Best Online Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology 2021
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Forensic psychology degrees combine practical, technical training in criminology and forensics with traditional psychology education.
Psychology offers many specializations that prepare graduates to pursue rewarding work in growing fields. One such concentration is forensic psychology, a subfield that combines criminology with the psychological analysis of human behavior.
For psychologists in general, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an employment growth rate of 14% — double the national average for all professions. A degree in forensic psychology can put you on track for this calling, especially if you are interested in working in law enforcement.
Read on for our ranking of the best online bachelor's in forensic psychology programs, plus statistics on salary rates in the field.
Featured Online Schools
The Best Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Programs
A private university established in 1932, SNHU welcomes roughly 3,300 students each year.
SNHU's online bachelor of arts in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology also offers an embedded certificate in data literacy in psychology. The core program focuses on the complex interplay between psychology and criminal justice, exploring topics such as antisocial behavior, witness testimony, and the effects of crime on society.
Students may use electives, including an internship, to fine-tune their path according to individual interests and career goals. Applicants must fill out an online application and transcript release request form or provide a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Maryville, a private university founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1872, enrolls just over 10,000 students every year.
The university offers a 100% online bachelor of arts in forensic psychology with three start times each year. The program blends theoretical coursework, research, and hands-on experience, preparing students for graduate school or careers in social services, corrections, and victim assistance. All students take courses in both psychology and criminal justice and must complete a senior project. While the curriculum does not require any residencies, it offers an optional practicum or internship.
Admission requirements include either official transcripts reflecting a GPA of at least 2.5 or a minimum GED score of 660 with all section scores at least 145. ACT/SAT scores are not required.
A public university established in 1885, ASU now serves more than 53,000 students annually.
ASU offers a fully online bachelor of science in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology. The program focuses heavily on the scientific interaction between psychology and the law, emphasizing biopsychology, neuroscience, statistics, and research.
Applicants may qualify for admission in one of three ways: having a minimum 3.0 GPA, being in the top 25% of their graduating class, or with minimum standardized test scores of SAT 1120 or ACT 22 for in-state residents. For out-of-state applicants, minimum score requirements go up to SAT Reasoning 1180 or ACT 24.
LSUA, founded in 1959 and now part of the Louisiana State University system, welcomes more than 3,000 students per year.
LSU Online offers its bachelor of science in criminal justice with a concentration in criminal psychology. The program requires criminal justice and psychology courses, including the judicial process, cultural diversity, and drugs and behavior in psychology. Students may use electives to customize their paths. Those wanting to continue to graduate school should take LSUA's recommended electives. Full-time students can complete the program in four years.
Applicants need an overall high school GPA of at least 2.0, along with either a minimum ACT 20 or a core GPA of 2.0 or above.
Founded by Jerry Falwell in 1971 as a private evangelical Christian university, Liberty provides a strong Biblical perspective in all its courses. It enrolls over 100,000 students annually, primarily online.
Liberty offers a 100% online bachelor of science in psychology-criminal psychology. In addition to general liberal arts requirements, all students (except upper-level transfers) must take three Christian perspectives courses. Major classes for the 120-credit program include psychology of personality, psychological measurement, and psychology of criminal behavior. All students must complete a three-credit internship.
Applicants need a minimum 2.0 high school GPA.
EKU, established in 1906 by the merger of Central University and Centre College, now welcomes nearly 15,000 learners each year.
EKU's online bachelors in psychology-forensic psychology prepares students for entry-level careers in criminal justice or social services or for graduate study. The program mixes academic and professional education through courses ranging from statistics and research to psychological interviewing and behavioral therapy. All students take core courses in biological bases, cognition, developmental, and social psychology, and four courses in forensic psychology.
Applicants must submit official transcripts and ACT or SAT scores (waived for applicants over age 21 and those with at least 24 transfer credits).
A private women's university founded in 1897, Bay Path remains female-only for all undergraduate programs. The university serves roughly 3,300 students each year.
Bay Path offers an online bachelor of arts in psychology: forensic psychology that teaches students to apply the theories and techniques of psychology to criminal justice. Common career paths include domestic violence programs, correctional facilities, courts and probation, and youth services. Students can optionally take two graduate-level courses as electives for a head start to graduate school. All students must complete the Leadership in Practice capstone experience.
Admission requirements include official transcripts, a minimum 2.0 GPA, and a phone or in-person interview.
TUW, a nonprofit expansion of New York's highly regarded Touro College and University System, serves thousands of students worldwide.
TUW offers a fully online bachelor of arts in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology with a flexible six starts per year. The program lays a solid foundation in eyewitness testimony, insanity defenses, police interrogation, and the socialization of police officers, preparing students for graduate school or entry-level careers. Students use electives to customize their paths. All students must complete a final three-credit capstone experience. Full-time students can graduate in 3.5 years.
Applicants must submit proof of high school graduation or GED.
A small private college established in 1946, NEC welcomes 4.000 enrollees each year.
NEC offers an online bachelor of arts in psychology, forensic psychology concentration. Designed to help students understand criminal behavior, victim responses, and criminal investigations, the program prepares students for a wide variety of careers in criminal justice or victim advocacy. Graduates can identify prognoses for criminal behavior, help address victim impacts, follow investigation procedures, and analyze evidence.
