15 Best Masters In Forensic Psychology | Best Rankings

Forensic psychology is an interesting career that blends psychology with legal knowledge. Applying many legal concepts requires understanding psychological principles, such as state of mind, memory, and perception. That being said, a master’s degree in forensic psychology is for students who want more specialized knowledge.

The World Scholarship Forum has carefully selected the best Masters in Forensic Psychology in 2022. Stay with me!

Forensic psychology is the intersection of psychology and the law, combining scientific principles and practices with legal theory and procedure.

Forensic psychology strives to promote ethical, evidence-based decision-making in criminal justice, social services, and related fields.

Despite being a relatively young discipline, forensic psychology has gained popularity and widespread attention through portrayals in network television shows like “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS.”

In the real world, forensic psychologists provide services and expertise in various settings, including courtrooms, government agencies, higher education, jails, prisons, and rehabilitation facilities.

For those of you willing to pursue a masters in Forensic psychology, this post is here to guide you. Carefully read through.

To view the post at a glance, use the table of content below.

What Is Forensic Psychology?

Forensic psychology is the intersection of psychology and the law, where scientific principles and practices are blended with legal theory and procedure. It aims to promote ethical, evidence-based decision-making in criminal justice, social services, and related fields.

Forensic psychology connects the practice of psychology and the law. Those who work in this field employ psychological knowledge as it applies to the justice system. The word ‘forensic’ emanates from the Latin word ‘forensics,’ which means “the forum,” or the court system of Ancient Rome.

The American Board of Forensic Psychology defines this field as applying psychology to issues involving the law and legal system.

Over the years, my interest in forensic psychology has grown significantly. Increasing numbers of graduate programs offer dual degrees in psychology and law, while others provide specialization in forensic psychology.

In general terms, forensic psychologists focus on the utilization of psychological theory and practice in the criminal, court, and corrections systems. 

What Does Forensic Psychologists Do?

Forensic psychology is not all about solving crimes and getting inside the minds of criminals, there are still plenty of hurdles for forensic psychologists. There are several different job options within the field of forensic psychology.

Forensic psychologists can work directly in the criminal justice system to evaluate and treat individuals who have committed crimes or have been the victims of crimes.

Furthermore, they can also investigate cases of alleged child abuse, work with child witnesses, evaluate individuals involved in child custody disputes, and assess mental competency.

Forensic psychologists are also employed in jails and prisons, providing rehabilitative treatment and instruction to inmates for their release and return to the outside world.

They can also fit in greatly into police departments as consultants during criminal investigations.

What Does It Take To Become A Forensic Psychologist?

Becoming a Forensic psychologist requires a good number of educational exposure and practical in-field experience. However, to become a forensic psychologist, you need to undergo the following educational training;

Obtain a bachelor’s degree

This is the starting point for becoming a forensic psychologist. You are expected to earn a bachelor’s degree from a fully accredited college or university.

A familiar course of action on the undergraduate level is to major in psychology with a minor in criminal justice or criminology.

Also, you can afford to major in a law subject and minor in psychology. However, some graduate schools only accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

A limited number of colleges may offer an undergraduate program in psychology that centers on forensic psychology, with studies in the legal aspects of the field.

It’s also necessary to note that a bachelor’s degree does not guarantee acceptance into a graduate program. Therefore, students are advised to strive for the highest GPA while preparing for graduate school prerequisites and admissions requirements.

Get A Masters In Forensic Psychology

Most doctoral programs in psychology do not have a full forensic psychology program. Instead, a PhD or PsyD in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology.

To advance their specialized knowledge, students may pursue a master’s degree in forensic psychology.

Pursue A Law Degree (Optional)

If you wish to broaden your knowledge in the legal system, you can pursue a law degree.

A Juris Doctor can render legal instruction on ideas and procedures of the court, as well as qualify any individual to sit for the bar and become an attorney. Some schools award joint degrees, combining a JD degree with a master’s or doctorate degree.

Earn A Doctorate Psychology Degree

The Doctorate degree in psychology is great for those who are research-oriented, while the PsyD is best for those who focus on the treatment of patients.

Depending on the school, the curriculum in the two degrees may not be distinct. If the student has a professional goal, such as evaluating criminal defendants, you can choose one degree.

Obtain A State Licensure

If a forensic psychologist wants to assess individuals on behalf of the court or work as an expert witness regarding competency, a state license will apparently be needed.

Each state supervises its own licensing requirements. To be qualified for state licensure, you need the following;

  • A doctorate degree.
  • You need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology.
  • Have a set measure of relevant experience.

Become Board Certified

Although this is not an absolute requirement for practice, forensic psychologists may wish to apply for professional certification with the American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP).

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Overseen by the American Board of Professional Psychology, the Diploma in Forensic Psychology from the ABFP is the only postdoctoral certification for forensic psychologists approved by the American Psychological Association.

ABFP certification applicants must hold a doctoral degree from a professional psychology program, be licensed in their jurisdiction of practice, and complete at least 100 hours of formal education and 1,000 hours of practical experience in the field.

How Can I Obtain A Masters in Forensic Psychology?

Master in Psychology program admission requirements

To obtain a masters in Forensic Psychology, you need to meet the following prerequisites;

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Graduate schools expect applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree or have confirmed plans for imminent graduation. Specific discipline requirements differ by program. Some forensic psychology programs allow only applicants with bachelor’s degrees in psychology.
  • Prerequisite Courses: These typically include introductory undergraduate courses in psychology, research methods, and/or statistics. Programs commonly offer conclusion options for incoming students who do not meet these minimum requirements.
  • Minimum GPA: Specific minimum GPA requirements differ from school to school but tend to sit around 2.75-3.0 for full admission. If your undergraduate GPA is lesser than the minimum requirement, you may still qualify for conditional admission. Some schools require applicants with lower GPAs to submit standardized test scores.

What Can I Do With A Masters In Forensic Psychology?

Forensic psychologists learn about clinical psychology, the judicial system, and criminology. As such, they are equipped for an interesting and varied career. They can work in corrections centers, social services departments, or other law enforcement offices.

Serving a variety of different people, they offer psychological profiling, diagnosis, treatment, advocacy, or expert testimony in legal proceedings.

A masters in forensic psychology degree holder can work as;

  • Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist
  • Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor
  • Police and Detectives

Work hours for forensic psychologists can be tedious, especially in those weeks leading up to an important trial. According to the APA, forensic psychologists might anticipate working eight or 12-hour days, but they are usually well-compensated for their time.

How To Apply For Masters In Forensic Psychology

To apply for master’s in forensic psychology, you need to submit the following;

Test Scores

Most forensic psychology programs may require all applicants to provide GRE scores in order to help narrow down admissions decisions.

While others limit mandatory graded testing to individuals who don’t meet minimum GPA requirements.

Letters of Recommendation

Virtually every graduate school asks master’s program applicants to submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can competently address a candidate’s potential for success.

Your recommenders can be undergraduate professors, coworkers, managers, or mentors. Family or friends should not write recommendation letters.

Statement or Essay

You will be expected to write an essay of at least 500 words for each master’s program you apply to. Writing stipulations and guidelines differ.

Through the essay writing, the school gets a feel for your personality, learns more about your past experiences, and better understands your academic and professional aspirations.

What Should I Expect In A Masters In Forensic Psychology Program?

A master’s degrees in forensic psychology offer advanced study of human behavior, criminal justice, mental health, and ethics in law and psychology. However, the course topics and concentrations might differ according to institutions.

Nevertheless, they revolve around the following concentrations;

  • Child protection
  • Correctional psychology
  • Legal studies
  • Applied and clinical psychology
  • Sex offender

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Masters In Forensic Psychology Program?

A master’s program in Forensic Psychology will not take longer than it should, it takes two to four years to complete a master’s in forensic psychology program.

15 Best Masters In Forensic Psychology

Master’s degrees in Forensic Psychology is designed to prepare graduates to become mental health professionals. We’ve carefully selected the best masters in Forensic Psychology based on the following factors; acceptance rate, tuition fee, employability index amongst other factors.

City University of New York – John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The university offers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology through its John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

The degree program centers on the evaluation, treatment, and understanding of both offenders and victims. It satisfies areas of psychopathology, personality assessment, therapeutic techniques, and research methods.

The 42-credit curriculum includes four required courses: Mental Health Professionals, Social Science, and the Law; Research Design and Methods; Psychopathology; and Intermediate Statistics in the Social Sciences.

In addition, students may choose to complete an externship, which involves a minimum of 300 hours spent in a supervised psychological setting. Otherwise, students can opt to pursue a master’s thesis.

NOTE: There’s no qualifying exam for this degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,450 in-state; $19,320 out-of-state

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University of North Dakota – Grand Forks

The University of North Dakota – Grand Forks offers a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology. The 30-credit curriculum includes required courses such as Behavior Pathology, Experimental Design, and Psychology and Law.

There are also elective courses like; Cognitive Psychology, Human Nature and Crime, and Victimology. Furthermore, the program does not include a comprehensive exam.

