Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2016

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August 2016

The field of forensic psychology has been popularized in many television series, books and movies. It is much more specialized and valuable than what is often presented on television. Forensic psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to issues related to the legal system. The word “forensic,” in this context, refers to the application of empirical principles to the legal process in which trained psychological scientists play a direct role in the process. Forensic psychologists provide many services,  including conducting psychological evaluations, providing treatment to inmates or those involved in the legal system or research in anticipation of future legal, contractual, or administrative proceedings. A large part of many forensic psychologists’ practice is providing expert psychological opinions through legal testimony, as well as trial consultation for issues such as jury selection. While many psychologists are asked to testify in court about their patients or research on occasion this is not considered the specialized practice of Forensic psychology. Some of the other less “glamorized” responsibilities of these professionals are research, criminal interviewing, crime scene investigation and evidence investigation. This list highlights the best graduate programs in the field of forensic psychology in the United States.

Ranking Methodology

This ranking list was formulated to outline the very best graduate programs in Forensic Psychology in the United States according to a combination of several ranking factors. In order to be considered, each school must have received to proper accreditation. Factors considered:

Average Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance

One of the major factors being considered is the average annual cost of attendance. Schools offering academic training while also keeping student costs low are given higher consideration. Tuition data was collected using the College Navigator Tool and each colleges website.

Points:
Under $20,000 / $20,001 – $25,000/ $25,001 – $30,000:
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

College Ranking

The next consideration was whether or not a school has been granted acknowledgement by a national ranking body. The major source of such national notoriety comes from the US News and World Report Best Colleges List. The Data being considered for this ranking list is National Ranking, Top Public School and Best Value Ranking.

Points:

US News and World Report Best Regional University Ranking:
Top 25 / Top 50 / Top 100
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

US News and World Report Best National University, Best Graduate Psychology Program, Best Value School and Top Public School Ranking:
Top 50 / Top 100 / Top 150
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Accreditation

In order to be included in this ranking list an appropriate ranking body must regionally accredit each college or university. Schools that have received additional accreditation are given an edge over schools without accreditation.

Points:

Regional Accreditation: 2 Points
American Psychological Association Accreditation: 3 Points

Number of Degree Options

Those schools with multiple degree options allow students to find a degree path that best fits their career goals.

Points:
More Than One Degree or Area of Specialization = 2 Points

Grading Process

Once the points have been tallied the schools are arranged into groups by the number of points they have earned. In the cases of ties, preference was given to those schools with the lowest tuition rates. The main purpose of this list is to highlight the top graduate Forensic Psychology programs in the United States. Specializations, awards and achievements earned by the school or department have also been noted.

Ranking Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology

#20 – William James College – Newton, Massachusetts

William and James College Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Clinical Psychology Department

Points: 2
Program Website

William James College (WJC), formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, offers  students enrolled in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program a concentration in Forensic Psychology. This concentration area builds upon the general clinical knowledge by providing highly specialized knowledge and training in areas such as civil matters (divorce child custody evaluations; lawsuits involving employment, personal injury, discrimination, malpractice, and other matters; child protection cases; involuntary civil commitment, etc.) and criminal matters (capacity to waive Miranda rights, competence to stand trial, criminal responsibility, aid in sentencing, transfer of juveniles to adult criminal court, etc.). Students will also learn how to provide threat assessments, risk assessment and management evaluations for violent and/or sexual offenders. There are also opportunities for training in the areas of correctional and police psychology. Students can pursue more than one area of concentration.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology with Forensic Psychology Concentration
Average Program Cost: $62,540
US News and World Report Ranking:NA
Accreditations:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

#19 – Fairleigh Dickinson University – Teaneck, New Jersey

Fairleigh Dickinson University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe School of Psychology

Points: 3
Program Website

The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology  program at Fairleigh Dickinson trains students for clinical work in this growing field. While master’s level forensic psychology professionals typically do not conduct forensic evaluations, they have a number of important responsibilities. Graduates are qualified to conduct therapy with forensic clients, either in forensic settings (jails, prisons, locked forensic units in state hospitals) or in the community with individuals on probation or parolees. They may also  conduct research in a range of justice-related agencies and organizations. Some graduates may even be hired by court clinics or private practitioners to assist with evaluations under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. The program is in a streamlined format that allows students to complete the program in 18 months. All students must complete a 300-hour externship placement to gain important experiential learning. Forensic psychology students may also participate in forensic research and complete a master’s thesis paper.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $43,920
US News and World Report Ranking:
#83 Best Northern Regional University
Accreditations:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#18 – Marymount University – Arlington, Virginia

