Q: My daughter wants to pursue a career in criminal psychology. Can you please guide us about the colleges and courses?
Criminal psychology is the confluence of psychology, criminology and criminal justice. A criminal psychologist is coached to study the thoughts, behaviour and intentions of criminals. Trained in human behaviour, criminal psychologists work closely with the entire justice department with the intent to not only understand but also reduce and prevent offending behaviour.
To help solve crimes, a criminal psychologist will assess the personality, lifestyle and other idiosyncrasies of the perpetrator. Perhaps the most used expertise of a criminal psychologist by law enforcement agencies is 'offender profiling', a practice that started during the Second World War with the intention of offering suggestions and strategies to be used during interrogation. In addition, criminal psychologists also work in various capacities, from being an expert witness for the victim to helping rehabilitate the offender to assisting in selection of a jury.
Considering the realm of work it is essential for a criminal psychologist to be highly trained in law, human behaviour, sociology, biology and forensics. And within the law they should be very well conversant with mental health law.
A degree in criminal psychology requires studying criminology as a major subject and psychology as a minor. It is also possible to study general psychology as the bachelor programme and further enhance your qualification with a specialisation in Criminology/Criminal psychology or forensic psychology.
In selecting a university you should ensure the programme is accredited by appropriate authorities.
Universities that offer this subject would include George Washington University, NYU, University of Denver, Teesside, Staffordshire, Kent and Christ College. Another option would be to do a joint degree in psychology and law.
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