Distance learning forensic psychology degree programs teach students to apply psychology principles to areas of law, such as jury behavior, domestic abuse, sexual harassment perception and deceit detection.
A bachelor's degree - preferably in psychology - is required prior to embarking upon forensic psychology degree programs at the master's and doctorate levels. Coursework for these programs can be completed entirely online, though participation in an in-person internship and/or residency may be required. Not all distance-learning forensic psychology graduate programs prepare students for licensure, and students desiring licensure should speak with an academic advisor prior to enrollment.
Online master's degree classes teach students to apply psychological knowledge to such areas of forensics as sanity assessment, custody evaluation, risk assessment and eyewitness accuracy. Students learn techniques in criminal profiling and correctional psychology. Behavioral disorders, serial offenders, conformity and forensic psychology ethics are also covered in the degree program's core curriculum.
A practical experience course may be integrated into an online program. In addition, students enrolled in a distance learning Master of Arts or Science in Forensic Psychology program take classes such as the following:
- Foundations of forensic psychology
- Behavior pathology
- Social psychology
- Forensic psychology research
- Criminal behavior
- Treatment of forensic populations
- Psychology in the courts
- Police psychology
Some distance learning master's degree programs in forensic psychology offer specializations in the following:
- Program planning and evaluation in forensic settings
- Legal systems and psychology
- Forensic psychology in the community
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Distance-learning forensic psychology doctorate programs are not common, but those that are available may offer such specializations as experimental forensic psychology and clinical forensic psychology. In a doctoral degree program, students may be required to attend residencies several times throughout their course of study. A dissertation is usually required for program completion.
Students embarking upon a distance-learning PhD program in Forensic Psychology take classes in the following:
- Research methods and design
- Psychopathology and criminal behavior
- Therapeutic intervention
Electives include the following:
- Psychology and law
- Psychology of expert evidence
- Psychology of juries
Students undertaking an online degree program in forensic psychology take online classes held at specific times, review recorded classroom lectures and access class information. Students submit their assignments via e-mail or file upload and interact with their professor and classmate via online chat rooms, message boards and e-mail.
Online programs in forensic psychology are available at the master's and doctoral levels. These programs prepare students for research and work involving criminal behavior, police and court psychology, treatment of domestic abuse survivors and more.