.
#5 – Carnegie Mellon University
Net Price: $33,670
Carnegie Mellon University’s psychology department is well known for its research in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and cognitive psychology. The university has a tradition of collaboration across disciplines and fosters interaction between the Psychology Department and other centers on campus, such as the School of Computer Science and the College of Humanities and Social Science. The Children’s School is the only facility in Pittsburgh that allows students to study the development of pre-school children at test theories under strict protocols without disrupting the children’s education. Research is a key part of both the graduate and undergraduate programs.
#4 – George Mason University
Net Price: $17,347
The Department of Psychology at George Mason University works to research and solve real-world issues as opposed to those only interesting to other scholars. Undergraduates have the opportunity to work alongside graduate students in researching topics such as Organizational Psychology, School Psychology, and Human Factors. The university’s Center for Psychological Services serves as both a training opportunity for graduate students, a facility for clinical research, and a service to the community. The Cognitive Assessment Program also serves the Northern Virginia community and gives students useful data that can increase their understanding of assessment practices.
#3 – University of Maryland Baltimore County
Net Price: $14,137
The Psychology program at University of Maryland Baltimore County gives students an excellent foundation in psychology that can be applied in many careers as well as graduate studies. Psychology majors pick a concentration in areas such as Biopsychology and Human Services to gain more in-depth knowledge that can be applied to their desired career. The program’s peer mentor program produces successful students and community through review and group discussion sessions. Internships and research opportunities are available to give interested students a chance to apply their classroom studies to a professional setting. Doctoral students also have the opportunity to get hands-on experience at the UMBC Psychology Training Clinic.
#2 – Boston University
Net Price: $32,539
Psychology students at Boston University not only gain the background required for pursuing careers in psychology and medicine, but a broad understanding of human behavior that can be applied to many other endeavors. Directed Study and research opportunities allow students to explore topics such as neurological disorders, drug addiction, and early child temperament. Child Development Labs foster research in child cognition, social development, and early experiences. Psi Chi and Undergraduate Psychology Association activities give students a chance to connect to peers with similar interests and supplement academic programs.
#1 – Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis
Net Price: $10,979
The Department of Psychology at IUPUI is located in the university’s School of Science, surrounded by hospitals, science and technology companies, and the Indiana University schools of nursing, dentistry, and medicine. Students have many opportunities to collaborate with other disciplines and local businesses. Special programs are also available to students who want to expand their education. The Interdisciplinary Studies Program allows students to combine a science major with journalism, liberal arts, or another science. The unique RISE initiative and Honors program give students a more challenging curriculum. Students can also participate in Service Learning, where they apply their skills in projects that benefit the community.