What Is Forensic Psychology?
The legal system depends on skilled professionals dedicated to making communities safer. Forensic psychologists fulfill a critical role in the criminal justice system. At the intersection of psychology, law and criminal justice, forensic psychology is the application of scientific principles to the legal process. The Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology at Grand Canyon University provides a thorough grounding in the advanced principles of human psychology, criminal behavior and societal responses to criminal behavior.
The forensic psychology Master of Science degree is offered online by GCU through the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students acquire a framework of statistical analysis and research skills that can be applied to timely and relevant topics in criminal behavior. The modern curriculum covers current legal system programs, policies and ethical practices. It encourages students to proactively improve criminal justice processes and human rehabilitation. The forensic psychology degree emphasizes the main objectives of the profession: to reduce crime rates and successfully rehabilitate criminals so that they may become productive members of society.
Earn Your Psychology MS Degree with a Focus in Forensic Psychology
Strengthen your research skills and capacity for statistical analysis. Practice written and oral communication through engaging discussions with your peers and self-directed, writing-intensive projects. Gain a solid foundation of psychological knowledge and skills to guide your understanding of the current state of forensic psychology and the criminal justice system.
Study Psychology and the Analysis of Human Behavior with a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
Study a modern curriculum taught by fully trained instructors who are experts in their fields. Some of the core program courses for the Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology include:
- Social and Cultural Psychology
- Psychology and the Legal System
- Theories of Criminal Behavior
- Offender Rehabilitation and Reintegration
- Psychopathology of Crime
Students are exposed to the biological, genetic, neurochemical, cognitive and sociological factors that underlie criminal behavior. Public policy and research-based methods for community reintegration of offenders are examined, with a particular emphasis on sex offenders, drug offenders, female offenders, juveniles and mentally ill offenders. Students develop an understanding of the classic and contemporary theories of crime causation, including theories of punishment and the psychological, developmental and social causes of crime.
Students are required to complete the Professional Capstone prior to graduation. They explore the occupational opportunities within psychological fields, and develop and present original research ideas.
Pursue a Forensic Career in the Government or Law Enforcement
Forensic psychology is a rewarding career path for individuals who desire to make a positive difference in their communities. An MS in forensic psychology may open the door to exciting possibilities in government or law enforcement agencies. Forensic psychologists are in demand across a range of settings, including within rehabilitation centers, police departments, law firms, prisons and private practices. These professionals can work directly with police officers and investigators, victims of crimes, criminal offenders, attorneys and corrections officials.
Some forensic psychologists work as researchers, seeking to enhance the profession’s understanding of criminal behavior and the criminal mind. Some jobs that may be related to this degree include the following:
- Victim advocate
- Court liaison
- Jury consultant
- Police consultant
- Corrections consultant
Graduates who hold an MS in forensic psychology may choose to enhance their career qualifications by pursuing a doctoral degree.
Program Core Courses
This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the liberal arts. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.
This course serves as the foundation for advanced graduate study in the field of psychology. Professional skill development, such as critical thinking, scholarly writing, and literature reviewing are covered, as well as contemporary ethical issues in the field of psychology, including issues in research, writing, psychotherapy, forensic psychology, and animal research.
This course is a study of social, group, and multicultural factors affecting individual behavior. Attention is given to the development of attitudes, leadership roles, group thinking, sources of conflict, altruism, attraction, effects of competition and cooperation, analysis and evaluation of propaganda techniques, and the influence of mass communication on social awareness and control.
This course explores classic and contemporary theories of crime causation, including psychological, developmental, and social causes of crime and theories of punishment.
This course provides a psychological perspective for understanding legal issues, an examination of the various roles, functions, strategies, and interagency relationships of the courts, government entities, elements of the crime, and the individual as it relates to due process within the context of crime control.
This course provides a study of theories of probability, descriptive and inferential analyses of data, and testing of statistical hypotheses. Practical experience is provided in the application of statistical methods.
This course emphasizes both the theoretical and applied aspects of experimental design and research methodology at the graduate level, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed designs.
This course requires students to comprehensively examine various psychopathologies behind criminal behavior. Topics such as biological, genetic, neurochemical, cognitive, and sociological factors underlying criminal behavior will be examined. A focus will be placed on addiction, brain imaging, and future biopsychosocial research.
This course examines various approaches to rehabilitative treatments in offender populations. A close look at rehabilitative methods within sex offenders, drug offenders, white collar criminals, cyber criminals, female offenders, juveniles, and mentally ill populations will be taken. Students will examine public policy and research based methods for successful prevention and community reintegration.
This course prepares students to enter their prospective career and/or continue their education in psychology. Students will explore occupations and leaders in the various psychological fields, formulate and compile their experiences and achievements, and construct a roadmap for success. Original research ideas will be solidified and presented.