15 Best Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology Degrees 2021

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Earning a criminal psychology bachelor’s degree prepares students for careers in criminal justice, advocacy, and mental health. A criminal psychology degree also provides an excellent foundation for pursuing graduate school to become a forensic or clinical psychologist or counselor.

PayScale reports that graduates with forensic psychology bachelor’s degrees earn an average annual salary of $58,280. This degree can lead to diverse career opportunities, so salary expectations vary. 

This page includes a ranked list of the best colleges for criminal psychology. We also explain what criminal psychology majors can expect from a typical program, potential jobs for graduates, and how to choose the right school. 

2021’s Top 10 Colleges for Criminal Psychology

Rank School Location
1 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
2 Walla Walla University College Place, WA
3 Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA
4 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY
5 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL
6 Castleton University Castleton, VT
7 Quincy University Quincy, IL
8 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott Prescott, AZ
9 Kean University Union, NJ
10 University of New Haven West Haven, CT

See Detailed Rankings

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Explore program formats, transfer requirements, financial aid packages, and more by contacting the schools below.

What Is Criminal Psychology?

Criminal psychology is the study of criminal behavior, attitudes, and thinking.

Criminal psychologists create criminal profiles, consult with law enforcement, assess suspects, and conduct research.

Criminal profiling in the U.S. dates back to at least the 1940s, when a psychiatrist created a profile of Adolph Hitler for the U.S. government. The popularity of television shows like “CSI” and “Criminal Minds” has raised awareness of and interest in the field.

The job duties of criminal psychologists and forensic psychologists overlap, and some people use the terms interchangeably. However, criminal psychology focuses mostly on criminal behavior, while forensic psychology extends more broadly to work in criminal and civil law, academic research, and counseling. 

To become a licensed criminal or forensic psychologist, you need to earn a Ph.D. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that of the 192,300 psychologists in the U.S. in 2019, 12,880 work as specialized psychologists. The agency does not include separate data on criminal psychologists. A criminal psychology bachelor’s degree provides a foundation in criminal behavior and the core theories and practices of psychology, ideal for those interested in attending graduate school to become criminal psychologists. 

A bachelor’s also prepares students for careers as paralegals, mental health counselors, probation officers, and victim advocates. 

Why Get a Criminal Psychology Bachelor’s Degree?

Criminal psychology majors develop skills that open the door to new career opportunities, better salaries, and the opportunity to help people and protect society. The discipline attracts those interested in understanding what animates human criminal behavior. A criminal psychology bachelor’s degree also appeals to students exploring careers in the criminal justice system and those who plan to apply to Ph.D. programs in psychology. 

Gain New Skills
Criminal psychology majors explore a compelling, interdisciplinary curriculum for analyzing and understanding criminal behavior. Students develop analytical, observational, and problem-solving skills.
Earn More Money
A criminal psychology bachelor’s degree provides learners with the knowledge and qualifications to qualify for gainful employment in the field. For example, social and community services managers earned a median annual salary of $67,150 as of 2019.
Career Opportunities
Graduates find career opportunities in many areas of the criminal justice system, including the courts, law enforcement, and corrections. Criminal psychology professionals also work as victim advocates, mental health counselors, and corrections officers.

2021’s Top Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology Schools

The following list ranks the best 15 schools for criminal psychology. We create these rankings, updated for 2021, using a proprietary methodology that prioritizes key program and institutional characteristics. The link below explains our methodology in complete detail.

Our Ranking Methodology

  • What the Best Criminal Psychology Programs Have in Common

    Every college offers students a unique experience. Even so, many leading schools share similar characteristics. These common traits apply to the nation’s best universities for criminal psychology:

