Top Psychology Schools in 2018: US and UK

Sabrina Collier

更新日期 2020年5月29日 更新日期 May 29

The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018 includes a ranking of the world’s 300 top psychology schools, with two countries particularly dominant. The US claims 91 positions in this year’s ranking, while the UK has 43, and all of the top 10 universities are also from these two countries.

Here’s a closer look at the top psychology schools from both of these countries. Alternatively, you can view the full interactive psychology ranking table here.

United States

Harvard University


Consistently ranked first in the world in our psychology ranking, Harvard University started teaching psychology in the late 1800s, with the “new” psychology pioneered by William James. The Department of Psychology has been home to some of the most prominent psychologists in history, with famous names like B.F. Skinner, Mary Whiton Calkins, Jerome Bruner and George Miller among its past faculty and researchers.

If you study Harvard’s undergraduate psychology degree, you can choose from three tracks: the General Track, which gives the greatest amount of flexibility, the Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology, or CNEP Track, and the Cognitive Science Track, which focuses on the scientific study of the mind and its processes.

Stanford University

Stanford University is ranked second in the world overall for psychology and actually receives a stronger score in the citations per paper indicator (a measure of research impact) than Harvard. Psychology was one of the first departments established at Stanford, and its Department of Psychology has a long history of outstanding research that’s had a powerful impact in the real world, fostering a culture of collaboration to drive research innovations.

University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

University of California, Berkeley

Ranked fifth in the psychology ranking this year, University of California, Berkeley (UCB)’s Department of Psychology was founded in 1921 and is another national and international leader in psychological research and high quality education.

Psychology at UC Berkeley is so popular that it’s capped, meaning admission is very competitive. Having been housed in Tolman Hall for 50 years, the department will be moving to the brand-new Berkeley Way West complex in April 2018.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is ranked joint seventh among the world’s top psychology schools this year. Its Department of Psychology is one of the largest and most intellectually diverse departments of the University of California system. At undergraduate level, a choice of three undergraduate majors are available: Psychology (B.A.), Cognitive Science (B.S.) and Psychobiology (B.S.), as well as minors in Cognitive Science and Applied Developmental Psychology.

Yale University

Yale University

Ranked joint seventh along with UCLA in the psychology ranking this year, Yale University’s psychology department organizes itself into five programs representing the major domains of psychology at Yale: clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience and social/personality psychology. The department offers weekly seminars for faculty and students in each of these programs.  

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is featured at ninth among the world’s top psychology schools this year. Its Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences says its mission is “to reverse engineer the human mind” by delving deeply to the brain’s mechanisms at all levels. Uniquely for MIT, nearly all the research and academic activity of the department happens in one place, the state-of-the-art Building 46.

University of Michigan

University of Michigan

Up from 11th to 10th for psychology this year, the University of Michigan’s psychology department aims to create new scientific knowledge in psychology, train graduate students to become dynamic contributors of scientific knowledge, and communicate the excitement of studying psychology through the scientific method to undergraduates. The department has a keen commitment to interdisciplinary studies, which involves fostering cross-area research within various subfields of psychology.

United Kingdom

University of Cambridge

Ranked joint third for psychology this year, the University of Cambridge has offered psychology in various forms for more than a century. It now offers undergraduate courses, known as triposes, in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) and Natural Sciences (NST), both of which are accredited by the British Psychological Society. At graduate level, it offers a full or part-time PhD program and a full-time MPhil in psychology.

University of Oxford

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is ranked joint third along with its rival Cambridge this year. At undergraduate level, you can choose from a BA in experimental psychology, a scientific discipline which works through experiments and systematic observation, with a wide range of research projects open to students in their final year. Or, for those with broader interests, the university also offers a BA in psychology, philosophy and linguistics, focusing on the close connections between the three subjects.  

UCL (University College London)

Up from joint eighth to sixth in the psychology ranking this year, UCL (University College London) offers a BSc in Psychology which exposes you to a wide coverage of the psychology field in the first two years before giving you a good range of modules to choose from according to your main interests and aims.

UCL also offers a unique two-year international master’s program in collaboration with Yale: an MRes in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology, in which students spend year one in London and year two at Yale.

Top 20 institutions from elsewhere in the world

Also ranked within the 20 top psychology schools in the world are two of Canada’s 19 entries in the psychology ranking, the University of British Colombia (ranked joint 13th with the University of Pennsylvania) and the University of Toronto (joint 18th), plus two of Australia’s 21 entries, the University of Melbourne (15th) and the University of New South Wales (20th).

Also featured in the top 20 is the Netherlands with the University of Amsterdam continuing to place 17th in the world for psychology.

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本文首发于 2018 February , 更新于 2020 May 。


The former Assistant Editor of, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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