If you’re interested in how psychology relates to the legal world, a career as a forensic psychologist may be perfect for you. The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits doctoral programs in various areas of psychology but not in forensic psychology. However, many universities offer forensic psychology as a concentration in an accredited psychology program, typically clinical psychology.
Importance of APA Accreditation
While APA accreditation does not guarantee you a license or a job upon graduation, it might help you get there. APA accreditation assures students that the program is subject to ongoing quality reviews and that it meets nationally recognized professional standards.
The APA accredits doctoral graduate programs in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology and combinations of two or three of these areas, as well as predoctoral internships in these areas. The APA also accredits postdoctoral residencies in traditional (i.e., clinical, counseling or school) and specialty areas of professional psychology. However, master's level or undergraduate level programs in psychology are not accredited.
Forensic Psychology Master's Programs
The APA does not accredit forensic psychology master's programs or master's programs with a specialization in forensic psychology. Schools offering master's programs in forensic psychology include American International College, California State University, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, College of Saint Elizabeth, Fairleigh Dickinson University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Holy Names University and Nova Southeastern University.
Schools offering master's programs with a specialization in forensic psychology include American International University, Alder School of Professional Psychology, The Sage Colleges, William James College and Westfield State University. Arizona State University offers an online master of science in forensic psychology.
Forensic Psychology Ph.D. Programs
The closest thing to a Ph.D. in forensic psychology is a postgraduate doctoral degree in an APA-accredited clinical psychology program with a forensic psychology concentration or specialty. According to the American Psychology - Law Society's 2017-2018 Guide to Graduate Programs in Forensic and Legal Psychology, schools that offer APA-accredited programs are Drexel University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Fordham University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Nova Southeastern University, Palo Alto University, Sam Houston State University, Simon Fraser University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech State University, University of Alabama, University of North Texas, University of Arizona, University of Wyoming and West Virginia University .
Forensic Psychology Psy.D. Programs
Seven schools offer APA-accredited Psy.D. programs with a forensic psychology concentration or specialty. These are Nova Southeastern University, Pacific University School of Professional Psychology, Spalding University, University of Denver, University of Leicester, William James Colleges and Widener University.
Joint Programs in Psychology and Law
Six schools offer APA-accredited joint programs in psychology and law: Drexel University, Palo Alto University, University of California, Irvine, University of Florida, University of Minnesota and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. You must be accepted into both the law school and the psychology program. Upon successful completion of the program, you graduate with a joint JD/Ph.D. in clinical psychology and law. You may also want to look for APA accredited internships.
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