Marymount University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology Degree
The School of Education and Human Services

Points: 3
Program Website

Marymount University offers the unique Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology. The university’s location is a huge boost to the program, offering access to agencies important to study of forensics such as the FBI (including the NCAVC), NCIS, ATF, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Students have opportunities for site visits, courtroom observations, field research, internships, and esteemed speakers. The program is multidisciplinary and integrates study in sociology, criminal justice, policy, and law, as well as other specialty areas of psychology. Students learn to address empirical issues such as the etiology of criminal behavior, errors in eyewitness testimony, evaluation of threats against public figures, personalities of political leaders, the beginnings of terrorism, evaluation and treatment of offenders, and the effectiveness of trial consultation. Students may also earn a second degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, a program which includes the supervised experience necessary for licensure as a licensed professional counselor (LPC).

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology
Average Program Cost: $33,540
US News and World Report Ranking:
#53 Best Southern Regional University
Accreditations:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#17 – American International College – Springfield, Massachusetts

American International College Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe School of Graduate and Adult Education

Points: 3
Program Website

The American International College master’s degree program in Forensic Psychology was created for students who have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, criminal justice, or a related field. The forensic psychology program emphasizes the combination of psychology and law, as well as the psychology behind police work, corrections, probation, and parole. Students learn about victim services, juvenile justice and family services to help work in those areas upon graduation. The curriculum includes a wide range of areas related to law enforcement and the evaluation and treatment of offenders.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $29,520
US News and World Report Ranking: NA
Accreditation:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

#16 – California Baptist University – Riverside, California

California Baptist University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe School of Behavioral Science

Points: 4
Program Website

California Baptist offers the Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology, one of just a few such programs in the country. The program helps future forensic professionals develop the skills and knowledge to provide psychological services within the confines of the criminal justice system. Students learn to combine law and psychology, with an emphasis on human behavior. Graduates have a firm grasp on the how to shape laws and policies that reflect human behavior. The curriculum for the Forensic Psychology program includes both psychosocial and biblical understanding of topics such as psychopathology, law and psychology, and police psychology.  The program is  for students who intend to work or study psychological areas that intersect with the criminal justice system. Course works includes theories, evaluation, adjudication and potential treatment of adult and juvenile offenders.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $38,869
US News and World Report Ranking:
#39 Best Western Regional University
Accreditation:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#15 – Roger Williams University – Bristol, Rhode Island

Roger Williams University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences

Points: 4
Program Website

The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology at Rogers Williams is a two-year, full-time program that prepares students to conduct assessments and provide treatment services in a forensic setting. Students may also pursue further training at the doctoral level. The curriculum includes topics such diagnosis, the assessment of risk and treatment needs, psychological testing, individual and group treatment, risk management and reduction, and research methodology. Students may also choose internships and practicum experiences in a variety of forensic sites. Sites include adult correctional centers and programs, juvenile detention and treatment programs, court clinics, treatment programs for sexually dangerous/violent persons, forensic services within psychiatric hospitals, and community mental health centers and programs. Research-based internships are also available. Students may pursue one of two tracks:

  • The Non-Thesis/Practitioner Track:  ideal for students seeking specialized training in psychology before entering the work force as master’s level forensic practitioners.
  • Thesis Track:  a good fit for students seeking master’s level training in psychology as preparation for future study toward a doctoral degree in psychology.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $36,810
US News and World Report Ranking:
#36 Best Northern Regional University
Accreditation:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

#14 – Tiffin University – Tiffin, Ohio

Tiffin University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Criminal Justice

Points: 4
Program Website

The Tiffin University Master of Science Degree Program in Criminal Justice has an optional concentration in Forensic Psychology. All faculty members are professionals with extensive experience in the field. This is a professional practical degree program ideal for managers, agents, and clinicians from many areas of the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems. The program is offered in a four-semester format, with the opportunity for an intercession course or a thesis option. The concentration is for students who want to find employment investigating the interplay between psychology and the criminal justice system. The program emphasizes the various places where psychology meets law, and uses a research-based approach to prepare students for careers in the criminal justice system and/or mental health service agencies. All students are expected to develop knowledge and expertise in substance abuse, psychopathology, personality assessment, and research methods.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Criminal Justice with Forensic Psychology Concentration
Average Program Cost: $29,400
US News and World Report Ranking:
#68 Best Midwestern Regional University
Accreditations:
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#13 – University of New Haven-West Haven, Connecticut

