What Is Forensic Psychology?

Forensic psychology is a field of science in which two areas, criminal justice and psychology, cross paths. One of the primarily responsibilities of an individual in this profession is to judge the competency of a defendant to stand trial. Read on to learn more about an education in forensic psychology and the job duties of psychologists in this field. Schools offering Forensic Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology encompasses criminal justice and psychology. Forensic psychologists frequently work within the criminal justice system. They are responsible for judging the competency of individuals who are to stand trial. They may also be required to judge the state of mind of an individual or individuals at the time of committing an offense. Forensic psychologists may also be used to select a trial jury. These professionals must be able to translate their knowledge of forensic psychology to the area of criminal justice.

Important Facts About Psychologists

Median Salary (2014) $68,900
Entry-level Education Doctoral degree
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 12%
Work Environment Private practice offices, clinics, hospitals, federal establishments, rehabilitation facilities, mental health facilities

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Forensic Psychologists

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the primary organization for the field of psychology in America, there are established guidelines for forensic psychologists. The APA reports that the following are considered basic responsibilities of forensic psychologists:

  • Integrity: In all areas of practice, individuals in this profession should be as honest and accurate as possible.
  • Impartiality and fairness: Forensic psychologists in all areas of practice should try to be unbiased, consider all information available to them and be open to other perspectives.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest: Forensic psychologists should not get involved in a professional activity if there are circumstances that may interfere with their ability to honestly and impartially carry out their duties.

Education in Forensic Psychology

All forensic psychologists must complete courses of training at colleges or universities. Many individuals in this profession who work within the criminal justice system have advanced graduate degrees and are self-employed. There are many master's-level programs in forensic psychology that develop knowledge of the field in several key areas. Some of the courses involved in such a program include:

  • Introduction to forensic psychology
  • Applied social psychology
  • Evaluating criminal responsibilities
  • Psychological basis of criminal behavior
  • Statistics and research methods

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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