I have compiled some helpful information for you to read through with
your student. The main pathway into Criminal Profiling is through many
years of hard work and experience in law enforcement. Forensic
Psychology with an emphasis on criminal behavior is another way to get
up close and personal, but a forensic psychologist is in a different
category than a criminal profiler, in most cases. Practicing criminal
forensic psychologists usually obtain a Master's degree and a PH.D and
are best-equipped if they have some experience in law enforcement as
While men are standouts in this field, it is clearly not beyond a
female to pursue a career in either criminal profiling or forensic
psychology. Most of the well-known profilers at this point in time are
male, but I did highlight the work of Dr. Schurman-Kauflin, who is
recognized for her profiling expertise.
Before you get into the body of the answer, I thought this first
article might provide an interesting overview of where the field of
criminal profiling currently stands:
Read "Criminal profiling: the reality behind the myth - Forensic
psychologists are working with law enforcement officials to integrate
psychological science into criminal profiling," By LEA WINERMAN. APA
Online. Volume 35,
No. 7 July/August 2004. http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/criminal.html
"Nowadays profiling rests, sometimes uneasily, somewhere between law
enforcement and psychology. As a science, it is still a relatively new
field with few set boundaries or definitions. Its practitioners don't
always agree on methodology or even terminology. The term "profiling"
has caught on among the general public, largely due to movies like
"The Silence of the Lambs" and TV shows like "Profiler." But the FBI
calls its form of profiling "criminal investigative analysis"; one
prominent forensic psychologist calls his work "investigative
psychology"; and another calls his "crime action profiling."
"Despite the different names, all of these tactics share a common
goal: to help investigators examine evidence from crime scenes and
victim and witness reports to develop an offender description. The
description can include psychological variables such as personality
traits, psychopathologies and behavior patterns, as well as
demographic variables such as age, race or geographic location.
Investigators might use profiling to narrow down a field of suspects
or figure out how to interrogate a suspect already in custody."
"In some ways, [profiling] is really still as much an art as a
science," says psychologist Harvey Schlossberg, PhD, former director
of psychological services for the New York Police Department. But in
recent years, many psychologists--together with criminologists and law
enforcement officials--have begun using psychology's statistical and
research methods to bring more science into the art."
WHAT IS A FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST?
The West Chester University website has an excellent overview of
Forensic Psychology career descriptions, pros and cons and some
excellent links to pursue.
"FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY is the application of psychology to the criminal
justice system. Many people confuse Forensic Psychology with forensic
science. Although the two are closely related, there are many
differences. The primary difference is that forensic psychologists
delve into the vast psychological perspectives and apply them to
criminal justice system. On the other hand, forensic psychologists
frequently deal with legal issues, such as public policies, new laws,
competency, and also whether a defendant was insane at the time a
crime occurred. All of these issues weave together psychology and law
topics and are essential to the discipline of Forensic Psychology.
Forensic Psychology knowledge is used in various forms, such as in
treating mentally ill offenders, consulting with attorneys (e.g., on
picking a jury), analyzing a criminal's mind and intent, and
practicing within the civil arena."
"Individuals interested in pursuing a Forensic Psychology career would
have take psychology and criminal justice courses at the core of their
academic studies. There is a very limited number of academic
institutions that specifically offer a Forensic Psychology degree.
Clinical, social, cognitive, criminal investigative, and developmental
psychology also help to prepare one for this speciality."
"A forensic psychologist may chose to solely focus his/her career on
research, ranging anywhere from examination of eyewitness testimony to
learning how to improve interrogation methods. Another form of
Forensic Psychology work is public policy, in which researchers can
help in the design of correctional facilities and prisons. More
generally, Forensic Psychology covers territory between the
traditional options of criminal justice (i.e., academic training, law
enforcement, and corrections)."
Go to the site for extensive links:
The College of Integrated Science and Technology (CISAT), James
Madison University has a further description of the educational track
and career options for Forensic Psychologists.
"How do I become a forensic psychologist?
"Forensic psychology is one of the newer disciplines in psychology,
and does not yet have one formal, structured path to the profession,
but we can identify a path that most forensic psychologists have
taken. The vast majority of psychologists who work regularly within
the legal system have a doctoral degree and received their graduate
training in clinical psychology or (less frequently) counseling
psychology. This makes sense when you realize that many of the
activities of forensic psychologists are clinical/applied in nature.
