2022 Best Forensic Psychology Degrees Online [Bachelor’s Guide]

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Earning a forensic psychology degree online could be your first step toward a meaningful career.

Best Forensic Psychology Degrees Online

A bachelors degree in this field can provide insight into how psychology can be an important tool in the criminal justice system.

While many students continue on to earn a masters and even a doctoral degree in forensic psychology, let’s take a look at how a forensic psychologist degree can impact your future.

Online Bachelors in Forensic Psychology Degrees

Woman taking Forensic Psychology Degree Online

An online bachelors degree in forensic psychology can help you develop versatile skill sets. Graduates often go on to pursue a variety of careers within the legal system or within the field of psychology and counseling services. Others continue their educations by entering masters or PhD in Forensic Science online or on-campus programs.

Many forensic psychology colleges ask students to focus on topics that will help them connect with those involved in a crime. As a result, they can learn to provide counseling and analysis of these individuals’ behavior. Generally, students of forensic psychology will learn how to:

  • Interview a variety of subjects
  • Understand the legal and ethical parameters of criminal psychology
  • Communicate with law enforcement, criminals, and victims
  • Create written reports of their analysis of various types of behavior
  • Present their analytical findings in court or to law enforcement

As a result, students who graduate with a forensic psychology major can be well versed in both legal proceedings and psychological sciences.

Those who study forensic psychology can find positions in many settings, ranging from hospitals to prisons, jails, and rehabilitation centers. Many work directly with police or detectives, and in some cases, graduates choose a career in law enforcement.

Following graduation from a bachelor’s degree program in forensic psych, graduates may enter careers in counseling, law enforcement, or social work. Many continue their education with a masters or doctoral degree. A doctorate is commonly required to become a certified forensic psychologist.

Forensic Psychology Careers and Salaries

Forensic Psychology Careers and Salaries

Those who earn their forensic psychology bachelor’s degree online may pursue careers in a variety of fields related to psychology, social work, and the legal and criminal justice system.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries for a range of career paths related to forensic psychology.  

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Detectives and Criminal Investigators  $83,640
Psychologists  $81,040
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers $64,610
Healthcare Social Workers $60,840
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $60,250
Social Workers $50,390
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $48,520
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs $47,920
Court, Municipal, and License Clerks $44,610
Social and Human Service Assistants $37,610

Some career paths may entail additional education or certification, so your forensic psychology degree could be the first step in your professional journey. For instance, forensic psychologists typically hold doctoral degrees in the field.

As a forensic psychology major, you can choose to apply your knowledge of psychology, criminology, and criminal justice in a wide variety of professional settings.

Bachelor in Forensic Psychology Curriculum & Courses

University Students taking Bachelor in Forensic Psychology

Different forensic psychology colleges will have their own curriculum and courses. There are a few areas of study, though, that are frequently examined by many online bachelor degree programs. Example courses include:

  • Forensic Science Methodology: You’ll learn to understand how physical evidence can correlate to the individuals involved in a crime.
  • Correctional Psychology: This course focuses on working with those in correctional facilities, including the challenges that may come from working with inmates.
  • Counseling Processes and Techniques: In this course, you can learn how to work with both criminals and victims to understand their psychological state.
  • Victim Advocacy: You’ll learn how to connect and advocate for victims of various crimes.
  • Juvenile Justice Systems: The criminal procedures for adults and juvenile offenders can be very different, as taught in this course.
  • Child and Adolescent Psychology: This course explores how biological, cognitive, and emotional development in younger people can impact their overall psychological state.
  • Criminal Behavior: In this course, you’ll learn what motivates people to commit crimes and how to recognize patterns in criminal activity.
  • Criminal Law: You’ll learn how criminal behavior is persecuted and how punishment’s served at the local, state, and federal level.
  • Abnormal Psychology: In this course, students are asked to research the origin and patterns of abnormal behaviors.
  • Health and Psychology: This course introduces you to the intersectionality between someone’s physical health and their psychological status.

Depending on your program and personal interests, you may choose courses that focus on a specific area of forensic psychology, such as juvenile offenders or victim advocacy and rehabilitation.

How to Choose an Online Forensic Psychology Degree Program

students taking Bachelor in Forensic Psychology program

There are many colleges and universities that offer a forensic psychology bachelor’s degree online. So, how do you decide which programs offering online forensics degrees are best for you? Here are a few factors to consider when comparing and contrasting online forensic psychology degree programs:

  • What is the curriculum? Often, schools will publish how many core classes and electives are involved in their program, so you can select an overall program that is in line with your future plans.
  • Are there internships or practical work experiences involved? Even if you select an online program, you may have the opportunity to work in the field as part of your forensic psychology major.
  • What is involved in earning your degree? You may want to check the fine print to determine costs per credit hour, the number of credits required, credit transfer opportunities, and any additional certifications you may qualify for upon completion.

