Skip to Main Content

Forensic Psychology

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

The Forensic Psychology program at Bay Path is designed for students to apply the principles and insights of psychology within the mental health, criminal justice, and legal systems. Students may become involved in working with gang members, adolescent and adult offenders, victims and perpetrators of crime, families, court advocacy, substance abuse, individuals with chronic mental illness, and more.

Bay Path is one of the few women’s colleges in the United States to offer forensic psychology as a major!

The demand for expertise in this field is rapidly increasing, with multiple career opportunities. As part of the program, guest speakers are scheduled in various classes and external components of coursework help students learn about the different opportunities in the field of forensic psychology. Forensic Psychology majors are prepared to work in these types of settings: domestic violence programs, male and female correctional facilities, re-entry programs, the court system, probation, Department of Youth Services, working with gangs, law enforcement, and substance abuse agencies to name a few.

A sampling of what students will learn:

  • What motivates criminal behavior?
  • How are the issues of female offenders different from the needs of male offenders?
  • What role does mental illness play in relation to crime, and how do the criminal justice and legal systems address the issues?
  • Are psychopaths driven by biological deficits or societal influences?
  • How are families affected by incarceration?
  • What contributes to offender rehabilitation and effective re-entry back into the community?
  • What ethical considerations must be considered when the legal system, criminal justice system, and the mental health system are all involved with a case?
  • What is the psychological impact on both perpetrators and victims of a crime, and how are they different?
  • What is meant by the school to prison pipeline?

Bay Path’s dedicated faculty bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the courses they teach, featuring the most relevant and up-to-date information in the field. As a student in the Forensic Psychology program, you will have the opportunity to work with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Youth Services as part of your required coursework. Additionally, students are required to complete an internship in their senior year, and there are also opportunities to complete a competitive co-operative experience and a sophomore level internship.

Accelerated Degree Options:

  • 3-Year Bachelor's Degree. Students with a record of strong academic achievement and a desire to fast track their education are encouraged to apply to the accelerated degree program. The program allows students to earn their degree in three years of year-round study, enabling them to save on tuition costs and enter the workforce sooner. Click here to learn more. 
  • 3+1 Bachelor's to Master's Degree. Bay Path offers a fantastic opportunity to continue on to one of our many graduate degree programs. Known as our 3 +1 program, you can earn your bachelor's and master's degree in four years. Click here to learn more. 
  • 3+2 Bachelor's to Master's Degree. Bay Path also offers an opportunity to continue on to our Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Applied Behavior Analysis programs. Known as our 3 +2 program, you can earn your bachelor's and master's degree in five years. 

At Bay Path the class sizes are small and my professors know my name, which helps keep me on track. I always feel that I can approach them with any questions. I choose to minor in Advanced Paralegal Studies because it will provide me with a Certificate of Advanced Paralegal Studies, enabling me to initially find a job as a paralegal when I graduate." - Samantha, Forensic Psychology Major

Community Partners with the Psychology Program for 2017: 

  • Berkshire Hills Music Academy - BHMA uses music to help individuals with intellectual disabilities develop skills for communication, independence, and employment. They do this by: integrating music programming through a comprehensive curriculum that engages the entire brain, empowering students to advocate for themselves effectively through productive communication and interaction with peers, teaching pre-vocational and vocational skills within a community setting, with job-related support for successful employment, encouraging students to achieve increasing levels of independence through involvement in the local community.
  • Educational Resources for Children - Educational Resources for Children is an after-school support service for students from grades kindergarten through eighth. The organization works with kids, communities, schools and families, offering community collaborations to help kids learn, achieve academic goals, and contribute to their respective communities. Academic support and recreational activities are also offered.
  • Gandara - Gandara Center provides residential, mental health, substance abuse and preventive services to individuals in Springfield and the Pioneer Valley. They value cultural diversity and strive to provide culturally competent, innovative services to our community. They focus on the Latino/Hispanic community, but their services are available to people from all walks of life. Gandara’s Partnership with Bay Path is with their Adolescent and Family Services.
  • Girls Inc. of Holyoke - Girls Inc. of Holyoke's mission is to: inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold by providing them the opportunity to develop and achieve their full potential. They provide girls ages 5-18 with engaging and educational youth development programs that are cutting edge, research driven and designed to meet the specific needs of girls. Girls are at the center of everything they do; their priority is listening to girls, responding to their needs and providing them with the opportunity to make positive change in both their community and in their own lives. Tailored in response to the many challenges facing youth in the Holyoke community, and with the Girls' Bill of Rights as the philosophical framework in which to design their programs, they offer programs and services that are unquestionably transformative for girls and young women
  • River Valley Counseling Center - River Valley Counseling Center provides a community-based behavioral health, support and healthcare service to individuals and families. Their culturally competent, skilled and compassionate staff is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in the community through services delivered with respect and dignity.
  • Service Net Inc. - The mission of Service Net is to enhance the quality of life of adults, children and families, through the provision of effective and responsive clinical, residential, rehabilitative, recovery and support services. ServiceNet provides a wide range of human services for people in the Pioneer Valley. Service Net’s Partnership with Bay Path is with their division for Developmental Disabilities and Brain Trauma Services.
  • Springfield Jewish Community Center - The Springfield JCC is both a recreational and learning facility serving the Jewish and general communities of the Pioneer Valley. Everyone, including the general public, is welcome at the Springfield JCC. Programs range from early childhood, adolescent, adult, and elderly populations. It is conveniently located 5 minutes from the Bay Path campus. 
  • Veritas Prep Charter School - At Veritas Prep, the mission is rooted in meeting the needs of community. Veritas believes that a fifty-fifty graduation rate is not good enough for Springfield’s children, and is working to ensure that scholars are able to compete, achieve, and succeed in high school, college, and beyond. Veritas provides a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and character education within a structured learning environment. Veritas utilizes an extended school day, school year, and data-driven instruction to drive dramatic gains in scholar achievement.
  • YWCA of Western Massachusetts - The YWCA of Western Massachusetts is one of 300 local Associations in the United States. For over 145 years, the YWCA has served our region, guided by its founding principle: to provide shelter, support services, and tools for self-sufficiency for women and girls in our community. Today, the YWCA provides safe places for women and children in crisis. It offers women counseling, job training, child-care, and health and fitness. The YWCA also offers job training to people ages 16-21 who are out of school.