They obtained their knowledge of forensic psychology through
on-the-job training and experiences, post-graduate educational and
training opportunities, and attendance at professional meetings
conferences. Of the forensic psychologists who do only research, many
are I/O or social psychologists."
"Until we have more training programs that offer a specialty track in
forensic psychology, the most effective way to become a forensic
psychologist is still to obtain comprehensive training as a clinical
psychologist, if you intend to do applied forensic work. If your
program happens to offer a course, practicum experience or supervision
that is forensic in nature, all the better. If you can, do your
internship in a forensic setting. You might also do some volunteer
work in a forensic setting as part of your training."
"If you intend to specialize in police psychology, it would be ideal
to spend a few years as a police officer first. Of course, this does
not appeal to everyone. At the very least, attend a citizens police
academy, and do some citizen ride-alongs with police officers. If you
plan to work mainly within the court system, it would be ideal to
obtain a law degree along with your doctorate in psychology. There are
a few graduate programs that offer this possibility."
How can I get started as an undergraduate?
"As an undergraduate student to get exposure to both fields, you can
major or minor in psychology and/or major or minor in criminal
justice. Among your psychology courses, try to take personality,
biopsychology, learning, abnormal psychology, forensic psychology,
and/or police psychology. In addition to the fundamental criminal
justice courses, take courses that address psychology-relevant topics,
such as theories of crime and punishment."
"Take advantage any internships or field placements that are available
in forensic settings (for example, the forensic unit at a state mental
hospital, a probation/parole office, a spouse abuse shelter, a court
services center, a mediation center, etc.) Look for summer jobs or
volunteer work in forensic settings. Attend a citizens police academy
or go on a ride-along a local police department."
WHAT IS A CRIMINAL PROFILER?
Also from the The College of Integrated Science and Technology
(CISAT), James Madison University website:
"Criminal profilers look at data derived from crime scenes to make
predictions about the likely characteristics of unknown serial
offenders. The FBI originally developed profiling techniques and were
the primary people doing profiling. The FBI now also trains local and
state police officers to do profiling. There are also a few private
organizations, staffed primarily by retired FBI agents, that offer
training in profiling. Although there are a few psychologists
nationwide who are involved in providing profiling services to law
enforcement, it is probably safe to say that the vast majority of
profilers are police officers. All training is currently provided by
law enforcement agencies, and is typically open only to law
enforcement personnel. Even among police officers, very few receive
training in profiling. This is a highly specialized activity, and is
an unrealistic career goal for most people, even if you are fortunate
enough to be able to join the FBI."
From John Douglas's website: (I have linked to his website below under
Do You Need a Particular College Major to Become a Profiler?
"The answer to that is "no." In regards to education, it is certainly
necessary to have a bachelor?s degree as a foundation, as well as good
verbal and writing skills, but there is no specific degree that would
make someone much more or less qualified for this position than
someone else. I might recommend a degree in the area of forensic
psychology, but the people who have worked for me have had an
assortment of different degrees from business management to psychology
to even music. Therefore, you should choose whatever interests you the
"At some point in your career you will have to get an advanced degree.
However, when you are working towards your undergraduate or graduate
degree, the most important factor that will separate you from everyone
else is actually gaining hands-on experience in delving into the minds
of criminals. To do that, you?re going to have to work or do research
where you will personally come into contact with a variety of
incarcerated felons. Remember, ?In order to understand an artist, you
must look at the art work.? The crime is a reflection of the
Read "Man Behind the Badge," by Stan Hall. The Weekly
GRADUATE SCHOOLS FOR FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY
The American Psychology Law Society has compiled a list of graduate
schools offering degrees in Forensic Psychology with a brief
description of each program.
An updated list (without descriptions) can be found on the American
Psychology-Law Society website:
WELL-KNOWN CRIMINAL PROFILERS AND FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGISTS
Although not as well-known as some of the male profilers, I wanted to
list a woman first!!
President, Violent Crimes Institute
"Dr. Schurman-Kauflin is an expert criminal profiler who has studied
serial killers for nearly 20 years. Police agencies most often contact
the Doctor for help with serial and sexual homicide cases. She
profiles for police and other governmental agencies throughout the US,
provides specialized training, and conducts research on violent crime.
