Inside Look at Top Online Forensic Psychology Degrees in 2023

From a list of top schools to info about accreditation and career paths, learn everything you need to know about earning your forensic psychology degree online.

Last Updated: 05/01/2023

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An online degree in forensic psychology blends knowledge of human behavior with the legal system. These degree programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as through certificate programs. Pursuing an online degree in forensic psychology can open up many fulfilling career opportunities, regardless of whether you wish to become a licensed psychologist with a doctorate or pursue an alternate path. By pursuing an online degree, you can enjoy the benefits of affordability and flexibility while exploring the intriguing field of forensic psychology.

Best Online Forensic Psychology Degrees in 2023

If you’re interested in a career in forensic psychology and considering pursuing a degree, you’ll find many schools and programs available. However, selecting the ideal school may be more complex than you expect, depending on your academic and professional objectives. To aid in your search, we’ve identified three potential schools and programs that offer affordable and diverse learning options.

About the ranking

Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

Assign Impact of Data Points

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.


  • Cost:
    Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid:
    Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 84%
Online Students 6,130
Maryville University of Saint Louis

Saint Louis, Missouri

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 1,675
Faulkner University

Montgomery, Alabama

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 91%
Online Students 403
Bay Path University

Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 872
Tiffin University

Tiffin, Ohio

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 451
Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 2,532

Getting Familiar with Online Forensic Psychology Degrees

Online forensic psychology programs can vary in their course offerings and requirements for in-person attendance, catering to both students and working professionals. Those pursuing a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology can expect to gain a solid understanding of the subject as well as a well-rounded general education.

For those seeking an online master’s degree in forensic psychology, the learning experience is similar to that of a bachelor’s degree program. However, the coursework tends to be more specialized and covers advanced topics like research methods and complex forensic practice techniques.

Students pursuing an online doctorate in forensic psychology should be aware that some programs may not be entirely online and may have in-person requirements, such as seminars, research, or clinical practicum. The program’s primary focus may involve preparing students to conduct assessments, research design, and data analysis.

Types of Forensic Psychology Online Degrees

Given the popularity of the psychology field, many schools with online programs offer a forensic psychology concentration, degree, or certificate option. Here’s a quick rundown of some common forensic psychology degrees available online to help you decide which choice is right for you.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Forensic Psychology

The bachelor’s degree pathway is ideal for those interested in acquiring a foundational understanding of psychological principles and theories, as well as gaining exposure to the field of forensic psychology. This degree is particularly useful for students seeking a career in law enforcement or aspiring to become licensed forensic psychologists. The online program can be completed in approximately four years, depending on the student’s pace of learning. Here are a few online bachelor’s programs to give you a sense of what’s out there.

Online Master’s Degrees in Forensic Psychology

A master’s degree allows professionals to take on more advanced roles and responsibilities in the criminal justice system, especially those working in law enforcement. An online forensic psychology degree at the master’s level is ideal for someone who knows they want to earn a doctoral degree in psychology but isn’t quite ready to spend the time or money to acquire one just yet. Most master’s programs in forensic psychology will take approximately two years to finish. Here are some examples of quality accredited schools offering master’s in forensics programs online. You can also learn more about this degree in our dedicated guide to online master’s degrees in forensic psychology.

Online PhD Programs in Forensic Psychology

Online doctoral programs in forensic psychology are not as prevalent as those at the undergraduate and master’s levels. However, a few programs are available for those interested in advancing their careers in teaching and research. Students pursuing a forensic psychology Ph.D. online should expect to devote at least five years to completing their degree, including the time required to complete the dissertation. Depending on their ability to pace themselves, some students may require up to eight years to earn their Ph.D. Here are a few schools offering an online Ph.D. in forensic psychology.

Online Certificates in Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology online certificate programs are typically offered at the graduate level and are suitable for current law enforcement professionals or psychologists who wish to learn how to apply psychological principles to legal proceedings. These certificates provide an opportunity for advanced education without the time commitment required for a full degree program. Most students can complete their online certificate in forensic psychology in less than a year.

Why Accreditation Matters for Online Forensic Psychology Degrees

Accreditation is the process by which a third party reviews a school and confirms the education it provides meets basic standards to award a degree in a specific field. In other words, it affirms that the academic credentials a school offers are valuable to employers and other post-secondary institutions.

