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World University Rankings 2020: Top Universities Offering Psychology

Dennis Relojo-Howell

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Times Higher Education (THE) announced the World University Rankings 2020, which includes almost 1,400 universities from 92 countries. Once again, institutions have been measured against 13 performance indicators across the areas of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

This list shows the top 10 universities from THE World University Rankings 2020, filtered by ‘offering psychology’. 

1. University of Oxford

Experimental psychology has been taught at Oxford for more than 100 years, and is one of the leading psychology departments worldwide. Its department is known for its ground breaking basic and translational research, and for the exceptional educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students alike.

2. University of Cambridge

The study of psychology has been organised in various forms at the University of Cambridge for over a century. In 1897 William H.R. Rivers was appointed University Lecturer in Physiological and Experimental Psychology. A proposal for the establishment of a psychophysics laboratory had been put forward as early as the 1870s by James Ward, but it was not until 1912 that a purpose-built psychological laboratory was opened on the Downing Site in the centre of Cambridge.

Research and teaching in experimental psychology at Cambridge has continued in the psychological laboratory to the present day.

3. Stanford University

Jordan Hall is named after the first president of Stanford, David Starr Jordan, and home to the Department of Psychology of Stanford. The Department is ranked as number one in the US, and has been the leading psychology department among American universities for decades. This extraordinary achievement was honoured by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. in 2003. The Stanford Psychology Department is located on the Main Quad of the Stanford campus.

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The mission of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences is to reverse engineer the human mind. Its headquarters, Building 46, is home to the collaborative, interdisciplinary spirit that inspired its beginnings in 1964. The Department is committed to nurturing a diverse and innovative scientific community, one that thrives at the intersection of cognitive science, systems neuroscience, cellular and molecular neuroscience, and computation. 

5. Princeton University

For over a century, Princeton has been one of the most notable psychology departments in the world. It has been home to psychologists who have made well-known scientific discoveries in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. 

6. Harvard University

The field of psychology first emerged at Harvard in the late 1800’s under the scholarship of William James, and ever since then Harvard has been at the forefront of the field. B.F. Skinner, Gordon Allport, Jerome Bruner, George Miller, and Henry Murray are some of the pioneers who have worked in the Department of Psychology, which continues to be among the top-ranked programmes in the US.

7. Yale University

The Department of Psychology at Yale conducts research in major areas of the field, including behavioural neuroscience, clinical, cognitive, developmental, and social/personality psychology.

The BA in psychology at Yale University has been designed to provide undergraduates reasonable grounding in psychology in the context of a general liberal arts education. At the graduate level, the primary goal is the training of research investigators in academic and applied settings.

8. University of Pennsylvania

Psychology has been at the University of Pennsylvania since 1887. From the start it has emphasised both scientific rigour and practical application, not always at the same time. The first professor, James McKeen Cattell, was an advocate of scientific method and careful data collection (with expensive apparatus). One of his successors, Lightner Witmer, was the inventor of the term ‘clinical psychology’ and the founder of the first ‘psychological clinic’ in the US. 

9. Johns Hopkins University

Since 1883, when the first psychological laboratory in America was founded at Johns Hopkins University, our department has been investigating the most fundamental questions of behavior, mind, and brain. Dedicated to research, not clinical training, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins has one of the top-ranked psychology departments in the world.

10. University of California, Berkeley

In 1921–1922, in keeping with a growing trend across the nation, Berkeley’s Department of Psychology was established as a separate unit, emerging from the Department of Philosophy. For nearly a century, the department has been a national and international leader in psychological research and the superior educational programmes that it has provided to undergraduates and doctoral students.

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Source: Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2020 (filtered by ‘offering psychology’)


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He is also the editor-in-chief of Psychreg Journal Psychology, and writes a weekly column for Free Malaysia Today. 

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