Therefore, students can choose to follow a thesis track with six thesis credit hours or to complete a non-thesis independent study option. The degree takes about two years to complete.

To be a student of UND, you must satisfy the admission requirements laid down by the school of graduate studies.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,688 in-state; $20,526 out-of-state

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University of Denver

The private research university is located in Denver, Colorado started offering a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology in 1999, when concerns and development in the field of forensic psychology were growing. The program combines coursework and practical experiences in psychology and law.

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Furthermore, it emphasizes the principles of diversity and cultural competencies. The curriculum includes courses in Group Interventions, Lifespan Development and the Cultural Context, Mental Health Law, Trauma and Crisis Intervention, and Conflict Resolution.

The program is intended to be completed in two academic years of full-time study. The University of Denver is on a quarter system, and students must attend fall, winter, and spring quarters.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,520

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California Baptist University

California Baptist University confers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. The program builds recognition of the biological nature of the crime, criminal profiling, human development, psychopathology, and psychology and law.

The 57-unit curriculum comprises courses in Legal Research and Reasoning, Criminal Investigations, and Theory and Perspectives in Criminal Behavior.

In addition, students can pursue a master’s thesis, or follow a non-thesis track culminating in a comprehensive exam.

During their second year of study, students acquire field experience in a forensic setting. The duration of the degree is two years.

Program cost+ fees: $43,605

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Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Irvine Campus)

The Chicago School is a private, non-profit based institution in Chicago, Illinois. The school runs campuses throughout the United States, in IllinoisTexasCalifornia, and Washington, D.C.

The Irvine campus is situated in the heart of University Plaza, next to UC Irvine, in Orange County, California.

CS offers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program. The two-year, full-time program combines study in psychology, law, and public policy.

Outside theoretical foundations, Forensic Psychology students work in the school’s Forensic Training Institute to extend services in clinical treatment, forensic assessment, and program measurement.

Example courses include Trauma and Crisis Interventions, Mental Health Law, and Tactical and Field Psychology.

The full time program lasts for two years.

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University of New Haven

The University of New Haven was founded as the New Haven YMCA Junior College in 1920 and offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. 

The Forensic Psychology concentration is meant for individuals already working or planning to work in the justice system.

General Criminal Justice courses include Mental Health, Law, Criminal Justice, and Theories of Criminal Behavior. Forensic Psychology concentration courses include Abnormal Psychology in Forensic Populations, Forensic Assessment, and Mental Health Law.

Additionally, all students are expected to complete either a thesis project or a comprehensive final exam.

Applicants should take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) General Test and submit their scores to Graduate Admissions. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,020

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Marymount University

Marymount University offers an interdisciplinary program that leads to a Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology.

The degree program merges study in psychology with the areas of criminal justice, law, and public policy. Students can also pursue a concentration in Intelligence Studies.

Furthermore, the program also offers students opportunities to study abroad in countries like Germany, UK, etc. The curriculum incorporates courses in Bases of Psychopathology, Death Penalty and Mitigation, and Wrongful Convictions: Case Analysis.

Each course fuses an ethics component to inspire you to fight with the extremely complicated issues involved in a career in forensic and legal psychology.

Students can complete a research project in an area of interest or a 300-hour internship and accompanying seminar.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,550

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Roger Williams University

Roger Williams University grants a Master of Arts in Forensic & Legal Psychology through its Feinstein School of Social and Natural Sciences.

The two-year full-time program is designed to equip students intellectually. The program nurtures students in clinical assessment, psychological testing, research design, and statistical analysis.

The core course series is made up of 11 required courses, including Multicultural Competence in Psychological Practice, Professional Ethics in Psychology, and Psychology and Law.

Additional course options include Assessment in Criminal Law, Child Assessment, and Developmental Psychopathology. All students must complete an independent inquiry, a research practicum, and a master’s thesis.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,936

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California State University, Los Angeles

California State University, Los Angeles’ Master of Science in Forensic Psychology is intended for students interested in the intersection between psychology and the criminal justice system.

Administered courses include Courtroom and Legal Issues in Criminalistics, Psychology and the Law, and a seminar in Abnormal Psychology.

Additionally, students must also take a quantitative course relating to statistics or research methods. Elective offerings include Developmental Psychology, Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology, and Social Psychology seminars.

The program highlights theory and research while providing practical training in evaluation and treatment that will prepare them for their entry to the marketplace after graduation.

In a nutshell, the course is designed to accommodate students who plan to progress on to doctoral study and students who wish to enter the field as masters-level practitioners.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,176 in-state; $16,680 out-of-state

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Fairleigh Dickinson University

Fairleigh Dickinson University offers an accelerated Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology.

