Forensic Psychology Programs and Schools in Colorado
Colorado is a state with burgeoning cities, gorgeous mountain landscapes, and all the fresh air you can breathe. Additionally, Colorado is home to top ranking colleges and universities where you can pursue an education in forensic psychology.
Combining your interest in psychology with a program that’s in one of the most beautiful states in the country is a great way to get the education you need and have fun doing it.
With your days in class on campuses like the University of Colorado-Boulder, which is considered one of the most attractive campuses in the nation, and your nights spent hiking, biking, skiing, and pursuing other outdoor activities, your college years will be some of the most memorable of your life!
Colorado Mesa University (CMU)
Located on Colorado’s Western Slope, Colorado Mesa University is near tens of thousands of acres of public land where you can explore high desert plateaus, pine forests, mountains, and other habitats. Rock climbing, rafting, and fishing are just a few recreational activities you can enjoy when you are not in class, and in some cases, those activities might even be part of your coursework!
When you are in class, you can enjoy small class sizes – the university has fewer than 11,000 students – while studying under the tutelage of expert professors who have real-world experience in their field. What’s more, if you need a little extra help with your studies, CMU has you covered! The school has an extensive tutoring program to help you navigate your coursework and offers online courses to give you flexibility with your academic schedule.
Forensic Psychology Program
While Colorado Mesa doesn’t offer a major in forensic psychology, it does have a Forensic Investigation – Psychology minor that will get you started on a path to a career in this field. You can add the minor to virtually any major, though majors in psychology or criminal justice are the most pertinent to pair with this minor program.
Typically, minors require 15-18 credits of coursework. However, this one ups that requirement to 22 credits. Of those, 13 credits are required courses, including the following:
- Forensic Psychology
- Crime Scene Processing and Crime Scene Processing Laboratory
- Death and Forensic Science and Death and Forensic Science Laboratory
- APA Style of Writing for Psychology Minors
- Professional Issues in Forensic Science
As noted earlier, this minor is especially helpful if you major in psychology or criminal justice. With major coursework in one of those fields, combined with the forensic investigation coursework of the minor, you might qualify for entry-level positions in forensic psychology. For example, you might become a law enforcement officer, a police counselor, or work as a legal researcher for an attorney’s office, to name a few options.
You can apply to this program as a first-time student by submitting an admission application and official transcripts showing that you graduated from high school. SAT or ACT scores are optional and can be submitted to support your application if you desire.
Colorado State University (CSU)
Fort Collins in Colorado consistently ranks as one of the best cities to live in the United States. One of the reasons people flock to this city is its incredible scenery. Another reason is that the city is home to Colorado State University, a school that’s rapidly growing and expanding its facilities to be on the cutting edge of both academics and research.
Colorado State isn’t just focused on providing you with a top-tier education. The school is also committed to creating an academic environment that’s inclusive, respectful, and diverse. In fact, CSU’s operating principles make these areas a specific focus, in addition to promoting social justice and a commitment to serving others. In other words, you will be well-supported as you pursue your education in psychology!
Forensic Psychology Program
One of CSU’s most popular undergraduate majors is the Bachelor of Science in Psychology. This program offers broad applicability to many career fields because there are various specializations from which to choose. If you are interested in forensic psychology, the most applicable specialization is the Mind, Brain, and Behavior track.
The Mind, Brain, and Behavior concentration focuses on biological psychology and cognitive psychology. Both of these fields are integral to forensic psychology, including learning how cognition and criminal behavior are intertwined.
This specialization also has a significant focus on research. Learning about psychological research methods, statistics, experimental design, and related topics is beneficial for you if you intend to continue your education in a graduate forensic psychology program. These research experiences are also helpful for you if you intend to enter the workforce after you graduate with your bachelor’s degree.
You have to complete at least 30 credits of psychology courses before you declare which concentration you wish to pursue. This allows you to explore different psychology topics and make a more informed decision about the course of your studies.
The undergraduate degree in psychology from CSU requires that you complete 120 credits of coursework. Of those, 42 credits must be upper-division classes. To graduate, you have to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale throughout your time in the program.
The process of applying to this program is simple and straightforward, as outlined below:
- Fill out an admissions application and submit a $50 fee
- Submit transcripts from high school (and college, if you’ve taken college courses elsewhere)
- Submit a personal statement
Additionally, you can submit SAT or ACT scores, a letter of academic explanation, and letters of recommendation in support of your application, though these materials are optional.
