Skip to Main Content

College of Psychology and Community Services:
PhD in Forensic Psychology

Students in Walden’s PhD in Forensic Psychology program will explore the systems and programs that strive to create positive change in the legal system and community settings. Students can broaden their understanding of advanced forensic psychology and examine ways to evaluate programs designed for populations such as the incarcerated, recently released offenders, the mentally ill, and juvenile offenders. Walden’s PhD in Forensic Psychology program offers a variety of specializations to help students meet their personal and professional goals. Students may choose from the General Program or the following specializations: Criminal Justice Self-Designed, Crisis Leadership Management, Crisis Response, Legal Issues in Forensic Psychology, Self-Designed, or Victimology.

Note on Licensure

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

Learning Outcomes

As graduates of this program, students will be prepared to:

  1. Evaluate behavior using psychological theory and research from a forensic psychology perspective.
  2. Analyze seminal works in forensic psychology in terms of their relation to education and/or research.
  3. Differentiate between advanced legal concepts pertaining to forensic psychology.
  4. Integrate principles of advanced research methods to produce independent scholarly research related to forensic psychology.
  5. Evaluate how assessment elements (psychological assessment, risk assessment, psychological reports) are used within forensic psychology settings.
  6. Engage in decision making using relevant ethical codes (e.g., APA and Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists) in forensic work settings.
  7. Promote social change through the integration of principles of forensic psychology in scholarly and/or professional activities.

Specializations

Learning Tracks

There are two tracks in the PhD in Forensic Psychology:

  • Track 1: For Those Entering With a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology
  • Track 2: For Those Entering With a Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree in Unrelated Field

Degree Requirements

Track 1: For Those Entering With a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundation course (3 credits)
  • Core courses (25 credits)
  • Research courses (10 credits)
  • Specialization courses (15 credits)
  • Completion of Doctoral Dissertation
    • Dissertation support courses (7 credits)
    • Dissertation writing courses (5 credits per term for a minimum of four terms; taken continuously until completion)
  • Four PhD residencies

Course Sequence for Students Entering With an MS Degree

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1

FPSY 8002 - Foundations of Graduate Study in Psychology

3 credits

FPSY 8102 - Intersection of Crime, Psychology, and the Law

5 credits
Complete Residency 1 as soon as you begin your program; should be completed in Term 1 or Term 2.
Quarter 2

FPSY 8412 - Research Foundations

 OR 

RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

 OR 

RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis

5 credits
Specialization Course 5 credits
Quarter 3

RSCH 8360 - Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis

5 credits
Specialization Course 5–6 credits
Complete Residency 2 at the beginning of your second year, around the time of second research course.
Quarter 4

RSCH 8260 - Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

5 credits

FPSY 8126 - Understanding Violence, Risk, and Threat Assessment

5 credits
Quarter 5 Specialization Course 5–6 credits

FPSY 8910 - Legal Issues and Social Change in Forensic Psychology

5 credits
Quarter 6

FPSY 8700 - Dissertation Literature Review Lab

2 credits

FPSY 8400 - Advanced Issues in Forensic Psychology

5 credits
Quarter 7+

FPSY 8185 - Writing a Quality Prospectus in Psychology

5 credits
Complete Residency 3 once you have a prospectus in Walden’s review system.  
Quarter 8+

FPSY 9000 - Dissertation*

5 credits per term for a minimum of 4 terms; taken continuously until completion

Complete Residency 4 after your prospectus is approved as follows:

Optional: Complete a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during FPSY 9000. Contact Student Success Advising to register.

* 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. In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation course shell.

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.

Fast Track Option - Not Currently Accepting New Students

Walden offers a Fast-Track Option. With the Fast-Track Option, students take additional courses and begin their dissertation early to expedite their path through the program.

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundation course (3 credits)
  • Core courses (25 credits)
  • Research courses (10 credits)
  • Specialization courses (15 credits)
  • Completion of Doctoral Dissertation
    • Dissertation support courses (7 credits)
    • Dissertation writing courses (continuously enrolled until completion)
  • Four PhD residencies

Students must also

  • Pass a writing assessment.
  • Submit an application essay.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.

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 study course shell.

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.

Fast Track Course Sequence

Note: PhD in Forensic Psychology Fast-Track Option courses are identified with an APSY course prefix for enrollment purposes. APSY course descriptions align with corresponding FPSY courses, as listed below. 

Students undertake courses in the following sequence.

