Forensic Psychology


Our Forensic Psychology program ties the classroom to the world, and you'll thrive through experience. Intern as a victim advocate. Guide a former inmate through programs and resources. Or, research patterns of crime. At SAU, your education amplifies your impact in the world.

Our graduates work at U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa; Lutheran Social Services of Illinois; Rosecrance Health Network; Texas Services for Veterans Families.


Ambrose Advantages

  • Unique Program: One of Only 10 in The Nation!
  • Live-Changing Experiences
  • Guided Internship
  • Concentration in Adult or Children Services

Shyam Seetharaman

Julie Kettman talking to students

computer and noteboook

Forensic psychology dives into the mind and how it ties into action. While that's at the core of your studies, SAU will take you farther. You'll build ethics, strengthen your dedication to serve, and find your career fit through true experience. Research with faculty. Intern at the county jail. Or tackle an independent project. We go far beyond traditional undergraduate programs.

Read Our Forensic Psychology Fact Sheet (pdf)


More Information on the Forensic Psychology Program

What will I learn?

You will study criminal behavior, treatment of victims, theories of counseling, criminal law and procedure, and drugs and society. And because your education is grounded in the liberal arts, developing skills such as writing, research, and problem-solving are part of the curriculum.

Courses such as Brain and Behavior walk you through the construction of the human nervous system and how those biological mechanisms are relevant to psychology. Before you graduate, you'll dive into research and methodology in the Advanced Experimental Design and Analysis course. Read Course Descriptions

SAU faculty have diverse experience in psychological research and clinical practice, and they share their expertise in neuroscience and forensic areas, too. They've created unique courses, research opportunities, and internships beyond traditional undergraduate programs. And, they believe their job is to teach and mentor.

From your first year to your last, you will meet with a faculty member at least once a semester to discuss your goals and paths to enhance your education. They offer career advice and can help you with graduate school applications.

What are some unique opportunities I will have?
  • Help Professor Andrew Kaiser, PhD, enter, analyze, and interpret data from inmates at the Scott County Jail for a study on recidivism. In some cases, students can observe inmate interviews and use the project data to develop independent research projects.
  • Work with faculty on projects through the Summer Research Institute, independent research practicums, or the Honors Program.
  • We challenge your education, and elevate it, in ways you never imagined. For one semester you will spend at least 120 hours as an on-site intern at a treatment center, jail, prison, court, parole office, law enforcement agency, or in the court system, offender programs, and more.
  • Many of our students have secured competitive national summer internships at sites including the Mayo Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Behavioral Neuropsychology Clinic; Florida International University; and Chicago's Children's Research Triangle.
  • Join Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.
  • Join the Psychology Club, which holds joint meetings and events with the SAU Psi Chi Chapter.
  • Get involved. Support local chapters of national organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness; volunteer or lead campus activities; and join professional organizations.
  • SAU hosts a number of university and community events and conferences on everything from politics to nonviolence.
Study Abroad

You've heard people say it before: "College will be the greatest time of your life!" With Study Abroad, you can add even more to your college years.

You can study in another country in a semester-long or short-term study abroad program (with a few offered during spring and winterim breaks). No matter the duration, these trips deepen your professional education while earning credit toward graduation.

There are also opportunities through an exchange program, an overseas internship, or volunteering. The limits for Study Abroad are only ones you set for yourself! SAU students have studied in Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, Korea, United Kingdom, Spain, Ecuador, Japan, Germany, Peru, Cyprus, Croatia, Belize, Canada, Chile, and more.

SAU students returning from their Study Abroad locations talk about their time away as life-changing - personally, emotionally, culturally, and academically. Click here to search our Study Abroad programs, and for general information click here.

What are some potential career outcomes?

A Forensic psychology major may work as a victim advocate, court liaison, in law enforcement and probation, as a crime analyst, investigative researcher, employment counselor, correction counselor trainee, interviewer, personnel analysts, and more.

To become a licensed psychologist, you will need a master's or doctorate degree (depending on the state in which you practice). Many of our majors continue their education at SAU in graduate programs such as Master of Social Work or Master of Criminal Justice. Both over online course options!

What have alumni of this program done?

Kirstin Kramer '12 is a Community Corrections Specialist at the Washington State Department of Corrections.

Eryka Berglund '14 continued her education at Western Illinois University in clinical mental health counseling.

