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Major Overview: Criminal Psychology Program

Majors Overview April 7, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in criminal psychology and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Criminal Psychology

Students enrolled in a criminal psychology program are trained in mental health analysis, criminal justice, and sociology. Schools offer a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Science (B.S.) in Forensic Psychology degree program to serve the needs of students keen on enrolling in a major in criminal psychology. More psychology-centered courses are available in the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program to differentiate it from a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program.

Aspiring forensic psychologists must complete at least a master’s degree program. Students enrolled in a criminal psychology bachelor’s degree program gain a grasp of the motivations leading to the performance of illegal activities by people.

The psychology of families is examined by students enrolled in the program, who learn about the cultural and societal factors that often provoke criminal behavior. Forensic psychology majors may be imparted skills in counseling, individual assessment, and criminal profiling.

Students enrolled in many programs are required to complete a work experience or internship with a law enforcement agency. The curriculum includes topic areas such as research methods, victimization studies, and judicial proceedings.

Education Requirements

No special admission requirements have to be satisfied by incoming students to criminal psychology majors. However, foundational courses in psychology and statistics may have to be taken by students seeking admittance to some schools.

Coursework

Program coursework in criminal psychology majors often includes participation in a professional work experience. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Judicial criminal proceedings
•Laws affecting criminals
•Abnormal psychology
•Mental health tests and measurements
•Research methods in criminal psychology
•Studies in victimization

Career Choices

While a criminal psychologist position cannot be attained merely by earning a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology, probation officer positions may be available to graduates of forensic psychology programs.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a negative job growth rate of one percent have been predicted for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, probation officers brought in an average annual wage of $48,190.

Continuing Education Choices

A master’s degree is mandatory for aspiring licensed psychologists. While some forensic psychology majors pursue a master’s degree in the field, some others may pursue related areas of study, including sociology, criminal justice, or clinical psychology.

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  • **excludes licensure, certification, and some doctoral programs
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