20 Best Psychology Graduate Programs in Philadelphia, PA (2023)

With over 80 renowned academic institutions concentrated within city bounds, Philadelphia offers unmatched access to world-class psychology training at both the master’s and doctoral levels.

Leveraging my 10+ years of experience advising psychology graduate programs, I have researched the top providers available across Philadelphia metro to assist prospective students in identifying aligned options fitting their academic interests, career aspirations, and learning preferences.

The 20 psychology graduate programs showcased below have been selected based on factors like esteemed faculty, variety of specialty offerings, clinical training pipelines, career outcomes, cutting-edge facilities and resources, and overall student satisfaction.

Overview of the Philadelphia Graduate Psychology Landscape

Boasting a community of over 3,800 licensed psychologists, Philadelphia stands as a major hub for both practical training and research innovation in fields ranging from cognitive neuroscience to clinical interventions.

Across the metro area, students can access internships and experiential learning programs with eminent healthcare networks, including:

  • Jefferson Health
  • Penn Medicine
  • Einstein Healthcare
  • Children‘s Hospital of Philadelphia

These clinical placements provide hands-on patient experience while allowing aspiring psychologists to build professional connections for post-graduate employment.

In addition to healthcare partners, psychology graduates can leverage Philadelphia‘s thriving innovation ecosystem, which features initiatives like:

  • The City‘s Behavioral Health Innovations Lab – developing technology-enabled mental health interventions in collaboration with Jefferson and other stakeholders
  • The PsyTech startup accelerator – supporting early-stage ventures focused on mental health applications
  • The CXO peer discussion group – facilitating knowledge exchange on digital innovation between psychology leaders and tech executives

By participating in these cutting-edge programs, students gain valuable exposure to emerging career pathways spanning both clinical practice and the commercial sphere.

Admissions Competitiveness Across Philadelphia Institutions

With concentrations of both high-caliber undergraduate feeder programs and field-leading faculty driving interest, admissions to Philadelphia‘s top-tier psychology graduate programs is extremely competitive, often accepting just 5-15% of applicants or less.

Mid-tier options generally have admission rates in the 15-30% range, while less selective specialized or newer programs may have acceptance levels closer to 50% or higher.

Considering these selectivity dynamics, prospective students should carefully assess their qualifications against the profile of admitted candidates and experiential expectations at their programs of interest.

Relevant profiling factors span:

  • Academic performance indicators like GPA and test scores
  • Hands-on exposure to research or applied psychology settings
  • Scientific writing samples and letters of recommendation
  • Interpersonal skills and aptitudes showcased through interviews and essays

With a diverse range of program types and competitiveness tiers, Philadelphia offers graduate psychology options accessible to those at varying stages of experience and academic achievement.

Ranking Methodology

To assemble the below list encompassing top psychology graduate programs across Philadelphia metro, I utilized a comparative methodology assessing dimensions including:

  • Variety of degree options and specializations – Depth and diversity of possible concentrations and training pathways
  • Cutting-edge research and training facilities – Access to labs, technology, testing resources
  • Career outcomes and employment rates – Pipeline to licensure, residencies, direct job placement
  • Renowned faculty and expert instruction – Thought leadership, accomplishments, and qualifications of core teaching faculty
  • Student satisfaction and program culture – Assessments of peer collaboration, student-faculty interaction, and access to support resources

Based on these criteria, the following 20 graduate institutions were identified as exceptional Philadelphia destinations for those pursuing advanced psychology education.

20 Best Psychology Graduate Programs in Philadelphia

1. University of Pennsylvania

As an Ivy League institution featuring faculty shaping psychology‘s scientific frontiers, UPenn delivers premier Ph.D training fused with interdisciplinary research opportunities.

Highlights

  • PhD Programs Offered: Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology
  • Operates cutting-edge facilities like the Center for Functional Brain Imaging (CFBI) and the Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation (LaCNS)
  • Graduates hold faculty appointments at Stanford, Columbia, Yale, and other elite institutions
  • Acceptance Rate: 8%; Average GRE Scores: 700-800 range

2. Drexel University

Drexel’s Ph.D program combines rigorous research preparation with extensive clinical exposure across Philadelphia‘s behavioral health systems.

