Students interested in both law and psychology may choose to pursue graduate study in Forensic Psychology. The following list ranks the 10 Best Masters' in Forensic Psychology in the country.

Forensic psychology exists at the intersection between psychology and criminal justice. Master's degrees in the field include courses which address topics in the legal system and various facets of psychology, from developmental and behavioral to multicultural and social psychology. Students may gain an understanding of issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse, and a variety of mental health conditions. Forensic Psychology graduate degree programs may include key coursework such as the production and defense of a master's thesis or project, independent research, an externship or practicum experience, or a comprehensive exam. The following list of the 10 Best Masters' in Forensic Psychology includes both Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees.

Master's degrees in Forensic Psychology are designed to prepare graduates to become mental health professionals. Those in the forensic psychology field provide psychological services such as evaluation, counseling, and therapy within the criminal and civil justice systems. They may work in settings such as clinics, prisons, police and legal departments, and crisis centers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the 2017 median annual pay for psychologists was $77,030. The demand for psychologists is growing faster-than-average rate and is projected to grow by 14 percent by 2026. Graduates with master's degrees in the field may choose to pursue further study at the doctoral level, which will most likely increase job prospects.


The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 10 Best Masters' in Forensic Psychology for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20%
  • Continued Enrollment: 20%
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page.

Here are the 10 Best Masters' in Forensic Psychology for 2019 – 2020!

#10 – California State University, Los Angeles

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

Los Angeles, CA


California State University, Los Angeles' Master of Science in Forensic Psychology is designed for students interested in the intersection between psychology and the criminal justice system. Faculty mentors guide each student through the program. Required courses include Courtroom and Legal Issues in Criminalistics, Psychology and the Law, and a seminar in Abnormal Psychology. Students must also take a quantitative course relating to statistics or research methods. Elective offerings include seminars in Developmental Psychology, Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology, and Social Psychology. The degree's 33 to 34 units of coursework include a nine-month practicum experience in a forensic setting such as a family services counseling center, a sexual abuse crisis center, or a prison. Each student culminates the program with a master's thesis.

Cal State LA was founded in 1947 by the California legislature as The Los Angeles State College. Now a public land-grant university, Cal State LA is a constituent of the California State University system. It is a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution. The university is home to the acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra. Its hilltop campus in the greater Los Angeles area is home to a NASA-funded space program, a Rockefeller-supported humanities center, and a National Science Foundation-funded environmental research center. U.S. News & World Report ranks Cal State LA No. 52 in the West, No. 26 for best value, and No. 13 among national public institutions.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,176 in-state; $16,680 out-of-state

#9 – Holy Names University

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Oakland, CA


Holy Names University's Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program incorporates evidence-based practice and self-reflection. The course content also emphasizes cultural competence and social justice. The 39-unit MA program is based on the philosophies of therapeutic restorative justice. It is suitable for individuals who wish to work in correctional facilities, court programs, and community advocacy positions. Course topics address mental health, substance abuse, post-traumatic disorders, and more. The plan of study includes required courses in Human Diversity in Counseling, Domestic Violence Assessment and Treatment, and the Psychology of Criminal Behavior.

A Roman Catholic university, Holy Names University was founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1868. Despite its religious origins and affiliation, the school welcomes students from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. The private university is located in the Oakland Hills near the Montclair district of Oakland, California. Students may get involved in The Center for Social Justice, which includes the school's Service-Learning and Community-Based Leadership programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks Holy Names No. 61 in Regional Universities West and No. 22 in Best Value Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,054

#8 – Roger Williams University

Master of Arts in Forensic & Legal Psychology

Bristol, RI


Roger Williams University offers a Master of Arts in Forensic & legal Psychology through its Feinstein School of Social and Natural Sciences. The two-year full-time program is designed to prepare students to pursue Ph.D. studies. The program trains students in clinical assessment, psychological testing, research design, and statistical analysis. The core course sequence is made up of 11 required courses, including Multicultural Competence in Psychological Practice, Professional Ethics in Psychology, and Psychology and Law. Additional course options include Assessment in Criminal Law, Child Assessment, and Developmental Psychopathology. All students must complete an independent inquiry or a research practicum along with a master's thesis.

The origins of RWU can be traced back to classes held in 1919 in the YMCA building in Providence, Rhode Island. The school evolved over the next few decades and was officially founded in 1956. It was named after Roger Williams, a theologian and the co-founder of the state of Rhode Island. Now a nonsectarian private liberal arts university, RWU is located in Bristol, Rhode Island. In 2012, The Daily Meal named the university among the nation's best colleges for food. The school also emphasizes civil discourse and has welcomed campus speakers including Bob Geldof and Salman Rushdie. U.S. News & World Report ranks RWU 43rd in Regional Universities North and 71st for best value.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,936

#7 – Marymount University

Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology

Arlington, VA


Marymount University offers an interdisciplinary program leading to a Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology. The degree program combines study in psychology with the areas of criminal justice, law, and public policy. Students can also pursue a concentration in Intelligence Studies. The program also offers students opportunities to study abroad in countries such as Israel, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The curriculum includes courses in Bases of Psychopathology, Death Penalty and Mitigation, and Wrongful Convictions: Case Analysis. Students may also complete a research project in an area of interest or a 300-hour internship and accompanying seminar.

Marymount was originally a two-year women's school. Today, it is a private Roman Catholic university. It is a member of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, which allows students to take courses at or borrow books from any of the other 13 member institutions. The university emphasizes community engagement, and it recently established the Saints' Center for Service for sustainable community service programming. U.S. News & World Report ranks Marymount No. 65 in Best Value Schools and No. 58 in Regional Universities South.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,550

#6 – University of New Haven

Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Forensic Psychology Concentration

West Haven, CT


The University of New Haven offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. The Forensic Psychology concentration is designed for individuals already working or planning to work in the justice system. General Criminal Justice courses include Mental Health, Law, and Criminal Justice and Theories of Criminal Behavior. Forensic Psychology concentration courses include Abnormal Psychology in Forensic Populations, Forensic Assessment, and Mental Health Law. All students complete either a thesis project or a comprehensive final exam.

