FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY SPECIALIZATION

Please note: The Forensic Psychology Specialization is a track within the General MA Psychology Program. If you are a prospective applicant interested in the Forensic specialization, you should apply directly to the General MA Psychology Program and write in your statement of purpose that your interest is in the Forensic track.

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY MA SPECIALIZATION PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The NYU General Master’s Degree specialization in Forensic Psychology focuses on the intersection between psychology and the justice system. Forensic Psychology is the professional practice by psychologists within the areas of clinical, counseling, school, or other specializations of psychology, when providing professional psychological expertise to the judicial system.

The three areas of knowledge required for the practice of forensic psychology are:

  1. Clinical (e.g., diagnosis, treatment, psychological testing, prediction and intervention measurement, epidemiology of mental disorders, ethics)
  2. Forensic (e.g., response style, forensic ethics, tools and techniques for assessing symptoms and capacities relevant to legal questions)
  3. Legal (e.g., knowledge of law and the legal system, knowledge of where and how to obtain relevant legal information).

Career pathways with the Forensic Psychology specialization include: academic researcher, consultant to law enforcement, correctional psychologist, evaluator for criminal or civil cases, expert witness, treatment provider, trial consultant, among many others.

Note:  The specialization in Forensic Psychology is available as an informal track that does not appear on students' transcripts.  For more information on the field of Forensic Psychology, including career opportunities, we recommend looking into APA’s Forensic Psychology Specialty.

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY COURSE REQUIREMENTS

In the context of the broader requirements of the MA program, the suggested 36-credit curriculum with a forensic psychology specialization is below. Note that the curriculum is flexible, and students will work individually with a faculty advisor to develop a study plan tailored to their specific career goals in Forensic Psychology.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not allow students in the MA program to take undergraduate courses. All courses must be graduate level. Graduate courses offered by other NYU departments or schools (referred to as "cross-registration") should be discussed with your advisor in advance of registration to assess relevance to the MA Psychology degree specifically. Typically no more than three courses can be taken in other NYU departments or schools. No more than three courses may be transferred in from outside universities, and these classes must be equivalent to graduate-level classes offered in the NYU Psychology Department.

Required Foundation Courses - 6 credits


  1. Statistics
  2. Research Methods and Experience or Clinical Research Methods

Required General MA Core courses – 9 credits
(choose at least three, including at least one Core A, and at least one Core B):



Core A: Core B:
Principles of LearningChild Development
Physiological Basis of Behavior Foundations of Psychopathology
Cognitive Psychology Theories of Personality
Cognitive Neuroscience* Psychology of Social Behavior
Sensation and Perception Affective Neuroscience*

*Students may take EITHER Affective Neuroscience OR Cognitive Neuroscience towards the Core A or Core B requirements.  If a student takes both, one will count as an elective.

Required Forensic Psychology Core Courses – 12 credits (choose at least four)


  1. Basic Forensic Psychology (required unless waived by instructor or MA Director)
  2. Advanced Forensic Psychology
  3. Forensic Assessment
  4. Psychology of Violence
  5. Traumatic Stress Reactions
  6. Criminal Behavior and the Prison Systems

Elective Forensic Psychology Courses – 3 credits (choose at least one)


  1. Personality Disorders
  2. Psychology of Addiction
  3. Foundations of Psychopathology
  4. Theories of Personality
  5. Social Psychology

A total of 9 credits (3 courses) of electives must be taken in addition to the above Foundation, Core, and Forensic Core courses. One of these elective courses (3 credits) must be taken within the Psychology Department. The other two can be taken across other schools/departments at NYU. Exceptions require advisement permission.

Electives in other departments and schools at NYU


As the largest private University in the country, NYU has multiple Schools, Centers, and Departments with psychology related courses. You may take up to two elective courses from other divisions of NYU to broaden your perspective on the topic.  Note: some schools/departments have limitations on enrollments so it is recommended to register early and/or speak with each department/school as needed to understand requirements for cross-registration. Because schools continuously update their offerings, please check their catalog or website.

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

Comprehensive Examination: A separate written comprehensive examination, similar to the one that is given to General MA students, is offered three times a year, on the first Fridays of the following months: October, February, and June. The "comps" exam for the Forensic Psychology specialization requires studying from, and taking, the following 3 question sets:

  1. The Forensic Question Set
  2. The Core A Question Set (choice of one Core A subject)
  3. The Core B Question Set (choice of one Core B subject)
OR

MA Thesis: Instead of the Comprehensive Examination, the student may seek permission to write an MA thesis. For such permission to be granted, the student must demonstrate an outstanding record of performance in his or her studies and, as a minimum, must have completed all of the core requirements with at least a B+ average in all core courses. The student must also secure the sponsorship of a full-time faculty member in consultation with the MA director.

NYU MA FORENSIC FACULTY

  • Virginia Barber Rioja
  • Pamela Karp
  • Jessica Pearson
  • Susanna Preziosi
  • Margaret Rombone
  • Barry Winkler

Our forensic professors are all licensed psychologists with active clinical practices and/or research programs. Some hold law degrees and other postdoctoral credentials. They have extensive experience in outpatient and inpatient clinical-forensic assessment and psychotherapy. As a group, they have worked with multiple populations and disorders: violent offenders, sexual predators, stalkers, substance abusers, trauma victims, and pathological family systems (including domestic violence, child abuse, and delinquency). Beyond the basics, their diverse experiences include police and detective work; psychological evaluation of police; civil and criminal law practice, expert witness work, forensic media consultation, and published social science research.

Forensics @ NYU:

As the largest private University in the country, NYU has multiple Schools, Centers, and Departments with forensic interests and courses. There are multiple opportunities to absorb and integrate the broader multidisciplinary field of forensics. This includes the physical and social sciences (e.g., biology, anthropology, criminology); clinical practice (social work, psychiatry); media studies (the CSI phenomenon: creative journalism); computer science (cybercrime); business (forensic accounting); and the arts (e.g., forensic graphics for law enforcement agencies). Other relevant disciplines include politics and foreign languages (the most recent CIA employment openings for psychologists specify profiling of foreign leaders and governments). Finally, the prestigious School of Law at NYU is affiliated with the interdisciplinary Law and Society MA Program within the Graduate School of Arts & Science, where qualified forensic psychology students can take courses.

Updated