The Best Online Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology
| TBS Staff
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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.
|#1||Arizona State University Tempe, AZ|
|#2||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA|
|#3||Bushnell University Eugene, OR|
|#4||Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL|
|#5||National Louis University Chicago, IL|
|#6||Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH|
|#7||Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY|
|#8||Faulkner University Montgomery, AL|
|#9||Union Institute and University Cincinnati, OH|
|#10||New England College Henniker, NH|
Featured Online Schools
Read on for our ranking of the best online bachelor's in forensic psychology programs, plus statistics on salary rates in the field.
The 10 Best Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Programs
ASU offers more than 750 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs. The university enrolls nearly 120,000 students across six campus locations statewide, including an online division. Psychology ranks among the six most popular undergraduate majors at ASU.
The university's BS in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology emphasizes biological and neuroscientific research in psychological practice. The 120-credit, online program includes additional lab coursework and statistical training. Students complete 39 courses in topics like abnormal psychology, introduction to statistics, and substantive criminal law.
The degree prepares students for graduate study, which may be necessary for some jobs in forensic psychology. Students must also complete an ASU first-year experience course emphasizing soft skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking, in preparation for interdisciplinary coursework during their first term. Admission requirements include a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA, though other applicants may receive conditional admission.
Students can enroll in the online BS in forensic psychology on one of six start dates throughout the year. Each course in the online program lasts for 7.5 weeks. ASU offers student resources like tech support, library databases, online student forums, and success coaches for online learners.
Founded in 1971, Liberty's campus comprises 7,000 acres in Virginia and Washington, D.C. The university enrolls more than 100,000 students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries, both on campus and online, every year. Learners can choose from more than 700 academic programs across 15 schools and colleges, all taught with a Christian perspective.
Liberty offers an accelerated BS in psychology with a specialization in criminal psychology. Students with prior experience may transfer up to 75% of credits toward their degrees. The 120-credit program provides an overview of the American criminal justice system plus courses in social psychology, abnormal psychology, and the psychology of criminal behavior.
Since adopting a tuition-freeze policy in 2015, Liberty has not increased tuition rates for graduate or undergraduate programs. Liberty also provides free electronic textbooks for undergraduate students. The forensic psychology degree offers students professional networking opportunities, eligibility for the Psi Chi Honor Society, and optional child life specialist certification for those enrolled in the children in healthcare course.
Each course in this online program runs for eight weeks. Enrollees complete most courses asynchronously through the Blackboard platform. First-time college applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate, and transfer applicants must submit transcripts of previous college coursework.
Bushnell University — formerly known as Northwest Christian University — occupies a campus in Oregon's picturesque Willamette Valley and offers a comprehensive online division. The Christian university enrolls more than 800 students in more than 40 graduate and undergraduate programs.
Bushnell University's online BS in psychology offers a concentration in forensic psychology. The degree in forensic psychology explores core psychological principles in the context of the American criminal justice system. Students can complete the program entirely online or in a hybrid format by pairing online classes with weekly in-person instruction.
Course topics include statistical applications, human development, and theories of personality. Each enrollee must complete a senior capstone course to conclude the degree. Online learners can access personal academic advising, virtual and in-person tutoring, and support from the university's career development team.
New online courses in the forensic psychology bachelor's degree begin every eight weeks. Bushnell University offers six start dates per year for online programs. Students with previous professional, academic, or military experience can transfer up to 75% of the credits required to complete the degree.
Founded in 1958, Florida Tech today enrolls students at its Melbourne, Florida campus, multiple satellite locations, and online. Enrollees choose from more than 40 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs. Florida Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida Tech's BA in applied psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology is distinctive for its liberal arts foundation. The 121-credit program comprises both core courses and restricted electives. Topics include integrated theories of crime, forensic clinical psychology, and research methods in applied psychology.
Students can choose electives in humanities, physical/life sciences, and social sciences. Graduates qualify for jobs in forensic psychology fields, like case manager or criminologist. Many enrollees who complete BAs in forensic psychology go on to pursue graduate study in psychology or sociology.
Florida Tech conducts online classes asynchronously, with each lasting eight weeks. Students may enroll in the online BA for one of six start dates per year. Each applicant must submit documentation of a high school diploma or GED certificate and transcripts from any prior colleges. Florida Tech will consider transfer credits with a grade of "C" or higher from regionally accredited schools.
Among Chicago's oldest and most innovative universities, NLU occupies a flagship campus in downtown Chicago, multiple Illinois facilities, and a satellite location in Tampa, Florida. The university's more than 8,000 students may choose from more than 70 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs across four academic schools.
The BA in criminal justice at NLU offers optional concentrations in criminal justice administration or forensic social justice. The 180-quarter-credit program combines general education, core, and elective requirements, including an internship practicum. Students who earn a degree in forensic psychology entirely online must also complete a course in research, writing, and analysis.
The BA in criminal justice with a concentration in forensic social justice uniquely combines principles of sociology, psychology, organizational management, and public policy. As such, graduates qualify for entry-level positions in law enforcement, criminal justice, and law. Others pursue increased forensic psychology salary opportunities through graduate study.
Online learners complete courses virtually through the D2L platform. NLU maintains a comprehensive array of resources, including writing and math tutoring, D2L tech support, and test proctoring through its Office of Learning Support. NLU assigns tuition rates based on enrollment and program, regardless of a student's state of residence.
