Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

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Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019 2019-07-26T15:52:56+00:00

Many aspiring forensic psychologists who are considering graduate degree programs in forensic psychology first became inspired by the profession via its popularity in movies, books, and television. However, the field of forensic psychology is more valuable and specialized than how it is portrayed in the media. At its core, forensic psychology involves applying psychology and science to legal-related issues. It is often described as the merger of psychology and law. The following ranking highlights the best  Master’s in Forensic Psychology degrees based on specific factors and ranking criteria.

Methodology

This ranking list was developed with the goal of identifying the top graduate degrees in forensic psychology based on a number of ranking factors. To start, we generated a list of schools from the College Navigator database using search terms for “Master’s in Forensic Psychology” and “Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology degree online.” We took the initial pool of 30 institutions and narrowed the list down to the top 20 graduate schools based on the following ranking criteria.

Average Cost of Graduate Attendance

An important part of choosing a graduate school is considering the average cost of attendance. Institutions that offer a high-quality education at an affordable tuition rate are given higher consideration than more expensive schools that offer a mediocre education. Both the College Navigator Tool and each college’s website provided tuition data that was then used for the purpose of ranking the following schools.

Points:
Under $20,000: 3 points
$20,001 to $24,999: 2 points
$25,000+: 1 point

College Ranking

Next, we considered whether a school has earned recognition by a national body such as U.S. News & World Report. In addition to evaluating a school based on its regional ranking, we also used data compiled from lists for top public schools, best graduate programs, best value schools, and best national rankings.

Points:
U.S. News & World Report: Best Regional University Ranking:
Top 25: 3 points
Top 50: 2 points
Top 100: 1 point

U.S. News & World Report: Best National School, Best Graduate Psychology, Best Value School or Top Public School Ranking:
Top 50: 3 points
Top 100: 2 points
Top 150: 1 point

Accreditation

In order to be considered in the ranking, each university or college must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Schools with regional accreditation are ranked higher than those without accreditation, and institutions that have earned program-specific accreditation earn additional points.

Points:
American Psychological Association accreditation: 3 points
Regional accreditation: 2 points

Ranking Graduate Programs in Forensic Psychology

20. William James College

Newton, Massachusetts

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can be completed in two years of full-time study.

Points: 6
Program Website

Formerly Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP), William James College educates nearly 700 students each year across 17 academic graduate degree programs and one graduate certificate. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can be completed in three years of part-time study or in two years of full-time study and allows students to choose a concentration area such as Forensic and Correctional Counseling. This emphasis provides a focus on counseling work with people in community agencies, forensic hospital units, juvenile justice, correctional facilities, in the court system, or other forensic settings. Field placements and coursework provide students with counseling skills as well as how to apply their coursework in real-world forensic settings.

Degree Options:
Masters (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling With an Area of Emphasis in Forensic and Correctional Counseling
Masters (MA) in Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health
PsyD in Clinical Psychology With a Concentration in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $33,000
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

19. Pacific University

Forest Grove, Oregon

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

Students in the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology in Forensics gain skills in private practice, outpatient behavioral health settings, state hospitals, and corrections departments.

Points: 6
Program Website

Founded in 1849 as the Tualatin Academy, Pacific University offers graduate programs in business, writing, optometry, education, and health professions, including a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. Students looking to work in both the legal system and psychology may choose to pursue the forensic track, which prepares them for work in the field of forensic psychology. The track guides students in specializing their training through research requirements, elective courses, and clinical coursework that solidify core skills and knowledge in forensic psychology across a variety of settings, including private practices, outpatient behavioral health settings, state hospitals, and corrections departments. Students will take courses that cover topics such as multicultural assessments, neuropsychological assessments, correctional psychology, and both juvenile and adult forensic psychology.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology With a Forensic Track
Average Program Cost: $25,215
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

18. Tiffin University

Tiffin, Ohio

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MS in Criminal Justice in Forensic Psychology if offered over four semesters of study.

Points: 6
Program Website

Tiffin University, a private coeducational university in Tiffin, Ohio, was founded in 1888 and offers graduate and undergraduate degrees through its School of Business, School of Arts & Sciences, and School of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences. Students pursuing the Master of Science in Criminal Justice can choose to pursue a concentration in forensic psychology. This professional practice degree program attracts skilled clinicians, agents, and managers from different components of the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems. The concentration is offered in a four-semester format, with the addition of a thesis option or intercession course. The program is based in research and prepares students for careers in mental health service agencies and/or the criminal justice system. Throughout the coursework, students develop expertise and knowledge in research methods, personality assessment, psychopathology, and substance abuse.

