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's College of Extended Studies 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.
Estimated Cost Estimated Cost
Completion Time Min. Completion Time
8 Months
Course Format Course Format

Authorized by SDSU’s College of Sciences. Students earn 3 Professional Development Units per course.

About This Certificate
The forensic psychology certificate program gives professionals who work in fields related to criminal behavior, a look at the community-oriented goals of law enforcement, and the tools to help build trust and social capital on both sides, with the goal of generating real solutions. It also offers proven tools to boost resilience in the wake of natural disasters and other community traumas. Students interested in becoming a forensic psychologist will gain critical insights into legal issues and policies relating to criminality; the biological, genetic, and chemical factors involved in criminal behavior; and society’s role in fostering and preventing criminal behavior.

Program Highlights

  • Fully online
  • $699
  • Eight-week courses
  • Authorized by SDSU's College of Sciences. Earn 3 Professional Development Credits per course.
  • Complete in as few as eight months or take up to two years

Who Will Benefit
This certificate program is designed for professionals at the forefront of dealing with all aspects of criminal behavior. This includes social workers, intelligence officers, first responders, correctional officers, community organizers, and those working in the fields of nursing, public health, paralegal, and psychology. Those interested in forensic psychology, homeland security, public safety, and disaster-response humanitarian assistance will also benefit.

Certificate Requirements
To earn the Professional Certificate in Forensic Psychology, you must successfully complete two (2) core courses and three (3) electives. If your background is unrelated to forensic psychology, we highly recommend you begin with the core courses.

Core Courses (complete both*) Instructor Spring 2020 Summer 2020 Fall 2020
Fundamentals of Forensic Psychology Dr. Katherine Turner 1/6-3/7   8/31-10/25
Mental Health and Criminal Justice Dr. Katherine Turner   5/4-6/28  
Elective Courses (complete 3) Instructor Spring 2020 Summer 2020 Fall 2020
Police and Correctional Psychology Anthony J. Ewing; Dr. Melissa Kastner-Treisman      
Forensic Psychological Assessment and Report Writing Dr. Anna Kafka      
Expert Witness Courtroom and Deposition Testimony Dr. Anna Kafka 3/9-5/3    
Forensic Psych-Active Shooter (FPAS) Michael F. Owen   7/6-8/30  
Cyberpsychology Dr. Jessica Mueller     10/26-12/20

Dates and prices subject to change.

*If you’ve completed relevant forensic psychology coursework at other schools and/or have three years of related professional experience, one of the courses can be waived.

For more information, email or call (619) 594-3946.


2020 Spring2020 Summer2020 Fall
2020 Fall
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.

Course Date(s)
August 31 - October 25
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.
Course Date(s)

Katherine Turner
PSY 0052 Police and Correctional Psychology
In this course you will learn about the intersection of mental health, the practice of psychology and two major forensic fields. By the end of the course students will have learned about many topics in both forensic fields including: Police Interviews, Domestic Violence, Use of Force, Suicide and Law Enforcement, Cops in Trouble, Restorative Justice, Peer Support, Complex Trauma and Grief, Critical Incidents, Psychological Disorders Involved in Crime, Type of Forensic Evaluations Inmates in Jail Undergo, Family Crimes, Malingering, Sex Crimes, Stalking and Harassment, Death Penalty, Crime Victims and Gangs.
Course Date(s)

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.
Course Date(s)

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.
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.
Course Date(s)

Anna Kafka
2020 Summer
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.
Course Date(s)
July 6 - August 30
Michael Owen


San Diego Workforce Partnership: Creating Workforce Solutions
SDSU World Campus is a State-approved provider for the Federal Workforce Investment Act for this program.