The 24 Best Master’s in Forensic Psychology Online for 2019

By BCR Staff
July 2018

Forensic psychologists apply the principles of psychology to the field of criminal investigation and law. They work within the court system, in business or in private practice as consultants. Some of their main areas of work are:

  • Working within family courts to help resolve child custody issues, investigate abuse, provide some psychotherapy and assess visitation risks
  • Working within the civil court system they help determine competency, provide second opinions and sometimes offer psychotherapy to crime victims
  • Assessing mental competency and fitness to stand trial within criminal courts
  • Working in the justice system for the defense or for the prosecution

In this ranking, our editors examine our picks of the top 24 online master's for forensic psychology programs. For more generalized information regarding distance learning visit our ranking of the top online colleges.

Rating and Ranking Methodology
Tuition Points:

  • Under $45,000—1 point
  • Under $40,000—2 points
  • Under $35,000—3 points
  • Under $30,000—4 points
  • Under $25,000—5 points
  • Under $20,000—6 points
  • Under $15,000—7 points
  • Under $10,000—8 points
  • Under $5,000—9 points

US News and World Report Recognition as a Top Online School for Master's in Engineering Programs

  • Top 5— 5 points
  • Top 10— 4 points
  • Top 25 —3 points
  • Top 50 —2 points
  • Top 75 —1 point

Customization Options

  • Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
  • Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option (5-point cap)

Wow Factor

  • 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that "wowed" us

Our editor started with a list of 35 colleges and then used our customized ranking methodology to shortlist the TOP 24. We were able to narrow these initial findings by applying a few factors such as affordability (average net price is capped at $35,000), program customization, ROI, and career prospects. Finally, we used information from U.S. News & World Report as well as from each school's website to apply the rating and ranking methodology above. In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower tuition receives the higher ranking.

Check them out below!

#24 – Nova Southeastern University

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 6

Website

The online master's in forensic psychology degree from Nova Southeastern University is a 36-credit online program designed for working students. The curriculum is delivered entirely online with non-clinical classes taught by university professors. The forensic psychology specialization track offers two sub-category concentrations, including forensic psychology in the legal system and forensic psychology for mental health workers.

Online courses include behavioral criminology, introduction to forensic psychological science, psychological evaluation of competencies and sanity issues, therapeutic jurisprudence and problem-solving courts, and understanding psychological reports and expert witness testimony.

Tuition Fee: $730 per credit hour

 

#23 – Azusa Pacific University

Online Master's in Psychology

POINTS – 6

Website

Some online forensic psychology graduate degrees and programs take a more generalized approach to psychology like the master's in psychology from Azusa Pacific University. The program is entirely online and designed to serve as preparation for doctoral programs. Courses like applied lifespan development, professional and ethical issues, research and evaluation methods, and tests and assessment can be applied to various forensic developmental psychology settings such as eyewitness identification, memory recognition, and personality construction. The average completion time for this degree program is 18-24 months and requires completion of 36 credit units.

Courses are delivered online by university professors who regularly teach on campus, and this degree program has a WSCUC (formerly WASC) accreditation.

Tuition Fee: $600 per credit hour

 

#22 – Northcentral University

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 6

Website

Northcentral University supports those who want to work within the justice system, whether with law enforcement organizations, courts, correctional facilities, or victim services departments. The Master of Science in Forensic Psychology (MSFP) program it offers equips students with the tools necessary to work in forensic settings, as well.

This program takes about 20 months to complete, and can be completed exclusively online. It includes seven core courses, which cover psychology and criminality, as well as three slots for electives to round out students' education in the field overall, give them chances to work as interns, or let them specialize in specific areas of practice.

This program does not prepare students for any form of psychology or forensics licensure, though many of the positions available to forensic psychologists do not require a license. It also does not require students to complete any form of entry testing, such as the GRE or GMAT.

Tuition Fee: $810 per credit hour

 

#21 – Colorado State University

Online Master's in Applied Psychology

POINTS – 7

Website

Colorado State University offers an alternative to the online master's in forensic psychology for those interested in applied psychology. Also, for those intrigued by the behaviors of people in businesses and organizations, the university offers a master's in applied industrial/organizational psychology that may also be completed entirely online. A total of 38 credits are required and the degree program is designed to be completed in two years. Online courses are taught by university professors and include applied cross-cultural industrial and organizational psychology, applied psychological research methods, competency modeling and criterion development, and succession planning and leadership development.

