What is Forensic Psychology?
Forensic psychology blends criminal justice and psychology. It studies the mindset and motivations of people who commit criminal acts. Forensic psychology is a fairly new field that only reached the mainstream in the mid-20th century, though the roots of the field can be traced back to the 19th century.
What Can I Do with a Masters in Forensic Psychology?
The masters in forensic psychology is a very versatile degree. Many people who get their masters degrees in this field go on to pursue Ph.D. degrees. A Ph.D. is required for licensure as a forensic psychologist. However, not all graduates of forensic psychology masters programs go on to doctoral programs. Some go straight into the workforce, where they work as probation officers, victim advocates, or consultants for police or government agencies. Many people who have graduated from forensic psychology masters programs also work in-house at various government agencies, including the FBI.
The Requirements of Forensic Psychology Masters Programs
Forensic psychology masters programs vary widely in their application requirements. However, they all require that students have a bachelor’s degree. Some forensic psychology masters programs require students to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Other programs only require that a student have successfully completed several undergraduate psychology courses. The GPA requirements for entrance to forensic psychology masters programs range from a minimum 2.5 GPA to a minimum 3.5 GPA.
Once in the program, students will start taking courses in both criminal justice and psychology. Their program will also include crossover courses that connect these two topics. Forensic psychology masters programs usually include at least one internship, which is also called a “practicum.” Many programs also require students to complete an in-depth research project, called a “thesis.” Forensic psychology masters programs usually last about two years.
1. California State University – Los Angeles
California State University – Los Angeles offers the top-ranked master’s degree in Forensic Psychology on our list. The program is affordable and flexible, as it is suited for both students who want to pursue a Ph.D. and students who plan to enter the workforce immediately. The program includes a nine-month practicum experience.
2. University of Houston – Victoria
The University of Houston – Victoria offers the top-ranked Forensic Psychology masters program in Texas. This program has close ties to the local community, and students have the opportunity to do their practicum with local organizations. Students must complete two practica to graduate.
- Tuition per year: $6,781 in-state; $16,909 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 51.7%
3. John Jay College of Criminal Justice
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is part of the City University of New York system. Students in the graduate Forensic Psychology program have ample opportunity to customize their course of study. Students must complete either an externship or a thesis to graduate.
- Tuition per year: $7,470 in-state; $15,420 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 43.1%
4. Missouri State University
Missouri State University offers one of the most innovative Forensic Psychology graduate programs on this list. Students in the master’s-level psychology program can complete a graduate certificate in Forensic Child Psychology. This is one of the only programs in the nation in this specialty.
- Tuition per year: $7,588 in-state; $15,898 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 54.3%
5. Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State University offers a unique master’s degree program called Forensic Sciences: Forensic Psychology. Students can complete the first year of the program online, though the second year requires students to attend courses on campus. Students can choose to complete either a thesis or a capstone project.
- Tuition per year: $9,019 in-state; $24,539 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 62.9%
6. University of Louisiana – Monroe
The University of Louisiana – Monroe has a master’s degree in Psychology that offers a specialization in Forensic Psychology. This program can be completed online. Students are not required to complete a thesis for graduation, although it is recommended for students who plan to complete a doctorate.
- Tuition per year: $8,974 in-state; $21,074 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 43.1%
7. University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota offers a top-notch master’s degree in Forensic Psychology. This program can be completed entirely online. Students can finish their degrees in only two years of part-time study.
- Tuition per year: $9,736 in-state; $15,895 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 55%
8. Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a leader in online education as a whole, and its fully online master’s degree in Forensic Psychology is a leading program in the field. Students do not have to complete a thesis in order to graduate. Instead, they complete a capstone project in their final semester.
- Tuition per year: $11,338 in-state; $29,428 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 67.1%
9. University of California – Irvine
The University of California – Irvine offers a unique master’s degree in Legal and Forensic Psychology. It can be completed entirely online with the exception of a one-week orientation that students must complete at the beginning of their first semester. A capstone project is required before students can graduate.
