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Many organizations, such as federal or local agencies, seek qualified graduates with degrees in criminal psychology. This degree helps people understand how a criminal’s mind works. Curricula also cover the legal systems in place to prevent and address all kinds of crime.

Criminal psychology degree-holders might work in law enforcement, corrections, or legal services. They may also work in forensic psychology. A bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology typically fulfills the education requirements for one of these high-profile careers.

Learners who want to work specifically in law enforcement should look for a hands-on degree that offers fieldwork. Students more interested in why people commit crimes may enjoy a degree with a psychology emphasis more.

This page ranks the best criminal psychology degrees. It also offers information on degree types, salary potentials, and careers for graduates.

What Kind of Criminal Psychology Degree Should You Get?

A degree in criminal psychology prepares learners to work in diverse fields, including private investigation, law, and forensic science. However, since these fields vary, students should research degrees that provide coursework in their career of interest.

In addition, a bachelor’s degree should fit into learners’ current life commitments. Working students can benefit from programs that provide both high academic quality and a flexible learning format. Our list of the best schools for criminal psychology includes both on-campus and online degrees.

Our list of degrees includes schools that offer both quality and affordability. Students unsure about which degree to pursue to meet their goals can look at our ranking of the best online colleges and universities.

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How Much Money Do People Make With a Degree in Criminal Psychology?

A bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology prepares students for many careers. Average salaries and the potential for growth vary by the exact career degree-holders decide to pursue. People with many years of experience and additional education often earn higher salaries.

Graduates can become detectives and criminal investigators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earn a median annual salary of $86,940. Criminal psychology degree-holders can also work as forensic psychologists. These psychologists earn median salaries of $82,180 annually. Top-earning forensic psychologists make more than $137,000 per year.

The BLS projects jobs for psychologists to grow 8% from 2020-2030, which is about as fast as the national average for all occupations. This growth amounts to the addition of 13,400 psychologist jobs each year on average.

What can you do with a degree in criminal psychology?

With a degree in criminal psychology, graduates can pursue a variety of careers. They might work as a crime analyst, FBI agent, or mental health counselor. Degree-holders may also become a correctional case manager or a forensic psychologist.

Many criminal psychology jobs focus on uncovering the psychological motivations that occur in the commission of crimes. Professionals may interview criminals or evaluate crime scenes to create a profile to assist law enforcement or to prevent crimes from occurring. Graduates could work for a local law enforcement office, a mental institution, or the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.

What Are the Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Psychology?

To become a criminal psychologist, students take courses in many disciplines. After earning a bachelor’s degree, students must earn a Ph.D. in psychology to become licensed psychologists.

Bachelor’s in criminal psychology curricula include psychology and sociology courses. Students also take advanced coursework in criminal behavior and abnormal psychology. A high-quality degree in criminal psychology also includes hands-on, experiential classes. Some programs offer pathways to professional licensure with organizations like the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology.

Admittance to a bachelor’s program in criminal justice requires a high school or GED diploma. Applicants should demonstrate strong communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Many schools request a high school GPA of at least 2.5. Some schools require SAT or ACT scores.

What Are the Best Criminal Psychology Degrees?

Prospective students should look for the degree that provides them with the flexibility and adaptability necessary for them to pursue their academic and personal goals.

The best programs provide high-quality education and are also affordable. Our list of the best schools considers the rigor of study provided by each program. When we compiled our list, we also factored in the school’s affordability. We determined affordability by the school’s overall return on investment, as well as factors like retention, student satisfaction, and reputation among industry employers.

To learn more about the process we use to make our ranking decisions, take a look at our methodology page.

The list below features the schools that do not just have the best programs but are also the best choices for student satisfaction, affordability, and value. Check out the best criminal psychology degrees below.

  1. Florida Institute Of Technology
    Location

    Melbourne, FL

    Tuition

    $33610

    Overview

    The Florida Institute of Technology is a private university that was founded in 1958. With a total enrollment of fewer than 4000 students, this school offers all the resources of a national research institution with the hands-on, close-knit learning experiences of a small college. This global university attracts students from all fifty states and awards a number of bachelor and masters degrees in topics like civil engineering, environmental science, and, of course, criminal psychology. With an emphasis on community service and making a difference in the global community, Florida Tech’s program in criminal psychology is one of the most hands-on around.

    Program Features

    This program incorporates coursework in a variety of settings. For example, students will engage in thorough class discussions of real-world case studies, become involved in research studies regarding human behavior, or participate in applied work at one of many local internship sites. Faculty members are profoundly committed to making a difference in the world, and help students do the same by involving them in research, community activities, and professional services. Required classes include:

    • Victim Studies and Advocacy
    • Forensic Behavior Investigation and Identification
    • Psychology of Learning and Motivation
    • Personal and Professional Development

    Notables

    This school is ranked as a Tier One Best National University by U.S. News & World Report and has been recognized as a Best Buy in college education by Barron’s Guide. The school offers an excellent return on investment and has an ideal location close to many major employers. In addition to a degree in criminal psychology, the school also offers related programs in clinical psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, forensic psychology, and more. Numerous certification areas and graduate degrees are also available for students wishing to continue their education after completing a bachelor’s degree.

