Best Doctorates in Forensic Psychology

BPhD ForensicPsych CollegeChoice

Thanks to the TV show “Criminal Minds,” which began airing episodes in 2005, more people have been exposed to the field of Forensic Psychology.

This hit TV show features a group of FBI criminal profilers who go around the country to solve murder-related crimes. Unlike other shows that focus more on the physical evidence, “Criminal Minds” focuses on the why: Why did the criminal commit the crime? What state of mind did he or she possess to commit such a horrible thing? While the field of Forensic Psychology has some of the same characteristics as seen in the show, these psychologists are not necessarily just working to solve crimes.

Forensic Psychology is the practice of psychology (i.e. behavioral, cognitive, social) within the context of the legal system. Thus, forensic psychologists must also understand both psychological principles and theories along with how our justice system works. These professionals work alongside offenders, law enforcement, and the government. The Ph.D. is the highest degree awarded within the field. Keep reading to see College Choice’s ranking of the best 35 degrees in Forensic Psychology.

What kind of degree in Forensic Psychology should you get?

Two main degree types exist in this field: the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Psychology. The goal of the Ph.D. is to produce scholars who will contribute something new to the field, and thus this degree is best for future educators and researchers. On the other hand, the goal of the Psy.D. is to produce practicing scholars who will work directly with patients. Generally, Ph.D. programs will take a year or two longer to complete than the Psy.D. In addition, while both degrees contain mandatory research, the Psy.D. will have more emphasis on clinical training.

Though some degrees will be titled “Forensic Psychology,” the majority of degrees listed in this ranking will be a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, usually with an emphasis or concentration in Forensic Psychology or Forensics. A few degrees listed are a combination of both Law and Psychology. To figure out which degree is right for you, be sure to look at the course requirements and program outcomes to determine if your career goals align with them.

Not quite ready for a Ph.D. program? College Choice has also ranked the best Master’s Degrees in Forensic Psychology

How much money does a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology make?

Unfortunately, there are not many government data on exact salaries for those who hold a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology or for those within the field itself. According to Payscale, however, those with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology make an average salary of about $85,000. Under this category, forensic psychologists are listed as having an average salary of $80,685. Salary will depend on one’s experience, location, and if he or she is employed by a private company or the government.

As of 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the median salary of all psychologists regardless of education level is $79,010. Government psychologists made the most with a median salary of $96,410, compared with hospital and other healthcare service employees who held median salaries of $86,530 and lower. The BLS projects that all psychologists will experience a 14% job growth from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the national average. 

What can you do with a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology?

The most common career goal is to become a forensic psychologist. Have you ever watched a crime show that has psychologists speaking at the witness stand in court? While forensic psychologists have many roles, one of them is to directly interact with the legal system and work alongside law enforcement. Forensic psychologists may act as counselors for offenders in correctional facilities, help to profile criminals in cases, or even get called in as expert witnesses in trials.

Of course, due to the high research activity that goes into getting one’s Ph.D., many choose to become professors and/or researchers instead. Professors work at colleges or universities teaching psychology or other related courses. Other people will work in research institutions to produce clinical studies and write papers for academic journals. There are several different jobs to choose from, and the Ph.D. is a versatile enough degree that gives students both research and clinical practice skills

What are the requirements for a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology?

Most applicants apply after obtaining their Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, but some may choose to apply with a Master’s degree. Generally, the Ph.D. will take anywhere from four to six years to complete, though Master’s students will be able to complete the program in a quicker time frame. Coursework will take up the first couple of years of the program. Throughout the program, students are required to maintain a very high academic standing. Generally, schools will want to see a GPA of at least a 3.0 in all major classes out of a 4.0 scale.

Some schools will allow students to start their practicum/internship right after the first year, while others will not start until later. All schools differ on how many practicum hours are required. Practicum and internship sites must be accredited by the American Psychological Association for it to be counted toward the degree. The Ph.D. will culminate with a dissertation and then usually a year-long pre-doctoral dissertation. 

1

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

College Choice Score: 100.00

Average Net Price: $13,944

Overview

“Zot! Zot! Zot!” is the sound that may be heard at sporting events held on the University of California Irvine’s campus. Known for its anteater mascot, UCI is home to over 36,000 students in Southern California’s Orange County district. The school was founded in 1965 to meet the educational needs of the Boomer generation. Since its beginning, it has become one of the most prestigious University of California campuses. The U.S. News & World Report ranks UCI the No. 33 school on its 2019 “National Universities” ranking.

Program Features

Future scientists who wish to pursue research in psychological science should enroll in UCI’s Ph.D. program in Psychology and Social Behavior. This program offers a concentration in Psychology and Law. This six-year degree offers a collaborative environment for studying current world issues. Other program features include:

  • Guaranteed full-funding for the first five years
  • Mentorship with two faculty members
  • 33 full-time faculty members involved

Notables

Some topics that have been studied in the past include child maltreatment, socioeconomic disparities, and adult emotional experiences. Faculty will train students on proper evidence-based research methodologies.