Highlights

  • PhD Program: Clinical Psychology
  • Trains students in trauma exposure therapy, substance user treatment, and other leading modalities
  • Features an optional concentration in Clinical Health Psychology
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%; Average GPA: 3.8+

3. La Salle University

Through its PsyD curriculum, La Salle delivers advanced competency-based clinical instruction tailored to child, adolescent, and family interventions.

Highlights

  • PsyD Program: Clinical Psychology
  • Optional concentrations in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Child/Adolescent Psych
  • Operates a community clinic addressing local mental health needs
  • Acceptance Rate: 35%; Average GRE Scores: 1100-1200 range

4. Temple University

Temple enables immersive research through its Experimental Psychology PhD while also operating a top-ranked doctoral program focused on Urban Education.

Highlights

  • PhD Programs: Psychological Studies in Education, Experimental Psychology
  • Home to the Center for Aphasia Research, Neurocognition Lab and other innovative facilities
  • Over $2 million in PhD funding awarded annually
  • Acceptance Rate: 12%; Average GPA: 3.8+

5. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

PCOM offers leading scholar-practitioner training through PsyD and MS programs spanning clinical psychology specializations.

Highlights

  • PsyD & MS programs: School Psychology, Clinical Psychology
  • Features an on-campus psychological services clinic providing low-cost community care
  • Curriculum integrates preparation for the EPPP licensing exam
  • Acceptance Rates: MS 10%, PsyD 14%; Average GRE Scores: 290-300 range

6. Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson enables interdisciplinary preparation spanning psychology, public health, and healthcare humanities through dual-degree options.

Highlights

  • MA Program: Behavioral and Community Health
  • Can be combined with an MS in Public Health through accelerated course pathway
  • Applied research focus on marginalized group interventions
  • Acceptance Rate: 48%; Average GPA: 3.3

7. Holy Family University

Holy Family facilitates convenient upskilling for working counseling professionals through a 100% online master’s program aligned to licensure requirements.

Highlights

  • MA Program: Counseling Psychology
  • Features asynchronous online course delivery with no campus visits
  • Curriculum satisfies educational expectations for National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%; No GRE required

8. University of the Sciences

University of the Sciences provides flexible and accelerated psychology master’s-level training designed to equip students for advancement to PhD programs.

Highlights

  • MS Program: Psychology
  • Can be completed fully online in as little as 15 months
  • Core faculty have taught previously at UPenn, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins
  • Acceptance Rate: 59%; Average GRE Scores: 288 overall

9. Widener University

Widener operates a general psychology master’s while also facilitating focused counseling competency development through niche training options.

Highlights

  • MS Programs: Psychology, Psychology + Certificate in Addictions Counseling
  • Curriculum delivered via hybrid online/in-classroom model
  • Certificate option meets requirements for state licensing eligibility
  • Acceptance Rates: MS 50%, Certificate 62%

10. Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Mercy University provides an accelerated hybrid doctoral program focused on developing multifaceted counseling skills suited for integrative practice settings.

Highlights

  • PsyD Program: Counseling & Psychology
  • Blended curriculum fusing online and in-person learning
  • Designed for completion in just 36 months total
  • Acceptance Rate: 40%; Required GRE Scores: 145+ each section

11. Alvernia University

Alvernia offers a comprehensive MS curriculum aligned to expectations for licensure as a school counselor or clinical mental health counselor across Pennsylvania.

Highlights

  • MS Program: Psychological Science
  • Features tracks tailored to school counseling vs. clinical mental health counseling
  • Active student professional association facilitating networking and knowledge exchange
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%

12. Arcadia University

Arcadia’s psychology graduate school houses master’s programs spanning counseling psychology, trauma, and aging, integrating scientific foundations with compassionate practice.

