Best Psychology Schools in California in 2024 | Updated |

Psychology is a great career to pursue. Individuals get various options to work in the health sector, corporate, social, and many more. For your information, psychology has multiple types of degrees associated with their specialized studies, and after completion, you can also apply for licensure.

Why Choose California for Psychology?

There are more than 300 psychology schools in California, giving the students multiple choices to find the best fit.

Secondly, it is one of the highest employment states in the nation for psychology. If anyone wants to work full-time or get an internship, California is one of the most accessible places to get into.

Besides, California’s weather and beauty are factors many students consider when selecting a college.

We have filtered top California schools for psychology based on research, graduation rate, employment rate, and other facilities provided to the students.

Best Psychology Schools in California

top psychology universities in California

Stanford University

Stanford University is known as the Home of Research for psychology. More than decades university has maintained its ranking among the top psychology schools in the nation,  Some of the famous research includes the Stanford Prison experiment and many more.

Program Overview

It is one of the best schools to study psychology. Its curriculum is based on practical implications. They prepare students to learn scientific methods which help them to diagnose human behavior,

In Stanford Psychology Department, academic advisors play a keen role; they help Ph.D. Students in structuring program which includes a balance between theoretical and practical part, while for undergrad, they recommend the selection of the course which is suitable for incurring foundational knowledge of psychology,

  • Undergraduate
  •  PhD

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College also provides a master’s in psychology, but only for those pursuing an advanced degree at Stanford.


The college facilitates their undergrad students with summer programs to perform independent research; they have an association (SUPA) for undergrads.

Students have the opportunity to research in five primary areas, which include affective science, cognitive, developmental, neuroscience, and social, along with 20 research topics associated with these areas.

Key Points

  • Accreditation – APA 
  • Acceptance Rate – 2.5 % for PhD. Students
  • GPA – 3.96
  • ACT / SAT – 35 / 1550
  • Graduation Rate – 94.4 %
ucla psychology ranking

UCLA College of Life Sciences

UCLA is one of the best UC for psychology, the university has more than 70 faculty in the department of psychology, and till now, about 3800 undergrads have been enrolled in three areas psychology, cognitive science, and psychobiology.

Program Overview

UCLA Psychology Department Academic structure is very strong. To provide depth and fact-based learning, the department of psychology collaborates with other departments such as law, computer science, and many more to get the exact results of their research,

At UCLA, you will be offered two accredited psychology programs; we have given an overview of each program below,


Apart from regular studies, the university gives opportunity to undergrads students to specialize in particular areas, which include –

  • Psychobiology
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Learning and Memory
  • Motivation
  • Perception
  • Cognition
  • Measurement
  • Personality
  • Clinical,
  • Social, Developmental, community
  • Health psychology

In addition, undergrads can either major in psychology, psychobiology, or cognitive science. An honour degree is an option as well.


Below we have listed the topics which Ph.D. students will be learning; these include –

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Learning and Behaviour
  • Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


UCLA initiated various programs to bridge the gap between undergrad and Ph.D. students with real-world experience,

  • Psychology Research Opportunities Programs (PROPS)
  • Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference 
  • Infant Development Program

University is equipped with advanced technology labs, which help students learn concepts more quickly.

Key Points

  • Accreditation – APA and PCSAS
  • Acceptance Rate – 12%
  • GPA – 3.0
  • ACT Score  – 29 to 35
  • SAT Score – 1300 to 1530
  • Graduation Rate – 92%
best suny schools for psychology majors

University of Southern California

It is one of the best psychology schools in southern California. University is known for its supportive faculty and excellent curriculum structure.

Program Overview

USC Department of Psychology offers three programs, which include –


To stand their students different from others; the college emphasizes their undergrad students to evolve in research. Along with this, faculties make students learn new methodology via case studies. Undergrad Psychology Major is divided into four goals which include –

  • Learn full knowledge of Psychology
  • Learn to Perform Deep Research Analysis
  • Learn Ethnic Values of Psychology to be used in making a good community
  • Learn to make the interpersonal relationship


University offers a Master of Science in Applied Psychology with two variants (Residential and Online) and a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis.


University offers Ph.D. in five specialized areas, which include –

  • Brain and Cognitive Science
  • Clinical Science
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Quantitative Methods and Computational Psychology
  • Social Psychology


It is among the colleges in California for psychology that facilitates students with job and internship hunting. More than 52% of doctorate students from the past ten years get into corporate jobs. Some renowned recruiting companies include Amazon, Facebook, Google, and many more.

USC also initiated the Dornsife Overseas Studies event, so students who want to study overseas can avail themselves of this opportunity.

Key Points

  • Accreditation – APA and PCSAS
  • Acceptance Rate – 11%
  • GPA – 3.5 
  • ACT Score – 30 to 34
  • SAT Score – 1340 to 1530
  • Graduation Rate – 92%
best uc schools for psychology

UC Berkeley

It’s been 100 years, and UC Berkeley has been among the best schools for psychology in California. University has made its record for excellent education in psychology.

