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Top 10 Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology 2022

Forensic psychology is a specialized field for individuals interested in how the principles and theories of psychology are applied to the legal system. There is an increased interest in and awareness of the importance of the connections between the legal system and the principles of psychology. It has resulted in a demand for professionals with knowledge and training in forensic psychology.

Are you interested in learning how mental health and human behavior are related to crime and legal proceedings? Forensic psychology is a great career choice. Online forensic psychology master’s degree programs provide flexibility, allowing working professionals to earn their degree while still meeting personal obligations.

We developed a ranking of the best forensic psychology programs online to showcase some of the top programs in the country. To develop our list, we used information provided by the National Center for Education Statistics to find accredited schools offering master’s degrees in forensic psychology. We narrowed our list down to those offering online programs and developed the following ranking system. Where there are ties, the school with the lower in state graduate tuition rate is favored.

Average Graduate Tuition Rate per Year
Under $10,000/year- 3 points
$10,001-$15,000/year- 2 points
Over $15,000/year- 1 point

Undergraduate Retention Rate
Greater than 45%- 3 points
26% to 45%- 2 points
25% or unavailable- 1 point

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate
Less than 60%- 3 points
61% to 90%- 2 points
Greater than 90% or unavailable- 1 point

Student-Faculty Ratio
15:1 and under- 3 points
16:1 to 19:1- 2 points
20:1 and greater- 1 point

See Also: 5 Characteristics of a Forensic Psychologist

10. Southern New Hampshire University – Manchester, New Hampshire

Master’s in Forensic Psychology Online

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School Profile

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $18,810/year

Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 67%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 94%

Points: 6

The affordable online master’s in forensic psychology from Southern New Hampshire University is a comprehensive program that students can complete in just 15 months. Students can take two courses during each ten-week term while maintaining a healthy balance between work and school. Course offerings include:

  • Psychology in the Courtroom
  • Forensic Psycholgy
  • Intersection of Law and Psychology

Courses are taught by faculty with real-world experience. Students are required to complete a capstone project in their final semester of study, showcasing their knowledge and skills.

See Also: Do Forensic Psychologists Need to be Certified?

9. Capella University – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology-Forensic Psychology Specialization

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School Profile

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,767/year

Student to Faculty Ratio: 32:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 45%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: Open Admission Policy

Points: 6

Capella University, a leader in online education, offers a high-quality forensic psychology program online for students interested in a gaining a professional understanding of the criminal mind. Capella offers multiple start dates and flexible, ten-week courses. Courses are taught by professors with real-world experience. Relevant coursework includes:

  • Tests and Measurement
  • Psychology of Law
  • Techniques of Forensic Practice

The comprehensive curriculum prepares students to work with a variety of programs and populations including recently released offenders. Graduates of this forensic psychology program are successful in roles like:

  • forensic consultant
  • forensic researcher
  • adjunct or part-time faculty of forensic psychology courses.

8. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles – Los Angeles, California

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

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School Profile

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $22,212/year

Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: N/A

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 24%

Points: 8

The online forensic psychology master’s program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a specialized program that prepares students to work in juvenile, civil and criminal justice systems. Courses are taught by practitioner faculty in a flexible online format. Both full and part-time program options are available. Course offerings for this MA in forensic psychology cover a wide variety of topics including:

  • Trauma and crisis intervention
  • Crime prevention through risk assessment
  • Mental health law

To be considered for full admission, applicants should submit:

  • transcripts
  • a personal essay 
  • letters of recommendation

Graduates have applied their skills to a variety of professions including corrections and law enforcement.

See Also: 5 Forensic Psychology Capstone Project Ideas

7. Nova Southeastern University – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

nova-southeastern-university

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School Profile

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $20,618/year

Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 80%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 76%

Points: 8

The College of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University features a high-quality online master’s in forensic psychology with two unique program tracks. Program track offerings include:

  • Forensic Psychology in the Legal System
  • Forensic Psychology for Mental Health Workers, First Responders and Disaster Teams

Students must choose between a thesis and a field experience in their capstone course. Students planning to pursue doctoral study can gain valuable research experience through their thesis, strengthening their application. Most full-time students can complete their degree in two years of study.

 

6. Grand Canyon University – Phoenix, Arizona

Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology

grand-canyon-university

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School Profile

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,528/year

Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 74%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 81%

Points: 8

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Grand Canyon University offers an affordable online masters in forensic psychology, focusing on applying the scientific principles of psychology to the legal process. The curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in the advanced principles of psychology and criminal behavior while also focusing on society’s responses to criminal behavior. Core courses cover areas that include:

  • Social and Cultural Psychology
  • Theories of Criminal Behavior
  • Psychopathology of Crime

Students complete a professional capstone project, exploring employment opportunities and creating original research ideas. Graduates are successful working in areas like corrections and law enforcement.