Degree Options:
MS in Criminal Justice With a Concentration in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $18,500
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#128-#165 in Regional Universities Midwest
Accreditations:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

17. Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

The MS in Criminal Justice in Forensic Psychology can be completed in two years of study.

Points: 6
Program Website

Liberty University is the largest private non-profit university in the country and one of the largest Christian universities in the world, enrolling more than 110,000 students in online and on-campus courses each year. The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice in Forensic Psychology equips students with the tools they need to successfully understand the legal practices and laws of the criminal justice system while applying their knowledge of social-cognitive psychology. Students will study trends and topics in criminal justice, human resources management in criminal justice organizations, the fundamentals of forensic psychology, and the reintegration and rehabilitation of offenders. Graduates are prepared for careers in victims’ services, community corrections agencies, state prison systems, and local, state, and federal law enforcement. Students may earn the online degree in as few as two years.

Degree Options:
MS in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $13,560
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#230-#301 in National Universities
Accreditations:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

16. Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MS in Psychology in Forensic Psychology requires 36-credit hours of coursework.

Points: 6
Program Website

Founded in 1949 as Grand Canyon College, Grand Canyon University is currently the largest Christian university in the world. Students can choose from programs in nine colleges, including engineering and technology, education, business, and social sciences. The 36-credit online Master of Science in Psychology with an emphasis in forensic psychology uses statistical analysis and research to help students understand legal system ethical practices, policies, and initiatives. Students will apply the analytical and statistical studies of forensic psychology to advance their knowledge of criminal activity as well as national and local legal system practices and laws. Course topics include rehabilitation and integration, statistics and research methods, psychology and the legal system, social and cultural psychology, criminal behavior theories, and ethical issues in psychology.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Psychology With an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $12,360
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#230-#301 in National Universities
Accreditations:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

15. University of Houston-Victoria

Victoria, Texas

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic Psychology requires 33 semester hours of coursework.

Points: 6
Program Website

Located in Victoria, Texas, the University of Houston-Victoria was founded in 1971 and enrolls more than 4,300 students each year. The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program prepares students to become licensed mental health workers in the forensics field and requires graduate coursework in abnormal psychology, research methods, and statistics as prerequisites. The program curriculum consists of nine semester hours of practicum requirements, 33 semester hours of forensic psychology concentration requirements, and 21 semester hours of core classes. Students will be exposed to topics such as crisis and addictions counseling, personality and intellectual assessments, group psychotherapy, multicultural psychology, and psychopathology.

Degree Options:
M.A. in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $9,887
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#96-#127 in Regional Universities West
Accreditations:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

14. Florida Institute of Technology

Melbourne, Florida

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The PsyD in Clinical Psychology in Forensic Psychology is based on the practitioner/scientist model.

Points: 7
Program Website

The Florida Institute of Technology, founded in 1958 as Brevard Engineering College, is made up of four academic colleges in business, psychology and liberal arts, aeronautics, and engineering and science. Florida Tech offers a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology that is based on a practitioner/scientist model. Students can expect coursework in areas such as forensic psychology, clinical forensic assessment, and the fundamentals of forensic psychology as well as multiple forensic practicum placements and multiple options for forensic seminars. Students must complete a one-year supervised internship in order to earn their degree.

Degree Options:
Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology
Average Program Cost: $29,430
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#177 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

13. Roger Williams University

Bristol, Rhode Island

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology is a full-time, two-year program.

Points: 8
Program Website

Roger Williams University was founded in 1956 and named for theologian and co-founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams. The Master of Arts in Forensic & Legal Psychology is a full-time, two-year program that prepares students for doctoral, research-based programs. Students learn how to provide treatment services and conduct assessments in forensic settings, and the curriculum includes topics such as research methodology, risk management and reduction, group and individual treatment, psychological testing, the assessment of treatment needs, and diagnosis. Research-based internships are available, and students may choose from either a thesis track or a non-thesis/practitioner track.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic & Legal Psychology
Average Program Cost: $20,408
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#43 (tie) in Regional Universities North
#71 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

12. Marymount University

Arlington, Virginia

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology requires 39 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 8
Program Website

Founded in 1950 and located in Arlington, Virginia, Marymount University offers doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees to more than 3,375 students from 44 states and 76 countries. It is the first school in Washington, D.C. to offer a Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology, and its location offers access to various federal and national agencies that are important to the field of forensics. Students can take advantage of esteemed speakers, internships, field research, courtroom observations, and site visits. The curriculum consists of 39 credits in required and elective courses, and students may choose from a concentration in intelligence studies or course clusters in law and policy, children and juveniles, law enforcement and investigative issues, or crime and victims.

