The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

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Updated March 19, 2024

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What are the best colleges for forensic psychology? This guide helps you find the top schools for your career goals.

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The forensic psychology field has captivated people around the world, partly due to the popularity of police procedural dramas on television. However, beyond entertainment, this interdisciplinary field can provide prospective students with a fulfilling and practical career path.

By combining principles of psychology and law, forensic psychology students learn how to navigate the complex intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system. Discover some of the best forensic psychology programs, admission requirements, and potential career paths and salaries in this guide.

Popular Online Forensic Psychology Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Online Forensic Psychology Programs

Read our methodology to learn more about how we rank schools.

#1 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott

  • Prescott, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Prepare for a career in the legal system with a forensic psychology degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Embry-Riddle. Students engage in forensic psychology, reach out to juvenile offenders, and join research and conferences. 

Enrollees learn about psychological and forensic sciences through labs and classroom learning. Courses cover topics, such as personality profiling, criminal behavior, abnormal psychology, and investigative methods. The program concludes with a capstone experience. At Embry Riddle's Forensic Science Laboratory, students practice collecting criminal evidence using fingerprinting stations, microscopes, and a fuming chamber. 

It typically takes eight semesters to complete this 122-credit program.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$37,512
Out-of-state
$37,512
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,756
Out-of-state
$18,756
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
3,071
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

By pursuing a bachelor's in forensic psychology degree at John Jay in Brooklyn, students acquire research-based skills to comprehend human psychology. To complete the 120-credit degree, students need 43-53 credits in the forensic psychology major. The core curriculum combines cognitive, social, and developmental psychology. Learners explore research methods and principles and methods of statistics. 

Also, students can complete either a research project or field experience working with mental health professionals. The program ends with a four-part capstone experience.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$14,880
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,090
Out-of-state
$20,520
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
15,210
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

Quincy University

  • Quincy, IL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Earning a bachelor's in forensic psychology at Quincy, a Catholic university in Illinois, provides a deep understanding of the legal system through hands-on learning experiences and classes that teach the theories and methods of psychology. Specialized courses in the degree program focus on police psychology, psychology of crime and delinquency, victimology and victim services, legal psychology, and correctional psychology. 

Professional opportunities come from internships available at local government agencies and through joining the Psi Chi Honor Society or Psych Club. Students complete service hours in Illinois and throughout the country. 

Quincy, a test optional school, uses rolling admissions for freshmen and transfer applicants. Transfer candidates need at least 12 college credits. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$31,160
Out-of-state
$31,160
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,000
Out-of-state
$12,000
Retention Rate
69%
Acceptance Rate
62%
Students Enrolled
1,267
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

Corban University

  • Salem, OR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Corban's bachelor's in forensic psychology program offers an education grounded in a biblical worldview. The 120-credit program explores concepts of criminal law, crisis intervention strategies, legal aspects of evidence, and lifespan development from a Christian perspective.

Learners choose from an internship in psychology or criminal justice and get placed for their internships at public defender offices and adult or juvenile corrections divisions.

For admission, students must submit a testimony of personal faith in Jesus. Applying straight out of high school requires a minimum GPA of 2.7 and a Christian character reference. Transfer students need at least 31 college credits. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$33,688
Out-of-state
$33,688
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,760
Out-of-state
$9,760
Retention Rate
71%
Acceptance Rate
38%
Students Enrolled
1,082
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

Oklahoma Baptist University

  • Shawnee, OK
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

OBU's bachelor's in forensic psychology degree merges criminal justice and the study of human behavior with practical experiences. Over four years, students take 120 credits that examine victimology and abnormal psychology, equipping learners with basic counseling skills. 

The statistics course offers the chance for in-depth research, as does a research practicum or independent study. Practicum experiences offer work training with client populations, such as children, families, and people recovering from addiction. 