- Tuition per year: $13,727 in-state; $43,481 non-resident
- Graduation rate: 87.2%
10. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology focuses on this field, so it should come as no surprise that their Forensic Psychology masters program is one of their many ranked programs in this area. The Forensic Psychology M.A. can be completed totally online. It is designed for working professionals with at least three years of relevant experience.
- Tuition per year: $21,564
- Graduation rate: 69%
11. Liberty University
Liberty University offers a master’s degree in Criminal Justice with a cognate in Forensic Psychology. Students can choose to do a thesis, though it is not required for graduation. The program takes full-time students about two years to complete.
- Tuition per year: $22,747
- Graduation rate: 33.8%
12. Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University offers the leading Forensic Psychology master’s degree in Florida. Students can choose to complete either a thesis or a practicum. This program will take students about two years to complete if they attend full-time.
- Tuition per year: $32,110
- Graduation rate: 61.8%
Have you been looking for a great forensic psychology master’s program? We can help you find the school that meets your needs.
13. Marymount University
Marymount University has a unique master’s degree program in Forensic and Legal Psychology. Students can even pursue a concentration in Intelligence Studies. The program is aimed at preparing students to work for federal agencies.
- Tuition per year: $33,330
- Graduation rate: 51.8%
14. California Baptist University
California Baptist University, which is a Christian institution, offers a highly-rated master’s degree in Forensic Psychology. Students must complete a nine-month practicum in their final year of study. Students can do internships with government agencies like the U.S. Marshall’s Service and the FBI.
- Tuition per year: $34,882
- Graduation rate: 58.2%
15. Roger Williams University
Roger Williams University may be one of the lesser-known schools on this list, but it still offers a top-notch master’s degree in forensic psychology. Its graduate program in Forensic and Legal Psychology is designed for students who plan to complete doctoral degrees. Students must complete a thesis as part of the program.
- Tuition per year: $36,978
- Graduation rate: 62.9%
16. Holy Names University
Holy Names University is a Roman Catholic institution, but students of all religious backgrounds are welcome. The Forensic Psychology master’s program is set up for working professionals. Students must complete a practicum experience to graduate.
- Tuition per year: $40,102
- Graduation rate: 60.5%
17. University of New Haven
The University of New Haven is known for its excellent psychology programs, and that includes its master’s program in Forensic Psychology. This program is technically a concentration within the Criminal Justice master’s degree. This ensures that students get a well-rounded education in both fields.
- Tuition per year: $40,440
- Graduation rate: 57.1%
18. American International College
American International College is a small private school best known for liberal arts, but it offers an elite master’s in Forensic Psychology. This program is aimed at students who plan to complete a doctoral degree. Students must complete an externship in the field to graduate.
- Tuition per year: $36,930
- Graduation rate: 42.4%
19. The George Washington University
The George Washington University is one of the most prestigious universities on this list, and its excellent Forensic Psychology master’s degree program certainly contributes to this prestige. The program offers students specializations in either Applied Forensics or Applied Psychology. Students must complete an externship before graduation.
- Tuition per year: $56,935
- Graduation rate: 83.9%
20. Farleigh Dickinson University
Farleigh Dickinson University offers the top-ranked Forensic Psychology master’s program in New Jersey. Students take the program on an accelerated schedule that allows them to graduate earlier. Students can complete their required classes and externship in less than two years.
- Tuition per year: $42,220
- Graduation rate: 38.7%
21. University of Denver
The University of Denver offers the leading Forensic Psychology master’s program in Colorado. This program combines research-based instruction with practicum experiences in law and psychology. Students are deeply involved with the local community throughout the two years of the program.
- Tuition per year: $52,515
- Graduation rate: 78.7%
How We Calculated These Rankings
To calculate the rankings on this page, we looked at each school’s yearly tuition rate and their graduation rate. If a school charges different tuition rates based on a student’s residency, we only considered the in-state rate. We took the tuition rate and added a multiplier equivalent to the percentage of students who did not graduate. For example, a school with yearly tuition of $10,000 and a graduation rate of 50% would have a rating of 15,000 (10,000 x 150%).
If you are a representative of one of the schools on this list and you want to make a correction or ask us a question, feel free to contact us.
Need help finding the right forensic psychology master’s degree program? We can assist you.