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An online bachelor’s in forensic psychology program prepares students to apply psychological principles to criminal justice and law. A bachelor’s degree provides an excellent foundation for those who want to be forensic psychologists, which requires a doctorate. It can also prepare students for many entry-level careers, such as correctional facility treatment specialist or probation officer, which earn a median annual salary of $60,250.

Other potential career paths include social work, with a median annual salary of $50,390, or substance abuse and mental health counselor, with a salary of $48,520.

Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits for a bachelor’s in forensic psychology degree, which takes most full-time students four years to finish. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition at a four-year public institution was $7,869 in the 2021-22 academic year. At private institutions, undergraduate tuition averaged $$37,095.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology Program

Choose your area of study

The first step in choosing an online bachelor’s in forensic psychology program is establishing clear education and career goals. Having goals helps students identify the correct concentration or type of degree program they want.

Concentrations in forensic psychology may be clinical, forensic, or legal. Examples include jury consulting, police consulting, probation and parole, correctional counselor, victim advocate, jail manager, warden, or clinical counseling. Students must check each school’s curriculum to ensure they offer the classes for their chosen careers.

Students must also decide the type of degree that will help them reach their goals, including:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Research schools and programs

When researching online bachelor’s in forensic psychology programs, check the school’s accreditation, which will confirm that they meet quality standards in providing a well-rounded education. The Department of Education database lists accreditation for institutions. Accreditation can affect financial aid, credits transferring from another university, and employment opportunities.

Students can research specific programs by visiting their websites and social media pages — these online resources offer information about faculty members, curriculum, graduation requirements, networking opportunities, and more. Students can also participate in virtual tours, open houses, and academic advising sessions to get any additional questions about the program answered.

Prepare for tests and applications

Each school and program will have different application and entrance requirements that students must meet by their specific deadlines.

General application materials include the following:

  • Application form (ask if the school accepts the Common Application)
  • Official transcripts of previous education, proof of high school graduation, and any other college courses taken
  • Letters of recommendation from professionals who can vouch for their abilities as a student
  • Personal statement of interest
  • Resume showing education, work experience, and special recognition

Select your program

When selecting an online bachelor’s in forensic psychology program, consider creating an application budget, as the costs for applying can quickly add up. Therefore, being more selective or strategic with applications is best. Some students apply to two or three schools, wait for a response, then apply to more.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Students, even those with enough savings to pay in full, should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to discover grants and scholarships to help them financially. The FAFSA also connects students with loans. It is the first step in the process of finding aid. Once complete, students can apply to other funding programs.

Employee tuition assistance programs may be available for those who work full-time jobs. Other funding resources include:

  • Community grants and scholarships
  • Fellowships and assistantships
  • Work-study or co-op programs

Contact each school’s financial aid department with any questions about funding opportunities.

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology Programs

Best Online Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Programs Badge

Southern New Hampshire University

Arizona State University

Eastern Kentucky University

Faulkner University

Liberty University

Maryville University

Bay Path University

Florida Tech Online

New England College

Union Institute and University

Louisiana State University

Columbia College

Bushnell University

Touro University Worldwide

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How We Rank Schools

This list focuses extensively on both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology programs. Many of the BA programs tend to have a liberal arts approach, while BS degrees lean toward science-based concentrations. The American Psychological Association (APA) does not offer specific accreditation for a bachelor’s in forensic psychology. However, all the programs on our list are located at regionally accredited schools, which ensures the degree plans meet the highest standards of quality and rigor in education.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) accredit more than 30 schools where forensic psychology degrees are offered. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, forensic psychologists must possess solid research, analytical, and communication skills.

What Can You Expect from an Online Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology Program?

Bachelor’s degree program structures make it possible for full-time students to graduate in four or five years. Online students may be able to finish faster if their program is asynchronous, meaning they can access lessons and complete assignments on their own time. This is opposed to synchronous programs, which require students to attend live virtual classes at designated times.

