10 Best Master’s in Forensic Psychology

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Best Master's Degrees' feature programs that provide their graduates something beyond the gratification of completing a degree. They offer the opportunity to create an impact immediately upon entering the career field of forensics. Graduates with forensic psychology degrees find careers that touch the lives of their patients and support communities in need. Forensic psychology job titles include Victim Advocate, Crisis Counselor, and Probation Officer. The curriculum for each of the following ten programs on this list gives students exposure to both sides of the legal system by exploring issues related to both the victim and the criminal, and everything in between.

Careers in this field are not only internally rewarding but they also pay well with plenty of room for growth over the next several years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median salary for forensic psychologists in 2017 at $77,030. Over 23,000 jobs are expected to be added to the forensic psychology field over the next seven years. There is also a variety of jobs available in the private sector, the public sector, and the non-profit side. Graduates can also choose to work independently as consultants or researchers. This graduate degree path gives students the option to pursue their law degree as many successful graduates do after being exposed to the law component of the program.

The growing job field, interdisciplinary exposure, and hands-on approach to the Forensic Psychology degree track makes this one of the most interesting educational options around. The vast world of forensics should entice any undergraduate with a relevant degree to explore the universities on this list. Whether you are looking for meaningful impact, a rewarding career, or a great salary trajectory, the field of Forensic Psychology has it all covered. Students will find a plethora of options available to them in these wonderful programs with supportive environments and experienced faculty to lead the way.

Ranking Methodology: "It's science!"

The researchers and writers at Best Master's Degrees don't make recommendations based upon preference– we back our rankings with science. Here's a quick breakdown of how we organize ranking data:

  • Finances (40%)
  • Academic Rigor (35%)
  • Student Gratification (25%)

Nearly half of the data used to score each ranking involves finances and are acquired from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, Glassdoor, and PayScale. Financial data encompasses the cost of tuition, fees, and class supplied; the average price of living; access to financial aid and social services; and lastly, the projected annual salary acquired from degree outcomes and income for loan repayment. The second largest category of information involves the quality of education, how competitive degree applicants should be for consideration, and how exclusive a degree program is overall. The final 25 percent of collected data is dependent on student and alumni reviews from sources such as PayScale, Rate My Professor, and Students Review.

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Here are the 10 Best Master's Degrees in Forensic Psychology for 2019!

#10 – Holy Names University

Master of Arts in Counseling and Forensic Psychology

Oakland, CA

HNU's MA program is highly inclusive and emphasizes diversity in culture, sexuality, and spirituality to understand the needs of all future clients.

Holy Names University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling and Forensic Psychology degree program at its Oakland campus. This is a dual program that offers students two separate master's degrees. There is a minimum of 84 required units depending upon prerequisites. The program at Holy Names has working professionals in mind and offers classes in the late afternoons and during the evenings Monday through Thursday with some Saturday classes required. The MA program combines field-application with evidence-based and forensic theory. The extensive list of coursework offered by HNU includes Clinical Neuroscience, Psychopathology, and Counseling Theories. Students who complete this program will find rewarding work and living wages in fields such as Child Protective Service Work and Clinical Case Management. The completion of the MA in Counseling also leads to state licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist or as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,054


#9 – Fairleigh Dickinson University

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Teaneck, NJ

FDU's accelerated program is designed specifically for talented and highly motivated students looking for a challenge and a career in forensics.

Fairleigh Dickinson University offers an accelerated Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. This program has been designed to be taken while in pursuit of 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 individually the unit requirement would be 164, but the accelerated program lowers the required units to 149. In addition to the units requirement, students must also complete a 300-hour externship in the form of fieldwork. In addition, students enrolled in the MAFP program must complete a comprehensive written examination to demonstrate knowledge of forensic psychology, abnormal psychology, and statistics. Those who complete the demanding program are set for careers in fields such as law enforcement, forensic research, and juvenile court clinics.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,410


#8 – Roger Williams University

Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology

Bristol, RI

RWU offers a personalized classroom experience with an average 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio among its graduate degree programs.

Roger Williams University in Rhode Island awards a Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology degree. This two-year, full-time program prepares students to either pursue a Ph.D. in forensics or continue on to a career in the legal field. The curriculum is designed to give students training in research design, statistical analysis, clinical assessment, and psychological testing. The program consists of eleven courses, which results in 45 earned credit hours. There is also the requirement of research practicums and a comprehensive thesis. Students admitted to the program can only take the courses in-person and must be enrolled full-time. Successful graduates will come away from the program with the ability to perform psychological testing within prison populations, act as trial consultants, and direct treatment groups within special populations in the legal system.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,936


#7 – Marymount University

Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology

Arlington, VA

Students looking for worldly experience within their forensic path can study abroad while learning about intelligence-related issues in places such as Sweden, Israel, and Palestine.

Marymount University offers a Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology degree program to prospective students. As the first university in the Washington, D.C. area to offer this MA program, Marymount encourages its students to leverage the alliances the school has built with agencies such as the FBI, ATF, and Department of Justice. Students can use their proximity to these agencies to explore internship possibilities, field research opportunities, and attendance to events that feature distinguished speakers. Students may also be selected for the Intelligence Studies Concentration at MU. This specialized concentration prepares students for entry into the intelligence community and the private-sector companies that support it. This interdisciplinary graduate program combines public policy, law, and criminal justice. Students are forced into serious introspection with the ethics component incorporated into each course. They will grapple with the gravity of legal questions and implications. Completion of this program requires a minimum of 39 units.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,550


#6 – University of New Haven

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

West Haven, CT

UNH's MS program blends students of various backgrounds with those new to studying forensics and those with years of professional experience looking for further certification.

