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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 M.A. Forensic Psychology program offers three distinct tracks: two campus based and one that offers all classes in an online format with a virtual residency component. 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 three tracks are as follows:
M.A. Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track (Chicago and Washington D.C.)
This 60-credit hour track option includes a practicum and internship experience. This track is intended for students who wish to provide professional counseling and mental health services in areas that state laws typically require licensure as a master’s-level mental health professional.
Graduates of this Professional Licensure Track meet degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois, Washington DC, and Virginia and to be a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Maryland. Depending on the state, applicants must meet additional requirements including, but not limited to, application/registration forms and fees, post-master’s supervised experience, examination (NCE, NCMHCE), and background check. It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for states in which they plan to practice post-graduation.
M.A. Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track (Los Angeles/Irvine)
- This is 65 credit-hour track that includes a practicum experience. This track is intended for students who wish to provide professional counseling and mental health services in areas that state law typically requires licensure at the master’s level. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to apply for the LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) license in California.
- Los Angeles and Irvine campus based students have the option of completing a concentration in Police Psychology. Students who complete this concentration increase their total program credit hours from 65 to 71 credits.
M.A. Forensic Psychology: Non-Licensure Track (Online)
- This 37-credit-hour 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 student to apply for licensure.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:
- Relationship: develop and maintain effective professional relationships with clients, peers, supervisors, faculty, and other professionals.
- Intervention: integrate a basic knowledge of theory, research, and professional literature to guide interventions and promote optimal mental health and well-being.
- Diversity: recognize and respect individual and group differences as well as practice with cultural competence.
- Research: 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.
- Assessment: 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.
- Ethics: organize professional activities by ethical and professional codes, standards, and guidelines; statutes, rules, and regulations; and relevant case law.
There are separate admission requirements and application procedures for the Licensure and the Non-Licensure Track. Applicants interested in the M.A. 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. Applicants interested in the M.A. Forensic Psychology, Non-Licensure Track must apply directly into the Track.
Application to the M.A. 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: GPA from undergraduate and any graduate schools, successful work history after completion of the baccalaureate degree, 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.
Professional Counselor Licensure Track and Non-Licensure Track:
Aside from general admission requirements, these campus-based tracks require three specific undergraduate courses (one course in Psychology, Statistics, and Research Methods) that must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better (please see the application for course requirements).
Additional Non-Licensure Track Requirements:
In additional to the admission criteria currently in place, applicants to this track should have three or more years of full-time, related, post-baccalaureate relevant work experience. Because the coursework for this track is offered via distance learning format, students within this track 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
Applicants who do not have the required undergraduate coursework (one course in psychology, one course in statistics or quantitative psychology, and a course in research methods or experimental psychology) but who have relevant work experience may apply for waiver of one or more these requirements for admission.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required; 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
TOEFL or IELTS, International Credentials, and International Students
TOEFL or IELTS: If English is not your primary language, you must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application (TOEFL School Code: 7161). International students who received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institution are exempt from this requirement. The minimum scores are: TOEFL - 550 paper based, 79 internet based; IELTS - 6.5.
ELS Educational Services, Inc.: The Chicago School is a cooperative member of ELS Educational Services, Inc. which provides intensive English language programs. Students who have successfully completed ELS course 112 may be considered for admission in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.
International credentials: Applicants with international credentials must obtain and submit an official “course-by-course” evaluation through an evaluation agency such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc (www.ece.org). In addition to the agency evaluation, all official graduate and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted.
International students: International students must submit a completed application by the general consideration deadline. In addition, once accepted, international students must submit the International Student Information form, a copy of their passport, and financial documentation showing sufficient funding for at least one year of study and all living expenses. This documentation must be submitted at least two months prior to the start of the semester in order to allow sufficient time for the school to issue an I-20 for the student to obtain an F-1 visa, if needed. An I-20 visa will not be issued without this documentation.
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 $500 for the on-ground program and $250 for the online program 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.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has established agreements between The M.A. Forensic Psychology (Non-Licensure Track) and the B.A. Psychology program to allow qualified students to enter early into the master’s program. This agreement allows qualified students to begin their master’s study while completing their bachelor’s degree. Click on this link for details.
The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Transfer of Credit, Waiver of Courses, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Grading Scale, Grade Change Requests, Degree Completion, Degree Conferral, Minimum and Maximum Timeframe requirements, and Credit Hours per semester for Financial Aid. Information on the Academic Success Program is located under Student Life .
Academic Development Plans
An Academic Development Plan (ADP) is initiated and created by the program in which the student is enrolled. When a student demonstrates deficiencies in competencies that interfere with academic performance, training competence, and/or professional behavior, the ADP is initiated. The completion of an ADP does not constitute disciplinary action, but failure to complete the plan may lead to disciplinary action.