2

DREXEL UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 94.96

Average Net Price: $40,977

Overview

Known for its “cooperative education,” Drexel University is a private institution located in Philadelphia. Drexel’s “co-op experiences” allow students to directly participate in the workforce in a field they may wish to enter. While this education model starts at the undergraduate level, it continues to benefit those even at the Ph.D. level who are continuously mentored by faculty through their research and work practicums. Drexel’s career-focused programs have certainly helped its graduates, as the Wall Street Journal and the Times Higher Education have ranked the school among the top 10% in the state and country based on salary value.

Program Features

Following a scientist-practitioner model, those who wish to practice professional psychology can earn their Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a Forensic Psychology emphasis. Students will complete their practicum, research, and dissertation within the emphasis. This is a full-time program that will take five years to complete. Students can also expect:

  • Completion in four years if a master’s degree holder
  • 12-month practicum during year two or three
  • Required teaching duties

Notables

Ph.D. students will assist in a variety of teaching duties throughout the majority of their program. Some activities may include supervision of labs, leading seminars, or acting as the primary instructor. Students wishing to forgo this requirement must contact the program director.

3

MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 92.85

Average Net Price: $15,224

Overview

Despite its over 20,000 student enrollment, Montclair State University offers a small-college feel on a large campus. Founded in 1908 as a standard school, Montclair has grown to its present-day, 252-acre campus that is located only 12 miles from New York City. It is the third-largest university within the state of New Jersey, offering more than 50 undergraduate and 130 graduate degrees. It was the first state college in the state to offer master’s degrees. Montclair has won numerous accolades for its high-achieving programs, research, and sustainability. In 2019, the U.S. News & World Report ranks Montclair among the best 200 universities in the nation.

Program Features

Students will receive quality professional training through Montclair’s Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. Throughout the degree, students will have access to the Montclair State University Center for Clinical Services as well as the Psychological Services Clinic. Other key features include:

  • Competitive graduate assistantships available
  • 86 credit hours for completion
  • One-year internship required

Notables

Although funding for this program is not guaranteed, there are many opportunities for students for financial support. During the first two years of the program, students typically will receive a doctoral fellowship requiring at least 20-hours of weekly work with a faculty. During the third and fourth year, students can teach and/or receive outside assistantships.

4

Fordham University

College Choice Score: 92.55

Average Net Price: $38,503

Overview

If you are looking for a Catholic education in a metropolitan city, Fordham University has got you covered. Fordham was founded in 1841 by Bishop John Hughes originally as St. John’s College. At the time, it was one of the first Catholic institutions of higher education within the Northeastern region. Even today, Fordham remains true to its Jesuit roots, emphasizing service and faith. It operates three campuses: Lincoln Center, Rose Hill, and Westchester within the state of New York. The school is proud to say that its students and faculty complete more than 1 million hours worth of community service annually.

Program Features

Whether one wishes to work in academia or practice, enrolling in Fordham’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology will help meet one’s goals. The curriculum comprises of four required courses, a practicum diagnosing mental disorders, and a dissertation. Examples of specific Forensic Psychology courses include:

  • Psychology and Civil Law
  • Forensic Assessment
  • Trauma and Family Violence

Notables

Fordham offers a rigorous clinical externship program for Ph.D. students. They will apply to six to eight externship sites and complete one full year of practicum beginning the second year of the program. Many externship locations include hospitals, private clinics, or correctional institutions.

5

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 92.24

Average Net Price: $12,219

Overview

Just as its name suggests, Florida International University is a large, diverse university with about 54,000 students. It is Miami’s first and only public research institution, having been established in 1965. Thanks to the school’s beautiful location, students have access to a metropolitan region with stunning beaches and two national parks. FIU operates a few campuses throughout the Miami-Dade area. Its Department of Psychology is offered on its Modesta A. Maidique Campus and Biscayne Bay Campus. 

Program Features

Learn the ropes of the criminal justice system by enrolling in FIU’s Ph.D. program in Legal Psychology. Topics of study include juror decision-making, interrogations, and investigative interviewing. As well as practice, research is a huge component of this degree. More highlights of the program are:

  • 75 credit hours for completion
  • Assistantships and scholarships worth $18,800 annually
  • Access to multiple on-campus research labs

Notables

Ph.D. students will assist in graduate and undergraduate teaching. Some courses that students have assisted in are Social Motivation, Introduction to Social Psychology, and Memory and Memory Improvement.

6

Arizona State University

College Choice Score: 91.81

Average Net Price: $12,947

Overview

Arizona State University is more than just its impressive rankings – it is a school that truly cares about students’ success through their academics and beyond. Located in the Phoenix metropolitan area, ASU boasts one of the highest enrollments in the nation with a little over 98,000 total students across its seven campuses as of the fall of 2016. Since its founding in 1885, ASU has become one of the fastest-growing public research universities in the country. In 2018, the Times Higher Education listed ASU among the top 1% of the world’s most prestigious universities. 

