Psychology Schools in Illinois

With Illinois home to some of the nation’s top universities, deciding which psychology program is best for your academic and career goals might seem daunting. The following guide to psychology schools in Illinois is designed to provide you with crucial information about the undergraduate and graduate programs in the state, so you can make an informed decision about which best meets your needs. Illinois’s colleges and universities feature a full range of undergraduate and graduate psychology programs with concentrations in such areas as general psychology and clinical psychology. If you need a more flexible, convenient option for earning a psychology degree, consider one of the many universities that offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in psychology online.

Quick Facts:

  • There are 58 colleges and universities with psychology degree programs in Illinois.
  • 33 schools provide a master’s or advanced degree in psychology.
  • Highest graduation rate*: Northwestern University 94%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Northeastern Illinois University 45%1
  • Highest net price*: University of Chicago $31,9171
  • Lowest net price*: Saint Augustine College $7,7461
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for schools in Illinois with psychology and counseling programs*: $10,829 – $43,7792
  • 1 School in the Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2013: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (43)
  • 2 Schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 100): University of Chicago (4) and Northwestern University (12).
  • We found 8 highly ranked psychology doctorate programs by the National Research Council (2005-06) S-Ranking: University of Chicago (9), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (24), Northwestern University (33), University of Illinois at Chicago (91), Loyola University Chicago (123), Northern Illinois University (154), Southern Illinois University Carbondale (169), and Illinois Institute of Technology (202).

*For 4-year colleges and universities with psychology degree programs. Transfer-out rate is the percentage of students who started as a freshman in 2005 and transferred to a different school without earning a degree at the initial institution.

Continue reading below where several of the popular graduate and undergraduate psychology programs at Illinois’s top universities are profiled.

Psychology Undergraduate Programs in Illinois

Northern Illinois University
Undergraduate students interested in pursuing a degree in psychology have two options at Northern Illinois University: the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology or the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology. Both programs require students to complete, in addition to general college and major requirements, seven elective psychology courses. Students may also complete an independent study or participate in the undergraduate research apprenticeship program, which places students with senior faculty members to assist the professors with current research. Psychology majors may also join the Student Psychological Association and the campus chapter of Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology students.

Northeastern Illinois University
Northeastern Illinois University confers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology to students who successfully complete the four-year program. Psychology majors must complete 31 credits, both required and elective, in psychology to fulfill degree requirements. Required courses focus on such topics as general psychology, research and statistics, and laboratory research methods. Students may choose a laboratory research method course based on a specific area of interest, such as tests and measurements, child development, personality, social psychology, and perception and cognition. All psychology students must also complete a senior capstone project in the senior year. The undergraduate program prepares students to continue on to graduate study.

Psychology Graduate Programs in Illinois

Western Illinois University
Graduate students at Western Illinois University may choose one of two psychology graduate programs: the Master of Science (MS) in General Experimental Psychology or the MS in Clinical Psychology/Community Mental Health. The MS in General Experimental Psychology program allows students to concentrate in one of five areas, including neuroscience, developmental psychology, and social personality theory. Students must successfully complete 32 credits to fulfill degree requirements. The university also features a psychology clinic, which provides graduate students with the opportunity to gain real-world experience with clients. Scholarships may be available to qualified students to help fund their studies and a limited number of assistantships are awarded to psychology graduate students each year.

Illinois State University
Illinois State University allows students to earn a master’s degree in Clinical-Counseling Psychology upon successful completion of the two-year program. In addition to a full range of psychology courses encompassing such topics as theories of personality and advanced behavior modification, graduate students may opt to complete a thesis, although a thesis is not required. In lieu of a thesis, graduate students may complete a clinical competency project, which is similar to a thesis in that students must choose a written project, research the topic, complete the project, and defend it to earn a grade. Students work with a faculty mentor throughout the process. Psychology students also have the opportunity to gain real-world experience by completing a practicum at partner facilities, such as the Center for Human Services of McLean County and Heritage Behavioral Health Center.

Schools with Psychology Degree Programs in Illinois

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Adler University
17 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 662-4000

Student Review: “The Adler School of Professional Psychology was a decent experience for me. I made a lot of friends and I felt comfortable with all of the students and staff whenever I had questions or issues. However, the school was very disorganized, and it sometimes felt like we weren’t being adequately prepared for life outside of school. We weren’t told about how hard it would be to finally get a job. We were also told to ask for a starting salary of $50,000, but most jobs we see have very low pay, and if you ask for even $35,000, usually employers cannot accommodate your request. Now, even after graduation, I have personally had a hard time figuring out how to fill out all the paperwork for my licensed professional counselor license. I also think the cost to attend Adler is way too much for the experience you receive.” – Student at Adler University

Benedictine University
5700 College Rd
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 829-6000

Student Review: “My experience attending Benedictine University was great because I felt as though it fit my needs, such as small class sizes to make me feel comfortable. The psychology and other social science courses I took were challenging but the content that I learned outweighs any of the essays and long hours spent studying. My favorite part of the psychology program was my senior year when it was mandatory to enroll in an internship program or take another lecture class. I chose the internship program in which I applied for an internship at a psychology office in the area. The experience was very in-depth because I was a part of the therapy process with clients, acting as a “ghost” in the room. After the session, the therapist and I had a discussion regarding the techniques that were used and how the individual could improve in future sessions. Although my experience was overall great, I do dislike the fact that some classes I was interested in were very difficult to register due to certain prerequisites. Additionally, I would have preferred more experience-related tasks in some classes rather than just lectures.” – Student at Governors State University

