Forensic Psychology Degree
Forensic psychologists are responsible for assisting with criminal investigations. They also conduct interviews with suspected criminals and victims, determine whether information gathered from interviews is credible, and assist in various law enforcement efforts. Forensic psychologists frequently testify during civil trials, when such issues as divorce and custody disputes are being litigated. They may also testify as expert witnesses during criminal trials.
Most organizations seeking forensic psychologists will only hire applicants who hold a master's degree in forensic psychology, or higher. Those who earn doctorate degrees will have better job opportunities, enhanced earning potential, and can become recognized as certified forensic psychologists with the American Academy of Forensic Psychology
. However, certification through the American Academy of Forensic Psychology is not a prerequisite for a career in forensic psychology.
Earning a bachelor's or master's degree in forensic psychology, or a closely related discipline, it typically the minimum requirement for a career in this field. More and more employers, including state and federal law enforcement agencies, are seeking candidates with at least a master's degree.
Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Psychology
The Bachelors of Science in Forensic Psychology introduces students to the fundamental principles of psychology as applied within the legal system. Students will explore the theoretical processes, research standards, scientific methodologies, and practical applications of psychology as the relate to criminal investigations and other aspects of law enforcement. Many bachelor degree programs also offer student the opportunity to get handson experience performing fieldwork and conducting observations in detention centers and psychiatric facilities.
While most programs at the bachelor's level focus on basic education, a few programs offers students the ability to choose a specialization within the field. Most general coursework will engage in the study of human behavior and mental processes. Common courses include abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, quantitative analysis, and family counseling, among others.
Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in forensic psychology with be prepared to pursue career opportunities in adult corrections centers, juvenile detention centers, prisons, state hospitals, mental health institutions, and government law enforcement agencies.
Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology
Earning a master's degree in forensic psychology will open the door to various career opportunities that apply the principles and science of psychology to the field of law enforcement and criminal justice. Many master's level programs in forensic psychology allows students to tailor their curriculum to focus on a specialized area of forensic psychology such as corrections, sex offenders, child protection, public policy, victimology, or investigations.
Courseswork for most master's degree programs in forensic psychology is conducted on campus, in a traditional classroom setting. However, many reputable colleges and university now offers online programs that allow students to pursue their degree remotely via the internet. Students will explore the theoretical and practicle application of psychology to criminology, law enforcement and the U.S. judicial system. Common coursework includes abnormal psychology, forensic science, correctional psychology, criminal behavior, public policy, conducting forensic research, and juvenile forensic psychology.
It typically takes about two years to earn a master's degree in forensic psychology, and most programs require students to complete a thesis and externship before graduation. Once a master's degree has been obtained, students can apply for certification through the American Board of Forensic Psychology.
Many accredited educational institutions now offer college degree programs in forensic psychology at all levels that can be completed on campus or online. Below you can explore several bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degree programs in forensic psychology, and closely related psychology disciplines, that can be completed online or on campus.
Forensic Psychology Degree Programs