The field of forensic psychology examines the intersection between human behavior and the law. In partnership with SDSU's Department of Psychology, and the Homeland Security Graduate Program, SDSU Global Campus offers a comprehensive online forensic psychology program specifically designed for professionals at the forefront of dealing with all aspects of criminal behavior. A key focus is on the populations being served by state and federal court and correctional systems, law enforcement agencies, mental health facilities, and juvenile facilities. The criminal justice system increasingly relies on professionals skilled in forensic psychology to help solve crimes and prevent future criminal behavior, and this certificate provides students with the knowledge and skills being sought by employers.

Earning a Forensic Psychology Certificate from SDSU Global Campus will help you explore criminology, psychology, and the complex relationship between crime and human behavior. You’ll also earn three PDUs per course.

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About the Program

Forensic psychology examines the complex relationship between human behavior and the law. From helping judges and attorneys understand the psychological aspects of a particular case to helping police and first responders to conduct threat assessments, develop criminal profiles, and examine the mental state of perpetrators, forensic psychology is a complex field with many different applications. Now more than ever, our nation’s criminal justice system needs highly-educated, knowledgeable professionals who understand mental health.

$3,495

Estimated Cost
($699 per course)

8 Months

Min. Completion Time

Online

Course Format

In partnership with SDSU's Department of Psychology and the Homeland Security Graduate Program, SDSU Global Campus is excited to offer a Professional Certificate in Forensic Psychology that’s specifically designed for professionals who deal with criminal behavior. Our online courses will help you work with populations being served by state and federal court and correctional systems, law enforcement agencies, mental health facilities, and juvenile facilities.

SDSU’s Forensic Psychology program is authorized by SDSU’s College of Sciences, which means you’ll be able to earn 3 Professional Development Units per course.

Is This Program Right for Me?

Whether your goal is launching a new career, advancing your current one, or exploring your interest in criminology and forensics, our online courses will help you develop a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of forensic psychology.

SDSU’s Forensic Psychology Certificate program is designed for professionals at the forefront of dealing with all aspects of criminal behavior. The curriculum is applicable to students in dozens of different career fields, including::

  • Social Workers
  • Intelligence Officers
  • First Responders
  • Law Enforcement
  • Correctional Officers
  • Community Organizers
  • Nurses and Healthcare Professionals
  • Disaster-Response Humanitarian Workers
  • Public Health and Public Safety Professionals
  • Paralegals
  • Homeland Security Professionals
  • Psychologists
  • Current and Future Forensic Psychologists

Because the coursework is entirely online, you’ll be able to work towards your Forensic Psychology Certificate without putting your professional life on hold. Courses are open to anyone interested, no application or prerequisites required. You can earn your certificate in as little as eight months, or take up to two years to complete the program. You’ll also be able to register for courses individually, depending on your interests and career goals.

What Can I Learn?

SDSU’s Forensic Psychology Certificate program will help you learn more about the complex relationship between crime and human behavior, while also developing a deeper understanding of the role that mental health plays in our nation’s criminal justice system.

Course topics include:

  • Fundamentals of forensic psychology
  • Mental health and criminal justice
  • Police and correctional psychology
  • Forensic assessment and report writing
  • Cyberpsychology
  • Expert witness courtroom and deposition testimony
  • Active shooter protocol

You’ll learn about the community-oriented goals of law enforcement, and how we start building trust and social capital on both sides with the goal of generating real solutions. You’ll also learn how to boost resilience in the wake of natural disasters and other community traumas. You’ll gain critical insights into legal issues and policies relating to criminality. The forensic psychology program also examines the biological, genetic, and chemical factors involved in criminal behavior, as well as society’s role in fostering and preventing criminal behavior.

You’ll learn in virtual classrooms led by a panel of expert instructors — including licensed psychologists and the Director of Resilience, Training, and Interventions for Countering Violence, Homeland Security Projects. Through their extensive professional experience, you’ll learn how to apply the principles of forensic psychology to your current profession.

Because the program was developed in partnership with SDSU’s Department of Psychology, all courses are authorized by SDSU’s College of Sciences. This means that you’ll be able to earn three (3) Professional Development Units (PDUs) per course, which many employers look at when making decisions regarding advancement and compensation.

Career Outcomes

Labor Analysis
Forensic Psychologists — Nationwide

Job Postings
180
Number of Jobs from last 12 months

Projected Growth
.2%
Projected job growth over 10 years

Salary Range
$96,027
Average salary

Students in our Forensic Psychology program come from many different backgrounds - including law enforcement, corrections, social work, public administration, healthcare, and psychology. With this program, you’ll be able to earn three (3) Professional Development Units per course, which may lead to higher pay and more opportunities for advancement in your current career.

