A master's degree in psychology prepares you for a career in education, counselling or research. Most top-tier universities do not offer a terminal or exclusive master's degree in psychology. Instead, many colleges provide a master of science degree with a focus in psychology as part of a co-terminal degree program for students pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree in psychology, or a Ph.D. Nevertheless, some highly ranked schools offer master's degrees in psychology for students who currently don't want to pursue a doctoral degree.
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Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, is frequently ranked in the overall top five colleges in the country by several ranking boards including the Princeton Review, College Board, and U.S. and World News Report. Currently, Stanford is ranked No. 2 on U.S. and World News Report's ranking list of exceptional graduate programs for psychology. The focus of Stanford's psychology department is educational psychology and research methods, but students can focus in a different field of psychology like cognitive or behavioural sciences. Stanford does not offer an exclusive master's degree in psychology. Instead, students combine a bachelor's degree in psychology with a master of arts degree with a psychology focus. Students can then move on to pursue a doctoral degree.
University of Wisconsin at Madison
The University of Wisconsin in Madison is currently ranked eighth for its graduate psychology program by the U.S. and World News Report. UWM is one of the few top-tier universities in the country to offer a terminal Master's of Psychology degree to students who don't intend to pursue a doctoral degree. UVM also offers a thesis-based master's degree in which students conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty member.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was one of the first U.S. universities to include a dedicated psychology department in its course offerings. The graduate psychology program at Illinois is ranked in the top five by the Princeton Review and the U.S. and World News Report. With more than 100 active faculty members, Illinois also boasts one of the largest psychology departments in the country. Many faculty members are also journal editors or political advisers with real-world experience in their field.
U.S and World News Report consistently places Villanova University in Philadelphia in the No. 1 spot for the Best University Master's programs in the north. The psychology department received a top 10 spot in a review of research productivity in American and Canadian psychology master's programs. Villanova offers a two-year psychology master's degree that focuses on research methods. Students are required to complete a comprehensive thesis to receive the master's degree.
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