Online Forensic Psychology Degrees
Forensic psychology is a highly specialized field that combines elements of the study of human behavior with the law. The curriculum in an online forensic psychology degree program explores how crime impacts offenders' and victims' lives and the ethical dilemmas facing professionals who work in the justice system. To help students choose a bachelor's program that fits their needs, we've provided a list of the most popular accredited online schools offering forensic psychology degrees. Continue reading to learn more about common courses in this program, along with career opportunities, and whether an online forensic psychology bachelor's degree is worth it.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Forensic Psychology Bachelor's Degrees
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|# 1||Purdue University Global||$14,358||72% (480 reviews)|
|# 2||Arizona State University||$24,413||64% (112 reviews)|
|# 3||Southern New Hampshire University Online||$9,600||63% (443 reviews)|
|# 4||Grand Canyon University||$17,800||50% (537 reviews)|
|# 5||Liberty University||$11,700||58% (326 reviews)|
|# 6||Walden University||Not Provided||51% (684 reviews)|
|# 7||Waldorf University||$8,700||100% (16 reviews)|
|# 8||Maryville University||$28,470||34% (44 reviews)|
|# 9||Eastern Kentucky University||$19,948||25% (4 reviews)|
|# 10||Florida Tech - Online||$12,240||65% (79 reviews)|
|# 11||Touro University Worldwide||$14,600||56% (16 reviews)|
|# 12||Abilene Christian University||$36,300||100% (1 review)|
|# 13||Bay Path University||$35,081||100% (1 review)|
|# 14||Virginia Wesleyan University||$36,860||Add Review|
|# 15||DeSales University||$38,700||0% (1 review)|
|# 16||Trine University||$32,810||Add Review|
|# 17||Bushnell University||$31,410||Add Review|
|# 18||Columbia College - SC||$19,890||0% (1 review)|
|# 19||Faulkner University||$22,310||67% (3 reviews)|
|# 20||Franklin University||$9,577||56% (9 reviews)|
|# 21||Kean University||$19,771||33% (3 reviews)|
|# 22||Mary Baldwin University||$31,110||Add Review|
|# 23||Union Institute & University||$13,256||50% (2 reviews)|
|# 24||University of Providence||$26,242||Add Review|
|# 25||Trine University Online||$9,576||Add Review|
Overview of Online Bachelor's Degrees in Forensic Psychology
An online forensic psychology bachelor's program focuses on the intersection between clinical psychology and the legal system in order to understand the psychology of aberrant behavior and its ramifications. Forensic psychologists often work within the court system to serve as expert witnesses, helping judges and juries assess cases and behavior in order to administer justice effectively.
Like on-campus programs, online programs are designed to be completed in four years for full-time students and longer for part-time students. Approximately 120 credit hours are required to graduate, with about 45 credit hours completed in your major.
An online forensic psychology bachelor's program focuses on the intersection between clinical psychology and the legal system.
Most schools require official high school transcripts or GED test scores to be eligible for admission. Some schools also have minimum GPA requirements for applicants. Prerequisites vary by program but often include English, laboratory science, math, and social sciences.
Other admission requirements for first-year students may include:
- One year of a foreign language or fine arts.
- SAT or ACT standardized test scores.
- An essay or letter of intent.
- A completed application and non-refundable fee of approximately $50.
Students can transfer into these programs with approximately 24 credit hours from other accredited institutions as long as they submit official transcripts. Some schools may waive standardized test score requirements for transfer students, which could simplify enrollment.
The bachelor's program curriculum is designed to present a deeper understanding of human behavior and how an individual's actions may cause them to wind up in the criminal justice system. Students who go into forensic psychology spend much of their time developing investigative, interrogative, and critical thinking skills, in addition to honing their skills in scientific study.
Some programs require an in-depth study of research methods in forensic psychology, which involves research design, data analysis, and interpretation. Bachelor's programs often incorporate a capstone course as a culminating experience for this specialization.
Common Courses in a Forensic Psychology Program
Students take a variety of courses on both crime and psychology. Criminal justice courses generally focus on the legal system, forensic science, and the criminal investigation process. Psychology courses may concentrate on abnormal psychology, violence and substance abuse psychology, victimology, and grief counseling. Mental health is also an essential topic for forensic psychologists to determine whether a patient is mentally competent and can be held responsible for their actions.
Course content is similar across forensic psychology degree programs, though titles may differ. These courses focus on similar outcomes while meeting program requirements.
Conflict management explores the process of moving from conflict mediation to reconciliation. Students study effective self-management of conflict by applying various resolution methods, individually and in group settings
This course introduces the methods and techniques used by law enforcement in criminal profiling and theoretical concepts drawn from criminology, sociology, and psychology. Terminology and descriptive terms are defined as students apply them to crimes and forensic study examples.
Victimology explores the relationship between victims and offenders and the psychological effects of crime on both. Students examine how victims interact with the criminal justice system and assess patterns of behavior.
