Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

Explore the top master's in forensic psychology programs, what skills you can expect to learn, and how much you'll earn once you have a master's degree.
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Best Online Master's Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology is a subset of applied psychology that intersects with the legal system. Sometimes it is nearly as exciting as the television shows "Criminal Minds," "Bones," or "CSI." At other times, your job may entail doing crime analysis in specific locations to bolster preventive measures. You might also collect data to help solve future crimes.

First, you’ll need a bachelor's degree in psychology, criminal justice, or a related field.Then, you need a master's in forensic psychology to begin your practice. Explore how an online forensic psychology master's degree can help you achieve your goals.

Popular Online Forensic Psychology Programs

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

Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

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#1 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

Arizona State University Digital Immersion

  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online

Cost per Quarter: $3,390 

Credits to Graduate: 33

The online master's in forensic psychology at Arizona State University prepares learners for doctoral study or careers in criminal justice and mental health. The curriculum focuses on legal psychology, mental health conditions, and research methods in forensic psychology. 

This program can prepare graduates for specific doctoral programs that do not require a strong research background. Those interested in a doctorate should ensure this program works for their goals. Applicants to the master's program need a bachelor's in criminal justice, psychology, or a related field with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits.    

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,710
Out-of-state
$12,984
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,774
Out-of-state
$9,774
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
57,848
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

Northcentral University

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online

Cost per Year: $14,982

Credits to Graduate: 30

National University's master's in forensic psychology online classes start every Monday, and students can complete their degrees in 16 months. A one-on-one learning model pairs learners with faculty mentors. The program offers two specializations: general forensic psychology and threat assessment and management. Both areas culminate with a capstone course. Graduates find careers in advocacy organizations, corrections, higher education, and mental health.

Admitted students can transfer up to 12 college credits toward their degrees. The program accepts applications year-round.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,064
Out-of-state
$11,064
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,881
Out-of-state
$16,881
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,648
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#3 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

Saint Leo University

  • Saint Leo, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit: $670

Credits to Graduate: 36

Saint Leo University offers a master's degree in criminal justice-forensic science online that takes an average of two years to complete. The program is designed for existing and aspiring criminal justice professionals. The curriculum includes courses in crime scene investigation and management, ethical and legal issues in criminal justice administration, and public policy-making. Learners complete an applied project. 

A rolling admission process accepts applications from bachelor's degree holders. New students can apply for Next Level Grad Award scholarships, which cover the costs of the last nine program credits.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$23,990
Out-of-state
$23,990
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,218
Out-of-state
$15,218
Retention Rate
57%
Acceptance Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
9,523
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit: $1,368

Credits to Graduate: 37

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an online forensic psychology master's program with a non-licensure track. Learners can enroll part or full-time and train to become licensed professional counselors helping clients within the legal system or pursue non-clinical careers in child welfare, corrections, law enforcement, or mental health. 

The licensure track includes in-person practicums and internships. The non-licensure track requires an applied research project. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, a 3.0 GPA, and statistics or research methods coursework. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,328
Out-of-state
$11,328
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$22,554
Out-of-state
$22,554
Retention Rate
50%
Acceptance Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
3,260
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#5 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit: $589

Credits to Graduate: 30

The University of North Dakota's master's in forensic psychology is offered fully online. Designed for working professionals, the part-time program takes two years to complete. Asynchronous coursework teaches skills in assisting attorneys with trial preparation and jury selection, providing research-based program evaluation, and working with agencies and the court system to address forensic issues.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field and a 3.0 GPA (or 3.5 for graduate-level work).

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,882
Out-of-state
$13,323
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,503
Out-of-state
$17,254
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
13,772
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#6 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

Touro University Worldwide

  • Los Alamitos, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit: $500

Credits to Graduate: 36

The online forensic psychology master's program at Touro University Worldwide features eight-week courses and takes an average of 18 months to finish. The non-licensure program prepares graduates for doctoral study and offers concentrations in community criminal issues and sex offender issues. Courses include family violence in forensic psychology, theories of criminal behavior, and a culminating capstone.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. The program accepts up to nine transfer credits, and admitted students can take advantage of six start dates during the year.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$14,440
Out-of-state
$14,440
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,000
Out-of-state
$9,000
Retention Rate
85%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,251
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#7 Best Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs in 2024

University of California-Irvine

  • Irvine, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Quarter: $5,243

Credits to Graduate: 52

UC Irvine's master of legal and forensic psychology is offered primarily online. The two-year program requires attendance at a week-long, on-campus introductory course before the start of the first quarter. 

Courses include children and the law, forensic neuropsychology, race and the law, and violence, anger, and psychopathology. The program culminates with a term paper-based capstone.  

Applicants need a bachelor's degree, a 3.0 GPA, and an interest in multidisciplinary studies. Experience in a relevant field is preferred.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$26,544
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
29%
Students Enrolled
36,505
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
81% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

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Ranking Methodology Summary

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To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
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  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Why Should I Get an Online Master's in Forensic Psychology?

An online forensic psychology master's degree offers the candidate flexibility while learning critical thinking skills, research, ethics, and diversity. Consider these benefits and reasons to get your master's in forensic psychology online.

