Department of Psychology

students in class

Bachelor of Science - Forensic Psychology

The common objective of forensic psychology is to consider how the principles of scientific psychology are applied to legal issues at every level of the justice system. Clinical work in the forensic area may include assessments involving competency to stand trial, risk of reoffending, and treatment for drug abuse and mentally disordered offenders. Non-clinical work in the forensic area may involve research on memory, perception, child development, and decisionmaking as it pertains to eyewitnesses, juvenile offenders, and police training and procedures. The goal of forensic psychology as a field is to support and influence law enforcement officers, attorneys, and judges to adopt and implement empirically based policies that increase accuracy and fairness in the justice system.

Special Opportunities

The Laboratory for the Investigation of Psychology and Law (LIPL) is uniquely designed to provide forensically relevant research experience, and students may earn credit for their participation. An application process is required, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 is necessary for consideration. Other opportunities include field experience credit for work in such agencies as community mental health or rehabilitation centers as well as earning credit for participation in HOTLINE, a student-run crisis intervention telephone service.

Besides assisting in research projects, students have opportunities for extensive contact with faculty through individual reading projects, undergraduate seminars, and departmental committee memberships. Advanced students have opportunities to present their research projects at student-oriented and professional conferences, and to apply for financial assistance in the form of research grants.

After College

Western’s graduates are employed in a variety of fields, including social services, management, education, and professional trades. Graduates with the Forensic Psychology major option will be well-suited for work as a psychiatric technician or paraprofessional in the mental health field. Work venues may include psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, state government, and general medical and surgical hospitals. Other options for employment may include working in mental health, substance abuse, and intellectual or developmental disability facilities. Graduates will also be competitive for police work.


View the specific degree requirements and course descriptions in the Undergraduate Catalog.