Best 12 Psychology Schools in California in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Best 12 Psychology Schools in California in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

The study of psychology is the study of the human mind and everything human. It includes the exploration into the human brain, discovering everything from memory to consciousness to reasoning – and everything else that contributes to takes away from one’s mental health.

The science of psychology is the application of methodologies to study the various and many manifestations of psychological phenomena in hopes of gaining a better understanding and insight into human choices and thinking with the ultimate objective of developing practical solutions to chronic issues.

Psychologists tend to be refined analytical thinkers, which is a great skill that can be applied across many economic and industrial sectors. Those who choose to further their education from one of the many innovative and quality psychology schools in California will find rewarding careers in research, clinical practice, or consulting for government agencies, medical centers, or large companies.

Psychologists are trained to help others with a wide variety of problems and issues. These issues include, in part, the following –

  • Fears & phobias.
  • Anxiety & stress.
  • Weight control.
  • Sleeping issues.
  • Relationship issues.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Depression.
  • Personal growth.
  • Grief.
  • Sexual problems.
  • Compulsive or addictive behaviors.
  • Behavioral difficulties.
  • Developmental disorders.
  • Consumer/marketing psychology.
  • Sports Performance, among many others.

Listed below are a dozen available psychology schools in California that represent psychology programs from some of the most affordable state schools to psychology degrees offered by private and specialty higher learning institutions. Let’s review a cross-section of psychology degree programs offered by the many institutions of higher education in the Golden State.

Best 12 Psychology Schools in California

1. California State University (CSU Long Beach)

The College of Liberal Arts at CSU – the California State University in Long Beach, offers both an undergraduate and graduate of arts degree in psychology from one of the most affordable psychology schools in California. Established as a state college in 1949, California State University Long Beach has grown to become the third-largest of the member schools in the Cal State system.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 2,871 per semester (undergraduate resident); $ 3,588 per semester (graduate resident)
  • Psychology Program Options 
    • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
    • Master of Arts (MA) – Human Factors, Psychological Research or Organizational Psychology
  • Student Enrollment – 38,674 Total (Undergraduate – 33,054)
  • Accreditation –WASC & APA – The American Psychological Association

2. California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)

California Polytechnic State University’s Liberal Arts College offers several psychology degrees from one of the most scientifically innovative of all psychology schools in California. The bachelor’s degree candidates with a few minors in child development or gerontology. Students graduating from the master’s level psychology program will have also met the education criteria required to be awarded the California MFT license – Marriage & Family Therapist license.

Tuition Fees – $ 5,035 (undergraduate resident); $5,752 per semester (graduate resident)

  • Psychology Program Options
    • Bachelor of Psychology
    • Master of Science (MS) in Psychology
  • Student Enrollment – 21,426  Total (Undergraduate – 20,503)
  • Accreditation –WASC

3. The University of California (UC Berkeley)

The University of California’s Department of Psychology offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and six graduate-level phycology degrees from the school’s Berkeley campus. Chartered in 1868 as the result of the Morrill Land Grant College Act, the University of California at Berkeley holds the distinction of being California’s first land-grant school.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 5,721 (undergraduate resident); $7,093 per semester (graduate resident)
  • Psychology Program Options
    • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
    • Master’s in Psychology in Clinical Science, Cognition, Developmental, Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience, social/personality
  • Student Enrollment – 43,185 Total (Undergraduate – 31,348)
  • Accreditation –WASC & APA

4. The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP)

For more than four decades, the California School of Professional Psychology, affiliated with Alliant International University, has operated as a multiple campus higher learning institution with several campuses in California and internationally. As one of the most innovative & comprehensive psychology schools in California -, the California School of Professional Psychology offers a plethora of undergraduate and graduate psychology degree programs.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 6,660 per semester (undergraduate 12 credits); varies – $7,416 to $ 9,800 per semester graduate – depending program/specialty
  • Program Options
    • Bachelor of Science (BS) – Psychology
    • Master of Arts (MA) – Clinical Counseling, Marital/Family Therapy, Organizational Psychology
    • Master of Science (MS) – Clinical Psychopharmacology
    • Ph.D. or PsyD – Clinical Psychology, Marital/Family Therapy, Organizational Psychology
  • Student Enrollment – 5,200 Total (Undergraduate – n/a)
  • Accreditation –WASC & APA

5. The University of California (UC Merced)

The University of California’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts, located in Merced, offers a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Psychology and a doctoral-level psychology degree program. This Ph.D. program from one of the top psychology schools in California offers doctoral candidates three primary emphases as follows – the quantitative psychology track, the developmental psychology track, or the health psychology track.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 6,769 per semester (undergraduate resident); $ 11,442 per semester (graduate resident)
  • Psychology Program Options – Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology, Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences
  • Student Enrollment – 8,847 Total (Undergraduate – 8,151)
  • Accreditation –WASC