Program Features

ASU’s Ph.D. program in Law and Psychology is an interdisciplinary degree that focuses on legal policy and psychological research. Graduates will be prepared for roles in academia rather than direct practice since coursework does not meet licensure requirements. Highlights of the program are:

  • Four- to six-year projected completion time
  • 84 credit hours required for graduation
  • Full funding for up to five years

Notables

Students can apply for this degree right after their undergraduate career, or they may do so after obtaining a Master’s. Those who already hold a Master’s can expect to finish this program earlier. Before the final dissertation, students will complete a Master’s thesis in the second year and can earn their MS in Law and Psychology.

7

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

College Choice Score: 91.08

Average Net Price: $15,758

Overview

Become a Wildcat by enrolling in the University of Arizona, located in the city of Tucson, AZ. UA is the oldest public university within the state. It operates 19 schools and colleges and is also affiliated with two medical centers. Not only are its programs routinely ranked at the top, but UA’s faculty has also been awarded for its research and service. Additionally, UA is committed to diversity – in 2018 the university was designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked UA among the best public universities within the nation for 2019.

Program Features

UA offers a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with the following expertise: Psychophysiology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Health Psychology, and Intervention Research. All training done follows a clinical science model, with the goal that all students will produce sound empirical research. Additional highlights include:

  • Completion of a master’s project and dissertation
  • Predoctoral internship program
  • 32 Psychology faculty members

Notables

The predoctoral internship can be completed either full-time or part-time in 12 months or 24 months respectively. The internship focuses on clinical training, and thus all sites must be accredited. Clinical training allows students to complete Arizona licensure requirements.

8

SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 90.86

Average Net Price: $11,742

Overview

Who was Sam Houston? Mr. Houston was a former American soldier and Texan politician who served as the state’s sixth and seventh governor. Sam Houston State University was named after him in part because the university is located in his former hometown. SHSU is the twelfth-largest university within Texas, with a total enrollment of about 21,000 as of fall, 2017. It offers six doctoral programs and is considered a “Doctoral Research University” by the Carnegie Commission of Higher Education. Carnegie has also labeled SHSU as a “Community Engaged University” due to the high amount of community service it produces annually.

Program Features

Future licensed clinical psychologists can earn their Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a Forensic emphasis. Graduates will be able to apply psychology in a variety of legal contexts. This program undergoes forensic evaluations for courts in 19 different countries. Other key highlights include:

  • The school’s own Psychological Services Center operated on campus
  • Guaranteed funding worth at least $16,000
  • Summer funding worth about $3,000 available

Notables

During the program, students must complete a one-year pre-doctoral internship and practica. The practica will take at least seven semesters to complete. Past sites include the Austin State Hospital, Montgomery County Jail, and The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research.

9

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

College Choice Score: 89.64

Average Net Price: $13,441

Overview

The city of Laramie, WY began as a small town comprised of mainly European-American settlers. Over the years, its history has embodied the iconic “Old West” scene and culture. Today it is home to the University of Wyoming, which was established in 1886. UW is the state’s land-grant institution with an approximate enrollment of about 13,000. The school offers over 90 graduate programs across its nine colleges and schools. In 2018, Washington Monthly ranked UW among the 100 best universities in the country.

Program Features

UW’s Ph.D. in Psychology and Law is a research-centered, interdisciplinary program that focuses on psychological issues throughout the legal system. Students will take courses not only within the Department of Psychology but also in the College of Law. Core courses cover topics such as:

  • Biological Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Developmental Psychology

Notables

The Psychology and Law Lab allows students of different Psychology majors to perform research in the field. Current lab members are comprised of both Master’s and Ph.D. students and faculty. Some current research interests are judicial legitimacy, the effect of emotions on jury decision-making, and the impact of victim statements.

10

University of Florida

College Choice Score: 89.34

Average Net Price: $15,283

Overview

For over 160 years, the University of Florida has strongly influenced higher education in the city of Gainesville and the surrounding area. Every year, UF produces outstanding research; in the previous fiscal year alone, the school received more than $838 million worth of research money. Just last year, it was reported that the university contributed $7.83 billion to the state’s GDP. Due to UF’s innovation and affordability, the U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 35 in its “National Universities” ranking.

Program Features

UF offers a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This 90 credit hour program allows both undergraduate and graduate students to apply. Key characteristics of the degree are:

  • Specializations in Crime & Justice or Law & Society
  • Four or five-member supervisory committee 
  • Ability to transfer up to 36 credit hours from a master’s degree

Notables

Funding is guaranteed to all Ph.D. students via assistantships and fellowships. There are research and teaching assistantships available, each with their own minimum hours of work requirements. Students can also apply for fellowships, such as Graduate Minority Fellowships.

11

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA

College Choice Score: 88.97

Average Net Price: $16,230

Overview

While many people go to the Reno, NV area for vacation, others go to get a great education. The University of Nevada, Reno began as a single building in 1874. It was the state’s first institution of higher education. Today, its enrollment surpasses 21,000 students, offering more than 130 graduate degrees. UNR’s campus is conveniently located about 45-minutes by car from Lake Tahoe, allowing students the chance to participate in many exciting outdoor activities on their breaks. The community of Reno is also known to be a dynamic city that offers something for everyone.

