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The MA Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track program is a counselor training program that equips students with essential diagnostic, therapeutic and consultative skills in preparation to work with a variety of forensic populations across the lifespan with a variety of emotional, intellectual, and psychological symptoms and conditions.
Graduates will be trained to work in a variety of forensic settings that serve various populations. The program adopts the practitioner-scholar model predicated on the belief that a competent mental health practitioner must have both a broad knowledge of the scientific and theoretical principles in the clinical practice of psychology and counseling and the ability to apply that knowledge to specific clinical situations, with an emphasis on forensic settings. The program also incorporates the 8 content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors to prepare students seeking professional counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master’s level.
The mission of the MA Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track program is to prepare students to become mental health professionals through competence, personal integrity and academic excellence with an emphasis on promoting culturally-sensitive, responsive, and conscientious clinical practice. The curriculum integrates the theoretical foundations of forensic psychology; issues related to the law and the legal system; scientific research; counseling skills; essential diagnostic, clinical and consultative skills; sensitivity to ethical principles; and field placement experience in a variety of forensic settings and with diverse populations. Recognizing that our program is structured to promote postive student transformation to be intrinsically motivated to help others, we acknowledge the significance of promoting an environment that is sensitive to difference and preparing future clinicians to develop self-awareness and the necessary skills to continue to strive toward attaining multicultural competence. Thus, the program seeks to engage faculty and students in the preparation of clinicians who meet the needs of diverse communities.
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/
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.
Professional Counselor Licensure Progression Requirements
Applicants are required 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. 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 semester. All students must meet this progression requirement by the end of their first semester. 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.
Because the coursework utilizes online learning platforms, students 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 at minimum, 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
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required 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 review 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
- Successful completion of 100 hour practicum and 600 hour internship for at total of 700 hours
- Successful completion of Forensic Competency Examination
- Successful completion of the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE)
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has also established agreements between the M.A. in Psychology program and the programs listed below to allow qualified students to enroll in doctoral level courses while completing their master’s degree that will count toward the doctoral degree.
MA Forensic Psychology to PsyD Forensic Psychology
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 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
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 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 at least twice per academic year.
A multi-tiered support system is in place for students within the program, including support from the student support counselor, academic advisor, faculty, and department chair. Students are advised to discuss their ongoing development within this support system. Students wishing to change academic advisors may petition to do so upon completion of their first semester in the program.
Professional Development Group and Academic Advisor Assignment
All students are required to enroll in Professional Development Group during their first semester in the program. A student’s Professional Development Group instructor may serve as his/her academic advisor throughout their duration in the program. Students wishing to change academic advisors may petition to do so upon completion of their first semester in the program.
A multi-tiered support system is in place, including support from the academic advisor, department chair, and student support counselor.
All students in the Los Angeles and Anaheim-based Professional Counselor Licensure Track have the option of selecting a concentration in Police Psychology. Students must officially declare the concentration during their first semester of study. This declaration will outline the course of study for each subsequent semester. Students who complete this concentration will increase their total program credit hour from 65 to 71 credits.
Practicum and Internship
The MA Forensic Psychology: Professional 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 closely 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. All sites are approved by the Office of Placement and Training (OPT) and allow students the opportunity to work with high‐risk 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 master’s level licensed clinician or psychologist (e.g., LCSW, LPC, LCPC, LPCC, LMFT, licenced 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.
Faculty reviews each student’s progress in the program to inform decisions regarding student’s readiness to apply to practicum/internship.
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 and students must be in good academic standing to be eligible. The CPCE is a graduation requirement and students must retake the exam until they achieve a passing score.