The Forensic Psychology B.A. program at Florida Tech is designed for students who want to learn how psychological theory and research are used in the criminal justice system and related fields. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of human behavior, including criminality, as well as important skills in data analysis, writing and research.
Whether you want to become a law enforcement officer, leader in the field of criminal justice or a crime scene analyst, a forensic psychology degree from Florida Tech develops a strong background in psychology with experience in criminology and statistics.
Our forensic psychology program has low student-to-faculty ratios to encourage close collaboration and mentorship among students and faculty, along with individual creativity and leadership.
Students seeking a forensic psychology degree develop skills in crime analysis, understand crime prevention and learn what it means to be a community liaison working among legal, law enforcement and social services agencies. Forensic psychology students have the opportunity to support an applied research project with the FBI reviewing and coding case files.
As a senior, students engage in a scholarly inquiry project, completing an intensive field internship experience that includes a substantial research study.
Beyond the classroom, forensic psychology degree majors build leadership experience through internships and participation in academic organizations like Psi Chi (psychology honor society), the Forensic Psychology Association, student government and over 100 other campus-wide student organizations.
Employers that have recruited Florida Tech students for internships and careers include the Brevard Public Defender, Naval Criminal Investigative Services, FBI Behavioral Services, Melbourne Police Department, Devereux and the Brevard County Sheriff's Department.
After receiving their forensic psychology degree, many forensic psychology majors go to graduate studies in forensic science, criminology and law.
Florida Tech is one of the only forensic psychology schools in the nation. In fact, its forensic psychology degree program is the only undergraduate program of its kind in the state of Florida.
At the intersection of psychology and the legal system, the program provides students with a strong forensic emphasis in a private school atmosphere of small classes and close interaction with faculty, which other forensic psychology schools may not offer. Students benefit from a robust array of internship options, faculty-led research programs and applied research projects through partnerships with the FBI and other agencies.
Other forensic psychology schools might not offer the close-knit culture that gives students a chance to work closely with their professors. Students are matched with a faculty advisor who not only assists with selecting courses during their time at Florida Tech, but also offers guidance for career and/or graduate school opportunities. In addition, professors invite students to participate on faculty research teams after they complete their research methods coursework, which is of particular value to students intending to apply to graduate school.
Professors in this department represent various psychology disciplines and legal systems, providing students broad exposure to the field. We have academics and practitioner experts in areas such as clinical, experimental, social, criminological, industrial-organizational and multicultural areas, all with a wide variety of research and practitioner areas of expertise – something you might not find at other forensic psychology schools.
Unlike other forensic psychology schools, Florida Tech offers a specialization in child advocacy. Focusing on ethical, realistic and culturally sensitive content, this program is of interest to forensic, ABA and clinical psychology students who plan to work with children. Students learn about the various disciplinary responses to child maltreatment and will develop a multidisciplinary understanding of the most efficient responses.
Not all forensic psychology schools offer internships, as does Florida Tech does. All forensic psychology majors complete an internship during the senior year with direct experience in the field. Each experience is different, but all require students to gather information and data to present as a formal research project in a university-wide research colloquium. Internship experiences may occur at local police agencies, state attorney's office, public defender's office, the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) or NCIS.
In terms of location, most forensic psychology schools simply cannot compete with Florida Tech. Our 130-acre Florida Tech campus is charming and boasts the picturesque Botanical Gardens, a 15-acre tropical archive of Florida's native exotic palm trees and other flora and fauna, which thrive in the subtropical weather. The campus' location on the Space Coast puts it close to Atlantic Ocean beaches, Indian River Lagoon, Kennedy Space Center and Orlando's theme park attractions.
Florida Tech students have the opportunity to work together with some of the most widely recognized psychology and crime prevention agencies in the nation in specifically designed forensic psychology internships.
Working alongside the FBI's prestigious Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) or the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), students take part in competitive and challenging forensic psychology internships that prepare them for a career in forensic psychology.
Students team up with a variety of local offices for their forensic psychology internships, including:
Local cold case teams
Brevard County Mental Health and Drug Courts
The Florida State Attorney's Office
Public Defender's Offices
Local jails and correctional facilities
These real-world forensic psychology internships give Florida Tech students a chance to make a difference in their local community while continuing to progress in their degrees.
Florida Tech's forensic psychology degree program also provides students with an opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty research teams as they seek to understand and solve complex issues within the field of forensic psychology. These programs serve as valuable hands-on research experiences in preparation for both graduate school and future careers.
Students working within select forensic psychology internships also gather data about their experiences to present as a formal research project in a university-wide research colloquium.
Florida Tech students can join our chapter of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology. Psi Chi is an active honor society that participates in community service and other campus-wide events.
Active Minds also offers students the chance to join a student organization that focuses on psychology and mental health. As members of Active Minds, students work together to bring about awareness and change perceptions of mental health on college campuses through seminars and lectures.
Forensic psychologists work to understand criminal human behavior by observing, interpreting and recording how people relate to one another or their environment. They possess important skills in data analysis, writing and research in order to examine a problem, identify the issues to be addressed, unravel evidence and draw conclusions. Forensic psychology careers focus on "why."
Forensic psychology careers offer job opportunities such as determining the mental state/competency of a defendant, treating mentally ill criminal offenders, analyzing data to look for patterns of criminal activity and developing and evaluating programs for crime prevention.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides detailed information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things.
According to the bureau, overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow 22 percent through 2020, with employment growth varying among specialties. Specialties such as forensic psychology careers will be affected by government budgets, crime rates and other outside factors, but those individuals with a doctoral degree will have the best advantage for job opportunities.
Forensic psychology careers include such opportunities as:
Law Enforcement Agency - either to solve a crime or assist in crisis intervention
Juvenile Offender - providing diagnosis and treatment options
Court Liaison - working with criminal offenders
Police or Probation Officer
Evaluate the mental health of law enforcement officers to determine assignments
Work with sex offenders and the victims of assault
Evaluate and counsel victims of domestic violence
Counsel youth offenders
Advocate for Victims (e.g., domestic violence shelters, victim's rights groups)
Mediate consultation in family law matters
Crime Analyst - analyze crimes to help law enforcement offices identify patterns, trends
Study the social causes and effects of sexual abuse and domestic violence
Determine how to improve interrogation methods
Detailed assessment of eyewitness testimony
Public policy research (e.g., helping to design prisons and other correctional facilities)
Developing better tests to determine mental capacity of individuals to stand trial
Students often wait to pursue forensic psychology careers and choose to attend graduate school in such areas as:
Law Enforcement Officer
Graduates also pursue forensic psychology careers as administrators with nonprofit organizations that coordinate efforts with legal/justice systems such as domestic violence shelters and victims' rights groups.