Degree Options:
Forensic & Legal Psychology (M.A.)
Average Program Cost: $19,910
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#58 in Regional Universities South
#65 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

11. Montclair State University

Montclair, New Jersey

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Clinical Psychology in Forensics requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 8
Program Website

The second-largest university in New Jersey, Montclair State University sits on a 500-acre campus and offers more than 300 concentrations, minors, and majors. Through its Department of Psychology, students can pursue a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with a forensic psychology concentration designed to prepare them to offer master’s-level clinical services to legal system-involved populations in scenarios that do not require licensure. The concentration places an emphasis on family, adolescent, and child issues such as juvenile offender assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation as well as child abuse and neglect. Students must complete 36 credits of coursework to earn their degree.

Degree Options:
Clinical Psychology, Forensic Psychology Concentration (MA)
Average Program Cost: $12,837
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#90 in Top Public Schools
#169 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

10. Holy Names University

Oakland, California

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic Psychology requires 39 credit units of coursework.

Points: 9
Program Website

Founded by and affiliated with the Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Holy Names University offers five adult degree completion programs, 19 undergraduate degrees, and seven master’s degree programs. In 2006, HNU added a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology, a 39-unit degree based on a philosophy of restorative, therapeutic justice. Coursework focuses on forensic assessments, and students are engaged in the forensic system through the program’s curriculum of post-traumatic disorders, substance use, and mental health. Other courses include criminal behavior, human diversity, a seminar, and a supervised practicum. Students may choose from an online M.A. in Forensic Psychology or pursue a dual degree that combines the M.A. in Forensic Psychology with a master’s degree in counseling.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Dual Master of Arts in Counseling and Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $19,559
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#22 in Best Value Schools
#61 (tie) in Regional Universities West
Accreditations:
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

9. Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MS in Forensic Psychology requires 36 credit hours of online coursework.

Points: 9
Program Website

Nova Southeastern University consists of 18 schools and colleges that offer more than 150 programs of study. NSU first offered graduate degrees in the social and physical sciences and has produced more than 185,000 alumni. The Master of Science in Forensic Psychology is a 36-credit online program that provides students with insight into the intersection of legal issues and psychology. The program consists of 24 credits of core courses, and students must complete one of two specialization tracks as well as a three-credit capstone course which involves either a field experience or a thesis. Specializations include either forensic psychology in the legal system or forensic psychology for mental health workers, first responders, and disaster teams.

Degree Options:
M.S. in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: #18,120
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#191 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

8. California State University –  Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MS in Forensic Psychology includes a nine-month practicum.

Points: 9
Program Website

One of 23 schools in the California State University System, California State University-Los Angeles offers three doctoral degrees, more than 100 master’s degrees, and more than 125 undergraduate degrees. The 33- to 34-credit Master of Science in Forensic Psychology program includes a nine-month practicum where students receive on-site supervision and hands-on training in a forensic setting related to their career goals and interests. Students benefit from a close mentoring relationship with a faculty member, and the curriculum highlights both research and theory while providing practical training in the areas of treatment and assessment.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $14,000
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#26 in Best Value Schools
#52 (tie) in Regional Universities West
Accreditations:
WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

7. John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York, New York

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic Psychology requires 39 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 9
Program Website

Founded as the only liberal arts college with a focus on criminal justice and forensics in the country, John Jay College of Criminal Justice is known for its public affairs, forensic psychology, forensic science, and criminal justice programs. The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology features a curriculum focused on treating, evaluating, and understanding both victims and offenders. Students acquire an advanced knowledge of research methods, psychotherapeutic techniques, personality assessment, and psychological development and psychopathology. Students must complete 39 credits of coursework as well as either a thesis or a three-credit externship that includes 300 hours of fieldwork.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Dual M.A./J.D. – Forensic Psychology and Law
Average Program Cost: $10,770
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#46 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#139 (tie) in Regional Universities North
Accreditations:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

6. University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic Psychology requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 10
Program Website

The University of North Dakota was established in 1993 by the Dakota Territorial Assembly and is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state. It operates the only schools of law and medicine in North Dakota and offers a top-ranked online Master’s in Forensic Psychology program in the country. Students may complete the 30-credit hour degree in two years and gain an in-depth understanding of the legal system, communication skills needed in forensic settings, knowledge of advanced psychological theories and concepts, and outstanding evaluation, statistical, and analytical skills. Coursework covers areas such as psychology and law, diversity psychology, behavior pathology, and advanced social psychology.

