What is Forensic Psychology?
Forensic psychology combines the fields of criminology, law, and psychology. Forensic psychology is essentially the study of people’s mindset in regards to following or breaking the law. The aim of these studies is both to prevent crime and to rehabilitate criminals.
What Can I Do With a Doctoral Forensic Psychology Degree?
A doctoral forensic psychology degree is required to be a licensed practitioner. Some universities offer joint law and psychology degree programs that prepare students for licensure and a career in forensic psychology. Others offer an integrated forensic psychology degree. Graduates of forensic psychology Ph.D. programs often work for police departments and government law enforcement agencies. Many practitioners also work as consultants. Some forensic psychologists also work at research institutions or teach at the university level.
What Are the Requirements for Ph.D. Degrees From Forensic Psychology Colleges?
The application requirements for Ph.D. degree programs at forensic psychology colleges are quite stringent. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree, generally with a 3.5 minimum GPA. A master’s degree in general psychology or forensic psychology may help an applicant’s chances of being admitted, but strong applicants may be accepted immediately after receiving their bachelor’s degrees. Once in a doctoral forensic psychology program, students must complete three to four years of classes, at least one practicum (internship), and successfully submit a dissertation. The dissertation is usually composed of an in-depth research project.
The 25 Best Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology Colleges
1. University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Psychology and Law. This program prepares students to enter the field of forensic psychology. Students have the opportunity to get real-world experience in forensic psychology as part of the program.
- Tuition per year: $5,581 in-state; $18,151 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 54.3%
2. Florida International University
Florida International University has a top-ranked Legal Psychology program that can prepare students for a career in forensic psychology. Students have the opportunity to earn tuition waiver and a stipend with a teaching assistantship. Students also have access to world-class research facilities.
- Tuition per year: $6,565 in-state; $18,193 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 72.3%
3. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University‘s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program offers a Forensic emphasis. This program does forensic evaluations for many courts in the area surrounding Huntsville, TX. Students must complete a year-long practicum experience to graduate.
- Tuition per year: $8,536 in-state; $18,664 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 67.1%
4. John Jay College of Criminal Justice
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, has an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Psychology & Law. This program prepares students to enter the field of forensic psychology. This program requires students to complete two practica experiences.
- Tuition per year: $7,470 in-state; $15,420 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 46%
5. University of Nevada
The University of Nevada has a Social Psychology Ph.D. program with an emphasis in Social Psychology and Law/Justice. Students have the opportunity to work with two national judicial training centers. The program takes about five years to complete.
- Tuition per year: $8,034 in-state; $23,086 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 53.4%
6. University of Nebraska
The University of Nebraska offers a joint Ph.D./J.D. program in Psychology and Law that can prepare students for a wide variety of fields, including forensic psychology. Students will be able to get hands-on experience in both areas. Internships may be available with local law enforcement agencies.
- Tuition per year: $9,522 in-state; $25,828 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 67.2%
7. University of Alabama
The University of Alabama has a doctoral Clinical Psychology program with a concentration in Psychology & Law. This program is one of the oldest in the field, as it was established in 1971. Students will be able to get hands-on experience in research centers and with local law enforcement.
- Tuition per year: $10,780 in-state; $30,250 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 68.3%
8. University of Texas – El Paso
The University of Texas – El Paso offers a leading doctoral program in Legal Psychology. This program can prepare students for work in the private sector, at government agencies, or in academia. Students have access to three different forensic psychology research laboratories.
- Tuition per year: $9,161 in-state; $21,524 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 37%
9. Arizona State University
Arizona State University has an interdisciplinary Ph.D program in Law and Psychology. This program is aimed at preparing students for a career in academia. Students can complete the program in four to six years.
- Tuition per year: $11,338 in-state; $31,338 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 67.1%
10. Albizu University
Albizu University is a small, Hispanic-oriented university. It has an excellent doctoral program in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Forensic Psychology. This program is intended to prepare students to work with Hispanic populations.
- Tuition per year: $12,444
- Graduation rate: 78%
11. University of California – Irvine
The University of California – Irvine is widely considered to be one of the finest public universities in the state, so it’s no surprise that it made our list. UCI’s program offers students teaching and research assistantship positions that provide a full tuition waiver and a stipend. This program takes about six years to complete.