    • They are accredited. Bestowed by independent third-party agencies, accreditation acts as an endorsement of an institution’s competence and academic quality. All institutions in this ranking hold valid regional accreditation, which carries the most authority. The following organizations provide accreditation:
      • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
      • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
      • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
      • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
      • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
      • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
      • WASC Senior College and University Commission
    • They offer strong academic programs. Schools with particularly rigorous academic programs prepare learners for successful careers. Key quantitative indicators of a program’s strength include high student retention rates and graduation rates, low student-to-faculty ratios, and a dense concentration of full-time faculty members. These metrics imply strong student satisfaction rates, more interactive learning opportunities, and an institution-wide commitment to excellence.
    • They are reputable. A school’s reputation matters, especially to employers and learners committed to advancing into graduate programs. Schools with more selective admission standards and the stronger graduate outcomes tend to have better reputations. Key reputation-related statistics include the percentage of applicants who receive admission offers, the percentage of those admission offers accepted by students, and alumni’s average financial earnings.
    • They are affordable. With the costs of higher education steadily increasing, learners continue to seek learning opportunities that balance quality and affordability. Along with tuition rates, graduate student debt rates and access to financial aid factor into this metric. Affordable programs help guide students to lifelong financial health, making this one of the most important long-term indicators of educational value.

  1. Maryville University of Saint Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Situated in a quiet western suburb of St. Louis County, Maryville ranks among the fastest-growing colleges in the United States. According to the nonprofit third-party agency Educate to Career, Maryville joins the top 10% of major U.S. colleges for providing strong returns on student educational investments.

    Online Forensic Psychology Bachelor's Degree

    Maryville's innovative program fuses elements of criminal justice, psychology, and social science in an enriched curriculum that meets American Psychological Association standards. Learners complete coursework in a 100% online format while benefiting from excellent experiential learning opportunities. An optional 135-hour local internship program accelerates networking efforts while developing practical professional competencies.

    The degree culminates in a customized capstone project, in which each student chooses an area of focus, such as behavioral research, corrections, criminology, psychotherapy, and rehabilitation. Enrollees can begin in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Maryville does not charge application fees or require any entrance examinations.

    Applying to Maryville

    Each candidate must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $500/credit
    • Required Credits: 128 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online
  2. Walla Walla University
    Location

    College Place, WA

    This private Christian liberal arts university has built an intimate learning community across five Pacific Northwest campuses. WWU features rigorous academic programs in more than 100 study areas.

    Forensic Psychology Major (Bachelor of Science)

    Built around a deep core covering 65 credits, this acclaimed criminal psychology bachelor's degree begins by examining the biological and social intersections of psychology. From there, degree-seekers develop advanced research and statistical analysis skills in building a multifaceted understanding of criminal psychology from developmental and forensic perspectives.

    Learners apply central psychological concepts in criminology and criminal justice through required courses in juvenile delinquency, social psychology, personality theory, and abnormal psychology. The program culminates with a psychology practicum, which affords students the chance to apply their learning in real-world, professional field settings.

    Applying to WWU

    Each first-year applicant must provide high school academic transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit official SAT/ACT scores. Candidates must also provide at least one letter of recommendation and meet WWU's high school credit requirements in English, history, algebra, geometry, science, and laboratory science.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: NWCCU, Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (Adventist Accrediting Association)
    • Tuition: $803/credit (11 credits or fewer); $9,636/credit (12-16 credits)
    • Required Credits: 82 credits plus general education requirements
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus
  3. Bay Path University
    Location

    Longmeadow, MA

    Founded in 1897 in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Bay Path is a nationally recognized leader in women's higher education. Though open to learners of all genders, female students make up a dominant majority of Bay Path's student body.

    Forensic Psychology

    Bay Path's curriculum prioritizes student understanding of the psychological and sociological roots of criminality, along with its community impacts. Learners engage directly with the rehabilitative needs of male and female offenders, making this program a particularly strong fit for degree-seekers interested in forensic psychology's gender-specific applications in criminal justice.

    Enrollees can attend weekday classes at Bay Path's main campus in Longfellow or enroll at the school's American Women's College Online for asynchronous remote learning opportunities. Bay Path also offers a "3+1" program, available exclusively to campus-based students, allowing ambitious learners to graduate with bachelor's and master's degrees in just four years.