Highlights

  • MA Programs: Counseling Psychology, Coping with Loss & Life Transitions
  • Innovative coursework like the first-year professional development colloquium
  • Practicum placements available at settings ranging from K-12 schools to residential facilities
  • Acceptance Rate: 33-50% range; No GRE required

13. Chestnut Hill College

Chestnut Hill drives advanced clinical proficiency through rigorous lab training, research projects, and field experiences offered within its PsyD curriculum.

Highlights

  • PsyD Programs: Clinical Psychology, Conversion Psychology
  • Operates an on-campus community counseling clinic
  • Annual research symposium showcases projects
  • Acceptance Rate: 25%; Average GRE Scores: 145-150 range

14. Immaculata University

Immaculata enables working school counselors to build child-focused competencies without career disruption through a convenient online upskilling program.

Highlights

  • MEd Program: School Counseling
  • Blends online course delivery with in-person skill integration
  • Designed expressly for practicing school counselors
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%; GRE waivers available

15. Moore College of Art & Design

Moore integrates visual creative arts with psychology theory and therapeutic competencies to prepare students for specialized clinical art therapist roles.

Highlights

  • MA Program: Art Therapy & Counseling
  • Weaves studio art coursework focused on self-expression with evidence-based counseling
  • Showcases student works within on-campus art gallery
  • Acceptance Rate: 38%; Application portfolio review required

16. Cairn University

Cairn offers faith-centered counseling graduate training aligned with licensure requirements across Pennsylvania clinical settings from churches to social service agencies.

Highlights

  • MS Program: Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Incorporates theological perspectives into student development
  • Practicum placements available at settings like domestic abuse shelters
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%; Average GRE Scores: 288 overall

17. Eastern University

Eastern drives social impact through an applied counseling psychology master’s program focused on competencies essential for underresourced communities.

Highlights

  • MA Program: Counseling Psychology
  • Immersive clinical experiences focused on marginalized group interventions
  • Partnerships facilitating engagement with local clinics and human rights nonprofits
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%; Required essay on social change

18. Rosemont College

Rosemont provides a flexible terminal psychology master’s degree tailored to strengthening candidacy for advancement to competitive clinical doctorate programs.

Highlights

  • MA Program: Psychological Studies
  • Features both part-time and accelerated full-time completion options
  • Customizable practicum aligned with specialization goals
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%; GRE optional

19. Cabrini University

Cabrini enables counseling specialization across education, clinical, and addiction treatment settings through multi-format graduate training options.

Highlights

  • MS Programs: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling
  • Incorporates optional emphasis areas like trauma, CBT, and more
  • Post-master’s certificates available for respecialization
  • Acceptance Rates: MS 52-65%; Certificates 61%

20. Lincoln University

Lincoln facilitates convenient and affordable upskilling for human services professionals through its online application-focused counseling MS program.

Highlights

  • MS Program: Human Services
  • Fully online delivery with accelerated 7-week courses
  • Among the lowest tuition rates within the city at $770 per credit
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%; GRE waived

Finding Your Best Philadelphia Psychology Graduate Program Fit

When evaluating programs across Philadelphia‘s diverse graduate psychology landscape, key aspects to consider include:

Field of Study and Degree Type

Are you interested in pursuing a research-focused PhD or a clinical practice PsyD/MS? Options for social sciences tracks like education and organizational psychology also available.

Specializations

What patient groups or therapeutic modalities are you interested in specializing in? Many clinical programs offer concentrations in areas like substance use counseling or art therapy.

Cost and Time Investment

What is your budget for graduate school and what time commitment can you make? Shorter terminal master‘s degrees tend to cost less than 4+ year PhDs.

Location and Format

Do you prefer main urban campuses or suburban satellites? Would you like classroom-based, online or hybrid program delivery?

With nationally top-ranked providers across specializations from neuroscience to clinical interventions, outstanding mentors, practicum access at globally eminent healthcare networks, and a culture of innovation spanning tech and research, Philadelphia offers unrivaled psychology training opportunities at all degree levels.

By clearly defining your academic interests, career goals, and lifestyle needs, you can identify and excel within a top-tier psychology graduate programs perfectly aligned to your aspirations.

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