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The rapidly growing field of Forensic Psychology focuses on the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s MA Forensic Psychology program offers two distinct tracks: one Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track that offers all classes in an online format with two residencies (in-person or virtual), and one Non-Licensure Track that offers all classes in an online format. Each track is designed so that students will gain a mastery of forensic psychology, enabling them to bring psychology into the legal and public policy arenas in an ethical, academically informed, and research-based manner. The two online tracks are as follows:
MA Forensic Psychology: Non-Licensure Track - Online Campus
The 37-credit-hour Online campus track is designed for students who are employed in related field in the legal and public policy arenas and where law integrates with psychology. Students must complete an applied research project that integrates and applies program learning to an authentic workplace situation. This track does not enable students to apply for licensure.
MA Forensic Psychology: Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track - Online Campus
The 60 credit online track option includes practicum and internship experience specific to the state in which the student intends to pursue licensure (subject to restrictions). This track is intended for students who wish to provide mental health services and seek professional counseling licensure in most states and the District of Columbia (see list of states covered under Licensure).
The curriculum exposes students to the relevant psychological and counseling theoretical principles, scientific research, and practice skills that enable students to apply the science and practice of psychology to issues of law and the legal system, and to assume professional responsibilities in a variety of forensic settings. The program emphasizes critical thinking, sensitivity to ethical principles, the role of personal values, and cultural diversity and endeavors to be flexible in order to adapt course content to reflect developments in the field.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:
- Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of psychometric theory, assessment techniques, and forensic literature to evaluate various dimensions of human experience, outcomes of interventions, and psycho-legal issues.
- Integrate a basic knowledge of theory, research, and professional literature to guide interventions and promote optimal mental health and well-being.
- Recognize and respect individual and group differences as well as practice with cultural competence.
- Organize professional activities by ethical and professional codes, standards, and guidelines; statutes, rules, and regulations; and relevant case law.
- Develop and maintain effective professional relationships with clients, peers, supervisors, faculty, and other professionals.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the research methods in the social and behavioral sciences, the benefits and limitations of research, and the scientific and professional literature relevant to the field of forensic psychology.
For information on where The Chicago School of Professional Psychology meets, does not meet, or has not determined if the program meets licensure eligibility requirements for the state in which you wish to be licensed, please visit: https://www.thechicagoschool.edu/admissions/licensure-disclosures/.
For information on where The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is currently authorized, licensed, registered, exempt or not subject to approval, please visit https://www.thechicagoschool.edu/why-us/state-authorization/
There are separate admission requirements and application procedures for the Licensure and the Non-Licensure Tracks. Applicants interested in the MA Forensic Psychology program should inquire about the specific admission requirements at www.thechicagoschool.edu under “Prospective Students” and must apply directly at www.thechicagoschool.edu
Application to the MA Forensic Psychology program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work. Factors that are considered in admission are: undergraduate and any graduate coursework, GPA from undergraduate and any graduate schools, successful work history, the admission essay, and letters of recommendation. Generally, an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. It is recommended that transcripts are submitted from all schools where credit was received to enhance their applications. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, application deadlines, and letters of recommendation.
The program also requires applicants to have successfully completed at least one undergraduate course in either statistics or research methods with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better. Applicants without one of these courses must complete them in accordance with the policies outlined in the Progression Requirements section below. An interview may also be conducted by the Program Chair.
Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track and Non-Licensure Track Progression Requirements
Both tracks require applicants to have successfully completed (with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better) at least one undergraduate course in either statistics or research methods by the end of their first semester for Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track students and 2nd term for Non-Licensure Track students. Students must successfully meet this progression requirement through one of the following options:
- A grade of “C” or higher in TCS 390 Introduction to Statistics or TCS 385 Introduction to Research Methods;
- A grade of “C” or higher in a comparable course at the Chicago School; or
- A grade of “C” or higher in a comparable course at another regionally accredited institution.
Applicants accepted with no previous statistics or research methods coursework will be required to register for TCS 385 or TCS 390 in their first ground semester or two online terms. All students enrolled in either of these tracks must meet this progression requirement by the end of their first semester for Professional Clincal Counselor Licensure Track students and 2nd term for Non-Licensure Track students. Students who do not successfully fulfill this requirement will not be allowed to register in any future coursework within the program of study until this requirement is met. Failure to register may result in the student being administratively withdrawn from the program. Extensions can be granted by the Program Chair or designee when extenuating circumstances prevent completion of the requirement in the specified timeframe. Requests for an extension must be submitted in writing to the Program Chair for consideration.
In addition to the admission criteria currently in place, applicants to the Non-Licensure Track should have three or more years of full-time, related, post-baccalaureate relevant work experience. Because the coursework for the Non-Licensure Track is offered via distance learning format, and because both tracks utilize online learning platforms, students within both tracks must have access to a computer that is less than three years old, a broadband Internet connection, and the Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint at minimum, in addition to the following computing skills:
- A comfort with basic Internet technology
- The ability to open and attach files from and to email
- The ability to send and receive email
- The ability to save documents
Non-Licensure Track applicants who do not have the required undergraduate coursework, but who have sufficient relevant work experience may be granted a waiver of one or more of these requirements for admission by making a request to the Program Chair or designee.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not a requirement for admission in either the Licensure or Non-Licensure Tracks; however, students who have taken the exam may submit their scores to enhance their application. Scores should be sent directly to the school (GRE School Code: 1119) for consideration.
The Chicago School reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once the review of an application begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and students will be notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.
If a student is offered admission and in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $250 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.
