2024 Popular Schools For Forensic Psychology Programs in Pennsylvania

Last Updated: June 28, 2024

Forensic psychology is an exciting specialty that blends psychology, law, and criminal justice. And while it’s a much newer discipline than other concentrations in psychology, its popularity means that colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania have added it to their list of degree options.

To be a forensic psychologist, you need at least a master’s degree. In most cases, a Ph.D. or Psy.D. is more appropriate. Either way, you can find a quality program to get the proper education in Pennsylvania.

There are too many forensic psychology degree programs in Pennsylvania to list, so we have narrowed it down to four popular forensic psychology schools for you.

Forensic Psychology Graduate Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering forensic psychology programs in Pennsylvania:

  • Carlow University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Neumann University
  • Capella University
  • Drexel University
  • Widener University
  • Capella University

Carlow University

Carlow University is a private, Catholic-affiliated school founded in 1929 in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, about 10 minutes from the bustling city center. The main campus is just 14 acres, which offers you an intimate setting for pursuing your educational goals.

Carlow University’s mission is to provide you with a supportive environment in which to learn. More than that, the University seeks to help you grow in your Catholic identity and empower you to become a responsible, compassionate leader in your field of study and work.

Forensic Psychology Program Information

Carlow University’s department of psychology offers a Master of Arts in Psychology that includes a specialization in forensic psychology. This is a 36-credit program that you can complete in as little as two years.

This is a hybrid program with online and on-campus components. Likewise, you will take part in a variety of learning activities, including traditional coursework and lectures, hands-on learning projects, and clinical placements.

As part of your degree program, you will take general psychology courses that build a strong foundation of understanding of human behavior. This includes courses such as:

  • Personality and Symptomatology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Applications of Cognitive/Behavioral Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Thinking, Motivation, and Creativity

You will have the opportunity to complete a master’s thesis as well. A thesis requires a lot of research and writing and helps you hone your skills as they pertain to forensic psychology. A clinical placement will help build those skills even more. You can use those experiences to help you find employment upon graduation or continue your education in a doctoral program.

To apply, you must submit official transcripts from each college you’ve attended. You must also include two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and a resume or CV.

Neumann University

Neumann University is in Aston, Pennsylvania, a picturesque location in the Delaware Valley that’s less than 30 minutes from the social, cultural, and entertainment amenities in Philadelphia. Neumann is a private Catholic liberal arts college that’s accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

You can choose from dozens of undergraduate majors, graduate programs, and doctoral programs. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 13 to 1, you can enjoy individualized attention that helps you succeed in the classroom.

As you get close to graduation, you can take advantage of Neumann’s Career and Personal Development Office, which will help you prepare for your career with services like internship placements.

Forensic Psychology Program Information

Neumann University offers a forensic psychology program that culminates in a Master of Science degree. It is a 12-course program (36 credits) that typically takes two years to complete, provided you study full-time.

You can choose from two tracks:

  • The Research/Traditional/Thesis track focuses on independent research in forensic psychology that’s presented in a traditional master’s thesis.
  • The Applied/Intelligence Studies/Practicum track focuses less on research and more on the practical application of forensic psychology for investigations and data analysis. This track includes training in the IBM Analyst Notebook, which is software that aids in forensic investigations.

Regardless of the track you select, you will take foundational courses in forensic psychology. This might include coursework in Criminal Behavior, Constitutional Law, and Individual Profiling. Likewise, you might take classes in Psychopathology and Basic Intelligence Analysis.

An important component of your learning in this program is developing the ability to integrate various psychological theories and apply them to legal settings. Likewise, you will learn how to conduct research utilizing the latest psychological and scientific methods that allow you to advance the body of knowledge in forensic psychology.

To apply to this program, you must submit a letter of intent or respond to a specific writing prompt provided by the Department of Psychology. Likewise, you must submit official college transcripts from each institution you’ve attended. A departmental interview may also be required.

