Postgraduate criminal psychology students can choose programs that lead to either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. degree and a number of universities and colleges offer these forensic psychology programs. Students will want to consider which type of degree they should earn and if that chosen school's program is accredited. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, APA-accredited programs include those that provide doctoral students with internship opportunities within their chosen field of study (www.bls.gov). When choosing a school, the following considerations are worth noting:
- A bachelor's or master's degree alone is of little value to a prospective criminal psychologist, since professional state licensure guidelines typically require individuals to hold a doctoral degree in the criminal/forensic psychology field.
- Ph.D. programs in criminal psychology focus on training graduates for careers conducting research or teaching at universities while Psy.D. programs are designed for students who wish to gain employment as practicing criminal psychologists.
- To qualify for state licensure upon graduation, prospective criminal psychologists should ensure that their school of choice offers a doctoral program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
- Criminal psychology students need to complete an internship before obtaining licensure and should select schools that offer these opportunities as part of a program curriculum.
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Psychology
Students can gain introductory knowledge of the criminal psychology field by earning a bachelor's degree in forensic psychology or criminal justice. Subjects covered at the undergraduate level include personality assessment, evaluation of offenders and psychopathology. Students may take courses on topics such as:
- Abnormal psychology
- Social psychology
- Intervention strategies
Master's Degree in Criminal Psychology
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