The US has cemented its reputation as the top country in the world for psychology studies. Three of its universities dominate the top five spots in global rankings, while 12 of the 15 top universities for the subject are based within the country.
According to the recently released QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019: Psychology, Harvard University in the US continues to reign supreme, holding the top spot for psychology since (at least) 2016. According to QS, the university achieved a perfect score of 100 in three of the four ranking indicators.
However, it is worth highlighting that on its website, readers can only access past rankings dating back to 2016.
Stanford University (US), University of Oxford (UK), University of Cambridge (UK) and University of California, Los Angeles (US) came in second, third, fourth and fifth place respectively.
This list is almost exactly the same as last year’s top five, where both UK institutions – Cambridge and Oxford – tied in third place (=3).
According to the website, the concentration in psychology offers students three tracks to choose from, including a General Track (a flexible track designed to provide students with a foundation in the subfields of their choice); the Cognitive Science Track (a Mind/Brain/Behaviour track that includes coursework from other MBB fields in addition to Psychology coursework that informs an understanding of the mind); and the Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology, or CNEP Track (a track within the Life Sciences cluster of concentrations) that combines coursework from both psychology and several fields within the life sciences.
For the graduate programme, the website notes that the department is organised into four areas: clinical science; developmental; social; and cognition, brain and behaviour. The university actively engages research across a variety of topics and themes, such as cognitive ageing, genetics and individual differences, thought disorders and animal learning and cognition.
Located in California, Stanford University’s Department of Psychology was among the first departments to be established at the university.
“The department is ranked as one of the top psychology programmes in the nation and has been a leading psychology department among American universities for decades,” the website notes.
Students can choose from undergraduate and graduate programmes.
Undergraduate psychology can choose to specialise in one of four tracks: Cognitive Sciences, Health and Development, Mind, Culture, and Society and Neuroscience, while their graduate programmes have an emphasis on research.
“The Oxford Experimental Psychology Department is widely regarded as one of the leading psychology departments in the UK,” the website explains. Students also have a wide choice of research projects in their final year.
According to its website, the University of Cambridge offers “two undergraduate courses (triposes) in which psychology can be studied in depth: Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) and Natural Sciences (NST)”.
Cambridge uses a Tripos system, in which “All Cambridge undergraduate courses are assessed through examinations in broad subject areas called Triposes. Each Tripos is divided into one or more Parts and you need to complete a number of Parts in one or more Triposes to qualify for the B.A. degree”.
Meanwhile, the Department of Psychology’s research-oriented graduate programmes include an MPhil in Psychology and a PhD in Psychology, but they also offer a wide range of psychology-related courses under different faculties.
This public research university offers three undergraduate majors in psychology, including Psychology (B.A.), Cognitive Science (B.S.) and Psychobiology (B.S.). They also offer minors in Cognitive Science and Applied Developmental Psychology.
Their website notes: “The structure of the undergraduate curriculum has been designed to reflect the extensive breadth of psychology in terms of both the range of behavioural phenomena studied and the variety of methods and theoretical approaches employed, while allowing students to pursue in greater depth those areas in which they become most interested.”
As for the psychology graduate programme, this comprehensive curriculum prepares psychologists to work as researchers, college and university instructors and professional research psychologists. The UCLA Psychology Department offers graduate Ph.D. training – there is no separate M.A. programme or Psy.D. programme offered – with an emphasis in Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, Developmental, Health Psychology, Learning and Behaviour, Quantitative, and Social Psychology.