 

5. Saint Leo University – Saint Leo, Florida

Master of Science in Criminal Justice-Behavioral Studies Specialization

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School Profile

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,568/year

Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 64%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 73%

Points: 9

Saint Leo University offers a unique online master’s in criminal justice with a concentration in behavioral studies. Students will gain valuable forensic psychology skills studying the clinical aspects of behavior disorders and learning about behavioral cues when conducting interviews. Course offerings include:

  • Insights into Criminal Behavior
  • Human Behavior and the Judiciary
  • Analytical Understanding of Interviews and Interrogation

Students can customize their degree program by choosing two additional graduate level criminal justice courses that align with their professional interests. Students complete an applied project in criminal justice administration, using their knowledge and skills from the program to address an important issue or launch a program initiative related to criminal justice.

 

4. University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, North Dakota

Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology

Website

School Profile

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,060/year in-state and $16,590/year out-of-state

Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 81%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 87%

Points: 9

The University of North Dakota online MA in forensic psychology is a part-time program that takes two years to complete. Students will develop the knowledge and skills needed to:

  • Complete research-based program evaluations
  • Assist lawyers with trial preparation and jury selection
  • Select and utilize appropriate tools for assessment and evaluation

Unique course offerings include:

  • Eyewitness Testimony and Memory
  • Diversity Psychology
  • Psychology and Law

New students are admitted for the spring and fall terms and there are no on-campus residency requirements.

3. Concordia University – Saint Paul, Minnesota

Master of Arts in Human Services-Forensic Behavioral Health

concordia-university-saint-paul-minnesota

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School Profile

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,550/year

Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 68%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 69%

Points: 9

Concordia University in Saint Paul features a best value online master’s in forensic behavior health through their MA in Human Services. Students will study evidence-based practices and therapeutic strategies to improve the lives of individuals and their families in the criminal justice/legal system. The forensic psychology program has earned approval from the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies. Courses are taught by industry experts. Students complete a culminating final project on a scholarly topic related to human services in a forensic behavioral setting.

2. Arizona State University – Scottsdale, Arizona

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

Website

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,516/year

Student to Faculty Ratio: 26:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 49%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 73%

Points: 9

Arizona State University offers a low cost online master’s in forensic psychology that helps students advance their career. They can also  continue their education in a doctoral program to become a board-certified forensic psychologist. The 11-course curriculum includes courses in:

  • Advanced Legal Psychology
  • Advanced Psychology of Criminal Investigation
  • Advanced Correctional Psychology

Courses are taught by leading experts in areas like forensic psychology and cybersecurity. There are no on-campus residency requirements, and all required coursework can be completed online. Admission to the program is competitive and applicants should have at least a 3.3 undergraduate GPA or be prepared to submit GRE scores to strengthen their application.

1. University of Louisiana – Monroe, Louisiana

Master of Science in Psychology-Forensic Psychology

Website

Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,490/year in-state and $18,590/year out-of-state

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1

Retention Rate for First Time Undergraduate Students: 74%

Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 78%

Points: 10

The University of Louisiana Monroe features out top online forensic psychology master’s degree. Their forensic track includes courses in:

  • Psychological Assessment
  • Counseling in Criminal Justice
  • Minorities, Crime, and Criminal Justice

Students complete an additional five credit hours of psychology electives, customizing their degree. While a thesis is not required, students planning to pursue their doctoral degree are encouraged to complete a thesis. Other capstone options include a practicum or independent research project. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.0 for full consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a master’s in forensic psychology a good degree?

At the intersection of law, criminal justice, and psychology lies the specialized field of forensic psychology. The American Psychological Association defines forensic psychology as “the application of clinical specialties to the legal arena.” Forensic psychologists conduct psychological assessments of individuals involved in the legal system. Strong clinical skills including interviewing and report writing are important in forensic psychology. Forensic psychologists may perform such tasks as:

  • counseling services to victims of crime
  • PTSD assessments
  • child custody evaluations
  • competency evaluations for criminal defendants and of the elderly

A master’s degree in forensic psychology can help students advance their career in the behavioral sciences. Graduates can find jobs in a variety of organizations including:

  • Community mental health centers
  • Social service agencies
  • Prisons or jails
  • Community mental health centers
  • childcare/advocacy agencies

How much money can you make after earning a master’s in forensic psychology online degree?

A master’s degree in forensic psychology can lead to career advancement opportunities and an increase in pay. According to payscale.com, the average base salary for someone with their master’s in forensic psychology is $57,000/year. Forensic psychology professionals with experience or management responsibility are typically paid a higher salary. Some of the best paying jobs in the field of forensic psychology according to payscale.com include:

  • Clinical Supervisor: $59,362/year (average salary)
  • Intelligence Analyst: $68,262/year (average salary)
  • Mental Health Therapist: $50,547 (average salary)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for forensic science technicians is expected to grow by 16% through 2030. They also report that the demand for psychologists is expected to grow by 8% or as fast as average across all occupations. Those considering a master’s in forensic psychology should feel confident that their skills have value and employment opportunities are available.

How much does it cost to get a master’s in forensic psychology?

