Doctoral programs in clinical forensic psychology include courses in law and mental health, psychological profiling, psychopathology and forensic interviewing. Students develop their research skills and learn to analyze data. Graduates may qualify for state licensure and pursue careers as practitioners. They might also pursue careers in research or academia and may be qualified to provide expert testimony in court.
- Program Levels: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D).
- Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in a relevant field; possibly experience in psychological or forensic settings.
- Program Length: 4-5 years
- Experiential Learning: Clinical research, internships
- Other Requirements: Dissertation
Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Concentration in Forensic Psychology
Students learn about the legal system and the various roles of forensic professionals. Courses might cover cross-cultural psychology and other diversity issues. Legal topics teach students to evaluate individual risk for violence potential, intelligence, mental state, cognition and behavioral disorders in order to provide consultation to courts, lawyers and corrections officials. They learn to give expert testimony in court and recommend treatment plans for accused or convicted individuals. Some examples of course topics include:
- Research methods and statistics for psychology
- Psychological profiling
- Mental health and the law
- Multicultural psychology
- Forensic interviewing
Popular Career Options
Graduates of doctoral clinical forensic psychology programs qualify for licensure as psychology practitioners in mental health facilities, psychiatric hospitals or private practice. They might also work in academic institutions, courts, police departments or government agencies. Clinical psychologists specializing in forensic psychology can pursue one or more of the following career options:
- Clinical practice