UHV unveils new forensic psychology graduate program

The University of Houston-Victoria will begin offering a new master of arts degree in forensic psychology this fall after recent approval by the University of Houston System Board of Regents.

Catherine Perz
Catherine Perz

Forensic psychology is a fast-growing field that involves the use of psychological knowledge and skills such as assessment and counseling in a variety of legal settings. The UHV program will be the first graduate degree of its kind in South Texas.

“A forensic psychologist might provide mental health treatment to prison inmates, help evaluate a defendant’s competency to stand trial, or even help select the members of a jury,” said Catherine Perz, lead developer of the new degree program and an associate professor of psychology.

The new program is designed to prepare students for careers in many legal settings.

“It will prepare graduates to get a job working with prisoners, legal teams or community organizations treating drug abusers, just to mention a few options,” Perz said.

Trina Gordon
Trina Gordon

Standard counseling programs seldom prepare graduates to deal with the unique dynamics of working in legal settings, said Trina Gordon, director of the UHV graduate program in counseling psychology.

“Agencies that hire mental health professionals who haven’t had training in the forensic side of the discipline experience a high turnover rate,” Gordon said.

“This program will prepare students to succeed for the long term in forensic work,” Perz said.

Students in the degree program will take 60 credit hours of course work and practicum, including classes in assessment, psychotherapy techniques, ethics, advanced forensic psychology and seminars on specific subjects like criminal behavior.

Jeffrey Di Leo
Jeffrey Di Leo

“I’d like to thank Dr. Perz for leading the development of this new degree program,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “This will help many students find good jobs and become a force for positive change in their communities.”

For more information, contact Perz at 361-570-4223 or

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4342