University of New Haven Best Graduate Forensic Psychology Degree
The Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences

Points: 4
Program Website

The University of New Haven is home to the widely recognized Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. The college supports an innovative Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an optional concentration in Forensic Psychology. The 36-credit program is for those who already have experience in the field of criminal justice but wish to advance their career in the area of forensic psychology. The program is offered jointly by the departments of criminal justice and psychology, and outlines how psychology and law interact in the administration of justice. Students are required to complete all core criminal justice courses and pair this coursework with electives chosen by the student and an advisor. Master’s level students may choose to conduct a thesis project as a part of the degree requirements.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a Forensic Psychology Concentration
Average Program Cost: $25,200
US News and World Report Ranking:
#92 Best Northern Regional University
Accreditations:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

#12 – Walden University – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Walden University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology Degree
The Department of Psychology and Counseling

Points: 4
Program Website

Students enrolled in Walden University’s Master of Science in Forensic Psychology learn the most important areas of forensic psychology and criminal behavior. Graduates are prepared to either embark on a career or pursue doctoral-level training. The curriculum covers the research methods needed to evaluate forensic populations, conduct forensic assessments, and enhance systems for incarcerated and recently released offenders. This MS in Forensic Psychology is one of the few online graduate programs  available. Students learn how to apply the most modern psychological theories to a range of forensic settings, including correctional and psychiatric facilities and community-based agencies. In addition to the general program, students can also choose from the following specialization areas:

  1. Forensic Psychology in the Community
  2. Mental Health Applications
  3. Program Planning and Evaluation in Forensic Settings
  4. Psychology and Legal Systems

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $24,720
US News and World Report Ranking: NA
Accreditations:
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#11 – Florida Institute of Technology – Melbourne, Florida

Florida Institute of Technology Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Psychology

Points: 5
Program Website

Students at the Florida Institute of Technology can work towards a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. This  is a service-oriented program with a strong emphasis on clinical skills. The program is based on a practitioner/scientist model, with a commitment to the Vail model of training and the training conferences of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). In addition to traditional classes and seminars, the program includes experiential learning through testing, diagnosis, counseling and therapy, and research projects related to special fields of interest. All students must complete one year of supervised internship training. The curriculum is grounded in core competencies in clinical skills, comprehensive psychological assessment, clinical treatment interventions, research and evaluation, consultation and education, management and supervision and diversity issues.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Psychology with a Concentration in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $147,150
US News and World Report Ranking:
#161 Best National University
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#10 – CUNY Graduate School and University Center – New York, New York

CUNY Graduate School and University Center Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Psychology

Points: 5
Program Website

The CUNY Graduate School and University Center offers a  Doctor of Philosophy Degree with a specialization in Psychology and the Law. The program highlights research training across a range of domains where psychology and the legal system intersect. Doctoral students are trained as experts and researchers with the skills to provide psychological expertise in the criminal and civil justice systems, while also receiving training in applied areas such as research and policy development. The curriculum covers a range of relevant areas such as social, cognitive, developmental, policy and decision sciences. Faculty members offer insight into such important areas as:

  • Jury decision-making in criminal and civil cases
  • Juror’s ability to understand and use evidence
  • Group processes in juries
  • Jury selection by attorneys and other professionals
  • The accuracy of child and adult eyewitness identification and crime reports
  • Trauma and witness memory
  • The detection of deception
  • The effect of investigative procedures on witness memory
  • Police psychology
  • The intersection of psychology, gender, and the law
  • Analysis of crime scenes and criminal behavior
  • The psychology of confessions, false confessions and alibis

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology – Psychology and Law
Average Program Cost: $45,300
US News and World Report Ranking: NA
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#9 – Holy Names University – Oakland, California

Holy Names University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Forensic Psychology

Points: 6
Program Website

Forensic Psychology training at Holy Names University offers two forensic psychology  programs.

  1. The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology: This program is grounded in a strong viewpoint of therapeutic, restorative justice and is designed for currently licensed clinicians. Graduates are prepared for a career working with victims and perpetrators in a correctional setting. Because the program is designed for working adults, most courses are offered in a late afternoon and evening format, Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a minimal number of Saturday classes.
  2. Dual Master of Arts in Counseling and Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology: Students who complete this dual degree program graduate with two separate master’s degrees. Students get a strong foundation in forensic psychology with an emphasis on restorative justice, while also receiving  training in counseling leading to state licensure (Marriage Family Therapy license). Students complete the counseling degree first, graduate and continue to work on licensure while finishing the forensic portion of the program. The double master’s degree requires the completion of an additional 24 units for the second graduate degree.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Dual Master of Arts in Counseling and Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $36,504 / $58,968
US News and World Report Ranking:
#50 Best Western Regional University
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#8 – California State University – Los Angeles, California

