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:
Working in child custody and criminal defendant evaluations Delivering treatment programs for juvenile or adult offenders and those suffering from substance abuse Participating in investigations or conducting them Assisting in counseling services, mental health care, psychological screening and assessment Facilitating individual or group therapy, crisis management and other evaluations Researching or teaching 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, hospitals, forensics labs, medical examiners’ officers, police departments, law firms, education institutions, government agencies, prisons/jails and private practices for independent consulting. 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 a correctional professional, social worker, community mental health professional, social and community service manager, social and human service assistant or 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.