    Applying to Bay Path

    Each candidate must submit a free online application form, along with official transcripts from all previously attended educational institutions. Bay Path requires a minimum 2.0 GPA minimum of 2.0. The admissions process usually includes a telephone interview.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: NECHE
    • Tuition: $400/credit
    • Required Credits: 123 credits
    • Program Length: 3-4 years
    • Delivery Format: Online with some in-person requirements (asynchronous) or on campus
  4. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
    Location

    New York, NY

    Named after the first chief Supreme Court justice in U.S. history, this criminal justice-focused public institution opened in 1964. It now operates as an affiliated senior college in the City University of New York system.

    Forensic Psychology, Bachelor of Arts

    John Jay offers a flexible forensic psychology program with extensive customization options. Its relatively compact core examines the biological, social, emotional, and cognitive aspects of human behavior, along with how these elements interact in criminal minds.

    Learners supplement core requirements with a varied set of electives, including valuable experiential and fieldwork opportunities. The program culminates in a capstone and optional honors thesis, and highly qualified applicants can pursue the combined BA/MA pathway with departmental approval.

    Applying to John Jay

    An applicant must hold a high school diploma (or equivalent) and submit official SAT, ACT, or TASC scores, along with academic transcripts.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: MSCHE
    • Tuition: $3,465/semester (in state); $620/credit (out of state)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus
  5. Florida Institute of Technology
    Location

    Melbourne, FL

    This Tier-1 university ranks among the top research institutions in the United States. PayScale lists Florida Tech in the top 6% in the U.S. for return on investment.

    Forensic Psychology Bachelor of Arts

    With small classes and a strong culture of mentorship and collaboration, Florida Tech offers a unique opportunity to specialize in forensic psychology. It is the only undergraduate program in the discipline available in Florida.

    Degree-seekers interface with faculty members who possess varied research specializations, including criminology, clinical, social, multicultural, and industrial-organizational psychology. Florida Tech also features a rare specialization in child advocacy, making the program an ideal match for enrollees interested in child protection careers.

    Learners also benefit from extensive experiential learning opportunities. Options include placements with cold case teams, mental health and drug courts, attorneys, and correctional facilities.

    Applying to Florida Tech

    Florida Tech considers all applications on an individual basis and evaluates the sum merits of each applicant, rather than focusing on specific performance indicators. Candidates must submit high school transcripts and official SAT/ACT scores. The school also recommends a personal statement of purpose and at least one letter of recommendation.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $19,295/semester
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus
  6. Castleton University
    Location

    Castleton, VT

    This intimate learning community was the first higher education institution established in Vermont. Founded in 1787, Castleton is also the 18th-oldest college still operating in the United States.

    Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology

    Castleton's BS in forensic psychology supports five key learning outcomes: creating a sound knowledge base in psychology, developing critical thinking and scientific research skills, building social and ethical responsibility, improving student communication skills, and equipping learners with valuable professional practice tools. Core courses systematically advance these objectives, while electives offer specialized learning opportunities.

    In upper-level electives, degree-seekers can focus on topics including police psychology, juvenile delinquency, criminal behavior, correctional psychology, and interactions between psychology and the law. The program's curriculum meets undergraduate learning goals specified by the American Psychological Association.

    Applying to Castleton

    Castleton offers rolling admissions and reviews all applicants on a case-by-case basis. The school considers all aspects of a candidate's profile, including high school grades, SAT/ACT scores, and extracurricular activities. Each candidate must also submit a 250-word personal essay.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: NECHE
    • Tuition: $493/credit (in state); $1,200/credit (out of state)
    • Required Credits: 122 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus
  7. Quincy University
    Location

    Quincy, IL

    Founded by Franciscan friars in 1860, QU earned its degree-granting charter in 1873. The school remains strongly rooted in the Franciscan intellectual tradition, which emphasizes humanism, enlightened scientific reasoning, and philosophical wisdom.

    Forensic Psychology

    QU brands its forensic psychology program with the tagline: "Solving the puzzle: the science behind the crime." This statement captures its core focus on arming students with the psychological expertise to make a positive impact in the criminal justice field.