Program Features

For the past 50 years, UNR has offered its Ph.D. program in Social Psychology. This interdisciplinary program is taught by 19 faculty members from a variety of research backgrounds. Because of this, students can specialize in four different areas, with one of them being a concentration in Social Psychology and Law/Justice. Other interesting facts about the program include:

  • Collaboration with two national judicial education centers 
  • Successful track record of funding all first-year students
  • Ability to join the Social Psychology Club

Notables

After completing specific courses equaling to 32 credit hours, students may choose to graduate with an additional MA in Social Psychology. The program will still take about five years to complete, finishing in the fall semester of the fifth year. 

12

Cornell University

College Choice Score: 88.35

Average Net Price: $31,449

Overview

Considered one of the eight Ivy League schools, Cornell University is a private institution located in New York that boasts an undergraduate acceptance rate of only about 10%. It was founded in 1865 by former Senators Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. It has become a leading institution of higher education within the country. While Cornell’s main campus is located in Ithaca, NY, it also operates campuses throughout New York, Washington D.C., Qatar, and Italy. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Cornell the No. 16 best university in the nation for 2019.

Program Features

Offered through the College of Human Ecology, Cornell’s dual Ph.D./J.D. program in Developmental Psychology and Law is a challenging program for future scholars. Students will take some courses at Cornell’s Law School. Coursework covers topics in law, psychology, and human development. Additional key features include:

  • Completion time: six years, or 12 semesters
  • 167 credit hours required for graduation
  • High bar-passage rate

Notables

The program consists of three years of Ph.D. study and two years of J.D. study. The remaining year is a mix of both. Students will complete both a master’s thesis and doctoral thesis. The Master’s thesis will be completed by the end of the second year.

13

PACIFIC UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 87.91

Average Net Price: $29,503

Overview 

Get the small-school experience by enrolling at Pacific University, located in Oregon. Pacific has a total enrollment of just under 4,000 students, with about half of its population comprising of graduate students. Pacific was established in 1849 after Reverend Harvey Clark and his wife turned a small building into a school for orphans. Currently, the university operates four campuses within the state, with its main campus in Forest Grove. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Pacific the No. 21 school on their “Regional Universities West” ranking in 2019.

Program Features

Those who wish to practice psychology can earn their Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology following the Forensic Track. Students will complete extensive clinical training by completing two practica, fieldwork, and an internship. They will also begin research in the second year. Past research topics included:

  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Treatment of Sex Offenders
  • Child Welfare
  • Use of Forensic Evaluations in Court

Notables

The Psy.D. degree consists of 135 credit hours plus additional Forensic Track credits. It can be completed in five years. This is a year-round program with all coursework, research, and clinical training being conducted in the fall, spring, and summer sessions.

14

Georgetown University

College Choice Score: 87.70

Average Net Price: $27,420

Overview

For centuries now, Georgetown University has upheld what an ideal Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education should look like. Georgetown was established in 1789 when the U.S. was still a young nation. As the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, it remains committed to teaching faith principles by offering places of worship and prayer through different settings. Every week, students of more than 50 different religions can be found practicing their beliefs on campus, showing Georgetown’s spiritual diversity. Today, the school is recognized as a major private research university and is ranked the No. 22 best in the country by the U.S. News & World Report.

Program Features

Work with some of the world’s most renowned and prestigious organizations through Georgetown’s Ph.D. in Psychology. Students can concentrate in Human Development and Public Policy. There is also a dual Master’s in Public Policy degree available with the Ph.D. Major characteristics of the degree include:

  • Completion time: five years
  • Only a maximum of four students admitted annually
  • Four years of guaranteed funding

Notables

The Human Development and Public Policy concentration requires 42 credit hours or 51 credit hours if enrolling in the dual degree. Many courses overlap with the Master’s degree making it advantageous to enroll in the dual program. Students will take some courses within the McCourt School of Public Policy.

15

NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 86.88

Average Net Price: $26,740

Overview

Nova Southeastern University is a relatively new private institution that was founded in the 1960s. It is located in Fort Lauderdale, FL and was originally called the Nova University of Advanced Technology. As the name suggests, studies initially focused on graduate courses in the sciences, but over time the university began to add other non-STEM programs. In 1994, Nova merged with Southeastern University of Health Sciences, officially changing the university to its current name. NSU continues to offer personal and affordable education to those at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Program Features

NSU’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology emphasizes empirically-based research and analysis. Students will be trained in specific competencies that are in accordance with the American Psychological Association. There is an option to concentrate in Clinical Forensic Psychology. Current course offerings include:

  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • Psychological Interventions in Forensic Settings

Notables

There is also the option to complete the Ph.D. while pursuing an MBA simultaneously. Students will be admitted into the MBA during the second year and begin classes in the third year. A total of three psychology courses can count toward the MBA.

