Study Forensic Psychology in Florida
Florida might have a reputation for being a vacation destination, but the Sunshine State is far more than white sand beaches and warm waters. Florida is also home to some of the best psychology schools in the nation, making it an ideal location to pursue an education.
Whether you want to begin your studies with a bachelor’s degree, advance your studies with a master’s degree or a certificate, or get a terminal degree by pursuing a Ph.D. in forensic psychology, you can find options in Florida to fit your goals.
Below is a list of four top forensic psychology schools in Florida. It includes some of your best options for varied educational pursuits.
Forensic Psychology Programs in Florida
At Florida Tech, you can pursue any number of degrees that have a heavy research focus. As a small private school, Florida Tech has small class sizes (15:1 student-to-faculty ratio) and plentiful opportunities for you to explore forensic psychology while working in close partnership with your professors and other mentors.
The location of Florida Tech on Florida’s Space Coast is ideal, too. The Florida Tech campus has many amenities for students. But nearby are spectacular beaches, Disney World, and NASA, to name a few. This means you can get your education in sunny Florida while exploring world-class attractions within a few minutes of campus!
Florida Tech’s Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology is a four-year program designed to introduce you to essential topics in psychology, criminology, and law. Over the course of the program, you will learn how criminality is the result of many different forces, among them human behavior.
You will benefit from small class sizes at Florida Tech, which allows you to work more closely with your professors. Likewise, the forensic psychology program emphasizes forensic psychology research. During your final year in the program, you will conduct a scholarly research project on a critical topic in forensic psychology.
This program also includes an internship component. The purpose of the internship is to help you combine everything you have learned in the classroom and your individual research and apply it in a real-world setting. This might even include a placement with the FBI or Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and a review of real-world case files. Other internship options include:
- Local correctional facilities
- The Florida state attorney’s office
- Mental health and drug courts
- Public defender’s office
- Cold case teams
Upon graduation, you will have the essential skills to pursue jobs in many different fields. For example, you might work in law enforcement or corrections. You might also work in a counseling role, such as a victim’s advocate or a counselor for youth offenders. Jobs in research are also within reach, such as assessing eyewitness testimony or working as a crime analyst.
This program also sets you up for pursuing additional education. You might pursue a graduate degree in criminology, psychology, or forensic science. Likewise, you can go to law school to become an attorney. With the knowledge and skills you acquire in this program, you’ll have many options for achieving your future goals.
To apply as a first-year student, you must complete an application to Florida Tech, submit your high school transcripts, and submit ACT or SAT scores. Letters of recommendation and a personal essay are strongly recommended but not required.
University of Central Florida (UCF)
The University of Central Florida was founded in 1967 in the central part of the state. Its location in Orlando means that students have easy access to attractions like Disney World, the Atlantic Coast, and the western coast along the Gulf of Mexico. UCF’s campus is worthy of exploration, too, with modern research facilities and beautiful spaces around campus where you can gather with classmates to study or have fun.
UCF is one of the largest universities in the nation, with an enrollment of around 70,000 students. Psychology is one of the most common undergraduate majors, and as such, UCF has a robust psychology department. You can complete your studies with expert professors and use modern labs to conduct research.
The Behavioral Forensics Certificate from the University of Central Florida is designed to be a supplemental course of study with a traditional bachelor’s degree program. For example, you might major in psychology or criminal justice and add this certificate to round out your studies of criminal behavior.
The course selection for this certificate focuses on psychology, sociology, and criminology. Classes include:
- Personality Theory and Research
- Sociology of Deviant Behavior
- Legal Aspects of Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
Additionally, you will take introductory courses in psychology and sociology and choose from a variety of electives in psychology, sociology, and criminal justice. The electives from which you can choose represent a wide-ranging examination of forensic psychology and related topics. This includes courses in:
- Childhood Psychopathology
- Interviewing and Counseling
- Crime Victims in Society
- Sex Offenders and the Criminal Justice System
- Serial Murder and Criminal Justice
You must complete 33 hours for this certificate program. Many of these hours will likely count toward your degree, too. A minimum of 12 credits must be earned at Central Florida.
To apply to this program as a freshman, you must complete an application for admission to UCF and submit high school transcripts (or, alternatively, official GED scores). SAT or ACT scores are also required. An application essay is highly recommended but is not required.