The University of New Haven offers students a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology degree. This program requires a minimum of 36 units for completion. All admitted students will meet with an advisor to determine if the proper prerequisites have been met before enrolling in coursework. Applicants will also be required to submit GRE scores for consideration of admittance into the program. Students may choose to complete their program by undertaking a thesis or taking a comprehensive examination. The examination may be written, oral, or both, depending on preference. Students admitted to the program can take courses such as Theories of Criminal Behavior, Mental Health Law, and Forensic Treatment Models.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,020


#5 – The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Irvine, CA

Students looking to further leverage their enrollment in the MA program may also consider the Professional Counselor Licensure Program.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology at its Irvine campus in California. This MA program blends psychology with legal and public policy environments to give students a well-rounded experience. The Irvine campus boasts its own Forensic Training Institute where students will apply hands-on experience and give life to what they have learned in their classroom lectures. The program is designed to be completed in two years with full-time enrollment. Students complete courses such as Tactical and Field Psychology, Mental Health Law, as well as Trauma and Crisis Interventions. These demanding courses provide training in exploring and managing trauma, examining the legal cases that have shaped aspects of the justice system, and the ability to assess the psychological skills required in tactical situations. The work done outside of the classroom setting serves for students to create contacts within Irvine's forensic community. Students will not only network, but build strong connections with those in the Irvine Police Department, Coroner's Office, and Sheriff's Department.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: N/A


#4 – University of North Dakota – Grand Forks

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

Grand Forks, ND

Students in the MS in Forensic Psychology program have the option of undertaking fieldwork in various forensic settings.

The University of North Dakota – Grand Forks offers a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology degree program. Students looking to be admitted into the MS program will need to have a relevant baccalaureate degree, a minimum 3.2 GPA, GRE scores, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and a curriculum vitae. The MS program requires a minimum of 30 units and either a thesis or an approved independent study. There is no comprehensive examination. This degree program prepares students to enter the evolving world of psychology-related careers. Graduates will leave will an in-depth understanding of the legal system and a solid foundation in psychological theories and principles. Some of the courses available to students in this program include Victimology, Advanced Social Psychology, and Cognitive Psychology. Many of the graduates from this program go on to complete law degrees or Ph.D. programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,688 / $20,526


#3 – California Baptist University

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Riverside, CA

CBU's 160-acre Riverside campus is just a short drive from either the beaches or the mountains.

The California Baptist University offers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program at its Riverside campus. This program requires a minimum of 57 units for completion. The program takes two years of full-time enrollment to complete. Some of the more noteworthy courses offered at CBU include Advanced Psychopathy and Criminality, Criminal Profiling, and Biological Bases of Behavior. Graduates of the MA program are immediately prepared to contribute their psychological services to the legal system. Some of the career opportunities that await graduates include Victim Advocate, Expert Witness, and Law Enforcement Consultant. Students will spend their time in this program developing the skills crucial for success in life beyond the classroom. They will apply critical thinking skills, lead discussions in an effective manner, and apply integrity and values to every crucial task. CBU students will spend their second year completing field work and putting their classroom theory into action with agencies such as the FBI, U.S. Marshals, or trial consultant firms.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $40,755


#2 – University of Denver

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Denver, CO

DU requires students to develop their classroom skills by training in field placements for a complete education.

The University of Denver offers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology degree program. Students looking to apply for admission to the program will have a series of items to complete. DU requires an essay response to prompts provided by the university, at least two letters of recommendation, an updated resume, and GRE scores to be considered. The coursework provides comprehensive exposure and training to students looking to put psychological theory into action in the legal field. This program is designed to be completed over two years of full-time enrollment. There are three major areas of focus that the curriculum is designed to focus on which include the assessment of numerous populations, individual and group therapy across all age groups, and the ability to provide consultation over the vast span of the legal system. Some of the goals students of DU achieve include ethical standards within the legal system, scientific introspection, and interpersonal relations and conduct.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,520


#1 – CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

New York, New York

John Jay College has over 130 nationalities represented in its 15,000+ student body and nearly 400 of those students are veterans.

At CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice students can complete a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. The program gives students the tools they will need to pursue a career within the criminal and civil justice system. The curriculum is geared to offer training in understanding both the offenders and victims. This degree program requires a minimum of 42 units for completion. Students are able to enroll in classes such as Criminal Psychological Assessment, Brain and Behavior, and Victimology. Students can choose to complete the MA program without the thesis component by enrolling in an externship and fulfilling the required fieldwork. The faculty for the MA program have extensive experience in the field with hands-on experience as clinicians in forensic units of hospitals, in family court, or as consultants to police departments. Of the 2,000 graduate students enrolled at John Jay, 15 percent of them are a part of the Forensic Psychology degree program. Graduates will find a plethora of career opportunities available at the federal level upon receiving their degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,450 / $19,320