When selecting a program, it’s strategic to look for one that will provide you with the best knowledge to achieve your next goal, whether that’s a graduate degree or entry into the professional field.

Online Degree in Forensic Psychology Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing requirements for Forensic Psychology Bachelor application

Various forensic psychology colleges may have their own admissions requirements, so it’s helpful to thoroughly review a program’s application process before you get started.

Here are some commonly requested admission materials for an undergraduate program:

  • SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
  • School transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of intent

Additionally, you may be asked to complete an interview with an admissions counselor to discuss your plans for your forensic psychology major and potential future career.

Forensic Psychology Programs Accreditation

University offering Bachelor in Forensic Psychology Degree

When selecting which of the many forensic psychology colleges best fits your goals, you may wish to pay close attention to those that are regionally accredited.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes seven regional accrediting agencies, and you can verify a school’s accreditation status on CHEA’s website. Accreditors evaluate educational programs to ensure they meet the highest quality standards. As a result, some financial aid opportunities are only available to students who attend a school that’s accredited.

Some professional organizations also include attending an accredited school as a prerequisite for membership. In addition, receiving an education from an accredited school can be a requirement for various state licenses and board certifications.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Bachelor in Forensic Psychology Financial Aid

Many students are interested in assistance when paying for their forensic psychologist degree. Thankfully, there are many financial aid options available for those who qualify.

One common place to start is with federal aid. Completing the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, will determine your eligibility for need-based government aid. Additionally, you can see if your college offers undergraduate scholarship programs. Many schools provide financial assistance to those with stellar academic performance, but scholarships can also be based off of a variety of factors.

You can also connect with your current employer to determine if tuition reimbursement or assistance is offered. Some local businesses or community initiatives also provide scholarship opportunities to undergraduate students.

What Is a Forensic Psychology Bachelor’s Degree?

A bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology is interdisciplinary, combining elements of law and psychology. Some professionals in this field try to understand a criminal’s motives to create a profile of an offender. Others may work with apprehended criminals to determine motive and the potential for rehabilitation.

Some forensic psychology positions work closely with victims, either to advocate for them, to interview them, or to determine how they’re related to a criminal’s psychological profile. Students who are working toward a forensic psychology major will be asked to demonstrate in-depth analytical skills when evaluating behavior and providing counseling.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Forensic Psychology?

Psychologist interviewing a teenager

Earning your forensic psychology bachelor’s degree online can be the first step in preparing for either graduate studies or entry-level roles in the workforce.

Some graduates use their forensic psychology major as an entry point into a career within the legal system. These career paths could include jury consultant, court clerk, and victim advocate. Others apply their knowledge toward counseling and social service opportunities. They might work as social workers or substance abuse and behavioral counselors.

Law enforcement is another common field for forensic psychology majors. Graduates may go on to become probation officers, correctional officers, police officers, crime analysts, or criminal investigators.

Is Forensic Psychology Hard?

The courses involved in a forensic psychologist degree are designed to be challenging. As a student of forensic psychology, you’ll be asked to analyze a variety of criminal situations and behaviors. You’ll also learn about the development of human psychology and why people might choose to commit crimes.

Your program might also cover how to review evidence and speak with individuals who are perpetrators or victims of crimes. Some of the crimes you’ll study may be violent in nature. It’s beneficial to take the time to review each program’s course catalog to ensure you’re comfortable with the material.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Forensic Psychology Bachelors Degree Online?

Man getting his Bachelor in Forensic Psychology Degree online

The length of time it takes to earn your forensic psychology bachelor’s degree online depends on the program you select and your enrollment status.

For schools that follow a traditional 16 week semester, full-time students are generally able to complete their bachelor’s degree in 4 years. Those who follow an 8 week semester can often complete their degree in less time if  they are enrolled continuously, including during summer terms. If you attend a program part-time, it will often take longer to complete your degree.

Is Forensic Psychology a Good Career?

Yes, forensic psychology is a good career for many professionals. Whether you choose to focus on the legal, criminal, or psychological aspects of a forensic psychology degree, you may be able to choose from a variety of career options.

Some forensic psychology majors continue their education to become licensed psychologists or lawyers. Others choose roles in criminal justice or social work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates steady growth over the next ten years for positions in protective service, community and social service, social science, and the legal sector.

How Much Do Forensic Psychologists Make?

