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Best Online Master’s Degrees in Forensic Psychology

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Forensic Psychology

Explore the best online forensic psychology master’s programs and discover how obtaining this graduate degree can help you pursue specialized careers in which you can make a positive impact on the justice system, help reduce recidivism, and keep your community safe.

Whether you’re aspiring to become a forensic psychologist, criminal profiler, or advocate for victims within the criminal justice system, getting a master’s in forensic psychology online can help you prepare. You’ll learn about the role psychology plays within the criminal justice system and gain expertise in areas like psychological assessment, ethical considerations, and criminal behavior analysis.

This comprehensive guide delves into the top online forensic psychology master’s programs, examining their unique strengths, specializations, and the flexibility they offer to help you choose a program that suits your interests, career goals, and schedule. Keep reading to take the first step towards advancing your career and obtaining your master’s in forensic psychology online.

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Forensic Psychology for 2024

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Grand Forks, ND
    Public $$

    If you’re looking to earn a master’s degree in forensic psychology, the University of North Dakota offers two different options, the Master of Arts (MA) or the Master of Science (MS), both of which can be completed either online or in-person on campus. Whichever learning path you choose, you’ll be studying your field from a diverse range of perspectives, including courses in cognitive psychology, diversity psychology, the intersection of psychology and law, and more. Although UND is a state school, tuition for your forensic psychology master’s is held at a flat rate regardless of residency status.

    Program Highlights:

    Forensic Psychology (M.A./M.S.)

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 Years
    • Cost: $588.65/credit
    • Mode: In-person, Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Irvine, CA
    Public $$

    The University of California at Irvine offers a master’s degree in legal and forensic psychology, known as the MLFP. This program can be completed online, although all students are required to attend a mandatory one-week introductory course on the Irvine campus at the beginning of the program. The MLFP is a professional degree with a unique fee structure within the UC system, meaning that tuition is a set rate regardless of residency status. In addition to the core courses and electives you will complete upon enrollment, you will also have the opportunity to complete a capstone project at the end of the program.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology (MLFP)

    • Credits: 52
    • Length: 2 Years
    • Cost: $5,243/term
    • Mode: Online, Hybrid
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Los Angeles, CA
    Private not-for-profit $$$$

    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers multiple options to complete your Master of Arts in forensic psychology. This degree can be completed through either full-time or part-time study, with nonlicensure and licensure tracks, and in-person and online study options. Whichever track and learning option you choose, you will be expected to develop a thorough and multiculturally-sensitive understanding of the field. Students on the licensure track must complete a practicum and internship. The school strives to meet the financial needs of students who qualify for the program with scholarships and other financial aid options.

    Program Highlights:

    M.A. Forensic Psychology

    • Credits: Varies
    • Length: 2-4 Years
    • Cost: $1,368/credit
    • Mode: In-person, Online
    • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Program Spotlights: Online Forensic Psychology Master’s Degrees

When choosing a master’s in forensic psychology online program, it’s important to consider each school’s goals, outcomes, and course offerings. Because forensic psychology is an interdisciplinary field, you can specialize in a variety of areas, including victim advocacy, criminal profiling, and courtroom consultation; so you’ll want to find a program that aligns with your interests and career goals. Schools may also emphasize distinct objectives to help you make an informed decision, from developing expertise in criminal assessment to enhancing research skills. Although the goals and outcomes of each program will differ, schools that achieve regional accreditation all meet set standards to ensure a high-quality education. Begin your research with the top-rated online forensic psychology master’s programs below.

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers a Master’s in Forensic Psychology online program that teaches students about the relationship between law and psychology. Learn about subjects like advanced psychological concepts and the U.S. legal system to prepare for a career in settings such as the military, law enforcement, hospitals, and social service agencies. Advising, tutoring, and career services are all available online to help students feel supported throughout their academic journey. One unique element of this program is that students complete a supervised field placement to gain hands-on experience. You can also choose from a wide selection of electives, such as juvenile justice, victimology, or human nature and crime, based on your interests and career goals. 

