Maybe you’re driven by a desire to solve crimes. Perhaps you want to help victims who are struggling psychologically. Or maybe you want to gain psychology expertise so you can provide testimony during trials or consult with attorneys on the best jurors to choose. Whatever drives your interest in psychology and law, forensic psychology degrees online can give you the skills you need to reach your career destination.
Continue reading to learn more about these degrees and how they can lay the foundation for a career in a fascinating field that benefits the community. In this guide, you will find details about schools offering an online forensic psychology degree, as well as information about the jobs you can pursue after graduation.
Bachelor’s Program Spotlights: Forensic Psychology Degrees Online
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are a few dozen colleges and universities around the country that offer bachelor’s degrees in forensic psychology, and in some cases, these programs are offered online. Just as you have different goals for your education and future career, each of the schools that offers forensic psychology degrees online has its own set of objectives — from teaching how to communicate with victims of crime to helping people understand forensic psychology research to showing students the ways psychological principles can be applied in the courtroom.
How well do your personal goals line up with what prospective schools are offering? Below, we provide a sampling of forensic psychology degree online programs to give you an idea of what’s out there and how they may connect you with a fulfilling career.
Arizona State University offers both an online Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology. For either option, you’ll take coursework that can be found in a general psychology program, such as psychological disorders, statistics, and psychology and law, and then progress to a deep dive into forensic psychology. The BS program provides more of a foundation in math and science emphasizing biological and neuroscientific understanding, whereas the BA focuses on concepts related to human behavior and the justice system. To ensure that you receive a comprehensive education, you’ll also take general education classes, such as computer literacy, English composition, and mathematics.
- Cost: $7,317/year (resident or non-resident)
- Location: Online; campus in Tempe, AZ
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
This school offers an online bachelor’s degree in psychology with a forensic science concentration that focuses on how professionals use research and critical thinking skills, as well as their understanding of general psychological principles, to solve legal problems. As a result, you can learn how to evaluate the psychological state of offenders, provide witness testimony during criminal and civil trials, and conduct assessments used to determine if someone is eligible for parole.
Additionally, students may choose to take electives to earn the department’s 12-credit Data Literacy in Psychology certificate. They can also participate in an internship to get 150 hours of hands-on training at a site approved by the school.
- Cost: $330/credit
- Location: Online; campus in Manchester, NH
- Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Grand Canyon University’s online forensic science bachelor’s degree program gives you the skills to perform duties in various work settings, including prisons, law firms, hospitals, and forensic labs. For example, you may develop the ability to help offenders with substance abuse issues, conduct psychological evaluations in child custody and criminal cases, and research topics related to psychology and law.
To prepare students for these jobs, this forensic psychology degree online requires core classes in personality theory, psychology research and ethics, and adult development and aging. To expose you to topics related to forensics, you’ll take classes in introductory forensic science and criminal law. A professional capstone project is also required, where you will research a problem forensic psychology professionals face and propose solutions.
- Cost: $485/credit (resident or non-resident)
- Location: Online; campus in Phoenix, AZ
- Accreditation: HLC
Classes for Your Forensic Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Online
Before applying to any forensic psychology degree online program, you’ll want to understand what you’ll be studying and how the curriculum will give you the abilities employers seek. As a result, it’s important to review each school’s website to understand the content being offered. The coursework in forensic psychology online degree programs will slightly differ from one school to the next. Generally speaking, however, you’ll find some overlap in the courses provided. Below you’ll get a look at some of the most common degree-specific courses students take when earning online forensic psychology degrees.
This course teaches students about the unique challenges forensic psychologists face when working in prisons and jails. Content covers the role that psychologists play in these environments, strategies they use for building relationships with inmates and other facility staff members, and the correctional psychology careers graduates can pursue.
In order to succeed in a legal environment, psychologists need to know how the system functions. This course gives students that knowledge by covering topics such as criminal investigations and arrests, trial processes, United States Supreme Court decisions, sentencing procedures, and juror decision-making.
Forensic psychologists often work with people experiencing trauma, so this course gives them an understanding of the impact trauma has on physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual levels. Students learn how to assess people for trauma, as well as the ethical standards psychologists must apply when working with a person who has experienced trauma.
Introduction to Crime Analysis
This course looks at how criminal activity is analyzed so that students can understand the techniques and tools professionals utilize during investigations. Specific topics may include best practices for analyzing, forecasting, and monitoring crime. Additionally, students will learn how suspects are identified by law enforcement professionals.
To provide an understanding of juvenile offenders, this course looks at the factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency, as well as how it can be prevented and controlled in the community. By the end of the class, students will know the role those in a child’s life may play in delinquency, including family members, peers, and schools. You’ll also learn how the juvenile justice system works and where forensic psychologists operate in it.
Job Outlook: Careers and Salaries with an Online Degree in Forensic Psychology
In addition to learning about a fascinating subsection of the psychology field, earning a forensic psychology degree online can prepare you for diverse jobs that put you on the path to a long and satisfying career. The following is a look at three of the positions you can pursue after completing a forensic psychology bachelor’s degree online.
If you’re interested in working in the corrections system after graduation, this is a great place to start. Correctional officers are responsible for guarding people — not only when they are behind bars, but also as they get transported from jail to a courthouse during trials. Also, correctional officers may be required to patrol outside, particularly when inmates are involved in recreational activities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earn an average annual salary of $49,610. The BLS projects about 31,000 openings for correctional officers and bailiffs each year, on average, over the next decade.