Detective with Forensic Psychology degree, working in her office

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median salary for psychologists is $81,040. This figure is dependent on many variables, though, including your location and specialty. Additionally, this career path requires additional education and licensure.

There are a number of career paths available to professionals with a bachelor’s program in forensic psych. Many graduates go into law enforcement, counseling, or social work. The median salary for protective service occupations is $46,590, and the median wage for social workers is $50,390, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors have similar earnings, with a median salary of $48,520.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Forensic Psychologist?

Becoming a licensed forensic psychologist often requires a doctoral degree. This could entail earning your bachelors and masters degree first.

Earning a forensic psychology bachelors degree can be a strategic first step in this process, as many graduate and doctoral programs look for undergraduate work in forensic psychology or a related field. Some careers utilize the skills you can learn in a forensic psych undergraduate program and do not require advanced degrees.

What’s the Difference Between a BA vs. BS in Forensic Psychology Degree?

There are many similarities between a BS and a BA in Forensic Psychology, but there are several differences between the two as well.

BS in Forensic Psychology BA in Forensic Psychology
  • May focus more on the scientific aspects of psychology and criminal investigation
  • May prepare students for research and analytical careers
  • Often requires students to complete lab and clinical experiences
  • May focus more on humanities and social sciences
  • May prepare students for social work or counseling careers
  • Often allows students to select more electives in their concentration

Your career goals and interests may impact your decision to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in this field.

What’s the Difference Between a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Psychology vs. Forensic Psychology?

One of the main differences between a bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology and one in forensic psychology is the scope of study. Criminal psychology is more specialized and sometimes viewed as a subfield of forensic psych.

Criminal Psychologist Forensic Psychologist
  • Works to analyze criminal behavior
  • May work in criminal justice or corrections
  • Focuses on mental health of criminals
  • Works with victims, witnesses, criminals, law enforcement, and lawyers
  • May work in prisons or counsel at-risk populations
  • Focuses on social implications of criminal behavior

Criminal psychologists often focus on understanding perpetrators, while forensic psychologists can be involved in all aspects of determining why a crime has occurred.

What’s the Difference Between a Forensic Science vs. Forensic Psychology Degree Online?

While students of forensic psychology often study forensic science and may choose a career path in this area, the two degree tracks are different.

Forensic Scientists Forensic Psychologists
  • Examine evidence from a crime scene
  • Often participate in laboratory analytics
  • Have knowledge of topics such as DNA or ballistics analysis
  • Apply psychological findings to the legal framework of a situation
  • Connect with victims and criminals
  • Have a solid understanding of clinical psychology

While forensic scientists and forensic psychologists may study some overlapping topics, they have differing roles within the criminal justice system.

Is a Bachelor Degree in Forensic Psychology Worth It?

Psychologist interviewing and evaluating a witness

Yes, a bachelor degree in forensic psychology is worth it for many professionals. Perhaps one of the most attractive features of a bachelor degree in forensic psychology is the wide range of potential career paths. This degree can prepare you to work in the justice system directly or interact with criminals and victims to understand behavior.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for community and social service occupations is expected to increase by 12% over the next ten years, which is faster than average. Similarly, protective service occupations are expected to experience 8% job growth. If you have a passion for justice and understanding how and why crimes are committed, this may be a fitting program for you.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Forensic Psychology Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Bushnell University

Bushnell University

Bushnell University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commissions.

Columbia College

Columbia College

Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Faulkner University

Faulkner University

Faulkner University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

Liberty University

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Maryville University

Maryville University

Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Purdue University

Purdue University

Purdue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

Touro University Worldwide

Touro University Worldwide

Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission.

Trine University

Trine University

Trine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Union Institute & University

Union Institute and University

Union Institute & University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Wisconsin – Stout

University of Wisconsin Stout

The University of Wisconsin – Stout is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Walden University

Walden University

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Waldorf University

Waldorf University

Waldorf University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Bachelors in Forensic Psychology Degree Online

Man pursuing his Forensic Psychology Bachelors degree online

A forensic psychology degree could be a beneficial foundation for your educational and professional career. Students who earn their bachelors in forensic psychology tend to have several paths to choose from.

For instance, you may wish to continue your studies or to pursue a career in social sciences or the justice system. If you’re interested in earning your bachelors in forensic psychology online, why not start looking at accredited colleges and universities today?

With many options choose from, you can select the forensic psychology bachelors program that’s right for you.

Ready to start your journey?
Jason Collins
WRITTEN BY
Jason Collins
Jason earned his bachelor's degree in English Literature from Loyola Marymount University with a minor in history. A life-long learner with a love of philosophy, history, and science, Jason works in professional development, career enrichment, and improved business practices.