16

UNIVERSITY OF DENVER

College Choice Score: 86.85

Average Net Price: $35,163

Overview

Under the goal of becoming a prominent, modern 21st-century private research institution, the University of Denver provides holistic education and encourages all students to “learn by doing.” In other words, students are encouraged to participate whenever possible, whether it be through research, collaboration, or internships. DU is also known to have a strong local and global impact. For instance, its Public Good Fund raises $100,00 annually to promote public good research. In 2019 DU was ranked by the U.S. News & World Report among the nation’s 100 “Best Value Schools.”

Program Features

Students of DU’s Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology receive not only the necessary training to become an advanced practicing psychologist but also a strong background in the theory behind the field. Everyone will be required to declare a specialty in which they will take 15 quarter hours worth of courses. Forensic Psychology is a specialty offered within the Psy.D. program. Here are some main features of the degree:

  • Clinical internship after completion of all coursework
  • Ability to take for-credit coursework in other schools and departments
  • 135 quarter hours

Notables

The Psy.D. is only offered as a full-time program and requires students to enroll for at least six quarters. There is also a residency requirement of three years to ensure that students can work at the school’s Professional Psychology Center and in their local field placements.

17

Texas A&M University

College Choice Score: 86.07

Average Net Price: $19,554

Overview

Texas A&M University Aggies can be found on campus greeting one another with a “howdy.” Texas A&M was established in 1876 and is the state’s first public institution of higher education. Its campus is conveniently located in the middle of the Houston-Dallas-Austin triangle. This premier metropolitan destination in the city of College Station offers students a “warm small-town charm.” As of fall 2018, Texas A&M boasted a whopping enrollment of just over 69,000 students. Almost 15,000 of the students enrolled include those pursuing graduate or professional education. In 2018, Money ranked the school the No. 1 public university within the state for its value.

Program Features

Ph.D. students of the Clinical Psychology program will develop research and teaching skills as well as learn applied skills for the field. This degree is a five-year program with the last year culminating in a clinical internship. Students will also undergo a practicum. Past internship and practicum sites include:

  • Brazos County Probation and Parole Services
  • Brazos County Detention Center
  • VA medical centers around the country

Notables

Professional development support is available for Ph.D. students. This includes things such as travel grants to professional conferences or enrollment in courses not offered on campus. All interested students will apply for support at the beginning of the academic year.

18

SPALDING UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 85.94

Average Net Price: $20,619

Overview

At Spalding University, students will not just earn a degree but will also become a part of the community. Spalding is located in the city of Louisville, KY. While part of the city remains true to its quaint historic roots, it is an up and coming place with several opportunities for young adults to thrive. On Spalding’s campus, students of all backgrounds can be found participating in things such as sports, research, and art. Although it was originally founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who followed the Catholic tradition, Spalding is open to students of all faiths. 

Program Features

Spalding’s Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology was one of the first of its kind in the nation. This degree offers an emphasis in Forensic/Correctional Psychology. Its mission is to train professionals who will practice psychology within the legal system. Main highlights of the Psy.D. are:

  • Practicum in a forensic or correctional site during the third or fourth year
  • Ability to transfer up to 30 credit hours from the master’s degree
  • Program receives over $3 million worth of federal grants

Notables

Students can apply to this program right after receiving their Bachelor’s or after their Master’s. Those with only a Bachelor’s must have completed at least 18 credit hours in psychology. Master’s students will only receive credit toward the Psy.D. if coursework is comparable to Spalding’s graduate Psychology degree.

19

John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY

College Choice Score: 85.47

Average Net Price: $4,891

Overview

John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a liberal arts school located in New York City. It is the only liberal arts school in the nation with programs that specifically focus on criminal justice and forensic science. As such, issues of social justice are present throughout John Jay’s curriculum. John Jay was founded in 1964 during a time when police work was growing alongside an increased concern regarding their power and role within the community. Before becoming a “criminal justice” school, John Jay was The College of Police Science of the City University of New York. Currently, John Jay offers 31 majors and a total enrollment of about 15,000 students. In 2015, the Washington Monthly ranked it No. 4 for having the “best bang for the buck.”

Program Features

Together with the CUNY Graduate Center, John Jay offers a doctoral program in Psychology & Law. This 60 credit hour program culminates in a dissertation and is geared toward future researchers. Current hot research topics are:

  • Trauma and witness memory
  • Attributions of blame in sexual assault
  • Jury selection by attorneys
  • False confessions

Notables

The program will be completed in five years in the fall and spring semesters – no summer courses are required. By the second year, students must complete 45 credit hours to advance to the next level. There are also two research practica in the second year.

20

WIDENER UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 84.36

Average Net Price: $30,701

Overview

Get a headstart in your career by enrolling at Widener University, located in Pennsylvania. Widener’s programs are built on a strong mentorship model, with students working with leading professionals at every step to ensure career readiness. The school’s success has been proven as its alumni’s average salary rank in the top 21% in the nation according to PayScale. Widener’s campus is located in the city of Chester, PA, which is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Philadelphia. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Widener’s Clinical Psychology program is No. 6 in the state.

