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PhD in Forensic Psychology: Choosing a Specialization

Explore some of the specializations you can choose from in Walden’s PhD in Forensic Psychology program.

When you earn your PhD in Forensic Psychology, you position yourself for a variety of opportunities and advancements in the field—and specialized coursework within your program can give you a competitive edge. So, which specializations can you choose from as you work toward your PhD degree? Below, we outline five options from Walden’s forensic psychology doctoral program.

PhD in Forensic Psychology: Choosing a Specialization

Crisis Response

In this specialization, you can learn how to work with police departments and other law enforcement agencies to assist in officer selection and training, stress management, critical incident stress debriefing, hostage negotiations, and selection of special operations officers. The Crisis Response specialization is a good choice if you want to understand the impact of dealing firsthand with victims and first responders as well as the impact of post-traumatic stress on law enforcement and their families.


In addition to learning about offender behavior throughout the forensic psychology program, specializing in Victimology allows you to focus on the experience of the victim as well as the first responders who may experience vicarious traumatization by working closely with victims. The online coursework explores a multitude of stress disorders and applicable treatment models.

Criminal Justice

By focusing on criminal justice practice and theory, you can gain a broader understanding of the intersection between the forensic psychology and criminal justice fields. In this specialization, you can expand your comprehension of how forensic psychology professionals, criminal justice practitioners, and victim advocates work together.

Legal Issues in Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology professionals play a vital role in the U.S. legal system. That’s because they are often called upon to provide their expertise on issues that intersect with psychology and the law. In the Legal Issues in Forensic Psychology specialization, you will study probation and parole services, corrections, and their interaction in the criminal justice system. You will also examine the different ways you can work with the court system as you gain knowledge of expert testimony, jury selection, and eyewitness testimony.

Crisis Leadership Management

The Crisis Leadership Management specialization allows you to develop leadership insights that can prepare you to effectively manage crisis situations. You will also learn to assess traditional and current literature and complete practical exercises to learn about theories of trauma; actions and behaviors following a disaster; stress, coping, and adjustment difficulties; and psychological disorders. Advance your management skills by exploring definitions of leadership, major theoretical leadership models, and contextual and situational factors related to leadership and change.

Gain Distinction in the Field and Advance Your Career by Earning Your PhD Degree in Psychology at Walden University

In Walden’s PhD in Forensic Psychology program, you can develop deeper insight into the nexus between psychology and the criminal justice system; explore mental health issues that may drive criminal behavior; and prepare to make a social impact as a researcher, teacher, or consultant. Learn from subject matter experts and thought leaders in the field as you delve into real-world case studies and problems. And at Walden—an accredited university—it’s more possible than ever to earn your doctorate in psychology while balancing priorities, because you can complete coursework at whatever time of day works best for you from wherever you have internet access.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Forensic Psychology and a PhD in Forensic Psychology program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Note on Licensure
The PhD in Forensic Psychology is not a licensure program and does not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology professional.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,