- Tuition per year: $13,727 in-state; $43,481 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 87.2%
12. Montclair State University
Montclair State University offers the top-ranked doctoral program in New Jersey. Its Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program can include a specialization in Forensic Psychology. Students are required to complete a one-year internship before they can graduate.
- Tuition per year: $13,073 in-state; $21,033 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 64.6%
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13. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is one of the few institutions of higher education that focus on one field, so it should be no surprise that its Forensic Psychology doctoral degree is highly ranked. Chicago School operates campuses all over the country, and this program is offered in Los Angeles and Irvine, CA. Students have opportunities for internships in correctional facilities and courts.
- Tuition per year: $21,564
- Graduation rate: 69%
14. Spalding University
Spalding University offers one of the oldest and best-known forensic psychology doctoral programs in the country. The degree is technically a Clinical Psychology doctorate with an emphasis in Correctional and Forensic Psychology. Spalding is affiliated with Catholicism, but students of all faiths are welcome. Students will have an opportunity to complete an internship at a forensic or correctional site.
- Tuition per year: $25,200
- Graduation rate: 51.1%
15. Palo Alto University
Palo Alto University is a small private institution with an excellent doctoral program in forensic psychology. Its Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree offers an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. This program includes a 2,000-hour internship.
- Tuition per year: $22,755
- Graduation rate: 30%
16. William James College
William James College is a private institution solely focused on psychology. It offers a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. Students must be accepted into the doctoral program, then apply separately to be accepted into the Forensic Psychology track.
- Tuition per year: $33,960
- Graduation rate: 70%
17. Nova Southestern University
Nova Southeastern University offers a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Forensic Clinical Psychology. The program is located on its main campus in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Students have the opportunity to do a joint MBA/Ph.D.
- Tuition per year: $32,110
- Graduation rate: 61.8%
18. Cornell University
Cornell University is undoubtedly the most prestigious university on this list, as it is an Ivy League institution. It offers a dual Ph.D./J.D. program in Devalopmental Psychology and Law. This program takes students roughly six years to complete.
- Tuition per year: $57,222
- Graduation rate: 93.9%
19. Florida Institute of Technology
The Florida Institute of Technology offers a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. Students must complete a year-long internship before graduation. There are internship opportunities available at correctional facilities.
- Tuition per year: $42,470
- Graduation rate: 57%
20. University of Denver
The University of Denver has the leading Forensic Psychology doctoral program in Colorado. Students in the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program can specialize in Forensic Psychology. Students are required to complete an internship after they have completed all coursework.
- Tuition per year: $52,515
- Graduation rate: 78.7%
21. Pacific University
Pacific University, which is based in Oregon, offers one of the leading Forensic Psychology doctorates in the Pacific Northwest. Its Psy.D. in Clinincal Psychology program offers a Forensic Psychology track. Students have to complete fieldwork, an internship, and two practica to ensure that they graduate with plenty of experience.
- Tuition per year: $46,402
- Graduation rate: 58.1%
22. Widener University
Widener University has a leading Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology that offers a Forensic Psychology concentration. Students must have one year of experience in the field to be considered for this program. Students will have the opportunity to complete a paid internship as part of their degree path.
- Tuition per year: $47,328
- Graduation rate: 56.3%
23. Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University offers a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a Forensic track. Students complete a year-long internship during the last year of the program. They must also complete a dissertation related to forensic psychology.
- Tuition per year: $42,220
- Graduation rate: 38.7%
24. Drexel University
Drexel University has a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program with a Forensic Psychology emphasis. Students must serve as teaching assistants, which grants them a tuition waiver and a stipend. The program can be completed in four (if the student already has a master’s) or five years.
- Tuition per year: $54,516
- Graduation rate: 69.9%
25. Fordham University
Fordham University offers a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. Students must complete a practicum where they diagnose mental disorders. Externship opportunities are available at correctional institutions.
- Tuition per year: $54,393
- Graduation rate: 79.2%
How We Ranked These Institutions
We considered each school’s tuition and graduation rate when creating these rankings. We considered only the in-state tuition rate if an institution charges different rates for in-state and non-resident students. To come up with each school’s final ranking, we took the yearly tuition rate and added a multiplier equal to the percentage of enrolled students who didn’t graduate. Example: School A has a yearly tuition rate of $10,000 and a graduation rate of 75%. The school will have a rating of 12,500 (10,000 x 125%). Lower ratings are better.
If you work for one of the schools on this list and you want to ask a question or make corrections, feel free to contact us.
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