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List of the Top Criminal Psychology Schools in the U.S.

Find out which are the top schools offering criminal psychology programs. See what your degree options are. Get information about why these schools stand out to decide if one of them is the right one for you.

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School Overviews

Criminal psychology involves study of the thoughts, intentions and reactions of criminals. Most degree programs related to this field are offered in forensic psychology. Forensic psychology is an interdisciplinary program that uses psychology and criminal justice to help judges, attorneys and other legal professionals understand the psychological findings of a particular case. The schools discussed below are well-regarded for their graduate psychology and criminology programs.

Best Schools in the U.S. for Criminal Psychology

1. University of Denver in Denver, Colorado

University of Denver (DU) was ranked 91st among graduate psychology programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2009 and is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The School of Professional Psychology offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Forensic Psychology, a 2-year program that blends psychology with study of the civil and criminal justice systems. Coursework includes trauma and crisis intervention, forensic mental health, adult psychopathology and psychology of criminal behavior.

2. John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY in New York, New York

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, was ranked 121st among Northern universities for 2011 and tenth among graduate criminology programs in 2009 by U.S. News & World Report. This school, part of the City University of New York (CUNY), is dedicated to the study of criminal justice and closely related fields.

The school has a Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology program, which is an interdisciplinary program that looks at research methods and psychological theory and their application to the legal system. Coursework includes criminology, alcoholism and substance abuse, correctional psychology and family court.

The M.A. in Forensic Psychology program focuses on psychopathology, personality assessment and therapeutic techniques. Classes include crime scene analysis, violence and aggression, eyewitness identification and terrorism. Students can elect to complete a thesis or perform a 300-hour externship under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Graduates can practice psychology in the criminal and civil justice system or pursue further doctoral study. John Jay also offers a post-graduate certificate in forensic psychology for those who have earned a master's in psychology, counseling, social work or related field. A Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Ph.D.) program with a forensic psychology track leads to a clinical psychology Ph.D. and meets New York state licensing requirements for psychologists. Classes include ethics, gender and diversity issues, forensic evaluation, psychopathology and psychometrics.

Good Programs for Criminal Psychology in the U.S.

College/University Name Distinction Location
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at ChicagoOffers a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with concentrations in adult, child and family, forensic neuropathology or law enforcement Chicago, IL
Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan CampusOffers a 5.5-year accelerated B.A./M.A. in Forensic Psychology program Teaneck, NJ
Florida Institute of TechnologyOffers the only B.A. in Forensic Psychology program in the stateMelbourne, FL
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNYHome to the Forensic Psychology Research Institute New York, NY
Marymount UniversityStudents in the M.A. in Forensic and Legal Psychology program (formerly forensic psychology) can apply for admission to the intelligence studies concentration to prepare for a career in the intelligence field Arlington, VA
Prairie View A & M University Offers a M.S. in Juvenile Forensic Psychology program Prairie View, TX
The Richard Stockton College of New JerseyOffers a 5-year dual B.A./M.A. in Criminal Justice program with a graduate forensic psychology track Pomona, NJ
Thomas College Students earning a B.S. in Psychology with a forensic science concentration can enroll in the guaranteed job program Waterville, ME
University of Denver First began offering M.A. in Forensic Psychology program in 1999 Denver, CO
University of North Dakota Home to the Northern Plains Center for Behavioral ResearchGrand Forks, ND
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