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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Jun 14, 2024
2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology

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Chicago - Los Angeles - Irvine

Program Overview

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 Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology program bases its training on the practitioner-scholar model of education, integrating eight core competencies informed by the educational model of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). The program is designed so that students will gain a mastery of clinical forensic psychology, enabling them to bring psychology into the legal and public policy arenas in an ethical, academically informed, and research-based manner.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program students will be to:

  1. initiate and maintain therapeutic and/or working relationships with peers, clients, supervisors, faculty, and other professionals.
  2. administer and interpret multiple sources of assessment data.
  3. comprehend, evaluate, and produce scholarly work. 
  4. evaluate one’s own personal value system, culture, and biases and engage in cross-cultural interactions in a respectful, sensitive manner.
  5. develop and internalize an effective ethical decision-making model and will integrate ethical and professional codes, standards, and regulations into professional practice.
  6. develop interventions that demonstrate an understanding of and appreciation for individual and cultural differences.

Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Psy.D. Clinical 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, letters of recommendation from academic professors or supervisors from professional or volunteer experiences, and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores (GRE School Code: 1119). Generally, an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission. Students 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 requires 18 semester hours of psychology credit including a course in Abnormal Psychology and Statistics that must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better in the course. Where an applicant is missing the required undergraduate coursework or hours, graduate coursework or hours may be substituted, provided that the student earned a grade of ‘C’ or better in the course. Graduate coursework used to meet prerequisites will be considered for graduate transfer or waiver on a case-by-case basis, however. Based on the evaluation of these materials, selected candidates may be invited to interview for further consideration of their application. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, application deadlines, and letters of recommendation. Applications must be submitted with a $50 (US) fee in order to be evaluated.

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 ( or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc ( 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.

Applicant Notification

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology 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 of Professional Psychology does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.

If a student is offered admission, in order to secure a place in the incoming class, an intent to enroll form and a non-refundable tuition deposit of $500 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 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 program operates under 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 competent practitioners must have both a broad knowledge of scientific and theoretical principles in the clinical practice of psychology and the ability to apply that knowledge to specific clinical situations. Furthermore, 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 clinical practice skills that enable students to assume professional responsibilities in a variety of forensic settings. In addition, In Chicago, The Chicago School Forensic Center offers service-learning opportunities to educate students to become competent and civically engaged forensic mental health practitioners. The doctoral program endeavors to be flexible in order to adapt course content to reflect developments in the field and to emphasize critical thinking, sensitivity to ethical principles, the role of personal values, and cultural diversity.

Ethical and Professional Behavior

Students are expected to adhere to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as well as 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 field of psychology. Professional suitability is defined in part by the school, the field of psychology, 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 for the student to disciplinary action. Similarly, should a student demonstrate over time and despite efforts to remediate that he or she is not able to assume the responsibilities of the profession, he or she may be referred to the Student Affairs Committee with a departmental recommendation for 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. Students may work as a psychological assistant or psychometrician under the supervision of a professional psychologist who is duly licensed or certified by the appropriate state agency. However, 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/her course or while under his/her supervision. Any preexisting therapeutic relationship with a faculty member should be resolved prior to program matriculation.

Students who fail to comply with ethical and professional behavior guidelines or otherwise fail to demonstrate the appropriate ethics required for practice in the field of professional psychology are subject to department remediation and/or referral to the Student Affairs Committee for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school.

Independent Practice

Consistent with training department goals and the focus on ethical behavior, it is deemed inappropriate for Clinical Forensic Psychology doctoral students to engage in professional activities that may infringe upon a primary commitment to training, negatively affect the quality of consumer mental health services, or be inconsistent with ethical and legal standards. Students’ participation in outside work activities should be secondary to training and consistent with the ethical and legal standards of the profession. Engaging in independent practice in psychology prior to appropriate licensure is inconsistent with these training objectives and unethical conduct.

The Illinois Clinical Psychology Licensing Act and the California Board of Professional Psychology prohibit independent practice in clinical psychology by non-licensed individuals. Regardless of previous credentials, participation in a psychology training program indicates that the student is committed to developing a professional identity as a psychologist and professional skills within a psychological framework. The development of this identity occurs throughout the course of graduate-level training. It is appropriate for graduate students, whatever their previous experience, to view themselves as psychologists-in-training.