All freshmen get at least a $1,000 annual scholarship. Transfer students receive up to $8,000. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$28,610
Out-of-state
$28,610
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,900
Out-of-state
$9,900
Retention Rate
71%
Acceptance Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
1,431
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

Walla Walla University

  • College Place, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Students who want to pursue a career in law enforcement or probation should consider WWU's bachelor's in forensic science degree, which offers a Bible-based education.Students complete general education courses and take 43 semester credits of major coursework. This degree provides a foundation in criminology, developmental psychology, research methods, and statistics through labs, coursework, and practicums. Learners spend at least 60 hours working at a community service agency to fulfill their psychology practicum. 

WWU accepts applicants who are out of high school or homeschooled with proof of transcripts or GED scores. First-year applicants need at least a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. Transfer students need at least a 2.0 GPA. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,487
Out-of-state
$29,487
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$24,048
Out-of-state
$24,048
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
1,584
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#7 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

Saint Ambrose University

  • Davenport, IA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

With SAU's bachelor's in forensic psychology degree program, students choose between a 120-hour internship as a victim's advocate or conducting independent research under the guidance of faculty at the Summer Research Institute. 

By joining Psi Chi and/or the Psychology Club, students connect with other enrollees of the forensic science programs. Learners can study abroad in Costa Rica, Spain, Chile, or Korea for a semester or winter break.

The 120-credit degree allows students to specialize in adult or child and adolescent services. SAU, being a test-optional institution, only requires transcripts and an application for admission. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$33,290
Out-of-state
$33,290
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,360
Out-of-state
$18,360
Retention Rate
79%
Acceptance Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
2,749
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

Thomas College

  • Waterville, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The bachelor's in psychology with a forensic concentration at Thomas allows students to graduate within three years and learn through practical experience. The program requires 121 credits and offers internships and leadership development opportunities across the country. Courses explore developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, and experimental design and analysis. Students who spend four years studying at Thomas earn their master's in forensic psychology as well.

Applicants submit high school or college transcripts. Thomas does not require SAT and/or ACT scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$28,110
Out-of-state
$28,110
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$28,110
Out-of-state
$28,110
Retention Rate
66%
Acceptance Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
1,394
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#9 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

California State University-Fresno

  • Fresno, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Fresno State's forensic behavioral studies degree prepares graduates for careers in criminal justice or other forensic-based fields. The Department of Criminology requires 120 credits to earn a bachelor's degree. Students take courses in the psychology of criminality, research methods, and statistical and computer applications in criminal justice. They also must complete a 40-hour internship. 

Fresno State requires undergraduate students to hold a high school diploma, GED certificate, or pass the California High School Proficiency Examination. Applying as a non-California resident requires a minimum 2.47 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$16,680
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
97%
Students Enrolled
25,047
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#10 The Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology of 2024

Florida Institute of Technology

  • Melbourne, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Florida Tech's forensic psychology degree, which offers a specialization in child advocacy, develops learners' research skills while providing practical experience. The program includes an internship at law enforcement agencies, legal offices, or social services agencies. Students complete an independent research project as part of the internship. Florida Tech also offers the chance to participate in faculty-led research.

Students who join the Forensic Psychology Association or Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology gain opportunities to get involved with other students in the forensic psychology major. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$42,346
Out-of-state
$42,346
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$22,338
Out-of-state
$22,338
Retention Rate
75%
Acceptance Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
8,399
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

What to Look For in a Forensic Psychology Degree Program

When considering a forensic psychology degree, the most important factor to consider is the school's accreditation. Students interested in a doctorate in forensic psychology should seek out programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

APA accreditation demonstrates that the program meets the standards set by the American Psychological Association. Currently, the APA does not currently accredit fully online doctorate programs.

Other factors to consider include the program format (online, hybrid, on-campus), the curriculum, available electives, tuition costs, and the availability of financial aid options.

Practical Experience Requirements

Forensic psychology careers require different degree levels and field experience. For example, if you are interested in becoming a licensed forensic psychologist, you must attend graduate school and earn a doctorate. For a career in the correctional system, such as a police or parole officer, most entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree, depending on state regulations.

Graduate programs require fieldwork, including practicums and internships. The practicum typically occurs during your first year and includes mostly observation, with some hands-on work. During an internship, you work on real cases under close supervision.

How Much Will a Degree in Forensic Psychology Cost?

Forensic psychology degrees range from $12,000-$17,800 per year depending on the degree level. In general, a forensic psychology program at a private school will cost more than one at a public school, and an online program can help save room and board costs.

Some online programs at public schools offer the same tuition to all students, whether they live in the state or not. The final cost of a forensic psychology degree depends on your financial aid, including scholarships and grants, which can significantly reduce overall costs.

Average Annual Tuition and Fees for a Psychology Degree, 2020-21
Degree Traditional Online
Bachelor's in Psychology $17,800 $12,000
Master's in Psychology $14,040 $12,050
Doctorate in Psychology $14,800 $15,970
Source: NCES

These estimates do not include other student expenses such as technology requirements or books and materials.

What Are the Admission Requirements for a Forensic Psychology Degree Program?

Admission requirements for a forensic psychology program help assess your academic background and your potential to achieve in the program. In general, a GPA of 3.0 or higher in your most recent transcripts and good references can help you stand out. At the doctoral level, you must also demonstrate academic research and writing skills.

There are relatively few bachelor's programs in forensic psychology, though some offer specializations or minors.

Most forensic psychology graduate programs accept students with any major that includes courses relevant to forensic psychology. These usually include psychological assessment methods; conducting psychology research; abnormal and criminal psychology; social psychology; counseling; and courses in crime and criminology.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Forensic Psychology?

A forensic psychology degree can prepare you for a range of careers in psychology, law, the judicial system, the correctional system, or academia. To be a psychologist or professor, you must have a doctorate. Other careers require a bachelor's or master's in forensic psychology.

Careers With a Degree in Forensic Psychology
Career Education Average Annual Salary
Forensic Psychologist Doctorate in Forensic Science Psychology $77,330
Forensic Science Technician Bachelor's in Forensic Science or Related Field $69,260
Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist Bachelor's in Forensic Science or Related Field $61,900
Victim Advocate Bachelor's in Forensic Science or Related Field $42,280
Sources: BLS & Payscale

To become a forensic psychologist, you typically need a bachelor's degree, followed by a master's and a doctorate.

After your doctorate, you must complete a period of supervised experience under a licensed psychologist and obtain licensure. The specific period varies by state, so be sure to check your state regulations for details.

You can also pursue board certification in forensic psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Frequently Asked Questions About Forensic Psychology Colleges

What is forensic psychology?

Forensic psychology is the field of psychology that specializes in law and criminality. Forensic psychologists work in the criminal justice system, government, legal system, and programs to prevent crime. They also support survivors or help prevent previous offenders from returning to crime.

Forensic psychology focuses on understanding the intersection of psychology and the legal system, including the causes and prevention of crime and offender profiling.

How many years of college are needed for forensic psychology?

To become a licensed psychologist, you must earn a doctorate, which can take 4-7 years, in addition to an undergraduate and master's degree. However, some forensic psychology roles, such as police or parole officers or counselors specializing in criminal rehabilitation, require a bachelor's or master's degree.

What do forensic psychology undergraduate programs include?

Forensic psychology undergraduate programs include the basic psychology curriculum of theory, human development, and abnormal psychology. Students learn how to perform assessments, provide counseling, and conduct research. They also complete coursework in criminal psychology, law, and the justice and corrections systems.

Does the FBI hire forensic psychologists?

The FBI hires forensic psychologists, though the work is not as glamorous as it appears on television. FBI forensic psychologists analyze crimes, conduct research on preventing crime and recidivism, and may assist in cases.

Page last reviewed on January 8, 2024. Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Psychology.org.

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