Master's in Forensic Psychology Degree Emphasis

Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Projected average number of job openings for psychologists each year from 2021 to 2031.1

Study Advanced Criminal Behavior in GCU's Forensic Psychology Master's Program Emphasis

The Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a graduate degree program that provides a thorough grounding in the advanced principles of human psychology, criminal behavior and societal responses to criminal behavior.

The legal system depends on skilled professionals dedicated to making communities safer. Forensic psychologists fulfill a critical role in the criminal justice system. At the intersection of psychology, law and criminal justice, forensic psychology is the application of scientific principles to the legal process.

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GCU's Online Forensic Psychology Master's Program Emphasis Offers You Flexibility

GCU’s MS in forensic psychology degree emphasis is offered online or through evening classes so you can pursue your advanced degree with added flexibility and convenience. In this master’s in forensic psychology emphasis program, you have access to the following:

  • Innovative online learning platform and resources
  • Expert faculty in the psychology field
  • Networking opportunities with peers in the program

As a forensic psychology master’s degree emphasis student, you will acquire a framework of statistical analysis and research skills that can be applied to timely and relevant topics in criminal behavior. The curriculum covers current legal system programs, policies and ethical practices. It encourages students to proactively improve criminal justice processes and human rehabilitation. This online forensic psychology master’s emphasis focuses on the main objectives of the profession: to reduce crime rates and successfully rehabilitate criminals so that they may become productive members of society.

Topics Covered During Your MS in Forensic Psychology Degree Emphasis

During the MS in forensic psychology degree emphasis you are exposed to the biological, genetic, neurochemical, cognitive and sociological factors that underlie criminal behavior. Public policy and research-based methods for community reintegration of offenders are examined, with a particular emphasis on sex offenders, drug offenders, female offenders, juveniles and mentally ill offenders.

Students in this forensic psychology master's program emphasis will:

  • Develop an understanding of the classic and contemporary theories of crime causation, including theories of punishment and the psychological, developmental and social causes of crime
  • Practice written and oral communication through engaging discussions with your peers and self-directed, writing-intensive projects
  • Gain a solid foundation of psychological knowledge and skills to guide your understanding of the current state of forensic psychology and the criminal justice system
  • Explore the occupational opportunities within the psychological field, and develop and present original research ideas


Career Opportunities for Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology Emphasis Graduates

Forensic psychology is a career path for individuals who desire to make a positive difference in their communities. An online master’s in forensic psychology degree emphasis may open the door to exciting possibilities in government or law enforcement agencies. Forensic psychologists are needed across a range of settings, including:

  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Police departments
  • Law firms
  • Prisons
  • Private practices

These professionals can work directly with police officers and investigators, victims of crimes, criminal offenders, attorneys and corrections officials. Some forensic psychologists work as researchers seeking to enhance the profession’s understanding of criminal behavior and the criminal mind.

Graduates who hold an MS in forensic psychology program emphasis may choose to enhance their career qualifications by pursuing a doctoral degree. Get started with your online forensic psychology master’s program emphasis today!

MS in Forensic Psychology Program Emphasis FAQs

If you are interested in advancing your career with a forensic psychology master's degree emphasis, learn more by reading our responses to these commonly asked questions.

If you have an interest in applying your psychological expertise and research skills to legal matters, then earning a master’s degree in forensic psychology emphasis is worth your consideration. This degree can also be useful if you want to pursue a psychology career within the legal field.

The online forensic psychology master’s degree emphasis at GCU requires 36 credits to completion. The online courses provide flexibility so you can earn your degree on your time, while having faculty support and learning resources available along the way.

Earning a master’s in forensic psychology emphasis degree can open doors to many career opportunities within the criminal justice or legal fields. For example, you may work with attorneys, providing psychological research and evidence on a given case. You may advise investigators on interrogation techniques, evaluate the mental health of a criminal offender or provide help for victims. The opportunities for a forensic psychologist are varied and can allow you to apply your skills in many capacities.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t provide job growth data for forensic psychologists specifically, it does report projected job growth of 6% for psychologists in general from 2021 to 2031. This relates to about 14,100 openings for psychologists each year, on average, over the decade.1

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists, retrieved on March 24, 2023.

Total Credits: 36
Online: 8 weeks
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Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $590 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

36 credits
Degree Requirements:
36 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the liberal arts. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course serves as the foundation for advanced graduate study in the field of psychology. Professional skill development, such as critical thinking, scholarly writing, and literature reviewing are covered, as well as contemporary ethical issues in the field of psychology, including issues in research, writing, psychotherapy, forensic psychology, and animal research.

Course Description

This course is a study of social, group, and multicultural factors affecting individual behavior. Attention is given to the development of attitudes, leadership roles, group thinking, sources of conflict, altruism, attraction, effects of competition and cooperation, analysis and evaluation of propaganda techniques, and the influence of mass communication on social awareness and control.

Course Description

This course explores classic and contemporary theories of crime causation, including psychological, developmental, and social causes of crime and theories of punishment.

Course Description

This course provides a psychological perspective for understanding legal issues, an examination of the various roles, functions, strategies, and interagency relationships of the courts, government entities, elements of the crime, and the individual as it relates to due process within the context of crime control.

Course Description

This course provides a study of theories of probability, descriptive and inferential analyses of data, and testing of statistical hypotheses. Practical experience is provided in the application of statistical methods. This course requires the use of SPSS software via the Citrix Workspace to complete assignments, please ensure your device is compatible with this software prior to the start of your course.

Course Description

This course emphasizes both the theoretical and applied aspects of experimental design and research methodology at the graduate level, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed designs. Prerequisite: PSY-520.

Course Description

This course requires students to comprehensively examine various psychopathologies behind criminal behavior. Topics such as biological, genetic, neurochemical, cognitive, and sociological factors underlying criminal behavior will be examined. A focus will be placed on addiction, brain imaging, and future biopsychosocial research.

Course Description

This course examines various approaches to rehabilitative treatments in offender populations. A close look at rehabilitative methods within sex offenders, drug offenders, white collar criminals, cyber criminals, female offenders, juveniles, and mentally ill populations will be taken. Students will examine public policy and research based methods for successful prevention and community reintegration.

Course Description

This course prepares students to enter their prospective career and/or continue their education in psychology. Students will explore occupations and leaders in the various psychological fields, formulate and compile their experiences and achievements, and construct a roadmap for success. Original research ideas will be solidified and presented. Prerequisite: PSY-550.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.