If you want a degree that will make sure you never have a boring day at work, you should consider getting a degree in criminal psychology.
From federal to local agencies, the private sector to public service, there is no shortage of organizations seeking qualified individuals with degrees in criminal psychology. This kind of degree will help you understand exactly how the mind of a criminal works – as well as the legal systems in place to prevent and address crime of all kinds.
You might work in law enforcement, corrections, legal services, or even forensic science. While a bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology is all you usually need to pursue one of these high-profile careers, there are so many options out there that figuring out the right choice for you can be nothing short of overwhelming.
Your undergraduate degree should directly reflect your career goals – if you want to work specifically in law enforcement, you should look for a hands-on degree that offers plenty of fieldwork. If, however, you are more interested in the reasons why people commit crimes, a degree with a psychology emphasis might be a better choice.
Whichever way you decide to go, you should know that all of these programs will provide you with the foundations in criminal psychology that you will need to be successful.
What kind of criminal psychology degree should you get?
A degree in criminal psychology will prepare you to work in a wide range of fields, from private investigation to law to forensic science. However, because these fields are varied, you will want to make sure the degree you choose has ample coursework in your chosen career of interest.
In addition, a bachelor’s degree should be flexible enough to fit into your current life commitments. If you’re already working, either part- or full-time, you want to find a degree that will not only be of high academic quality but will also be convenient. It should also be affordable!
Our list of the best schools for criminal psychology includes both on-campus and online degrees. This interesting mix should help you make it possible for you to pursue a degree no matter where you are.
Our list of degrees includes schools that offer both quality and affordability. If you’re not sure whether a degree in criminal psychology will be the right one to help students meet their goals, be sure to take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities for a more in-depth look at all of the programs that are available to you in the digital world.
The Top 5 Criminal Psychology Degrees
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How much money do people make with a degree in criminal psychology?
A bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology will prepare you for multiple different careers so the average salary and potential for growth will vary slightly depending on the exact career you decide to pursue.
In general, most professionals graduate with the ability to earn salaries as high as $110,626, with average wages hovering right around $60,000 per year. Individuals with multiple years of experience, as well as those with additional education, tend to earn higher salaries on average.
These jobs have excellent growth, with the job outlook for psychologists of all kinds looking bright. These positions are expected to grow about 14 percent by 2026- a figure that is much faster than the national average. Long story short? With a degree in criminal psychology, you should have no problem finding a rewarding career.
What can you do with a degree in criminal psychology?
With a degree in criminal psychology, you can pursue a wide range of careers. You might work as a crime analyst, FBI agent, or mental health counselor. You could become a correctional case manager or even a forensic psychologist.
Once you receive a degree in criminal psychology, your job will focus on uncovering the psychological motivations that occur in the commission of any crime. You may interview criminals or evaluate crime scenes to help you create a profile to assist law enforcement or to prevent crimes from occurring. You could work for a local law enforcement office, a mental institution, or even for larger national employers like 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, you will take courses that draw from multiple disciplines. You will likely begin with a bachelor’s degree before moving on to receive a doctoral degree – that is, if you plan on working directly as a criminal psychologist.
You will take classes like psychology and sociology, as well as advanced coursework in topics like criminal behavior and abnormal psychology. A high-quality degree in criminal psychology will also include a range of classes that are hands-on and experiential in nature. You might visit correctional facilities or analyze case studies. Some programs offer pathways to professional licensure with organizations like the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology as well.
In general, to be admitted to an undergraduate program in criminal justice, you will need to demonstrate prior academic success via a high school diploma. You should demonstrate strong communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Most schools will request a high school GPA of at least 2.5 as well as SAT or ACT scores in many cases.
What are the best criminal psychology degrees?
While there is no perfect bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology that will be ideal for everyone, there is a perfect degree out there just waiting for you. You should look for the degree that provides you with the flexibility and adaptability necessary for you to pursue your academic and personal goals.
The best programs will be of high quality and also affordable. Our list of the best schools takes into consideration the rigor of study provided by each program. When we compiled our list, we also factored in the school’s affordability, as determined by its overall return on investment, as well as factors like retention, student satisfaction, and reputation among industry employers.
Because we want to make sure that our lists are as detailed and representative of the best choices as possible, we put great efforts into compiling our final cut. If you want to learn more about the process that we use to make our decision, be sure to take a look at our methodology page.
Before we finalize our list and ready it for the world to see, we narrow down our final list so that it includes only the very best schools for criminal psychology. As a result, our list contains the schools that don’t just have the best programs but are also the best choices in regards to student satisfaction, affordability, and value.
Our last step? We pass our list on to you, the most important judge when it comes to deciding the best criminal psychology degree for your unique needs.
Florida Institute Of Technology
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.
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
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.
The College Of Saint Rose
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.
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
- Abnormal Psychology
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.
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.
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
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.
Cuny John Jay College Of Criminal Justice
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.
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
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.
California Baptist University
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.
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
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.