Drexel University

Drexel University was founded in 1891 in Philadelphia and has grown into a global leader in education and academic research. In fact, Drexel is a Global R1-level Research University with a dedication to experiential learning that spans 75 different majors and programs.

Though Drexel is a fairly large school with more than 22,000 students, you can take advantage of small class sizes and individualized instruction that helps you advance your studies and prepare for a successful career.

You can choose from more than 200 academic programs in 15 schools and colleges, each of which provides you with a rich learning environment.

Forensic Psychology Program Information

The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Drexel University is a full-time, residential program that requires five years of study to complete. The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and offers four concentrations, including forensic psychology.

Your degree program at Drexel follows the scientist-practitioner model. As such, you will take part in thorough clinical research and learn how to apply forensic psychology principles to real-world situations. To further this goal, you’ll complete an 800-hour forensic psychology practicum.

In addition, you must take five specific forensic psychology courses. This includes:

  • Forensic Assessment I
  • Forensic Assessment II
  • Mental Health Law

The fourth and fifth courses can be selected from an array of forensic psychology electives, like Child Psychopathology and Treatment, Substance Use, and Psychology of Rehabilitation.

This Ph.D. program follows the traditional pathway of requiring a thesis and a doctoral dissertation. These research-intensive activities must focus on critical forensic psychology topics, including assessment and intervention techniques. The thesis and dissertation must also be defended before a committee prior to the degree being conferred.

If you want to apply to this program, you must submit official college transcripts, a resume, and a personal essay. Three letters of recommendation and an interview with select psychology faculty are also required.

Widener University

Widener University is a small school on a 110-acre campus with fewer than 6,000 students. Yet, despite its small size, Widener offers many unique learning opportunities, including the dual-degree program discussed below, as well as more than 50 other graduate degree and professional programs.

Widener’s location just minutes from downtown Philadelphia is an advantage as well. While on campus, you can take part in rigorous academic pursuits under the guidance of well-respected faculty in classes that average just 12 students. Then, when you’re not in class, you can ride the train to Philadelphia to enjoy all the amenities that the City of Brotherly Love has to offer.

Forensic Psychology Program Information

This dual-degree program from Widener University results in a PsyD and a Master’s of Criminal Justice. This combination of degrees and areas of study is an excellent option for preparing for a career in forensic psychology.

You’ll need five years to complete the requirements of the dual degree. The Master’s of Criminal Justice is earned online as you work on the PsyD in residency at Widener. You’ll need 24 credits to earn the masters, plus an additional 120 credits to complete the PsyD.

In addition to coursework, you’ll take part in multiple experiential learning activities. This includes practicum training during the first three years of the program, multiple internships in years four and five, and a dissertation.

You will benefit from a mentoring relationship with a faculty member who will assist you in the advancement of your education and the acquisition of skills and knowledge.

This program is nationally recognized and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Upon graduation, you will have the qualifications to work in many different settings, from law offices to law enforcement to government agencies.

You must already have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution to apply to this program. You must also submit transcripts from each college you’ve attended and have at least a 3.0 GPA (though a 3.5 GPA or higher is preferred). Letters of reference, an autobiographical statement, and evidence of past work history are required as well.

Forensic Psychology Work Opportunities in Pennsylvania

One of the advantages of a degree in forensic psychology is that you can work in many different settings. You might work for the Philadelphia Police Department and train officers to be effective witnesses in court cases. Alternatively, you might go into private practice in Pittsburgh and offer your services on a consultative basis to organizations of all kinds.

Forensic psychologists don’t just have work opportunities in urban areas of Pennsylvania, though. You might live and work in a rural area and provide your services to small city governments or consult with clients virtually online.

You can also pursue employment in academic areas, perhaps serving as a professor at a small college or university in Pennsylvania’s beautiful rural areas.

Regardless of the specific area in which you work, you can look forward to a rewarding career that pays quite well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that psychologists earn a median annual salary of more than $100,000 per year.

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