Faculty

Andy Kaiser, PhD, Professor and Chair

Robin Anderson, PhD, Professor
Jennifer Best, MSEd, Visiting Asst. Professor
Carol DeVolder, PhD, Professor
Judy Correa Kaiser, PhD, Professor
Julie Jenks Kettman, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Katrina Okerstrom-Jezewski, Asst. Professor
John Stachula, PhD, Professor
Katie Trujillo, PhD, Professor

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology

Required:
+PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology
PSYC 215 Research Methods
PSYC 306 Social Psychology or +SOC 220 Self and Society
PSYC 321 Psychology and Law
PSYC 325 Psychology of Criminal Behavior
PSYC 328 Psychology and Treatment of the Victim
PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling
PSYC 421 Internship in Forensic Psychology (3-6 credits)
+CRJU 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
CRJU 221 Criminal Law and Procedure
CRJU 400 Criminological Theory
SOC 342 Drugs and Society
+STAT 213 Applied Statistical Reasoning for the Sciences

Choose one concentration area
Concentration in Children Services (12 hours): CRJU 316 Juvenile Justice, PSYC 326 Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, PSYC 327 Psychology and Treatment of the Juvenile Offender, and PSYC 384 Advanced Child and Adolescent Development.

Concentration in Adult Services (12 hours): CRJU 231 Contemporary Corrections, CRJU 313 Offender Treatment and Theories, CRJU 314 Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections, and PSYC 324 Abnormal Psychology.

Internship Program: Students receive practical experience in Forensic Psychology by enrolling in internship placements in settings such as outpatient/inpatient treatment facilities, jails/prisons, state/federal courts, probation/parole facilities, community programs for treating the offender population, policing organizations, and agencies related to the family court or treatment of youthful offenders (including schools).

+satisfies a general education requirement

Click here to read course descriptions for Psychology

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Forensic Psychology. This plan assumes the student has not satisfied the foreign language requirement (three years of high school foreign language).

Check the online course catalog for prerequisites.

Year One

FallCreditSpringCredit
ENGL 101 3 Oral Communication 3
MATH 171 Elementary Functions 3 †STAT 213 Applied Stats/Science 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Catholic Intellectual Tradition 3
PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology 3 †Foreign Language 102 3
CRJU 101 Intro to Criminal Justice 3 *Liberal Arts Perspective 3
New Student Seminar 1 KIN Activity 1-2
KIN 149 1
Total Credits 17 Total Credits 16-17

Year Two

FallCreditSpringCredit
†Liberal Arts Perspective: Natural Science (Rec. BIOL 101, CHEM 101) + Lab (Gen Ed) 3-4 *Liberal Arts Perspective 3
†PSYC 215 Research Methods 3 †PSYC 324 (ADULT) OR PSYC 326 (CHILD) 3
†PSYC 321 Psychology & Law 3 †PSYC 325 Psychology of Criminal Behavior 3
†CRJU 221 Criminal Law & Procedure 3 PHIL/THEO 300 Level 3
†CRJU 313 (ADULT) or PSYC 384 (CHILD) 3 †WI Course (200 or 300 any department) 3
**Experiential Learning **Experiential Learning             
Total Credits 15-16 Total Credits 15-18

Year Three

FallCreditSpringCredit
†PSYC 328 Psychology & Treatment of Victims 3 †PSYC 342 3
†PSYC 306 OR SOC 220 3 †CRJU 314 (ADULT) OR PSYC 327 (CHILD) 3
*Liberal Arts Perspective (Gen Ed ) 3 †CRJU 231 (ADULT) OR CRJU 316 (CHILD) 3
†SOC 342 Drugs & Society              3 300 Level Elective or Minor 3
Catholic Intellectual Tradition 3 Elective: PSYC 255 (ADULT) OR Elective/2nd major/minor (CHILD) 3
**Experiential Learning **Experiential Learning
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

FallCreditSpringCredit
†PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Internship 3 †PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Internship 3
†CRJU 400 Criminological Theory 3 †PSYC 300 or 400 level 3
300 level Electives 9 Electives or Minor 9
Major Field Test (Required for Graduation)
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

*Liberal Arts Perspective History category must be from 2 different departments
**PSYC 294/394 Research Practicum (if taking Research course for credit PSYC 105- Must talk to Psych Advisor); Volunteering, Psychology Club, Exploration of Graduate School)
†Needs pre-requisite

ADULT=Concentration in Adult Services
CHILD=Concentration in Children Services
WI =writing intensive

BA-MSW Program

Being interested in studying and understanding human emotion, cognition, and behavior might be why students want to major in psychology. These are also reasons why people become social workers!

Psychology majors benefit from unique coursework on mental health, developmental and social influences on human behavior, as well as on how the brain functions. This background provides a solid foundation for developing the skills that social workers need when assessing and counseling clients and offers an extra layer of understanding and insight into client issues and motivations.

Further, psychology's roots in answering questions about human behavior through conducting scientific research prepares social workers to understand and design research in their field that will allow them to use best practices with clients and organizations.

For all of these reasons and more, this pairing of psychology and social work - as well as the completion of your internship - helps graduates really stand out in job interviews.

