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Mar 08, 2010
Difference Between Criminal Psychology And Forensic Psychology
by: David

Hi Sahra,

The following information from the criminal psychology page on the website should help:

Both terms relate to the application of psychology within a legal context but the focus of enquiry within forensic psychology is much broader, because unlike criminal psychology it can encompass both criminal and non criminal applications. By definition criminal psychology is restricted to examining crime and criminality.

As there are no universally accepted defintions of forensic psychology or criminal psychology the distinction between the two is open to debate, however I personally think it makes sense to consider forensic psychology as a broader umbrella term within which criminal psychology resides.

In their book Criminal Psychology, authors Francis Pakes and Suzanne Pakes note that criminal psychology is primarily concerned with answering two questions. Firstly, "how can psychology further our understanding of crime, its causes, consequences and prevention?" And secondly, "how can psychology help the criminal justice system and other agencies in dealing with crime?"

This is a very useful description in that it spells out the (narrower) focus alluded to above i.e. that criminal psychology is an applied branch of psychology that applies general psychology to issues of crime and justice.

In terms of finding out what you would learn doing a forensic psychology or criminal psychology degree and what you could do after completing the degree, have a look at the respective degree directories on the website and click through to the course webpages for more details.

criminal psychology Degree Directory.

Forensic psychology Degree Directory (USA).

Forensic psychology Degree Directory (UK).

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