As conventional methods of gaining an education become more and more expensive, people look at alternatives that may be less time-consuming and costly, while giving you high-quality education at every step. One such alternative that is here to stay as technology evolves is online education, where students can immerse themselves in the learning process remotely, instead of physically attending classes every day. You can earn all types of education online, including different levels of degrees in psychology. If you are looking to specialize and want to check out online criminal psychology programs you are at the right place for a brief primer.
What Is Criminal Psychology?
Before getting into the details of the best online criminal psychology programs, let’s try to understand the meaning of the term and what it entails. Similarly, it is also important to see if there are any major differences between criminal psychologists and forensic psychologists. While both work very closely with the legal system, the former is more involved in dealing with or evaluating criminals, while forensic psychologists may not have to evaluate criminals at all. The basic premise of both occupations, however, is very similar. The emphasis is on human behavior within the spectrum of the legal and criminal justice system, so the degrees that you earn may be structured in a similar manner.
Different Levels of a Criminal Psychology Degree
If you are looking to pursue a career in criminal psychology, there are some basic educational requirements that you need to meet. The different degrees in criminal psychology differ from each other in terms of the focus, with the initial ones being more general in their outlook and more and more research being involved at a later stage.
- Bachelor’s – The first step is getting a bachelor’s degree – or even an associate degree – in the field of psychology. While most programs at this stage are more general in nature, it is possible to gain some level of expertise in the field of forensic psychology.
- Master’s – On the completion of your undergraduate studies, you can opt to study forensic psychology in greater detail with the help of master’s programs in forensic psychology.
- PhD – If you are looking to specialize in the field of forensic or criminal psychology, you will be required to enroll in doctoral programs like PhD. These programs are very research-oriented.
Online Criminal Psychology Programs
Many universities across the country offer programs in criminal or forensic psychology, but it can be difficult to ascertain which ones are worth the money that you will be required to spend.
To make this process relatively easier for you, here is a short list of the best online criminal psychology programs that are offered by universities in the country.
Louisiana State University-Alexandria
While the Online Bachelor of Science in Psychology program offered by Louisiana State University-Alexandria does not mention forensic or criminal psychology in the title, a resounding majority of the electives – for example, criminology, juvenile delinquency, probation and parole – are centered on criminal justice. The core programs also cover topics like abnormal and social psychology.
The time students take to complete this bachelor’s degree is variable, as it is dependent on the amount of time they can give to the course. While the average time for completing a bachelor’s degree conventionally is four years, this can be finished sooner.
The requirements for enrollment in this program are different for residents of the state, non-residents and international students. There are, some commonalities, for example, a good GPA, SAT and ACT scores, and so on.
The total cost of pursuing this program is variable but the cost per credit hour stands at approximately $250. This does not include costs like the application or online program fee.
Arizona State University
Another university that offers a great online course in forensic psychology – Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Forensic Psychology) – is Arizona State University. While you may be enrolling in a psychology program, you will be required to take on courses like an introduction to criminology, which will form the basis of your career in the realm of criminal psychology. Some electives include courses on correctional psychology and crime and forensic mental health.
While most bachelor’s degrees take about four years to complete, the actual amount of time will depend on the speed with which you are able to complete the credit hours that form the base of this program.
The requirements are different for people who are joining as a freshman, transfer students, international students and those applying for readmission. Some common requirements are a high school diploma, a good GPA, transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, along with a completed online application.
The tuition and fees that you pay to complete this course differ depending on whether or not you are a resident. While residents pay approximately $11,350 for the full academic year, non-residents pay approximately $13,360. This differs from year to year.
University of California — Irvine
One of the best master’s programs in forensic psychology is the one offered by UCI School of Social Ecology – an online Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology (MLFP) program. Keep in mind that you will be required to take a mandatory course – Introduction to Legal and Forensic Psychology – at the UCI campus at the beginning of the program.
On average, it takes students two years to complete an online master’s degree in forensic psychology from the University of California – Irvine.
As this is a master’s program, the requirements are more. For example, applicants need to have a GPA of over 3.0 in their undergraduate studies. They need to submit a personal statement, a statement of purpose and a resume.
The fee structure of the program stands at approximately $4,658 for each quarter. The annual fees for the Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology program was set at $13,974 for the 2018-2019 academic year.
After going through some of the top online criminal psychology programs available for students at different levels, you will be able to make a better and more informed decision about your career. The courses differ in terms of the time it takes to complete, the cost of the entire degree and the requirements that you need to fulfill in order to gain admission. Times have changed, and with it, the acceptable methods of getting an education have also evolved. An online education can help you in taking your level of expertise to the next stage on your own terms.