Degree Options:
Forensic Psychology (M.A.)
Average Program Cost: $9,697
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#112 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#205 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

5. Fairleigh Dickinson University

Teaneck, New Jersey

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic Psychology require 36 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 11
Program Website

Fairleigh Dickinson University was founded in 1942 and is the first U.S. university to own and operate an international campus. The school, one of the largest private institutions of higher education in the state, currently offers more than 100 individual degrees to more than 12,000 students. The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology can be completed within 18 months. Areas of study include evaluation and assessment, interviewing techniques, psychological basis of criminal behavior, and psychopathology. In addition to 36 credits of coursework, students gain invaluable clinical experience by completing a 300-hour externship placement. Students may also choose to complete a thesis and participate in forensic research.

Degree Options:
M.A. in Forensic Psychology
B.A./M.A. Accelerated Program in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $22,080
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#33 in Best Value Schools
#62 in Regional Universities North
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

4. University of Denver

Denver, Colorado

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic Psychology can be completed in two years of study.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is the oldest independent private university in the Rocky Mountain region and educates nearly 12,000 students online and on its 125-acre main campus. The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology curriculum combines coursework and practicum experiences in areas where law and psychology intersect with rudimentary master’s-level clinical psychology training. UD uses a quarter system, and students can complete the program in two years of full-time study. Students learn how to apply psychological skills, information, competencies, and theories to the criminal and civil justice systems. Students are also required to engage in direct service through field placements.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $32,928
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#58 in Best Value Schools
#81 in Psychology
#96 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

3. California Baptist University

Riverside, California

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The MA in Forensic Psychology can be completed in two years of study.

Points: 12
Program Website

California Baptist University was founded as California Baptist College in 1950 and is affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention. It offers schools and colleges in fields such as professional studies, nursing, Christian ministries, arts and sciences, health sciences, and more. The online Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program teaches students how to combine law and psychology, placing an emphasis on human behavior. The curriculum includes both a biblical and psychosocial understanding of areas such as police psychology, law and psychology, psychopathology, human development, and criminal profiling. Students may complete the 57-unit program within two years.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $20,378
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#20 in Best Value Schools
#32 in Regional Universities West
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association (APA)
WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

2. University of California-Irvine

Irvine, California

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology requires 52 credits hours of coursework.

Points: 12
Program Website

The University of California-Irvine offers nearly 100 professional and graduate degrees as well as 80 bachelor’s degrees. The school operates the UC Irvine Medical Center as well as its affiliated health sciences system. UC Irvine offers an online Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology program that focuses on the intersection of legal and psychological issues with an emphasis on the use of psychological research, theories, and principles. The two-year professional program consists of 52 credits of graduate courses in both core courses and electives. Required topics include children and the law, legal reasoning, forensic assessment, quantitative methods, and a capstone requirement.

Degree Options:
Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $13,974
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#33 (tie) in National Universities
#36 in Psychology
#124 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

1. Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2019

The online MS in Forensic Psychology requires 33 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 12
Program Website

One of the largest public universities in the country by enrollment, Arizona State University educates more than 73,000 students across its metro campuses. More than 36,000 students are enrolled in ASUOnline courses, including the school’s graduate degree in forensic psychology. The online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology provides working professionals with an understanding of human behavior and mental health issues with respect to crime and the legal system. It involves specialized coursework in legal decision-making, the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, criminal behavior, and criminal law. Students must complete 33 credits of coursework through 11 classes as well as a culminating capstone experience.

Degree Options:
Online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
Average Program Cost: $11,394
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#39 in Psychology
#52 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#115 (tie) in National Universities
#119 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are My Career Options for a Master’s in Forensic Psychology Degree?