Tuition Fee: $757 per credit hour

 

#20 – Adler University

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 7

Website

AU's master's in forensic psychology online program unites students into a cohort setting where students work together to complete coursework and conduct study sessions. The curriculum includes a strong focus on mental health issues in forensic populations and guides full-time students toward graduation within two years. AU's program provides learners with an immersive educational experience that highlights the various social factors of forensic psychology.

The school's master of arts in counseling degree features a specialization in forensic psychology and prepares students for occupations in law enforcement, private law firms, sexual trauma centers, and substance abuse treatment centers. Courses include topics such as counseling in forensic populations, group counseling, and field training seminars focused on presenting students with hands-on experiences. The school prefers a 3.0 grade point average for admissions and the program faculty interview candidates during the admissions process.

Tuition Fee: $855 per credit hour

 

#19 – Grand Canyon University

Online Master's in Psychology – Forensic Specialization

POINTS – 7

Website

This advanced forensic psychology degree program is available through the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as a comprehensive look at human psychology and our society's response to criminal behavior.

  • You will use research and statistical analysis to help you understand current legal system initiatives, policies and ethical practices.
  • You will also explore ways to improve our current systems of justice and human rehabilitation.

A successful completion of this degree program will require 36 credits. Some sample course topics include: Ethical issues in psychology, Criminal behavior theories, Social and cultural psychology, Psychology and the legal system, and Statistics and research methods. Many government and law enforcement agencies employ forensic psychologists to study criminal behavior and identify possible trends. Others in this discipline conduct research as a means toward recommending rules or initiatives for reforming current laws and practices. The MS in psychology with an emphasis in forensic psychology degree can prepare you for further education through a doctorate degree in psychology (Ph.D.) or within education (EdD or EdS).

Tuition Fee: $515 per credit hour

 

#18 – Argosy University

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 8

Website

The Master of Arts (MA) in Forensic Psychology prepares individuals to apply clinical, counseling, school, and neuropsychology skills to the provision of psychological services within the criminal justice and civil legal systems, including consultation, assessment, and interventions. It includes instruction in the epidemiology of mental/behavioral disorders, risk factors for violence and criminality, profiling and patterning, psychological testing, prediction and intervention measurement, forensic assessment, criminal and civil law and procedures, secure environments, forensic treatment and intervention skills, and professional standards and ethics.

Enrolled students will be required to complete 24 credit hours (8 courses). Some of them include: Maladaptive Behavior and Psychopathology, Forensic Psychological Assessment, and Forensic Psychological Assessment. Students enrolled in the MA in Forensic Psychology degree program may choose to complete one of the following concentrations:

  • Assessment and Treatment
  • Homeland Security
  • Law Enforcement

Tuition Fee: $750 per credit hour

 

#17 – National University

Online Master's in Forensic Sciences

POINTS – 8

Website

The Master of Forensic Sciences (MFS) is a specialized professional degree designed for law enforcement, lab personnel, attorneys, investigators, and other professionals seeking to upgrade their existing skills, as well as individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in the forensic sciences, law, law enforcement, private or governmental laboratories, jails and corrections, and the Medical Examiner's Office. The field of forensics focuses on the application of scientific methods to the resolution of legal problems. The master's in forensic science degree program offers two areas of specialization: criminalistics and investigations. Students are required to take one specialization.

Online courses are taught by university professors and include crime scene investigation, criminal profiling, forensic pathology, forensic psychology, and major case investigation. A supervised research project is also required for successful completion of this degree.

Tuition Fee: $430 per credit hour

 

#16 – Capella University

Online Master's in Clinical Psychology – Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 8

Website

One of our top picks for online forensic psychology graduate degrees is Capella University. This accredited institution offers a master's in clinical psychology with a forensic psychology specialization. This program brings students to the intersection of human behavior and the criminal mind and provides the knowledge and skills to understand law and legal institutions to help you stand out in the field. The coursework is also designed to set you on a direct path to graduate study at the doctoral level.

