A Masters in Forensic Psychology Program might be a great fit for students aspire to work in the healthcare or legal systems. Typically a two-year program, a Masters in Forensic Psychology degree is based on psychological research in a variety of legal contexts. Forensic Psychology applies psychological and social science research to criminology and criminal justice systems.
Masters in Forensic Psychology Program Overview
Admission to a Masters Program in Forensic Psychology typically requires students to have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. While the bachelor's degree does not need to be in psychology, there may be prerequisite psychology courses that need to be passed prior to enrollment in the Forensic Psychology master's degree program. Students are also required to submit official transcripts and GRE test scores for evaluation.
There are two primary tracks in forensic psychology masters programs: licensure and non-licensure. While some forensic psychology master's programs prepare students for state-licensure and certification, others do not. Furthermore, some forensic psychology master's programs prepare students for entry into PhD programs while others do not. It is important to understand your future goals related to becoming a forensic psychologist prior to enrolling in a program, so that you can use your program to prepare for your career or future training.
Some Masters programs in Forensic Psychology offer specialized areas of concentration, such as juvenile forensic psychology, public policy or criminal justice. Most programs require that students complete thesis papers or externships with local legal systems.
Is a Masters in Forensic Psychology Degree Right For You?
A master's degree is required to become a practicing forensic psychologist. This being stated, completion of a PhD or PsyD in psychology may increase employment and salary opportunities; most clinical psychologists need a doctoral degree. If this is your intended career path, earning a masters degree in Forensic Psychology will support further studies. Additionally, once you have obtained a master's degree in forensic psychology, you can seek American Board of Forensic Psychology certification (ABFP).
FUN FACT: The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) classifies forensic psychology as a recognized specialty and offers certification examinations.
Choosing a Forensic Psychology Masters Program: Online or On Campus?
Whether you are looking for a Forensic Psychology School so that you can pursue your master’s degree on campus, or are looking into distance-learning, GradSchools.com can simplify your search. A location search is perhaps the best way to find masters in Forensic Psychology programs in a city, state or country of your preference.
Or, you can browse Forensic Psychology Masters online programs for a convenient way to earn your degree while maintaining a current job or family responsibilities. Some of the listings might include: Master of Science in Forensic Psychology, Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Forensic Psychology, Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology or MS in Forensic Psychology-Forensic Psychology in Community.
Since there are many listings to assess, requesting information from the school itself will help you compare and contrast the programs to land on the one that aligns with your interests.
Masters in Forensic Psychology Potential Curriculum
Forensic Psychology Masters programs curriculum involve coursework and students are typically required to complete a thesis paper and an externship.
Students study legal cases, past psychological research and basic criminal justice concepts. Coursework furnishes students with an understanding of the judicial system and of the psychological theories that apply to criminology and a range of legal proceedings. Students learn to locate, analyze and present forensic findings for courts, judges, attorneys and counseling or rehabilitative agencies. Common courses might include:
- Forensic sciences
- Conducting forensic research
- Abnormal behavior psychology
- Police and correctional psychology
- Criminal behavior
- Criminal justice ethics
- Juvenile forensic psychology
Explore a Career as a Forensic Psychologist
Forensic psychologists apply their understanding of human behavior and thought processes in diverse legal situations. Their knowledge of psychological principles is used to help judges, attorneys, and other legal specialists understand the psychological aspects of a particular case. Examples might include determining a defendant’s mental state or competency to stand trial, helping to develop a suspect’s psychological profile, or assessing a witness’s credibility. You might also be in the position to identify an offender based on their behavior, or counsel a victim after an offence has occurred. Forensic psychologists often testify in court as expert witnesses and typically specialize in family, civil, or criminal casework.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 19 % from 2014 to 2024, which is considered faster than average. Forensic psychologists might work for federal government, agencies such as correctional agencies, judicial courts or with counseling agencies.
The BLS also reports that job applicants with a master’s degree will face competition for most positions, and many of them will find jobs with alternative titles. This is because almost all states restrict the use of the title “psychologist” to Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree holders.