Psychology Program Ranking Metrics

looking at statistics on a computer

How Do We Rank Schools?

In choosing the best schools for students pursuing a degree in psychology we look at three major aspects of degree programs: Academic quality, affordability and whether the school is psychology-friendly.

When scoring for academic quality we look at a school’s acceptance rate, enrollment rate, graduation rate and teacher-to-student ratio. We want to find schools with lower acceptance rates and higher enrollment and graduation rates. We give higher marks for schools with relatively low teacher-to-student ratios.

Affordability rankings are based on a combination of cost per term and percent of students receiving financial aid.

Finally, we give a big boost to programs that are accredited by one of a handful of psychology or social work accrediting bodies. See below for more info on accreditation.

All of our numbers that we use in ranking come from The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a public government database of all colleges and universities in the United States.

A note on accreditation:

Accreditation is the process of applying for and being granted a stamp of approval of sorts from one of any number of accrediting bodies. All of the programs listed on Psychology Degree Guide are accredited by at least their regional accrediting organization and often by other program-specific organizations as well.

The American Psychological Association (APA) also offers accreditation to doctoral and postdoctoral programs in clinical, counseling and/or school psychology. While their accreditation is an important factor in choosing a psychology program, it’s good to keep in mind that they do not accredit master’s level or undergraduate level programs. However, we have been sure to note when schools do offer APA accredited programs and have given them higher scores in our ranking metrics. We have also given higher rankings to programs with Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) accreditations.