United States PhD in Forensic Psychology PsyD Campus Programs

PhD in Forensic Psychology on Campus​ and PsyD Forensic Psychology programs help to prepare students to earn certification as forensic psychologists. In order to become a forensic psychologist, one generally must attend an accredited graduate program that grants a doctoral degree in psychology - either a Doctor of Philosophy in psychology (Ph.D.) or a Doctor or Psychology (PsyD). This process might take around five to seven years to complete. 

Forensic Psychology Doctorate Degree Program InformationPhD in Forensic Psychology on Campus PsyD Programs Overview

Forensic Psychology is a recognized specialty and considered the crossroads between the science of psychology and the justice system.Graduates seeking a terminal degree in Forensic Psychology may choose to pursue a PhD or a PsyD. This requires assessing one’s future career goals. Most doctoral programs require candidates to have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and an associated subject test on psychology. Programs vary in their firmness on a particular undergraduate course of study, though many candidates find it beneficial to have majored in psychology. Coursework in law or criminal justice, while not necessary, might also be beneficial. Since forensic psychologists often testify in court and present expert reports, it is important that they are excellent communicators.

FUN FACT:  A forensic psychologist is designated as an expert in a specific field of study which increases with experience and reputation

What is a PhD in Forensic Psychology?

A Ph.D. in psychology is a research degree that is obtained after taking a comprehensive exam and writing a dissertation based on original research. Ph.D programs may include courses on statistical analysis and experimental procedures. This might be a good option for a student who wanted to become an academic Forensic Psychologist. These professionals are vital to law enforcement as they are expert in profiling and assessing the criminal mind. Graduates with a PhD in Forensic Psychology might become teachers, senior researchers, supervisors, or consultants.

What is a PsyD in Forensic Psychology?

The Psy.D. in Forensic Psychology is a clinical degree and is often based on integrating research and theory with practical work. Often there are examinations rather than a dissertation. In clinical, counseling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a 1-year internship as part of the doctoral program. Forensic Psychologists have specific duties and often have to assess individuals convicted of heinous acts. Their task is to identify patterns of criminal behavior, and detect accuracy, not empathize with their client. For instance, they might have to interview, assess and identify someone as a serial killer and be able to testify as to why a strong jail sentence is necessary. While they do use evaluation methods, their position is different from a therapeutic session with a counseling psychologist.

How to Find a Forensic Psychology Graduate School

GradSchools.com makes it easy for students to select a doctorate program in Forensic Psychology. Search by location to determine whether there is an accredited program in your city or state, or look for programs abroad. Some of the listings you might find may include: PsyD Clinical Forensic Psychology, or PhD in Forensic Psychology – Research.

Studying on campus gives students the opportunity to network and interact with faculty and classmates. Plus, as students on site, you gain access to the University facilities, such as libraries and laboratories, as well as social services. If you like participation in real-time, this could be a very supportive learning environment. Furthermore, if you plan to teach, often graduate students get teaching assistant positions so this could be a chance for you to gain hands-on experience.

PhD in Forensic Psychology on Campus​ Potential Curriculum

Depending on the university and the type of degree, students take courses that help them develop a greater understanding of the criminal justice system and the mental health issues that motivate many aspects of criminal behavior. Topics might range form understanding and conducting forensic psychology research to treatment of forensic populations (the incarcerated, juvenile delinquents, recently released offenders, the mentally ill, death-row inmates, terrorists).

Naturally courses vary between learning institutions, however, students might expect to learn subjects such as:

  • Advanced Forensic Psychology
  • Forensic Assessment
  • Psychology of Violence
  • Traumatic Stress Reactions
  • Psychopathology
  • Affective neuroscience

Licensure and Certification

A PsyD or PhD in Forensic degree is not enough to practice. One must also obtain government licensure by passing an examination and demonstrating the completion of state professional experience requirements by participating in supervised clinical internships either (or both) before and after graduation. States typically require one to two years of professional experience as well, and each state may have different licensing requirements. Once you hold a PhD, and are licensed in the state you will practice in, you may earn certification as a forensic psychologist through the ABFP.

Ready to Pursue a PhD in Forensic Psychology on Campus?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for psychologists is favorable; a 19% growth in employment is predicted between 2014 and 2024. This specialized profession requires acute skills as they take on different point of view than a traditional clinical therapist. The decision to purse a PhD in Forensic Psychology means you are on your way to establishing expertise in the field. You might be one of the next generation of professionals helping to prepare witnesses for trial, determining whether a criminal will become a repeat offender, or potentially helping police profile a serial killer. Why not look into doctorate programs on GradSchools.com today!


Sources en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forensic_psychology | abfp.com/ | bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm | bls.gov/oes/current/oes193039.htm | bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

Find Schools