Forensic Psychology Minor

The forensic psychology minor was designed for students interested in applying psychology to the criminal justice and legal systems.  The program is offered in collaboration with the criminal justice major.

What is Forensic Psychology?

The term "forensic" comes from the Latin word "forensis," which literally means "of the market or forum." The word derives from the public forums of Ancient Rome where the law courts were commonly held. Today, forensic psychology is a generic term covering the diverse clinical, applied, and research activities which make up the combined area of psychology and law. It is an interdisciplinary field encompassing mental health (psychology, psychiatry, social work), law, and public policy. Forensic psychology offers a wide variety of career opportunities including:

  • Clinical forensic positions such as consultants to courts, to probation/parole departments, police/law enforcement officers, and attorneys. These consulting services may include interpretation of psychological data or the development of psychological opinions.  
  • Examining psychologists working in criminal, civil, or family law cases may be requested by either the defense or prosecution. They may work in outpatient counseling (pre-sentencing, parole, post-incarceration), inpatient settings such as prisons, or in group/individual therapy with sexual, violent, or mentally disordered offenders. They also may provide testimony to courts and work with police investigation units.
  • Criminal justice management and administration including roles as directors or supervisors in mental health institutions, prisons, parole offices, treatment centers and rehabilitation centers.
  • Public policy and applied research roles include: development of predictive models of violent behavior and violence prevention; development of models of legal decision-making; program evaluation; and analyses of mental health law and policy.

Students who wish to pursue this minor should contact Harvey Pines, PhD, HSC 209, (716) 888-2510,

For more information on minor requirements, please click here.