A student may hold a valid license in another profession (e.g., Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or Marriage and Family Therapist) or may obtain such a license during his/her training at The Chicago School. Such students may practice within the scope of their license. However, the time demands of the practice as well as the resources required should not jeopardize the student’s primary commitment to training in the department. Furthermore, the manner in which the student represents herself or himself to colleagues, clients, and the public (e.g., via marketing materials and reports of service) should not create a belief that the practice is under the auspices of or sanctioned by The Chicago School, that the practice is part of the school’s training, or that the practice is that of a trained and licensed clinical psychologist.

A student who fails to comply with the requirements of this section will be subject to department remediation and/or referral to the Student Affairs Committee for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school.

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 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.


The practicum is an integral component of clinical training. It provides a closely supervised clinical experience in which students use the knowledge obtained in the classroom to understand their clients and to develop skills in assessment, psychotherapy, and other discipline related areas. As such, the practicum serves to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the education of the professional psychologist. It allows students to become familiar with professional collaboration and consultation in a clinical setting. All students are required to take six semester hours each of Assessment and Therapy practicum.  

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

Clinical Forensic Competency Examinations (CFCE)

Every student is required to pass the Assessment and Therapy Clinical Forensic Competency Examinations (CFCE), respectively. The aim of the Assessment CFCE is to evaluate the student’s knowledge regarding psychological testing and psychometric theory as well as her or his ability to assess the various dimensions of human experience in an ethical, culturally sensitive, and professional manner. The goal of the Therapy CFCE is to examine the student’s ability to apply the theory, research, and practice of a chosen theory of intervention as well as her or his ability to practice that theory competently and in an ethical, culturally sensitive, and professional manner. Ultimately, the CFCEs allow the department to assess the student’s abilities as a future clinical forensic psychologist.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.


The dissertation is an essential aspect of a student’s academic experience and clinical training. The purpose of the dissertation is two-fold: 1) to provide evidence of a student’s mastery of the program’s required research and content competencies; and 2) to provide faculty with a measurement of program effectiveness. The student uses the dissertation to demonstrate mastery of four critical research objectives: 1) professionalism, 2) methodological rigor, 3) conceptual rigor, and 4) contribution to the field of clinical forensic psychology. These objectives form a rubric for dissertation evaluation. The student’s dissertation committee is responsible for assessing the student’s abilities and giving final approval to the dissertation.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.


All students are required to complete an internship following the completion of all course work, practicum, and dissertation requirements. In internship, students integrate academic knowledge with clinical skills and demonstrate the effective and ethical use of these skills in clinical practice. Through intensive supervised training, students gain direct experience in applying their knowledge with a clinical or clinical forensic population.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

The Curriculum

The Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology is offered at the Chicago and Southern California (Los Angeles and Irvine) Campuses of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. The Clinical Forensic Psychology program has a common set of core courses that are the same across campuses. Each campus however has a specific set of additional required core courses and/or a concentration necessary to graduate.

It is important to note that each state has specific licensure requirements. The program is designed to ensure that students will have the necessary educational components to petition for licensure within the state from which they graduate. In addition, each campus may have different areas of concentrations or specialty.

Chicago Campus

The doctorate in Clinical Forensic Psychology in Chicago is designed to meet the educational components necessary to petition for licensure with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations (IDPR). In addition, the program offers concentrations in Adult or Child and Family.

Los Angeles and Irvine Campuses

The doctorate in Clinical Forensic Psychology in Los Angeles and Irvine is designed to meet the educational components necessary to petition for licensure with the California Board of Psychology (BOP).


Total Program Credit Hours: 104

Clinical Practica (12 hours required)

Assessment Practicum Sequence

Therapy Practicum Sequence

Dissertation (7 hours required)

Internship (3 hours required)

Additional Core Courses

Chicago: Electives/Concentrations (6 credits)

Law Enforcement Concentration

 Students choose 3 courses (6 credits)


* The Clinical Forensic Psy.D. program is designed to meet the academic coursework and clinical training necessary to sit for licensure as Psychologist in the state in which it was offered. Students planning to pursue licensure outside of the state in which you are enrolled should consult the State licensing board for their requirements.

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