What Is Forensic Psychology?
Grand Canyon University’s Bachelor of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology degree program provides an overview of the intersection of psychology and the criminal justice system. This program is for students interested in working with people who need assistance coping with the aftereffects of a violent crime.
Students who are curious about the cause of crime as well as the role of the legal system and psychology may find this career path desirable. The American Psychological Association defines forensic psychology as “the application of clinical specialists to the legal arena” or applying clinical psychology skills (assessment, treatment and evaluation) to forensic settings. Those with a forensic psychology bachelor of science degree may find themselves in a variety of roles 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 counseling services, mental health care, psychological screening and assessment
- Facilitating group sessions, crisis management and other evaluations
- Researching psychology and law connections
Forensic psychology is a broad field as specialists may work in a variety of settings such as:
- Rehabilitation or research centers
- Forensic Labs
- Medical Examiners' officers
- Police Departments
- Law Firms
- Education Institutions
- Government Agencies
Forensic psychologist professionals may also work alongside police officers, attorneys, defendants, offenders, patients, victims and their families. In GCU’s Bachelor of Science program, forensic psychology focuses on where the science of the mind intersects with the law. Students gain insight into the psychological experiences of victims and abnormal behavior. Students also engage in the study of general psychology, human behavior criminology and other justice-related areas.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Forensic Science Requirements at GCU
Students will gain competencies in these core areas: (1) Foundations of Psychology (2) Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking (3) Ethical and Sociocultural Responsibility (4) Personal and Professional Development (5) Forensic Psychology. The forensic psychology emphasis examines the role of forensic scientists in the justice and psychology fields. Students 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
Course topics include:
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Criminal Behavior, Victimology and Law
- Understanding Trauma
- Experimental and Abnormal Psychology
- Professional Capstone Project (preparing a written proposal for a research project that focuses on the resolution of an issue or problem significant to professional psychological practice)
What Can You Do With a BS in Forensic Psychology Degree?
Earning a bachelor of science 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:
- Correctional professional
- Social worker
- 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.
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.