The study of criminal psychology, or forensic psychology, bridges the gap between psychology and criminal justice. You’ll examine the biological, social, emotional, and cognitive components of human behavior. You’ll also explore how individual behavior impacts society as a whole.
Through theory, research, and hands-on practice, you’ll contemplate \ why people commit crimes and to prevent them. This knowledge prepares you for a variety of careers or graduate study in social work, psychology, law enforcement, or other criminal justice careers.
What kind of bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology should you get?
Many careers in psychology and criminal justice will require an advanced degree. For example, professional counselors must have a master’s degree, and forensic psychologists, expert witnesses, and professors or researchers will need a doctoral degree.
Of course, whatever career you’d like to pursue, a bachelor’s degree is your first step. These programs are available both on-campus and online. Both formats have their advantages. However, online programs offer you the flexibility to complete coursework anytime, anywhere. If online programs appeal to you, check out our list of the Best Online Forensic Psychology Degrees.
How much money do people make with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology?
With a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology, your career and median salary options (per the Bureau of Labor Statistics) include:
- Law enforcement officer: $63,380
- Probation officer: $53,020
- Crime scene analyst: $58,230
These careers are growing as fast or faster than average. Jobs for crime scene analysts, for example, are projected to grow by 17% over the next decade. If you choose to pursue graduate study, you’ll have additional career options with higher salaries.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology?
A bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology can lead to jobs in law enforcement and crime scene investigation. You can also become a probation officer, a court liaison, or a victim’s advocate.
You may also choose to pursue graduate study in law, criminal justice, psychology, forensic psychology, social work, or other related fields. With a master’s degree, you can become a licensed counselor. With a doctorate, you can work in academia or as a forensic psychologist.
What are the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology?
To apply for these programs, you’ll need to submit an application with your high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. You may be required to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.
Once admitted to the program, you’ll take courses in psychology, crime analysis, criminal behavior, forensic psychology, theories of personality, and more. You may complete field experiences, research projects, and various presentations. Additional courses in professional ethics or psychology and law may be required. These programs generally take four years to complete.
What are the best bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology?
After a thorough investigation, we’ve concluded that the following programs offer the best bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology. We considered factors like school reputation, tuition cost, the overall return on investment, and accreditation.
All College Choice rankings rely on trusted sources including:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- U.S. News and World Report
- Princeton Review
- Official college and university websites and course catalogs
Choose any of the following programs, and you can rest assured that you’ll receive solid training in criminal psychology. Whether you plan to take your bachelor’s degree to graduate school, a courtroom, or into the field, these programs will prepare you to succeed.
Florida Institute Of Technology
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $33,610
Located in Melbourne, Florida, Florida Institute of Technology is a private research university founded in 1958. It’s ranked among the Tier 1 Best Universities by U.S. News and World Report and Best for Return on Investment by PayScale. The university emphasizes technology and science, and its core values are research, education, and global citizenship for the benefit of all. FIT enrolls over 8,000 students and offers more than 200 academic programs, including a BA in Forensic Psychology.
FIT’s Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology is the only program of its kind in the state. It teaches students how psychological theory and research play a significant part in the criminal justice system. Students develop an understanding of human behavior and hone their skills in writing, research, and data analysis. They benefit from small class sizes, faculty-led research programs, and partnerships with the FBI and other agencies. Courses include:
- Forensic Behavior Investigation and Identification
- Victim Studies and Advocacy
- Introduction to Crime Analysis
- Forensic Clinical Psychology
- Juvenile Delinquency
Seniors complete a scholarly inquiry project, which consists of hands-on field experience and a substantial research study. Graduates are prepared to work in counseling or research or as law enforcement officers, crime scene analysts, or leaders in the field of criminal justice. A specialization in child advocacy is available for students in FIT’s Forensic Psychology program.
The College Of Saint Rose
College Choice Score: 95.37
Average Net Price: $22,377
The College of Saint Rose is a private college in Albany, New York that was founded in 1920 by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Saint Rose enrolls nearly 4,000 students and has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Ranked as a Best Northern University by U.S. News and World Report, Saint Rose is known for its vibrant campus community and rigorous scholarship. It’s home to 47 undergraduate programs, including BA in Forensic Psychology.
Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology at Saint Rose may choose from three degree paths. The general degree evenly blends coursework in criminal justice, law, and psychology. The clinical concentration emphasizes just psychology, and the legal concentration emphasizes law. All students build skills like scientific inquiry, critical thinking, communication, and professional development through courses like:
- Intro to Criminal Justice
- Criminal Behavior
- Advanced Forensic Psychology
- Research Methods/Statistics
- Criminal Profiling
The culminating academic experience is a senior seminar. Although not required, internships are strongly encouraged. Select students complete a one-year internship with expert faculty advisors at the university’s Cold Case Analysis Center, working on actual cold cases. Most students go on to pursue graduate study in Forensic Psychology or Psychology, Counseling, or Law.
University Of New Haven
College Choice Score: 94.87
Average Net Price: $33,665
A vibrant and diverse community of over 7,000 students, the University of New Haven began on the Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut in 1920. The private university has expanded to five locations, including a campus in Italy. The interdisciplinary curriculum is professionally focused, equipping students with the experiences, skills, and knowledge to prepare for meaningful careers. Students choose from more than 100 programs, including a concentration in Forensic Psychology.
The University of New Haven offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. Housed in the Department of Psychology, the program also incorporates courses from the College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. Students examine questions related to why people commit crimes, what traits criminals exhibit, and how to prevent crimes. Courses include:
- Police and Investigative Psychology
- Theories of Personality
- Drugs and Behavior
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Law, Psychology, and the Mental Health System
This concentration consists of 33 credits beyond the required psychology courses, as well as six credits of criminal justice courses. Students also complete courses in biological, cognitive, and experimental psychology, in addition to ten free electives. All students are required to complete a seminar in psychology and law.
Cuny John Jay College Of Criminal Justice
College Choice Score: 94.77
Average Net Price: $4,891
Based in midtown Manhattan, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a senior college of The City University of New York. John Jay offers a rich professional and liberal arts curriculum and is an international leader in educating for justice. The school serves a diverse community of 15,000 students. The state-of-the-art campus features research facilities and laboratories for forensic psychology, forensic science, and other disciplines. John Jay offers a BA in Forensic Psychology.
Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology program learn to apply an empirical approach to understanding individual human behavior. They then examine how individual behavior impacts the broader community. Students analyze data, design research studies, complete written and oral presentations, and learn to recognize professional ethics. Courses include:
- Abnormal Psychology
- Brain and Behavior
- Theories of Personality
- Psychology of Criminal Behavior
- Correctional Psychology
Optional experiences include fieldwork in psychology, supervised undergraduate research in psychology, advanced undergraduate research (as a capstone project), and an honor’s thesis. Qualified students may enter John Jay’s BA/MA program in Forensic Psychology, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
California Baptist University
College Choice Score: 94.75
Average Net Price: $25,714
One of the nation’s top Christian colleges, California Baptist University is a private university just outside of Los Angeles. The 160-acre main campus is a short drive from popular beaches and mountain resorts. Founded in 1950, CBU currently enrolls more than 10,000 students. It’s been named a Best Regional University by U.S. News and World Report and offers a Christ-centered education integrating academics with spiritual and social development. CBU also offers a BA in Psychology.
CBU’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology provides several concentration options, including Forensic Psychology. Students study the human mind, relationships, and behavior through research, theory, and experiential learning. The Forensic Psychology minor requires 12 distinct academic units in addition to the major, including:
- Introduction to Forensic Psychology
- Developmental Psychology: Adolescence and Adulthood
- Abnormal Psychology
- Psychopathic Mind
- Social Psychology
Students complete a capstone project that involves conducting an independent research study over four semesters. They present their research in a poster session that is open to CBU faculty and students. They may also apply to present at the Annual CBU Student Research Colloquium or to become a research assistant to a faculty member.
College Choice Score: 91.24
Average Net Price: $16,467
Castleton University is a public liberal arts college in Castleton, Vermont, established in 1787. As the state’s first college, Castleton has a reputation for taking a personalized approach to providing cutting-edge education. The average class size is 17, and 98% of professors hold terminal degrees. Two thousand one hundred students attend classes on Castleton’s campus, nestled in the base of the Green Mountains. They choose from more than 75 programs of study, including a BS in Forensic Psychology.
Castleton’s Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology is for students interested in applying psychology to the judicial process in law enforcement, probation parole, corrections, courts, or in the general practice of law. Students build a solid knowledge base in psychology and expand skills in scientific inquiry and critical thinking, ethical and social responsibility, communication, and professional development. You’ll take courses like:
- Introduction to Psychological Science
- Theories of Personality
- Police Psychology
- Criminal Behavior
- Correctional Psychology
This program is best suited for students who plan to pursue graduate study in a psychology-related field. In addition to completing coursework, students gain hands-on experience in applied psychology fields. All students complete either a psychology practicum or advanced research, including a presentation at a national or regional research conference.