Forensic Psychology Schools
If you want to become a forensic psychologist, it is intuitive to conduct a search for the best forensic psychology schools. However, according to the guidance we have received from our mentors in the field, you will be making a big mistake. If you are searching out for the best forensic psychology schools with the goal of being the best forensic psychologist, we do not think you will find what you are looking for. Consider the following.
Forensic psychologists are actually just licensed psychologists who are applying the principles and methods of psychology to address legal questions, such as whether or not someone understood the wrongfulness of their actions during the commission of a crime. Therefore, if your goal is to be recognized as one of the most rigorously trained forensic psychologists, then you should seek to become and gain admission into one of the most highly selective doctoral programs in psychology. Not forensic psychology, but psychology.
Subsequently, by way of using your training in forensic psychology to address legal issues, you will become a de facto forensic psychologist. Attending a so-called “forensic psychology school” with a lax admission standard is unlikely to benefit you as much as let us say earning a doctorate in clinical psychology from one of the Ivys and then spending your career using that degree to assist the court.
From what we understand, the exception to the above might be limited to graduate students who do not wish to pursue education beyond the master’s level. If that is the case, a graduate program with a forensic psychology major could make sense, but if let us say Harvard, Cornell, or Stanford are options, then would it not make sense to pursue degrees in psychology from those programs even if they do not have a forensic psychology specialty program?
A career in forensic psychology is established by way of postdoctoral education; meaning, what you do after you have already earned your doctorate. It is not established by your doctoral training. Therefore, the best schools in forensic psychology from what we understand are actually the best schools in psychology, period. If you are looking for the best schools in forensic psychology, then we regrettably do not have a specific list of recommendations for you because we believe such a pursuit is misguided and in the worst case may land you with a master’s or a doctoral degree that has not provided you with the educational and training experiences you need to actually qualify for an APA accredited internship or licensure after you complete your degree.
Our advice is this: Search out for the best schools in psychology that have renowned faculty conducting research in the area of forensic psychology. Pursue and select schools based on the forensic psychology talent represented in the graduate psychology department. These professors are the individuals with deep connections and experience to position you to become a renowned forensic psychologist one day. It would not be the school or the list of schools with forensic psychology programs that are not rigorous, reputable, selective or populated with renowned forensic psychologists on staff.