Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology Area of Emphasis

for current PhD students

The Forensic Psychology Area of Emphasis is a track of elective courses offered in PAU’s greater Clinical PhD program. As such, the focus of our training program is Clinical-Forensic in nature. At PAU, students receive training in the broader practitioner-scientist Ph.D. program while learning to apply their clinical and research skills to forensic issues. The forensic area emphasizes didactic learning as well as research and clinical experience.

Students in this emphasis are expected to maintain excellence in general clinical training.  Specialized forensic training is no substitute for broad and general clinical excellence, and the forensic training received is in addition to that training.

To complete the Forensic Area of Emphasis and receive the Forensic Psychology Proficiency Certificate , PhD students must:

  1. Maintain above minimum performance in clinical training
  2. 5 course elective sequence (see below)
  3. Forensic research and clinical practice (see below)

The Forensic Psychology electives consist of:

5 course sequence

  1. Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  2. Advanced Forensic Psychology
  3. Forensic Assessment
  4. Advanced Ethical, Legal and Clinical Issues in the Professional Practice of Psychology (emphasis on the interface between psychology and the legal system)
  5. Advanced seminar (previous offerings have included Child Custody, Expert Testimony, Cross Cultural Issues in Forensic Psychology, and Psychopathy)


Participation on a forensic research team affords the opportunity to gain experience in forensic research. Each student is strongly encouraged to be actively engaged in research throughout graduate training and complete a forensically-oriented dissertation project.

Clinical Practice

Students are encouraged to complete at least one forensic practicum placement during their training. Potential training sites include jails, prisons, forensic psychiatric hospitals, and conditional release programs.

All students in the forensic psychology area of emphasis are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 and remain in good academic standing during graduate training.

Contact:  For questions regarding the Forensic Psychology Emphasis for current Clinical PhD students, contact Dr. Christopher Weaver, the Director of Forensic Psychology at

1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(800) 818-6136
(650) 433-3888 FAX