Forensic Psychology Program Requirements

These requirements are from an excerpt from the University Academic Catalog, which outlines the requirements for a student to earn the distinction of being a Castleton University graduate. The complete catalog is available online.

This major is tailored to students interested in pursuing careers applying psychology to the judicial process in courts, law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, or the general practice of law. It is designed to prepare students for further graduate study in the field and related fields such as school psychology. This major combines coursework dedicated to understanding and practicing forensic psychology with opportunities to gain hands-on experience with psychological practitioners in applied psychology fields.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science program in Forensic Psychology will be able to meet the following learning goals, which are a combination of field-specific knowledge and application as well as "soft skills" that develop through a strong liberal arts program. These goals are adapted from the American Psychological Association recommendations for undergraduate study in psychology.

Goal 1: Knowledge Base in Psychology

1.1 Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology

1.2 Use and evaluate theories to explain and predict behavior, including advantages and limitations in the selected frameworks

1.3 Compare, contrast, and critique psychology's major subdisciplines

1.4 Summarize important aspects of the history of psychology, including key figures, central concerns, and theoretical conflicts

Goal 2: Scientific Inquiry & Critical Thinking

2.1 Read and summarize complex ideas, including future directions, from psychological sources and research accurately

2.2 Identify and develop a comprehensive strategy for locating and using relevant scholarship (e.g. databases, credible journals) to address psychological questions

2.3 Design and conduct complex studies to test a hypothesis based on operational definitions

2.4 Apply knowledge of research skills necessary to be an informed consumer of research or critic regarding unsupported claims about behavior

2.5 Evaluate the effectiveness of research methods in addressing a research question

Goal 3: Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World

3.1 Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice

3.2 Develop psychology-based strategies to facilitate social change to diminish discriminatory practices

3.3 Pursue personal opportunities to promote civic, social, and global outcomes that benefit the community

3.4 Articulate psychology's role in developing, designing, and disseminating public policy

3.5 Seek opportunity to serve others through volunteer service, practica, and apprenticeship experiences

Goal 4: Communication

4.1 Craft clear and concise written communications to address specific audiences (e.g. lay, peer, professional)

4.2 Use grammar appropriate to professional standards and conventions (e.g. APA writing style)

4.3 Create coherent and integrated oral arguments based on a review of the pertinent psychological literature

4.4 Deliver complex presentations within appropriate constraints

4.5 Interact sensitively with people of diverse abilities, backgrounds and cultural perspectives

Goal 5: Professional Development

5.1 Recognize the value and application of research and problem-solving skills in providing evidence beyond personal opinion to support proposed solutions

5.2 Accurately self-assess performance quality by melding external standards and expectations with their own performance criteria

5.3 Incorporate feedback from educators, mentors, supervisors, and experts to improve performance

5.4 Collaborate successfully on complex group projects

5.5 Formulate career plan contingencies based on accurate self-assessment of abilities, achievement, motivation, and work habits

To complete the BS in Forensic Science, students must complete the following coursework:

All required psychology courses must be completed with a grade of 2.0 or better.

Complete the following core courses in Psychological Sciences (29 cr):

Code Course Credits

PSY 1012

Introduction to Psychological Science

A survey of a wide variety of topics studied by psychological scientists. The course objective is to introduce students to the terms, concepts and methods of psychological science.

Restrictions This course is equivalent to Introduction to Psychology; students will not receive credit for both courses.

This course fulfills the Social and Behavioral Understanding Frame of Reference.

Every semester


PSY 1050

Human Growth and Development

A survey of human developmental psychology from the prenatal period to late adulthood. The major focus is on theoretical and practical implications of developmental research for cognitive, personality and social development. Special attention will be given to interactions between maturation and experience.

Every semester


PSY 3010

Theories of Personality

Examination of individual differences in human behavior. Heavy emphasis is placed on research findings pertaining to the learning, experiential and cognitive factors contributing to personality development.

Every semester


PSY 3040

Cognitive Psychology

Examines research on topics central to cognitive science: perception, attention, memory, thought and language. A cognitive lab will provide hands-on demonstrations of important experiments in cognitive psychology.

