Forensic psychologists play a crucial role in ensuring public safety. While forensic psychologists need a graduate degree to practice, earning an online bachelor's degree in forensic psychology provides a foundation for graduate school and prepares students for entry- and mid-level careers in criminal justice, the court system, education, policy, and law enforcement.
Forensic psychology learners study topics like criminal justice research methods, ethics, law, computers and technology, and procedures. Many programs prepare students for niche areas of criminal justice with concentrations in areas like homeland security, crime scene investigation, and juvenile justice. Graduates with an online bachelor's degree in forensic psychology can work in roles like probation officer, victim advocate, and research assistant. They can also pursue a master's degree in forensic psychology.
Students seeking an affordable bachelor's degree in forensic psychology can use this guide to learn about common courses along with potential careers and salaries for graduates.
Top 10 Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Forensic Psychology
|Ranking||School||Location||Average Net Price|
|1||Mary Baldwin University||Staunton, VA||$16,556|
|2||Eastern Kentucky University||Richmond, KY||$14,273|
|3||National Louis University||Chicago, IL||$14,285|
|4||Union Institute and University||Cincinnati, OH||$22,360|
|5||Maryville University||Saint Louis, MO||$26,540|
|6||Northwest Christian University||Eugene, OR||$21,808|
|7||Faulkner University||Montgomery, AL||$21,334|
|8||New England College||Henniker, NH||$27,800|
|9||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA||$27,432|
|10||Southern New Hampshire University||Manchester, NH||$39,071|
Online Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Psychology Overview
Bachelor's degrees in forensic psychology are interdisciplinary programs that cover concepts in law, criminal justice, and psychology. Students can enhance their degree and job prospects with concentrations, minors, and electives that concentrate on specific areas of criminal justice. Graduates receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for diverse roles.
For instance, graduates can work as forensic science technicians. These professionals contribute to criminal investigations by collecting and preserving evidence. In laboratories, forensic science technicians analyze evidence under microscopes and collaborate with experts, such as toxicologists. In May 2019, forensic science technicians made a median annual salary of $59,150, according to the Bureau of Labor or Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects jobs for forensic science technicians to increase 14% between 2018 and 2028.
Graduates with an online bachelor's degree in forensic psychology can also work as juvenile offender counselors, research assistants, or victim advocates for children and families. Others find careers as court liaisons who assist law enforcement during investigations or probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, who earned a median annual salary of $54,290 in 2019.
Learn more about careers in forensic science, including their duties and work environment through this resource.
Common Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Psychology Courses
Criminology courses examine crime and criminal behavior. Learners study topics such as mass incarceration, criminal justice reform, the criminal justice system, and criminal procedures and evidence. The course also covers the social and behavioral causes of criminal acts and the various theories of criminal conduct.
Criminal Justice Research Methods
This course covers the quantitative and qualitative methods that criminal justice researchers use to perform their jobs. Learners study research techniques, procedures, and methodologies, examining topics like measuring variables and sampling. Students learn how to think critically and analyze the evidence and potential causes and motivations of criminal acts.
Introduction to Psychology
This course introduces students to the fundamental principles of psychology, covering the mental processes and treatments of psychological disorders. Learners study topics like human memory, cognitive functions, human development across the lifespan, psychological disorders, and social behavior. They may also learn about psychology research methods.
Undergraduates studying criminal law learn about the different categories of crimes, such as personal crimes and statutory crimes, and the procedures of the criminal justice system. They also study common terminology, definitions, and elements of criminal prosecution. Additionally, students learn how to research criminal codes and write legal documents.
Ethics in Criminal Justice
This course teaches students how to approach ethical challenges in the criminal justice system and law enforcement. Students explore various ethical scenarios to understand how to uphold professional standards. This course also explores the methodology used to examine ethical misconduct through philosophical inquiry and critical thinking and analysis.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Psychology Concentrations
Forensic psychology graduates can find jobs in settings like courts, law enforcement agencies, social services organizations, and universities. Many programs offer concentrations that allow students to tailor the degree to their career goals. For instance, a concentration in juvenile justice prepares graduates to work with adolescent offenders. Learners study topics like case management, abnormal psychology, and family and domestic violence.
Students who want to work as law enforcement officers, jury consultants, or forensic science technicians can pursue a concentration in crime scene investigation. This concentration covers topics like forensic chemistry analysis, forensic fingerprint analysis, and leadership practices in criminal justice.
Concentrations typically comprise 20-30 credits, or about 4-5 courses. Programs often feature internships that give students hands-on experience in the field while providing valuable professional networking opportunities.
Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Psychology Requirements
Admission requirements for online bachelor's degrees in forensic psychology vary by school, but most applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma and submit official transcripts. Applicants may also need to submit ACT or SAT scores. More competitive schools may require a minimum GPA or minimum ACT or SAT scores. Additional application requirements may include a personal statement, a resume, and letters of recommendation.
In addition to college admission requirements, forensic psychology students may need to meet the program's requirements. Programs may require prospective students to pass exams or complete course prerequisites prior to being accepted to the major.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Psychology Scholarships
AP-LS Award for Best Undergraduate Paper
The American Psychology-Law Society, a professional organization for psychologists, offers annual awards of $150-$500 to undergraduate learners studying psychology. Eligible applicants must be primary contributors to a research project in its final stages. The manuscript or thesis must be fewer than 20 pages and formatted according to the American Psychological Association (APA) style. Applicants also must submit a letter of reference.Apply for Scholarship
Gene Carte Student Paper Competition
Founded in 1971, this competition awards undergraduate and graduate students for their criminology research papers. Candidates cannot submit academic papers that have been previously published. Submissions must be no longer than 7,500 words. The American Society of Criminology offers awards for first place, second place, and third place in the amounts of $200-$500. First-place winners receive a travel stipend to attend an annual meeting. Students who previously won the Prior Carte Award cannot apply.Apply for Scholarship
Lizette Peterson-Homer Injury Prevention Grant
This grant, sponsored by the American Psychological Foundation and APA, supports students and faculty at accredited colleges researching psychological and behavioral aspects of the prevention of injuries in children and adolescents. Recipients can receive up to $5,000. Applicants must demonstrate expertise in a specific area of psychology. To apply, students must write a five-page essay on their background and research, including the methodology and expected outcomes. They must also submit a CV and letter of support from a faculty member.Apply for Scholarship
George H. Robinson Memorial Scholarship
The International Association for Identification-Chesapeake Bay Division offers undergraduate members scholarships of $500. Applicants must be pursuing a career in forensic science or criminal justice.
Qualified candidates must have completed a minimum of 15 credits at an accredited college and hold a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also submit a personal statement and two letters of recommendation and demonstrate financial need. The scholarship awards five students with $500 every year.Apply for Scholarship
Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology 2020
Mary Baldwin University
A private college based in Staunton, Virginia, MBU offers a top-ranked bachelor's degree in forensic psychology. MBU's forensic psychology program awards either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in psychology, preparing students to apply psychological principles to the criminal justice field.
Learners complete 39 credits of psychology major courses, which introduce key topics, such as abnormal psychology, techniques of counseling and psychotherapy, applied behavior analysis, and cognition and cognitive neuroscience. Students who wish to earn a bachelor of science must complete two additional math courses and one additional lab science course.
MBU offers several opportunities for experiential learning, including internships, volunteering, and study abroad programs. Psychology majors can intern with local organizations, such as the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center and Western State Hospital. Students can also gain an international perspective on forensic psychology through study abroad programs in Europe.
Eastern Kentucky University
A major public college based in Richmond, EKU offers an online bachelor's degree in forensic psychology with six annual start dates. The program prepares graduates for entry-level careers in the field and graduate study in forensic psychology or other related disciplines.
EKU's psychology degree emphasizes both academic and professional preparedness, with a curriculum that integrates topics in research, statistics, behavior therapy, social psychology, and abnormal psychology. Students can also pursue several fully online certificates that enhance the forensic psychology major, including certificates in correctional intervention strategies, homeland security, intelligence studies, and security management.
EKU offers robust academic resources for online learners, including personalized advising, career services, counseling, and a reduced tuition rate for active-duty military personnel. Distance learners can also receive online tutoring through the school's PASS program. The degree takes place entirely online, with no campus visits required.
National Louis University
Chicago-based NLU offers a bachelor of arts in criminal justice with a major in forensic psychology. The program explores the impact of criminality on society, communities, and individuals. Most graduates pursue careers in law enforcement, courts and corrections, or security agencies in the private sector.
Students complete 180 quarter credits, including 60 credits of core criminal justice courses and 30 credits of forensic psychology specialization courses. The criminal justice core introduces key topics in law enforcement, criminology, and criminal investigations, while the forensic psychology specialization includes courses in crisis intervention, legal issues in human services, and a criminal justice internship.
While core criminal justice courses take place online, the forensic psychology concentration uses a blended format that combines distance education with classroom courses at NLU's Chicago campus. Students can typically complete the internship at a site within their own community.
Union Institute & University
Union's bachelor of arts in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology offers significant flexibility for students, with both full-time and part-time enrollment options and start dates every eight weeks. The program trains students to apply psychological tools to criminal justice practices, emphasizing diversity and social justice.
The program's curriculum includes a major/core section, a forensic psychology concentration, and a graduation capstone. The major section introduces key topics in child development, adult development, personality theories, abnormal psychology, and research in psychology. Concentration courses include forensic science management, psychology and the law, drugs in society, and gangs and gang subculture.