Program Features

Looking for a high ranking program that will give you on-the-job training? Widener’s Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology will prepare you to become the best “scholar-practitioner-psychologist.” Students can concentrate in Forensic Psychology by enrolling in specific electives. Other interesting facts about the program include:

  • Minimum one year of work experience in Forensic Psychology required
  • Dual Master’s degrees available
  • 100% paid internship placement record for the past seven years

Notables

In addition to the many concentrations this program offers, there are also three certificate tracks: Biofeedback, Neuropsychology, and School Psychology. Each certificate requires a certain amount of specific coursework and/or postdoctoral training. These certificates are great to add to one’s resume.

21

University of Illinois at Chicago

College Choice Score: 84.27

Average Net Price: $11,884

Overview

Chicago is known for many things: its delicious deep-dish pizza, Wrigley Field, and the reflective Chicago Bean statue, just to name a few. The city is also home to one of the world’s largest universities. The University of Illinois at Chicago is a major public research institution with a total enrollment of over 31,000. Over 200 different programs are offered from the undergraduate to doctoral level throughout its 15 colleges. UIC also operates the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, one of the state’s most prominent health centers. The U.S. News & World Report ranks UIC the No. 129 best university in the nation for 2019.

Program Features

UIC’s Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology intersects both practice and research. Its training also follows a mentorship model where students work directly with faculty whose research matches their interests. Main characteristics of the program are:

  • Only 10-20 annual acceptance rate
  • Opportunity to work on campus at the Office of Applied Psychological Services
  • Four to five year projected completion time

Notables

Upon graduation, this program does not automatically culminate in students receiving state licensure to practice. However, from 2006 to 2016 about 82% of students received their licenses. Those specifically wishing to practice psychology are encouraged to make sure their coursework and experience meet licensure requirements.

22

Carlos Albizu University

College Choice Score: 84.09

Average Net Price: $33,833

Overview

Carlos Albizu-Miranda, the university’s founder, was a prominent Hispanic educator who was one of the first Hispanics in the nation to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology. He was also the first president of the National Hispanic Psychological Association. Due to Albizu-Miranda’s heritage and the belief that higher education should emphasize multicultural awareness and training, students at Carlos Albizu University are passionate about diversity and social justice. CAU was established in 1966 and is the oldest professional school of psychology within North America and the Caribbean. Students take advantage of small class sizes and a convenient campus location in Miami.

Program Features

Students can earn their Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Forensic Psychology from CAU. This is a unique program in that there is a strong emphasis on cultural competence to produce psychologists who can work well with minorities, specifically Hispanics. Key features of the degree are:

  • Eligibility for licensure after completion of one-year postdoctoral training
  • 100% of alumni report working directly in the field
  • Concentration offered through its Miami campus

Notables

There are over 30 practicum sites across South Florida’s three counties. Students will also complete internships during their time in the program. More than 90% of doctoral students receive internship placements at APA-accredited sites.

23

University of Minnesota

College Choice Score: 83.89

Average Net Price: $16,808

Overview

Considered among the nation’s “Public Ivy” schools, the University of Minnesota is dedicated to transforming higher education within the state and globally through outreach partnerships. UMN Twin Cities is the system’s flagship campus and is also where its doctoral Psychology program is offered. The university is proud to have a huge impact on the state’s economy, generating an estimated economic impact of $8.4 billion annually. UMN is listed as a top 100 university according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Program Features

UMN offers a Ph.D. in Psychology with a Social Psychology graduate training specialization program. One research area of the training program is in Social Psychology and Law. The training program aims to develop one’s research skills through a more rigorous approach. A sample of current courses include:

  • Professional Standards and Ethics in Clinical Psychology
  • Principles of Social Psychology
  • Social Cognition

Notables

This is a highly interdisciplinary program that requires students to take five courses in at least four other psychology specialties that are not their own. Students must also complete 12 to 15 credit hours in a minor or another program.

24

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

College Choice Score: 83.35

Average Net Price: $6,785

Overview

The University of Texas at El Paso is located near the U.S.-Mexico border, contributing to the campus’s multilingual, diverse atmosphere. UTEP is the second-oldest institute within the University of Texas system. Approximately 80% of the school’s population identifies as Hispanic. Therefore, UTEP prides itself on diversity and cultural inclusivity initiatives, particularly toward minorities. UTEP is also a globally connected campus, holding 163 partnerships around the world. 33 of those partnerships are within Mexico.

Program Features

UTEP’s Ph.D. in Legal Psychology prepares graduates for careers in academia, government, or the private field. This 78 credit hour program not only focuses on the fundamental issues regarding the legal system but also emphasizes current social justice issues such as offender rehabilitation. Training is done in the following concentrations:

  • Legal
  • Health
  • Social, Cognitive, & Neurosciences
  • Language Acquisition & Bilingualism

Notables

There are three main laboratories that Legal Psychology Ph.D. students have access to: the Mental Health & Criminal Justice Laboratory, Forensic Interviewing & Suggestibility Laboratory, and Adolescent Development and Delinquency Laboratory. Labs include unique features such as private interview rooms and data collection tools.