Salaries can vary greatly, depending on your location, occupation, and level of experience. According to Payscale.com, forensic psychologists earn a median salary of $72,300 per year; those who accrue extensive experience can earn more than $150,000 per year.

Why Should You Choose Us?

Accessible

You can earn your forensic psychology certificate in as little as eight months, or you can take up to two years. Anyone can enroll in our forensic psychology courses, no matter what their academic experience or professional background is.

Job-Oriented

Our curriculum is continually evolving to meet the needs of today’s criminal justice professionals. You can also earn up to 3 Professional Development Units per course — 15 for the certificate — which can help you boost your résumé.

Diverse Focus

Our classes have been taken by law enforcement officers, correctional officers, social workers, first responders, and many other professionals who work in the broader field of criminal justice.

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To earn your Professional Certificate in Forensic Psychology, you’ll need to complete two (2) core courses and three (3) electives. Each course costs $699 and is worth three (3) Professional Development Units (PDUs).

Term Dates
Spring Block I: 1/23 - 3/17/23
Spring Block II: 3/20 - 5/5/23
Summer: 6/5 - 7/28/23

Click the course names below to read the course description. Click the Enroll button below or visit the How to Register tab once you’re ready to register.

Core Courses

Courses (complete both) Course Dates Registration Period
PSY 0050: Fundamentals of Forensic Psychology Mar 20-May 5 Dec 5-Mar 21
PSY 0051:Mental Health and Criminal Justice Jan 23-Mar 17 Dec 5-Jan 23

Dates and fees subject to change.

Elective Courses

Elective Courses (complete 3) Course Dates Registration Period
PSY 0052: Police and Correctional Psychology Mar 20-May 5  Dec 5-Mar 21
PSY 0054: Cyberpsychology    
PSY 0055: Expert Witness Courtroom and Deposition Testimony    
PSY 0056: Forensic Psych-Active Shooter (FPAS) Jan 23-Mar 17 Dec 5-Jan 23
PSY 0057: Forensic Assessment Jan 23-Mar 17 Dec 5-Jan 23
PSY 0058: Forensic Report Writing Mar 20-May 5 Dec 5-Mar 21

Dates and fees subject to change.

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Registration Instructions

Starting in the spring 2023 semester, SDSU Global Campus is using a new registration process for open courses. Please follow the instructions below to successfully enroll in courses.

  1. Once you’ve chosen your courses, click the Enroll button below to begin the registration process. Please indicate on the form that you’d like to register for courses.

  2. Once you’ve filled out the Enrollment form, you’ll receive a confirmation email from SDSU Global Campus within 2-3 business days with the next steps to complete your enrollment.

  3. Once registration opens for your courses, you can register in the my.SDSU portal.

  4. Complete your full payment in my.SDSU after your registration has been submitted. You will need to submit your full payment within 48 hours from the date you registered for your course.  If you do not submit your payment within the specified time frame, you will be dropped from your classes.

Courses can be completed in any order; however, if your background is unrelated to forensic psychology, we highly recommend you begin with the core courses. If you’ve completed relevant forensic psychology coursework at other schools and/or have three years of related professional experience, one of the courses may be waived, with faculty approval.

Click here for more details on registration

Finished all the required courses?

Click the button below to receive your certificate.

REQUEST YOUR CERTIFICATE

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I receive a letter grade at the completion of the course?

Yes. This course is authorized by SDSU’s College of Sciences. Students earn 3 Professional Development Units per course.

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How is the program structured?

Our forensic psychology certificate program is 100% online and mostly asynchronous. The program consists of two core classes and three electives. You can complete the program and earn your Professional Certificate in as little as eight months or you can take up to two years to complete the program.

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What is the program format?

Courses in our grant writing program are 100% online and feature a mostly asynchronous virtual instruction learning modality. This means:

  • Unless otherwise noted, instruction is provided through a combination of recorded and limited direct instruction with academic activities, quizzes, etc., at the arranged times and dates described in the footnotes and syllabus. Content may be open for restricted periods of time.
  • Students may be expected to attend any live sessions necessary to complete the course.
  • Final exams or assignments will be listed in the course syllabus and may need to be completed at a set time and date.
  • Faculty and instructors are available for office hours and instructional support when needed.

Mostly Asynchronous courses may be preferable for students in different time zones as they provide the flexibility to do work on your own schedule at your own pace. However, these courses may require group activities and arranged meetings with faculty.

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How do I receive my Professional Certificate once I’ve finished the program?

Once you’ve completed all the program requirements, fill out a certificate request form. SDSU Global Campus will verify that you’ve completed all the required courses and assignments. Once you’ve been verified, you’ll receive a digital copy of your certificate.

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I’m interested. How do I get started?

Ready to take the next step? Click here to connect with the SDSU Global Campus Welcome Center.

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Related Links

Request Your Certificate
Certificate Programs

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Want to Learn More?

Submit this web form and we’ll be in touch to answer all your questions and explain the next steps in the process. Or, you can reach a program recruiter by emailing recruiter.global@sdsu.edu or by calling (619) 594-7700.

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Courses

2022 Spring2022 Summer2022 Fall2023 Winter
PSY 0050 Fundamentals of Forensic Psychology

The course is intended to introduce students to the wide-range field of forensic psychology and is designed to consider the relationship between psychology and law by showing how psychological research and theory can inform the legal process. This course will examine the position and responsibilities of forensic psychologists in police work, criminal investigation, investigate behavioral analysis, threat assessment, eyewitness identification, school bullying, mental defenses and competency issues, sexual abuse issues, juvenile forensics and death penalty cases, and jury selection.

Format: Online

Course Date(s)

PSY 0051 Mental Health and Criminal Justice
This course provides an overview of psychological disorders across a lifespan, including their diagnosis, etiology, and treatment. This course will emphasize empirical research methods and findings, although case examples and general theoretical perspectives as a base. A combination of lecture, class discussion, and video will be used.

Format: Online

Course Date(s)

PSY 0052 Mental Health in Policing and Corrections

This course, in particular, will focus on the areas of Police Psychology and Correctional Psychology, how mental health issues affect these fields, and how to identify and respond as officers to inmates or patients with these concerns. This course is part of the forensic certificate program and is a good adjunct to the mental health in criminal justice course as well as the active shooter course.

PSY 0053 Forensic Psychological Assessment and Report Writing
This course is intended to introduce students to the components of forensic psychological assessment, including record review, clinical interviews, collateral interviews, and testing. This course will also introduce students to elements of forensic psychological reports, addressing format, content, and clarity. The factors that lend themselves to both “strong” and “weak” assessments and reports will be discussed, as will the ethics of forensic assessment and report writing, and the inherent biases of the examiner. This course will help prepare students to communicate with the courts in writing and offer well-supported findings on which future expert witness testimony may be based.

Format: Online

Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Anna Kafka
PSY 0054 Cyberpsychology
Cyberpsychology is an emerging field that blends developing technology and psychological concepts. Cyberpsychology is the study of how humans are impacted by technology, how individuals interact on the Internet, and the effect of cyberspace interactions on mental health. This class will focus on these issues as well as online identities, cyberbullying, online dating, and cybercrime.

Format: Online

Course Date(s)

PSY 0055 Expert Witness Courtroom and Deposition Testimony
This course is intended to introduce students to the fundamentals of expert witness testimony. Students will learn the roles and responsibilities of expert witnesses, how to prepare for testimony, and what to expect from direct and cross-examination.

Format: Online

Course Date(s)

PSY 0056 Forensic Psych-Active Shooter
Forensic Psych-Active Shooter (FPAS) is specifically tailored to engage your subconscious awareness, allowing implicit action to occur when your brain is faced with alarming circumstances. We focus on improving your ability to think critically and to make acceptable decisions applying sound, fundamental principles. The course seeks to train, develop and produce a decision maker, confident in your ability to make sound tactical decisions when placed within scenarios progressing in complexity and design. You'll be introduced to advanced concepts, new technology, tactics and techniques, and procedures through professional reading, classroom instruction, tactical decision games, which are reinforced through daily journaling and guided discussions.

Format: Online

Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Michael Owen
PSY 0057 Forensic Assessment
This course is intended to introduce students to the components of forensic assessment, including record review, forensic interviews, collateral interviews, and testing. The factors that lend themselves to both “strong” and “weak” assessments will be discussed, as will the ethics of forensic assessment and the inherent biases of the examiner. This course will help prepare students to arrive at well-supported findings on which future forensic reports and expert witness testimony may be based.

Format: Online

Course Date(s)

Register
PSY 0058 Forensic Report Writing
This course is intended to introduce students to elements of forensic report writing, including format, content, and clarity. The factors that lend themselves to both “strong” and “weak” reports will be discussed, as will the ethics of report writing and the inherent biases of the examiner. This course will help prepare students to communicate with courts and administrative bodies in writing and offer well-supported findings on which future expert witness testimony may be based.

Format: Online

Course Date(s)