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Graduate Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology in California

Learn about the colleges in California that offer graduate degrees in Forensic Psychology and their program lengths, costs, and requirements. Gain information about some of the common core classes and what you can expect to learn.

California Baptist University

The Master of Fine Arts in Forensic Psychology from California Baptist University offers students a two-year program that teaches an advanced understanding of human development, the biological nature of crime, psychopathology, the connection between psychology and law, and criminal profiling. Students who finish this course will be prepared to offer psychological knowledge to the criminal justice system.

Holy Names University

Holy Names University offers a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology and a Dual Master of Arts in Counseling and Forensic Psychology. Both programs are designed for working adults, and students in the dual program take classes concurrently and will graduate with the ability to become a licensed professional counselor as well as a psychologist in the criminal justice field.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine's two-year Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program offers students the chance to gain real-world experience at their Forensic Training Institute, where they will provide assessment, counseling, and training to individuals in the criminal justice system. The program integrates professional counseling, and also offers a concentration in Police Psychology, where students will learn how to apply psychology to law enforcement and the legal system, as well as analyze policies and procedures.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles offers students the same M.A. programs as its Irvine location, however, they also offer a certificate option, The Certificate in Forensic Psychology - M.A. Non-Licensure Track to Licensure Bridge, for students who have completed the school's M.A. Forensic Psychology program without a counseling licensure track and wish to obtain a license. Students will gain real-world experience by working alongside experienced faculty practitioners.

School Name Programs Offered Tuition (2019-2020)
California Baptist University *Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology $725 per unit*
Holy Names University **Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
**Dual Master of Arts in Counseling and Forensic Psychology
$1,003 per unit**
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine ***Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
***Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology with Police Psychology Concentration
$1,198 per credit hour***
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles ***Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
***Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology with Police Psychology Concentration
***Certificate in Forensic Psychology - M.A. Non-Licensure Track to Licensure Bridge
$1,198 per credit hour***

Sources: *CalBaptist.edu ; **hnu.edu ; ***TheChicagoSchool.edu

How to Earn an MA in Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology graduate programs typically last two years, and a bachelor's degree is required, although it is not a prerequisite to study psychology or any related field. Common courses in this degree include psychology and the law, criminal profiling, and psychology of criminal behavior.

Forensic Psychology and the Law

At the graduate level, these courses teach interview methods, psychological assessment with a focus on competency to stand trial, how to help individuals measure themselves for distress or disturbance using the SUD scale, and juvenile and family law. Students will learn about risk assessments, community education, human diversity, restorative justice, and criminal responsibility. An additional topic is the processes behind jury selection and decision-making in a trial. Students should come away from the course with a deeper knowledge and understanding of how psychology and the law are connected.

Criminal Profiling

Criminal profiling courses teach how to psychologically analyze evidence left behind at crime scenes by the perpetrators in order to discover the criminal's motives. Students will learn about and how to utilize criminal investigative skills, social-psychological principles, and advanced research methodology. By the end of the course, students should understand these concepts and techniques, as well as apply them in the field.

Psychology of Criminal Behavior

Psychology of criminal behavior courses dive deep into the minds of criminals to determine what made them commit crimes. Topics covered include the relationship of trauma and SUD to crime, methods of prevention, early intervention, and treatment. Students will learn how to form theories based on evidence and gain knowledge about juvenile delinquency, adult crime, and human aggression. Upon completing the course, students should be knowledgeable about the various biological, sociological, and psychological factors that can contribute to crime.

There are a number of Forensic Psychology graduate programs in California that last up to two years. Courses in forensic psychology teach students how to connect psychology to the law, determine criminal motives, and figure out what makes a criminal.