25

Palo Alto University

College Choice Score: 82.35

Average Net Price: N/A

Overview

The city of Palo Alto is located in the famous San Francisco Bay Area. It is in the heart of Silicon Valley, with many prominent technology start-ups and companies located there. It is also the home of Palo Alto University, a private institution offering programs specializing in Psychology. PAU was founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. Today, however, the school also offers Psychology degrees at the undergraduate level. Due to its convenient location, PAU has many local partnerships with organizations and health institutions such as the Stanford School of Medicine. Students can be found training in these facilities throughout their internships and practicum experiences.

Program Features

With the goal of producing successful clinicians, PAU offers a Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology. In addition to receiving general clinical training, students will also receive additional training directly in the field. Key features of this degree are:

  • Access to the Gronowski Center, a local psychology training clinic
  • Certification as a specialized Forensic Psychologist
  • Mandatory 2,000-hour internship

Notables

Students are not automatically enrolled into the Forensic Psychology emphasis but must apply for admission instead.To qualify for admission, students must have completed all previous coursework with a “B” grade or higher. They must have also completed all core Ph.D. coursework with an “A-” grade or higher.

26

Walden University

College Choice Score: 82.28

Average Net Price: N/A

Overview

Focusing on the needs of adult learners, Walden University is an online university that offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is committed to providing a 21st-century education to learners around the U.S. and the world. Walden was established in 1970 by teachers Bernie and Rita Turner who wanted to help adults obtain doctoral degrees. While Walden’s doctoral degree programs can be taken primarily online, there is also an in-person component. Since its founding, the university has always strived to become a place that is highly inclusive and socially responsible. In 2016, the Washington Monthly included Walden in their “Best Colleges for Adult Learners 4-Year Colleges” ranking.

Program Features

Walden offers two degrees: an online Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology and a hybrid Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a Forensic Psychology specialization. The online program is ideal for full-time working adults who wish to complete their degree at a quicker pace via the “Fast-Track Option.” Some highlights of the in-person Clinical Psychology program are:

  • 163 quarter credit hours
  • Eight-year projected completion
  • Academic Year in Residence to be completed in the sixth year, including eight specific courses online and in-person

Notables

The Clinical Psychology program allows students to transfer up to 45 credit hours, which could save as much as 30% on tuition. Other than financial aid, Walden also offers limited-time offers and military and employer discounts.

27

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

College Choice Score: 80.14

Average Net Price:

Overview

Receive a hands-on training experience at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. This nonprofit institution operates campuses across the nation and online. In 1979, several psychologists and educators got together to create a school for the next generation of psychologists. The Chicago School was the only campus until it began its online courses in 2006 and opened its Los Angeles campus in 2008. Today, over 4,000 students are enrolled. In 2014, its Chicago, D.C., and Los Angeles campuses were all included in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Program Features

Prepare for a career as a psychologist who works directly in the court system by enrolling in the Ph.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology. This degree is offered on its Irvine and Los Angeles campuses in California. This is a full-time program that can be completed in only four years. Ph.D. students can receive:

  • Eligibility for California state licensure upon graduation
  • Six-semester assessment and therapy practicum
  • Scholarships available via Financial Aid department

Notables

After coursework, practicum, and dissertation are completed, students will complete a clinical internship. Internship sites are comprised of both private and public locations. Previous locations include correctional facilities, mental health centers, and courts.

28

University of Alabama

College Choice Score: 79.99

Average Net Price: $19,993

Overview

Often referred to as the “Capstone of Higher Education,” the University of Alabama was established as the state’s first-ever public college. Its school colors, crimson and white, can be seen represented at its major sporting events, along with its elephant mascot. As of fall 2018, UA’s enrollment was a little over 38,000. UA is proud to have produced several National Merit Scholars over the years. In the past year alone, there have been 187 new scholars. For 2019, UA is among the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Value Schools” ranking.

Program Features

Since 1959, UA has offered a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. After 1971, a concentration in Psychology & Law became available. Students will advance their knowledge of legal issues and will research their topic with a mentor. More Ph.D. highlights include:

  • Practicum training in health centers, research labs, and public defender office
  • Paid clinical stipends, assistantships, and fellowships available
  • 13 student admission rate in 2017-2018

Notables

There is also a joint Ph.D. and Master’s of Public Health program available. Students will complete Master’s courses and receive two degrees. To be admitted into the joint program, students must first apply to each program separately.

29

University of Nebraska

College Choice Score: 77.86

Average Net Price: $11,727

Overview

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is located in the state’s capital city, which is Nebraska’s second-most populated location. UNL was established 150 years ago as a land-grant institution under the Morrill Act. It was founded under the idea of inclusivity regardless of background. Today, UNL is considered a leading public research institution. It was the first institution in the world to open an undergraduate psychology laboratory. It was also the first school west of the Mississippi River to offer doctoral degrees. In 2016, Kiplinger voted UNL a “Best Value” public college.

