The Bachelor of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology degree at Grand Canyon University (GCU) provides an overview of the intersection of psychology and the criminal justice system. This emphasis program is for those interested in working with people who need assistance coping with the aftereffects of a violent crime.
If you are curious about the cause of crime as well as the role of the legal system and psychology, you may find this career path desirable. The American Psychological Association defines forensic psychology as “the application of clinical specialties to the legal arena” or applying clinical psychology skills (assessment, treatment and evaluation) to forensic settings.2 Those with a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology may find themselves with a variety of responsibilities including:
- Participating in child custody and criminal defendant evaluations
- Working with juvenile or adult offenders and those suffering from substance abuse
- Participating in investigations
- Assisting in psychological screenings and assessments, counseling services and mental healthcare
- Facilitating group sessions, crisis management and other evaluations
- Researching psychology and law connections
Forensic Psychology Degree Emphasis Course Topics
You will gain competencies in foundational psychology, scientific inquiry, critical thinking, ethical and social responsibility, personal and professional development and forensics. The forensic psychology emphasis examines the role of forensic scientists in the justice and psychology fields. While pursuing a BS in forensic psychology, you will acquire knowledge of criminological and victimological theories and will apply psychology theories to better understand criminal behavior and propensity. Emphasis areas of study include:
- Roles, responsibilities and limitations of forensic psychologists
- How motivations, deviance and abnormal behaviors can lead to crime
- Differences between various criminological theories
- Victim theory to explain patterns of victimization and precipitation of crime
Career Outlook With a BS in Forensic Psychology Degree
Forensic psychology is a broad field as specialists may work in a variety of settings such as:
- Rehabilitation or research centers
- Forensics labs
- Medical examiners’ offices
- Police departments
- Law firms
- Education institutions
- Government agencies
Forensic psychologists may also work alongside police officers, attorneys, defendants, offenders, patients, victims and their families. GCU’s BS in forensic psychology degree program focuses on where the science of the mind intersects with the law. During this program, you will gain insight into the psychological experiences of victims and abnormal behavior. You will also engage in the study of general psychology, human behavior criminology and other justice-related areas.
Earning a BS in forensic psychology is a recommended starting point toward becoming a forensic psychologist, which typically requires advanced education. This bachelor’s program is also designed for individuals seeking a career as a:
- Community mental health professional
- Social and community service manager
- Social and human service assistant
- Community and social service specialist
Other occupational areas include homeland security and private-sector work.
Bachelor's in Forensic Psychology Degree FAQs
1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on September 2021, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists.
2 Retrieved from American Psychological Association, What is forensic psychology? in September 2022
3 Retrieved from Zippia.com, Forensic Psychologist Demographics and Statistics in the U.S. in September 2022
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.