Admission Procedures and FAQs

When is the deadline for applying to the legal psychology program?

December 1 for admission for the following Fall semester.

Can I apply for January admission?

No, admission decisions are made once a year and students are only admitted for the Fall term.

What are the admissions procedures?

Admission procedures can be found here:


My undergraduate major was not psychology. Can I still apply?

You may apply to the program without a psychology major. However, you must have completed a statistics and a research methods course, at a minimum, in order to be admitted.

What is legal psychology? How is it different from forensic psychology?

Legal psychology is the application of non-clinical areas of psychology (e.g., social, cognitive, developmental) to the study of legal issues. Our program in particular concerns topics such as eyewitness memory, investigative interviewing, handling vulnerable witnesses, interrogations, etc. Forensic psychology is the application of clinical psychology to the study of legal issues (e.g., competence, insanity, risk assessments).

Will my legal psychology Ph.D. from FIU allow me to practice clinical psychology?

No. Florida International University has a clinical science graduate program, but that is distinct from the legal psychology Ph.D. Therefore, we can not offer training that will enable you to become a licensed clinician.

Is the legal psychology program accredited by the American Psychological Association?

No. APA only accredits clinical and counseling Ph.D. programs. Our program is based on applications of social, cognitive, and developmental psychology to legal issues.

What can you do with a Ph.D. in Legal Psychology?

A Ph.D. in Legal Psychology will allow you to oversee and conduct research in academic, professional, and government settings. Some of our students have become practicing trial consultants. Other students serve as consultants to government organizations concerned with public policy issues. Some students pursue academic careers and are professors at various colleges and universities across the country.

I noticed that the application requires that I apply for a particular campus. Which campus contains the Legal Psychology program?

Legal Psychology faculty are located at both the University Park campus (Charman, Schreiber Compo, Malloy, and Evans) and the Biscayne Bay campus (Fisher). You may choose either campus on your application. In practice, you may take courses at both and be involved in research at both. The university has a bus service that connects the two campuses.

How many years does it take to complete the program?

Most full-time students entering with a bachelor’s degree complete the program in 4-5 years. Students entering with a master’s degree typically complete the program in 3-4 years.

Can I take classes part-time? At night?

No. Students are required to maintain full-time enrollment in classes (9 credits) and to maintain an active research program. Most classes meet during regular business hours.

Can I get a terminal Master's degree?

There is no terminal Master's degree for psychology-only students. Students who do not have a master’s when they are admitted to the program will earn a master’s degree during the course of their doctoral studies.

I have taken graduate courses elsewhere. How many transfer credits will I receive?

It depends. A review of each student’s transcripts is done on a case-by-case basis. This review will determine whether previously completed coursework or master’s thesis fulfill the FIU Department of Psychology requirements. A maximum of 36 credits may be transferred.

Are there any faculty who are not accepting students for next year?

We make admissions decisions as a committee. Students are not admitted to work with a particular faculty member but are admitted into the program. Many students work with more than one faculty member, although they must chose a primary faculty member to serve as their advisor. That choice is made during the first year. However, it is possible to change faculty advisors during the course of your studies.