PD-Most AffordableAffordable online Master’s in Forensic Psychology degrees have steadily grown since CBS’ hit show Criminal Minds debuted to 19.5 million viewers in 2005. First practiced by Hugo Munsterberg during the late-1800s, forensic psychology is the clinical application of behavioral sciences within the legal system. The American Psychological Association states that forensic psychologists examine people’s brain health primarily for judicial decision-making and prisoner rehabilitation. More graduates are choosing forensics specializations to address America’s mass incarceration crisis. According to The Sentencing Project, the last 40 years have seen a stark 500 percent increase to 2.2 million inmates countrywide. Journalists also warned that over 400,000 of them suffer mental illness and 83 percent don’t receive sufficient treatment behind bars in The Atlantic.

Taking forensic psychology courses could build a unique public safety career helping detectives apprehend offenders and prevent future crimes. Cheap online forensic psychology master’s options are ideal to study the cognitive roots of delinquency without getting handcuffed to massive debt.


The PD Staff accessed the NCES College Navigator to investigate the most affordable online Master’s in Forensic psychology that won’t rob your bank account. We began by filtering out four-year U.S. institutions that award advanced degrees. Next, we used the browse feature to select only forensic psychology programs. The box for distance education was checked to ensure only online options followed. Then, the accreditation status for each of our initial 20 colleges was questioned. The Department of Education’s database helped guarantee that each pick’s regional accreditation from CHEA-recognized agencies was current. Our final stage was recording the average in-state graduation tuition rate for 2017-18. We sorted the cheapest 9 from the highest to lowest annual dollar amounts. The following article will profile each of the most affordable Master’s in Forensic Psychology online options.

Ranking Cheap Master’s in Forensic Psychology Online

9. Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Clinical Psychology: Forensic Specialization

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $26,675

Bestowed the 2008 Shirley Davis Award for Excellence in Distance Learning, Capella University is a for-profit, HLC-accredited online company merged with Strayer Education for $1.9 billion that’s based in Minneapolis’ 225 South Sixth tower to engage 43 percent of its 37,600 students in master’s study. Named to Inc Magazine’s 500 Hall of Fame, Capella was ranked 87th for location diversity and 103rd for psychology on College Factual. AARP placed Capella University fifth among its top 10 schools for older learners too. The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology: Forensic Specialization Online is the Harold Abel School’s premier outcome-based option for getting insight into criminal cognitive patterns. Individuals with 2.3 GPAs or higher submit the $50 application anytime to begin a 55-credit curriculum that’s professionally aligned. For 27 months, each 10-week quarter brings exciting Blackboard courses like Psychotherapy, Multicultural Issues, and Forensic Practice Trends until the competency capstone.

8. Northcentral University

San Diego, CA

Online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $26,570

Honored with 2017 Center for Learning Analytics Research Awards, Northcentral University is a newly nonprofit, HLC-accredited online provider acquired by the National University System in July that’s worth $229 million for educating 10,093 in 39 post-grad degrees with unique one-to-one courses. Diverse Issues in Higher Education crowned NCU the 7th top producer of African-American graduate degrees. Northcentral was also the country’s 31st best psychology school on College Factual and 267th best online master’s option on the U.S. News & World Report. The Online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology starts every Monday on Moodle to develop behavioral experts for legal problem-solving. Waiving GRE scores, the School of Social Sciences admits graduates from 49 states, excluding North Carolina, for a 30-credit, 20-month learning sequence. Personalized classes, such as Criminal Profiling, Applied Statistics, and Correctional Psychology, end with a 12-week, non-clinical internship.

7. Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH

Online MS in Psychology with a Forensic Psychology Concentration

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $22,572

Chosen for the $3.9 million “First in the World” Innovation Grant, Southern New Hampshire University is a fast-growing, nonprofit NEASC-accredited institute and Psi Chi chapter in Manchester that’s attracting 92,032 to D2L Brightspace for 200+ online programs. The 2017 USDLA Online Technology Excellence winner is ranked America’s 21st best distance choice on Niche. Southern New Hampshire was also the 23rd top psychology school on College Factual and 716th best value in Money magazine with average merit aid of $13,342. The MS in Psychology with a Forensic Psychology Concentration Online boasts 74 percent retention by training curious minds to conduct research into the brain’s effects on criminality. Fulfilling three bachelor’s prerequisites is mandatory before filing $40 applications any of the five 10-week terms. Graduate courses, including Theories of Personality, Psychology in the Courtroom, and Competency Assessments, culminate in just 15 months for the 36-credit virtual degree.

6. Post University

Waterbury, CT

Online Master of Science in Forensic Mental Health Counseling

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $21,707

Granted the 33rd Annual Education Advertising Gold Award, Post University is a Waterbury for-profit, NEASC-accredited online hub and Yellow Ribbon School reporting 84 percent satisfaction on Ruffalo Noel Levitz surveys from over 8,000 Eagles pursuing 31 degrees in eight-week modules. Included in the U.S. News & World Report’s top 187 North colleges, Post was ranked the 339th best institution by Washington Monthly. Post University also has America’s 369th most diversity on Niche and 305th top-paid psychology grads on College Factual. The Online Master of Science in Forensic Mental Health Counseling is the John P. Burke School’s hallmark 26-month concentration for practicing theoretical methods of criminal behavior assessment. On Blackboard, the 37-credit digital degree immerses graduates with minimum 3.0 GPAs in topics like Victimology, Psychopathology, and Human Services Policy. Two supervised practica are arranged in students’ own communities for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) receipt.

5. Arizona State University

Phoenix, AZ

Online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $20,852

Affiliated with 33 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellows, Arizona State University is a public, top-tier HLC-accredited research institute that’s generating $230 million from the third largest online enrollment of 30,000, including 1,300 veterans, in 150+ majors. Forbes deemed ASU the 210th top university and 91st best value. Arizona State University was also recognized for America’s 126th best degrees by Times Higher Education, 123rd top psychology program on Niche, 276th best career outcomes on WalletHub, and seventh most effective career services in Financial Times. Known for its Center for Correctional Solutions (CCS), the College of Public Service digitalized the Master of Science in Forensic Psychology Online for 7.5-week courses on mental health issues rampant in prisons. The 33-credit Blackboard sequence suggests GRE scores from online students carrying GPAs below 3.3. Institutional funds like the John W. Reich Prize can lower costs for 11 courses from Criminal Justice to Legal Psychology.

4. Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Online MS in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology Option

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $20,340

Victorious at the 2015 American Forensics Association National Championship, Liberty University is a nonprofit, Christian SACS-accredited digital powerhouse based in Forbes’ 80th best city that’s collecting $772 million in federal aid to educate 110,000 in 349 online degrees. Retaining an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, Liberty is America’s second best online learning choice on Niche. Liberty University also boasts the 80th top psychology program on College Factual, 104th best student selectivity on WalletHub, and 712th best value in Money magazine. The Online MS in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology Option prepares Helms School of Government majors for helping wrongdoers reintegrate into society successfully. Offering the 25 percent Emergency Response Discount, the 36-credit program accepts $50 applications from bachelor’s holders with 3.0 GPAs or better. At least 1.5 years is devoted to eight-week Blackboard courses like Crisis Intervention and Policing Ethics before the thesis defense.

3. University of Louisiana-Monroe

Monroe, LA

Online Master of Science in Psychology, The Forensic Track

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $20,033

Given a record-setting 19 Robert A. Smythe Awards from Pi Kappa Alpha, the University of Louisiana-Monroe is a public, SACS-accredited Sun Belt superstar that’s endowed for $23.15 million to enroll 9,038 Warhawks in 96 majors and graduate the Bayou State’s second-most clinical workers. Reporting a 100 percent LPC pass rate in 2017, Monroe is ranked America’s 157th best online graduate school by the U.S. News & World Report. ULM also stands 576th for career outcomes on WalletHub, 483rd for student life on Niche, and 421st for psychology education on College Factual. The Master of Science in Psychology’s Forensic Track Online utilizes Moodle to connect School of Behavioral & Social Sciences students to brain and behavior theories relevant to the judiciary. Pursuing the 36-credit virtual degree requires a 2.75 bachelor’s GPA or 1900 GRE General Test formula score. A thesis is optional after 5000-level courses like Intelligence Testing, Sociology of Law, and Juvenile Delinquency.

2. Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Online Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $18,540

Selected for the 2018 SIIA CODiE Best Higher Education Learning Award, Grand Canyon University is a nonprofit, Baptist HLC-accredited distance institution with an economic impact of $1 billion in Phoenix that’s advancing 47 percent of its over 60,000 Lopes into graduate study with 200+ degrees. Niche picked GCU for America’s 18th best online courses, 36th most religious studies, and 102nd most diversity. Grand Canyon University also landed 77th for criminal justice on College Factual and 166th for master’s education in Washington Monthly. Highly regarded for its Thrive Conference, the College of Humanities & Social Sciences grants the Online Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology for $515 per credit. The 36-credit Blackboard track sets a 2.8 GPA minimum for graduates intrigued by the cognitive pathologies contributing to illegal behaviors. After the four-week introduction, courses like Offender Rehabilitation and Theories of Punishment lead to capstone research.

1. University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

Online Forensic Psychology M.A.

10 Most Affordable Master's in Forensic Psychology Online


Tuition: $12,122

Awarded the 2017 Big Sky Conference Presidents’ Cup for Achievement, the University of North Dakota is a public, HLC-accredited scientific research standout in Grand Forks with $516.6 million revenue that’s employing 2,522 faculty and training 14,406 Fighting Hawks at a 53 percent graduation rate. The U.S. News & World Report crowned UND the 25th most innovative and 70th top online graduate school. North Dakota also ranked 185th on Forbes, 379th for psychology on Niche, and 235th for teaching quality on the CWUR nationally. The Forensic Psychology M.A. Online within the College of Arts & Sciences logs into Blackboard part-time for analyzing behavioral and cognitive concepts in legal contexts. Students achieving “B” averages or better for this 30-credit degree can file $35 applications until April 1st and October 1st on GradSpace. Online lectures like Diversity Psychology, Psychological Profiling, and Human Nature culminate with a one-week, on-campus capstone seminar in two years.

Why Choose an Affordable Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Degree Over On-Campus?

The U.S. News & World Report ranks several on-campus forensics programs like CUNY John Jay College, George Washington, Denver, and Fairleigh Dickinson among its top 245 psychology schools. Traditional master’s degrees are more suited to recent early-career grads than working adults though. Besides being cheaper than the 1st place Stanford’s $48,987 price, online Master’s in Forensic Psychology courses can easily fit your human services work schedule. The Web becomes your classroom to investigate criminal behaviors anytime at your own home. That means you’ll kiss lengthy commutes and high graduate housing rent goodbye. Forensic psychology master’s online students listen to lectures from the same high-quality, PhD-level faculty at their leisure. Distance learning makes it easier to attend great out-of-state colleges, set your own pace of 12 to 48 months, and transfer master’s credits. Don’t worry because the IRRODL Journal concluded that students learn as much online as in-person too.

Which Careers Benefit From Cheap Online Master’s in Forensic Psychology Programs?

