Forensic psychology is a fascinating specialization within the study of human behavior that focuses on the intersection of the justice system and the understanding of the mind. Forensic psychologists aim to get down to the root causes of criminal behavior so they can learn how to reduce its occurrence in the future.
While there is a large interest in careers within this arena of the psych community, some are deterred from pursuing it as a career because of what it takes to gain the required master’s degree in forensic psychology. It’s more than just the obvious investment of money for tuition; it’s also the investment of time that it takes to prepare for and complete the GRE and the additional years spent inside the classroom.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test required by many grad school programs in the U.S., comparable to the SAT in its objective. The GRE takes a snapshot of one’s verbal abilities, quantitative reasoning skills, and writing level. This can be a stressful roadblock for busy professionals who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree but don’t have the time to prepare for an exam that tests such a broad range of subjects.
Fortunately, there are a number of forensic psychology grad school programs that do not require applicants to take the exam—and a select few of them even allow them to complete their studies fully online.
For those who are interested in specializing in forensic psychology—but wince at the prospect of preparing for another standardized test and going back to campus—here are five master’s degree programs in forensic psychology that do not require the GRE and are offered 100 percent online.
All of these fully accredited programs are ordered from least to most expensive based on tuition estimates. In most programs, a master’s degree in forensic psychology consists of about 33 to 36 credit-hours total, taking full-time students about two years to complete.
This school offers a no-GRE master of science (MS) in forensic psychology to prepare students to work within the justice system and courts, as well as with law enforcement, corrections, and departments of victim services.
This UND master’s of arts (MA) program in forensic psychology focuses on building statistical analysis and evaluation skills as well as the understanding of the study as it relates to the justice system. Students are prepared to take on roles like conducting focus groups and assisting lawyers in trial preparation and jury selection.
SNHU’s master of science program is another option on the lower end of the cost scale, covering theories of personality, forensic psychology, psychology in the courtroom and ethical practice in psychology. It can also be completed in the shortest amount of time.
This MA in psychology (forensic psychology concentration) program focuses on ethics and professional issues in forensic psychology, understanding addictive disorders, evaluation, and treatment options so that students can be prepared for careers in consulting with law enforcement, family service agencies, and public policy making.
The University of California Irvine’s program is the most expensive but is one of the most highly esteemed on the list. Its master of legal and forensic psychology program is a unique collaboration between its psychological science and criminology departments. It focuses on the overlap of psychology and legal issues and how psychological principles can be used to better understand legal processes and systems.