University has one of the best psychology faculty, most of whom have been awarded for their research and teaching methodology achievement.

Program Overview

UC Berkeley’s whole curriculum is influenced by day-to-day research in psychology. Additionally, it offers two programs, which include,


As per faculty, they have structured a curriculum in such a way student incur curiosity to explore more. As per students, their undergraduate program prepared them to develop as critical thinkers. Along with learning theoretical knowledge. Faculty evoke case studies in each class and stimulate each student in the discussion. 

If you are interested in research, then the university avail undergrad students with multiple programs, including 

  • Honors Program
  • Independent Study
  • Research Participation Program


At UC Berkeley, six specialization options are given to students for pursuing their graduate program, which include –

  • Clinical Science
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental
  • Social Personality
  • Cognition
  • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience


Being ranked among good psychology schools in California, immense opportunities are provided to psychology students on campus, it includes –

  • Study Abroad
  • Weekly Opportunities for availing internships
  • Various resources of Berkeley help you to connect with alums, learn more about entrepreneurship, and industry connects

UC Berkeley also has psychology clinics. For their research program, they have been funded by various National Institutes, and additionally, students have been serving the bay area for the last 50 years. 

Key Points

  • Accreditation – APA and PCSAS
  • Acceptance Rate – 16%
  • GPA – 3.0
  • ACT Score – 30 to 35 
  • SAT Score – 1310 to 1530
  • Graduation Rate –92%
schools for psychology in California

Pomona College

Pomona College is among the best colleges for psychology in California. Regarding admission prerequisites, it is the first college to demand ethnic courses, and they mandate their graduate students for empirical thesis.

Program Overview

The psychology department of Pomona College focuses on experimental learning to make their student more confident while working in the real world. Pomona College offers two programs which include –

  • Bachelors
  • PhD

We have highlighted some key points of the curriculum. 

  • Foundational Learning of Psychology
  • Lab Courses with their lecture theory
  • Opportunity for students for summer research grants
  • Prepare students with technical writing, statistics, measurement, and programming skills to correlate the relation between brain, culture, and computing.


Pomona College facilitates a Research Support Specialist to consolidate students’ involvement in research, which helps students understand the proper equipment usage in the lab. The college has about ten research labs,

As per students, with so much involvement in research, their communication skills have been improved, and they can present their thesis more confidently. Along with this, the college provides them with research funds and assists them in getting internships.

Key Points

  • Acceptance Rate – 7%
  • GPA – 4.0
  • ACT Score – 32 to 35
  • SAT Score – 1390 to 1540
  • Graduation Rate – 97%
ucsd psychology ranking

UC San Diego

For the past 50 years, UCSD offering the best psychology programs in California. University location is charming. You can enjoy natural beauty, such as La Jolla beach near the university, and delicious food nearby campus.

Program Overview

UCSD’s academic structure for psychology is rated good, as it covers all the essential trending topics, which helps students to lay a good foundation for their careers.

In UCSD, you will be offered two programs, Bachelors and Ph.D., and Department also allows specializing in a particular area,

While if you are interested in Behavioural Neuro Science Program. UCSD is considered best comparable to other UCs.


UCSD Psychology Department provides vast opportunities in the research area. The university’s campus has Salk Institute for Biological Studies, known for its scientific research. 

Below is the list of Research Areas in the UCSD Psychology Department –    

  • Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience
  • Sensation & Perception
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Key Points

  • Accreditation – CACREP
  • Acceptance Rate – 31%
  • GPA – 3.0
  • ACT Score – 28 to 34
  • SAT Score – 1270 to 1480
  • Graduation Rate – 87%
good psychology colleges in California

Claremont McKenna College

In California, Claremont McKenna College is an excellent option for studying psychology. Here you will get multiple options to explore.

As per students, the faculty of CMC are very supportive and acknowledge good depth studies. They are prepared to grab good job and internship opportunities.

Program Overview

CMC offers Undergrad Majors and Accelerated MA Program in Psychology, 

The curriculum of CMC is very different from other psychology colleges in California. It is influenced with day-to-day case studies. Students are acknowledged with various practical psychological applications in law, business, politics, and education, 

The whole curriculum is divided into five parts which includes

  • Foundational Introductory classes of psychology,
  • Option to choose courses in lower division core
  • Statistics
  • Research Methods
  • Electives


Claremont Mckenna College facilitates its students with immense opportunities to shape a promising future –

  • Summer Research Program
  • Internship Programs at CMC
  • The Leadership Studies Program
  • The Legal Studies Program
  • Study Abroad

Key Points

  • Acceptance Rate – 10%
  • GPA – 3.3
  • ACT Score – 31 to 34
  • SAT Score – 1330 to 1500
  • Graduation Rate – 93%

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