Align your goals and interests with your studies by choosing one of our specializations.
In today’s complex legal system, forensic psychology professionals are called upon to provide their expertise on issues that intersect with psychology and the law. In this specialization, you will examine probation and parole services, corrections, and their interaction in the criminal justice system. You will explore the many ways you can collaborate with the court system as you gain a basic understanding of expert testimony, jury selection, and eyewitness testimony.
Track I is a program of study for students who have a master’s degree in forensic psychology. If you have a master's degree in an unrelated discipline, see Track II.
Walden students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.
In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.
Walden offers a Fast-Track Option. Students can complete their doctorate in less time by taking advantage of this path. With the Fast-Track Option, students take additional courses and begin their dissertation early to expedite their path through the program.
Please refer to Walden’s catalog for more information about degree requirements.
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an enrollment advisor at 844-675-1718.
|Course Code||DRWA 8880G||Course||Doctoral Writing Assessment||Credits||(0 cr.)|
This course is part of Walden’s commitment to help prepare students to meet the university’s expectations for writing in courses at the doctoral level. In this course, students write a short academic essay that will be scored by a team of writing assessors. Based on the essay score, students will complete or be exempted from additional required writing support needed to meet writing proficiency standards. This required assessment course is free. Students will be enrolled automatically in it at the beginning of their doctoral program.
|Course Code||FPSY 8002||Course||Foundations of Graduate Study in Psychology||Credits||(3 cr.)|
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students build a foundation for academic and professional success as social change agents. They assess the relationship of Walden's mission and vision to professional goals. They establish connections with their peers and the broader Walden community. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of scholarly writing, critical-thinking skills, academic integrity, ethics, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence within the field of psychology.
|Course Code||FPSY 8102||Course||Intersection of Crime, Psychology, and the Law||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||FPSY 8126||Course||Understanding Violence, Risk, and Threat Assessment||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||FPSY 8400||Course||Advanced Issues in Forensic Psychology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||FPSY 8412||Course||Research Foundations||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||FPSY 8910||Course||Legal Issues and Social Change in Forensic Psychology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Students in this course are provided with an expansive overview of forensic psychology, including basic tenets, practices, and procedures. Students explore subspecialties of forensic psychology; roles and responsibilities; and related legal, ethical, and diversity issues. They have the opportunity to learn how forensic psychology links to legal systems as they explore related topics, including criminal profiling, police psychology, psychology in the criminal courts, and correctional psychology. Through this course, students can acquire a broad understanding of forensic psychology theories and concepts, which they apply to the analysis of controversial issues and contemporary challenges within the fields.
Students in this course explore the various assessment techniques and instruments used within the forensic psychology arena. Some of the assessment areas covered include risk assessment, juvenile evaluations, child custody evaluations, and capital punishment, as well as the various psychological instruments that are used in these types of evaluations. Students are provided a solid foundation of the knowledge of forensic psychology techniques and assessment rather than specific skills in administering and interpreting psychological tests.
In this course, students are allowed to examine current trends and issues in forensic psychology through the lens of developing their own expertise and forming a consultative group with fellow doctoral students. Students develop skills and expertise necessary as forensic consultants and expert witnesses and in criminal investigative analysis. In this seminar-style course, students apply problem-based learning to cases and scenarios such as juvenile delinquency, terrorism, and human trafficking. They address the ethical challenges faced by forensic psychologist professionals and analyze the role of restorative justice for positive social change.
Students in this course examine and receive support for student readiness regarding the use of quantitative and qualitative research approaches. They study research fundamentals, including the distinction between social problems and research problems, the functions of research problems versus research purpose statements, and the role of theory and conceptual framework in informing research. Students examine quantitative and qualitative concepts central to research methods, design, and analysis. They also study how research design, methods, and analyses properly align for both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Students demonstrate their knowledge by creating two research outlines, using quantitative and qualitative approaches, which they develop throughout the course. They determine appropriate conditions for the use of mixed-methods approaches and differentiate between types of mixed-methods research designs. Students engage in pre- and post-assessments of skills and knowledge.
Students in this course critically examine the effects of recent legislation, case law, and national policies on social change and on consultation and research in forensic psychology. Students will have opportunities to explore and discuss contemporary and controversial issues such as the ethics of civil commitment, the death penalty, police use of force, investigative practices to curtail terrorism, hate crimes, and transfer of juveniles to adult criminal court. They can investigate how related legal issues affect forensic psychology and society in general. They will analyze ethical issues that often arise for forensic psychology professionals who are working in these areas.
|Course Code||FPSY 8522||Course||Psychology in the Legal System||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Criminal Investigative Analysis and Profiling
Psychological Aspects of Violent Crime
Students in this course cover the major roles that a forensic psychologist could have within the court system. Issues such as expert testimony, jury selection, eyewitness testimony, and consultation with attorneys will be covered. Additionally, practical skills such as documentation and report writing will be addressed.