Union's bachelor's degree in forensic psychology culminates in a capstone course that requires students to compile a portfolio of their major work. The capstone also includes several self-reflective exercises along with a paper in which students examine their overall learning in the context of forensic psychology.
A professionally-focused college based in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville offers a flexible, affordable bachelor's degree in forensic psychology. The program features a fully online delivery method, three annual start dates, and no required application fees or entrance exam.
The curriculum consists of 128 credits. The 30-credit psychology core introduces topics in human development, social psychology, human cognition, and multicultural psychology. The 27-credit forensic psychology/criminal justice concentration includes courses in multicultural policing, criminological theory, police psychology, and corrections in society.
All students complete a 15-credit social science research sequence that includes courses in research design and understanding statistical inference. The research sequence concludes with a two-course senior project in which students explore an issue in forensic psychology. All learners also complete a three-credit internship in either a criminal justice or social sciences setting.
Northwest Christian University
Located in Eugene, Oregon, NCU is a private Christian college that offers an online bachelor's degree in forensic psychology. The program's curriculum covers both psychology and criminal justice, preparing students to conduct forensic psychological assessments and evaluations. Program graduates are prepared to pursue further study in forensic psychology and related fields.
Students complete both a psychology core and a forensic psychology concentration. The program core includes eight courses, covering topics in statistical applications, human development, social psychology, and research methods. The concentration includes courses in theories of personality, victimology, and criminal law and procedure.
NCU offers convenience and flexibility for working students, with a fully online format that features six annual start dates. Students who live in the Eugene area can also combine online learning with campus courses that occur one night per week. NCU may accept credit for military training, law enforcement training, or other professional experience.
Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Faulkner University offers Christ-centered education to students both on campus and online. The school's online bachelor's degree in forensic psychology integrates criminal justice and psychological concepts, preparing graduates to work in law enforcement, corrections and rehabilitation, and the legal system.
The forensic psychology major consists of 53 credits, including 29 credits of core psychology courses and 24 credits of forensic psychology concentration courses. Required courses include research methods, developmental psychology, and several seminars in major psychology topics. All students also complete an internship and a capstone research project.
The forensic psychology concentration includes both required courses and electives. Required courses cover topics in criminology, criminal behavior analysis, and conflict management. Electives explore specialized topics and enable students to focus on various aspects of criminal justice, such as crime scene investigation, community relations, and courts and courtroom procedures.
New England College
Home to a highly respected bachelor's degree in forensic psychology, NEC serves both online and in-person students from its campus in Henniker, New Hampshire. The school's bachelor of arts in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology blends analytical perspectives with professional competencies.
The major curriculum consists of 40 credits divided between a 24-credit psychology core and a 16-credit forensic psychology concentration. The program core builds foundational knowledge in research methods, statistics, writing, and professional practice in the social sciences. The concentration covers specialized topics in criminal investigations and victimology, along with one additional elective in either criminal justice or psychology.
NEC uses a fully online format that requires no campus visits. The program delivers coursework both synchronously and asynchronously, using video lectures, interactive exercises, and live chat sessions with peers and faculty. While some courses include required live activities, online learners can access much of the program's coursework at any time, making the program convenient for working students.
One of the country's major evangelical Christian colleges, Liberty also ranks among the largest distance education providers in the U.S., offering a bachelor's degree in forensic psychology. The program features an entirely online curriculum that eliminates campus visits and uses accelerated eight-week courses, enabling most students to graduate in about 3.5 years.
The program builds foundational knowledge of criminal behavior and actions, giving students the skills needed for assessment and counseling in the criminal justice system. Courses explore the roots of criminal behavior and its societal response from sociological, psychological, philosophical, and biblical perspectives. Courses include social psychology, abnormal psychology, and psychology of criminal behavior.
Liberty offers a 25% tuition discount for law enforcement officers, paramedics, firefighters, and other first responders. These students can also take advantage of personalized academic advising and earn credit for professional training and experience.
Southern New Hampshire University
One of the country's largest providers of distance education, SNHU serves more than 90,000 online students. The school's bachelor of arts in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology builds research skills, critical thinking ability, and psychology knowledge, training students to work with criminal offenders and solve crimes using psychological tools.
Learners complete 120 credits, with courses in anatomy and physiology, statistics for psychology, scientific investigations, criminal psychology, and forensic psychology. All courses take place entirely online. While students never need to visit campus, SNHU's online Psychology Club offers opportunities to build peer connections and tap into the school's strong alumni network.
The program uses a primarily asynchronous format, enabling students to complete assignments at any time of day. Six academic terms per year give online learners the flexibility to begin their studies at convenient times and work through the degree at their own pace.