Degree Completion Requirements
- Successful completion of coursework requirements (track specific details below)
- Successful completion of Applied Research Project (Non-Licensure Track students only)
- Successful completion of 100 hour practicum and 600 hour internship (Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track students only)
- Successful completion of Forensic Competency Examination (Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track students only)
- Successful completion of the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) (Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track students only)
- Successful completion of two mandatory residencies at one of The Chicago School ground campuses or virtual options (Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track students only)
The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Academic Calendar, Admissions Requirements, Attendance, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Service Learning, and Transfer Credit/Course Waiver. Click the link above for detailed information.
Students are expected to adhere to the ethical and professional behavior guidelines as set by the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics.
Reference will be made to additional ethical codes, such as the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists (American Psychological Association, 2013), and international codes as applicable. Acceptable student conduct is derived in large part from these sources of information.
Please refer to the policies located in the Student Rights and Responsibilities and section of the Academic Catalog and Student Handbook.
Student Professional Evaluation and Student Review Process
The course content and experiential activities offered by the MA Forensic Psychology program are designed to afford students the opportunity to advance their intellectual and professional development and functioning. Throughout the program of study, students are given feedback concerning their personal, academic, and professional strengths, developmental needs, and performance. This feedback will come from a variety of sources and may include faculty, supervisors, peers, and/or clients. Students are expected to respond and incorporate this feedback in a mature and professional manner. Throughout their matriculation in the program, students are expected to explore and recognize the effects their personal beliefs, issues, emotions, and behaviors have on others and on their ability to function and provide services as a professional. Students are also formally evaluated with regard to their professional comportment at the end of specific courses in the curriculum. Additionally, all students are reviewed by program faculty and administration with respect to their overall program performance during the student review process
Academic Advisor Assignment
An academic advisor is assigned to each student and student progress is tracked and addressed through informal meetings or more formal Academic Development Plans (ADPs) depending on the presenting needs. A multi-tiered support system is in place, including support from the academic advisor, department chair, and student support counselor.
Practicum and Internship for Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track Students
The MA Forensic Psychology: Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure Track program is committed to training highly competent and ethical clinicians who will ultimately contribute to the mental health field. Toward that end, students are required to complete relevant coursework in combination with clinical training for successful completion of their master’s degree. Full‐time students traditionally complete their practicum and internship experience during the second year of the academic program. Part‐time students work with their academic advisor to determine the most appropriate year to complete training requirements.
Forensic practicum/internships are closely supervised educational and training experiences in which the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed in the classroom can be directly applied to forensic and/or clinical populations. Each student is responsible for identifying potential practicum/internship sites. All sites are approved by the Office of Placement and Training (OPT) and allow students the opportunity to work with clinical populations in an array of settings, such as prisons, jails, detention centers, police departments, special treatment units, state psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse facilities, and community‐based programs for victims and offenders. These formative experiences integrate the science and practice of forensic psychology and counseling in real world situations. Through intensive supervision and mentorship, students begin to develop their professional identities, clarify their professional strengths and weaknesses, and understand their roles as clinicians and/or providers of forensic services to a broad and diverse range of populations within a variety of settings.
Students must accrue a minimum of 700 hours of clinical training over the course of a 9-to-12-month practicum and internship under the supervision of a licensed professional that is approved by the state in which the student hopes to be licensed. These may include, but are not limited to, a master’s level licensed clinician or psychologist (e.g. LCPC, LCSW, LPC, LPCC, LMFT, licensed psychologist or psychiatrist). Students are expected to attend practicum between 16 to 24 hours per week and must participate in at least one hour of weekly individual supervision. In addition, students will complete at least 280 hours to direct client contact, which may include a variety of clinical activities such as diagnostic and/or intake interviewing; individual, group, or family therapy; crisis intervention; and milieu therapy. Students are also responsible for administrative and case management tasks, including, but not limited to victim advocacy, consultation, applied research, and/or court attendance. Some states require additional hours for licensure. The Director of Clinical Training will work with students to understand their individual state licensure requirements.
Faculty reviews each student’s progress in the program to inform decisions regarding student’s readiness to apply to practicum/internship. Students are not allowed to contact or engage with a site formally until the Director of Clinical Training has formalized the relationship and approved the student to move forward.
Throughout their training experience, students will be enrolled in a readiness seminar (FO6000 series courses). These seminar courses include a one and a half hour synchronous group meeting every week. This time is used to consult about the training experience as well as prepare for and complete their Forensic Competency Exam (FCE). This exam includes a written clinical report as well as an oral presentation.
Students registered in this program incur a one-time $195 Experiential Learning Technology Fee.
Forensic Competency Examination (FCE)
Students who complete a practicum and internship are required to pass the Forensic Competency Examination (FCE), a program capstone with the purpose of demonstrating proficiency in the core competencies of the program. The FCE is completed while students are accuring their internship hours in order to fulfill program requirements. Students must pass at least one practice FCE prior to completing the final examination.
The FCE is a summative assessment of the program learning outcomes used to measure a student’s knowledge of assessment, diagnosis, case conceptualization, and self-evaluation based on an actual case from the student’s internship experience.
More specific information related to the FCE is provided to students during the practicum and internship seminar courses.
Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE)
All students are required to successfully complete The Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE)’s Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE). The CPCE test items measure a student’s knowledge of the 8 content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors:
- Human Growth and Development
- Social and Cultural Diversity
- Counseling and Helping Relationships
- Group Counseling and Group Work
- Career Development
- Assessment and Testing
- Research and Program Evaluation
- Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
The CPCE is taken prior to graduation, typically during internship when registered for FO800, and students must be in good academic standing to be eligible. The CPCE is a graduation requirement.