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Forensic Psychology Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed October 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • What is forensic psychology?, American Psychological Association, accessed November 29, 2017, http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/psn/2013/09/forensic-psychology.aspx
  • School pages, accessed November 29-30, 2017: Forensic Psychology Degree Online, Southern New Hampshire University, https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/ba-in-psychology/forensic-psychology; Forensic Psychology Concentration, PsyD in Clinical Psychology, William James College, http://www.williamjames.edu/academics/clinical/psyd/concentration-forensic-psychology.cfm; General Program, PhD in Forensic Psychology, Walden University, https://www.waldenu.edu/doctoral/phd-in-forensic-psychology/curriculum/general-program; Forensic Psychology, Tiffin University, http://www.tiffin.edu/forensicpsych; MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology, Tiffin University, http://www.tiffin.edu/graduateprograms/mscj/forensicpsych; Online Master's Degree, Tiffin University, http://university.tiffin.edu/online-courses/graduate; Forensic Psychology (BA), John Jay College of Criminal Justice, http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/forensic-psychology-ba; Graduate Programs, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/graduate-programs; Forensic Psychology Program Requirements, Castleton University, http://www.castleton.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs/psychology/forensic-psychology-program-requirements/; Forensic Psychology, The College of Saint Rose, https://www.strose.edu/forensic-psychology/; Forensic Psychology Degree, Florida Institute of Technology, http://web2.fit.edu/programs/7146/ba-forensic-psychology;
  • Application Steps & Generic Requirements, American Board of Professional Psychology, accessed November 29, 2017, https://www.abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3297
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed November 29-30, 2017: Psychologists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm; Forensic Science Technicians, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm;
  • Professional organization pages, accessed November 29, 2017: Join APA, American Psychological Association, https://join.apa.org/; Benefits of Membership, American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/membership/benefits.aspx; Become a Member, International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology, http://www.aa4cfp.org/index.php?submenu=member&src=gendocs&ref=memberInfo&category=Main;
  • Undergraduate Scholarship Program (CIA), American Psychological Association, accessed November 29, 2017, http://www.apa.org/about/awards/cia-ugradsch.aspx?tab=1
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
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It's hard to deny that there's a psychological component to criminal justice. Understanding the minds and behavior of criminals can make you a valuable asset to law enforcement organizations, attorneys and policymakers alike, and forensic psychology degree programs can help you earn that understanding through psychological study of the motivations, patterns and impacts of criminal behavior.

Forensic psychologists typically follow their education through to the terminal degree, whether it's a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), for aspiring scholars and educators, or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) for private sector practitioners. Some forensic psychologists may have just a master's degree, but positions at this level are less common.

The more flexible curriculum used in online degrees for forensic psychology students can help you more easily fit the undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate segments of your education into your existing schedule. If you're not ready to commit to campus-based education for your whole time in school, check out online forensic psychology degrees.

Best Colleges for Forensic Psychology Degree Programs 2017-18

We wanted to find out which schools were the best colleges for forensic psychology degree programs, so we pulled tons of data from the archives of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and broke it down into eight categories. Click the button to get some details on our methodology, and read on below for our list of the top five schools for forensic psychology.

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Methodology
1Tiffin University+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
55

Our No. 1 school took the top spot in the distance education enrollment category, with more than 41 percent of students taking at least some of their courses in the virtual classroom. On-campus flexibility is on the menu here as well, thanks to a selection of weekend and evening courses and alternative payment plans for tuition expenses.

The campus-based forensic psychology programs at Tiffin include an undergraduate major in forensic psychology and an M.S. in criminal justice with a forensic psychology concentration. While there are no fully online degrees for forensic psychology students at Tiffin University, the Ohio institution does offer an online Master of Science (M.S.) in general psychology and an online M.S. in criminal justice with a concentration in criminal behavior.

Additional Info
2CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice+
ADMISSION RATE
34%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$65
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The City University of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice ran away with the No. 1 ranking in our affordability category, charging students a 2015 average of $6,810 for tuition and fees. The New York City school also reported the largest percentage of forensic psychology students among its student body, awarding more than 550 degrees in forensic psychology alone.

The selection of forensic psychology degree programs at John Jay is among the most diverse in the country. Along with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) in forensic psychology, students may choose an 18-credit postgraduate certificate or four-year graduate program that leads to a joint M.A. and Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in the field.

Additional Info
3Castleton University+
ADMISSION RATE
95%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

This Vermont school is the smallest on our list — fewer than 500 degrees were awarded here in 2015 — but academic opportunity is high. Castleton University posted the highest admission rate of any school we surveyed, granting enrollment to nearly 97 percent of applicants, and its affordable cost of tuition and fees gave it the No. 2 spot in that category.

