Forensic psychology focuses on assessing people involved in the legal system. This might include evaluations of those applying to be police officers, interventions for offenders, counseling services for crime victims, threat assessments at schools and more. Forensic psychology can incorporate other areas of psychology as well, such as social psychology and cognitive psychology. Graduate programs in forensic psychology have a strong focus on clinical training and practice, and typically offer a research component as well.
Program Admittance Requirements
Atlanta's graduate programs in forensic psychology are at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. Accordingly, you should have at least a bachelor's, preferably in psychology; for postdoctoral work, you would of course need to have earned your doctorate. You must also submit a personal statement indicating reasons for pursuing the graduate program as well as any experiences related to forensic psychology. A curriculum vitae and/or official transcripts are also required. To enter a doctoral program, you typically need to have competitive scores on the GRE and may need to have earned a minimum undergraduate GPA, such as 3.0.
Atlanta Schools Offering Forensic Psychology
Mercer University offers a five-year psychology doctorate program at its Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus that provides advanced training in forensic psychology, among other areas. The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) includes three years of practicum experiences and a 2,000-hour internship. Forensic psychology coursework tackles the role of the psychologist in the judicial and correctional arena, with a focus on ethics, assessment and intervention.
Emory University offers a postdoctoral residency in forensic psychology which trains students from both forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry courses. Forensic psychology residents usually spend 30 hours approximately per week for forensic clinical activities, two hours for forensic research and three to six hours for seminars and forensic didactics. They will also receive two to five hours of supervision per week by a licensed psychologist with an expertise in neuropsychology and forensics. Those who have completed the postdoctoral residency will be eligible in becoming a certified forensic psychologist through the American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP).
Augusta University has partnered with East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH), a state-run mental health facility, to offer an annual forensic psychology fellowship program for Ph.D./Psy.D graduates. The program provides two full-time positions each year and has weekly seminars for fellows that tackle forensic issues, supervised clinical experiences and research time. The fellows are given opportunities to evaluate individuals charged with various criminal offenses, determine whether they are competent to go to trial, evaluate their criminal responsibility and/or sanity, and perform assessments on their potential for violence. Graduates with Ph.D./Psy.D in clinical psychology are preferred for this program and must have completed all areas of their graduate program, such as dissertation and internship. Graduates with Ph.D./Psy.D in counseling psychology may be considered.
The programs offered by these schools provide comprehensive training in forensic psychology through supervised clinical practices, hands-on training and professional guidance. Depending on their current level of study, students might choose the PsyD, the residency or the fellowship.