Benefits of Earning an Online Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology

  • A master's in forensic psychology online opens job opportunities in the criminal justice system and a wide range of social service agencies.
  • You can specialize in victimology, sex offender behavior, family violence, disaster teams, and the legal system.
  • A forensic psychology master's program online opens opportunities for you to continue your education and complete a Ph.D., Psy.D., or JD.
  • According to Payscale, the average annual salary is $50,000 for a master's of science and $64,000 for a master of arts in forensic psychology.

Reasons to Get Your Master's in Forensic Psychology Online

  • Learn wherever you want
  • Gain access to more customizable schedules
  • Reduce your costs and time spent on commuting
  • Continue working full time while you earn your degree

Top Forensic Psychology Career Paths With Salaries and Job Growth

After graduating from an online forensic psychology master's degree program, you can find job opportunities in the criminal justice system and social service sectors. For example, you may work as a parole officer, jail supervisor, correctional counselor, or victim advocate.

Criminal attorneys hire people with a master's in forensic psychology as jury consultants. Police departments sometimes have openings for police consultants to help officers understand how best to approach communities.

With an online forensic psychology master's, you may also consider a job as a research assistant, forensic case manager, child protection services worker, forensic investigator, or investigative journalist.

It is important to note that some of these careers may require licensure in your state. A master's in forensic psychology online prepares you to continue your education and complete a doctorate. With a doctorate and licensure in your state, you can work as a clinical psychologist, clinical psychology professor, psychotherapist, or criminal justice profiler.

Careers You Can Get With a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology

A forensic psychology master's program online opens job opportunities in several areas that do not require you to go back to school to get a doctorate degree. Consider the projected job growth and median annual salary for these careers.

Job Outlook and Salaries for Jobs With a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology
Career Projected New Jobs Created in the Field between 2022-2032 Median Annual Salary
Substance Use Counselors and Mental Health Counselors 71,500 $49,710
Forensic Social Worker 4,500* $61,420*
Probation Officers 2,400 $59,860
Forensic Science Technician 2,300 $63,740
Source: BLS, May 2022

*BLS does not track salary and job growth for forensic social workers specifically. This salary and job growth is for all other social workers, which includes forensic social workers.

How Much Does an Online Master's in Forensic Psychology Cost?

As you might expect, a master's in forensic psychology online is typically less expensive than a traditional on-campus degree. Online programs cost roughly $4,800 less than an on-campus option, on average.

Additional costs of attending an on-campus program are not included in tuition and fees, including transportation, housing, and child care if needed. Other factors that influence cost are books, technology fees, and financial aid.

Total Median Cost of a Master's Degree in Psychology (Two Years)

Online

$18,600

On-Campus

$23,480

Source: NCES Data Lab

Read More: Financial Aid Guide for Graduate Students

Read More: Busting the 10 Biggest Myths About Grad School

How Long Does an Online Master's in Forensic Psychology Take?

An online master's program usually takes about two years of full-time study to complete. You may need up to three years if you're a part-time student with a lighter course load. But sometimes, you can complete accelerated programs in a year.

Required Course Credits

30-60*

Field Study Requirements (Y/N)

Yes*

*Depending on your program and specialization

Everything Else You Need to Know About a Master's in Forensic Psychology

Are forensic psychology graduates in demand?

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Yes, forensic psychology graduates are in demand in several fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forensic science technician jobs are expected to grow by 13% from 2022 to 2032. Social work positions are expected to grow by 7% in the same period, and the field of psychology by 6%. All of these fields are projected to grow faster than the average job growth rate for all occupations.

What can I expect from an online master's in forensic psychology program?

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A major focus of a master's in forensic psychology program is learning how to make psychological assessments of people involved with the legal system. You'll learn key skills like doing clinical assessments, interviewing, and writing reports. You can use these skills to work with law enforcement, schools, and social services.

If you choose a master of arts in forensic psychology, you'll focus on counseling and psychological evaluations. A master of science in forensic psychology combines consulting, research, and analysis.

Finally, when it comes to being an online student, it helps if you're self-motivated and responsible. You'll need both traits to stay on track to graduate, regardless of whether you're in an asynchronous, synchronous, or self-paced course.

What courses will I take in an online master's in forensic psychology program?

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A master's in forensic psychology program has classes in psychology, forensics, legal studies, statistics, and more. The following are examples of courses you may take:

  • Advanced Social Psychology: This course explores social psychology concepts, such as interpersonal relationships, group behavior, stereotyping, and social cognition.
  • Criminal Behavior: This course explores the major theories of criminal behavior, including cognitive, behavioral, and social theories. You'll learn about the current classification systems associated with criminal behavior and how to apply them within the criminal justice system.
  • Eyewitness Testimony and Memory: Many researchers have carried out studies on eyewitness testimony and how memory is not necessarily a reliable source of information. This course explores psychological factors that may impact eyewitness testimony, including identification procedures and interviewing.
  • Forensic Assessment: The course reviews relevant measurements in the risk assessment of violence, personal injury, disability, child custody, and psychopathology using a problem-solving model to help students make decisions in uncertain situations.
  • Mental Health Challenges in Policing: This course teaches you about issues like police stress and suicide. You'll also explore counseling techniques for forensic psychologists aiming to work with law enforcement.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed November 29, 2023.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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