Course Sequence

The timeline for achieving your Master of Social Work degree in five years is listed below. While students don't have to follow this plan exactly, it's an example of how the degree can be achieved. Requirements for a major in Psychology with an interdisciplinary minor in Peace and Justice Studies are in boldRead the admissions requirements here.

First Year (30 undergraduate credits)

Semester 1: PSYC 105, Math pre-requisite for statistics
Semester 2: PSYC 215 OR 212

Second Year (30 undergraduate credits)

Semester 1: PSYC 215 or 212
Semester 2: STAT 213, PSYC 255, PSYC 324, PSCI 309

Third Year (18 undergraduate credits; 12 graduate credits)

Semester 1: PSYC 300-level "other," PSYCH 300-level, HIST 330; MSW 510, 610
Semester 2: WI-PSYC 342, 300-LEVEL, PHIL 343; MSW 520, 620

Fourth Year (12 undergraduate credits; 18 graduate credits)

Semester 1: JPS Capstone; MSW 591, 710, 810
Semester 2: Two gen ed courses; MSW 592, 720, 820

Fifth Year (30 graduate credits)

Semester 1: MSW 530, 593, 603; two MSW electives
Semester 2: MSW 540, 594, 604; two MSW electives

BA-MPH

This is the plan to graduate in five years with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology (Adult Concentration) with a Master of Public Health. Click here to see the Child Concentration.

This plan assumes the student has not taken three years of foreign language in high school. Check the Course Catalog for prerequisites and course descriptions.


Year One

FallCreditSpringCredit
English Composition 101 (Gen Ed) 3 Oral Communication (Gen Ed) 3
MATH 171 Elementary Functions 3 STAT 213 Applied Stats/Science (Gen Ed) 3
Second Language 101 (Gen Ed) 3 Catholic Intellectual Tradition (Gen Ed) 3
PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology 3 Second Language 102 (Gen Ed) 3
CRJU 101 Intro to Criminal Justice 3 **Liberal Arts Perspective (Gen Ed ) 3
New Student Seminar 1 KIN Activity Course or Samaritan 1-2
KIN 149 Wellness Concepts (Gen Ed) 1
Total Credits 17 Total Credits 16-17

Year Two

FallCreditSpringCredit
Liberal Arts Perspective: Natural Science (Rec. BIOL 101, CHEM 101) + Lab (Gen Ed) 3- 4 Liberal Arts Perspective (Gen Ed ) 3
PSYC 215 Research Methods 3 PSYC 324 Abnormal Psychology 3
PSYC 321 Psychology & Law 3 PSYC 325 Psychology of Criminal Behavior 3
CRJU 221 Criminal Law & Procedure 3 Catholic Intellectual Tradition (Gen Ed) PHIL or THEO 300 Level 3-6
CRJU 313 Offender Treatment: Methods & Theories 3 WI Course (200 or 300 any department) 3
**Experiential Learning   NA **Experiential Learning NA
Total Credits 15-1 6 Total Credits 15-18

Year Three

Fall Credit Spring Credit
PSYC 328 Psychology & Treatment of Victims 3 WI-PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling 3
PSYC 306 Social Psychology or SOC 220 Self & Society 3 CRJU 314 Probation, Parole, Community Corrections 3
*Liberal Arts Perspective (Gen Ed ) 3 CRJU 231 Contemporary Corrections 3
SOC 342 Drugs & Society 3 300 Level Elective or Minor 3
Catholic Intellectual Tradition 3 Elective: PSYC 255 Brain & Behavior or Minor 3
**Experiential Learning NA **Experiential Learning NA
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

MPH courses are taken online, asynchronous.

FallCreditSpringCredit
PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Internship 3 PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Internship 3
CRJU 400 Criminological Theory 3 PSYC 300 or 400 level 3
Major Field Test (Required for Graduation) Elective 3
Elective 3 Spring 1 MPH 525 (biostats) 3
Fall 1 MPH 510 (PH concepts) 3 Spring 2 MPH 530 (qualitative) 3
Fall 1 MPH 516 (ILE/APE Planning/Advising) 1
Fall 2 MPH 520 (epidemiology) 3
Total Credits 16 Total Credits 15

Summer

MPH 610 Evidenced-Based Pract, 3 credits
Global Health Systems, 3 credits

Year Five

FallCreditSpringCredit
Fall 1 MPH 515 Health Promotion 3 Spring 1 MPH 620 Global Health Policy 3
Fall 1 MPH 680 Management Leadership 3 Spring 1 MPH 625 Applied Practicum Experience 3
Fall 2 MPH 540 Beh/Env/Soc 3 Spring 2 MPH 630 Equity/Ethics 3
Fall 2 MPH 690 Community Health Analysis 3 Spring 2 MPH 700 Integrated Learning Experience 3
Total Credits 12 Total Credits 12


**Liberal Arts Perspective History category must be from two different departments

*** PSYC 294 /394 Research Practicum (if would like to take Research course for credit PSYC 105- Must talk to Psych Advisor); Volunteering, Psychology Club, Exploration of Graduate School)


This is the plan to graduate in five years with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology (Child Concentration) with a Master of Public Health.