Dr. Schurman-Kauflin has not only investigated serial crimes, but she
has gone into prisons thoughout the Unitied States to interview both
serial killers and mass killers to obtain background information which
has helped police departments when faced with such crimes. She holds a
Ph.D. in Criminal Justice/Forensic Science and has taught at the
University of Cincinnati."
Also Read "BTK NAILED TWICE BY PROFILER , DR. DEBORAH
SCHURMAN-KAUFLIN," by By Sharon Schurman
Also read the following profile from the Court TV website:
"On August 4, 2000, David Lohr contacted Dr. Deborah Schurman-Kauflin,
President of the Violent Crimes Institute, and asked her to draw up a
profile of the killer based on the information at hand. The profile
read as follows...."
"I retired from the FBI in 1995, after pursuing predators like the
Atlanta child murderer, Seattle's Green River Killer (or killers), and
San Francisco's Trailside Killer. I'd done years of research into the
criminal mind-including face-to-face interviews with Ed Kemper,
Charles Manson, David Berkowitz, Richard Speck, and many others. But
my work as a profiler did not end with my retirement......
Books/DVD's - http://www.johndouglasmindhunter.com/books/index.php
Read an interview with Roy Hazelwood from the Court TV site:
"ROY HAZELWOOD: PROFILER OF SEXUAL CRIMES," By Katherine Ramsland
"Retired FBI Special Agent Robert Ressler makes a living tracking down
some of America's most vicious, brutal and frightening predators. In
fact, Ressler is the man who coined the term "serial killer" while
working in the Bureau's Behavioral Science Unit. Bob Ressler is
credited with creating the FBI's Criminal Profiling System, and is
considered the foremost expert on the psychology of serial and mass
murders. During his ongoing research, he interviewed over 100 of the
most terrifying killers known to mankind. He developed "intimate"
relationships with the likes of David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, Ted
Bundy, Charles Manson, and he's the only person to ever interview John
Wayne Gacy on video. Prior to joining the FBI, Ressler served for 10
years with the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigations Division (CID),
rising to the rank of colonel...."
From "CRIMINAL PROFILE: THE MONSTERS WITHIN," by Jim Kouri.
From "Academy Group Brings Expertise to George Mason," by Laura
Martinez Massie. http://www.gmu.edu/news/gazette/aug96/academy.html
"Roger Depue, the group's founder, is former chief of the behavioral
sciences unit at the FBI Academy at Quantico. He and his colleagues
are former FBI and U.S. Secret Service agents and played a major role
in the creation of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent
Crime. They are original members of the group that managed the FBI's
behavioral response to all facets of crime and were depicted and made
famous in the Academy Award-winning film Silence of the Lambs."
Interview from Larry King Live:
Read "Indexing Evil," by Kaja Perina. Psychology Today
DR. STANTON SAMENOW (Clinical Psychologist- Criminal Behavior Investigation)
Dr. Stanton Samenow's website
BOOKS ON CRIMINAL PROFILING
Amazon.com has a large list of books and videos about Criminal Profiling:
Court TV also has an interestng list, including some inteviews with
famous profilers: http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/profiling/
A lengthy compilation of links regarding criminal profiling
Other types of Training for Criminal Profiling Techniques:
"The Behavior Analysis Training Institute (BATI) was founded in 1984
by seasoned law enforcement investigators. Our Investigative
Interview and Interrogation Techniques course, was the first I&I
course certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer
Standards and Training (POST) in 1984. All instructors are all
classified as "subject matter experts" by California POST. Our
training has been designated as mandatory training for many major law
enforcement organizations throughout California."
The Crime and Clues website has some interesting links;
More links can be found on this Google search string for "training
institutes for criminal profiling"
Some additional career information can be found in the booklet,
"Careers in Psychology and the Law: A Guide for Prospective Students."
A Publication of the Careers and Training Committee, American
Psychology-Law Society. APA Division 41.
I am going to have to put a stop to this or I might go on all day! I
hope the references I have compiled provide a good overview and
starting point into mapping out a future college and career path.
Don't ignore the suggestion of a law enforcement career as one pathway
to this goal.
I wish your student all the best!
Some of the search strategy used:
best books on criminal profiling
how to become a criminal profiler
degree in Forensic Psychology
criminal profiler John Douglas
criminal profiler Roy Hazelwood
Academy Group and Roger Depue
female criminal forensic psychologist
female criminal profiler
training institutes for criminal profiling