Individuals interested in earning online forensic psychology degrees at the associate's level might be disappointed to find that such programs aren't available. However, students still have some options and will need to consider their overall career goals and whether programs have in-person field requirements before making a decision.
How to Choose an Online School Offering a Psychology Degree
Online associate's degree programs in forensic psychology are not available. Instead, students might consider an online associate's or bachelor's degree in psychology as a step toward an online master's degree in forensic psychology. Students also need to keep in mind that a doctoral degree is required before earning board certification in forensic psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology.
Undergraduate degrees in psychology lead to multiple career options, so individuals seeking an associate or bachelor's degree in psychology should assess their career goals as they explore online schooling options. Students with a bachelor's degree in psychology can work in industrial-organizational settings or in jobs assisting licensed psychologists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it's possible to gain an entry-level psychologist job in the federal government with a bachelor's degree that includes at least 24 credit hours in psychology or education and experience combined.
Required Field Work
In bachelor's and master's degree programs, students may be allowed or required to complete field work or internships in clinical psychologists' offices or in social service agencies. Students may be allowed to sit in on therapy sessions, as well as working with children, mentally ill adults or people with special needs under supervision. Students enrolled in online programs in psychology typically work closely with their school to make internship and practicum arrangements.
Overviews of Online Programs Related to Forensic Psychology
Online Associate's Degree in Psychology
A student can complete an online associate's degree in psychology in as little as two years. Lessons and coursework are through online course management systems, video lectures and e-mail. Associate's degrees in psychology typically focus on theoretical study and practical applications, including understanding research methods and statistics. Coursework may include:
- Forensic psychology
- Victim Services
- Motivations for crime and delinquency
- Integrative psychology
- The legal system
Online Bachelor's Degree in Psychology
Some schools offer bachelor's degrees in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology. Students may also complete courses in criminal psychology, focusing on motives and the psychological factors that influence antisocial behaviors. It can take four years or more to complete this degree program. Coursework can include:
- Social psychology
- Abnormal psychology
- Research methods
- Behavioral psychology
Online Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology
In this program, which typically takes two years or more to complete, students learn via online course management applications and lectures. Coursework stresses how and when psychology applies to various aspects of civil and criminal law. Some schools require limited on-campus time during the course of the degree program. Common classes include:
- Behavioral psychology
- Social psychology
Schools with Online Programs in Psychology
Casper College offers an Associate of Science in Psychology, at least 70% of which can be completed online. Students must complete core coursework and then can choose from a list of psychology electives like biological psychology and abnormal psychology.
Students may also want to consider Penn State's online Bachelor of Science in Psychology program. This program allows students to choose two tracks, life sciences or business, depending on their career goals and interests. Students can also choose to complete an internship for credit if they can find a placement that fulfills the university's requirements.
The University of North Dakota offers an online Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. This program can be completed entirely online, except for a capstone course that students must take after they have completed the rest of their degree coursework. This 2-week capstone course takes place during the summer on the campus in Grand Forks. Otherwise, students can access course materials online at any time, though students will have the same deadlines and exam dates as on-campus students. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a major in a field like psychology, sociology or social work.
While it's not possible to find online associate's degree programs in forensic psychology specifically, there are some online general psychology programs students can complete that will prepare them for more field-specific degrees in the future.