This plan assumes the student has not taken three years of foreign language in high school. Check the Course Catalog for prerequisites and course descriptions.

Year One

FallCreditSpringCredit
English Composition 101 (Gen Ed) 3 Oral Communication (Gen Ed) 3
MATH 171 Elementary Functions 3 STAT 213 Applied Stats/Science (Gen Ed) 3
Second Language 101 (Gen Ed) 3 Catholic Intellectual Tradition (Gen Ed) 3
PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology 3 Second Language 102 (Gen Ed) 3
CRJU 101 Intro to Criminal Justice 3 **Liberal Arts Perspective (Gen Ed ) 3
New Student Seminar 1 KIN Activity Course or Samaritan 1-2
KIN 149 Wellness Concepts (Gen Ed) 1
Total Credits 17 Total Credits 16-17

Year Two

FallCreditSpringCredit
Liberal Arts Perspective: Natural Science (Rec. BIOL 101, CHEM 101) + Lab (Gen Ed) 3- 4 Liberal Arts Perspective (Gen Ed ) 3
PSYC 215 Research Methods 3 PSYC 326 Child Psychopathology 3
PSYC 321 Psychology & Law 3 PSYC 325 Psychology of Criminal Behavior 3
CRJU 221 Criminal Law & Procedure 3 Catholic Intellectual Tradition (Gen Ed) PHIL or THEO 300 Level 3-6
CRJU 384 Adv. Child and Adol. Dev. 3 WI Course (200 or 300 any department) 3
**Experiential Learning   NA **Experiential Learning NA
Total Credits 15-1 6 Total Credits 15-18

Year Three

Fall Credit Spring Credit
PSYC 328 Psychology & Treatment of Victims 3 WI-PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling 3
PSYC 306 Social Psychology or SOC 220 Self & Society 3 CRJU 327 Psychology and Treatment of Juvenile Offender 3
*Liberal Arts Perspective (Gen Ed ) 3 CRJU 316 Juvenile Offender 3
SOC 342 Drugs & Society 3 300 Level Elective or Minor (rec: PSYC 255) 3
Catholic Intellectual Tradition 3 Elective/2nd Major or Minor 3
**Experiential Learning NA **Experiential Learning NA
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

MPH courses are taken online, asynchronous.

FallCreditSpringCredit
PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Internship 3 PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Internship 3
CRJU 400 Criminological Theory 3 PSYC 300 or 400 level 3
Major Field Test (Required for Graduation) Elective 3
Elective 3 Spring 1 MPH 525 (biostats) 3
Fall 1 MPH 510 (PH concepts) 3 Spring 2 MPH 530 (qualitative) 3
Fall 1 MPH 516 (ILE/APE Planning/Advising) 1
Fall 2 MPH 520 (epidemiology) 3
Total Credits 16 Total Credits 15

Summer

MPH 610 Evidenced-Based Pract, 3 credits
Global Health Systems, 3 credits

Year Five

FallCreditSpringCredit
Fall 1 MPH 515 Health Promotion 3 Spring 1 MPH 620 Global Health Policy 3
Fall 1 MPH 680 Management Leadership 3 Spring 1 MPH 625 Applied Practicum Experience 3
Fall 2 MPH 540 Beh/Env/Soc 3 Spring 2 MPH 630 Equity/Ethics 3
Fall 2 MPH 690 Community Health Analysis 3 Spring 2 MPH 700 Integrated Learning Experience 3
Total Credits 12 Total Credits 12


**Liberal Arts Perspective History category must be from two different departments


Meet One of Our Alumni


Our alumni and students are doing some fantastic things, something that has become a hallmark of anyone associated with the Forensic Psychology program at St. Ambrose. Learn about a few of our alumni:

Kirsten Kramer, '16

Kirstin Navaroli

Forensic Psychology,Programs Specialist, Washington State Department of Corrections,Class of 2012


At SAU, learning is relevant, deep, and has a long-lasting impact. Just ask Kirstin (Kramer) Navaroli, who attributes much of her success to two professors – who she describes as mentors. Yes, an Ambrosian education carries you far beyond the classroom, just as we intended.

See My Story

Apply Visit Info

Contact


Andy Kaiser, PhD, Chairperson

Psychology Department
McMullen Hall 113
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-6479
KaiserAndrewJ@sau.edu

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!