Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology

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, battered woman syndrome, domestic violence, drug dependence, and sexual disorders
  • 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 law enforcement, criminal justice and correctional systems
  • Consultation and training to mental health systems and practitioners on forensic issues
  • Mediation and conflict resolution
  • 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 (including Clinical-Forensic Psychology), visit the American Psychology Law Society's (APLS; APA Division 41) Web site at

Studying Forensic Psychology at Palo Alto University

Because of the broad array of activities in which forensic psychologists may engage, students and professionals can seek a broad array possible training options.  Palo Alto University offers a diversity of training in forensic psychology to address the needs of students and professionals alike.  The four primary options at PAU are:

Joint JD/PhD 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 Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University (PAU) and a Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law (GGUSL).

Forensic Psychology Emphasis Area for current PhD students - Offered to students in PAU’s Clinical PhD program, this program is Clinical-Forensic in nature.  The program includes elective courses, as well as forensic-relevant research and practical experience.

Masters Degree in Forensic and Correctional Psychology  - Consider earning a master’s degree in forensic and correctional mental health counseling  from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University – one of the only online, customized programs of its kind.  

Certificate Program in Forensic Psychology for existing degree holders  – This is a program of online study designed for current practicing professionals who already have their advanced degree and want to gain or strengthen expertise in forensic psychology.

For questions regarding the individual programs above, follow the links above for the most direct contact information.  For general questions, or questions about differences between the above options, you can contact the Director of the Forensic Psychology Program, Dr. Christopher Weaver, at .

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