Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice

A career-focused and multi-faceted approach to criminal behaviour, law, and the criminal justice system.

About The Program

The Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice (FPAC) program offers students the opportunity to study criminal behaviour and criminal justice in a uniquely diverse way. In this program, students take courses from the Departments of Psychology, Child and Youth Studies, and Political Science to learn about the individual, social, cultural, and systemic factors that influence criminal and aggressive behaviour, and the institutions that make up the criminal justice system.

Through either a four-year Major or Honours degree, FPAC prepares students for a variety of interesting and engaging careers, including law, corrections, counselling, policing, criminology, policy analysis and administration, and advocacy.

Students will work with dynamic, award-winning professors dedicated to teaching and research, and FPAC offers practicum opportunities to gain real-world experience with our community partners in law enforcement, forensic research, and clinical settings.

Program Overview

Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice (FPAC) approaches the study of criminal behaviour and criminal justice from multiple theoretical perspectives. This transdisciplinary program will include the study of individual (psychological) factors, social and cultural factors, and factors relating to the criminal justice system and other relevant institutions.

Students will take courses from the Psychology, Child and Youth Studies, and Political Science departments. Our program combines the approaches of these disciplines to the study of criminal and aggressive behaviour. Rather than assuming that a behaviour, or a system’s response to behaviour, stems from any one factor or perspective, FPAC is premised on the idea that factors across disciplines are required in order to provide more nuanced, critical, and complex understandings of behaviour and responses.

Courses specific to the FPAC program include a transdisciplinary course at the third-year level that examines crime from multiple perspectives, a quantitative methods course (third-year), and a qualitative methods course (third-year).

Psychology 

Students will learn about the study of human behaviour in relation to psychological theory. First- and second-year courses will provide the background knowledge needed for the third- and fourth-year courses that focus on various types of aggression, antisocial, and criminal behaviour.

Child and Youth Studies 

The Child and Youth Studies contribution to FPAC is three-fold. First, the Child and Youth Studies department is, itself, transdisciplinary in nature. Students will get their first exposure to transdisciplinarity through the introductory courses that focus on multiple approaches to the study of children and youth. Child and Youth Studies courses address issues and topics that are rooted within psychology, sociology, and other theoretical perspectives. Upper-year courses in Child and Youth Studies that are included in the FPAC curriculum focus specifically on children and youth in relation to the criminal justice system. Importantly, issues are placed within broader social, economic and political contexts and the effects on marginalized social groups .These courses are taught from a critical sociocultural and criminological perspective.

Political Science 

Finally, courses housed in Political Science will provide students with a background in how the criminal justice system operates. Through the required political science courses, students will also gain knowledge regarding policy and government, providing them with a backdrop for the more senior courses that focus on the criminal justice system. As in Child and Youth Studies, the Political Science department houses a wide variety of ontological, philosophical, and methodological approaches.

Link to 2022 course calendar

Brock’s Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice Program offers two degree options:

  • Honours BA in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice
  • BA with Major in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice

Link to 2022 course calendar

In FPAC, you will have the chance to engage in experiential or hands-on learning. Here are some of the experiential learning opportunities:

Course: FPAC 4F95   Honours Thesis

  • In the Honours thesis course, students have the opportunity to conduct research with a faculty member relating to forensic psychology and criminal justice. This experience provides them with the necessary research skills for going on to graduate school.

Course: FPAC 4F92  Practicum 

  • Students also have the opportunity to complete a practicum in an appropriate community organization, which may include law enforcement, mental health, or other relevant agencies. This course provides students with practical skills that are directly relevant to their chosen career path.

Contact Us

Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice

fpac@brocku.ca

Frequently Asked Questions

In FPAC, you will have courses from Child and Youth Studies, Psychology, and Political Science.

In year 1, you are required to register in Psychology 1F90; Child and Youth Studies 1F90; and two first year half courses in Political Science. You will also need to take two context credits, one in Humanities and one in Sciences.

In Child and Youth Studies courses, you will examine issues affecting children and youth from multiple perspectives. You will learn about the factors and experiences that can lead children and youth to engage in criminal behaviour and how the criminal justice system responds from a critical perspective.

In your Psychology courses, you will learn about the study of human behaviour including aggression and criminal behaviour. For example, how do we predict who is dangerous and how do we know who will reoffend in the future? What exactly is a psychopath and are they more likely to engage in violent crime? How do we explain why some people engage in criminal activity while others do not?

In your Political Science courses, you will find out how the criminal justice system operates. Who makes criminal law, and who is responsible for law enforcement, including policing, prosecution, and the organization and operation of the courts? How does the constitution, especially the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, shape the criminal justice system and its processes?

Link to 2022 course calendar

Context credits are required to provide you with breadth of knowledge. As a student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, you need to take one full credit (1.0) in each of the Humanities and Sciences in your first year.

Link to context courses

Courses found on the list found in the link above that have an F in the name are full credits (1.0). Courses with a P in the name are half credits (0.5; students need two of these to make one full credit).

As an FPAC student, you will meet with your Program Coordinator once per year to make a program plan that works for you.  To book an appointment with the Program Coordinator, go to my.brocku.ca, select Appointment Bookings- Academic Advising- Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice.

We have built choice into the program structure so that you will be able to choose among a variety of relevant courses depending on your interests and chosen career path. Please review the course calendar for further insight on the course program structure.

Link to 2022 course calendar

Students wishing to change their major to Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice (FPAC) must speak with the Program Coordinator to discuss eligibility. Change Major requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and dependent upon space availability in the program at the time of the request.

FPAC requires a minimum grade of 70 per cent in the introductory courses of the program for approval to Change Major to the Honours Program. The introductory courses includes PSYC 1F90, CHYS 1F90, and one POLI credit numbered 1(alpha)90 to 1(alpha)99 (see program note 4). Due to the limited space availability in the program, satisfying the minimum requirements does not guarantee requests will be approved. Requests for change of major must be approved by the Centre/Department and cannot be considered until this requirement has beeen met.

Please reach out to the Program Coordinator, Katie Thompson, at fpac@brocku.ca to discuss a Change Major request. Declare or Change Major forms are available in the Registrar’s Office and online at brocku.ca/registrar/forms.

If you choose to do a practicum in fourth year, you will be working for 80 hours with one of our practicum partners in the areas of law enforcement, law, and clinical/forensic. This will give you hands on experience in the field to prepare you for your chosen career path!

Please see our Undergraduate Program Entry Requirements for further details. If you have specific questions about entry to the program, please connect with futurestudent@brocku.ca

Speaker Series

Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice (FPAC) welcomes renowned guest speakers to share presentations on various topics that appeal to current and prospective students as well as community members.

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