Top 10 Up and Coming Undergraduate Psychology Programs in the South

By BPD Staff
March 2016

There are many psychology programs in the South that consistently rank among the top in the country. However, there are more than a few up and comers that, although they’ve not received the recognition they deserve just yet, are rising in the ranks because of a commitment to growth and sustained excellence. These schools are making strides in undergraduate research, adding state-of-the-art facilities, and offering an ever-growing number of opportunities for students both in and out of the classroom. Although you may be seeing them here for the first time, you will likely be hearing more about these programs in the near future as they are indeed ones to watch.

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 South

The following ten psychology programs deserve recognition due to the steady and impressive progress they’ve made to improve their offerings for undergraduate students. They are listed here according to the preceding rating and ranking methodology. In cases of a tie, net price has been considered, and the school with the most affordable program received the higher ranking.

#10 – Hendrix College

Conway, Arkansas

Website

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Points: 4
Enrollment: 1,348
Net Price: $23,078

The Hendrix College Psychology department promotes diversity, research, and a scientific understanding of human behavior. Students explore topics including Sleep and Dreaming, Emotions, and Psychology of Gender. One of the program’s most important features is the Arkansas Symposium for Psychology students. During this conference, students present their research projects in an academic setting. The conference also provides students with the opportunity to see their peers’ work and network with students all over the state of Arkansas.

#9 – Tulane University

New Orleans, Louisiana

Website

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Points: 5
Enrollment: 7,892
Net Price: $32,797

Psychology is the largest undergraduate major at Tulane University. Students are highly encouraged to begin research on topics such as Developmental Psychology, Child Clinical Psychology, and Behavioral Neuroscience no later than their junior year. High-performing seniors planning to pursue graduate school often complete an Honors Thesis based on a research study they are interested in. Public service and internships are also available for students who want to expand their education and apply it to real-world scenarios.

#8 – Agnes Scott College

Decatur, Georgia

Website

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Points: 5
Enrollment: 873
Net Price: $20,378

At women’s college Agnes Scott, psychology students can study in small, state-of-the art classes. Internship opportunities at Coca-Cola’s headquarters, Georgia Power, Zoo Atlanta, and other local businesses give students valuable hands-on experience. Research alongside faculty is highly encouraged, and many students present their results at the Spring Annual Research Conference as well as other regional, national, and international conferences. Students are even able to co-author and publish their research in journal articles. Many Agnes Scott graduates successfully enter the workforce or graduate school.

#7 – North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina

Website

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Points: 5
Enrollment: 24,473
Net Price: $13,579

The undergraduate psychology program at North Carolina State University offers concentrations in Human Resource Development and General Psychology. Both options have an Honors program for qualified students. The graduate program offers five areas of concentration and teaches students in the scientist-practitioner model. Most of the department’s research groups publish their work and present research at regional and national conferences. Research topics include Psychometrics, Family Studies, Stereotypes, and Adult Development. The program’s faculty is highly-qualified, and many have received rewards for research and teaching.

#6 – Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Website

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Points: 6
Enrollment: 17,260
Net Price: $16,799

The psychology program at Clemson University specializes in Human Factors Psychology and Industrial and Organizational Psychology. It prepares students for careers as well as entry into a graduate program. Students have many opportunities to gain professional experience, including assisting with faculty research or conducting independent research with faculty guidance. Qualified students often complete an undergraduate thesis or participate in a Directed Study course. Undergraduate practicums are also available to psychology majors who want to gain practical experience in a clinical or counseling setting.

#5 – Georgia State University

Atlanta, Georgia

Website

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Points: 7
Enrollment: 25,238
Net Price: $15,609

Georgia State University’s Psychology Department provides students with many opportunities to apply their knowledge of psychology to real-world problems. An active practicum program gives students valuable experience in both research and applied settings. The GSU Psychology Clinic is also available to facilitate doctoral training and serve the community. Annually, the department sponsors a conference where students can publically present their research. The popularity of the psychology program makes it easy for students to get involved in related organizations and activities.

#4 – University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Website

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Points: 7
Enrollment: 52,671
Net Price: $14,745

The University of Central Florida’s psychology program focuses on Clinical Psychology, Human Factors Psychology, and Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Students are encouraged to pursue internships, research, fieldwork, and membership in the many related student organizations. The UCF Psychology Clinic gives doctoral students hands-on experience while providing high-quality psychotherapy services to the community. The large amount of experiential learning opportunities makes it easier for psychology students to find a career path that suits them as well as enter graduate school.

#3 – University of Houston

Houston, Texas

Website

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Points: 7
Enrollment: 33,037
Net Price: $12,618

Psychology students at the University of Houston are prepared to pursue many diverse career paths or graduate school. Student research assistants have the opportunity to study topics such as sleep, bilingualism, anxiety, and traumatic brain injury alongside faculty. Many of these faculty members have won awards and grants that not only advance their own research, but give students more observation and assistant opportunities. Several department-run clinics that provide additional hands-on experience for students who choose to go on to pursue a PhD in psychology.

#2 – Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

Website

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Points: 8
Enrollment: 20,629
Net Price: $18,500

Auburn University’s psychology program has outreach and research opportunities that supplement a classroom foundation in helping students prepare for life after graduation. Students start with a broad education in psychology, then move on to specialize in topics that interest them. Several local organizations allow students to gain hands-on experience in multiple settings, including crisis centers, human service organizations, hospitals, and clinics. On-campus clinics include the Applied Behavior Analysis Clinic and the Auburn University Psychological Services Center.

#1 – University of Alabama-Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama

Website

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Points: 8
Enrollment: 11,679
Net Price: $13,982

The Department of Psychology at UAB works to involve its students in service projects and research that allow them to work regularly within the community. For students who want a challenge, an Honors Program is available to supplement and expand their experience. Collaboration is encouraged both with other departments and larger programs including Children’s Hospital and Civitan Internal Research. UAB is among the largest research institutions in the Southeast, giving students plenty of opportunities to apply their classroom studies to real-world problems. More than 30 percent of students participate in independent research under faculty supervision.