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Best Psychology Schools in New York in 2021

April 9, 2021 | Staff Writers

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York City employs the highest number of psychologists compared to other metropolitan areas in the US. Given the fact that the city has just over 8.4 million people, this is probably to be expected. What’s encouraging to future psychology students is that the rest of the state isn’t that far behind – ranking as the fourth-highest psychology employer in the country. 

Given these facts, it’s only natural that anybody interested in studying and practicing psychology would want to consider New York as their educational destination in this regard. 

This notion would be very well-founded, considering New York is not only home to some of the most outstanding Ivy League Schools but also excellent colleges, universities, and various training institutions renowned across the globe. 

If you are interested in mental health counseling and would like to join a robust psychology program, New York might just be your next destination. Inundated with psychology schools, any psychology major will find themselves spoilt for choice in this city and state. With that in mind, here are some of the most important facts and tips you need to know about psychology schools in New York. 

Best New York Psychology Colleges and Programs

There is no doubt that every student wants to attend the best and most prestigious school for their chosen major. Thankfully, when it comes to psychology, New York has an embarrassment of riches on this front. However, before you can decide which college or university to attend for your educational psychology degree, it’s best to decide which psychology discipline you would like to focus on. 

With some of the most popular being clinical psychology, forensic psychology, experimental psychology, and general psychology, there are many psychology disciplines.  While every student is different and has their own special interests, most prefer general psychology. 

In fact, it’s the fourth most popular psychology major, and within it, there are several high-paying psychology specializations such as counseling psychology that you can explore. 

Considering how popular and lucrative it can be, a degree in general psychology is as good a place as any to start. With that in mind, here are some of the best New York psychology colleges and programs to consider: 

New York University

Of course, when it comes to universities and colleges in New York, any list would be incomplete if it didn’t feature New York University. As one of the oldest and most prestigious private research universities in the state and country, it’s only logical that NYU would also have a robust psychology program on offer. In fact, as far as lucrative specializations go, NYU offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and a Master of Arts (MA) in General Psychology. You will have an array of options when you join the institution. 

Graduate students studying a degree in general psychology can choose to specialize in a wide range of disciplines, including:

  • Forensic psychology
  • Cognition and perception
  • Biopsychology
  • Social and consumer psychology

By taking up the general psychology degree program, you will be expected to complete and attain 36 credits, with 24 of those being in psychology. Your psychology course will cover a wide range of topics, including child development, psychology of violence, and cognitive neuroscience. You will also be expected to carry out and complete fieldwork experience. 

If, however, you are more interested in the lucrative Industrial and Organizational Psychology program, you should know that this is mostly research-based and will also require 36 credits to complete. Twenty-one of these credits have to be in psychology, and you are going to focus on courses such as training in organizations, personnel selection, performance measurements, and so on. 

Mercy College

Although not as old as some of the prestigious universities and colleges in New York, Mercy College is still a worthy addition to this list. Founded in 1950, the college sits on about 66 acres of land bordering the Hudson River and is a popular destination for students looking to major in psychology. 

The institution offers students the opportunity to take up a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology. Regardless of the option you choose, you can complete the course either at one of the college campuses located in Manhattan, Dobbs Ferry, Yorktown, and the Bronx or online. 

As a psychology major, you will be expected to undertake courses such as psychobiology, classics in social and behavioral psychology, and experimental psychology. The psychology programs at this institution are so thorough that, once completed, you will be fully prepared to either take up entry-level positions in your field of specialization or to go on to graduate studies. 

Hunter College

As a psychology student looking to go to Hunter College, you have several alternatives to pursue psychology courses go. They can choose to take up a Master of Arts (MA) in Animal Behavior and Conservation or a Master of Arts (MA) in General Psychology. These programs do require you to complete 30 credits worth of courses and allow you to specialize in a wide number of specializations, including:

  • Developmental psychology
  • Evaluative psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Social cognitive
  • Comparative psychology

Since the college offers master’s program options, you will be required to write up a thesis that will ordinarily take you about a year and sit a comprehensive exam. 

