Forensic psychologists apply their knowledge of psychology to work with the civil and criminal courts. Getting a degree in forensic psychology prepares you to work in a variety of occupations, including criminal profiler, probation officer, jury consultant and police psychologist. Choosing a top graduate school will give you an advantage when you look for jobs in this highly competitive field. Look for a school that has renowned experts and conducts research in your areas of interest.
John Jay College
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York offers a two year master's degree in forensic psychology. A number of faculty members have degrees in psychology and law and others have earned clinical or forensic certifications with the American Board of Professional Psychology. Areas of research include assessing dangerousness; criminal justice applicant screening, jury selection, child custody and hostage negotiations. The 42-credit curriculum helps students understand, evaluate and treat offenders and victims. Course work includes psychological development, psychopathology, personality assessment, therapy techniques and research methods.
Prairie View A&M
Located in Prairie View, Texas, Prairie View A&M offers a two year master's of science degree in forensic psychology and specializes in educating criminal psychologists to work with juveniles. Five staff from the Texas Juvenile Juvenile Crime Prevention Center serve as adjunct faculty, teaching students juvenile criminal justice theory and research. Areas of faculty research include sex trafficking, life on death row and African Americans in the criminal justice system. The 36-semester hour program offers either a thesis, for those interested in research, and an externship, for those interested in working in the field of forensic psychology.
University of Alabama
Located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the University of Alabama offers a doctorate of psychology with a dual concentration in psychology and law. The director of the program, Stanley L. Brodsky, Ph.D., directs research in the area of witness psychology, competency for execution and jury selection. Adjunct faculty have research interests including child forensic psychology, juvenile crime prevention programs and juvenile delinquency. Many of the faculty work in the field of forensic psychology. The program provides course work in clinical-forensic psychology, students conduct supervised forensic psychology research and they complete a supervised practicum in forensic psychology.
Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a doctorate in clinical psychology with a forensic clinical concentration. Core faculty research interests include adolescent delinquency, psychopathy, forensic mental health assessment, forensic psychological assessment, female offenders and delinquency prevention programs. Students are trained both in psychological principles and relevant law. They must complete an 800 hour forensic psychology practicum, a forensics-focused thesis and dissertation, at least two years of forensic psychology research and a number of required courses, including forensic assessment, law and mental health and two forensic psychology electives.
Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.