Governors State University
1 University Pkwy
University Park, IL 60484
(708) 534-5000

Student Review: “Governors State’s psychology curriculum a pretty good program. I transferred here from Moraine Valley and will soon complete my undergrad in psychology here. The classes are great and the teachers are mostly good. For the most part, they make the material interesting and provide the feedback I need. Most of the classes are in the evening, which might be annoying to some people, but it’s been great for me. My real problem isn’t actually with the school, but with the offices. Most of them, from the loan offices to the academic advisers, seem to do really poor work and take a long time to do it. Other than that, Governors State was pretty good.” – Student at Governors State University

Kennedy-King College
6301 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60621
(773) 602-5000

Student Review: “The psychology program and Kennedy King is insightful and attentive. Not only are my professors well informed and educated, they also posses the ability to connect case-studies to real life situations. Most of my professors are professionals with experience. Through their connections, I have been getting recommendations for a paid internship with my desired employer. I was and am overwhelmed to the extent these teachers will go for their students. This has truly been a valuable experience.” – Student at Kennedy-King College

Lincoln Christian University
100 Campus View Dr
Lincoln, IL 62656
(217) 732-3168

Student Review: “The psychology program at Lincoln Christian University taught me to apply the principles of psychology through the lens of a Christian worldview. The program has a strong grounding in biblical principles and classes focusing on theology and ministry are an essential part of the program, as they are in every field of study at Lincoln Christian University. The field specific (psychology) classes are what you would get at pretty much any university, but what made them different is the small student to teacher ratio and the experience and openness of the faculty. In fact, in some classes the class was invited to the professor’s house for a meal as part of the class. Many of the more focused classes are taught by adjunct faculty too, which some might view as a disadvantage, but in reality I gained a great deal of practical knowledge as a result and it also provided a great source for networking after graduation and in finding a place for my internship. Also, the faculty were always willing to help and made themselves very available outside of classroom hours. My main disappointment with the program was that there was not a great variety of psychology electives in my course of study. Overall, I think the program prepared me well for graduate school as well has for the workplace. I would not recommend it for someone who is not a Christian simply because there is a great deal of ministry and theological focus, but for someone looking for a Christian perspective and a practical knowledge of psychology it is a great choice.” – Student at Lincoln Christian University

Loyola University Chicago
1032 W Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000

Student Review: “The psychology program at Loyola University has been very influential in my decision to attend grad school. I came to Loyola not sure what to do, but the program has a diverse course selection and I was able to try out different aspects of the psychology field to figure out what I really enjoyed doing. My faculty advisor has been very supportive, and the psychology professors I have are published and have accommodating office hours to make sure I get the attention and assistance needed.” – Student at Loyola University Chicago

MacMurray College
447 E College Ave
Jacksonville, IL 62650
(217) 479-7056

Student Review: “The benefit of the psychology program at MacMurray College was that it was small, less than 10 in some classes, which led to a high degree of teacher and student interaction. Generally this was a positive, but it could also be a hindrance if the professor was lacking in his or her teaching ability. The largest problem with the program was continuity. In three years, six professors rotated through the two professor positions. Some due to death and other due to incompetence. However, once professor employment stabilized the program grew because it was led by people who cared about their work. The class setup was generally open discussion which could be beneficial provided the other students in the program were interested in the subject material. Overall, the quality of the program was directly related to what the student put into it. I would recommend the school and psychology program to others because it was small and personal. Additionally, I believe it provided a more than adequate education to its students for entering both the job market and attending graduate degree programs.” – Student at MacMurray College

North Central College
30 N Brainard St
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 637-5100

Student Review: “The psychology program at North Central College was great. The core courses were all helpful courses, and then there were also many interesting psychology electives. North Central College also honored my AP psychology testing credit so that I didn’t have to take the introductory psychology course. The professors and teaching staff were all great. There were a few teachers I didn’t like, but they were general education course teachers. My favorite classes were abnormal psychology and social psychology. All of the courses were good preparation for psychological writing in APA format, as well as developing analytical and critical thinking skills. I also felt like I could ask any of the professors for help if I needed it, as all were very genuinely good teachers that enjoyed what they did and sought student success. This was a great program!” – Student at North Central College

Northwestern University
633 Clark St
Evanston, IL 60208
(847) 491-3741

Student Review: “The psychology program at Northwestern University is good mix of courses with professors that teach both the practical and medical aspects of psychology that one can use in a variety of careers. I often had the pleasure to hear guest speakers from the professional psychology community in Chicago come in and tell us about their career and experiences. The coursework is certainly challenging, but the professors and TA’s are all willing to meet before, during, or after class to help anyone out. Whether you are going on to graduate school, or want to go straight into the business/marketing community, Northwestern gives you a solid foundation and has an amazing “career connection” program that can help you get your foot in the door at a great company.” – Student at Northwestern University

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&state=IL&major=psychology&sort=best