Masters in Criminal Psychology: Program Overview

Criminal psychologists, also called forensic psychologists, apply knowledge of the human psyche to legal issues; most states require psychologists to hold a doctorate. Learn more about a master's and its associated careers, as well as doctorates.

Essential Information

The criminal psychology master's degree program trains individuals to work in courts, not-for-profit organizations and prisons. The student may take on practitioner or leadership roles after graduating from a master's degree program. Master's degrees in forensic psychology programs can normally be completed in two years and explore the psychology of criminal behavior. To become a licensed psychologist in most states, an individual must hold a doctorate degree.

A bachelor's degree is required to obtain admittance to a master's program in forensic psychology. Applicants will also need acceptable GRE scores and previous courses in introductory psychology and statistics. Students in the program can choose from specializations like forensic assessment or research methods. Most programs require internships.

Criminal Psychology Master's Degree

A forensic psychology master's degree prepares an individual to counsel those impacted by the criminal justice system. Common courses offered include the following:

  • Social psychology
  • Personality theory
  • Psychopathology
  • Ethics

Popular Career Options

Forensic psychology studied at the master's degree level prepares students for administrative and clinical treatment services. Specific roles include the following:

  • Case manager
  • Program director
  • Counselor
  • Correctional officer
  • Jury consultant
  • Court liaison

Continuing Education

Forensic psychologists generally must acquire state-level licensure, which typically requires graduation from a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program. Doctoral programs in forensic psychology are available if you choose to seek further education; generally, doctoral graduates pursue a career in research or teaching.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide statistics for criminal psychologists, all psychologists were projected to see a 19% growth in employment from 2014-2024. The mean annual wages for school, clinical and counseling psychologists were $76,040 in May 2015.

A master's degree program in criminal psychology teaches students how to counsel people within the criminal justice system. Graduates can go on to doctoral programs to obtain licensure or work as counselors, consultants, or case managers.

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