6. Mills College

Located in Oakland, California, Mills College, an all-women’s college, is among the most liberal and innovative ofpsychology schools in California. Coursework for this undergraduate degree in psychology from Mills College includes fundamentals of psychology, life span development, stress & disease, psychopathology, positive psychology, statistics for behavioral science, and epigenetics & behavior, to name a few. Founded in 1852, Mills College was the first all-women’s higher learning institution in the nation to accept transgender students openly.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 14,670 per semester (undergraduate)
  • Psychology Program Options – Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
  • Student Enrollment – 1,122   Total (Undergraduate – 723)
  • Accreditation –WASC

7. Point Loma Nazarene University

Located in San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with three academic emphases from which to choose – general psychology, character, morality & culture, or therapeutic & community psychology. Upper-division classes for this degree include abnormal psychology, research methods & statistics, adult development, development psychology, and the science of moral change, plus a senior capstone project, among others.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 18,800 per semester (undergraduate)
  • Psychology Program Options – Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
  • Student Enrollment – 4,567 Total (Undergraduate – 3,203)
  • Accreditation –WASC

8. The University of San Francisco (USFCA)

The University of San Francisco’s College of Arts and Sciences, one of the most innovative psychology schools in California, has a campus near Haight-Ashbury that offers a baccalaureate degree program in psychology with a minor in neuroscience, gerontology, or honors. The University of San Francisco is recognized among the preeminent Jesuit institutions of higher education in the country and the world.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 25,965 per semester (undergraduate); $11,800 per semester (graduate – 8 credits)
  • Psychology Program Options – Bachelor’s in Psychology or Clinical Psychology PsyD Program
  • Student Enrollment – 10,636 Total (Undergraduate – 6,577)
  • Accreditation –WASC & APA

9. Santa Clara University (Santa Clara)

Santa Clara University’s College of Arts & Sciences/Psychology Department is one of the top psychology schools in California, offering a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Psychology with a general track, honor track, or an emphasis in gerontology. Classes for this degree include ethics in psychology, motivation & emotion, abnormal psychology, and the psychology of death, culture/emotion, memory, psychological assessment, dying and loss, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 26,499 per semester (school runs and charges fees on the quarterly system)
  • Psychology Program Options – Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology
  • Student Enrollment –  8,669 Total (Undergraduate – 5,694)
  • Accreditation –WASC & APA

10. Pomona College (Pomona)

Pomona College’s Psychological Science Department is among the many psychology schools in California Claremont College Consortium. As a member of the consortium, students can choose to take classes from other member schools to apply to their degree requirements.Pomona College was established in 1887 and has grown to one of the finest higher learning institutions in the western United States.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 27,190 per semester (undergraduate)
  • Psychology Program Options – Bachelor’s in Psychological Science
  • Student Enrollment – 1,637 Total (Undergraduate – All)
  • Accreditation –WASC

11. Occidental University (OXY)

Located in Los Angeles, Occidental University is a comprehensive university that is also one of the more innovative psychology schools in California.  Students enrolled in Occidental University’s undergraduate degree in psychology are required to complete 48 credit units in classes from the psychology curriculum that includes coursework in four fundamental domains, information processing, interpersonal relations, application-oriented, and biologically based analyses.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 27,990 per semester (undergraduate)
  • Psychology Program Options – Bachelor’s in Psychology and Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences
  • Student Enrollment –  1,985 Total (Undergraduate – All)
  • Accreditation –WASC

12. Scripps College (Scripps)

Located in Claremont, Scripps College is a small school that is a member school of the Claremont College Consortium. Established in 1926, Scripps College was one of the first institutions of higher education that was dedicated to the education of women in both mind and spirit. Scripps College is recognized globally for its liberal arts education and robust intellectual community. Both Kiplinger’s and The Princeton Review recognize Scripps as a top education value among the psychology schools in California.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 28,485 per semester (undergraduate)
  • Psychology Program Options – Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
  • Psychology Student Enrollment – 1,109 Total (Undergraduate – 1,089)
  • Accreditation –WASC

Ranking Methodology

The colleges and universities shown above represent a broad cross-section of available undergraduate and graduate degree programs available from one of the many quality psychology schools in California. The schools listed represent some of California’s quality public and private psychology degrees.

The colleges and universities are ranked, with the most affordable semester tuition rates listed first. It is noted that tuition fees used to analyze and categorize these psychology schools in California were extracted from the school’s proprietary webpages or the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) website. Tuition fees noted for both graduate and undergraduate programs represent costs for academic years 2020 – 2021 unless otherwise noted.

Tuition costs represent a ‘per semester’ unit, although the semester costs noted may have been extrapolated from the school’s current information if the school uses a trimester or quarter system. Unless noted, undergraduate tuition fees represent 12 credits, while graduate tuition fees represent eight credits.

Each school’s psychology programs are noted in detail to help potential students determine the program that best suits their education and career objectives.

Also noted in the data above is each school’s accreditation status, which includes both regional (or institutional) accreditation as well as programmatic (or specialized) accreditation. The purpose of accreditation is to certify that academic offerings meet the established educational standards determined by the government or an accreditation organization sanctioned to perform this work.  

All other school information that was used to analyze and evaluate these psychology schools in California was pulled from each college or university’s website.

Have you noticed erroneous data denoted in one of the school’s details? Please contact BestValueSchools.org and help us update the data for the school in question.

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