Psychology

If you are interested in pursuing a degree or finding a job in the field of psychology, everything you need is here. Find the best schools, career information, history of the discipline, influential people in the field, great books, and more.

Psychology

What Is Psychology?

Psychology is the study of the mind. A career in psychology could lead to a position as a clinical manager, school counselor, educational program manager, or behavior analyst, among others. As a psychology student, you may study subjects such as human behavior, abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, and more.

Back to Top

The Best Colleges and Universities for Psychology Degrees

Best Psychology Major Research Universities

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Yale University
  4. University of Pennsylvania
  5. Columbia University

Go to The Best Psychology Major Research Universities

Best Psychology Major Liberal Arts Colleges

  1. Swarthmore College
  2. Wesleyan University
  3. Amherst College
  4. Pomona College
  5. Wellesley College

Go to The Best Psychology Major Liberal Arts Colleges

Best Psychology Online Colleges

  1. University of Arizona
  2. University of Missouri
  3. University of Nebraska at Kearney
  4. Loyola University Chicago
  5. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Go to The Best Psychology Online Colleges

To view the entire list of top psychology schools, including schools offering online degrees and a breakdown of the best psychology colleges and universities in your state, visit our look at the Best Colleges and Universities for Psychology Degrees.

For a dynamic, real-time listing of the most influential psychology schools in the world, use our Custom College Ranking.

Back to Top

The Best Online Psychology Degrees

Psychology is among the most popular disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. A growing number of reputable colleges and universities are satisfying demand for this degree by providing an array of high-quality online psychology degree options. Using our InfluenceRanking engine, we’ve identified the best among them. Check out our growing set of rankings for online psychology degree programs at every level of education.

Back to Top

Psychology Degrees

What Will I Study as a Psychology Major?

As a psychology major, you’ll study human behavior, abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, and more.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Psychology

Graduates with a bachelor’s in psychology can seek a variety of professions, including admissions evaluator, occupational analyst, personnel recruiter, caseworker, child welfare/placement caseworker, psychiatric attendant, and psychosocial rehabilitation specialist. This versatility makes the bachelor’s in psychology an extremely popular degree. However, many people choose to further their education by also acquiring a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology, with the aim of allowing them to practice psychology in a clinical setting.

If you’re ready to earn your degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Psychology

If you’d like to learn more, check out our extensive list of resources for Psychology students, graduates, and professionals...

How To Get a Degree in Psychology

Back to Top

Who are the Most Influential Psychologists of All Time?

Psychology is recognized as an expansive educational discipline, one touching on countless areas of life. This extremely nuanced and complex area of study, has been shaped by the influence of pioneers in the field of psychology. Below, you will find some of the most influential psychologists of all time.

  1. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis.
  2. Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology.
  3. William James was an American philosopher and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. James is considered to be a leading thinker of the late nineteenth century, one of the most influential philosophers of the United States, and the “Father of American psychology”.
  4. Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.
  5. Carl Rogers was an American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach in psychology. Rogers is widely considered to be one of the founding fathers of psychotherapy research.
  6. Wilhelm Wundt was a German physiologist, philosopher, and professor, known today as one of the founders of modern psychology. Wundt, who distinguished psychology as a science from philosophy and biology, was the first person ever to call himself a psychologist.
  7. Jacques Lacan was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who has been called “the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud”. He made a significant impact on the field of psychology in areas such as post-structuralism, critical theory, feminist theory, film theory, as well as on psychoanalysis itself.
  8. Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called “genetic epistemology”.
  9. John B. Watson was an American psychologist who popularized the scientific theory of behaviorism, establishing it as a psychological school..
  10. Lev Vygotsky was a Soviet psychologist, known for his work on psychological development in children.

Now that you have a bird’s eye view of some of the most influential psychologists of all time, explore these pioneers in more depth in our article The 25 Most Influential Psychologists of All Time–A Study Starter

Back to Top

Who Are the Current Top Psychologists

The following are the top psychologists in the field today according to our machine-powered Influence Rankings, which are drawn from a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia/data, Crossref, and an ever-growing body of data.