The program is offered entirely online with classes that last ten weeks. Courses include current issues and trends in forensic practice, ethics and multicultural issues in psychology, psychology and the law, quantitative design and analysis, and techniques of forensic practice.

Tuition Fee: $485 per credit hour

 

#15 – University of Central Florida

Online Master's in Forensic Science

POINTS – 9

Website

The forensic science online master's at the University of Central Florida serves both those who want to continue into academia and professionals who want to shore up the skills they use in their practice. Students can choose between three tracks: Forensic Analysis, Forensic Biochemistry, and Forensic Professional. While these programs draw on the same interdisciplinary skill set, they emphasize different areas.

In the Forensic Biochemistry concentration, students learn the skills necessary to supervise in DNA sections of crime labs. It focuses strongly on biochemistry topics that specifically play a role in DNA analysis. This concentration requires a thesis.

The Forensic Analysis concentration, meanwhile, sees students learn a broad base of forensic techniques. Chromatographic, spectroscopic, and micro-analytical techniques students learn will help them in the lab. This concentration also requires a thesis.

The Forensic Professional program does not require a thesis, and should be undertaken by those already working in the field. This includes 34 credit hours of study and a one-credit capstone project.

Tuition Fee: $327.32 per credit hour

 

#14 – Saint Leo University

Online Master's in Criminal Justice with Forensic Science Specialization

POINTS – 9

Website

Saint Leo University offers an online master's in forensic science that focuses on criminal justice and forensics. The program emphasizes crime scene investigation and management, forensic death investigations, lab analysis, and courtroom acceptance of new technologies. All classes are delivered online and include advanced forensic science, crime scene investigation management, ethical issues in criminal justice administration, and public policy making in criminal justice. Students may also take courses that delve into the psychology of forensics with studies in psychological aspects of critical incidents and forensic psychology.

One of the leading military colleges in the United States, Saint Leo University has been educating criminal justice professionals for more than three decades.

Tuition Fee: $575 per credit hour

 

#13 – Concordia University-Saint Paul

Online Master's in Human Services–Forensic Behavioral Health

POINTS – 9

Website

Concordia University, St. Paul offers a health and human services perspective on forensic psychology in its Master of Arts in Human Services program. It works with the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies to ensure this program meets the needs of the field. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours of study, and emphasizes how forensic psychologists serve as part of broader care systems. This program requires the completion of a capstone research project, which accounts for three credit hours of the program.

Many of the courses in this program look at specific vulnerable populations. Courses like Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders, Sexual Offending, and Cultural Awareness and Understanding give students the tools they need to work with the populations they may encounter in their professional capacities. Students also learn about the unique ethical, legal, and moral expectations of the field during the program.

Tuition Fee: $475

 

#12 – University of North Dakota

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 9

Website

University of North Dakota's Master of Arts (M.A.) in forensic psychology prepares you to apply psychological theory, knowledge, skills, and competencies to the civil and criminal justice systems. It is online, part-time and can be completed in about two years.

The 35-credit program is offered online with a few required campus visits. Students living out of state may take advantage of the in-state tuition regardless of residency. Courses are delivered online and include behavioral pathology, forensic assessment, foundations of forensic psychology, multivariate statistics for psychology, psychology and law, and special topics in psychology.

More specifically, this graduate program will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to work in the field of forensic psychology, including how to:

  • Conduct focus groups and assist lawyers in trial preparation and jury selection.
  • Select and utilize the most appropriate tools for assessment or evaluation.
  • Testify as an expert witness.
  • Provide research-based program evaluations.

Tuition Fee: $976.45 per credit

 

#11 – University of Maryland University College

Online Master's in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation

POINTS – 10

Website

Offering a more specialized online master's in forensic science, University of Maryland's program is for working individuals who cannot attend traditional courses but still want to earn an advanced degree in forensics. The 36-credit hour degree is delivered entirely online and includes courses like advanced forensics, cyberspace and cyber-security foundations, digital forensic response and analysis, and digital forensics technology and practices.

In this program, you can develop investigative problem-solving skills, contribute to important team deliverables, analyze complex data scenarios, examine digital media for evidentiary artifacts, and write detailed digital forensic examination reports. The applied knowledge and skills you acquire can help government, business, and law enforcement organizations in detecting data breaches, mitigating cyber attacks, and identifying responsible parties, and evaluating evidence of digital crime.

