Keep in mind that these rankings lists are not comprehensive or inclusive of every school that offers a particular psychology program. However, for students who wish to research potential schools and learn about certain program requirements, these rankings can serve as a useful tool in their research.

Read on for a fully transparent breakdown of our formula below.

About Our Data

Our lists rely on the most current publicly available datasets from the National Center for Education Statistics. We pulled this data in December 2020 to create the most accurate possible rankings for 2021.

The U.S. Department of Education compiles this information, making it one of the most comprehensive databases for colleges and universities. Our team considered factors like retention and graduation rates, as explained below. To ensure the accuracy of our rankings, we did not include schools missing a significant amount of data.

How We Calculate Our Online Rankings

After compiling the data, we created a formula to reach an overall score for each institution. We weighed the following criteria: academics, cost, reputation, and online accessibility.

Within these major factors, we also weighed subfactors. These include data points that students consider when evaluating the quality of a college. For instance, graduation rate indicates how many students remained enrolled with the school for their entire degree. The average net demonstrates the total out-of-pocket cost. You can read about all of these subfactors below.

Subfactors for Academics

  • Full-time retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • Student-to-faculty ratio

Subfactors for Affordability

  • The average net price for students awarded grant or scholarship aid
  • Federal student aid default loan rate
  • The average amount of grant and scholarship aid awarded
  • Median debt for graduates (six years after entry)

Subfactors for Reputation

  • Percent admitted total
  • Admissions yield total
  • Mean earnings of graduates six years after enrolling

Subfactors for Online Flexibility

  • Percentage of students enrolled in online programs at a specific level
  • Percentage of students enrolled online overall