  • Martin Seligman is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Seligman is a prominent psychologist and popular author of self-help books, best recognized for his activity in the field of positive psychology, and his corresponding theories of well-being.
  • Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist, linguist, and author. He currently holds the title of Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Pinker has been recognized as a highly influential voice in psychology, linguistics, and popular science, and is the author of a number of books. His ideas on linguistics and evolutionary psychology have not been received without controversy.
  • Daniel Kahneman is Professor Emeritus of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on human rationality in economic theory in 2002. In addition, he has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions. So important to the field of psychology, Kahneman was named one of Bloomberg’s 50 most influential people for two consecutive years.
  • Albert Bandura held the title of David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University until his passing in July, 2021. Bandura is among the most cited psychologists in the field, and is considered the founder of social learning theory. He was the author of a number of books, and recipient of numerous awards and honors.
  • Jordan Peterson is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada. Peterson has attracted a large following online for his content on personal growth,as well as the significance of traditional belief systems for psychological health and growth.
  • Chris French is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, as well as head of the University of London’s Anomalistic psychology research unit. He is the host of a popular podcast where he explores a variety of phenomena considered to be outside science. He also makes regular appearances on British TV.
  • James Alcock is a Professor of Psychology at York University in Canada. Alcock is most known for his critical stance towards parapsychology. He has been so outspoken and successful as a critic of the paranormal that in 1999 a panel voted him one of the top skeptics of the 20th century
  • Susan Fiske is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology at Princeton University. Fiske is best known for her work in the areas of social cognition, stereotypes, and prejudice, bringing the two fields of cognitive psychology and social psychology together. She is the author of several books.
  • Girishwar Misra is currently Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, India. Misra is perhaps best known for his contributions to social science and psychology research, and is a central figure in the growing field of Indian psychology.
  • Jonathan Haidt is a Professor of Ethical Leadership at Thomas Cooley. Haidt is best recognized for his work in social psychology, specifically in the areas of moral psychology, moral emotions, and positive psychology. He has authored a number of books.

Learn about more influential psychologists.

Interview with Top Psychologist

Back to Top

Great Books About Psychology

The following are the most influential books in the field of psychology today according to our backstage Ranking Analytics tool, which calculates the influence of various sources in both academics and popular culture using a numerical scoring of citations across Wikipedia/data, Crossref, and an ever-growing body of data.

  1. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt explores some of the ways in which differing notions of right and wrong affect people’s political opinions and allegiances.
  2. Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. The book maintains that “polyamory” is the default setting of human sexuality in the EEA, and that the institution of monogamy is both a corruption of our natural proclivity for sexual promiscuity and a primary source of human suffering.
  3. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova uses a beloved fictional character—the master detective Sherlock Holmes created by British author Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930)—as a means for exploring such subjects as empirical observation and logical thinking.
  4. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo is an explanation of the results and a consideration of the many implications of his famous “Stanford prison experiment” that he conducted with the participation of Stanford student volunteers in 1971.
  5. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain . The principal thesis of the book is that the psychological characteristics typically associated with introverted personality types, especially creativity, are valuable to society and should be accommodated by institutions, especially public schools.
  6. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker maintains that the concept of the blank slate (tabula rasa) is no longer tenable in the light of modern science.
  7. The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray claims that innate intelligence (as measured by IQ tests) is a good predictor of success in life (as measured by employment status, income level, marriage status, avoidance of crime, addiction, mental illness, etc.).
  8. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman holds to the basic idea is that human beings possess two separate but parallel cognitive systems. The “slow” system, relies upon deductive reasoning, thus conforming more closely to the traditional economist’s view of human nature. The other system, the “fast” one, is a set of cognitive abilities that we have inherited from our primate ancestors, which provide quick responses to situations critical for survival in which time is of the essence.
  9. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt compares some of the most important findings of contemporary psychology with many of the precepts of the ancient wisdom traditions, as embodied in the teachings of the Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, and others.
  10. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely aims to arm readers with knowledge of some of the subconscious motivations driving much of human behavior so that they can better bring them under conscious control.

Learn about more great psychology books.

Back to Top

Psychology Controversial Topics

The growing and ever-changing field of psychology remains a vibrant field of research focused on the subjective mind. The field itself touches on not only psychology, but also economics, marketing, education, philosophy, pop culture, political science, and many other areas of human existence. Our thoughts, actions, and behaviors can often lead to unpredictable behavior and even disagreement. As such, we’ll do our best to provide objective and fact-based information on the controversies pertinent to the psychology discipline.

[link to any controversies??]