While in the program, students will explore high-level topics, including psychology, criminal behaviors, victim psychology, crime solving, and crime laws. Students learn skills such as:

  • Counseling techniques for criminals
  • Rehabilitation methods
  • Research
  • Investigations
  • Cyber forensics
  • Advocacy for victim’s rights
  • Court consulting for attorneys, juries, and victims

Some online bachelor’s in forensic psychology programs require students to complete internships, practicums, or final projects in their area of specialization.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online bachelor’s in forensic psychology program

  • Psychology and Law. Students study the impact psychology has on the legal system. Students learn about how mental health disorders and substance use disorders play a role in criminality, and some programs study how psychology influences jury selection. Coursework includes real case studies.
  • Criminology. Students explore theories and influences on criminal behaviors, including culture, socioeconomic, mental health, and addiction. Students learn the laws for criminal behaviors and repeat offenders and how the legal process works, from an arrest to trial and sentencing.
  • Abnormal Psychology. This course covers diagnosis criteria, prevention strategies, and treatment methods for mental health and substance use disorders. Students learn how psychological disorders impact the legal system and sentencing.
  • Victim Studies and Advocacy. Students learn how to study and assess victims of crime and what makes them more likely to become victims. Students also learn to evaluate the psychological effects of crimes on victims. Further, students learn the various types of crimes, such as domestic violence, property crimes, and assaults. They gain knowledge of the many resources available for victims of crimes.

What Can I Do With a Forensic Psychology Degree?

Forensic psychology is a specialized branch of psychology that focuses on understanding human behavior as it relates to criminal and illegal activity. Individuals in this field work closely with law enforcement and criminal justice professionals, including police officers and detectives, lawyers, and judges.

In order to become a licensed clinical psychologist and provide forensic psychological evaluations and services directly to clients, individuals must earn a master’s or doctorate degree.

With a bachelor’s degree, graduates will qualify for entry-level non-clinical positions, such as victim advocate, court liaison, probation officer, or correctional treatment specialist. Individuals with forensic psychology degrees can work in local, state, and government agencies, law enforcement departments, correctional facilities, juvenile detention centers, and more.

Career outlook

  • Correctional treatment specialists — Assist in rehabilitating law offenders in custody or on probation or parole by evaluating probationers or parolees to determine rehabilitation plans, connecting them with resources, and developing release plans.
    • Median annual salary: $59,860
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 3%
    • New jobs projected: 7,400 per year
  • Psychologist — Study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and to their environments, and use their findings to help improve processes and behaviors.
    • Median annual salary: $92,740
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New jobs projected: 12,800 per year
  • Law enforcement officer — Investigate crimes by conducting interviews, examining records, monitoring suspects, and participating in raids and arrests.
    • Median annual salary: $74,910
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 3%
    • New jobs projected: 64,500 per year

Online Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for an online bachelor’s in forensic psychology degree program?

Application deadlines and materials can vary for every school and program. Students must contact an admissions counselor at each university that interests them. They should also create a checklist for staying on track with their application.

The checklist will generally include a complete application, application fee, official transcripts, resume, personal essay, and standardized test scores. Some forensic psychology programs require a minimum GPA total from previous education. However, students below the minimum should still apply. Programs may consider awards, recognition, and letters of recommendation to account for the difference.

How much does an online bachelor’s in forensic psychology degree program cost?

The cost will vary depending on the program because many factors influence price, including:

Online degree programs can save students money on transportation and commuting, parking fees, using on-campus student facilities, housing, and campus meals. Online texts are usually digital downloads, often costing less than books and workbooks. Students also save time by not having to commute to campus or attend classes at specific times, which can help students who are working while earning their degree.

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s in forensic psychology program?

The program length will differ for each student due to their unique circumstances. A bachelor’s degree typically requires 120 credits. A full-time student should be able to complete the program in four to five years. A part-time student will need five or six years, however.

Students who already have some college credits may want to explore options for dual-completed or accelerated programs, which can allow them to complete their degree in less than four years.

Is an online forensic psychology degree worth it?

Earning an online forensic psychology degree is a valuable first step toward a lucrative career in a growing field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic psychologists earn a median annual wage of $117,750. By comparison, the median annual wage for all occupations is $48,060.

The agency also predicts that the employment of psychologists will increase by 6% through 2032, with an average of 12,800 job openings per year.

A bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology can prepare students for entry-level positions as well as further study at the master’s or doctoral level, which is necessary for more advanced clinical positions.