This partnership entails sponsoring a student from our Co-Op Program, paying her $1000 for 100 hours of work during the semester. The Partners also agree to supervise a Psychology intern during the year.


Course Requirements

Code Course Name Credits
ENG114 Critical Reading & Response 3

This course introduces the integration of communication skills essential for effective reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college level. In this writing intensive course, students develop composition skills to produce collegiate-level papers modeling rhetorical modes and thematic content in addition to strategies for reading complex texts; presentation skills for personal introductions, verbal summaries of readings and response writings, and peer review of papers; and basic technological skills for word processing, e-mail, and introductory-level online research.

ENG124 Research & Writing in the Disciplines 3

In this course students will apply the practices for effective reading and writing introduced in ENG 114 to the distinctive language and forms of various disciplines. This course lays the foundation for academic and professional research and stresses the use of appropriate and effective information sources. Readings for a variety of academic audiences will provide students with strategies to communicate in the sciences, business and technology, psychology, liberal studies, and the social sciences. Research and documentation skills appropriate to the disciplines are stressed. In addition to leading students through the research process from start to finish, this course will examine the many ramifications of academic honesty. Prerequisite: ENG 114

ENG134 Literary Genres 3

Selected readings in fiction, poetry, and drama introduce the student to literary types and techniques. These readings provide a basis for collegiate-level discussion, analysis, and the development of critical judgment. Building on the communications and research skills from earlier courses in the sequence, this course emphasizes continued practice in writing, and students complete a documented research paper using primary and secondary sources as one of the course writing assignments. Discussions and oral presentations based on assigned literature support the overall goal of the sequence: to enhance the advancement of the students, first academically and then professionally. Prerequisite: ENG 114

INT250 Research Methods in Social Sciences 3

Students will develop and understanding of the basic principles of research in the Social Sciences, grasp the importance of Scientific Research, and comprehend research methodologies. Reaserch ethics, data collection techniques and analysis, sampling, and inferential statistics will be studied. Students will be required to produce a scholarly proposal. Prerequisites: MAT120 and ENG124

MAT112 Applied College Mathematics 3

This course is designed for diverse students to acquire a solid foundation in non-calculus mathematics. It uses practical mathematics to develop problem solving and analytical skills. Topics include linear equations, linear inequalities, matrix and its application, linear programming, and the simplex method. Prerequisite: MAT 104 or appropriate placement test score

MAT120 Statistics 3

This is an introduction to the basic descriptive and inferential statistics for students from all disciplines. It emphasizes the development of statistical literacy and the use of computer for analyzing data. Topics include principles of experimental design; graphical and numerical methods for summarizing, describing, exploring and analyzing data; binomial and normal probability distributions; point and interval estimates for means and proportions; hypothesis testing; and correlation and regression. Offered both semesters

PSY101 Introduction to Psychology 1 3

This course provides a basic foundation in psychology by introducing numerous psychological perspectives as explanations for human behavior and mental processes. Basic neurophysiology, consciousness, learning, personality theories, psychological disorders, and current interventions are discussed. This course is a prerequisite for all other psychology courses

PSY150 Survey of Forensic Psychology 3

This course introduces students to the field of forensic psychology and explores the relationship between psychology and the legal system. Current events, case studies, and research are used to demonstrate the applications of forensic psychology to critical issues and special topics in the field. Students will gain a broad understanding of the different career opportunities from a multidisciplinary perspective. Prerequisite: PSY 101