California State University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Psychology

Points: 6
Program Website

The Master of Science in Forensic Psychology at Cal State is for students who want to work or study in those areas of psychology that intersect with the criminal justice system. A strength of this program is the close mentoring relationship that students develop with a faculty member who is responsible for overseeing the student’s progress. All students start the program in the fall quarter and take several core courses together. The program is made up of 52 units of course work, including a 9 month practicum in which students receive hands-on training and on-site supervision in a forensic setting related to their interests and career goals. The curriculum highlights both theory and research, while offering training in areas of assessment and treatment. The program is a good fit for students who plan to pursue doctoral level training as well as students who plan to enter the field as Master’s level practitioners.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $34,878
US News and World Report Ranking:
#63 Best Western Regional University
#18 Top Public School
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#7 – Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Chicago, Illinois / Washington, D.C. / Los Angeles, California

Chicago School of Professional Psychology Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Forensic Psychology

Points: 7
Clinical Forensic Psychology Program Website

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers forensic psychology training in a number of campus locations, including Chicago, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Students can choose from two excellent degree programs in the field.  The Doctor of Psychology  in Clinical Forensic Psychology degree is offered at the Chicago and Los Angeles campus locations. Students are prepared for careers using psychological theories and methodologies within the legal and criminal justice system. Graduates are prepared for work in a wide range of settings, including child welfare settings, forensic units in mental health facilities, jails and prisons, community mental health centers, juvenile correctional facilities, government agencies, family courts, and private practice. Students who attend the Chicago Campus’ program may participate in experiential learning through the Chicago School Forensic Center, which provides forensic psychological services to improve the well being of individuals within diverse communities. Students can also choose from optional concentrations in Adult, Child and Family, Neuropsychology and Law Enforcement.

Forensic Psychology Program Website

The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology degree program is offered in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. This program trains students to use psychological perspectives inside the legal system. Students learn from experienced faculty by way of a practitioner-focused curriculum to gain the skills needed to apply psychology in legal and public policy arenas in an ethical, academically informed, and research-based manner. Students can choose from optional concentrations in Child Protection, Corrections and Sex Offender.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $48,630
US News and World Report Ranking: NA
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#6 – University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, North Dakota

University of North Dakota Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Psychology

Points: 7
Program Website

The University of North Dakota offers an online Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology Degree. The 35-credit program begins each Fall and Spring and takes about 2 years to complete. The online format includes recorded lectures, online courses, and a 2-week On-Campus Capstone Experience. All students pursuing an online degree are charged in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live. The program is designed to meet the needs of this growing specialty area by training students to apply psychological theory, knowledge, skills and competencies to the civil and criminal justice systems. Graduates are prepared to relate psychological evaluations to the criminal justice and social service systems. The program offers:

  • Information on the advanced psychological concepts and theories relevant to forensic applications
  • Analytical, statistical and evaluation skills
  • Communication skills needed to function effectively in forensic settings
  • Detailed understanding of the legal system and the roles forensic psychologists play
  • The skills to help with jury selection, provide courtroom testimony, conduct evaluations and assist the courts as needed

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $15,838
US News and World Report Ranking:
#180 Best National University
#100 Top Public School
#158 Best Graduate Psychology Program
Accreditations:
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#5 – Pacific University – Forest Grove, Oregon

Pacific University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe College of Health Professions

Points: 8
Program Website

Pacific University is home to the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, which offers a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program.  Students interested in working at the intersection of psychology and the legal system can choose the Forensic Track. This track prepares students for work in correctional settings, as these are the largest provider of mental health services.  The Forensic Track prepares students for the rapidly growing field through courses, clinical training and research experiences centered on forensic topics. This track offers students a carefully planned set of courses and experiences designed to provide core knowledge in the assessment and treatment of forensic and correctional populations. It also offers a focused community for learning about psychology and the law.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology with a Forensics Track
Average Program Cost: $159,285
US News and World Report Ranking:
#25 Best Western Regional University
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

#4 – University of Denver – Denver, Colorado

University of Denver Best Graduate Forensic Psychology Degree
The Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Points: 8
Program Website

