If you are interested in studying forensic psychology, either as a graduate or post-graduate student, this resource will be perfect for you! This article was written by the former EAPL-S representative for Poland: Pawel Banas.
Few words to begin with…
Psychology in Poland is growing in popularity and receiving more and more recognition in scientific community. However, Polish psychologists are still much divided and the field is in statu nascendi. With some great exceptions, of course, as Poland has its own tradition of experimental psychology as well as some internationally recognized laboratories.
Some practical info
To obtain psychology diploma in Poland it is mandatory to complete full 5-year-long curriculum (or receive 300 ECTS points), meaning that Psychology is excluded from 3+2 Bologna system. This might be an important obstacle for those who would like to finish their MA in Poland.
To study Psychology in Poland you have to keep in mind that:
1. Most psychology programs are in Polish;
2. Foreigners are usually very welcome and having IB helps a lot;
Applying for a particular program without IB may differ between universities but, again, foreign students are usually very welcome and it should be relatively easier for them to become a student at any Polish university comparing to what is expected from Polish citizens. It is recommended that you check in advance (at least 6 months) at the university about the documents they require and the deadline for the official application.
Studying Psychology in Poland could be a nice experience if you speak Polish well enough or are motivated to learn it quickly. PhD in Psychology in Poland might be an option if you are aiming at a particular supervisor – there are no recommendable PhD programs in English.
Forensic psychology in Poland
Forensic psychology receives more and more attention as an option of professional career for psychology graduates in Poland. However, becoming a court expert in psychology is legally unregulated meaning that theoretically anyone who graduated in psychology can be listed as an expert at the given court. This results in an uneven level of expert opinions ranging from total junk written by self-proclaimed forensic experts to very professional and community-recognized opinions prepared by Institute of Forensic Research in Kraków.
Academic forensic psychology is not very strong comparing to international standards but due to many bottom-up initiatives (student research groups) it is getting better and better every year. Forensic psychologists in Poland are mostly practitioners of better or worse qualifications and little attention is given to any research in the area.
Some scientific events, among them the biggest annual Cracow Conference of Psychology and Law, promote such research and a significant improvement within last few years can be reported. There is also a growing number of irregular conferences all over the country.
The following Public Universities offer recognized curricula:
Jagiellonian University, Cracow [psychopathy, misinformation]
The University of Gdańsk
Silesian Universiy [witness testimony]
Warsaw University [they offer psychology program in English];
Maria Curie-Skłodowska University
Some private universities might also offer forensic psychology programs with Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities having probably the best. An important thing is that they also have psychology program in English.
It is also worth mentioning that Institute of Forensic Research in Kraków used to offer a PhD program in forensic psychology which is no longer available.
A few final, and honest, words
Personally, I probably wouldn’t recommend Poland as a place where you can study forensic psychology – but Poland is undoubtedly about people and atmosphere. If you don’t believe me, come to Cracow for a few days 🙂
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments about studying abroad in Poland.
Best wishes from Poland! Wszystkiego najlepszego!