Student Learning Assessment
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is committed to offering the highest quality undergraduate completion program and graduate programs in applied professional disciplines. To meet TCSPP’s standard for academic quality, program learning outcomes are aligned with course learning outcomes and guide assessment. Data collected from the results of student assessment and the aggregation of these data will inform how students are progressing towards achieving program outcomes.
All academic programs report annual assessments of student learning and other indicators of program effectiveness as part of the Academic Program Review process.
The M.A. Forensic Psychology program and its related tracks operate under the framework of the practitioner-scholar model and the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) Core Competency model of training in clinical psychology. These models are predicated on the belief that a competent practitioner must have both a broad knowledge of the scientific and theoretical principles in the clinical practice of psychology and the ability to apply that knowledge to specific clinical situations. Additionally, the program reflects the educational goals and competencies adopted by the National Invitational Conference on Education and Training in Law and Psychology: the Villanova Conference. The curriculum exposes students to the theoretical principles, scientific research, and practice skills of clinical psychology 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 master’s 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. In addition, the licensure track program incorporates the eight content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors to prepare those students seeking Professional Counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master’s level. For on-ground students, The Chicago School Forensic Center and Forensic Training Institute offer service-learning opportunities to educate students to become competent and civically engaged forensic mental health practitioners.
Ethical and Professional Behavior
Students are expected to adhere to the ethical and professional behavior guidelines as set by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics, and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists (American Psychology - Law Society/Division 41 APA). Acceptable student conduct is derived in large part from these sources of information.
All students are expected to demonstrate the highest form of academic integrity. This applies to all graduate work, including but not limited to course work, field placement, and scholarship. It is equally important that all students approach professional working relationships, collegial relationships, and client-contact with the highest level of professional integrity and respect.
As mental health practitioners, our primary responsibility is to the public we serve. Therefore, students are expected to be professionally suited for the fields of psychology and counseling. Professional suitability is defined in part by the school, the fields of psychology and counseling, and society at large. At any time, should a student show signs that he or she is likely to cause harm to those we serve, swift action will be taken to mitigate said risk of harm. Such action could range from requiring additional education and remediation to disciplinary action. Students who fail to comply with ethical and professional behavior guidelines or despite remediation efforts fail to demonstrate the appropriate ethics or competencies required for practice in the field of professional psychology or counseling are subject to department remediation and/or referral to the Student Affairs Committee for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school. Likewise, should a student’s ability to engage in professional practice change, for example through conviction of a crime that prevents licensure, the department may determine that completion of the program is not possible and refer the student to the Student Affairs Committee with a departmental recommendation for dismissal from the school.
No student shall obtain part-time or full-time employment that is beyond the scope of their cumulative training in the field of psychology. In accordance with state law, no student may serve under the title of “psychologist,” “forensic psychologist,” “clinical psychologist,” or any closely related title or job function until granted an appropriate license by the state. A student shall not perform any function that exceeds his/her level of training. Prior to commencing in any clinical practice, students shall ensure that the appropriate malpractice insurance is in effect.
Students may not establish or continue psychotherapy with any department or affiliate faculty member under any circumstances or with any adjunct faculty member while registered in his or her course or while under his or her supervision. Any preexisting therapeutic relationship with a faculty member should be resolved prior to program matriculation.
Professional Development Group and Academic Advisor Assignment
All campus-based track students are required to enroll in Professional Development Group during their first semester in the program. A student’s Professional Development Group instructor serves 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.
All students in the Chicago based Professional Counselor Licensure track must officially declare a concentration during the first semester of study. This declaration will then outline the course of study for each subsequent semester. Students have the option of selecting a concentration in Corrections, Child Protection, Sex Offenders, and Generalist. In these concentrations, students take a two-or three-course sequence of coursework that is relative to the subject matter. Each concentration affords students a broader perspective concerning public policy, legal issues, and the nuances of working with each population. Note that these concentrations may increase the total track credit hours.
Practicum/Internship for Professional Counselor Licensure Track Students
Students in the Professional Counselor Licensure Track must express their intent to apply for practicum/internship (see the Office of Applied Professional Practice Forensic Training Manual). Faculty reviews each student’s progress in the program to inform decisions regarding student’s readiness to apply to practicum/internship.
More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.
Forensic Competency Examination (FCE)
Students who complete a practicum/internship are required to pass the FCE, which is completed during the spring term of the student’s practicum/internship seminar, in order to fulfill program requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology. The paper will be reviewed and evaluated by the student’s practicum/internship seminar group instructor on a “High Pass,” “Pass,” “Pass with Revisions,” or “Fail” basis.
The objective of the FCE is for the student to demonstrate the ability to apply psychological theory, empirical literature, assessment, and intervention to a case formulation, program proposal, or program project. In addition, the aim of the FCE is for the student to demonstrate an understanding of professional practice (e.g., ethical behavior), clinical dynamics (e.g., client/therapist relationship), broader systems (e.g., family, school, community, court, political, other treatment professionals/programs), and areas of diversity and difference (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status) as contextual variables.
More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.