  2. The College Of Saint Rose
    Location

    Albany, NY

    Tuition

    $22377

    Overview

    Located in Albany, NY, the College of Saint Rose is a private university of fewer than 3000 students that offers an exceptional program in criminal psychology. Despite being relatively new, the program in Forensic Psychology at the College of Saint Rose features a strong, interdisciplinary curriculum design and is just one of a handful of degrees of this kind. This program is one of the most hands-on of its kind, allowing students to engage in research opportunities and internships. For example, many students work with expert faculty advisors to crack real-life cold cases in the Cold Case Analysis Center.

    Program Features

    This degree requires a total of 73 credits and is extremely integrative. Many students will go on to pursue a master’s degree in counseling or a doctoral degree in a related subject like law or psychology upon graduation. This program requires a senior seminar capstone course and allows students to choose from three different program concentrations. They may pursue a legal concentration, a clinical concentration, or a basic degree depending on their specific career goals. A research honors concentration is also available.

    • Criminal Behavior
    • The Court Systems
    • Forensic Psychology
    • Biopsychology
    • Abnormal Psychology

    Notables

    This degree is a great one to pursue if you are looking to obtain a job immediately after graduation – it is incredibly popular and well-respected by industry professionals. Because Saint Rose is located in the central capital region of New York, students have the opportunity to explore discipline-specific internships in the field of forensic psychology. The city of Albany is ranked as one of the best among small metropolitan areas in the United States for providing students with opportunities outside of the classroom. It’s also a top destination to work and live after graduation.

  3. University Of New Haven
    Location

    West Haven, CT

    Tuition

    $33665

    Overview

    The University of New Haven is a private university that was founded in 1920 and is located in New Haven, CT. With a small enrolment of just 5,216 students, this school is ranked as one of the Best Colleges Regional Universities North by U.S. News & World Report. With an ideal location just 80 miles from New York City, the school houses nearly 100 different undergraduate majors. Among them, the forensic psychology program at the University of New Haven is a bachelor of arts degree and features a unique additional concentration in psychology.

    Program Features

    This degree is housed in the prestigious Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and is highly interdisciplinary as it involves courses and faculty from the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. Faculty are leaders and innovators in the discipline, bringing professional and academic experiences to the classroom. Students will engage in courses such as:

    • Police and Investigative Psychology
    • Theories of Personality
    • Drugs and Behavior
    • Cognitive Neuroscience

    Notables

    This school is continuously growing and offers cutting-edge programs that allow students to be engaged in their communities. Alumni are leaders in the field and work with current students to provide them with career and internship opportunities. The school was included in the Princeton Review’s “The Best 382 Colleges” guidebook and is also one of the few universities to be included as a member of The New American Colleges and Universities. This exclusive consortium consists of independent colleges that are dedicated to integrated liberal education, emphasizing professional studies, and granting students opportunities for civic engagement.

  4. Cuny John Jay College Of Criminal Justice
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $4891

    Overview

    Located in New York, NY, CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice was founded in 1965. As the name suggests, this school is dedicated to providing students with exemplary opportunities for research, service, and training in the fields of fire science, criminal justice, public safety, and public service. The bachelor of science in Forensic Science is a great choice for students who wish to better understand the role that creativity, problem-solving, and analysis play in solving and preventing crimes.

    Program Features

    This program requires 120 total credits for degree completion. It provides rigorous professional training for students who intend to work in forensic science laborites, or who want to work in another capacity regarding research, teaching, or medicine. The school has a heavy emphasis in chemistry and allows students to choose from three different tracks in Toxicology, Molecular Biology, or Criminalistics. Required courses include:

    • Analytical Toxicology
    • Forensic Pharmacology
    • Forensic Science Laboratory Internship
    • Toxicology of Environmental and Industrial Agents

    Notables

    This school is ranked as one of the best Regional University North as well as one of the Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report. This is due in part to the school’s dedication to student involvement and academic success. The average student-to-faculty ratio is just 18:1, and with an average freshman retention rate of 78 percent, it’s clear that students are satisfied with the high quality of education they receive at this urban college.

  5. California Baptist University
    Location

    Riverside, CA

    Tuition

    $25714

    Overview

    California Baptist University is a private university that was founded in 1950 in Riverside, CA. the university offers a wide range of degree options and is home to a whopping 75 bachelor’s programs with 159 different concentrations. The psychology degree at California Baptist enables students to choose from multiple different minors and concentrations. Several that are available include industrial and organizational psychology, medical anthropology, social work, sports psychology, and, of course, forensic psychology.

    Program Features

    California Baptists program in psychology explores the many ways that humans relate to each other, and particularly how those relationships are influenced by the mind. This program heavily emphasizes research, hands-on training, and theory, and is taught by Christian professors who have decades of practical experience in their chosen fields of study. Required courses include:

    • Theories of Personality
    • Abnormal Psychology
    • Theories of Counseling
    • History and Systems of Psychology
    • Cognitive Psychology

    Notables

    California Baptist is one of the country’s premier Christian college, offering multiple programs and educational partnerships. The school offers flagship International Service Projects and United States Projects programs so that students may engage in dynamic cross-cultural experiences. These programs send students all around the world to participate in community-building projects that help to build upon their training and to give them marketable skills.

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