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World’s Top 10 Universities for Psychology in 2017

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The result of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THEWUR) 2017–2018 was announced today. The University of Oxford has emerged to be the first UK university to top the league table in its 12-year history. It knocked the five-time leader, the California Institute of Technology, into second place. 

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2017–2018 lists the 1000 top universities in the world, making it its biggest international league table to date. It is the only global university performance table to judge world-class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook.

Here are the top 10 universities in the world for psychology:

  1. University of Oxford – Experimental psychology has been taught at Oxford for more than 100 years and this is one of the leading psychology departments worldwide. Its department is known for its groundbreaking 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 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 have 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 is 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.
  5. Harvard University – The field of psychology first emerged at Harvard in the late 1800s 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. University of Chicago – The Department of Psychology at Chicago has a longstanding tradition of producing research that results in real-world impact. From local initiatives in neighbourhoods surrounding the university campus to tools used by teachers in classrooms and parents at home around the world, department faculty and students are constantly making innovations that change the lives of people everywhere.
  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 the 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. Yale University – The Department of Psychology at Yale conducts research in major areas of the field, including behavioural neuroscience and clinical, cognitive, developmental, social, and personality psychology. The BA in psychology 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.
  10. 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 behaviour, 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.

You can see last year’s ranking, here

Source: THE World University Rankings 2017–2018 by Subject

Dennis Relojo is the founder of Psychreg and is also the editor-in-chief of Psychreg Journal of Psychology. Aside from PJP, he sits on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals and is a commissioning editor for the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. A graduate member of the British Psychological Society, Dennis holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Hertfordshire. His research interest lies in the intersection of psychology and blogging. You can connect with him through his website.


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