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 15 in The Nation!
  • Life-Changing Experiences
  • Supervised Internship
  • Concentration in Adult or Child/Adolescent Services

Shyam Seetharaman

Julie Kettman talking to students

computer and noteboook

Forensic psychology dives into the mind and explores what influences people's behavior. While that's at the core of your studies, SAU will take you further. 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. Study the "why" behind criminal behavior.

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 Psychology of Criminal Behavior walk you through understanding how behavioral and developmental psychology combine with neuroscience to understand why offenders commit crimes. Before you graduate you'll spend 8-10 hours per week on site at one of our Forensic Psychology internship sites working alongside your clinical supervisor, while growing and learning from faculty supervision, as well. 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?
  • 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 include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 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 doctoral degree, but there are many career opportunities within the forensic field that do not require a graduate degree. Many of our majors continue their education at SAU in graduate programs such as the Master of Social Work or Master of Criminal Justice. Both offer online course options!

What have alumni of this program done?

Griffin Reed '16 works as a Family Therapist in Des Moines, Iowa after continuing her education in the SAU Master of Social Work program.

Emily Tyler '19 works as a Homicide and other Violent Crimes Specialist in Davenport, Iowa.

Katherine Newhoff '19 works as a Pretrial Technician for the US Federal Court System after continuing her education in the SAU Master of Criminal Justice program.

Sarah Jacob Petersen '18 works as a Social Worker for the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Sarah Wurster '17 works as a School Based Therapist in Valparaiso, Indiana after continuing her education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Valparaiso University.

Alexis Lellig '16 works as a Child Protective Worker for Iowa Department of Human Services.

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology (52 credits)

Required:

Core
+PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology
PSYC 215 Research Methods
+STAT 213 Applied Statistical Reasoning for the Sciences
+CRJU 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice

Forensic Core
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 Trauma and the Victim
PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling
WI-CRJU 400 Criminological Theory
CRJU 221 Criminal Law and Procedure
SOC 342 Drugs and Society

Choose one concentration area
Concentration in Children Services (12 hours): CRJU 316 Juvenile Justice, PSYC 326 Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology, 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.

Capstone
PSYC 421 Internship in Forensic Psychology, 4 credits
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 – Adult Concentration

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 Composition 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, 120; CHEM 101) + Lab 3-4 *Liberal Arts Perspective 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 +PHIL/THEO 300 Level 3
CRJU 313 Offender Treatment and Theories 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 Trauma and the Victim 3 WI-PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling 3
PSYC 306 or SOC 220 3 CRJU 314 Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections 3
+*Liberal Arts Perspective 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 and Behavior or Minor 3
**Experiential Learning **Experiential Learning
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

FallCreditSpringCredit
PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Capstone 4 PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Capstone 4
WI-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 16 Total Credits 16

+Fulfills a general education requirement
*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)

Plan to Graduate – Children Concentration

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Forensic Psychology and concentration in Child Services. 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 Composition 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 326 Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology 3
PSYC 321 Psychology & Law 3 PSYC 325 Psychology of Criminal Behavior 3
CRJU 221 Criminal Law & Procedure 3 +PHIL/THEO 300 Level 3-6
PSYC 384 Adv. Child and Adolescent Development 3 WI-Course (200 or 300any department) 3
**Experiential Learning **Experiential Learning
Total Credits 15-16 Total Credits 15-18

Year Three

FallCreditSpringCredit
PSYC 328 Psychology & Treatment of Trauma and the Victim 3 WI-PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling 3
PSYC 306 or SOC 220 3 PSYC 327 Psychology and Treatment of the Juvenile Offender 3
+*Liberal Arts Perspective (Gen Ed ) 3 CRJU 316 Juvenile Justice  3
SOC 342 Drugs & Society              3 300-Level Elective or Minor (Rec. PSYC 255 Brain and Behavior) 3
Catholic Intellectual Tradition 3 Elective 2nd Major or Minor 3
**Experiential Learning **Experiential Learning
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

FallCreditSpringCredit
PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Capstone 4 PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Capstone 4
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 16 Total Credits 16

+ Satisfies a general education requirement
*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)

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

FallCreditSpringCredit
PSYC 328 Psychology & Treatment of Trauma and the 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 4 PSYC 421 Forensic Psychology Internship 4
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 17 Total Credits 16

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

FallCreditSpringCredit
PSYC 328 Psychology & Treatment of Trauma and the Victim 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

Faculty

Jennifer Best, MS Ed, Dept. Coordinator

Robin Anderson, PhD, Professor
Carol DeVolder, PhD, Professor
Andy Kaiser, 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


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:

Sarah Wurster '17
Kirstin Navaroli mobile image Kirstin Navaroli Cutout image

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


Jennifer Best, MS Ed, Dept. Coordinator

Psychology Department
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
BestJenniferA@sau.edu

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