Forensic Emphasis | Clinical Psychology PsyD

The goal of the Forensic Emphasis within the School of Graduate Psychology is to train outstanding practitioner-scholars to apply clinical and research expertise to the legal arena. The emphasis guides students in specializing their training through elective courses, research requirements, and clinical practica that solidify core knowledge and skills in forensic psychology across a variety of settings (e.g., department of corrections, state hospitals, outpatient behavioral health setting, private practice).

Students in this emphasis can also choose to develop skills specifically related to culturally and linguistically informed work with the Latinx community by participating in the Sabiduría emphasis.

Faculty areas of clinical and research specialization include but are not limited to the following:

  • relationship between psychopathy, narcissism, borderline personality traits and interpersonal aggression including sexual violence;
  • integrating neurobiological markers (e.g., skin conductance, hormonal activity) with clinical measures for violence risk and clinical assessment;
  • developmental trajectory and gender differences in the manifestation of psychopathy;
  • assessment of physical and sexual violence risk;
  • treatment of sex offenders;
  • child welfare;
  • interface of psychologists with the legal system;
  • use of forensic evaluations in court; and
  • juvenile delinquency.



In addition to the regularly required courses within the general SGP curriculum, the following emphasis-specific courses are required (for full course descriptions see the University Catalog):

  • Psychology and the Law
  • Adult Forensic Psychology
  • Juvenile Forensic Psychology
  • Neuropsychological Assessment + Lab
  • Assessment of Children OR Projective Assessment

Clinical Training

Practicum I

Students complete their Practicum I training experience conducting intake assessments and psychotherapy during their 2nd year in the program.  This training takes place at the Pacific Psychology and Comprehensive Health Clinics (our in-house training clinics located in Hillsboro and Portland) where Forensic Emphasis students gain experience working with a wide range of presenting problems with adult clients.

Practicum II

Students complete their Practicum II training experience during their 3rd year in the program at a community training site where they gain experience in assessment and/or psychotherapy within a forensic setting. 

Advanced Practicum

During their 4th year in the program students continue their assessment and/or psychotherapy clinical training within forensic settings at a community training site or within our in-house clinics on assessment teams. 


During their 5th year in the program students complete Internship at a forensic psychology training site. This requires a national application process through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC; Students should expect to relocate during this year, as forensic sites are located all across the country.  Sites are listed in the APPIC directory (


Students complete empirical dissertations that involves collection of original data or use of archival data for analysis. Dissertation work begins in the 2nd year of training and should be completed prior to internship applications (fall of 4th year). In all cases, dissertations must be completed by the time the student starts Internship. The dissertation topic must focus on a forensic topic or population.


American Psychology-Law Society, Division 41 of the American Psychological Association.