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Why do people commit crimes? What characteristics or traits do criminals exhibit? Is there a way to prevent them from committing a crime in the first place? These questions have consumed professional psychologists for decades in their quest to understand and treat the criminal mind and protect society.
They are questions that have also consumed the legal system. Particularly, the issue of what a criminal’s mental state was at the time of the offense. That’s where forensic psychology comes in — also known as the merger between psychology and law.
One of the primary jobs of a forensic psychologist within the legal system is to determine competency to stand trial. This requires the forensic psychologist to understand mental competency not just in a psychological sense but also in a legal sense and present the determination of sanity or insanity in a way that the court can understand. Trial lawyers, law enforcement agencies, and crime victims are some of the people that forensic psychologists come into contact with, besides criminal and juvenile offenders.
The University of New Haven offers an enhanced academic experience for students interested in pursuing forensic psychology that will better prepare them for future careers and graduate school placement. Housed in the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, the forensic psychology concentration also incorporates courses and faculty from the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences.
Our faculty are leaders and innovators in their fields, bringing both deep professional experience and academic rigor to the classroom.
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This course focuses on the functions of the police psychologist such as candidate screening, stress management and counseling, hostage negotiations, critical incident debriefing, and fitness for duty evaluations. Application of psychological principles to investigation strategies such as profiling and hypnosis will also be explored.
This course is intended to provide an overview of the various theoretical perspectives in personality psychology. A number of important psychological theories will be used to understand personality, including psychoanalytic, biological, learning, socio-cultural, and trait approaches. Students will be asked to apply their understanding of theory.
This course introduces the student to the relationship between drugs (legal and illegal) and human behavior. The main topics will include the role of drugs in today’s society, drug abuse and addiction, the treatment of addiction, and the use of psychoactive drugs in treating psychological disorders.
This course explores the neurological underpinnings related to cognitive processes and their associated behaviors. Specifically, the course will focus on the brain’s role in complex human behaviors such as attention, body movement, consciousness, emotions, decision making, formation and retrieval of memories, and the production and understanding of language.
To view the complete list of courses you'll take while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology, check out the Academic Catalog:
Whether you're still in high school or are transferring from another college, we offer full- and part-time opportunities for undergraduates from inside the U.S. and abroad. The admission process can begin as early as the end of your high school junior year.
The Application Process
We offer a comprehensive financial aid program, with students receiving assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, student loans, and part-time employment. Funds are available from federal and state governments, private sponsors, and from university resources. More than 85 percent of the University's full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial assistance.