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Top 10 Up and Coming Undergraduate Psychology Programs in the Midwest

By BPD Staff
March 2016

Psychology programs in the Midwest are often overshadowed by the many stellar offerings in other parts of the country, but for students looking into this field and location, there are many often overlooked options that deserve consideration. These schools offer increasingly robust programs of study to support undergraduate students looking to enter the field after graduation as well as those who wish to find acceptance into esteemed graduate programs. After investigating scores of schools in this area, we’ve found ten undervalued schools that shouldn’t be missed. Although they may not receive the recognition they deserve from other publications, they are making great strides regarding undergraduate research opportunities, innovative teaching methods, and enhanced facilities and resources.

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

Wow Factor

1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

Ranking the Up and Coming Undergraduate Psychology Programs in the Midwest

After applying the rating and ranking methodology above, we list here the top 10 up and coming undergraduate psychology programs in the Midwest. These aren’t schools that typically make the cut but have been recognized for their commitment to the advancement of the field of psychology both within their departments and their communities. Programs that received an equal number of points are ranked according to their net price with the most affordable schools appearing higher in the rankings.

#10 – Marquette University

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Website

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Points: 4
Enrollment: 8,140
Net Price: $32,900

The Department of Psychology at Marquette University works to give students a better understanding of behavior and apply it in a way that benefits the community. The program prides itself on its diversity, not only in the types of psychology courses taught, but also in the cultures and backgrounds of its faculty and students. Psychology majors are encouraged to individualize their education by taking classes that will help them pursue their desired career or graduate program. The on-campus Center for Psychological Services provides the Marquette community with equal-opportunity treatment while simultaneously giving graduate students an opportunity to apply their skills.

#9 – William Jewell College

Pella, Iowa

Website

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Points: 4
Enrollment: 1,043
Net Price: $21,173

Psychology students at William Jewel College explore human behavior in a Christian context. Students have the freedom to customize their education and focus on classes that apply to their desired career paths. Dual degrees are available to students who want to pursue another discipline in addition to psychology. Classes are small, and faculty are able to help students prepare for their futures on a one-on-one basis. All psychology majors participate in empirical research studies, and some go on to present this research at regional and national conferences.

#8 – University of St. Thomas

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Website

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Points: 5
Enrollment: 6,148
Net Price: $30,606

At the University of St. Thomas, psychology students learn to think critically and actively use their knowledge to solve problems. The Psychology Department immerses students in their work both in lab research and classroom studies. The psychology curriculum is often integrated with other disciplines in order to tackle complex issues such as Neuroscience and Women’s Studies. Many students present their research at the annual Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference. The best projects are also submitted to regional and national conferences.

#7 – Colorado College

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Website

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Points: 5
Enrollment: 2,050
Net Price: $24,141

Colorado College’s psychology department emphasizes a scientific understanding of human and animal behavior, as well as empirical research literature. Psychology majors are taught to become competent and ethical in research and evaluate evidence critically. Valuable hands-on experience can be obtained through research, and students can also serve the community and gain experience working with brother and sister groups, hotlines, and mental health facilities. Students also have opportunities to present research at Psychology and Neuroscience Poster Day and other conferences.

#6 – Michigan Technological University

Houghton, Michigan

Website

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Points: 5
Enrollment: 5,658
Net Price: $15,629
The Department of Cognitive and Learning Science at Michigan Technological University helps psychology students specialize in areas such as Forensic Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Human Factors Psychology, and Educational Psychology. The psychology program is flexible, giving students the chance to apply their knowledge in many areas. All psychology majors can participate in internships at local organizations to earn credit while getting hands-on experience. Research opportunities are available in topics including Physical Ergonomics and Individual Differences in Human Performance.

#5 – University of Denver

Denver, Colorado

Website

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Points: 6
Enrollment: 11,809
Net Price: $33,625

The University of Denver’s psychology program takes a multidisciplinary approach to psychology and encourages collaboration between students and faculty in research. The program’s themes include stress, coping, and health, research with diverse and underserved populations, and psychopathology. Students can participate in field experiences, studies, and labs to expand their understanding of psychology. Along with its research labs, The Psychology Department has two clinics available to the public that apply research conducted in the university’s psychology labs and facilitate graduate training.

#4 – Central College

Pella, Iowa

Website

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Points: 6
Enrollment: 1,411
Net Price: $22,510

The Central College psychology program quickly involves students in service projects, research, and conferences in order to give them an idea of real-world psychology work. Psychology majors move on to advanced research during their junior year and have the opportunity to publically present their projects at the Central College Psychology Symposium. Many students and faculty also present their research to professional psychologists at the Midwestern Psychological Association convention in Chicago. More than half of Central College psychology graduates go on to earn master’s degrees.

#3 – University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Website

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Points: 6
Enrollment: 16,718
Net Price: $11,567

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s psychology program takes an interdisciplinary approach to Psychology, collaborating with the University’s Colleges of Education, Medicine, and Engineering. After developing a broad understanding of psychology, students choose a sub-discipline in psychology such as Clinical, Cognitive, or Social Personality. Faculty members are highly-trained and have collectively received several mentorship and teaching awards, including the Department Teaching Award of Excellence and the Award for Excellence in Teaching.

#2 – Northern Illinois University

DeKalb, Illinois

Website

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Points: 7
Enrollment: 15,435
Net Price: $18,533

The Psychology Department at Northern Illinois University is staffed by more than 30 full-time PhD faculty. Students at the university learn how to base their understanding of human behavior on scientific evidence rather than public opinion. To help them gather this evidence, students are given the opportunity to participate in research. Graduates can go on to specialize in topics such as Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology, and Neuroscience and Behavior. Graduate students can also apply their skills by working at the Psychological Services Center on campus.

#1 – University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website

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Points: 8
Enrollment: 24,300
Net Price: $19,739
Psychology students at the University of Cincinnati are able to focus on their own interests using a solid foundation in data analysis, research, and the basics of psychology. The department promotes women and minorities in psychology and other sciences with special programs. The unique EMERGE Program helps ethnic minorities prepare for graduate school. Women in Science and Engineering helps female students and faculty reach their full potential through mentorships, summer research programs, and outreach to high schools. All students are encouraged to participate in research opportunities and student organizations.