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University is a research-focused school. In fact, it’s a high research activity institution as defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Nova Southeastern is one of just 50 schools in the nation to also have the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification.
Nova Southeastern’s main campus is in Fort Lauderdale, though the school has campuses around the world. The school offers nearly 300 majors and degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
There are many professional programs offered as well. Since the school enjoys high rankings from respected institutions like Forbes and U.S. News & World Report, you can rest assured that no matter your course of study, you’ll get a high-quality education.
The Master of Science in forensic psychology from Nova Southeastern University is a 36-credit program that’s offered entirely online. The online format allows you much greater flexibility to complete the degree requirements while still tending to your life and work obligations.
The program includes 12 courses that help you build an advanced understanding of criminology, psychology, and law. Two tracks are available: one focused on the legal system and another specifically designed for mental health workers, first responders, and disaster teams.
The courses you take vary depending on the track you choose. For example, the legal systems track includes classes in:
- Psychological Issues in Dependency & Family Law Cases
- Assessment of Psychological Injury for Legal Cases
- Psychological Evaluation of Competencies, Syndromes, & Sanity Issues
Meanwhile, the mental health, first responder, and disaster team track includes classes in:
- Suicide Prevention & Crisis Intervention Skills
- Intervening in School & Workplace Violence
- Police Psychology
This program is fully accredited with faculty that are experts in criminal policy, psychology, and law. Moreover, the coursework is empirically based, so you’ll learn the latest forensic psychology techniques.
Admissions requirements for this program include having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA during the final 60 credits or at least 18 credits of graduate study with a 3.0 GPA.
You must also submit a 500-word personal essay, letters of recommendation, and show proof of English proficiency. An interview might also be required.
Barry University is a small four-year school in Miami, Florida, with an enrollment of fewer than 5,000 students. With such a small student body, you can enjoy small class sizes and more one-on-one learning opportunities with your professors. Likewise, you’ll enjoy an inclusive campus environment that’s focused on social justice.
The university is affiliated with the Catholic church. It was established in 1950 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters to provide a liberal arts education to its students. That tradition lives on today with rigorous undergraduate, graduate, and professional curricula. You can rely on a robust program of student support services to further your education as well.
This Forensic Psychology Specialization from Barry University builds off of a traditional Bachelor of Science in psychology to provide you with the education you need to further your career in forensics. It’s an 18-credit specialization that you can complete simultaneously with the credits for your bachelor’s degree.
The coursework for this specialization includes a mixture of psychology, law, and criminal justice. Some of the courses you will take include:
- Great Cases in Law and Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Psychological Dimensions of Theoretical Jurisprudence
- Sociology of the Law
- Law and Psychology
You must also select one elective course to take, which can be in areas like juvenile delinquency, theories of deviance, or sociology of race, to name a few.
The Bachelor of Science program of which this specialization is a part requires about four years of full-time study to complete. Once you graduate, you’ll have the skills required for entry-level positions in criminal justice, law, or psychology applications. However, this specialization also prepares you for continuing your education in a master’s degree or doctoral program.
You must be admitted to Barry University before you can commence work on this specialization. To do so, you must complete an application for admission, submit high school transcripts or proof of a GED, and either opt-in for test-optional admissions or submit satisfactory ACT scores or SAT scores.
Work Opportunities in Florida
People flock to Florida for the beautiful weather and ample recreation opportunities. But Florida is also a great place to work. For example, at the time of this writing, there are nearly 250 forensic psychology positions available in the state – and that’s just on one job listing site! Better still, these positions pay upwards of $75,000 per year.
As a forensic psychologist in Florida, you can choose many different career paths. There are positions currently available in academics, law enforcement, and counseling. You can work in the public or private sector, for a large or small organization, or you can work for yourself and be your own boss.
The opportunities available to you only expand as you get more education and experience. With a master’s degree in forensic psychology and a few years of experience, you might qualify for senior-level positions that would be unavailable to you with a bachelor’s degree.
Likewise, the most senior positions in this field are often reserved for people with a doctorate. As with many other jobs, continuing your education with a graduate or doctoral degree is essential if you want to maximize your earning potential.