A Master’s in Forensic Psychology degree combines principles of law and psychology for a comprehensive approach to criminal behavior. Graduates become case managers, expert witnesses, and victim advocates. They are responsible for helping law enforcement officials capture and prosecute criminals through their work within the criminal justice system. Although jobs in this field are demanding, they do have high earning potentials, and many experienced forensic psychologists appear on television or write books. There are a number of career options within this field.

Correctional Officer

Correctional officers monitor inmates in federal and state prisons. Most correctional officers attend a training academy, and some federal agencies require a graduate degree for employment. They work specific shifts for holidays, weekends, and evenings so that inmates are supervised 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists are licensed psychologists who help law enforcement officers evaluate criminals. They may be mediators or expert witnesses, and they may conduct mental health examinations to determine one’s competency. Psychologists may be employed independently or directly with a law enforcement agency.

Expert Witness

Expert witnesses testify on behalf of the defense or prosecution in criminal cases. They have expert knowledge in specialized fields such as sexual violence or terrorism, and they are typically paid for their testimony, which is not a conflict of interest as far as the legal system is concerned.

Victim Advocate

Victim advocates provide counseling to victims of crimes. During court proceedings, they help clients fill out paperwork and testify on behalf of victims. Those who have earned a graduate degree in forensic psychology may also choose to lead staff hotlines and support groups to further help those who have been directly affected by a serious crime.

Forensic Science Technician

Forensic science technicians help criminal investigators analyze and collect evidence. Some technicians work in laboratories, while others work directly at crime scenes. Forensic science technicians may have a regular 40-hour workweek or they may have the option to work on-call hours to help cover crime scenes that occur overnight.

What Are the Various Disciplines of Forensic Psychology?

In 2001, the American Psychological Association (APA) named the professional practice of forensic psychology as a recognized specialty within the larger areas of school psychology, counseling psychology, and clinical psychology. Forensic psychologists are often called upon by the judicial system to prevent future crimes, help to evaluate and convict criminals, and to provide their professional psychological expertise. There are three main areas of focused practice within the forensic psychology specialty:

  • Legal, including specific knowledge of the legal system and law
  • Forensic, including forensic ethics and the assessment of symptoms in a legal context
  • Clinical, including the ethics, testing, treatment, and diagnosis of mental disorders

What Kinds of Classes Do Forensic Psychology Students Take?

Students can expect to take courses in both psychology and criminal justice. Psychology courses may include grief counseling, victimology, drug and addiction psychology, the psychology of violence, social psychology, and sexual psychology. Criminal justice courses may include criminal evaluation, forensic evidence, criminology, an overview of the legal system, and legal terminology. Students will also take classes in developmental and child psychology since they may be required to work with young victims or even young offenders. Since part of their role is to determine whether a patient is mentally competent and should be held responsible for his or her actions, mental health is an important topic for forensic psychologists. Other courses that could be part of a forensic psychology degree program include:

  • Social Psychology: Students learn how groups and communities affect the psychology of individuals as well as how to manage issues that could potentially arise among groups.
  • Psychology and the Law: Because forensic psychologists often work with families and individuals involved in the criminal justice and legal system, they must be familiar with all of the regulations and laws that govern their professional role.
  • Diversity and Communities: Forensic psychologists must be comfortable working with people from all walks of life and backgrounds as they are likely to come into contact with diverse client populations.
  • Criminal Behavior: Forensic psychologists routinely come into contact with individuals within the criminal justice system, and a course in criminal psychology and behavior provides students with knowledge and techniques for interacting with these potential clients.
  • Conflict Management: A fundamental course in conflict management helps students develop useful skills for managing social conflicts, and it gives insight into the nature of conflict and how it affects the parties involved.

How Can You Choose an Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Program?

Online master’s programs in forensic psychology have different course requirements and curricula, but learning outcomes are generally the same. Students learn the basic tenets of criminal behavior and psychology, complete core course requirements, and specialize in a concentration area such as terrorism. Graduate students are also often required to work with patients and forensic psychologists via field research or a capstone project. The duration of an online graduate program in forensic psychology depends on the number of required credits as well as whether the student was able to transfer previously earned credits into the graduate program.

Are you obsessed with television shows such as “Psych” or “Criminal Mind,” and do you typically solve the case before the show is over? Are you a Sherlock Holmes when it comes to studying human behavior? Put your analytical mind to the test and seek a career as a forensic psychologist by earning an online graduate degree in forensic psychology.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 20 Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology.