A private, nonprofit, accredited educational institution, founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP).

Forensic Psychology

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Forensic Psychology Area of Emphasis Printable Brochure

Forensic psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. Some common areas of practice and research in forensic psychology are:
  • Psychological evaluation and expert testimony regarding criminal forensic issues such as trial competency, waiver of Miranda rights, criminal responsibility, death penalty mitigation, violence risk, and mitigating factors of mental illness.
  • Testimony and evaluation regarding civil issues such as personal injury, child custody, employment discrimination, mental disability, product liability, professional malpractice, civil commitment, and guardianship.
  • Assessment, treatment and consultation regarding individuals with a high risk for aggressive behavior in the community, in the workplace, in treatment settings and in correctional facilities.
  • Research, testimony, and consultation on psychological issues impacting on the legal process, such as eyewitness testimony, jury selection, children's testimony, repressed memories and pretrial publicity.
  • Specialized treatment service to individuals involved with the legal system.
  • Consultation to lawmakers about public policy issues with psychological implications.
  • Consultation and training to systems and professionals in law enforcement, criminal justice, correctional and mental health systems.
  • Policy and program development in the psychology-law arena.
  • Teaching, training, and supervision of graduate students, psychology, and psychiatry interns/residents, and law students.

To learn more about the various sub-disciplines of legal psychology, visit the American Psychology Law Society's (APLS; APA Division 41).

Studying Forensic Psychology at Palo Alto University

Palo Alto University offers two independent options for study related to psychology and law.  Qualified students who successfully apply may participate in either or both options:

Joint J.D./Ph.D. Program (with GGU Law School) - This is an integrated program in both psychology and the law, leading to a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology from Palo Alto University (PAU) and a Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law (GGUSL).

Forensic Psychology Emphasis Area for current Ph.D. students - Offered to students in PAU’s Clinical Ph.D. program, this program is an optional set of activities that includes elective courses, as well as forensic-relevant research and practical experience.

For questions regarding the individual programs above, including admissions process, follow the links above for the most direct contact information. 


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