The University of New Haven was founded as the New Haven YMCA Junior College in 1920. For nearly 40 years, the school shared facilities with Yale University. It is now a private university which combines liberal arts with professional training. The graduate campus is located in Orange, Connecticut. Criminal justice and forensic sciences programs are the most popular. Leading forensic scientist Henry C. Lee has been a UNH faculty member since 1975. The Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science opened on the university campus in 1998. The Institute welcomes forensic experts to speak on topics such as bloodstain analysis and evidence photography. U.S. News & World Report ranks UNH 93rd in Regional Universities North and 62nd for best value.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,020

#5 – Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Irvine Campus)

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Irvine, CA


The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program at its Irvine, California campus. The two-year, full-time program integrates study in psychology, law, and public policy. Beyond theoretical foundations, Forensic Psychology students work in the school's Forensic Training Institute to offer services in clinical treatment, forensic assessment, and program measurement. Sample courses include Trauma and Crisis Interventions, Mental Health Law, and Tactical and Field Psychology. Students may also complete the Professional Counselor Licensure Track to prepare for Professional Clinical Counselor licensure in California. Irvine students also have the option to concentrate in Police Psychology and gain hands-on experience in settings such as the Irvine Police Department or the Coroner's Office.

The Chicago School is a private, not-for-profit institution based in Chicago, Illinois. The school operates campuses throughout the United States, in Illinois, Texas, California, and Washington, D.C. The Irvine campus is located in the heart of University Plaza, next to UC Irvine, in Orange County, California. The Irvine campus is also home to the school's counseling centers, which allow students the opportunity to gain real-world experience and get a behind-the-scenes look at running a private practice or mental health clinic. The school has also been known as a leader in diversity and multicultural training. It operates a Center for Multicultural and Diversity Studies, has long offered culturally sensitive courses, and hosts an annual Cultural Impact Conference.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: N/A

#4 – California Baptist University

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Riverside, CA


California Baptist University awards a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. The program builds an understanding of the biological nature of crime, criminal profiling, human development, psychopathology, and psychology and law. The 57-unit curriculum includes courses in Legal Research and Reasoning, Criminal Investigations, and Theory and Perspectives in Criminal Behavior. Students can pursue a master's thesis, or follow a non-thesis track culminating in a comprehensive exam. During their second year of study, students gain field experience in a forensic setting. The degree takes two years to complete.

Cal Baptist was established in 1950 as California Baptist College in El Monte, California. Now located in Riverside, California, it is a private Christian liberal arts university and affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention. The university offers students opportunities to participate in International Service Projects, which involve overseas community service work. U.S. News & World Report ranks CBU No. 32 in Regional Universities West, No. 20 in Best Value Schools, and No. 7 in Most Innovative Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,287

#3 – University of Denver

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Denver, CO


The University of Denver first offered a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology in 1999, when interest and development in the field of forensic psychology were growing. The program incorporates coursework and practicum experiences in psychology and law. It also emphasizes the principles of diversity and cultural competencies. The curriculum includes courses in Group Interventions, Lifespan Development and the Cultural Context, Mental Health Law, Trauma and Crisis Intervention, and Conflict Resolution.

The private research university is located in Denver, Colorado. The campus is a 125-acre designated arboretum with historic buildings built in Collegiate Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles. In 2015, DU was first among the nation's doctoral research institutions in the percentage of undergraduate students in study abroad programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks DU No. 96 in National Universities and No. 58 in Best Value Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,520

#2 – University of North Dakota – Grand Forks

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

Grand Forks, ND


The University of North Dakota – Grand Forks offers a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology. The 30-credit curriculum includes required courses such as Behavior Pathology, Experimental Design, and Psychology and Law. Elective offerings include Cognitive Psychology, Human Nature and Crime, and Victimology. The program does not include a comprehensive exam. Students can choose to follow a thesis track with six thesis credit hours or to complete a non-thesis independent study option. Overall, the degree takes about two years to complete.

UND was established in 1883 by the Dakota Territorial Assembly. Located in Grand Forks, the public research university has a strong foundation in the liberal arts. National research institutions on campus include the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center, the Energy and Environmental Research Center, and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Additional campus facilities include the North Dakota Museum of Art, Memorial Stadium, and the Chester Fritz Auditorium. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 205 in National Universities and No. 112 in Top Public Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,688 in-state; $20,526 out-of-state

#1 – City University of New York – John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

New York, NY


The City University of New York is home to Grad School Hub's No. 1 best master's degree in Forensic Psychology. The university offers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology through its John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The degree program focuses on evaluation, treatment, and understanding of both offenders and victims. It covers areas of psychopathology, personality assessment, therapeutic techniques, and research methods. The 42-credit curriculum includes four required courses: Mental Health Professionals, Social Science, and the Law; Research Design and Methods; Psychopathology; and Intermediate Statistics in the Social Sciences. Students may choose to complete an externship, which involves a minimum of 300 hours spent in a supervised psychological setting. Alternatively, students can opt to pursue a master's thesis.

CUNY is the public university system of New York City. Its John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a public senior liberal arts college. Founded in 1965, the college was named after founding father, New York native, and the first chief justice of the United States, John Jay. The college was founded as the nation's only liberal arts college with a focus on forensics and criminal justice. The school's student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. John Jay is ranked No. 139 in Regional Universities North and No. 46 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,450 in-state; $19,320 out-of-state