The Animal Behavior and Conservation graduate program option consists of 36 credits with some of the core requirements in topics like experimental psychology, basic psychological processes, and statistical methods in psychology. 

You also have a wide range of elective options from which to choose. These include interesting courses in the Psychology of Learning, Animal Thinking, and Communication and Comparative Psychology.

The New School

Founded in 1919, The New School prides itself in being one of the leading educational institutions to provide students with academic freedom to foster critical intellectual inquiry. It boldly embraces the culture of hosting progressive thinkers in all its academic programs. 

The New School has a robust Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology program that takes four years to complete. It’s a 120-credit course. As a psychology major, you will need to attain at least 39 credits in courses such as Introduction to Psychology, Statistics for the Social Sciences, Neuropsychology, Cross-Cultural Psychology, Theories of Personality, and Research Methods. What stands out about this program is that you don’t have to submit your ACT or SAT scores as an applicant. 

Online Psychology Degree Programs in New York

Apart from on-campus education, online psychology degree programs are also available for students who have a busy schedule or simply prefer this kind of program delivery. Here are some of the best online degree programs in New York:

CUNY School of Professional Studies

The biggest difference between CUNY School of Professional Studies and the others on this list is that CUNY is an online school. An abbreviation for the City University of New York, CUNY’s School of Professional Studies is the online arm of this prestigious educational system. 

The school offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology that is fully online and pays closer attention to research, lifespan development, social behavior, and effective communication in both international and sociocultural settings. The beauty of it all is that you can fully complete this program online, which makes it one of the most convenient psychology programs on this list. 

Students interested in this psychology program can focus on any one of the three specializations:

  • Organizational Psychology
  • Psychopathology 
  • Psychological Development

You also have a host of minors available to you through an assortment of electives such as:

  • Mental and Behavioral Health
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Psychology of Management and Organizations
  • Cultural Sociology

While CUNY is definitely a welcome alternative for students with jobs and busy lifestyles, there is one issue with joining the school that could be considered as somewhat of a hindrance: you must have attained at least 24 transferable credits before joining CUNY. These credits have to be from an accredited school. You also need to have maintained a minimum GPA of 2.5. 

To counter this apparent hindrance, CUNY does have. It maintains an excellent relationship with a host of colleges and universities, making the credit transfer process much easier on degree students. The university also offers students opportunities to earn these credits through workplace training, learning assessments, and experience. 

Medaille College

This is yet another excellent college that offers students opportunities to pursue a Master of Arts in Psychology online. To complete the course, you will need 36 credit hours, and you can take anything from one to four courses each semester. Each course at Medaille College is offered in a seven-week format making this one of the best online colleges for students looking to get their master’s degree despite having a hectic schedule. 

There is also an optional course in Sports Psychology offered at the college. This particular course is designed to help students prepare for leadership roles and positions as coaches or in sports management and even in rehabilitation. 

Since this is a master’s program, to be considered, you would need to have a bachelor’s degree, provide the college with your resume, a personal or professional statement, and two references. 

How to Choose a Psychology Degree Program

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having a career in psychology is a good bet for people who want to make a decent living. Market research shows that the job outlook for a psychologist is projected to grow by about 3% through to 2029, which is just about as fast as the industry average. Additionally, depending on the psychology specialization, psychologists earn a median salary of about $38.64 per hour (about $80,370 per annum), which is decent by most standards. 

Of course, that wage is highly dependent on your specialization and the kind of clientele you have. That’s one of the main reasons why choosing the right psychology degree program is extremely important from the start. Here are some tips that should help guide you through this process:

Personal Career Goals

What are your personal career goals and ambitions? Do you like working with children, women, men, or would you rather avoid working with people entirely and focus on animals? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself before choosing a certain psychology program. 

Your ambitions and career goals hold a strong sway on the kind of school or program you attend as well as the kind of specialization for which you go. Here are some factors that might help you determine which path to take in terms of career goals:

  • Entry-level and terminal degrees: Like most sensitive human sciences and arts, your career in psychology will be greatly influenced by your education level. This is evident in the fact that most high-paying entry-level jobs in the field require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology or any other related field from a reputable and accredited educational institution. 
  • Preferred specialties: If you already know which specialization you want to pursue, picking a psychology program that concentrates more on that area should be your top priority. While you can practice general psychology with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, people looking to specialize often need to have a master’s degree with the option to specialize in a specific field of psychology. 

Another less discussed factor determining how much you can make is the kind of school you go to. Even though every qualified psychologist can sufficiently offer their services to patients, the simple truth is that holding a degree or master’s degree from a prestigious school makes you more marketable. 

You can command better prices as a psychologist if you graduate from Columbia University instead of graduating from an obscure, albeit accredited, educational institution. 

Program Delivery

Currently, well over 6 million students are pursuing distance learning opportunities in the US. This online learning culture has opened up a host of opportunities for students who would have found it difficult to access this kind of education otherwise. There is no doubt that program delivery is a huge factor when it comes to choosing the kind of psychology school you should attend. 

Some students are just better suited for on-campus learning. These are the kind of people who do better in a more traditional environment and prefer face-to-face interactions with lecturers and other students. On-campus learning certainly has its benefits which include:

  • Full access to faculty
  • Access to the institution’s library
  • Readily available research opportunities
  • Interaction with fellow students
  • Access to a host of honor societies

If you learn best in this kind of environment, then going for an on-campus experience and program that allows you to have it is the best choice. 

However, for millions of students across the country, online learning is the only viable option. These are people who have extremely hectic lifestyles or have to work to make a living and pay for their tuition. 

Thankfully, online learning platforms have become extremely sophisticated and offer students access to high-quality education at their own convenience. The fact that these classes can be taken from anywhere and accessed at any time makes them quite convenient, meaning that you can choose their own schedule as a student. 

Another notable advantage that comes with online learning is that it’s often cheaper than the on-campus alternative. However, there is a common misconception that online courses are much simpler than on-campus programs. 

It’s worth stating that online programs follow the same curriculum as on-campus programs and, as such, are just as challenging. In fact, it can be argued that since online learning depends entirely on your ability to remain motivated and complete your coursework with almost no supervision, it could very well be more challenging. The discipline and organizational skills required are commendable. 

Program Accreditation

Institutions that hold accreditation standards have to uphold and guarantee a minimum standard of education quality for their students. These programs are considered more prestigious or more esteemed than those offered by institutions that aren’t accredited. 

If you are going to pay for a degree program, it’s best to pay for a program from an accredited school. Not only is that education of reliably high quality, but your credits are also transferable to other accredited institutions should you want to continue or upgrade your education in another facility. 

Cost and Available Financial Aid

College education isn’t cheap. However, the cost depends on the level of education you are looking for and the institution you choose. Therefore, most students tend to choose the programs they attend by what they can afford, limiting many. Thankfully, however, there is financial aid available to those who need it. 

Qualification for this aid depends on your financial income, whether you are a full-time or a part-time student, where you live, and the kind of program you want to pursue. The higher the degree program you want, the more likely you can access better financial aid packages and grants. 

Furthermore, the kind of aid you get will depend on what is available to your eligibility status. Some financial aid packages are limited to tuition fees, while many cover both living expenses and tuition. One of the best ways to approach this is simply asking the institution you want to join what kind of financial aid is available to you. 

Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in New York?

Even though Albany is the State capital of New York, New York City is clearly the superstar. The state, however, is about much more than just the Big Apple, and when it comes to education, there are many interesting and excellent options from which to choose. Here are some of the best reasons why you should consider attending your psychology colleges or programs in New York:

Home to High-Quality Schools

When it comes to education, the main determining factor for heading to any given state has to be the quality of schools in that state. New York is undoubtedly blessed in this area with highly prestigious and superb schools like Cornell, Columbia University, and New York University. If, however, you are more interested in less high-profile options, then you can certainly explore the litany of schools on offer within the state, such as:

  • Fordham University: Offering 23 different psychology degree programs, Fordham University is one of the largest private and not-for-profit universities in New York. It has a good record of graduating psychology students with hundreds earning a degree and a host more earning Master’s degrees, Doctoral degrees, and even certificates.
  • SUNY at Albany: With 18 different psychology degree programs, SUNY at Albany is a large, public university churning out an impressive number of psychology graduates every year. 

