Forensic psychology is an exciting field combining psychological study with the criminal justice system. While studying to become forensic psychologists, students will be exposed to a wide array of classes. Different forensic psychology programs focus on different areas, such as law or treatment, but many of the classes are the same for almost all of them.
The first area of forensic psychology courses is psychology-based. These courses include abnormal behavior, developmental psychology, and social psychology. Victimology, or the study of the characteristics and behaviors of victims, is also studied. Human sexuality and personality are usually offered through most programs. Courses about drug use and treatment, counseling, and therapy techniques for working with criminals are also common.
The second type of forensic psychology courses are in criminal justice. These courses include law, crime scene investigation, and law enforcement techniques. A juvenile delinquency course is required for most programs. Students can expect to learn about probation and parole, the judicial process, and other subjects that will provide a legal groundwork for their work in the criminal justice field.
There are other forensic psychology courses common to most programs. These courses include psychology and law, law and ethics, and cultural studies. Various sociological courses, including drugs and society, are often required. Courses on research methods and statistics as applied to forensic psychology, or just psychology in general, are also generally required.
In addition to traditional lecture and lab courses, students will take at least one course that requires them to get some experience in forensic psychology. Field work courses are usually during the last few semesters of a student's degree program, and may require anywhere from 15 to 100 or more hours spent in the field. Students may spend the time in prisons, juvenile detention centers, community outreach programs, mental health centers, and, in some cases, working with area law enforcement agencies.
Forensic psychology courses cover many different topics. Students need to be prepared for a lot of different scenarios after they have received their degrees. There are hundreds of courses offered at hundreds of universities; students interested in forensic psychology should have very little trouble finding a program that fits their goals. For those who are not yet sure of which area of the field they wish to work in, forensic psychology courses can help students narrow down their career focus, and get ready for life after college, in an exciting and usually rewarding field.