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $660.08/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Admission requirements: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) aims to make higher education more accessible by offering affordable, online learning courses, like its Master’s in Forensic Psychology program. The program gives students an overview of the field, teaching them about subjects such as applying psychological theories to criminal behavior and psychology in the courtroom. There are no set class meeting times, so you would have full control over your schedule, making it easier to incorporate learning into your day-to-day life. Tuition at SNHU is lower than other schools in the nation, and U.S. service members and their spouses get a 25% tuition discount. You can also transfer up to 12 credits from your previous institution or earn college credit for previous work experience, so you won’t be repeating courses if you already have experience.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $637/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Admission requirements: Bachelor’s degree
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Walden University

Walden University’s Master’s in Forensic Psychology online program teaches students about psychological, biological, and social factors impacting criminal behavior. This ensures graduates are able to apply psychological theories relevant to criminal behavior in settings such as corrections, court systems, law enforcement, and government agencies. Walden University offers its online programs to students around the world, creating a diverse learning environment where anyone can thrive. To help students succeed, the school also offers a Believe & Achieve Scholarship. If you’re eligible, you could save $5,550 on your tuition.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: 15 months
  • Cost: $27,490
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Admission requirements: Bachelor’s degree
  • Financial aid opportunities: Grants and scholarships available
  • Accreditation: HLC

What to Expect in Your Online Forensic Psychology Master’s Degree Program

The curriculum of a forensic psychology degree program covers a range of topics that can help you understand how psychology and the criminal justice system intertwine. You may study topics such as criminal behavior, the U.S. legal system, ethical issues, and forensic assessment. Some schools offer electives, like personality psychology and child psychology, which allow you to pursue specialized topics based on your interests. Throughout the program, you develop technical skills like report writing, courtroom testimony, and psychological assessment and improve soft skills like communication and time management. To graduate, you’re typically required to conduct directed research on a chosen topic and prepare a comprehensive thesis.

Schools generally have their own learning management system where you can access your lectures, course materials, and assignments. You may communicate with your instructor or fellow students through email, discussion boards, or video conferencing platforms like Zoom. Forensic psychology classes may be synchronous, meaning you attend lectures at specific times, or asynchronous, allowing you to watch lectures and complete coursework at your own pace. These classes may use technology like virtual labs, multimedia presentations, and interactive simulations to replicate the quality of on-campus education. 

Below, gain insights into some of the typical classes you’ll encounter during your major coursework.

Common Online Forensic Psychology Courses

Forensic Psychology

Most programs offer a general forensic psychology course to introduce students to the intersection of psychology and the legal system. In this course, you may learn about topics such as conducting a psychological assessment, criminal profiling, mental health issues, and offering eyewitness testimony. You may conduct practical exercises and case studies to gain insight into the role of forensic psychology professionals in courtroom proceedings, correctional settings, and criminal investigations.

Ethics in Psychology

This course teaches students about ethical dilemmas and considerations they may encounter in the forensic psychology field. You’ll learn about ethical codes and guidelines specific to forensic psychology and discover how to address issues related to informed consent, dual relationships, and confidentiality. Through ethical decision-making frameworks and case studies, you can develop the necessary skills and knowledge to provide ethical psychological services to other forensic psychology professionals, clients, and research subjects.

Foundations of Social Justice

Learn about the philosophical, historical, and contemporary aspects of the American justice system and examine discrimination, societal inequalities, and systemic issues in this course. You’ll learn about different perspectives on social justice so you can identify and address biases, ethical dilemmas, and disparities within your forensic psychology practice. This course teaches you the importance of promoting equity and fairness in interventions, assessments, and interactions with a diverse range of individuals involved in legal matters.

Social Psychology

Social psychology is an important aspect of forensic psychology, as social factors can impact criminal profiling, jury decision-making, eyewitness testimony, and the behavior of victims and offenders. Learn about the factors that can contribute to criminal behavior, such as adverse childhood experiences or substance abuse, so you can identify these issues in your clients and develop a rehabilitation plan. You’ll also learn about the effects social factors like conformity, prejudice, violence, and attraction have on society.

Forensic Psychology and Law

This course teaches you about research, theories, and practice in forensic psychology as they relate to criminal law. Learn about forensic psychology’s role in shaping legal outcomes and discover how to apply psychological principles and theories in criminal investigations and courtrooms. Develop the technical skills and knowledge to conduct witness testimonies and profiling within the confines of the law.

How Much Does an Online Forensic Psychology Master’s Degree Cost?

While institutions vary considerably regarding how much they charge to pursue a master’s degree, graduate level forensic psychology credits can range from $450 to $800 or more per credit. You may be required to complete 30 to 45 credits, depending on the program, so tuition for two years can range from about $14,000 to $36,000. This doesn’t include any additional fees you may incur, such as an enrolment fee or the cost of textbooks. Thankfully, there are many financial aid options available

Some schools offer their own financial aid or scholarships, especially to international students who don’t qualify for government loans. But if you’re a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for FAFSA. If you currently work in the forensic psychology field, check to see if your employer offers a tuition assistance program, where they pay a portion or all your fees to encourage career growth. The table below can give you a better idea of the range of tuition costs available so you can choose a program that suits your budget. 