Accreditation can occur at the school and program level. The primary accrediting body for psychology programs is the American Psychological Association (APA). However, the APA only accredits doctoral-level programs. Therefore, prospective students need to check for institutional accreditation when thinking about enrolling in a bachelor’s or master’s program. Students can verify this information with the advisor of the program or the accrediting body.

What Can You Do with a Forensic Psychology Degree?

A forensic psychology degree can lead to a variety of exciting career opportunities. The type of degree earned will often determine the available positions. For instance, individuals seeking to become forensic psychologists, conduct research, or teach will typically require a doctoral degree. However, those who wish to work as consultants, law enforcement officers, or counselors within the criminal justice system may only need a bachelor’s or master’s degree. These five potential careers are available to those who earn an online forensic psychology degree.

Forensic Psychologist

A forensic psychologist applies psychology principles in a legal setting to help different parties, such as a judge or an attorney. A forensic psychologist must earn a PsyD or Ph.D. degree to call themselves a “psychologist.”

Court Liaison

This is a law enforcement agency or department member who serves as a coordinator between the law enforcement organization and the courts. Education requirements may vary, but usually, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient.

Jury Consultant

Jury consultants specialize in helping attorneys choose the juror that will help them win their case. Consultants also help attorneys understand what could motivate a jury to decide a case one way or another. Educational requirements may vary, but the higher the degree, the better your chances are for employment.


These are police officers that investigate crimes, gather evidence, and interview important witnesses and suspects. Depending on the department, a college degree may not be needed. However, many law enforcement agencies will require their detectives to have at least some college training, in which case an associate or bachelor’s degree is ideal.

Forensic Psychology Professor

Depending on where the professor teaches, they will need a minimum of a master’s degree. However, a Ph.D. or PsyD degree is standard. Forensic psychology professors primarily teach students about the field, usually at a community college or university, although they may also conduct research in the forensic psychology field.

Becoming a Forensic Psychologist After Your Online Degree: Licensing and Certification Requirements

Individuals interested in becoming a forensic psychologist will need to earn a doctorate, such as a Ph.D. or PsyD, from an APA-accredited program. While there are some online programs available, they may require in-person attendance for certain requirements. Once a degree is obtained, candidates can obtain state licensure, which typically has specific prerequisites depending on the state of residence.

In addition to having a Ph.D. or PsyD degree, students will also need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology and provide evidence that they possess a minimum level of relevant experience.

Even after obtaining licensure, many forensic psychologists may choose to pursue board certification. Board certification demonstrates that an individual has an advanced level of knowledge in a specific area of forensic psychology. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) is the most renowned organization that offers forensic psychology board certification. To become board certified, you must complete the following four steps:

  • Completing the application and provide evidence that you meet the basic eligibility requirements.
  • Pass a written examination.
  • Submit practice samples. These are examples of an applicant’s professional work.
  • Pass an oral examination, which will focus on the practice samples provided.

Forensic Psychology Online Resources for Students and Professionals

It’s nice to have help as you embark on your career in forensic psychology. The following list provides 10 online resources that can help you achieve your academic and professional goals.



This is the Twitter account for that provides up-to-date information about forensic psychology to online users.



Margaret Bull Kovera has years of experience teaching and researching forensic psychology topics, including issues relating to the reliability of witness identification.


American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP)

The AAFP serves as a resource for board-certified forensic psychologists who seek opportunities to network, find mentorship opportunities, and obtain grant funding.


American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL)

While forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry are not the same, there is some overlap in their criminal justice system roles. AAPL advocates for the development of knowledge in forensic psychology.


American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP)

The ABFP’s role in the forensic psychology field is to evaluate and approve board certification for qualified forensic psychologists.


American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)

The primary mission of the ABPP is to offer various specialization and certification opportunities to psychologists, including one for forensic psychology.


American Psychological Association (APA)

When it comes to the most recognizable professional organization in psychology, it’s the APA. The APA offers a host of information about different psychology topics, including career and professional development resources.


American Psychology-Law Society

Also known as APA Division #41, the American Psychology-Law Society works to improve, advance, and promote psychology within the legal field.


American Society of Criminology (ASC)

While not directly relating to forensic psychology, the ASC is still a useful resource for understanding how to use science and practical knowledge to prevent and deal with crime.


Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (SPCP)

The goal of the SPCP is to promote the study and application of psychological principles in the criminal justice system.