Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology Careers

Forensic Psychology careers focus on the interface of clinical psychology and the law. A forensic psychologist brings their clinical skills to assist the courts and triers of fact to render decisions about the mental state of a defendant at the time of a crime, mental competency, child custody decisions, criminal sentencing, probation issues, and assessing questions of future dangerousness, among others. Forensic psychology careers open opportunities within a wide range of fields to include legal, correctional, academic, mediation, and research positions. The forensic psychologist draws on both sound clinical training and sound investigative skills enabling them to examine both psychological and legal data from which they examine competing scientifically based hypotheses to develop written and oral reports for presentation to the courts and other members of the legal system. A successful career in forensic psychology blends broad clinical training in psychology with a solid understanding of the law and scientific methodology so that the forensic psychologist can present his or her conclusions to withstand vigorous examination by peers and the adversarial system. Forensic psychology careers bring forensic psychologists to the forefront of social, scientific, and legal issues confronting us today.

Some popular areas of study for forensic psychology careers include: 

  • Expert Witnessing
  • Evaluating for Competency to Stand Trial
  • Evaluating for Mental State at the Time of a Crime
  • Placement and treatment of Juvenile Defendants
  • Sex Offender Treatment and Research
  • Evaluating Sexually Violent Predators
  • Child Custody Determinations
  • Competency Restoration

Forensic Psychology Experience And Training

If you are interested in pursuing a forensic psychology career, Florida Tech’s Psy.D Clinical Psychology program offers a forensic experience to help you in your endeavor. Graduate training in forensic psychology is accomplished through coursework coordinated and taught by Dr. Costopoulos and practicum experience.

Court Assessment Team

            The Court Assessment Team (CAT) is an advanced practicum for graduate students that show a drive and passion for working within forensic psychology. Graduate students on this team have the unique experience of assisting Dr. Costopoulos in conducting competency evaluations and co-signing the report for the Court. Through this practicum, students will expand their knowledge regarding psychological test administrations (e.g., various malingering and diagnostic assessments), interpretation skills, and work closely with Dr. Costopoulos in determining legal implications for the defendant. Students also have the opportunity to directly question the defendant related to competency and the Florida Statute, under direct supervision. This site involves the utmost responsibly that affects people’s freedom. Not all students will demonstrate the maturity, skill, and commitment necessary for this placement. If you would like to learn more about this unique experience please contact Dr. Costopoulos.

Courses in the experience include:

  • Fundamentals of Forensic Psychology
  • Clinical Forensic Assessment
  • Forensic Psychology (Psychology & the Law)
  • Multiple options for Forensic Seminars 
  • Multiple Forensic Practicum placements

Forensic Psychology Research

Additionally, Dr. Costopoulos leads a forensic research team to help students in the program who have an interest in forensic psychology careers to gain experience in empirical study related to the topic. Dr. Costopoulos’s current research topics include:

  • Psychopathology, Memory, and Cognition
  • Mental Health Court
  • Jail Re-entry
  • Malingering
  • Forensic Assessment

If you have any questions related to the Forensic experience within the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program, or questions about forensic psychology careers, please feel free to contact Dr. Costopoulos.

Browse the list of psychology faculty to learn about their research teams that focus on eye witness and child victim memory, legal psychology, crime analysis, and assessments in forensic settings.

Forensic Psychology Students in training (FPST)

Forensic Psychology Students in Training (FPST) is an organization open to all Psy.D. graduate students with a forensic interest. Coordinated by Dr. Costopoulos, we meet 3-4 times a semester to discuss various topics in the field of forensic psychology. The didactic trainings on forensic topics is a great way to connect to with other forensic-minded individual in the Psy.D. program and meet members of the community who present. Students have the opportunity to participate in mock trials, can request topics to be presented on, and also have the opportunity to present on forensic areas of interest. Past presentation topics have included safety in forensic settings, psychodynamic treatment in a forensic setting, mental health court, interviewing for a forensic internship, and forensic cultural competence.

If you have any questions related to the Forensic experience within the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program, or questions about forensic psychology careers, please feel free to contact Dr. Costopoulos.