Students examine the American criminal justice system and the interrelationship among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Studies focus primarily on criminal law, liability, and punishment.
Ethics and the Criminal Justice System
This course exposes students to the ethical dilemmas facing law enforcement as well as the courts and correctional systems. Instructors may address these issues by asking students how they would solve these issues in group discussions and role play.
Are you unsure about pursuing a forensic psychology degree? Consider exploring other online bachelor's programs.
Careers for Forensic Psychology Bachelor's Degree Graduates
The work of forensic psychologists is varied. For example, some forensic psychologists advise members of the justice system or lawmakers on policies involving psychological issues, while others focus on careers in academia or conducting research. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, general psychologists earn an annual median salary of $82,180, with some making as much as $137,590 and the field has an 8% job growth through 2030, which is about the same as the national average.
Though you'll need a master's degree to practice as a forensic psychologist professionally, you may still pursue careers in social services, the court and corrections systems, law enforcement, or the military with only a bachelor's degree. For example, crime victim advocates work with victims of serious crimes by offering services and support. They help victims navigate the criminal justice system, assist with day-to-day tasks involving their cases, or make connections to other social services. Pay can vary based on education, location, and experience.
There are several other occupations where you can utilize your skills from an online bachelor's degree in forensic psychology:
Caseworkers and social workers
Caseworkers and social workers help individuals and communities cope with issues of everyday life. They work with clients to improve their health and well-being, often providing general counseling services. Clinical and non-clinical social workers require state licenses.
Social and community service managers
Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise programs that promote social and community well-being. They analyze the effectiveness and need of these programs and conduct outreach to promote awareness and participation.
Police and detectives
Police and detectives provide law enforcement by protecting lives and property. They investigate crime and respond to public calls for help. They collect and secure crime scene evidence, prepare cases, and testify in court.
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists provide social services to law offenders on parole or probation as part of their rehabilitation. They monitor offenders' and parolees' progress and may provide background information in court or during parole hearings.
Interested in learning about employment outcomes for alumni of online programs? OnlineU studied ten popular online colleges across the country and found strong career results.
Associations for Forensic Psychology Professionals and Students
Forensic psychology associations build community by providing news, education, advocacy, and a place to share best practices and share expertise. For example, the American Psychological Association is a widely known organization that supports all psychologists, including forensic psychologists. Psychologists rely on the APA for career guidance, job listings, networking events, and publications. The APA also serves as an accreditation body for psychology programs at schools all over the country.
Several associations are forensic psychology-specific:
American Academy of Forensic Psychology
The AAFP provides a sense of community and opportunities for continuing education, as well as certification for forensic psychologists through the American Board of Forensic Psychology. Forensic psychologists can attend workshops, apply for grants, and serve as mentors for board certification candidates through the AAFP.
American Academy of Forensic Science
The AAFS supports research and the scientific application of forensic psychology to the law. It also offers educational webinars, networking opportunities, access to academic journals, and job listings to the forensic psychologist community.
Society for Police and Criminal Psychology
The SPCP serves not only police officers and law enforcement but also forensic and criminal psychologists. It supports and advocates for integrating science and psychology with the criminal justice system. They offer a Diplomat in Police Psychology certification, conferences, continuing education, and an academic journal to its members.
Is an Online Forensic Psychology Degree Worth It?
An online forensic psychology degree may be worth it if you are interested in the law and how the human condition influences criminal behavior. The skills you are likely to develop earning this degree are intended to prepare you for work in challenging and diverse situations. This degree also helps set the foundation for advanced coursework if you decide to pursue graduate programs to become a licensed, practicing forensic psychologist.
An online forensic psychology degree may be worth it if you are interested in the law and how the human condition influences criminal behavior.
However, only you can ultimately determine a degree's value for yourself. When making your decision, you should consider your situation such as your finances, interests, schedule, and career goals. You may also want to make a list of the pros and cons of earning an online bachelor's degree in forensic psychology to help determine its worth.
- You'll have a range of career options to consider. There are several occupations that need the skills of those skilled in forensic psychology. Earning your degree in this field may provide options for career exploration to help you choose one that's right for you.
- You can make a positive impact on the lives of others. While forensic psychology careers can be stressful and challenging, you may find fulfillment in helping others through difficult times.
- An online degree can be convenient and affordable. You can generally set your schedule as an online student. You could also save money because many schools charge a flat-rate or match in-state tuition for online degree programs, waive certain fees, and often you won't have to pay to commute.
- The work can be stressful. You may work in challenging situations examining violent crime scenes or witnessing human suffering. Forensic psychology work is not for the faint of heart.
- You may have to work long hours and weekends. Depending on the forensic psychological need, you may be called in at any time including weekends and holidays, which may strain your relationships and day-to-day activities.
- An online degree may still require some on-campus work. While most of your work can be completed online, you may have to complete in-person labs or other coursework on campus. This can be challenging if you live far from your school.
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