Prerequisite: PSY 1012 or instructor approval



PSY 3070

Abnormal Psychology

The description and classification of deviant behaviors. The continuity between normal and varying degrees of maladjustment is stressed.

Prerequisite: PSY 1012 or permission of instructor



PSY 3151

Psychological Research I

Introduction to the scientific method as applied to behavior. Emphasis is on the development of scientific attitudes as well as the development of the basic research skills of data collection, analysis and interpretation. This course fulfills the Gen Ed computing requirement for Psychology majors.

Prerequisite: PSY 3040 or PSY 3410 or instructor permission



PSY 3152

Psychological Research II

Fosters further development of scientific attitudes and research skills. Student research conducted in PSY 3151 is refined and prepared for publication. This course fulfills the Gen Ed computing requirement for Psychology majors.

Prerequisite: PSY 3151.



PSY 3410


This course focuses on the brain and nervous system, with an eye towards the neural mechanisms of behavior. Topics include the cellular and anatomical divisions of the nervous system, molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission, sensory and motor systems, neurodevelopment, plasticity, and emotion. The lab portion of this course covers basic neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, and other techniques for the study of the brain and behavior.

Prerequisite: PSY 1012 or instructor permission

Fee Fee $50



PSY 4240

Psychology Proseminar

In this course students will hear presentations about their work from visiting psychologists. It will provide an opportunity to interact with professionals in the field and view the breadth of their work. This course will also provide instruction on writing a resume and applying to jobs or graduate programs.

Prerequisite: PSY 3151 or instructor permission



And complete the following courses (9 cr):

Code Course Credits

MAT 2021

Statistics I

This course prepares students for quantitative methods in their respective fields. Descriptive and inferential statistics, including estimation, hypothesis testing, linear regression and correlation are covered. Basic tools of descriptive statistics, discrete probability, binomial distribution, normal distribution, t-distribution, estimates and sample sizes, hypothesis testing, elementary correlation and regression, contingency tables are explored. Students utilize graphing calculators and spreadsheet software on a regular basis.

This course fulfills the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Students must take a math assessment (ACCUPLACER) for placement purposes prior to registration or MAT 1010.

Every semester


PSY 3420

Ethics and Diversity

This course will introduce students to ethics and issues of diversity in psychology. Students will train to identify ethical issues and sociocultural factors that may influence them, and learn the importance of ethical conduct in the practice of psychology.

Prerequisite: PSY 3151 or instructor approval



PSY 4320

Advanced Research

OR PSY 4421 - Psychology Practicum I 3 cr

This course is designed for students who would like to conduct an intensive research project under the close supervision and guidance of the psychology faculty. Students will be responsible for data collection, analysis, interpretation, and oral presentation at a national or regional research conference.

Prerequisite: PSY 3151 or instructor pemission



And complete at least 3 courses in forensic psychology from this list (at least one of which must be at the 4000-level) (9 cr):

Code Course Credits

PSY 2150

Police Psychology

This course introduces psychological theory and practice as it relates to specific problems of police and correctional officers. Topics covered include: crisis intervention, stress and its management, interviewing and interrogation, human relations.



PSY 3160

Criminal Behavior

An examination of the physiological, cognitive and learning factors involved in criminal behavior from a psychological perspective.

Prerequisite: PSY 1012 or instructor permission



PSY 3220

Juvenile Delinquency

A social systems approach to the explanation, treatment and control of delinquent behavior. Research and theory from psychology, sociology and anthropology will be emphasized.

Prerequisite: PSY 1012 or instructor permission



PSY 4060

Psychology and Law

Examines psychological theory and research as they relate to the judicial process. Topics covered include insanity, mental competence, eyewitness testimony, and jury decision making.

Prerequisite: PSY 3151 or instructor permission



PSY 4070

Correctional Psychology

Examines the prison environment and the effectiveness of punishment, treatment and rehabilitation from a psychological perspective.

Prerequisite: PSY 3151 or instructor permission



(Total credits required for the BS in Forensic Psychology: 47)

And complete the University's Gen Ed requirements

Click here for General Education Requirements.