What is a Forensic Psychology Degree?
The Forensic Psychology BA 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, a 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.
Gain Practical Experience
Our forensic psychology classes have 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.
As a senior, students engage in a scholarly inquiry project, completing an intensive field internship experience that includes a substantial research study.
“Why Pursue a Forensic Psychology Degree at Florida Tech? ”
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You have two graduate study opportunities:
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. 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, reviewing and coding case files.
Specialize in Child Advocacy
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, applied behavior analysis, 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.
Experts in Clinical, Social, and Criminological Psychology
Professors in this program 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 not usually found at other forensic psychology schools.
Small Classes—Personalized Attention
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, after students complete their research methodology coursework, professors invite them to participate on faculty research teams, which is of particular value to students intending to apply to graduate school.
Located in the Heart of Florida’s High-tech Corridor
Florida Tech is the perfect place for a BA in Forensic Psychology. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us), minutes away from the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in North America.
The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides an abundance of internship and employment opportunities.
Florida Tech is just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean with its 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes a wide range of intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.
Build Lasting Professional Relationships through Campus Organizations
Beyond the classroom, forensic psychology degree majors build leadership experience through internships and participation in academic organizations like the Forensic Psychology Association, student government, and over 100 other campus-wide student organizations.
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.
“How will a forensic psychology degree prepare me for the future? ”
Florida Tech students can 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 defenders’ 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.
Peerless Study and Internship Opportunities
All forensic psychology majors complete an internship during their 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 BSU, or NCIS.
Work Side-by-Side with Faculty Research Teams
Florida Tech’s forensic psychology degree program also gives students an opportunity to work alongside faculty research teams as they seek to understand and solve complex issues in the field of forensic psychology. These programs serve as valuable hands-on research experiences in preparation for both graduate school and future careers.
“What can you do with a forensic psychology degree? ”
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 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.
Get Recruited Upon Graduation
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.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Department of Labor’s 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% through 2020, with employment growth varying among 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.
Other Career Options
Forensic psychology careers include such opportunities as:
- Law enforcement agency—either to solve a crime or assist in crisis intervention
- Juvenile offenders—providing diagnosis and treatment options
- Court liaison—working with criminal offenders
- Crime analyst
- 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
Graduate and Doctoral Programs
After receiving their forensic psychology degree, many forensic psychology majors go to graduate studies in forensic science, criminology, and law. Graduates also pursue forensic psychology careers as administrators with nonprofit organizations that coordinate efforts with the justice system.