Online Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology CurriculumOnline Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology CurriculumOnline Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology Curriculum

A person who wants to bring together the disciplines of psychology and criminal justice should consider a degree in forensic psychology. It promotes career development in various healthcare and law enforcement fields because students acquire transferable skills–such as critical thinking, research capabilities and attention to details–and they have the opportunity to explore key academic concepts related to psychology, forensic psychology, the justice system, and criminal behavior.

An online forensic psychology program can be a stepping stone to a successful career in the field. Forensic psychology courses take a deep look at various disciplines, such as psychology, criminology, sociology, and criminal justice.

By being exposed to all of these disciplines, students can develop their abilities across critical thinking, investigative research, corrections, and forensic analysis. Through a series of electives, students can identify a sub-niche that they’re particularly keen to focus on.

Maryville University Online BA in Forensic Psychology Curriculum

The online Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology program at Maryville University offers students the chance to delve into the field of forensic psychology. The program is an integration of psychology and criminal justice study. The required psychology courses have been selected both to achieve the breadth of coursework suggested by the American Psychology Association guidelines while including additional coursework specific to the field of forensic psychology. The psychology content is balanced by an equal focus on criminal justice courses. A commitment to scientific methodology, understanding research, and the ability to apply knowledge are emphasized throughout the program.

The 128-credit curriculum includes general education courses (39 credits), psychology core courses (27 credits), criminal justice/criminology core courses (27 credits), a social science research sequence (18 credits), an optional internship (3 credits), and general electives (14 credits).

Learn more about Maryville’s Online BA in Forensic Psychology courses here:

Strengthen your understanding of human psychology through a series of courses in critical thinking, abnormal psychology, social psychology, testing, forensic psychology, cognition, and more.

  • An introductory survey of psychology. Psychology as a field is very broad, and we will be examining most of the major sub-areas that comprise psychology, including the development of psychology as a science, learning and memory, biological foundations of behavior, sensation and perception, human development, motivation and emotions, cognition, abnormal psychology, and social psychology. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and understanding the scientific methods used in the discipline.

  • A knowledge of normal growth and development is essential to professional practice in many disciplines. This course explores the process of human development, particularly in Western cultures. A holistic life-span approach is used to promote an understanding of the biophysical, cognitive, affective, social, and spiritual functioning of healthy individuals.

  • This course covers the domains of psychopathology as it is represented in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Students will examine the nature, course, symptoms, consequences, and treatment of abnormal behavior. Current empirically-based treatments and evidenced-based practices will be reviewed.

  • Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, relate to one another, and ultimately create meaning. It involves understanding how people affect, and are affected by, others around them. This course introduces you to the theory, empirical findings, and research methods of social psychology. You will develop the ability to analyze social situations that you encounter in your everyday lives through the application of theory and methods in social psychology.

  • This course explores the application of principles underlying the theory, interpretation, and administration of psychological tests, including tests of intelligence, achievement, personality, and ability. Students will learn how theories, principles, and concepts are applied in educational, clinical, and employment settings, and will compute and interpret basic psychometric statistics.

  • This course is intended to introduce and familiarize students with the concept of multicultural psychology. The course will address issues of human diversity theory and research that are emphasized by the American Psychological Association, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and SES. The course will also encompass issues related to identity, oppression, bias, acculturation, and workplace diversity, as well as research methodologies utilized to promote greater understanding.

  • This course presents a practical and applied approach to the various roles and functions of a forensic psychologist. In addition to discussing psychologist roles in correctional settings, topics covered include the evaluations forensic psychologists most often conduct, including criminal, civil, insanity defenses, child custody, personal injury and others. Criminal investigative techniques, trial consultation and the unique ethical challenges and requirements for forensic psychologists are also addressed.

  • This course covers the fundamentals of human cognition including processes such as perception, attention, memory, language, problem solving, and decision-making. The course will begin with a general discussion of cognition and its neural bases. The course will be divided into three sections: a) cognitive neuroscience, perception, and attention, b) theories of memory and knowledge representation, c) language, problem solving, and decision-making.

  • This course surveys the connection between biological systems and human behavior. Topics range from sleep and dreams to drugs, stress and health, memory, emotion, and psychological disorders. Primary attention is given to different parts of the brain, neurotransmitters, hormones, etc. Emphasis is given to the interaction of nature and nurture, neural flexibility (neuroplasticity), and prospects for individual change.

Learn the principles of criminal justice theory and procedure with a series of courses covering topics like social connections, criminal behavior, police psychology, juvenile delinquency, investigations, and multicultural issues.

  • This course introduces the fundamental concepts and frameworks used in the criminal justice studies. It provides a survey of the various agencies making up the U.S. criminal justice system, primarily the criminal court, law enforcement, and corrections.

  • This course focuses on the challenges present in policing multicultural settings. Issues pertaining to understanding diverse cultures and effective communication across cultures from the standpoint of law enforcement are explored in detail.

  • This course is a comprehensive approach to the examination and treatment of physical evidence as it relates to the criminal justice system. Students will be involved in an interactive learning experience tied to the securing and preserving of crime scenes and maintaining the integrity of trace evidence for future court proceedings.

  • This course explores the evolution of correctional practices in the United States. It also examines and assesses the variety of correctional options utilized within the criminal justice system.

  • This course will examine substantive criminal law and the elements of specific crimes, including crimes against persons and property. Students also will be introduced to the sources of criminal procedural law and the steps involved in a prosecution. Defenses and immunities to crimes will be discussed also.

  • This course offers an introduction to criminology and a survey of the major theoretical traditions within criminology over the past three centuries.

  • This course surveys the criminal and deviant conduct of youths. Theoretical and treatment patterns are also considered.

  • This course explores the theoretical underpinnings that attempt to explain and predict criminal behavior and human aggression, including investigation of biological, cognitive, social and other explanations. Additionally, the course investigates juvenile delinquency, psychopathy, mental illness, mass murder, sex offending, terrorism, white collar crime and the unique features and profiles of each.

  • This course explores psychological principles as applied to aspects of police officer’s career. Some of the topics to be examined are: the unique psychological stresses of police work, the effects of that stress on both the officer and his or her family; identification and management of the problem police officer; psychology of crowds; riots and their effective control; and the application of psychological principles to detective work. The interpersonal dynamics of the police with civilian complainants, victims, and violent, aggressive individuals will also be covered.

The social science research sequence includes a series of courses designed to help students emerge with an inter-connected understanding of how to craft research, analyze results and present findings.

  • This course explores the importance of scientific critical thinking and ethics as they relate to advancing scientific knowledge, understanding, and application of knowledge in the Social Sciences. Students will develop a firm theoretical and scientific background related to scientific critical thinking and values in the Social Sciences to become critical thinkers within their disciplines.

  • This course examines the process of scientific research in the social and behavioral sciences and the fundamental role research methodology plays in our understanding of human behavior and social affairs. Students explore the principles, ethics, and methods of social science research (correlational research, observational and survey methods, experimental and quasi-experimental design, variable control, secondary data analysis, and interpretation of results). Students formulate an original research question, develop hypotheses related to that question, and create a proper and detailed methodological strategy for investigation. Students learn how to synthesize existing research literature into a research proposal and develop an understanding of the formal writing processes used by social science researchers.

  • This course introduces students to both descriptive and inferential statistics. The following concepts and techniques are included: measures of central tendency and variability; sampling distributions; interval estimation; hypothesis testing (t-test, ANOVA); correlation and regression; chi square tests. Statistical software projects are required. Prerequisite: MATH 102 or 115 or higher.

  • This course is the culminating, capstone experience in the social science curriculum. Students will review and discuss their course of study and its application beyond graduation. Students will work with a social science faculty member conducting and completing a research project exploring an area of interest in the student’s field of study. This will include data collection, analysis, a written paper adhering to APA standards, and a presentation. Note: A passing grade cannot be achieved without completion of the research project. Note: This course replaces SOSC-481 and SOSC-482 (no longer offered).

Optional: personalize your internship based on your specific area of interest.

  • This course is designed as a culminating experience to integrate theory and practice in the context of an approved field-based experience under the supervision of the course instructor. Practicum requires completion of 150 clock hours on site along with coursework relevant to the student’s field experience.

  • This course is designed as a culminating experience to integrate theory and practice in the context of an approved field-based experience under the supervision of the course instructor. Practicum requires completion of 135 clock hours on site along with coursework relevant to the student’s field experience.

To ensure the best possible educational experience for our students, we may update our curriculum to reflect emerging and changing employer and industry trends. Undergraduate programs and certificates are designed to be taken at a part-time pace. Please speak to your advisor for more details

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Skills, Concepts, or Opportunities Gained With a Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology Curriculum

To equip students for the field, forensic psychology courses typically cover the following areas to develop a student’s skills and knowledge:

  • Finding the balance between theory and practice. Forensic psychology is a discipline that needs both theory and practice. Professionals in the field must be familiar with law enforcement, criminal behavior, and the principles of psychology. At the same time, they should be capable of acquiring practical knowledge that can help turn them into excellent field workers in the future.
  • Critical thinking, problem solving and scientific inquiry. These skills are necessary to address the social and cultural issues impacting communities today. For example, forensic psychology professionals may have to deal with unprecedented situations. Knowing how to conduct extensive research and where to look for applicable information can make all the difference in the world as far as the outcome of the case is concerned.
  • Leveraging experiential insight with advanced technological tools. An approach that’s based on experience and observation, as well as on mastery of the right technology, will typically yield the most comprehensive outcome.

Key Courses in Online Forensic Psychology Undergraduate Programs

Depending on electives and the specifics of a program, students will get to take numerous courses, which may include the following essentials:

Introduction to Criminal Justice. The introductory course highlights important concepts and frameworks that all criminal justice academic areas employ. In addition, students acquaint themselves with the structure of the criminal justice system in the United States—criminal court, correction facilities, law enforcement agencies, etc.

Critical Thinking in Psychology. Providing an overview of ethics and the importance of critical thinking in psychology, the course takes a general approach to the application of scientific principles in the social field.

Forensic Psychology. Students will get to learn about the role of the forensic psychologist in the criminal justice and law enforcement process. A number of the most important forensic psychology topics are usually covered—terrorism, serial killers, sex offenders, and insanity defense. The reintegration of offenders into society is another highlight of the course.

Criminal Law and Procedure. The most prominent focus of the course entails the elements of specific crimes. The steps involved in prosecution and the principles of procedural law are typically explored in detail within this course. Students also may look at defense scenarios and immunities to crime.

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