University of Colorado-Boulder
The University of Colorado is the largest higher education system in the state, with more than 66,000 students. CU-Boulder is the flagship institution of the system and the largest of its schools, with more than 36,000 students on campus.
As discussed in the introduction, CU-Boulder has one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation. But the university isn’t just a pretty face – it has a reputation as one of the country’s best research institutions, too. CU-Boulder is among just 36 public universities that belong to the Association for American Universities. Beyond many research opportunities, CU-Boulder offers well over 4,000 courses that enable you to explore wide-ranging topics to prepare you for your future career.
Forensic Psychology Program
The University of Colorado-Boulder’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology is a broad-based program that explores many facets of human behavior, learning, and cognition. While the program does not focus specifically on forensic psychology, the knowledge and skills you learn in this program are essential for advanced studies at the graduate level.
This is a typical 120-credit program that takes about four years to complete. Of the 120 credits needed to graduate, at least 36 must be in psychology. To support your understanding of the human condition, you might take courses like:
- Social Psychology
- Physiological Psychology
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Psychology of Learning
- Abnormal Psychology
To prepare for a future in forensic psychology, you might consider supplementing these studies with a minor in criminal justice or a double major in psychology and criminal justice. Doing so would help you more clearly understand the psychology of criminality.
Upon graduating with this degree, you can either enter the workforce in an entry-level position or continue your education in a graduate program. Either way, the knowledge and skills you gain at CU-Boulder will be invaluable for your future pursuits.
To apply as a freshman, submit a CU-Boulder application and a $65 application fee. Additionally, you must also submit answers to two short-answer questions, a personal essay, one or more letters of recommendation, and official high school or college transcripts.
University of Denver
When the University of Denver was founded in 1864, Denver was the wild west. Those days are gone, but the university continues in its mission to be a top-notch research institution for the Rocky Mountain region. DU has done so with great success, too – U.S. News and World Report ranks it as one of the top 100 universities in the United States.
One of the most appealing characteristics of DU is that it has many working relationships with organizations in the Denver area. By partnering with businesses, non-profits, and other organizations, the university is able to offer students like you a more robust learning experience with field placements that allow you to apply what you have learned in real-world settings. These placements are especially interesting for psychology majors because you can intern with all sorts of organizations, from law enforcement to attorney’s offices to residential treatment centers.
Forensic Psychology Program
If you want a more advanced education in forensic psychology, the University of Denver’s Master of Arts program is a great option. This program focuses on three primary areas of forensic psychology:
- Psychological assessment of varying populations
- Consultation in criminal justice and legal settings
- Individual and group therapy across the lifespan
In other words, not only do you get to explore the relationship between psychology and the law, but you also gain the clinical experience needed to provide forensic counseling services, provided that this program meets the criteria for licensure as a psychologist in your state.
As noted earlier, DU has an extensive network of practicum and internship sites. Those partnerships allow you to choose from a wide range of placements to complete the internship requirements of this two-year program.
For example, you can complete your field experience in local treatment centers, counseling centers, or in the public defender’s office. Other options allow you to work with incarcerated individuals, at-risk youth, and the mentally ill.
If this program is of interest to you, you must submit an application for admission along with a $65 application fee. To support your admissions case, you must also include two letters of recommendation, two essays, a CV or resume, and official transcripts from each college or university you’ve attended. DU also requires that you have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Work Opportunities in Colorado
By far, the greatest number of job opportunities in forensic psychology in Colorado are in the Denver metropolitan area. By simple virtue of the city’s population, there is more crime to investigate, more offenders to interview, and more victims to counsel than the rural areas of the state.
If you choose to work in Denver, you might find job opportunities with the Denver Police Department, the public defender’s office, or the District Attorney’s office. Likewise, if you are a licensed psychologist, you could start a private practice and provide counseling services to clients in the Denver area.
The rural areas of Colorado offer job opportunities in forensic psychology, too. You might offer your services to small-town law enforcement agencies, courts, or attorneys and spend time traveling from one rural area to another. You might also provide remote consultative services to individuals or organizations that need your expertise.
Whatever path you decide to take, Colorado is likely to have plenty of job opportunities in the future. The state is growing fast, and with that growth will come a more robust economy and an increased need for psychologists with expertise in forensics.