Best Online Forensic Psychology Programs of 2021

Bachelor's in forensic psychology degrees can support careers in criminal justice, social work, or psychology. The following page explores this versatile degree's requirements and benefits.

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Published on December 22, 2021

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Popularized by two decades of forensics-related television shows, forensic psychology attracts many students. Many psychology or criminal justice degrees offer curriculum concentrations in forensic psychology.

Bachelor's in forensic psychology curricula differ depending on which discipline houses the concentration and whether the degree is BA or a BS. However, most forensic psychology programs include core courses in psychology, criminology, and criminal justice.

Forensic psychology bachelor's degrees meet minimum education requirements for various criminal justice and social work jobs. Example jobs include criminal investigator and victim advocate. Other growing careers in this field include private detective or investigator and forensic psychologist. However, forensic psychologists usually need doctoral degrees.

Bachelor's programs require 120-130 credits, including any associate degree credits. Bachelor's degrees typically take four years of full-time enrollment to finish. Accelerated programs can take half as long. Learn more about top online schools and bachelor's in forensic psychology curricula and careers below.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Program?

Curious, observant, and analytical people tend to do well as forensic psychology students. Online bachelor's in forensic psychology programs usually consist of about 60 associate degree credits and 60 major-required credits. The degree often combines courses in criminology, social psychology, and criminal justice.

There are some bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees in forensic science available. However, many schools offer forensic psychology as a concentration within psychology or criminal justice majors. The BA often supports careers in social work or criminal justice. The BS prepares enrollees for clinical or research careers.

Online bachelor's degrees usually take 2-4 years to complete, depending on program pace and prior coursework completed. Applicants with transferable associate degrees from accredited schools often finish bachelor's degrees in half the time. Accelerated online programs may also allow enrollees to reduce their degree-completion time.

Many forensic psychology programs feature concentrations that help enrollees specialize their knowledge and skills. Common concentrations include forensic science, criminal justice, and criminology. Some programs may offer specializations in victimology or corrections.

Many programs feature internships, and most programs include a capstone paper or project.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

Popular Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Programs

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

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Program?

Statistics

A core psychology course, statistics teaches students how to analyze significant data to understand and solve problems. The course covers concepts such as correlation, variation measures, and hypothesis testing.

Abnormal Psychology

This core forensic psychology course explores major psychological disorders. Enrollees learn various approaches for studying and treating psychopathology. Abnormal psychology also covers classification, assessment, and causes for these disorders.

Victimology

Sometimes appearing as part of a curriculum concentration, this course surveys the victimology field and major victimization issues. Participants learn about survivors' relationships to offenders. They also study criminal justice systems and society.

Social Psychology

This course explores how society and other people influence individual behavior. Common topics include altruism, conformity, and self-esteem. Participants also learn about social beliefs and cultural influences. Most forensic psychology programs feature core and elective coursework in social psychology.

Introduction to Counseling

An overview of the counseling psychology profession, this course helps to prepare enrollees for direct-services careers. Some forensic psychology programs offer curriculum concentrations in counseling.

What are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Program?

Online bachelor's programs require the same educational prerequisites and application materials as most on-campus programs. Applicants need official transcripts demonstrating high school diplomas or equivalents. Many schools look for candidates with 2.5-3.0 minimum GPAs and above-average SAT/ACT scores.

Application submissions can include recommendation letters. Some schools also require admissions interviews for online learners. Programs serving working students may ask for resumes. See below to learn more about common application requirements for online forensic psychology bachelor's programs.

Application

Most colleges provide online application portals. Prospective students fill out their applications, which usually include sections on educational and professional history. Some applications ask short answer questions about the applicant's career goals and interest in a program. Prospective students may consult our college application guide for more information on application systems.

Test Scores

Many colleges expect undergraduate applicants to submit college entrance exam scores. The most common entrance exams are the SAT and the ACT, although some schools waive exam requirements. Colleges may use their own placement tests instead of or in addition to other standardized tests. Placement tests can help determine at which level of math and writing coursework enrollees should start.

Letters of Recommendation

Not all schools require recommendation letters for first-year applicants. However, many bachelor's programs do require recommendation letters when sophomores apply for entry into a chosen major.

Many accelerated online bachelor's programs serve working students with transferable associate degrees. These programs also require recommendation letters from professors at prior institutions. Learn how to ask for a recommendation letter, and prepare to do so up to two months before application deadlines.

Essays

Most schools and programs expect applicants to submit personal essays or statements of intent. These essays help schools assess applicants' writing abilities and readiness for college.

Some college essay prompts let students choose a topic, while others ask applicants to describe their career goals and study interests.

Official Transcripts

First-year applicants submit official transcripts from high school. Transfer students also submit transcripts from all colleges attended. Prior coursework from equivalently accredited institutions may transfer. Many online bachelor's in forensic psychology programs accept transfer of associate degrees from universities or community colleges.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Degree?

Career Outlook

An online bachelor's in forensic psychology meets or exceeds minimum degree requirements for careers in many fields. Many graduates pursue social services occupations such as corrections treatment specialist or social worker.