PSY240 Abnormal Psychology 3

This course explores a wide range of personality, behavioral, and cognitive disorders. The symptoms, etiology, and dynamics of various disorders are studied, and a variety of therapeutic theories and techniques are discussed. Prerequisite: PSY 101 Offered in the spring semester only

PSY321 Theories of Personality 3

This course investigates the major personality theorists from Freud to more recent and contemporary theorists like May and Rogers. Emphasis is placed on the critical evaluation and practical application of each theory reviewed. Prerequisite: PSY 101 and junior or senior status Offered in the spring semester only

PSY335 Psych/Criminal Behavior 3

Psychology of Criminal Behavior Criminal behavior is studied in the context of societal and genetic influences on personality formation. Juvenile delinquency and the early expression of anti-social behaviors are discussed. The psychological aspects of violence, addiction, and how mental illness contributes to criminal behavior are addressed. Gender issues related to crime are presented. An external community experience is incorporated to provide an opportunity to apply course content and learning to real world issues. PSY 240 and junior or senior status Offered in the fall semester only

PSY336 Psychology of Female Offenders 3

This course focuses on the psychological aspects of female offenders with an emphasis on gender and criminological theorizing, female juvenile delinquency, females as offenders, mental illness in corrections, and females in prisons. Issues such as sexism, racism, social class inequality, cultural factors, addiction, relationships, and victimization are explored in the context of understanding what psychological issues contribute to female involvement in crime, society’s perception of women offenders, and special considerations related to females within the criminal justice system. A service learning component will take place off campus. Prerequisite: PSY 150, PSY 240 and junior or senior status.

PSY340 Physiological Psychology 3

This course provides the student with a knowledge of the biological components of behavior. Basic neuroanatomy and neurochemistry are discussed with respect to a variety of topics such as emotions, sensation, aggression, sleep, memory, reproductive behaviors, eating disorders, and certain forms of psychopathology. Prerequisites: PSY 101 and junior or senior status Offered in the fall semester only

PSY370 Social Psychology 3

Social behavior is studied from a psychological perspective. Topics addressed typically include: small group behavior, personal perception, attitude acquisition and change, leadership, conformity, and prejudice. Prerequisites: PSY 101 and junior or senior status Offered in the fall semester only

PSY380 Interviewing & Counseling 3

This course introduces fundamental skills used in the helping profession including, interviewing, developing rapport, and elements of the counseling process. The multicultural, ethical and legal considerations, non-verbal behavior, and self-care will also be addressed. Prerequisites: PSY101, Jr/Sr status

PSY430 Clinical Psychology 3

This course explores some the key areas within the field of clinical psychology, with particular emphasis on assessment (cognitive, personality, and diagnostic) and treatment (crisis intervention and psychotherapy). Various forms of phychotherapy, including psychodynamic, cogvitive, and humanistic/experiential therapy, will also be examined. Prerequisties: PSY101, PSY240, and Jr/Sr status

PSY441 Sem in Adv Forensic Psy 3

This capstone seminar course is designed to provide an opportunity for the students to synthesize, relfect upon, and analyze the complexities of the intersection of criminal law and psychology. An external community experience is incorporated to provide an opportunity to apply course content and learning to real world issues. This course will highlight the major historical and current issues and controversies related to juvenile, adult and international forensics, and students will conduct case analyses from a multidisciplanery perspective.Prerequisites: PSY 150 and two upper-level (300+) courses in psychology, and Junior or Senior status.

PSY499 Psychology Internship 6

(This course is graded Pass/Fail.) Students receive supervised training from practicing professionals normally during the final semester of the fourth year. Learning is achieved through observation and/or direct participation. Students are placed appropriately in settings that relate to their individual and educational career objectives. Sites may include public educational facilities, human services agencies, mental health clinics, and law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. Prerequisites: A minimum cgpa of 2.0, senior status, and approval of department chair. Open only to psychology majors

WEL100 Women as Empowered Learners & Leaders 3

Women as Empowered Learners and Leaders is an interdisciplinary course, designed to give all students entering Bay Path University a common experience and foundation for their education. This course is an introduction to the University, to academic study, and to various approaches to thinking about personal potential, to understand the process of becoming a learner, and a leader, and composing a life, to appreciate beauty, and work actively toward establishing community and justice in the context of being a woman at the beginning of the 21st century.

WEL310 Strategies for Career and Personal Growth 1

(This course is graded Pass/Fail.) In their junior year before the opening of the spring semester, baccalaureate degree students will be offered a special opportunity to learn up-to-date information about the current work world in an intensive two-and-a-half-day workshop format. Students will meet successful professionals who will discuss the challenges and opportunities of their respective fields and help students prepare for interviews as well as learn how to navigate the early stages of their new careers.

WEL400 WELL in Practice 3

By WEL400, you will be ready to blend all the skills you have learned during the WELL program—leadership, critical thinking, research, writing, analysis, and public presentation—with a community service project. Empathy, respect, and tolerance are the core human values that are stressed. It’s what every good leader needs to confidently show the way.