Applicants must submit official transcripts. The college accepts (but does not require) SAT or ACT scores.
Faulkner, a private Christian university founded as Montgomery Bible School in 1942, enrolls more than 3,100 students annually.
Faulkner's online bachelor of science in forensic psychology explores the intersection of criminal justice and psychology from a Christian perspective. All students must take 18 credits of Christian literacy courses alongside traditional general education requirements. Students also take a mix of psychology and criminal justice courses and a variety of electives. Electives range from juvenile justice to terrorism and interviews and interrogation. All students must complete both an internship and a research project.
Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED along with minimum scores of ACT 18 or SAT 970 (waived for those who graduated more than five years ago or who have at least 24 transfer credits).
Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
What Is an Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Degree?
A bachelor's degree in forensic psychology mixes criminal justice studies with psychology, preparing prospective licensed psychologists for further schooling in forensic psychology, and criminal justice majors for employment upon graduation. Some schools offer this niche degree as a concentration within their psychology or criminal justice programs.
Topics covered by a bachelor's degree in forensic psychology include critical thinking, relevant case law and courtroom procedure, and psychological theory and practice. Graduates can use their understanding of criminal psychology and behavior to weigh in on court cases and identify suspects. They also learn the limits of what help they can offer.
Choosing an Online Program
When choosing a forensic psychology school or an online forensic psychology bachelor's program, be sure to consider each program's cost, duration, and residency requirements. You can learn more about how to choose an online degree that fits your unique situation by following the link below.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Program?
A bachelor's in forensic psychology covers the basics of clinical psychology, including introductory coursework on human development and counseling methodology. They also investigate legal and ethical issues in forensic psychology and the psychology of criminal behavior.
Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Curriculum
- Psychology and Law: This course investigates how theory, research, and practice in psychology relate to the legal system and the law, especially as they pertain to criminal, civil, and domestic dispute issues. Students explore case law surrounding topics like domestic abuse, civil violations, and corporate crime, and learn how psychologists can play a role in ensuring cases are conducted fairly.
- BioPsychology: In this course, students learn about the physical processes in the brain and nervous system that affect human behavior and mental states. Topics include sensory and motor systems, molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission between cells in the brain, and neurodevelopment. This course often has a lab component.
- Criminal Behavior: Forensic psychology majors usually take a few courses on the physiological, cognitive, and learning factors behind criminal behavior. Students learn why people choose to commit crimes and how psychological processes like rationality impact abnormal criminal behavior.
Forensic Psychology Careers
A bachelor's in forensic psychology degree provides a strong foundation for a variety of jobs. For some, the degree is a stepping stone toward becoming a licensed psychologist with ABPP certification. Others earn the degree to augment a criminal justice career.
The following list compiles the most popular careers pursued by graduates with a bachelor's in forensic psychology.
Most psychologists working in non-clinical settings are counseling psychologists, helping patients overcome mental, social, and emotional concerns. Specializations within this field include rehabilitation, cognitive-behavioral psychology, and couples and family psychology. All psychologists must earn a doctoral degree and state licensure in order to work as psychologists, and ABPP certification can help them practice in a specific field.
Psychology careers appeal to people who get satisfaction from helping others overcome physical, mental, and social problems or who findr the workings of human behavior and thought fascinating.
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Criminal investigators — also called detectives — gather facts and collect evidence to help solve possible crimes. Many of these professionals have at least an associate degree in a discipline like forensic psychology or criminal justice, though some only go through police academy training. Criminal investigators must also complete special training at a police academy and have two years of experience in law enforcement.
Criminal investigation work usually appeals to people with strong research and analysis skills. These professionals spend a fair amount of time cataloging evidence and completing paperwork in an office setting, though they must also conduct onsite visits to crime scenes in order to collect information and interview witnesses.
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Clinical psychologists focus on serious pathologies in mental and behavioral health. They often work in hospitals or mental and behavioral health facilities, helping people suffering from serious emotional and mental disturbances. Forensic psychology is a subfield of clinical psychology; forensic psychologists often conduct individual and group therapy with incarcerated people and provide expert testimony about criminal psychology in court.
Clinical psychology requires fortitude and empathy to effectively help people cope with behavioral issues and successfully navigate society.
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Forensic Psychology Professional Organizations
Recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike can benefit from joining professional organizations, which offer networking opportunities, continuing education, and job search assistance. In a niche field like forensic psychology, access to a profesisonal community can help graduates find jobs in forensic psychology.
Frequently Asked Questions
It typically takes four years to earn a bachelor's in forensic psychology. However, your course load influences completion time; part-time students take longer to graduate than full-time students.
A bachelor's in forensic psychology can prepare you for a career in non-licensed work in criminal justice or to pursue a graduate degree in psychology or forensics.
It can be either. A BA in forensic psychology explores general education and social sciences, while a BS in forensic psychology is more clinically focused.
Every psychology student is different, and what concentration is best for them differs. When selecting a concentration for your psychology bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree, it is best to pick one aligned with your intellectual interests and career goals.
A forensic psychology degree might seem like a big investment, but it's the fastest way to gain qualifications for a career in psychology and forensics.
Image Credit: Sladic | Getty Images
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