Tuition Fee: $694 per credit hour

 

#10 – University of New Haven

Online Master's in Investigations

POINTS – 10

Website

The University of New Haven offers a unique degree program for those interested in an online master's in forensic psychology degree. Students earn an online MS in Investigations and may choose among three different concentration areas: criminal investigations, forensic computer investigations, or white collar crime investigations. Online courses include criminal procedure, legal issues, and investigation procedures in computer crimes, network security and data protection, regulation and occupational fraud, and white collar crime analytics. Students entering the program can focus their studies in specific fields, such as anti-money laundering and compliance, healthcare fraud, major crimes, transnational and organized crime, or they can explore multiple cross areas. Students can also explore cross-sector areas by adding a graduate certificate in specific areas.

NOTE – The university's HENRY C. LEE COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND FORENSIC SCIENCES has a wide array of master's such as M.S in Forensic Technology and M.S in Forensic Science. So, an online degree from here can really jump-start your career.

Tuition Fee: $915 per credit hour

 

#9 – University of Louisiana-Monroe

Online Master's in Psychology–Forensic Track

POINTS – 10

Website

The University of Louisiana-Monroe offers an online master's in psychology, which is a generalized degree. However, they offer a specialized Forensic Track that may be of interest to you. All courses are taught online by university professors who routinely teach at the Monroe campus, and you require 30-36 credits of complete this degree. Online courses include advanced theories of crime and delinquency, counseling in criminal justice, minorities, crime, and criminal justice, intelligence testing, psychological assessment, and sociology and the law. The thesis option is not required; however, students planning to pursue a Ph.D. are encouraged to complete a thesis.

NOTE: The school also offer an M.A. in Criminal Justice for applicants seeking to not focus on psychology. Refer to this website for more information on that: Criminal Justice

Tuition Fee: $500 per credit hour

 

#8 – University of Houston-Victoria

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 11

Website

In the forensic psychology program at the University of Houston – Victoria (UHV) works to prepare students for mental health work in the forensics field. This program meets all requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Psychological Associate designations in Texas, and includes a practicum component to help students get ready for the field. Many students pursue employment with their practicum sites after graduation, and the university solicits feedback from these sites to improve the relationship and the program.

To enter the program, students must have some undergraduate background in the skills that will be tested in the program. This includes statistics, research methods, and abnormal psychology.

The UHV program requires 63 semester hours in total. These include core psychology courses common to all UHV graduate psychology programs, forensic psychology-specific courses like crisis counseling and addiction counseling, and nine semester hours of practicum work.

Tuition Fee: $612.62 per credit hour

 

#7 – The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 11

Website

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an accredited online master's in forensic psychology that provides students with a strong foundation in psychology that can be applied to juvenile, civil, and criminal justice systems. The degree can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. Classes are delivered entirely online, and the degree program can be completed in two to four years. The non-licensure track is designed for working and busy students who do not have the time to attend traditional classes and need a program that is flexible and accommodating. All courses are taught by university professors with real-world experience in forensic psychology and are involved in doing research in their respective fields. Courses include ethics and professional issues in forensic psychology, social psychology and aggression, and trauma and crisis intervention.

Tuition Fee: $1,127 per credit hour

 

#6 – Liberty University

Online Master's in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 11

Website

Virginia's largest university and one of the largest private not-for-profit institutions in the country, Liberty University, offers a forensic psychology concentration in its online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program. Students take the same core courses as other criminal justice students at Liberty, but follow up with 12 hours of coursework on intersections of justice and psychology.

The core coursework in this program equips students to take on a leadership role in any criminal justice organization. Topics covered include criminal justice integration, human resource management in criminal justice, ethics, leadership, and administrative work.

The concentration-specific courses, meanwhile, focuses more narrowly. After the initial fundamentals course, students learn about crisis intervention strategies for law enforcement, criminal rehabilitation, and psychology's role in the legal system.

All students in this program must complete a thesis. This element accounts for six of the program's 36 hours, and includes a proposal, research period, and defense.