Law enforcement officials characterize serial murder among one of the most abhorrent of all criminal behaviors. In this course, students examine the interest in serial and mass murder in popular culture and explore typologies and theories of criminal behavior. They assess and discuss the history and evolution of profiling; roles, goals, and responsibilities of profilers; the use of profiling in criminal investigations; and populations victimized by serial and mass murderers. Students also apply typologies and criminal theories to real-world case scenarios. This course is designed to provide an overview of theory and research in the core areas of forensic psychology, as it pertains to the interdisciplinary behavioral science that provides psychological profiling and assessments of political leaders and individuals in a variety of situations.
Through this course, students explore the nature and extent of the psychological nexus of criminal homicide across various environments to include serial, mass, spree, workplace violence homicide, school shooter homicide, and child abduction homicide. Students will examine the theories and trends of these types of violent crime regarding offender and victim psychological and behavioral characteristics.
What is the relationship between victims and those who commit crimes against them, and how does the criminal justice system protect and respond to victims of crime? In this course, students have the opportunity to answer such questions through a comprehensive assessment of victimology, a relatively new discipline in the field of criminal justice. Students examine victim patterns and tendencies and learn how victims interact with the police and the legal system. They also examine how factors of class, race, and sexual orientation affect the perception of the victim by different constituents, including the public, the court system, and the media. Students assess and discuss the concept of primary and secondary victims and gain practical insight on a range of services and resources available to all types of victims.
In this course, students review the victims and the perpetrators of crimes involving intimate partner violence, child maltreatment and abuse, and elder abuse. Students address the growing literature related to the psychological damage caused by these traumatic events, including the role of mental illness and how it impacts issues involving the criminal, civil, family, and juvenile law areas.
|Course Code||RSCH 8260||Course||Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||RSCH 8360||Course||Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Students in this research course build upon knowledge and skills acquired in the prerequisite quantitative reasoning course and are presented with opportunities to apply them. They are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for conducting quantitative research at the doctoral level, including understanding multivariate data analysis and applying more advanced statistical concepts, such as factorial ANOVA, mediation, moderation, logistic regression, ANCOVA, and MANOVA. Students explore existing datasets and apply suitable statistical tests to answer research questions with social change implications. In this course, they approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting the appropriate statistical tests for more complex research questions and social problems. Students use statistical software to perform analyses and interpret and present results. They will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by carrying out a quantitative research project. RSCH 8110 and RESI 8402.)
Students build upon the knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis. and have experience applying them. Students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the theoretical antecedents and practical applications of eight contemporary qualitative approaches. Students gain experience developing qualitative interview guides, collecting data, and managing the process from transcription through analysis. The unique challenges of confidentiality and ethical issues are explored as well as implications for social change. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a qualitative research plan using a topic relevant to their capstone. RESI 8402.)
|Course Code||FPSY 8700||Course||Dissertation Literature Review Lab||Credits||(2 cr.)|
|Course Code||FPSY 8185||Course||Writing a Quality Prospectus in Psychology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
The purpose of this course is to help students prepare to write a well-structured, soundly presented, critical literature review. Students in the course cover topic selection, research analysis, writing, and editing. Upon completing the course, students produce an annotated bibliography and outline of a literature review using a minimum of 10 self-selected research articles. This course is appropriate for doctoral students who are preparing for their dissertation research.
This five-credit course is focused specifically on the process of writing the doctoral study prospectus. Students will use their preliminary research plan, developed previously, and develop a problem statement, to be used in the doctoral study. They further refine the problem statement and carry out the planning and the library research that will bring them to the formulation of a doctoral study prospectus. The prospectus is a brief paper, typically 15–20 pages in length, that lays out the background for the problem statement, the problem statement itself, a survey of the relevant literature (typically 25–75 references), and a research, implementation, and evaluation plan for the solution of the problem.
|Course Code||FPSY 9000*||Course||Doctoral Dissertation||Credits||(5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)|
Doctoral students in this course are provided with the opportunity to integrate their Program of Study into a research study through which they explore a specific area of interest. Students complete the dissertation with the guidance of a chair and committee members through a learning platform classroom in which weekly participation is required. Students work with their dissertation chair to write the prospectus, complete an approved proposal (the first three chapters of the dissertation), complete an application for Institutional Review Board approval, collect and analyze data, and complete the dissertation. During the final quarter, students prepare the dissertation for final review by the university and conclude with an oral defense of their dissertation. Once students register for FPSY 9000, they are registered each term until successful completion of the dissertation for a minimum of four terms.Students take this course for a minimum of four quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their dissertation with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval.To complete a dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the chief academic officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
*Students are continuously enrolled in FPSY 9000 for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion of their dissertation with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.
To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
8-Year Maximum Timeframe
Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements. See the policy in the Walden University Student Handbook. Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe, but an extension is not guaranteed.
Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, health issues, leaves of absence, or other personal circumstances.