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PhD Program in Law and Psychology: FAQs


Thank you for your interest in ASU’s Ph.D. Program in Law and Psychology. Based on the questions that people have written in so far, we have created this FAQ that we hope will answer many of the questions that you might have.

First, some program basics:

  • The program leads to a Ph.D. in “Law and Psychology”
  • It takes 4-6 years to complete, depending on whether you have an existing MA/MS (only a BA/BS is required)
  • Students complete a thesis and receive a MS in Law and Psychology in the second year of the program
  • A comprehensive exam is required in year 3-4
  • The full program is 84 credits, 30 of which are research
  • Admissions are made only for the Fall semesters
  • The GRE, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement are required for the application
  • Students apply to and are paired with a specific faculty mentor/advisor who oversees their training

What is the tuition? Will I receive financial aid? Will I be given a Teaching / Research Assistantship?

Like most similar programs, the PhD in Law and Psychology seeks to fully fund its students. ASU policy does not allow us to “guarantee” funding, but students are only admitted if we expect to have adequate funding to support them for 4-5 years. Funding may come in the form of a Teaching or Research assistantship, which involves 20 hours per week of responsibilities. The average amount of support for a 20-hour TA/RA academic year position at ASU is a $28,000-$30,000 stipend, health insurance, and full tuition remission. Summer funding is available (typically $8,000-$10,000), but is not guaranteed.

Can I practice forensic psychology with this degree? Is the program APA accredited?

Our program is research-oriented and not a clinical training program. As such, it is not intended to qualify you for licensure as a clinical / forensic psychologist. (And, as such, we are also not involved with APA accreditation.) If you are specifically interested in practicing as a psychologist, we recommend attending a clinical psychology PhD program.

What if I already have a master’s degree?

Generally, students with a thesis-based MA/MS degree will have 30 credits waived and will not need to complete another MS thesis. Students with a non-thesis MA/MS may have credits waived but will need to complete a thesis as part of the program. We examine each student on a case-by-case basis to see exactly which program requirements/credits can be waived.


What is the curriculum? What kind of courses will I take?

The curriculum resembles a typical psychology Ph.D. program, but with a focus on legal/forensic psychology courses. The specific curriculum involves four statistics and methods courses, three core legal/forensic psychology courses, a selection of electives from both legal/forensic psychology and criminology, and research/thesis/dissertation credits. Students have the opportunity to take courses from across all ASU departments, so the individual curriculum can be tailored to the student’s research interests and career goals.

I don’t see this program listed in the ASU Psychology Department. Who is running this program? Where is the program located?

ASU is a large and complex university with nearly 20 colleges spread out over four campuses in the Phoenix metro area. The PhD program is offered by ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, which is based on ASU’s West campus and specalizes in interdisciplinary programs like ours. However, some of the faculty and courses are located on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, which is where the College of Law and School of Criminology and Criminal Justice are located. The campuses are 15-20 minutes apart and are served by inter-campus shuttles. At this point, none of the program’s activities occur on the Tempe campus.

Is there an option to receive a JD/PhD? Can I dual-enroll in ASU’s Law School?

At the moment, there is no formal JD/PhD option. This would mean that students who want to complete both degrees would need to independently apply and be admitted to both to the PhD program and ASU’s College of Law and then complete all requirements for both programs. We advise against doing this, but if you are admitted to the program and wish to combine it with a JD, please contact the program director.

What faculty are involved with this program?

A complete list of faculty is located on our core faculty page. Please note that not all faculty are accepting students. We recommend contacting the individual faculty members for more information about their labs and availability.

Who are the contacts for the program?

We have an admissions and advising team that can help with the application process for prospective students and administrative issues (paperwork, course schedules, enrollment, etc.) for admitted students. You can contact them at The program director is Jessica Salerno, Associate Professor in ASU’s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (