There are four items to consider when choosing forensic psychology schools: admissions, accreditation, faculty, and reputation or ranking. This type of school is organized within the Faculty of Medicine, as forensics is a specialty within the psychology program. A forensic psychologist works to understand the psychological makeup, forces and factors that influenced the behavior of accused criminals.
A forensic psychologist combines knowledge of law and psychology to provide an expert opinion in court, on the issue of another person's mental state at the time the crime was committed. This is a significant departure from the role of a traditional psychologist. The psychologist is usually an independent consultant, who is responsible for meeting with the accused at the request of the court. All interviews or sessions are recorded and may be submitted to the court as evidence, if required.
In order to become a forensic psychologist, you must complete a doctoral degree is psychology, with a minor specialty in the forensic sciences. To complete the bachelor, master's, and doctoral programs typically requires seven to eight years of post-secondary education. Admissions to the best programs is based on a combination of marks in the bachelor's and master's program. A psychological evaluation is usually part of the admissions process to ensure the candidate is suitable for this career.
Always check the accreditation status when applying to forensic psychology schools. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. Courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions, which is very important at the graduate studies level.
All forensic psychology courses must be from an accredited institution. The courses are evaluated when the candidate applies to write the licensing examination for psychologists. If the courses are not suitable, the exam may be delayed until the courses are taken again from an accredited school.
Review the qualifications of the faculty or course instructors with care. Most schools post biographies of their course instructors on their websites. Review this information and look for both academic credentials and working experience. Look for the list of publications and research papers that have been completed recently. This is a specialty within a much broader field of study, so it is very important to ensure the instructors have the appropriate background.
The reputation of the school is very important when choosing forensic psychology schools. Ask the admissions counselor about speaking with former graduates of the forensic psychology schools about their experiences. Talk with at least three former graduates. Ask them about the quality of education they received at the school, the relevance, and any other information they are willing to share.