This program is planned to be taken while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. While most BA/MA tandem programs are designed to take six years, FDU’s program can be completed in just five years.

If the degrees are pursued separately the unit requirement would be 164, but the accelerated program lowers the required units to 149. In addition to the unit’s requirement, students must also fulfill a 300-hour externship in the form of fieldwork.

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Furthermore, students enrolled in the MAFP program must complete a thorough written examination to demonstrate knowledge of forensic psychology, abnormal psychology, and statistics.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,410

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Missouri State University

Missouri State University is a government university in Springfield, Missouri. The university’s 100 graduate choices include a Forensic Child Psychology Graduate Certificate Program.

The MSU Forensic Child Psychology Graduate Certificate Program provides training especially for professionals working with children. The program works in partnership with the local Child Advocacy Center and the Greene County justice system.

Students learn to protect the reliability and integrity of child interviews in criminal cases. Required courses include:

  • Forensic Child Psychology
  • Psychology of Child Abuse and Exploitation
  • Forensic Psychology: Child Abuse and the Law

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,173

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Southern New Hampshire University 

The Master’s in Forensic Psychology degree from Southern New Hampshire University consists of 36 credit hours. Students who take two courses per term, which last ten weeks, can complete the degree in 15 months.

Courses taught are; Assessment for Forensic Psychology, Intersection of Law and Psychology, and Psychology in the Courtroom. The master’s coursework does not prepare students for licensing in counseling or psychology.

However, the degree provides an understanding of people’s behavior in the criminal justice system.

Graduates also can tap into SNHU’s broad alumni network for career and internship openings.

Applicants to the program should possess a bachelor’s degree in psychology or another area and have completed courses in psychology, social science statistics, and social science research methods. No GRE or GMAT scores are required.

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University Of Houston-Victoria 

The program equips graduates for licensing as counselors or psychological associates. Applicants must have completed undergraduate statistics, research methods, and abnormal psychology classes.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, applicants must present an essay about reasons for applying and career goals, a letter of recommendation, and GRE scores.

The University of Houston-Victoria places its graduate students in organizations throughout the Texas Gulf Coast community for field experience in its MA Forensic Psychology program.

Thereafter, many students go on to have careers at the practicum sites after graduation, UHV says. There are two practicums in the master’s program, which consists of 63 credit hours.

One practicum focuses on treatment and the other on case assessment. Each requires a minimum of 150 clock hours of supervised work. The master’s program has 21 credit hours of core courses and 33 hours in specialization study.

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Nova Southeastern University

The Master of Science in Forensic Psychology is a 36-credit online program that equips students with insight into the intersection of psychology and legal issues.

Through this program, students understand what forensic psychologists do and will learn how to apply this training in various professional contexts.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree and some undergraduate psychology requirements, applicants must provide two recommendation letters and a statement of professional goals.

The online format and non-clinical curriculum make the program an excellent option for working professionals needing to integrate graduate study with job responsibilities. See details via the school’s website below.

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Arizona State University Online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology is a self-paced program. It comprises of 11 courses totaling 33 semester credit hours. Each class lasts 7.5 weeks.

The online MS in Forensic Psychology program will provide working professionals with an understanding of mental health issues and human behavior concerning crime and the legal system.

Essentially, it involves specialized coursework on criminal law, criminal behavior, the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, and legal decision making. 

Key classes include Psychopathology and Advanced Legal Psychology, and electives include Quantitative Analysis and Statistics & Methods.

Program aspirants must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, criminal justice, social science, or a related discipline. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 is necessary. Application details include a personal statement and two recommendation letters.

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A master’s degree in forensic psychology is well suited for students who do not already have a psychology, forensic psychology, or criminal justice degree and want more specialized knowledge. Therefore, you can enroll in forensic psychology degrees at the master’s level offered either online or with flexible class schedules.

FAQs On 15 Best Masters In Forensic Psychology In 2023

What Is Forensic Psychology?

Forensic psychology is the intersection of psychology and the law, where scientific principles and practices are blended with legal theory and procedure.

What Can I Do With A Masters In Forensic Psychology?

With a master’s in forensic psychology, you can work in corrections centers, social services departments, or other law enforcement offices.

What are the admission requirements for a masters in forensic

To be qualified for a master’s degree program in forensic psychology, you need a bachelor’s degree, some prerequisite courses, and a minimum GPA of 2.7.

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Master’s In Forensic Psychology Program?

It takes two-four years to complete a masters in forensic psychology program.


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