Other graduates work in protective services roles such as detective or corrections officer. Forensic psychology's popularity as a major may result in high competition for forensics-related jobs such as criminal investigator.

Computer science and biomedical science majors make higher median salaries than psychology majors. However, psychology graduates enjoy higher median salaries than graduates from other popular majors such as communication and journalism, visual and performing arts, and business.

Keep in mind that many psychology graduates must earn advanced degrees to qualify for high-paying jobs such as forensic psychologist. Consult our career guides for more information on forensic science and psychology careers. See below for popular bachelor's-level forensic psychology careers and median annual salaries, which range from $37,000-$87,000.

Career Paths

Court Liaison

These professionals perform administrative duties such as reviewing court filings and processing subpoenas. Court liaisons may also schedule depositions and communicate with police and court staff.

Average Annual Salary: $39,000 (as of Nov. 2021)

Criminal Investigator

These professionals analyze crime scene evidence and investigate suspects. Most criminal investigators begin as police officers before advancing to detective or investigator roles. A bachelor's in forensic psychology often helps investigators understand and solve criminal cases.

Median Annual Salary: $86,940

Crime Analyst

These professionals assist law enforcement in investigating mysterious, suspicious, or violent deaths. Crime analysts examine evidence they collect at the scene of death and from the coroner. These professionals need strong communication, problem-solving, and technical skills. Some crime analyst positions may require certification from the American Board of Medicolegal Investigators.

Average Annual Salary: $46,980 (as of Dec. 2021)

Correctional Treatment Specialist

Correctional counselors or treatment specialists provide counsel and rehabilitation planning for people on probation or parole. These professionals may perform psychological testing and assessment. They also write case reports that predict the likelihood of repeat offenses.

Often collaborating with agency staff and parole officers, correctional treatment specialists plan job training or education programs for those released from jail. This career often requires on-the-job training and certification testing.

Median Annual Salary: $55,690

Victim Advocate

These professionals offer practical assistance and emotional support for crime survivors. Duties may include locating information on legal rights and completing paperwork for victim compensation applications. Advocates also may connect survivors to resources and advocate for survivors with creditors or employers. Some advocates run support groups or work at crisis centers.

Average Annual Salary: $38,500 (as of Nov. 2021)

Forensic Psychology Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Aspiring forensic psychologists must earn doctoral degrees. Some bachelor's graduates use their undergraduate degree to qualify for online master's or doctoral programs in psychology.

Forensic psychologists also need professional certification. This credential typically requires 1,000-hour postdoctoral internships at forensics sites such as courts, jails, or mental hospitals. Interns must receive supervision from licensed psychologists for these hours.

Forensic psychology bachelor's graduates pursuing social work careers may also need graduate-level social work degrees and professional licensure to practice. Criminal justice careers may require certificates, often earned during on-the-job training.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Program?

Cost

Tuition at in-state, public schools averages $9,580 annually, which means even the most affordable four-year degrees often cost around $40,000. Room and board costs bring the cost of attendance closer to $100,000 for a four-year degree.

Online students who live in low-cost housing arrangements with family or friends often save significantly.

Program Format

Many online bachelor's in forensic psychology programs accommodate working students. Online programs may offer part-time attendance options and allow asynchronous class participation. Learners who prefer live interaction with classmates and teachers should seek programs with synchronous attendance options.

Students with more time available may prefer accelerated programs. Enrollees tend to finish faster by completing short, intensive courses throughout the year.

Location

Online students may apply to top programs anywhere nationwide. However, keep in mind that some online programs require weekend or week-long residencies on campus. Traveling costs for these residencies can add up, so check residency requirements before applying to schools. Some online learners apply to nearby schools to benefit from local networking events and opportunities.

Accreditation

Academically respectable colleges and universities typically maintain regional accreditation through one of seven Council of Higher Education Accreditation-approved agencies. Regionally accredited schools typically only recognize degrees and credits from similarly accredited schools.

Good quality online forensic psychology programs often hold programmatic accreditation from the American Psychological Association.

Student Support

Like on-campus students, online learners can take advantage of various key student services, such as academic advising and financial aid counseling. Many schools also provide online student services, including technology help and online tutoring.

Prospective distance learners also should note whether schools provide career services. Career services offices can connect students with internship programs, networking opportunities, and mentorship programs.

2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Programs

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Maryville University true View School Profile Saint Louis, MO

Maryville University focuses on affordable distance education, serving almost 6,000 remote learners each year. The institution offers a fully online bachelor's in forensic psychology/criminal justice that prepares students for entry-level positions in corrections, behavioral research, and social services. With three start dates each year and no residency requirements, the program provides working professionals with ample flexibility.

The curriculum covers topics like human development through the lifespan, abnormal psychology, and human cognition. Students also take nine criminal justice/criminology classes, including juvenile delinquency and multicultural policing. Participants develop applied skills in research and statistical analysis.

Maryville's forensic psychology program boasts a 97% career placement rate. First-time students need a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants also have the option to submit ACT or SAT scores.

National Louis University true View School Profile Chicago, IL

Based in Chicago, Illinois, National Louis University enrolls roughly 9,000 students across its four colleges. Its undergraduate catalog includes an online bachelor's in criminal justice with a forensic social science major. Students in this program can also pursue an optional entrepreneurship concentration.