Founded in 1932 as an accounting and secretarial science school, SNHU today offers more than 200 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs. Every year, the private university enrolls more than 135,000 students online and more than 3,000 across three campus locations in New Hampshire.
SNHU's BA in psychology with a forensic psychology concentration emphasizes criminal investigation, law, and transferable career skills for forensic psychologists. The 120-credit degree in forensic psychology requires an experiential learning course and an internship. Unique among forensic psychology schools, this BA also includes an embedded certificate in data literacy and psychology.
The online bachelor's degree qualifies graduates for roles as jury consultants, victim advocates, and crime analysts. SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year, with start dates following six- and eight-week undergraduate terms.
Applicants must provide a list of all previously attended institutions so that SNHU can request transcripts at no cost to the student. SNHU does not require standardized test scores as part of its application process. Online undergraduate students pay the same per-credit or per-course tuition rates, regardless of their state of residence, with deeper discounts for active-duty military students and spouses.
Opened in 1922 as a teacher training facility, EKU today offers hundreds of liberal arts and professional programs. EKU operates regional campuses serving southern, central, and eastern Kentucky, plus an online division. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The bachelor's degree in forensic psychology at EKU provides a foundation in basic forensic psychology principles and prepares students to pursue graduate degrees. The 120-credit program comprises core and elective courses in areas like cognition and learning skills and biological bases of behavior. Each enrollee concludes the degree with a senior exit course and a capstone sequence.
Students complete classes online through accelerated, eight-week terms. EKU offers six start dates for online programs per year. Distance learners can access career services assistance, guidance toward a personalized graduation plan, and free online tutoring through the PASS program. EKU assigns tuition rates per credit, regardless of a student's state of residence, with additional discounts for active-duty military students.
Learners with previous experience can transfer up to 90 credits toward the online program. An enrollee can concurrently pursue an undergraduate certificate or minor in a related area of study. Each applicant must possess a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA for admission consideration. EKU encourages but does not require test scores from first-year candidates.
Founded under the Churches of Christ, Faulkner University strives to provide a holistic, Christian education. In addition to its main campus in Montgomery, Alabama, Faulkner University occupies three satellite locations across Alabama and an online division. The university enrolls more than 3,200 students and offers more than 70 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs every year.
The online bachelor's in forensic psychology requires 121 credits in core, departmental major, and elective courses, including an internship, and culminates in a capstone project. Students explore the psychology of religion and spirituality, behavioral statistics, and research methods.
Faulkner University's core curriculum in the major includes coursework in Christian and cultural heritage literacy, making it unique among colleges for forensic psychology. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Faulkner University requires SAT or ACT scores only for students who graduated high school less than five years ago.
Students can complete the degree in forensic psychology online and pay a set, per-credit tuition rate based on which campus delivers the program. Instructors in the online program have extensive careers in psychology and criminal justice, and distance learners can receive technical support, career services, tutoring, and counseling.
Union was an early adopter of hybrid learning and remains focused on offering adult education online. Based in Ohio, the private university also has learning centers in Florida and California. Union enrolls 1,500 students every year, offering more than 25 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs.
Union's 120-credit BA in psychology offers an optional concentration in forensic psychology. The bachelor's degree in forensic psychology combines coursework in major and core topics, general education, and electives. Courses explore child development, abnormal psychology, and personality theories, culminating in a graduation capstone portfolio.
Union's forensic psychology program also offers electives in topics like human trafficking, drugs in society, and gangs and gang subculture. Graduates qualify to pursue Union's master of arts in mental health counseling or related master's degrees.
Online classes begin every eight weeks. Students with academic, professional, or military experience can transfer up to 90 credits toward their bachelor's degrees. Union assigns per-credit tuition rates for the BA program, with additional technology fees based on full- or part-time enrollment, regardless of a student's state of residence.
Based in New Hampshire, NEC encourages experiential learning throughout its more than 20 online programs. NEC serves more than 1,300 students and boasts 51% diversity enrollment and a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Union's BA in psychology offers an optional emphasis in forensic psychology. The 120-credit program introduces students to foundational psychological principles, including issues in professional practice, research methods, and statistics for the social sciences. Additionally, enrollees must satisfy liberal arts general education and elective requirements.
The bachelor's program at Union prepares learners for many jobs in forensic psychology, with major coursework covering topics like prejudice, health and human interaction, and human development. Distance learners with prior college-level experience can transfer up to 90 credits toward the online BA.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate for admission consideration. Union does not require SAT or ACT scores or an application fee. Online learners complete each course over seven weeks, with seven start dates for online programs per academic year. Enrollees can access career services, enrollment and active learning assistance, and technical support.
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.
American Psychology-Law Society
AP-LS promotes integration of psychology into the practice and understanding of law and legal institutions through education and research. Student members must be enrolled in a social or behavioral science program to qualify. Members receive a newsletter and online access to the journal Law and Human Behavior.
American Board of Professional Psychology
ABPP provides specialty certification for doctoral-level licensed psychologists in 15 areas, including forensic, clinical, and police and public safety psychology. Events and conferences open to ABPP-certified professionals include continuing education workshops from the American Academy of Forensic Psychologists. ABPP also offers online resources for networking and referrals.
American Psychological Association
The APA works toward the advancement of psychological science, representing and advocating for over 121,000 members across specialties. Resources available to APA members include continuing education webinars, access to the organization's annual conference, and an array of grants and scholarships tailored to psychology and behavioral science majors.
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.
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