Tuition Fee: $605 per credit hour (for full-time students)

 

#5 – Arizona State University-Tempe

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 11

Website

Arizona State University's Tempe campus offers an online degree in forensic psychology from one of the nation's top-ranked psychology faculty. This program consists of 33 credit hours of coursework that brings together criminal justice, psychology, and statistics knowledge and prepares students for a capstone course in the field. Practicing psychologists and sociologists teach all courses.

The program's 12 credit hours of core coursework cover four areas of psychology that will be useful in forensic psychology practice. All students take courses in legal psychology, forensic psychology, correctional psychology, and psychopathology. Students can also take six credit hours of electives to further explore specific topics.

The remaining courses give them practical tools for working in the legal and research spheres. During the criminal justice coursework, students dive into issues like courts and sentencing. The statistics courses, meanwhile, provide more grounding in research methods and quantitative analysis, which prepare students to complete their capstone projects.

Tuition Fee: $697 per credit hour

 

#4 – Oklahoma State University

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 12

Website

Oklahoma State University's online Master's of Forensic Psychology offers a specialization in forensic psychology and offers unique opportunities for those looking for careers in investigative agencies, crime laboratories, and various teaching positions. The forensic psychology online master's program requires 39 graduate credit hours and students must maintain a 3.0 or better grade point average. Full-time students enroll in nine credit hours per semester and will graduate within two to three years. Students dedicate six credits to a master's thesis and they are encouraged to publish, present, and defend their findings. There is a non-thesis option available for students who may not wish to pursue a Ph.D. in the future.

The school delivers program courses in a synchronous format and topics include ethics in forensic leadership, forensic victimology, and advanced forensic psychology. An exploration into gender differences in the criminal justice system as well as researching correlations between types of victims allows the student to fully engage forensic science in an online classroom setting.

Tuition Fee: Resident – $223.30 per credit hour | Non-resident – $849.20 per credit hour

 

#3 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master's in Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 12

Website

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online master's in forensic psychology degree program that is affordable and accredited. Students earn a master's in psychology with a specialization in forensic psychology. All classes are delivered online with 24/7 access to the online content. The program may be completed in just 15 months by taking two courses per ten-week term. Online courses include assessment for forensic psychology, ethical practice in psychology, cognitive process, the intersection of law and psychology, psychology in the courtroom, and theories of personality. Southern New Hampshire University is ranked as the 101st best regional university in the North and the #1 most innovative school by U.S. News and World Report.

Tuition Fee: $627 per credit hour

 

#2 – University of Florida

Online Master's in Forensic Science

POINTS – 13

Website

University of Florida's Forensic Science degree is provided by UF's College of Pharmacy. This degree program consists of 18 credits of required courses and 14 credits of electives covering a wide range of forensic disciplines. While this is a more scientific degree, courses for the general specialization include forensic anthropology and forensic psychology. All classes are delivered online and include courses in forensic medicine, forensic anthropology, drug analysis, toxicology, entomology, criminalistics, environmental forensics, biological evidence, blood spatter, and forensic DNA analysis are available.

All of UF's class also require the use of applied statistics for data analysis, forensic anthropology, principles of forensic science, and special topics in forensic science. Additionally, the 1-credit Special Topics course will consist of 3 days of reviews, oral examination, and comprehensive final examination.

Tuition Fee: $575 per credit hour

 

#1 – University of California-Irvine

Online Master's of Legal and Forensic Psychology

POINTS – 13

Website

The Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology (MLFP) program at the UCI School of Social Ecology serves both working adults and recent graduates. Those who want to serve as case managers, victims' advocates, or jury consultants will benefit from the additional legal and forensic background the program provides in areas like forensic assessment, memory, and the psychology of violence.
This program cannot be completed entirely online. Students must attend a five-day accelerated course introducing them to legal and forensic psychology concepts on campus at the beginning of the program. This course usually takes place immediately prior to the start of fall semester.

During the winter quarter of the second year of this two-year program, all students complete a capstone course. This course requires the completion of an independent term paper that brings together the things each student has learned over the course of the program. Students can choose any topic within the field.

Total Fee: $4658 per quarter (Sep-Dec, Jan-Mar, Mar-Jun) – including technology cost of each quarter


This brings us to the end of this ranking of the Top 24 Online Master's Programs in Forensic Psychology. Thank you!

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