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2022 Guide to Online Master’s Degrees in Forensic Psychology

Earning a master’s degree in forensic psychology online is a great way to delve deeper into a criminal’s mindset or the effects a crime has on victims. Keep reading to learn more about top accredited schools that offer some of the best online forensic psychology programs.

Author: Kenya McCullum
Editor: STEPS Staff

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A woman questions a nervous-looking man in an interrogation room.

If you find yourself intrigued by questions about the connections between certain types of crime and mental illness or the emotional effects of being a victim of a crime, then a career and degree in forensic psychology may be a perfect fit for you. Pursuing an online master’s degree in forensic psychology is an excellent way to develop the necessary skills to work in this rapidly evolving field or pursue doctoral studies in a way that accommodates your busy schedule.

Advanced degree programs in forensic psychology educate students on the application of psychology to the legal system, providing a foundation for various fulfilling career paths. Some of the potential career options for graduates include jury consultant, victim advocate, and court liaison jobs. To learn more about online forensic psychology master’s programs, including the core curriculum, tuition, and career paths available for graduates, continue reading.

Best Online Forensic Psychology Master’s Degrees in 2024

Studying criminal behavior and the human mind can be a challenging task, and it is essential to attend a school that can equip you with the necessary skills to tackle these complexities effectively. We have compiled a list of the best online forensic psychology master’s programs based on their affordability, quality, and flexibility. Our list provides a guide to help you find the top-rated programs in the country, so you can start or advance your career in this field with confidence. Check out our 2024 school picks for more information.

About the ranking

College Ranking Methodology

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 the subject area offered partially or fully online.
  • Career placement and academic counseling services.

Assign Weightings

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on their performance in a variety of key categories. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings, followed by online learning and academic quality metrics (equally weighted).

Online Learning

  • Number of online programs in subject area self-reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Percentage of graduate students at the school taking at least one class online.


  • Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on in-state tuition for graduate students per academic year.

Academic Quality

  • Student-to-faculty ratio: Schools with lower ratios ranked higher.
  • Percentage of students admitted. More selective schools ranked higher.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: August 2023

Accreditation Glossary

ABHE: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

ABHES: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

ACCJC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

ACCSC: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission

HLC: Higher Learning Commission

MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NECHE: New England Commission of Higher Education

NWCCU: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

TRACS: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

WSCUC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission


University of California-Irvine

Irvine, California

At the University of California, Irvine, students interested in studying psychology within the legal world will appreciate what the Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology program has to offer. Most classroom instruction can be completed online, with a mandatory, five-day in-residence course before the first fall term. Students take six classes each academic year (two classes per term) and can tailor their learning with several electives available. An independent research paper is required for the capstone course.

Program Highlights:

Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology

  • Credits: 52
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $302.48/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: WSCUC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes