Forensic Psychology Degree and Programs

Forensic psychology, law, forensics, criminal justice and psychology are interrelated and interconnected. They are branches of psychology and they aim to analyze and interpret criminal behavior. Forensic psychologists must have deep knowledge in legal systems and have the ability to translate psychological terminologies into legal terminologies, which are understandable in a court setting. Forensic psychologists are most commonly associated with the determination of the sanity of a defendant. However, they need to perform various other functions in courtroom, such as witness competency, treatment for mentally incompetent, offering opinions on sentencing, etc. Outside courtroom, they need to assist in the evaluation of training and prospective law enforcement professionals in proper treatment of accused and victims.

Forensic psychologists need to cover areas such as:

  • Eye witness testimony,
  • Ways to improve interrogation method,
  • Anger management,
  • Parenting skill training,
  • Family counselling,
  • Mediation of parental conflicts,
  • Evaluation of adoption readiness,
  • Child abuse and evaluation,
  • Child custody evaluation,
  • Divorce adjustment counselling for kids and adults,
  • Dealing clinical issues such as phobia, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorders, chronic pain, desensitization, etc,
  • Counselling for victims of crimes and those who violate law and order,
  • Pre-sentencing evaluation of juvenile and adult,
  • Evaluation of juveniles accused of crimes,
  • Treatment of mentally ill offenders,
  • Help in designing connectional facilities and prisons,
  • Assessing emotional factors in discrimination and sexual harassment,
  • Personal injury evaluation, etc.

Some Highly Recommended Forensic Psychology Degree Courses
Bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology is not available at present. Therefore, students are eligible for enrolling in high forensic degree courses if they have an accredited bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Investigation
This forensic psychology degree is designed for those who have passionate interest in investigation, criminals, crimes, and psychology and individuals currently involved in the process of criminal investigation. You can enroll in this degree after the successful completion of your graduation courses. You must be aware of techniques, skills and issues required to become a highly competent psychology professional. Besides, you must be also able to apply psychological principles in your careers. The core modules of the program cover decision making, judgement, team effectiveness, crisis intervention, critical incident management, principles of leadership, legal consultation, organizational consultation, law enforcement, etc.

PhD in Forensic Psychology
PhD in forensic psychology degree program of some universities offer two tracks, clinical licensure and psychology, policy and law.

Clinical Licensure
Clinical licensure is a five year doctorate program and it focuses on research and forensic psychology for obtaining licensure as psychologist. This program trains students for becoming forensic clinicians and it prepares them to appear for clinical licensure examination. The coursework of Clinical licensure in forensic psychology includes:

  • Legal research,
  • Information on the justice system,
  • Sex offending,
  • Serial killing,
  • police stress,
  • Addiction,
  • Domestic violence, etc.

Psychology, Policy and Law
This is a four year program and it focuses mainly on in-depth examination of the link between psychology and law, application of psychological principles to policy implementation, legal decision making utility, impact, etc.

PsyD in Forensic Psychology
The forensic psychology degree PsyD program empowers students to apply scientific techniques and mental health principles to legal questions. This forensic psychology degree emphasizes the application of forensic psychology theory and practice in group and individual settings. Students will also get practical experience and training from prison, jail, juvenile hall, group home, parole, etc. Topics coming under PsyD in Forensic Psychology are:

  • Motivations of serial killers and their victims,
  • Domestic violence,
  • Sex offenders,
  • Addiction,
  • Police stress, etc.

The areas of specialization in PsyD in Forensic Psychology are criminology and neuropsychology.

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Students can seek master’s degree in forensic psychology by attending a college or university or through online. The coursework varies as per the program you select. However, students need to study legal consultation, organizational consultation, law enforcement, etc as a part of the course. This program also provides comprehensive knowledge to the students in human development, research methods used in forensic psychology, psychological assessments, psychopathology, etc.

Some schools and colleges, which offer highly recommended forensic psychology degree programs, are:

  • University of Liverpool,
  • Alliant International University,
  • Argosy University, Phoenix,
  • California Baptist University,
  • California State University, Los Angeles,
  • Carlos Albizu University, Miami,
  • Castleton State College, Vermont,
  • The Chicago School of professional Psychology,
  • University of Denver,
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York,
  • Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology,
  • The University of New Haven,
  • Tiffin University, Ohio, etc

Salary
The salary of a forensic psychologist depends on various factors such as areas of specialization, work experience, education level and degrees obtained, organization of employment, etc. According to the reports of US bureau of Labor and Statistics, an experienced forensic psychology professional can make around $82,800 annually.

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