Having an online forensic psychology master’s degree is considered the minimum for entry-level professional practice in the law enforcement world. A two-year grad school experience won’t qualify you for giving legal advice like a Juris Doctor. Clinical doctorates and 1,000 field hours are required to sit for the American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP) certification exam too. Though a master’s generally can’t fulfill state licensing, it will develop much greater forensics expertise than a bachelor’s. Through the National Association of Forensic Counselors (NAFC), you could still get certified as a Forensic Interviewer, Domestic Violence Counselor, and more. Note that you’ll have to submit a $365 application, pass a multiple-choice exam at 500+ Comira centers, and file three references. Five great job possibilities for affordable master’s in forensic psychology online alums are:

Criminal Profiler: The FBI totaled 17,250 murders, or 5.3 killings per 100,000 people, in 2016, so the number of homicide cases needing criminal profilers to examine crime scenes for behavioral clues is all too high. Affordable online Master’s in Forensic Psychology degrees help criminal profilers narrow down suspect demographics, outline personality traits, identify motives, follow identity tips, interview witnesses, and aid investigative strategy.

Correctional Treatment Specialist: Cheap Master’s in Forensic Psychology online grads often work as case managers in America’s 1,719 state and 3,163 local jails to improve inmates’ chances of never reoffending. Correctional treatment specialists run diagnostic tests, question prisoners’ mental states, plan disorder or addiction intervention, find resources like job training, assess progress, advise parole boards, and counsel probationers.

Jury Consultant: Over 32 million U.S. citizens are summoned for jury duty each year according to the National Center for State Courts, so helping legal teams sort through qualified jurors could be your niche. Jury consultants can use affordable Master’s in Forensic Psychology online degrees to profile candidates’ backgrounds, set target demographics, develop juror questioning, prod biased opinions, analyze courtroom behaviors, and advise lawyers.

Juvenile Justice Counselor: Crimes committed by youth under age 18 have decreased by 30 percent since 1994, but cheap online master’s in forensic psychology alums still find ample options to work with children. Juvenile justice counselors have LPC licensing to help prevent recidivism, treat troubled kids, be positive role models, address abuse or neglect, navigate the court system, conduct behavior analysis, set probationary plans, and suggest child services.

Victim Advocate: RAINN reports that an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds to leave over 321,500 scarred each year, which is only one segment of the population treated by victim advocates. Getting your master’s in forensic psychology online would prepare for counseling survivors, making resource referrals, arranging safe shelter, pursuing legal actions, supporting distraught families, encouraging witnesses, and running prevention programs.

What is the Salary ROI for Affordable Master’s in Forensic Psychology Online Programs?

Investing in cheap online Master’s in Forensic Psychology curricula will make the average graduate school salary of $60,000 stretch further. The Institute for Education Sciences found in 2015 that master’s study boosts pay by 20 percent from a baccalaureate. PayScale lists a median yearly income of $62,790, or $30.34 per hour, for forensic psychologists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an average wage of $77,030 for all psychology jobs. Mental health counselors make significantly less at $46,050 on average. Probation officers are compensated a mean $56,630 annually. Victim services managers report median pay of $64,100. Juvenile justice counselors expect average recompense of $55,410. On Salary.com, the range for M.A. in Psychology graduates was $75,024 to $97,507. Other yearly wages were $76,723 for case managers, $117,152 for behavioral health directors, and $64,844 for criminal investigators.

How is the Job Market for Cheap Master’s in Forensic Psychology Online Graduates?

Getting a forensic psychology online master’s pushes you into a high-stakes, fascinating field with the intellectual challenge of consulting in the judicial system. First approved by the APA in 2001, forensic psychology is now labeled a “postgrad growth area” in big demand. According to the Department of Labor, the market for psychologists will jump 14 percent by 2026 for 23,000 added positions. Hiring of mental health counselors is increasing by 23 percent. Employment of correctional treatment specialists will hit 96,500 for 6 percent growth. Youth counselors can expect a 13 percent jobs hike, including in juvenile justice. Need for criminal investigators is rising 7 percent for 10-year growth of 53,400 too. ValuePenguin scored San Luis Obispo, Worcester, Stockton, Providence, Nassau, and Trenton among the top 15 cities for young psychologists. Deciding on an affordable online master’s in forensic psychology gives you the flexibility to follow job offers nationwide and successfully enter America’s #61 best job.

PD Staff
August 2019

This concludes our ranking of the top 9 most affordable Master’s in Forensic Psychology online degrees