    The program weaves five specialties into its design: police psychology, the psychology of crime and delinquency, victimology, legal psychology, and correctional psychology. Course content examines the interactive nature of these elements, while supplementary requirements ground student learning in the broader contexts of criminal justice and political science.

    Degree-seekers in their junior and senior years can pursue concentrated studies in police and corrections, law, children, or individual interactions. They must also complete at least two intensive practicums, which embed coordinated experiential learning and integrative papers built on first-hand research.

    Applying to QU

    Each first-year applicant must submit official high school transcripts, official SAT/ACT scores, and a guidance counselor recommendation. QU does not specify minimum academic achievement cutoffs, making its admission standards inclusive and open to all.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $31,160/year
    • Required Credits: 112-126 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus
  8. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott
    Location

    Prescott, AZ

    Founded in 1926 by aviation pioneers Talton Embry and John Paul Riddle, ERAU has matured into a leading international technical education institute. The school maintains physical locations in Florida, Arizona, and Singapore, along with a top-ranked online worldwide campus.

    Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology

    In keeping with ERAU's institutional focus on technical education, this program emphasizes scientific approaches to forensic psychology with fundamental courses in statistics, mathematics, and research.

    Offered through its College of Security and Intelligence, the forensic psychology program provides access to cutting-edge intelligence, forensics, and cybersecurity lab facilities. This program is exclusively available at ERAU's Prescott, Arizona campus.

    ERAU only employs credentialed instructors, rather than graduate students or teaching assistants, for all classes in the forensic psychology program. Small class sizes and a focus on cultural and social behavior also help to differentiate the program from others.

    Applying to ERAU

    Application requirements include high school or college academic transcripts and two letters of recommendation. A candidate can also submit SAT/ACT scores and a personal essay, but ERAU does not require these materials.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $39,116/year (estimated)
    • Required Credits: 122-123 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus
  9. Kean University
    Location

    Union, NJ

    Kean, known for its excellent humanities and social science programs, was the first public higher education institution ever founded in New Jersey. This innovative university counts more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students as members of its learning community.

    Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Forensic Psychology Option

    Kean's psychology curriculum emphasizes research, with all students participating in active research programs related to human behavior, psychological development, and other aspects of cognition and mental health. Its BA program in psychology offers a forensic psychology specialization, in which degree-seekers focus on criminology and criminal justice, deviant behavior, and forensic profiling.

    Learning outcomes emphasize proficiencies in diagnostics and treatment, research skills, critical thinking, communication skills, and viewpoint diversity. The program builds to a culminating capstone experience in which each enrollee designs and executes an original forensic psychology research project.

    Applying to Kean

    Each candidate must submit high school transcripts and a completed institutional application. Due to COVID-19, Kean currently maintains a test-optional application policy.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: MSCHE
    • Tuition: $5,223/semester (in state); $8,811/semester (out of state)
    • Required Credits: 143-146 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
  10. University of New Haven
    Location

    West Haven, CT

    New Haven features an impressive annual operating budget of about $287 million for a learning community of fewer than 7,000 students, representing an investment of $42,200 per enrollee each year.

    Psychology, Bachelor of Arts (Forensic Psychology Concentration)

    New Haven's forensic psychology concentration focuses on the discipline's practical applications. Forensic psychologists often determine an accused individual's competency to stand trial, which this program emphasizes as a critical skill.

    Learners engage with core courses in police and investigator psychology, personality theory, substance abuse and behavior, and cognitive neuroscience. The program's emphasis on professional development leads to careers in border protection, probation and parole administration, and investigative specializations.

    Applying to New Haven

    Each first-time, first-year candidate must submit a personal essay ranging from 250-650 words, a letter of recommendation, official SAT/ACT scores, academic transcripts, and a completed institutional application form.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: NECHE
    • Tuition: $20,685/semester
    • Required Credits: 122 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus

What To Expect From Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology Programs

The best colleges for criminal psychology help students develop an understanding of criminal motivation and behavior. They provide a foundation in the theory and practice of general psychology and criminal justice. Criminal psychology majors can pursue careers in criminal justice, advocacy, and mental health. 

