Forensic Psychology Advising Track
- Action Steps for Students
- Fieldwork and Research in Psychology
- Potential Job Titles
- Undergraduate Course Requirements
- What is Forensic Psychology?
- Forensic psychologist (M.A.,Ph.D., Psy.D.)
- Clinical psychologist (M.A., Ph.D., Psy.D.)
- Corrections or parole officer (B.A.)
- Residential youth counselor (B.A.)
- Crime analyst (B.A.)
To learn more about forensic psychology, here is what students can do:
- Join professional organizations, such as Division 41 (American Psychology-Law Society) of the American Psychological Association.
- Volunteer in a related setting.
- Schedule a meeting with a forensic psychologist to discuss his or her profession.
- Read professional journals, such as such as Law and Human Behavior Journal, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Journal of Forensic.
Forensic psychology is the application of psychology to the criminal justice system. Forensic psychologists may deal with legal issues, such as public policies, new laws, and whether a defendant was insane at the time a crime was committed. Forensic psychologists also conduct research on jury behavior, eyewitness testimony, suspect interrogations, and ethics of law.
Clinical psychologists working in forensics may be employed in a variety of settings, including prisons, state hospitals, federal and local law enforcement agencies, community mental health centers, juvenile detention facilities, universities, or private practice. Clinical and research psychologists conducting research in forensic psychology often work in universities, for federal law enforcement, or research institutes.
Many students are drawn to forensic psychology because of the interest in “criminal profiling.” The reality is that most law enforcement agencies do not use criminal profiling procedures, and those who may use similar procedures are more likely to employ law enforcement personnel rather than a forensic psychologist.
Entry-level positions with a bachelor’s degree in this specialty are rare. However to begin getting some experience and work before graduate school, one could work as a probation or parole officer, case worker, or residential youth counselor.
In order to have a career in forensic psychology one will need a graduate degree, either master’s or doctorate.
The purpose of this program is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of psychology while providing students who want a central focus on the application of psychological principles to the legal system
Students who are interested in pursuing a forensic psychology should be sure to work with an adviser to develop an academic plan that is tailored to their interests. The plan should lead to the completion of coursework that is useful for employment in an entry-level job working in the criminal justice system or admission to a graduate program in psychology.
University and College Requirements
In addition to the suggestions for the forensic track, be sure to complete all other university and college requirements, including the foreign language requirement.
The center staff recommend beginning the foreign language requirement in the first year. NOTE: Students may begin with a class higher than 1110 depending on foreign language placement test results. It is possible to place out of the foreign language requirement. Therefore, it is recommended that students take the placement test for any foreign language completed in high school.
Required Courses in Psychology
- Psychology B.A. Core Requirements (35 hours)
The following courses are highly recommended for students planning on pursuing a graduate degree in forensic psychology field:
- PSY 2720 Psychology of Personality (3)
- PSY 3110 Advanced Statistics (4)
- PSY 3210 Sensation and Perception (3)
- PSY 3310 Human Memory (3)
- PSY 3330 Human Judgment & Decision Making (3)
- PSY 3510 Motivation (3)
- PSY 3520 Social Psychology of Justice (3)
- PSY 3710 Intro to Clinical & Counseling (3)
- PSY 4710 Psychoactive Drugs: Therapeutic Agents & Drugs of Abuse (3)
Students who intend to go to graduate school in forensics are encouraged to complete courses in Biological Sciences.
Additional Recommended Courses
Whether students complete the sociology minor*, they should consider taking classes relevant to the area of criminology and forensics, including any of the following courses:
- ANTH 4470 Forensic Anthropology (3)
- ANTH 4480 Blood, Bones, and Violence (3)
- BIOS 2060 Drugs & the Brain (3)
- BIOS 3640 Forensic Biology (3)
- LET 1350 Intro to Corrections (3)
- LET 1450 Intro to Criminalistics & Forensic Science (3)
- PHIL 1300 Intro to Ethics (3)
- SW 1000 Intro to Social Work & Social Welfare (3)
- SW 3243 Social Welfare Law (3)
- SW 3263 Chemical Dependency (3)
*Classes listed for the sociology minor are not listed above but are applicable and should still be considered even if one is not completing the minor.
Students interested in forensic psychology are encouraged to complete a sociology minor. A total of 18 credit hours are required. See the requirements for a sociology minor.
Fieldwork and Research in Psychology
It is highly recommended that students participate in research in a psychology lab and engage in fieldwork in settings related to the student’s particular area of interest.