The University of Denver is a nationally ranked university in Denver, Colorado. The Graduate School of Professional Psychology supports a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology degree program.  The curriculum combines rudimentary master’s level clinical psychology training with course work and practicum experiences in areas where psychology and law intersect. Students can complete this program in two  years of full-time study using a quarter system, with attendance in fall, winter and spring quarters. The program helps graduate students understand how to apply psychological theories, information, skills and competencies to the civil and criminal justice systems. Graduates are prepared to be effective mental health professionals  in a range of clinical settings within the criminal and civil legal system These areas include: adult, juvenile and child populations; victim support; police consultation; correctional settings; domestic violence and child abuse programs; and trial consultation.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $41,166
US News and World Report Ranking:
#86 Best National University
#92 Best Graduate Psychology Program
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#3 – Missouri State University – Springfield, Missouri

Missouri State University Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Psychology

Points: 9
Program Website

The Department of Psychology at Missouri State University offers one of the most unique degree programs  on this list. The Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology can be earned with a certification in Forensic Child Psychology. This program is one of the first of this kind in the  nation. Students in this program have the benefit of community support, specifically from the Child Advocacy Center and the Greene County justice system. All students join in practicum opportunities at agencies in the Springfield community. The program was created to train professionals to work with children in a forensic setting.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Clinical Psychology with a Forensic Child Certification
Average Program Cost: $13,000
US News and World Report Ranking:
#64 Best Midwestern Regional University
#16 Best Value School
Accreditations:
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#2 – John Jay College of Criminal Justice – New York, New York

John Jay College of Criminal Justice CUNY Best Graduate Forensic Psychology DegreeThe Department of Graduate Studies

Points: 11
MA Forensic Psychology Program Website

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a widely respected college for those planning to enter careers in the criminal justice field. Students can choose from either a master’s degree in the field or a dual master’s and law degree. The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology  program  helps graduates develop the skills needed to provide psychological services in the criminal and civil justice systems. The curriculum emphasizes understanding, evaluation and treatment of offenders and victims. Students are taught to fully appreciate psychological development and psychopathology, personality assessment, psychotherapeutic techniques and research methods. Students may also complete an externship consisting of a minimum of 300 hours in an appropriate psychological setting under the supervision of a licensed psychologist or other trained mental health professional. Those who do not complete the externship will complete a Master’s Thesis.

MA/JD – Forensic Psychology and Law Program Website

The second option is the four-year Forensic Psychology MA/JD program, leading to a John Jay Master of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology and a New York Law School Juris Doctor degree in Law. The curriculum includes the required and elective courses for the MA and for the JD, a combined total of 128 credits, including 42 credits to complete the MA Program in Forensic Psychology and 86 credits to complete the JD Program in Law.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Dual MA/JD – Forensic Psychology and Law
Average Program Cost: $17,727 / $54,026
US News and World Report Ranking:
#125 Best Northern Regional University
#40 Top Public School
Accreditations:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#1 – University of California – Irvine, California

UC Irvine Best Graduate Forensic Psychology Degree
The Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Points: 14
Program Website

The UC Irvine Department of Psychology and Social Behavior offers a broad training program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology and Social Behavior. It offers students a foundation for a major and a specialization area. The program provides students with a framework of the theories, methods, and knowledge to help students understand the developmental course of adaptive or maladaptive behavior. The concentration in Psychology & Law is home to one of the world’s leading centers for research and scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of Psychology and Law. The concentration in psychology & law (forensic psychology) trains students to evaluate issues and face problems that lie at the intersection of these fields.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology and Social Behavior with concentration in Psychology and Law
Average Program Cost: $172,200
US News and World Report Ranking:
39# Best National University
#31 Best Value School
#9 Top Public School
#30 Best Graduate Psychology Program
Accreditations:
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Opportunities for a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology

Individuals with a degree in forensic psychology will often seek employment in police stations, courthouses, and law firms. They may also be hired directly by prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers to work with inmates. Individuals with degrees in forensic psychology might also choose to become self-employed. This allows them the opportunity to work as consultants or they may choose to receive compensation for testifying as expert witnesses. There are many professional options for those with a highly respected graduate degree in this specialty area of psychology. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect salary data specific to Forensic Psychology, a traditional professional psychologist is reported to earn approximately $86,510. This is an area of psychology with a wide variation in pay scale. Forensic Psychologists can earn significant salaries when paid to offer expert testimony or participate in the trial process. Earning a graduate degree from a leading forensic psychology program will be the beginning of an exciting and profitable career.

About the Author

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen began a career as a therapist at two prisons in Philadelphia. At the same time she volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, also in Philadelphia. After a few years in the field she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. Kristen began writing in college and still enjoys her work as a writer, editor, professor and mother.

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