How Much Your Online Forensic Psychology Masters Could Cost

SchoolNo. of CreditsCost per CreditTotal Tuition
Nova Southeastern University36$450$16,200
Arizona State University33$457.61$15,101
Liberty University36$565$20,340
Grand Canyon University36$575$20,700
Monroe College42$919$38,598

What Careers Can You Pursue with a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology

Getting an online forensic psychology master’s degree prepares you for a diverse range of careers within the law enforcement, criminal justice, and mental health fields. When you graduate, you can pursue roles like criminal profiler, forensic psychologist, victim advocate, or probation officer. With the skills you acquire during your program, like criminal behavior analysis or psychological assessment, career prospects and earning potential are higher than those with a bachelor’s degree in the same field. You can typically find suitable forensic psychology positions with government agencies, correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies, and consulting firms. Here’s an in-depth look at three careers you can pursue with a forensic psychology degree:

Career #1: Correctional Counselor

Correctional counselors work with inmates in correctional facilities. They provide counseling, assess rehabilitation needs, and develop treatment plans aimed at reducing recidivism. Their goal is to help inmates address problems such as substance abuse, behavioral issues, and mental health challenges to improve their overall well-being and reintegrate them into society upon release.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Zippia, 2023

Career #2: Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists work with individuals involved in legal matters, including defendants, witnesses, and victims. They evaluate people’s mental state, potential for violence, and competency. This allows them to perform tasks like criminal profiling, offering expert testimony in court, and consulting legal professionals.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Zippia, 2023

Career #3: Probation Officer

Probation officers supervise individuals placed on probation or parole to ensure they comply with court-ordered conditions and rehabilitation plans. They offer support, monitor progress, assess potential risks, and report to the court. Their main goals are to facilitate rehabilitation to reduce recidivism and maintain public safety.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Zippia, 2023

FAQs About Online Forensic Psychology Master’s Programs

If you’re considering advancing your career by pursuing a master’s in forensic psychology online, you may have some questions about the available programs, their benefits, and how they work. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions about online forensic psychology master’s programs:

  • Are online master’s degree programs in forensic psychology fully online?

    Many forensic psychology programs are designed to be fully online to make them more accessible to students. This allows people from around the world to join the program from the comfort of their own homes. You can complete your coursework online, watch live or recorded lectures, and interact with professors and fellow students through online platforms. That being said, it’s important to check the details of the forensic psychology program you’re interested in, as some may have in-person requirements, such as a field placement, or optional on-campus components.

  • What does the admissions process for a master’s in forensic psychology online look like?

    The admission process for a master’s in forensic psychology online can vary depending on the institution and program, but generally, you start the process by completing an online application. You may be required to attach certain documents, such as your undergraduate transcript and proof of English language proficiency if you’re an international student. Some forensic psychology programs also require you to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit your results. The test assesses your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

  • How long does it take to complete a master’s degree in forensic psychology online?

    The time it takes to complete a master’s in forensic psychology online can vary, as schools typically offer options for full-time or part-time study as well as accelerated programs. If you choose to attend full time, it typically takes two years to get a master’s degree in forensic psychology, while studying part time can take three to four years. Accelerated forensic psychology programs typically last 12 to 18 months. If you have prior graduate school credits or experience in the forensic psychology field, you may also be able to transfer credits to shorten the time required to complete your degree.

  • What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their master’s in forensic psychology online?

    Many schools offer online support services to forensic psychology students, such as academic advising, tutoring, technical support, and career services. You can utilize these resources at any point during and typically after the program in a number of ways, such as improving your GPA, enhancing your resume when applying for jobs, or fixing your laptop to access lectures. Schools also offer disability services to ensure equal access to education, so talk to an advisor if you need accommodations.

  • Can I work while pursuing a forensic psychology master’s online?

    Online forensic psychology programs offer more flexibility than in-person ones, so you can balance your studies with work and personal commitments. You can choose a part-time program to continue to work or choose a self-paced program so you can watch lectures and complete coursework in your free time.

Other Master’s Degree Options in Psychology

If you’re interested in a master’s degree in education but are unsure what specialization to pursue, check out these other degree pages to learn about your options:

Master’s Degrees in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Master’s Degrees in Psychology – Organizational Psychology