Program Features

Interested in studying both Law and Psychology? UNL offers a joint Ph.D./J.D. degree in Psychology and Law. This is an interdisciplinary program with classes taken in both the Law College and the Department of Psychology. Other key characteristics of the joint degree include:

  • Practicum experience for up to two semesters
  • Ability to sit for the bar exam
  • 90 credit hours for the Ph.D. and 93 credit hours for the J.D. (overlap courses exist)

Notables

Past practicum placements have been at the Nebraska Mental Health Association, Governor’s Office, and the Lancaster County Public Defender’s Office. In addition to gaining hands-on work experience, students will also be required to pursue research in both areas.

30

Fuller Theological Seminary

College Choice Score: 73.08

Average Net Price: N/A

Overview

For years, Fuller Theological Seminary has been dedicated to providing graduate Christian education in the Southern California region. Fuller identifies as an “evangelical, multidenominational” institution that is proud to represent the Protestant church as it is today: a diverse group of people who are passionate about their faith. Fuller was founded by Charles E. Fuller, a radio evangelist, in 1947. Its School of Psychology was established in 1964 and is the first seminary-based graduate school to be accredited by the APA.

Program Features

Students can receive a Christian education while earning a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In addition to the psychology portion of the curriculum, students will also gain a Master’s degree in Theology, Divinity, Theology and Ministry, or Intercultural Studies. Additional main features of Fuller’s degree are:

  • Access to over 70 training locations
  • Need and merit-based financial assistance available
  • 6 credit hours of master’s research required

Notables

Need-based financial aid will cover up to 15% of tuition costs. Merit-based scholarships will range from a value of $1,000 to $45,000. All incoming students will automatically be considered for merit-based aid.

31

FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON UNIVERSITY

College Choice Score: 72.89

Average Net Price: $16,781

Overview

In 1942, Dr. Peter Sammartino and his wife founded Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. FDU operates four campuses: two within New Jersey, one in Vancouver, B.C, and the last at Wroxton College in England. FDU was the first university in the U.S. to own a campus in England. FDU also offers online programs via distance learning. Today it is the largest private university within New Jersey, offering over 100 undergraduate and graduate degrees. In 2019, the U.S. News & World Report listed FDU among the best universities in the Northern region. The school’s graduate programs in Clinical Psychology are also highly ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s graduate school rankings list. 

Program Features

FDU’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a Forensic track is a full-time, four-year program. During the fifth-year, students will complete a yearlong internship. This degree emphasizes both clinical and research experience. Some required courses are:

  • Personality Assessment
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Biological Bases of Behavior
  • Diversity Issues in Clinical Psychology

Notables

To satisfy the Forensic track’s requirements, students will take an authorized clinical practicum after the first year. They will also take two courses: Forensic Assessment and Prediction, and Evaluation Criminal Responsibility and Competency. The track will culminate in a related dissertation topic.

32

William James College

College Choice Score: 64.88

Average Net Price: N/A

Overview

William James College was founded as the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. In 1974, the college changed to its current name. William James was an American psychologist who many consider to be one of the founders of the modern-day discipline. The campus is located in the greater Boston area in the city of Newton, MA. All programs offered are meant to train future practitioners in the field of psychology. While the majority of programs are offered at the Master’s and doctoral level, William James offers one undergraduate degree. 

Program Features

Those looking for a community-based career with high scholarship will receive the training they need through William James’s Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology. Students have the opportunity to concentrate in Forensic Psychology to expand their knowledge in civil and criminal matters. Additional major features of the Psy.D. are: 

  • Meets state licensure requirements
  • About 100 students admitted each fall
  • Annual field placements

Notables

Students must apply to be admitted in the Forensic Psychology concentration. If accepted, coursework begins in the fall of the second year. There are four mandatory concentration courses that must be completed plus additional electives. In the third year, students will complete a 10 credit field assignment.

33

Alliant International University

College Choice Score: 62.48

Average Net Price: $18,884

Overview

As its name suggests, Alliant International University is the product of three institutions that merged together. One of those institutions was the California School of Professional Psychology. Alliant operates several campuses throughout the U.S. and a few internationally. Its main campus is located in San Diego. Alliant offers degrees in Law, Business, Forensics, and Psychology. All programs emphasize a balance between theory and practice, giving students the professional practice they need to excel in their field. 

Program Features

Alliant offers two degrees: a Ph.D. and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology. There is also an emphasis in Forensic Psychology offered at its Fresno and San Diego campuses available via either the Ph.D. or Psy.D program. This emphasis is ideal for future practicing psychologists who will serve in the legal system. Students will also be able to receive: 

  • A total of 1,000 practicum hours in two clinical forensic sites
  • Knowledge from more than ten Forensic Psychology courses that are offered
  • Multicultural competence training

Notables

At the time of application, students will submit their transcripts, resume, test scores, recommendations, and essays. Essay answer topics differ depending on whether or not students are applying to the Ph.D. or Psy.D. program. Those with a previous GPA under 3.0 are still welcome to apply but must send an additional petition.