According to information provided by the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of a master’s degree is $66,340. A student attending an in-state public university can expect to spend over $54,500. Students attending private school can pay significantly more. The price of tuition can vary greatly by school, so it is important to do your homework to find the best deal.
Earning a master’s in forensic psychology online doesn’t have to break the bank. An online program may be an affordable to a traditional brick and mortar program. Online master’s degree programs may offer reduced tuition rates or charge the same low rate to their students regardless of their state of residency. Master’s in forensic psychology online programs support the needs of adult learners who benefit from flexible scheduling and asynchronous course activities. Many online learners choose to continue working while earning their degree. Online students who complete their degree from home can save money by eliminating expenses like on-campus housing and pricey meal plans.

You should always check with your selected school directly to determine your actual cost to attend. Your cost of tuition and fees will likely differ from the university’s “sticker price.” Students should complete the FAFSA to determine what financial aid awards they may qualify for. Many employers offer tuition assistance programs to help their employees offset the cost of their education. Military members and their spouses can often take advantage of great tuition rates for graduate education. The cheapest forensic psychology master’s programs will also offer scholarships and grants to help keep the cost of school affordable.

How long does it take to complete a master’s in forensic psychology?

A master’s in forensic psychology is typically a two-year advanced degree beyond a bachelor’s degree. Full-time students usually complete a two-year program that includes coursework and a thesis or field experience. Part-time students may take longer to complete their degree. Some part-time students will take one course at a time or take a semester (usually the summer) off to better balance school with their other responsibilities. It’s important to complete your degree at a comfortable pace to get the full benefits.
Universities offering a master’s in forensic psychology may provide students with an accelerated option. Accelerated programs allow students to complete their master’s in just 12 to 18 months, providing a fast-track option for those who want to complete their degree as quickly as possible.

What are the requirements for a master’s in forensic psychology online program?

Forensic psychology master’s program applicants should have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university to be considered for admission. Most programs will require a minimum undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.0. Students who do not meet the minimum GPA criteria can strengthen their application by submitting GRE or GMAT scores. Some programs admit students on a provisional basis until they can demonstrate their ability to be successful at the graduate level.
Students will typically complete a capstone course at the end of their program to showcase their knowledge and skills using a case-study or real-world dataset. This capstone experience allows students to build their resume and create a professional portfolio of their work for prospective employers.

Will I need to complete an internship to get a master’s in forensic psychology degree?

Each forensic psychology program is unique. There is no set standard regarding internships at the master’s level for this field. Since the master’s in forensic psychology is not considered a terminal degree, many programs will offer students the opportunity to complete a thesis to gain the research experience they need to enter a doctoral program.

Students planning to work in the field at the master’s level may complete a capstone project, using their knowledge and skills to identify and propose a solution to an identified problem. Some programs will offer (or even require) an internship that allows their students to get valuable hands-on field experience before graduation. Online students can typically complete their internship in their own community under the supervision and guidance of an experienced professional.

What are some examples of courses needed for a master’s in forensic psychology?

Forensic psychology master’s students will take courses from areas like criminal justice and psychology. Course offerings may include:

  • Psychopathology, Personality Disorders and Behavioral Interventions
  • Evaluation, Methodology, and Psychological Research
  • Ethics

Will I need any licenses or certificates to get a job in forensic psychology?

All forensic psychologists must have a PhD or PsyD from an APA accredited doctoral program and two years of organized, sequential, supervised professional experience. States may have additional requirements. To be licensed, the candidate must sit for an oral or written exam. Forensic psychologists can also be board certified through the American Board of Forensic Psychology.
Fortunately, there are many jobs in forensic psychology that don’t require a doctoral degree or licensure. Graduates with their master’s in forensic psychology can work in a variety of roles including:

  • Probation or parole officer
  • Victim advocate
  • Correctional counselor
  • Crime analyst

Are there any professional organizations for people with a career in forensic psychology?

Forensic psychologists are supported by several different professional organizations.

  • American Psychological Association:

The American Psychological Association is the premier scientific and professional organization for psychologists in the United States.  The APA’s primary focus is on the advancement, communication and application of psychological science. Some of their efforts include:

  • tracking trends in the field
  • creating content to educate the public about mental health
  • publishing peer reviewed journals
  • identifying and advocating for key federal policies and legislation

The APA represents over 133,000 psychology professionals working in areas like research and clinical practice.

  • American Board of Forensic Psychology

The American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP) is a part of the American Board of Professional Psychology, which has provided certification in specialized areas of psychology since 1947. The ABFP is responsible for the certifying process in forensic psychology.

  • American Academy of Forensic Psychology

The American Academy of Forensic Psychology is a non-profit organization for board certified forensic psychologists. Their focus is on the development and maintenance of forensic psychology as a specialized field of study. They also maintain a directory of forensic psychologists. The AAFP offers high quality continuing education workshops online and in-person.

  • International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology

The International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology (IACFP) is a professional organization of behavioral scientists and practitioners committed to delivering high-quality mental health services to criminal offenders. They strive to promote and disseminate research on the treatment, assessment and etiology of criminal behavior. The IACFP publishes an official journal, Criminal Justice and Behavior. Membership is open interested individuals in the field, although most members have advanced degrees in behavioral science.