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1
FPSY 8002 - Foundations of Graduate Study in Psychology
3 credits
Complete Residency 1 as soon as you begin your program.  
FPSY 8102 - Intersection of Crime, Psychology, and the Law
5 credits
FPSY 8412 - Research Foundations
 OR
RSCH 8210O - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
 OR
RSCH 8310O - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Complete Residency 2 around the time of second research course.  
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
1 credits
Quarter 2
 
APSY 8XXX Specialization Course 1 5 credits
RSCH 8360 - Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
APSY 8XXX Specialization Course 2 5 credits
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
1 credits
Quarter 3
 
FPSY 8126 - Understanding Violence, Risk, and Threat Assessment
5 credits
APSY 8XXX Specialization Course 3 5 credits
RSCH 8260 - Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
FPSY 8700 - Dissertation Literature Review Lab
2 credits
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
1 credits
Quarter 4
 
FPSY 8910 - Legal Issues and Social Change in Forensic Psychology
5 credits
FPSY 8400 - Advanced Issues in Forensic Psychology
5 credits
FPSY 8185 - Writing a Quality Prospectus in Psychology
5 credits
Complete Residency 3 once you have a prospectus in Walden’s review system.
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
** 
2 credits

Complete Residency 4 while in the development stage of your Proposal:

  • residency (RESI 8404) OR
  • an approved professional conference (RESI 8900 based on program availability) OR
  • a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during FPSY 9000 to progress toward completion and defense of the dissertation. Contact Student Success Advising to register. Note: Intensives are not included in Fast Track tuition.
Quarter 5+
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
5 credits per term for a minimum of 3 terms; taken continuously until completion
Optional: Complete a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during FPSY 9000. Contact Student Success Advising to register. Note: Intensives are not included in Fast Track tuition

* FPSY 9000 aligns with APSY 9000A Dissertation Prep.
** FPSY 9000 aligns with APSY 9000B Dissertation Prep.

Track 2: For Those Entering With a Bachelor’s Degree or Master's Degree in Unrelated Field

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundation Course (3 credits)
  • Core courses (45 credits)
  • Research courses (20 credits)
  • Specialization courses (15 credits)
  • Completion of Doctoral Dissertation
    • Dissertation support courses (7 credits)
    • Dissertation writing courses (5 credits per term for a minimum of four terms; taken continuously until completion)
  • Four PhD residencies

Course Sequence

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1
FPSY 8002 - Foundations of Graduate Study in Psychology
3 credits
FPSY 8252 - Themes and Theories of Psychology
5 credits
Complete Residency 1 as soon as you begin your program; should be completed in Term 1 or Term 2.
Quarter 2
FPSY 8720 - Abnormal Behavior
5 credits
FPSY 8135 - Criminal Behavior
5 credits
Quarter 3
FPSY 8116 - Understanding Forensic Psychology Research
5 credits
FPSY 8126 - Understanding Violence, Risk, and Threat Assessment
5 credits
Quarter 4
FPSY 8762 - Teaching of Psychology
5 credits
RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Quarter 5 Specialization Course 5 credits
Complete Residency 2 at the beginning of your second year, around the time of second research course (RSCH 8310).  
RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Quarter 6
FPSY 8314 - Program Evaluation
5 credits
RSCH 8260 - Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Quarter 7 Specialization Course 5–6 credits
RSCH 8360 - Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Quarter 8
FPSY 8700 - Dissertation Literature Review Lab
2 credits
FPSY 8400 - Advanced Issues in Forensic Psychology
5 credits
Quarter 9
FPSY 8214 - Consulting for Organizational Change
5 credits
Specialization Course 5–6 credits
Quarter 10+ FPSY 8185 - Writing a Quality Prospectus in Psychology 5 credits
Complete Residency 3 once you have a prospectus in Walden’s review system.  
Quarter 11+
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation*
5 credits per term for a minimum of 4 terms; taken continuously until completion

Complete Residency 4 after your prospectus is approved as follows:

  • Residency 4 General (RESI 8404) OR
  • Residency 4 Proposal Writing (RESI 8404Q) OR
  • Residency 4 Methods & Data Collection: Qualitative (RESI 8404R) OR
  • Residency 4 Methods & Data Collection: Quantitative (RESI 8404S) OR
  • Residency 4 Publishing & Presenting (RESI 8404T) OR
  • an approved professional conference (RESI 8900 for select programs only. Contact Advising for information.) OR
  • a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during your 9000 course. Contact Student Success Advising to register. You must attend all sessions and advising throughout the entire intensive retreat in order to successfully complete the experience to satisfy residency 4 requirements. NOTE: Intensive Retreats are NOT included in Fast Track tuition.
Optional: Complete a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during FPSY 9000. Contact Student Success Advising to register.

* 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. In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation course shell.

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.

Fast Track Option - Not Currently Accepting New Students

Walden offers a Fast-Track Option. With the Fast-Track Option, students take additional courses and begin their dissertation early to expedite their path through the program.

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundation course (3 credits)
  • Core courses (45 credits)
  • Research courses (20 credits)
  • Specialization courses (15 credits)
  • Completion of Doctoral Dissertation
    • Dissertation support courses (7 credits)
    • Dissertation writing courses (continuously enrolled until completion)
  • Four PhD residencies

In addition, students must

  • Pass a writing assessment.
  • Submit an application essay.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.

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 course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation course shell.

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.

Fast Track Course Sequence

Note: PhD in Forensic Psychology Fast-Track Option courses are identified with an APSY course prefix for enrollment purposes. APSY course descriptions align with corresponding FPSY courses, as listed below.

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1
 
FPSY 8002 - Foundations of Graduate Study in Psychology
3 credits
Complete Residency 1 as soon as you begin your program; should be completed in Term 1 or Term 2.  
FPSY 8252 - Themes and Theories of Psychology
5 credits
FPSY 8720 - Abnormal Behavior
*
5 credits
Quarter 2
FPSY 8135 - Criminal Behavior
5 credits
FPSY 8116 - Understanding Forensic Psychology Research
5 credits
FPSY 8126 - Understanding Violence, Risk, and Threat Assessment
5 credits
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
** 
1 credits
Quarter 3
 
FPSY 8762 - Teaching of Psychology
5 credits
RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
APSY  8XXX Specialization #1 5 credits
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
** 
1 credits
Quarter 4
 
RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Complete Residency 2 at the beginning of your second year, around the time of second research course (RSCH 8310).  
FPSY 8314 - Program Evaluation
5 credits
RSCH 8260 - Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
** 
1 credits
Quarter 5
 
APSY 8XXX Specialization #2 5 credits
RSCH 8360 - Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
FPSY 8700 - Dissertation Literature Review Lab
2 credits
FPSY 8400 - Advanced Issues in Forensic Psychology
5 credits
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
** 
1 credits
Quarter 6
 
FPSY 8214 - Consulting for Organizational Change
5 credits
APSY 8XXX Specialization #3 5 credits
FPSY 8185 - Writing a Quality Prospectus in Psychology
5 credits
Complete Residency 3 once you have a prospectus in Walden’s review system.  
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
** 
1 credits

Complete Residency 4 while in the development stage of your Proposal:

  • residency (RESI 8404) OR
  • an approved professional conference (RESI 8900 based on program availability) OR
  • a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during FPSY 9000 to progress toward completion and defense of the dissertation. Contact Student Success Advising to register. Note: Intensives are not included in Fast Track tuition.
Quarter 7+
FPSY 9000 - Dissertation
5 credits per term for a minimum of 3 terms; taken continuously until completion
Optional: Complete a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during FPSY 9000. Contact Student Success Advising to register. Note: Intensives are not included in Fast Track tuition.

 * FPSY 8720 aligns with APSY 8722 Abnormal Behavior.
** FPSY 9000 aligns with APSY 9000A Dissertation Prep.

Master of Philosophy (Embedded Degree)

Walden awards the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree to recognize PhD students for academic achievement leading up to their dissertation. With an MPhil, students will be able to demonstrate to employers and others that they have an advanced knowledge base in their field of study as well as proficiency in research design and evaluation.

  • Students are eligible to apply for this credential while continuing their PhD program once they have completed:
    • All required PhD core courses (or KAMs)
    • All required PhD specialization courses (or KAMs)
    • All required doctoral research and advanced research courses
    • Program prospectus development course
    • Residencies 1, 2, and 3
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA is mandatory.
  • The MPhil requires a minimum of 45 quarter credits. Maximum transfer of credit varies by program but is not to exceed 50% of the overall, or embedded, program requirements.

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start or readmit to doctoral programs at Walden University in the university catalog for academic year 2017 or later will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level.

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start or readmit to doctoral programs at Walden University in the university catalog for academic year 2017 or later will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level.

8-Year Maximum Time Frame

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.

Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements (see Enrollment Requirements in the student handbook). Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum time frame, but an extension is not guaranteed.