Coursework covers topics like criminal justice agencies, applied behavioral analysis, and mental health diagnosis and intervention. Students also examine how current and emerging policy trends impact the justice system in the U.S. Graduates are prepared to work in law enforcement, corrections, the court system, and relevant private industries.

Unlike many other bachelor's in forensic psychology programs, NLU does not require a GPA minimum or standardized test scores. Applicants need only complete an online form and submit official school transcripts. The university offers a variety of financial aid, including scholarships for transfer students.

Faulkner University true View School Profile Montgomery, AL

Faulkner University delivers its online coursework asynchronously through Blackboard. Students can enroll in an online bachelor's in forensic psychology program that combines conventional psychology topics with specialized criminal justice theories and practices. Learners can complete the degree fully online or opt for hybrid learning, taking some classes at the university's campus in Montgomery, Alabama.

Required courses include behavioral statistics, psychology of religion and spirituality, and industrial-organizational psychology. Students personalize their curriculum by choosing from electives like theories of personality and constitutional law. They can also develop skills related to crime scene investigation, preparing for careers as forensic scientists.

To enroll in this bachelor's in forensic psychology program, applicants with fewer than 24 transferable credits must submit standardized test scores. Students should have scored at least 18 on the ACT or 970 on the SAT.

Bushnell University true View School Profile Eugene, OR

Bushnell University is located in Eugene, Oregon, and serves about 800 students each year. In addition to on-campus programs, the school offers distance-based degrees, including an online bachelor's in psychology with a forensic psychology concentration. Online learners choose from six annual start dates and take eight-week classes that allow them to move through material quickly.

Major coursework includes classes in statistical applications, social psychology, and research methods. Distance learners also take advanced classes in forensic psychology, which cover topics like psychometrics and counseling techniques. Participants round out their undergraduate training by presenting a capstone research paper.

Bushnell recommends that first-time students have a minimum 2.5 GPA, while transfer applicants should have a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university grants credit for academic work and certain life experiences through prior learning assessments.

Southern New Hampshire University true View School Profile Manchester, NH

Southern New Hampshire University is a leader in distance learning, offering more than 200 career-relevant academic programs. Students can enroll in an entirely online bachelor's in psychology program and pursue a forensic psychology concentration. After completing this flexible program, graduates are -prepared to work in police departments, law firms, and community-based nonprofits.

SNHU accepts up to 90 transfer credits toward this forensic psychology degree. Students take eight-week classes that cover topics like lifespan development, scientific investigations, and cognitive psychology. They finish the program by completing a capstone seminar on the cross-cultural aspects of ethics, psychology, and recent developments in the field.

SNHU does not require ACT or SAT scores or a minimum GPA. Students can also access valuable networking opportunities by engaging with SNHU's online psychology club.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Programs

Is a bachelor's in forensic psychology worth it? true

Yes. Forensic psychology bachelor's graduates earn about $61,000 annually, according to Oct. 2021 Payscale data. This figure exceeds the national average salary for all occupations by about $5,000. Bachelor's graduates who go on to earn graduate degrees and become forensic psychologists often make salaries about $20,000 higher than bachelor's graduates.

Online degrees often cost less than on-campus degrees, which can make them a good investment.

What can I do with a bachelor's in forensic psychology? true

This degree can support careers in psychology, criminal justice, or social work. Possible criminal justice jobs include court liaison, criminal investigator, and crime analyst. Forensic psychology graduates also pursue social work, counseling, or advocacy roles such as corrections treatment specialist or victim advocate.

Some graduates complete master's and doctoral degrees in psychology and become forensic psychologists. These professionals often conduct psychological assessments and create treatment programs for individuals. These psychologists may also assist with investigations, provide expert witness testimony, and advise sentencing decisions for criminal cases.

Are forensic psychology majors in demand? true

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects below-average growth for forensics-related careers such as criminal investigator or correctional treatment specialist in 2020-2030. However, the BLS projects 12% growth for social workers and 13% growth for private investigator and detective careers during the same time. The BLS also projects psychologist jobs to grow 8%, which is about as fast as average.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in forensic psychology?

Wages for forensic psychology graduates average just over $60,000 annually. Salaries differ considerably by field, employer, and credentials. As of Nov. 2021, victim advocates earn average base salaries of $38,500. Correctional treatment specialists earn median annual salaries of $55,690. The highest paid probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earn median salaries of over $98,510.

Criminal investigators and forensic psychologists enjoy median annual salaries between $80,000-$90,000. See below for more salary details for these high-paying careers.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in forensic psychology?

At around $86,940, criminal investigators enjoy the highest median annual salary among common careers for bachelor's in forensic psychology graduates. However, pay may vary by credentials, employer, and geographical area.

Ambitious forensic psychology graduates may use their bachelor's to pursue graduate degrees and forensic psychologist careers. These jobs pay a median salary of $82,180 annually. Salaries depend on various factors, including industry and employer. Psychologists who work in government enjoy a high median salary of $100,360. The highest 10% of psychologists earn over $137,590.

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