Top 10 Master’s in Forensic Psychology

If you're ready for a career that combines psychology with the law, one of these top Top Master's in Forensic Psychology will open up opportunities in dozens of careers.

The following Top 10 Master's Degrees in Forensic Psychology offer degrees that will lead to jobs in many spectrums of the legal system and mental health.

Perhaps toward the end of your undergraduate studies, you found yourself fascinated by topics related to criminal behavior, abnormal psychology, and the criminal justice system. If you're thinking of pursuing greater knowledge in these fields and applying it to a fulfilling career, a Master's in Forensic Psychology may be the perfect fit for you.

Graduates who hold an advanced degree in Forensic Psychology find a vast array of potential careers once they complete their programs. Possible careers include child or adult protective service workers, social workers, clinical case managers, inpatient mental health counselors, probation, parole, or correctional officers, behavioral health court advocates and restorative justice advocates. These careers span many job settings — from law enforcement and correctional facilities to courtrooms and clinics to research and public policy centers. Depending on your particular passion, you may find yourself advocating for victim rights' or making important determinations about the mental health of a perpetrator.

Because there is such a broad arena of possible careers with a degree in Forensic Psychology, the average annual salary varies from $70,000 to upward of $90,000 per year. One of the most common jobs for a forensic psychologist is that of a social worker or community manager. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for social workers or social and community managers is growing much faster than other vocations in the United States — with a growth rate of 16 percent by 2026.

Most of the programs in our Top 10 list can be completed in under two years. Even if your background isn't in psychology, you'll find a perfect match to pursue your graduate degree in our Top 10 list below!

Ranking the Top 10 Master's in Forensic Psychology

Each ranking published by Top Master's in Healthcare require a lot of research, fact checking, and interest in the world of higher education and medical industries. The editors of TMHC utilize credible data resources from academic journals, government databases, job recruitment organizations, and, especially, degree alumni reviews. TMHC rankings are scored specifically on degree outcomes, alumni reviews, degree affordability, acceptance rates, MCAT and GRE scores, and degree completion rates.To be considered for ranking by TMHC, degrees must be accredited by the National Science Foundation and, thus, provide appropriate doctorate certifications within the healthcare field and have institutional affiliations with scholarly peer-reviewed publications. For more information about how TMHC scores individual medical degrees, please visit our About Us page.

Here are the Top 10 Master's in Forensic Psychology for 2020!


#10. California State University

Los Angeles, CA

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

Graduate students in CSU's MS in Forensic Psychology program are mentored by a faculty member throughout the program.

California State University's Master of Science in Forensic Psychology combines practical, hands-on experience with advanced theory and research. The 33 credit program requires a 9-month practicum that is supervised by a faculty member. Students may complete the practicum in an approved setting of their choice. In the past, students in the program have worked with the Department of Child and Family Services in the L.A. area, women's support centers, dependency courts, the police department, and local correctional institutions.

Before entering the program, students must take 13 units of psychology courses such as Statistics in Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. The GRE isn't required, but it can supplement the materials of an applicant who does not have a strong foundation in psychology. Applicants must also submit a one to three-page statement explaining their suitability for graduate study and reasons for applying to the MS in Forensic Psychology program at CSU.

Graduate Tuition: $7,176 / $16,680

Score: 78.6


#9. Holy Names University

Oakland, CA

Master of Arts in Counseling and Forensic Psychology

Applicants to HNU's MA in Counseling and Forensic Psychology will meet one-on-one with the program director for an interview.

At Holy Names University, students in the Master of Arts in Counseling and Forensic Psychology are trained to become advocates of justice and socially and culturally informed therapists. The 39 credit program offers classes for working adults. Most class sessions occur in the late afternoons and evenings during the week. This degree can lead to certification by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as either a marriage family therapist or a professional clinical counselor. Students will take courses such as Foundations of Counseling: Models and Skills, Psychology of Criminal Behavior, and Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment. All students are placed in a clinical setting that best suits their long-term career goals and interests in the field.

Graduate Tuition: $18,054

Score: 79.0


#8. Roger Williams University

Bristol, RI

Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology

Students interested in applying to the MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology teaching assistantships should apply by February 1st.

The 45-credit hour program at Roger Williams University a full-time program that prepares students for Ph.D. work in clinical and forensic psychology. Coursework includes classes on clinical assessment and psychological testing, diagnosing psychopathology, research design, and treatment planning. In addition to the coursework, candidates for the degree are expected to complete two research practicums, as well as passing a comprehensive exam.

The MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology offers up to three graduate assistantships — sometimes four — each academic year. These TA positions involve research assistance and support to the undergraduate psychology faculty. The TAships provide a generous scholarship. Application materials for the program should include a 1-2 page letter of intent, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation and a minimum ten-page scholarly research paper.

Graduate Tuition: $14,396

Score: 81.6


#7. Marymount University

Arlington, VA

Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology

Upon entrance to the MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology program, graduate students may apply for a concentration in Intelligence studies.

Marymount University's 39-credit Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology combines the study of criminal justice, law, and public policy, as well as psychology's many sub-fields. Students in the program learn about the complexity of eyewitness testimony, the roots of criminal behavior, assessing and treating offenders, and the origins of terrorism. Because of Marymount's proximity to Washington D.C., students can take advantage of exciting internships with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Vera Institute of Justice, among many others. Other topics in the coursework will cover psychological and intelligence-related issues. Field research, courtroom visits, and guest speakers are all part of the MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology curriculum.

Applicants should apply by February 15 for consideration to enroll in the following fall term. The application requires GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, a maximum 500-word personal statement and transcripts from all previous institutions.

Graduate Tuition: $25,387

Score: 81.9


#6. Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Irvine, CA

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Graduate students in the MA in Forensic Psychology at CSPP have a hands-on learning experience at the school's Forensic Training Institute.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Irvine, California prepares its students for future careers in counseling within law enforcement, with attorneys, in local and state governments, and mental health agencies. Over the course of the full-time, two-year program students will be well versed in subjects such as childhood abuse and neglect, post-traumatic stress disorder related to rape and domestic violence. Students also will have a strong grasp of the legal system and how it interacts in cases of mental disabilities and illness. Classes include topics on Tactical and Field Psychology. Graduates of the program are potentially eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of California.

Admission requirements to the program include a resume or CV, an essay of 500-750 words, and three letters of recommendation. GRE scores are not required, but they may bolster a weaker application. Transcripts from all previous institutions attended are also required. Applications are due February 15 or the following fall term. CSPP has a generous number of scholarships, fellowships, grants, and special tuition rates for its graduate students.

Graduate Tuition: n/a

Score: 89.4

#5. University of New Haven

West Haven, CT

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology Concentration

The University of New Haven is home to the Institute of Forensic Science, a state-of-the-art facility that features a crime scene center.

The Master of Science in Forensic Psychology Concentration at the University of New Haven is a 36-credit hour program. Graduate students enrolled in the program will take classes in Theories of Criminal Behavior, Mental Health, Law and Criminal Justice, and Abnormal Psychology in Forensic Populations. The faculty of the MS, Forensic Psychology Concentration is made up of professionals in the field who have years of experience working for such organizations as the United Nations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Students will gain hands-on knowledge of how technology helps to solve ongoing investigations. To graduate, candidates may opt for either a six-credit thesis or they may choose to take an oral or written examination.

Applicants to the program must submit GRE scores, an academic or professional writing sample, three letters of recommendation and transcripts from previously attended schools. Many forms of financial assistance are available to graduate students at the University of New Haven, including assistantships.

Graduate Tuition: 16,020

Score: 91.2


#4. University of Denver

Denver, CO

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Prospective graduate students in the MAFP program are invited to attend an information session to speak with current students and faculty from the program.

At the University of Denver, Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology graduate students prepare for careers as mental health practitioners. They learn how to work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. The MAFP program is two years long at full-time enrollment. The program is organized with the first three quarters consisting of a Professionalism and Practice sequence. Students take courses such as Psychopathology and Diagnosis and Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology. Further coursework delves into the topics of sociocultural diversity, the treatment of offenders and the role of substance abuse on mental health and criminal behaviors. The city of Denver offers a diverse range of training opportunities over the course of the program. U of D partners with health care facilities, mental health clinics, and schools so that graduate students may gain hands-on, real-world experience. To graduate, all candidates must pass a clinical competency exam.

Applications to the program are due January 4 for enrollment in the following fall term. Applicants must be interviewed in person by the faculty of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology. Submission of GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and prior school transcripts are also required.

Graduate Tuition: 47,520

Score: 95.3


#3. California Baptist University

Riverside, CA

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Attendees of a CBU's School of Behavioral Sciences information session will receive a voucher for to waive the $45 application fee to the program.

At California Baptist University, Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology students complete the 57-credit program typically in two years. The program prepares its graduates for careers in working with the criminal justice system as experienced, informed forensic psychologists. Students in the program gain advanced knowledge of legal research and reasoning, as well as criminal profiling and investigations. All students will apply their knowledge with a nine-month practicum in the second year of the program at a location related to their interests and career goals. Examples of forensic internships have been within rape crisis centers, juvenile courts, local and state counseling centers, and correctional facilities. To qualify for graduation, students must complete a thesis or pass a written comprehensive exam.

The program admits multiple times over the academic year. For Fall term applicants, the deadline is May 15, Spring term is November 1, and Summer term is February 1st. All applicants should have completed prerequisite coursework in general psychology, methods of research, and abnormal psychology. Application materials include previous transcripts, three letters of recommendation, GRE scores of at least 300, and an essay describing the applicant's religious background, important influences on values, and reasons for choosing the MA in Forensic Psychology and CBU.

Graduate Tuition: $25,714

Score: 96.3


#2. John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY

New York, NY

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

At The John Jay College of Criminal Justice, graduates students benefit from one another's support and mentorship through the student group MSRG.

CUNY's John Jay College of Criminal Justice prepares its graduates for future work within the criminal and civil justice systems. MA in Forensic Psychology also often go on to Ph.D. work in psychology. The program is a total of 42 credits, with classes in subjects such as Social Science and the Law and Psychopathology. Students may delve further into specific topics with elective courses such as Violence and Aggression, Criminal Behavior, and Social Psychology. Students benefit from the knowledge of 35 full-time faculty members who are currently working or have been professionals in forensic counseling. Students may select a thesis or externship track. Thesis track students must take a Forensic Psychology Prospectus Seminar. Externship track students must take a Fieldwork in Counseling course before engaging in an externship.

Qualified applicants to the MA in Forensic Psychology program must have 24 undergraduate credits in the social sciences, with 12 in Psychology. Additionally, they must have taken at least one course in statistics and one course in experimental psychology. Applicants must also have a minimum GRE score of 297, but Psychology is not required.

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

Score: 97.5


#1. University of North Dakota- Grand Forks

Grand Forks, ND

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

University of North Dakota Affordable Online MPH
The University of North Dakota-Grand Forks offers tuition waivers to underrepresented populations and those experiencing economic hardship.

The 30-credit Master of Science in Forensic Psychology at the University of North Dakota-Grand Forks combines in-depth knowledge of psychological principles and theory with a thorough understanding of the United States legal system. Students engage in supervised fieldwork. These fieldwork opportunities may take place with local law enforcement, mental health clinics, and social service organizations. Students will take classes in Forensic Assessment, Experimental Design, and Behavior Pathology. To complete the program, students may choose to engage in thesis research or a project of their choice.

Applicants to the program must have an undergraduate degree in behavioral or social sciences. GRE scores are required, as is a GPA of at least 3.2. Applicants should write a personal statement that addresses their career goals, reasons for their interest in the field, and academic or professional accomplishments. A CV or resume, along with three letters of recommendation are also required admissions materials. Applications are due April 15 for entrance in the following Fall term.

Graduate Tuition: $7,688 / $20,5260

Score: 97.5

Find A Degree is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.