Congratulations on your decision to study psychology in the U.S. Indeed, you have made the right start by opting to read this informative article. A word of caution: Before proceeding to seek top universities for studying psychology in U.S, it would be important for you to first understand what this particular line of study entails and the possibility of matching it with your interests, expectations and career goals. United States has some top universities and fantastic teachers in the field of psychology. However, you would first need to take into account some basic factors. Several factors like location, cost of the program and the particular branch of psychology you wish to pursue needs to be taken into consideration.
Here are some issues that would need to be addressed:
– What is psychology?
Psychology is indeed a fascinating subject! It is the study of the human mind related to the myriad processes of its application in daily life. This study processes human thoughts, emotions and behavior, essentially geared to improve the varied facets and quality of life.
– What does the study of psychology currently entail?
Today, study of psychology focuses on scientific means to better understand and predict human behavior. The study is divided into two major disciplines- – – academic psychology which expands theoretical knowledge, and applied psychology, which is a practical field addressing an array of daily problems in life. Academic psychology comprises of several sub-topics dealing with personality, social and development aspects of human being as a ‘whole.’ While applied psychology, include areas such as forensic psychology, ergonomics and industrial-organizational psychology using a variety of psychological principles to treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.
– In the larger context of human development, what purpose does psychology serve?
Study of psychology serves several useful purposes in the area of human development. Psychologists serve people in communities and health-care organizations. They diagnose patients after testing their intelligence and personality. They assess their behavior, deal with their mental or emotional problems and provide appropriate line of treatment for each of the diagnosed conditions.
– What career options are available for students studying psychology?
According to the Department of Labor, the demands for careers in this branch of study are enormous. Career options revolving around ‘human experience’ is the focal point of any good psychology program. Today, increasing career opportunities for graduate and post-graduate students of psychology are available. Even undergrads can utilize this branch of study as the basic foundation for careers in medicine, computer science, and business besides moving on to teaching positions in this field. Psychologists work in health facilities and certain departments in the government. They either work independently in private clinics or team up with other professionals in the health care industry or as counselors in schools and colleges or in the laboratories and hospitals.
-What role do research psychologists play?
Some psychologists work as research scientists and conduct research on mental and emotional health of varied segments of people in the business sector or with athletes in the field of sports; psychologists work with these individuals towards reducing stress and improving their level of performance. Some even work with law enforcement agencies in the case of custody battle and divorce settlements. During national disasters like bombings or plane crash and natural calamities like tsunamis, psychologists work alongside other public health officials to help victims of trauma in relieving their emotional pain and mental anguish. Hence, backed with research and accumulated experience, psychologists also play a critical role in crisis management.
– Which are the universities for studying psychology in the U.S?
According to the most recent study conducted by the National Research Council, universities were ranked in accordance to their ‘quality scores’ for the programs offered in Psychology. The Stanford Psychology Program at Stanford, CA and the University of California at Berkeley, holds the topmost place based on their scores [ 4.7] amongst all the universities. Stanford Department offers Ph.D. in Psychology and does not have a terminal Masters Degree Program. Their program has five areas of study namely Neuroscience, Developmental, Cognitive, Affective Science and Social Psychology. The University of California at Berkley offers both Undergraduate and Graduate Programs. Its programs encompass Developmental Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Experimental Psychology and Social Psychology. Information pertaining to Admissions and Application of both the universities are available on their official website.
– Which are the other top universities available for studying psychology in the U.S?
Here is the list of other top universities in the U.S:
Harvard University at Cambridge, MA, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Yale University, New Haven- CT, University of Illinois—Urbana Champaign, Princeton University at New Jersey, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities- MN, University of Wisconsin—Madison, WI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology- Cambridge, MA, University of Pennsylvania-Philadelphia, PA, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, NC, University of Texas-Austin, TX, University of Washington-Seattle, WA, Washington University-St. Louis, MO, Carnegie Mellon University-Pittsburg, PA, Columbia University-New York, Cornell University-Ithaca, NY, Northwestern University-Evanston, IL, Ohio State University-Columbus, OH, University of California-San Diego, CA, Duke University- Durham, NC, Indiana University-Bloomington, IN, John Hopkins University-Baltimore, MD.
All the above top universities have the quality score between 4.0 and 4.6. Besides these, there are several other good universities offering diverse programs in the field of Psychology. Admission to these universities may not be easy as students from all over the world compete to enroll in these top universities. The entire process could be time-consuming; but it is well worth the effort. Check all the pros and cons before formulating a list of universities you wish to apply to.
On a personal note, by studying psychology, application of psychological principles can be used as motivating factors in pursuing goals and stimulating productivity, improving leadership skills and relationships, gaining better perspective of life’s adversaries and enhancing every facet of human life. Whichever university you ultimately choose as your ‘Alma Mater’, your careful attention to details would be a critical key to your success.