Welcome to Forensics-School’s list of the top 10 forensic psychology colleges in America. After much deliberation and research, we’ve narrowed down here the US colleges that offer, in our humble opinion, the best degrees in the application of psychology to the law: forensic psychology.
All of our ranked schools have three things in common. They are broad-based, which a good liberal arts college should be. They are all world-recognized, if not in their name alone, certainly in their forensic science and forensic psychology prowess. Finally, they are all considerable powerhouses when it comes to wrangling your first job or grad school gig after graduation. Regardless of whether you’re looking at post-graduate work as a clinical psychologist, immediate work as a behavioral profiler, or just want a kick-ass undergraduate degree that happens to deliver a competent dose of forensic psychology along the way, none of these schools will steer you wrong. You would be fortunate as a high school student to win the right to study forensic psychology in any of these programs. And you would be a fool to pass on an offer from any of them.
How we ranked the best forensic psychology schools
How did we determine this list? Several ways. First and foremost, reputation. A degree is only as good as the university that grants it. Furthermore, a university is only as strong as the weakest student it graduates. Reputation is a hard-won asset born of years of success in a number of areas: the success of its graduates, the dominance of its faculty, and the commitment of staff to teaching undergraduates. We doubt there is a single college on this list whose name you have not heard, at least in passing. Furthermore, there are probably a few schools on this list that might surprise you. You’ll understand why this is so as you read further about our criteria–it’s not just simple name-recognition that we’re talking about.
Forensic psychology financial aid
All things being equal, the reputation of a university, in our view, leads directly to better employment opportunities for graduates. And this, in turn, leads directly to graduates who have pockets deep enough to contribute to our next criteria: the university’s endowment. Well, not its endowment per se–but what that endowment buys, particularly, “need blind” and “full need” admissions policies. A little explanation on what these mean. A need blind school admits its students without regard to their ability to foot the bill. This is all high and mighty and noble, but it leads us to the number two in this one-two punch: full need. This means that the university has so much money that it guarantees it will meet the full financial need of all the students it admits.
Think about this for a second: a university will send out a couple thousand admissions letters to a bunch of students, not knowing exactly how many of these students may be utterly destitute and may need the whole damn bill written off to financial aid. And we’re not just talking student loans here–in many cases, it’s full-on grants. But it happens. As of this writing, there are only six institutions that are need blind and full need for all American and international students: Amherst, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Princeton and Yale. A few of these schools make our list for the top forensic psychology college programs in the United States, due in no small part to this kind of breathtaking recognition of high school merit.
The cost of a forensic psychology degree
Most of these schools have a lot of money. What this means for you, as a college student, is the amount of money you may be expected to pay when you matriculate. While each school is different, the trends are pretty consistent. As of this writing, if your parents make less than $60-$80K a year, they probably won’t have to contribute a dime to your education. You may have to pony up a few thousand dollars yourself each year, but it will be couched as term-time employment that will probably be in your field–employment that you would be a fool to pass up since, in most cases, it will be related to forensic psychology (of you’re smart about job searching) and a tremendous leg-up when you go to find a job or apply to graduate school.
From $80-$150K a year, your folks will contribute something to your education. But it won’t be a lot. Depending on the school, it will even be capped at a low double-digit percentage of their annual income. So it won’t break the bank. Again, you’ll have a term-time job that, with a little searching, will be directly tied to forensic psychology and worth its weight in gold when it comes time to market yourself after college.
Most of the colleges that made our top 10 list of the best forensic psychology degree programs in America have endowments in the double-digits billions of dollars. Some are in the Ivy League, which all have a need-blind policy. The ones with the lesser endowments–and, thus, less freedom with their wallets–sometimes have more restricted abilities to help poorer students. When that situation arises that simply getting into the school is your ticket to ride, so to speak, we note it in our description of the school.
And here, dear friends, after much jibber jabber, we present to you our top 10 list of the best forensic psychology colleges in America…