Understanding Criminal Minds: New Graduate Program in Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology
February 01, 2012

Agencies involved in homeland security, law enforcement and the criminal justice system are increasingly relying on professionals skilled in forensic psychology to help solve crimes and prevent future criminal behavior. To address this need, Columbian College has launched a new graduate degree program in forensic psychology to train the next generation of criminal profilers, competency experts, psychological evaluators, counselors, and related positions.

“Serial criminals, terrorist agents, psychopathic individuals—the desire to understand why these people commit crimes is reflected in the popularity of the CSI television series and movies like Silence of the Lambs,” said Richard Cooter, PsyD ’04, the program’s lead faculty member. “This graduate program will help meet the demand for a workforce skilled in forensic psychology.”

The MA in forensic psychology offers two tracks: applied forensics, to prepare students for employment in law enforcement or homeland security; and applied psychology, to prepare students for careers as providers of direct services to clients in organizations such as correctional facilities and community action organizations. Internships will be offered that are tailored to each student’s professional interest at a law enforcement agency, treatment site, correctional institution, public defender’s office, prosecutor’s office or other similar setting.

Courses touch upon topics relating to psychopathology and psychological assessment, ethical and family law issues, evaluation and treatment of offenders, consultation and criminal testimony, psychological profiling and interrogation and counterintelligence and counterterrorism. The program is part of Columbian College’s Professional Psychology Program.

“To remain relevant, colleges must be nimble enough to adapt to the needs of our times,” said Peg Barratt, dean of Columbian College. “The creation of a master’s program in forensic psychology is an example of our commitment to educating a workforce that is responsive to the challenges of the 21st century.”