The Forensic Psychologist
A forensic psychologist is any psychologist who offers an
expert psychological opinion in a way that it impacts
one of the adversarial arenas, typically the courts.
Many people think of forensic psychologists as focussing
on criminal matters. This is certainly not always the case.
A forensic psychologist is any psychologist
who by virtue of training or experience may assist
a court or other fact finder in arriving at a just
or correct decision. For example a forensic psychologist
may assist in a wide variety of civil matters.
Civil matters include but are not limited to lawsuits
or insurance claims where emotional suffering
is a part of the claim, determination of competency of
an aged or ill person to make decisions, whether
a death was an accident or a "disguised suicide"
in an insurance claim case, or
in a wide variety of other areas.
Becoming a forensic psychologist will first require
you to get a doctorate in psychology, often
(but not necessarily) in clinical or counseling psychology.
It will probably take you about seven years
after the undergraduate degree to get this doctorate,
though some people may take a little less time.
Competition is stiff to enter these doctoral
programs, so study hard!
One way the person who is already a psychologist becomes
a forensic psychologist is by doing additional informal
study after receiving the doctoral degree.
She or he does this by attending seminars, consulting
with senior colleagues, or returning to the university
to take additional course work.
Simultaneously, psychologists often undertake their
first cases in the forensic area.
When done well the ethical psychologist
takes care to consult closely with colleagues
in the early years.
After getting considerable experience and continuing
education, some forensic psychologists will go on to
become 'Board Certified' in the forensic psychology specialty. But not all forensic psychologists do become board certified.
The best known certification board is the
Board of Forensic Psychology,
which offers the
title of 'diplomate' to people who meet its standards
and pass its examination.
There are a few graduate programs in the United States
and Canada that directly train people to become
forensic psychologists during the university doctoral
A person who completes one of these programs gets
training in forensic psychology at the same time as
obtaining the doctoral training in clinical psychology.
But additional work is still necessary for the
psychologist to become a 'board certified'
diplomate in the specialty.
The following list of doctoral psychology programs
that offer training in forensic psychology is built and maintained as readers send me additions and corrections. You can send me an email by clicking
Alliant International University, Fresno Campus, CA [reported by reader 3/13/03]
American International College - Springfield MA [reported by reader 10/27/01]
Argosy University - Campuses at various locations [reported by reader 02/06/06]
California State University - Los Angeles [M.S. only - reported by reader 1/8/04]
California State University - Sacramento [reported by readers as present and absent! - status is not clear]
Carlos Albizu University - Miami FL [reported by reader 3/1/04]
Castleton State College - Vermont [M.A. only][added by webmaster 11/14/97)
Chicago School of Professional Psychology [added by webmaster 1/12/02]
College of St Elizabeth Morristown, NJ [Master's only][added by webmaster 6/02/07]
Colorado School of Professional Psychology [reported by reader 09/24/05]
Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA [added by webmaster 2/11/98]
Florida International University [added 8/21/98]
Florida State University
Florida Tech, Melbourne FL [BA only] [reported by reader 3/13/03]
Forest Institute of Psychology, Chicago IL [reported by reader 3/13/03]
Illinois School of Professional Psychology [added 8/21/98]
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University
of New York [PhD beginning Fall 2004][reported by reader 2/13/04]
Marymount University, Arlington VA [reported by reader 4/5/07]
Miami Institute of Psychology [reported by reader 10/30/99]
Northwestern University [reader reports it's no longer available 6/2/01]
Nova Southereastern University [reported by reader 10/30/99]
Pacific Graduate School of Psychology [reported by reader 07/01/04]
Queen's University, Kingston Ontario
Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI, [MA only] [reported by reader 11/01/05]
Sam Houston State University, Huntsville TX [added by webmaster 6/11/97]
Simon Fraser University
State University of New York at Buffalo [reported as not available by reader]
Tiffin University, Ohio [M.A. only][M.A. not yet accredited][added by webmaster 2/11/98]
University of Alabama
University of British Columbia
University of California at Los Angeles [M.A. only][reported by reader 2/28/01]
University of Denver, Denver CO [M.A. only][reported by reader 3/13/03]
University of Illinois at Chicago Circle
University of Liverpool, UK [M.Sc. in Investigative Psychology][reported by reader 3/11/04]
University of Kansas
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
University of Nevada-Reno [for jury consulting - contact R. Dillehay PhD - added 8/21/98}
University of Virginia in School of Education - contact D. Cornell PhD [added by webmaster 4/09/02]
The following programs are also associated with law schools.
The successful student will receive both a doctoral degree
in psychology and a law degree.
These programs that lead to two graduate degrees take
longer to complete than ones that lead only to the psychology
Mental Health Services Department, Hahneman University
Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in association with Golden Gate University School of Law [reported by reader 4/21/00]
Psychology Department, University of Nebraska
Psychology Department, Johns Hopkins University
University of Arizona
University of Minnesota
The American Psychology Law Society page has more information also.
Readers who know of additional programs that should be
added to this list or of necessary corrections should send
to the webmaster of this page,
Robert C. Morecook, PhD Enjoy!
to a number of Forensic Psychology sites are
of the webmaster, Robert Morecook PhD.