Behavioral Health Specialists
Behavioral health specialists assist adults and children living with behavioral disorders. This work is as diverse as the patient population itself, so professionals may provide interventions for adults struggling with addiction; help children on the autism spectrum navigate their daily lives effectively; and conduct evaluations on patients to identify their mental health challenges and ways to live with them. Glassdoor reports that the salary range for this job is $41,000 to $62,000 per year, with an average salary of $48,231.
Criminal investigators are responsible for solving specialized cases. Although you may just associate this type of work with violent crimes, criminal investigators are also involved in solving white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement. Daily tasks may include documenting evidence at a crime scene, formulating a hypothesis based on initial information, creating an investigation report, and testifying in court to jurors and judges about their findings. Criminal investigators earn $86,280 per year, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
How Much Do Online Forensic Psychology Degree Programs Cost?
One of the main benefits of earning a forensic psychology degree online is that virtual programs can save you quite a bit of money. The primary reason: Most online schools charge the same per credit whether you’re a resident or non-resident. The exact cost per credit will depend on the specific program you choose because tuition charges may vary based on whether you attend a public or private school. To give you an idea of what you may pay for forensic psychology degrees online, we’ve put together a sampling of tuition from different schools below.
What Should I Look for in a Forensic Psychology Degree Online Program?
Every student is different, so what you want in an online forensic psychology degree may not be the same as what someone else is looking for. Although you have individual needs, there are important criteria prospective students should consider when evaluating schools. The following are some factors that should be considered when you’re choosing a quality forensic science bachelor’s degree program.
Although students can save money when they enroll in an online forensic psychology degree program, that doesn’t mean cost isn’t a concern at all. Luckily, schools offer financial aid opportunities, including scholarships specifically for criminal justice students, as well as grants and loans to help you pay for your education.
A program is only as good as its curriculum, so looking at what you’ll be studying is important. Are the programs you’re interested in providing the education you need to reach your career goals? Will you be able to learn the specific skills that will help you succeed? Does the school have a reputation for high-quality course content? Ask yourself these questions as you evaluate the value of programs you’re considering.
You’ll get the best outcomes when you take courses from faculty members who have first-hand experience in the field. Think about the areas of forensic psychology that interest you most, and check the backgrounds of professors to see if their experience in the field matches what you want to learn. Although professors are knowledgeable about the subject matter they teach, having that extra bit of expertise from real-world experience is important.
Although you may not think about it, accreditation is actually one of the most important characteristics to consider. When a school is accredited, it has received scrutiny from an organization that monitors educational standards to ensure it’s delivering on its promises to students. Although forensic psychology online degree programs don’t always have their own programmatic accreditation, be sure to look for the regional accreditation of every school to which you’re applying. These accrediting organizations include the NECHE, HLC, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, among others.
Online forensic psychology degree programs are extremely flexible. You may be able to take all classes at your own pace — which is called asynchronous coursework — so you can best fit them into your busy schedule. Alternatively, if you prefer live interactions with your peers and instructors, you can enroll in a program that’s synchronous, meaning lectures are held at scheduled times just as they would be if you were on campus.
Questions to Ask About Online Forensic Psychology Degree Programs
Do you still have questions about a forensic psychology degree online? You’re not alone. Below are answers to some of the most common questions you may have.
Are online bachelor’s degree programs in forensic psychology fully online?
Yes, you can earn a forensic psychology degree completely online. However, in some cases, you may have the opportunity to get hands-on training through an internship, meaning you’ll need to travel to a site approved by your school. This creates a good balance between online and in-person work that will give you the chance to really gain a practical understanding of classroom material.
What does the admissions process look like for this degree?
Although the admissions process for online forensic psychology degrees can vary, generally you’ll be expected to submit an application, transcripts from high school or college, SAT or ACT scores, and a personal essay explaining your interest in this discipline. Schools often expect applicants to have at least a 3.0 grade point average overall and minimum grades in specific courses, like psychology.
How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology online?
You can expect to complete a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology online in about four years. However, this depends on whether or not you enroll as a part-time or full-time student. Also, some schools may offer accelerated programs so you finish your studies sooner. Another consideration: You may decide to take extra credits each semester or work on courses during the summer to help speed up the process.
What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology?
Forensic psychology degree online students can receive access to many of the same services that traditional students do. Some of these services include tutoring, academic advising, technical support, and writing center assistance. Also, students may have access to career support like help writing resumes and cover letters, job boards, and in-person or virtual career fairs.
What are some of the technical requirements of earning an online degree in forensic psychology?
Also, schools with forensic psychology online degrees may recommend that you have a certain amount of computer memory to get the most out of the learning experience. More information about technology considerations for online students can be found on our Online College Tech Guide.
Can I work while pursuing an online forensic psychology degree?
The flexibility of forensic psychology degrees online makes this a perfect choice if you’re working full time. Because some programs allow you to watch lecturers and complete coursework when it’s most convenient, it’s easier to juggle your education with a job in an online environment than it would be if you had to travel to campus regularly. This flexibility means you don’t have to forgo your education just because you’re working or raising a family.
Other Degree Options in Psychology
If you are still unsure which path in computer science you want to take, look at these other bachelor’s degree options: