Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice

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

Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice (FPAC) offers an exciting opportunity to study criminal behaviour and criminal justice in a uniquely diverse way. Using the tools and perspectives of psychology, criminology, child and youth studies, and political science, students will 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.


Our mission at FPAC will be to

  • Approach the study of criminal behaviour and criminal justice from multiple theoretical lenses. This transdisciplinary program will include factors relating to the individual (psychological factors), social and cultural factors, and factors relating to the criminal justice system and other relevant institutions.
  • Provide learners with academic and applied experiences that will give them skills relevant to their chosen careers.


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).


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 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.


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?

The full course calendar entry will be available at some point in February 2021, so stay tuned!

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. Below is the list of courses that count as context credits. You must choose your context credits in first year from these 2 lists (one full credit from each).

Courses with an F in the name are full credits (1.0). Courses with a P in the name are half credits (0.5; you would need 2 of these to make one full credit).


CANA 1F91 (Canadian Studies)
CLAS 1P911P921P931P951P972P34 (Classics)
CPCF 1F25 (Communication, Pop Culture, and Film)
DART 1P911P921P94 and 1P95 (Dramatic Arts)
ENGL 1F911F951F97 (English)
ENCW 1P06 (English)
FILM 1F94 (Communication, Pop Culture, and Film)
FREN 1F90 (French)
GERM 1F901P93 (German)
HIST 1F901F921F951F961P911P971P99 (History)
IASC 1F021P061P991Q981Q99 (Interactive Arts and Science)
INDG 1F902F01 (Indigenous Studies)
INTC 1F90 (Intercultural Studies)
ITAL 1F901P96 (Italian)
*LING 1F25 (Linguistics)
MARS 1F90 (Medieval and Renaissance Studies)
MUSI 1F101P501P55 (Music)
MLLC 1F90 (Modern Language, Literature, and Cultures)
PHIL 1F901F911F931F94 (Philosophy)
SPAN 1F901P95 (Spanish)
STAC 1F98 (Studies in Arts and Culture)
VISA 1P991Q981Q99 (Visual Arts)
WRDS 1F901P06 (Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Studies)


APCO 1P001P50 (Applied Computing)
ASTR 1P011P02 (Astronomy)
BIOL 1F251P231P241P271P281P911P92 (Biology)
CHEM 1P911P92 (Chemistry)
COSC 1P021P50 (Computer Science)
ERSC 1P011P021P921P94 (Earth Sciences)
GEOG 1F91 (Geography)
IASC 1P001P50 (Interactive Arts and Science)
MATH 1P70 (Math)
PHYS 1P211P221P911P92 (Physics)
SCIE 1P501P511P52 (Science)

As an FPAC student, you will meet with a student advisor once per year to make a program plan that works for you.

FPAC is only accepting applications into first year for September 2021.

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!

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.

The entry requirements for FPAC are:

Minimum Average: 70%


  • English (ENG4U) (or equivalent*)


  • One 4U math (MDM4U preferred)


Click here to apply now!


Katie Thompson
Program Coordinator

Voula Marinos

Angela Book

Matthew Hennigar