A typical criminal psychology bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete and requires 120 credits. The cost of the degree varies considerably depending on the type of school (public or private), format (online or in-person), location, and prestige. Each applicant usually needs a high school diploma (or equivalent) and must submit ACT or SAT scores. 

Programs that offer degrees relevant to criminal psychology include a bachelor of science (BS) in criminal justice with a criminal psychology concentration, a BS in psychology with a criminal psychology concentration, and a BS in criminology. Typical criminal psychology courses include the psychology of criminal behavior, abnormal psychology, forensic psychology, and social psychology.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for criminal psychology bachelor’s degree programs vary by institution. Most schools require a high school diploma or GED certificate at minimum. More competitive programs stipulate that an applicant must hold a minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA and submit satisfactory ACT or SAT scores.

Many universities require learners to submit evidence of specific college preparatory coursework, such as four years of English, three years of math, two years of foreign language, and three years of science. Students who do not fulfill all college preparatory coursework in high school can usually complete these prerequisites in college. Applicants increase their chances of admission by demonstrating leadership capabilities or participation in extracurricular activities.

Prospective students can apply to multiple criminal psychology bachelor’s programs at once with the Common App. Some schools require supplemental materials like letters of recommendation or written essays in addition to general application information.

Comparing Study Options

Prospective criminal psychology students choose from several options for bachelor’s programs. Few schools offer bachelor’s degrees solely in criminal psychology. In many cases, degree-seekers encounter criminal psychology or forensic psychology as concentrations in criminal justice or general psychology programs.

Some schools may not offer specific criminal psychology degrees, instead offering courses of study by other names that cover the same issues, theory, and practices foundational to the field.

Popular Criminal Psychology Courses

Coursework for criminal psychology majors varies by school. Most programs require a combination of core, elective, concentration, and general education courses, often culminating in a capstone or practicum class. The following list describes some typical courses.

This course explores the causes of mental disorders, along with common treatments. Topics include mental illness evaluation, the clinical characteristics of mental disorders, and myths of psychological disorders. Students develop critical thinking, assessment, and treatment skills.
Learners explore the roots of criminal and delinquent behavior through a cognitive lens, investigating factors that lead to crime in juveniles and adults.
This class considers the impact of other people on individual behavior. Students explore group decision-making, accuracy of eye-witness testimony, advertising’s effect on behavior and beliefs, and nonverbal communication.
Degree-seekers explore how psychological theories and practices relate to the legal system. Learners analyze case law for civil, domestic, and criminal disputes in areas like corporate crime and domestic abuse. They also look at the role psychologists play in ensuring fair cases.
This culminating experience synthesizes the knowledge and skills gained in the program. Each student chooses a topic relevant to their personal interests or career goals and completes a research project with faculty approval.

How Much Will a Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology Cost?

The cost of a criminal psychology bachelor’s degree varies. The College Board reports public four-year, in-state tuition at $10,560 a year on average in the 2020-21 academic year. Tuition varies considerably by state, so even those who qualify for in-state tuition pay drastically different amounts. In general, learners spend much more to attend private institutions. However, many private schools offer substantial financial aid packages.

Prospective learners should consider other potential costs when researching universities, including the price of textbooks, technology repairs or upgrades, transportation, and housing. Many students work part time or full time while earning their criminal psychology degrees.

Financing options include scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. Contact your school’s office of financial aid to find out about resources to help pay for your criminal psychology degree.

Read More About Criminal Psychology Programs

Jobs for Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology Majors

Criminal psychology majors pursue careers in criminal justice, mental health services, and the nonprofit and government sectors. Salaries for criminal psychology bachelor’s students start at around $36,000 for victim advocates and reach up to $67,000 for social and community service managers. 

The BLS reports psychologists earned a median annual salary of $80,370 in 2019. To become a criminal or forensic psychologist, you must earn a Ph.D. 

  • Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

    Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work with offenders in different stages of the criminal justice system. Job duties include providing drug tests, maintaining case files, writing reports, and offering job training to offenders. These professionals work for state and local government and need to pass criminal background checks, drug tests, and competency exams.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $54,290

  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants

    Paralegals and legal assistants provide support to lawyers. They perform legal research, maintain case files, draft documents, and schedule meetings. Specific duties vary by area of law and size of the law firm. Paralegal professionals primarily work in the legal services industry.

    • Required Education: Associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in another field with a paralegal studies certificate
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +10%
    • Median Annual Salary: $51,740

  • Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

    This quickly growing field sees substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors supporting individuals with mental problems, drug addiction, and alcoholism. A typical day includes evaluating clients’ mental health, creating treatment plans, educating clients’ family members about providing help, and offering outreach programs.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +25%
    • Median Annual Salary: $46,240

  • Social and Community Service Managers

    Social and community service managers manage outreach for their organizations, assess program effectiveness, identify stakeholders’ needs, and write proposals for funding. These managers need strong analytical, communication, and management skills.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +17%
    • Median Annual Salary: $67,150

  • Victim Advocate

    Victim advocates provide support to victims of crimes. They work for nonprofit organizations, police departments, and government agencies. Typical duties include attending court with victims, running support groups, and offering individual counseling. Many victim advocates specialize in domestic violence and violence against women.

    • Required Education: Associate degree
    • Average Annual Salary: $35,670

Explore Criminal Justice Careers

Choosing the Right Criminal Psychology Program

Our ranked list of schools offers a strong starting place for aspiring students, but they should still consider other factors in their research. Consider the following aspects: 

Accreditation
Always ensure that your prospective college holds regional accreditation. This status makes it much easier to receive financial aid, transfer credit to another institution, and apply to graduate school.
Cost
The cost of earning a criminal psychology bachelor’s degree varies based on the type of school (public or private), financial aid opportunities, and tuition rate (in-state or out-of-state).
Extracurriculars
Does your prospective school offer extracurricular activities like student groups, volunteer opportunities, and sports teams?
Competitiveness
Prestigious institutions commonly include competitive admission requirements. Cost generally increases with prestige.
Future Education Opportunities at that School
If you plan to pursue a graduate degree in criminal psychology or another field, consider finding a college that offers a bachelor’s and graduate program.
Cost
The cost of earning a criminal psychology bachelor’s degree varies based on the type of school (public or private), financial aid opportunities, and tuition rate (in-state or out-of-state).
Program Length
Most criminal psychology bachelor’s programs take four years to complete. Some schools offer accelerated options that allow students to graduate more quickly.

Should You Get Your Degree Online?

Increasingly prevalent and understood as equivalent to in-person learning, distance education programs provide flexibility for working professionals, students with families, and anyone else seeking a dynamic college experience. 

Earning a criminal psychology degree online lets students complete coursework anywhere and any time, making it easier for a diverse group of learners to earn a college education. Online learning also provides greater affordability in some cases, with programs that offer in-state tuition to all learners, the opportunity to graduate more quickly with accelerated options, and the elimination of some student fees. 

Many prefer the convenience and flexibility of distance education, while others find it difficult to absorb information without in-person instruction. Consider your learning style, personality, and what you hope to get out of your criminal psychology degree. If you want to participate in extracurricular activities and seek a traditional college experience, on-campus learning might suit you better. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you become a criminal psychologist?

    To become a criminal psychologist, you need a doctoral degree in forensic or criminal psychology. Most criminal psychologists also complete post-doctoral research in criminal profiling or criminal behavior.

  • How long does it take to become a criminal psychologist?

    A criminal psychologist bachelor’s degree usually takes about four years to complete. However, a criminal psychologist needs a Ph.D. to earn their license, which adds another 5-7 years of education.

  • What jobs can you get with a bachelor's in criminal psychology?

    A bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology opens the door to career paths in criminal justice, advocacy, and government. Degree-holders find employment as victim advocates, probation officers, mental health counselors, and legal assistants.

  • Which degree is better — criminal psychology vs. forensic psychology?

    The better degree depends on your career goals and interests. A criminal psychology degree focuses more on criminal behavior and mental health, while forensic psychology deals with the entire criminal justice system.

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