If you're looking for the first step on your path to a forensic psychology career, Castleton has you covered. The B.A. study plan in psychology features an available undergraduate concentration in forensic psychology that includes courses in social psychology, criminal psychology, psychological testing and juvenile delinquency.

Additional Info
4The College of Saint Rose+
ADMISSION RATE
84%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

The B.S. in forensic psychology at the College of Saint Rose is offered through the department of psychology but closely resembles a double major in psychology and criminal justice. Students are free to choose the basic degree plan or opt for one of two specialized tracks: a clinical concentration that provides additional psychology training or a legal concentration designed to better prepare you for law school.

Honors students at this Albany, New York, institution also have the option to enroll in a research concentration that provides a strong foundation for academic work at the graduate and post-graduate levels. Saint Rose also had the top graduation rate among schools that made our list, as well as a comfortable admission rate of nearly 82 percent.

Additional Info
5Florida Institute of Technology+
ADMISSION RATE
61%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
15

Student-faculty ratio numbers are a good guideline for how much time professors can spend on collaboration and mentorship with individual students, and the Florida Institute of Technology stood out above the rest in that category. The 8:1 student-faculty ratio at this Atlantic coast school represents a lighter load per professor than any other school on our list.

The B.A. study plan in forensic psychology aims to help students develop an understanding of crime prevention and analysis techniques while learning what it means to work as a liaison between law enforcement, social services and legal agencies. The curriculum for the senior year of the program includes an intensive field internship and research project.

Additional Info

Forensic Psychology Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

A bachelor's degree in forensic psychology may qualify you for some entry-level positions in the field or bring unique perspective to your law enforcement career, but a master's, doctorate or professional degree is typically necessary to work officially as a forensic psychologist. Here's some detail and career info for each degree level.

Bachelor's degree in Forensic Psychology
Coursework for undergraduate forensic psychology degrees tends to vary based on the concentrations available in a given program. Some may give more criminal justice or law training while others focus on the social science aspects of the discipline. Taking lab science electives or dual-majoring in natural science may give you access to other forensic careers as well
Forensic science technicians
also known as criminalists, collect and analyze the physical evidence of criminal activity, typically specializing in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis
Doctorate in forensic psychology
Your path to a forensic psychology doctorate depends on whether you choose a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program. Psy.D. candidates typically spend more time working in the field, while Ph.D. candidates tend to focus more on research and academic pursuits. Licensure or certification regulations vary by state, so check with your state Board of Psychology to find out if any additional credentials are required.
Forensic psychologists
use the principles of psychology to help legal and law enforcement specialists better understand the psychological factors of criminal cases, often appearing in court as expert witnesses

Career Outlook for Forensic Psychology Majors

If you know in advance how the career market is expected to look once you finish your education, it might give you a little extra preparation for taking on the employment challenges that can arise during your first year out of school. Here's a quick look at job projections for forensic psychologists.

JOB TITLE
AVERAGE SALARY($)
EMPLOYMENT
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Forensic Science Technicians$60,69014,80016.8%
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary$84,44037,64015.1%
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists$104,5701,0205.6%
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
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Financial Aid and Scholarships in Forensic Psychology

Scholarships for forensic psychology students are typically offered by law enforcement agencies or charitable foundations, such as the CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program for students who plan to work with the agency after graduation. Here are a few additional financial aid options available at the national, regional or institutional level.

Special Undergraduate Academic Scholarship
Applicant must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and a minimum combined SAT I score of 1500 (composite ACT score of 21). More

AWARD AMOUNT

$2,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 1

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable for four years for freshmen and three years for transfers if recipient maintains acceptable academic performance.

R&D Systems Scholarship Program
Applicants must be currently enrolled or plan to be enrolled in a science related degree program. Scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate level science related programs and all science related majors are eligible (biology, chemistry, social sciences, environmental sciences, engineering, etc.). Scholarship is awarded once in the spring and once in the fall. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$1,500

APPLICATION DEADLINE

July 20

 

 

Forensics Alumni Scholarship
Applicant must show success in high school forensics and plan to participate in college program. Applicant must submit a letter of interest and a resume of forensics experience. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$1,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 29

 

 

Patricia Collins Amaral Memorial Fund
Applicant must be a senior who has a minimum 3.0 GPA and who has demonstrated the finest qualities of leadership through participation in campus organizations and has rendered service of significant benefit to the campus community. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$600

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 15

 

 

Professional Organizations

(APA): The world's largest community of psychological professionals and features a wealth of beneficial resources for members.
(IACFP): Produces a monthly journal and offers member discounts on educational materials and conference attendance.
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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