The list goes on with some notable names, such as Stony Brooke University, Vassar College, and the University of Rochester being some of the most popular appearances. 

Culture

While there are many online schools in the state, students who prefer on-campus learning will enjoy the state’s culture. The state is home to dozens of museums, plays host to many cultural festivals all year round, and boasts some of the world’s best concert halls. 

Networking Opportunities

Because New York is such a big state and the Big Apple such an important commercial in the US, the kind of networking activities that exist are virtually endless. Aside from getting a quality education, students can take the time to explore the state and city to see what kind of networking opportunities exist. 

Visiting job fairs, various job centers, and other professional meetups, of which New York has lots, students could unearth previously unknown opportunities for both employment and business. 

Financial Aid

As a state, New York has a host of financial aid packages that suit a wide variety of students who need them. One of the most popular financial aid programs in New York is the Tuition Assistant Program (TAP) that offers eligible students up to $5,165 of financial aid. 

There are lots of other available options and programs for special groups such as veterans and students who excel in certain sciences and math. However, if you find that you don’t qualify for any of these aid packages, you could also try applying for student loans and federal grants like Pell Grant

What to Expect in a New York Psychology College Program

As a state, New York has well over 11,000 school psychologists, clinical psychologist, and counseling psychologists employed within its borders. The colleges and universities within the state have an excellent reputation for providing robust and high-quality psychology programs in different categories all the way up to Doctorate degrees. 

If you intend to study psychology in New York, you need to know that the colleges and universities operate very much like other colleges and universities around the United States. 

Traditional bachelor’s degree takes about four years to complete, master’s degrees take anywhere from 1 to 3 years, and a doctoral degree could last anywhere between 3 and 7 years. 

These differences in time depend on a wide range of factors, but the most prominent reasons are whether you enroll as a part-time student, a full-time or take up an accelerated program. 

While it’s true that every psychology degree program has its own curricula requirements, the state of New York requires each and every licensed program graduate coursework to cover a number of issues such as ethics and diversity. 

As an undergraduate or a graduate student, you can expect to present original research before graduating. As for a doctoral program, supervised clinical psychology hours are a mandatory part of the course. 

What Does the Coursework for a Psychology Degree Typically Include in New York?

Every college in New York strives to offer a unique experience and psychology curriculum. As such, you won’t find similar courses at every school. There are, however, some foundational principles that every psychology program offers to students. These include:

  • Introduction to Psychology: This is an essential course that introduces psychology students to different schools of the discipline. It also examines fundamental concepts such as motivation, memory, and emotion. Some schools may even begin teaching students about psychological disorders at this stage. 
  • Experimental Psychology: This is where students are taught how to develop robust experiments using the various quantitative and qualitative research methods at their disposal. At this stage, you will learn how to conduct research through primary source documents, formulate hypotheses, and replicate past experiments. 
  • Developmental Psychology: Students learn how a human being’s environment and various biological factors shape their behavior from infancy to childhood and adulthood. 
  • Psychology of Learning: Here, you will explore how human beings learn. The course focuses on aspects such as memory, problem-solving abilities, and language.  
  • Abnormal Psychology: This is where you will learn how to examine a host of psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and anxiety. This course teaches you how these disorders develop, how they affect behavior and explores the various treatment options. 

You may also be interested in criminal psychology and criminal justice, educational psychology, school psychology, or other clinical psychology fields. If this is the case, make sure to do your research to find the best psychology graduate program for your interests.

Psychology is one of the most popular courses in the United States. Attending the right psychology school in New York could be the first step you take to a long and fulfilling career in this discipline. The options and information provided here are an excellent place to start.

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