2-year Special Concentration in Forensic Psychology

The Department of Psychology offers a 2-year Special Concentration in Forensic Psychology. Launched in September 2013, this one-of-a-kind opportunity for undergraduates in Canada, has provided students with unique knowledge and skills training for working effectively with individuals across the fields of criminal justice and mental health.

Forensic Psychology covers topics at the interface of psychology and law. The 2-year Special Concentration allows students to focus their studies in Forensic Psychology (courses, basic counselling & interviewing skills training, field trips and practicum placements) in addition to their standard BA or BSc program requirements. Students receive a 4-year, BA or BSC degree in Psychology with a “Special Concentration in Forensic Psychology”. Practicum placements provide students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in relevant settings (correctional facilities; courts; mental health, addictions, and social services, etc.). The Concentration provides students with a competitive advantage in the workplace, graduate and professional schools.

Interested students (Majors, Honours) can apply at the end of their second year or the beginning of third year. Call for applications is issued in February.

PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Margo C. Watt, PhD, R. Psych.

Dr. Watt is a Clinical Forensic Psychologist. She has conducted limited private practice in the community, as well as providing services for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) for the past 20 years. These services include: forensic risk assessments, comprehensive mental health assessments, and clinical consultation. Dr. Watt is adjunct faculty at Dalhousie University and holds Honourary Research Associate status at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). She is a member of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at UNB and the IWK Youth Forensic Research team. In her role as a Professor of Psychology at StFX, she teaches Correctional Psychology, Psychology & Law, and Forensic Psychology Practicum; conducts research and supervises undergraduate students. Her pending 2021 book entitled: The Science of Clinical-Forensic Psychology: A Canadian Case Study Approach (University of Toronto Press) is a sequel to her 2014 book entitled: Explorations in Forensic Psychology: Cases in Criminal and Abnormal Behaviour.


Kim MacLean, PhD, R. Psych. & Erin Austen, PhD

Ryanne Chisholm, Practicum Coordinator

Admission Requirements

Applications will be accepted from students who meet the admission criteria. These critera include a minimum average of 70% for the first two years of studies, and a grade of 70% in each Psychology course. If accepted into the Special Concentration, the student will be required to maintain an average of 75% in each year of the Special Concentration and a minimum grade of 70% in each Psychology course.

Admission of students to the Special Concentration will occur on a competitive basis. It is estimated that 6 to 10 students per year will be accepted into the Special Concentration. All applications are reviewed by the Special Concentration Selection Committee. Acceptance is based on both academic performance and possession of interpersonal skills suitable for work with forensic staff and populations.


  • PSYC 100: Introduction to Psychology (6 credits)
  • PSYC 290: Research Methods and Statistics (6 credits)
  • One of PSYC 210, 220, 225, 230 (6 credits)

    Application Process

    Typically, a student would apply for the Special Concentration in Forensic Psychology at the end of his or her second year of study. Students interested in applying for the Special Concentration and meet the admission requirements should include the following in their application package:

    1. A one-two page cover letter that includes: student name, student ID, statement of interest, and reason for applying. This letter should be well written and formatted.
    2. Curriculum vitae (academic resume) or work resume.
    3. Unofficial transcript.
    4. Refer to the Dean of Arts website for link to student resources (i.e., Major, and Honours declaration forms for both BA and BA with Special Concentration in Forensic Psychology). Please include both completed forms, signed by the chair of the department, in your application package.

        Link to Declaration Forms

    Please send your application package to:

    Selection Committee
    c/o Administrative Assistant (Marion Stewart-MacDonald)
    St. Francis Xavier University
    Antigonish, NS, B2G 2W5