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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: three campus based Professional Counselor Licensure Tracks 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 three tracks are as follows:
M.A. Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track - Chicago Campus
The 60-credit hour Chicago campus track option includes a practicum and internship experience. The Chicago campus also offers several concentrations that students may choose from. This track is intended for students who wish to provide mental health services and seek professional counseling licensure in Illinois. See licensure details below.
M.A. Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track - Washington D.C. Campus
The 60-credit hour Washington D.C. campus track option includes a practicum and internship experience. This track is intended for students who wish to provide mental health services and seek professional counseling licensure in the DC metro area. See licensure details below.
M.A. Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track - Los Angeles & Irvine Campuses
The 65-credit hour Los Angeles & Irvine campus track option includes a practicum and internship experience. This track is intended for students who wish to provide mental health services and seek professional counseling licensure in California. See licensure details below.
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 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 student to apply for 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. For on-ground students, The Chicago School Forensic Center (Chicago campus) and Forensic Training Institute (California campuses) offer service-learning opportunities to educate students to become competent and civically engaged forensic mental health practitioners.
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.
Licensure (Los Angeles, Irvine)
The MA Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track program aligns with degree, coursework, and supervised experience requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California. Candidates for licensure must pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) and the California Law and Ethics Examination. Additional post-master’s supervised experience is required in order to qualify for licensure in California. All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check. For further information about licensure in California, please visit the Board of Behavioral Sciences.
Licensure (Washington D.C.)
The M.A. Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track program aligns with degree, coursework, and supervised experience requirements for eligibility to be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington D.C. and Virginia, and to be a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Maryland. Candidates for licensure must pass the required national examination (National Counselor’s Exam or National Clinical Mental Health Counselor’s Exam) and any required state-specific counseling examination. Additional post-master’s supervised experience is required in order to qualify for licensure in each of the above jurisdictions. All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check.
For further information about licensure in Washington D.C., please visit the Department of Health.
For further information about licensure in Virginia, please visit the Virginia Board of Counseling.
For further information about license in Maryland, please visit the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any jurisdiction not listed above.
The MA Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track program aligns with degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois. Candidates for licensure must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check. For further information about licensure, please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
There are separate admission requirements and application procedures for the Licensure and the Non-Licensure Tracks. 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
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: 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 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 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 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 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
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 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.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has established an agreement between the M.A. Forensic Psychology (Non-Licensure Track) and the B.A. Psychology programs 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 Chicago School of Professional Psychology has also established an agreement between the M.A. Forensic Psychology and the Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology programs to allow qualified students to early entrance into the doctoral program. This agreement allows qualified students to begin their doctoral studies while completing their master’s degree. Click on this here for details.
Dual Degree Option
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has also established a Dual Degree program option with the Colleges of Law whereby students can earn a Dual Degree: M.A. Forensic Psychology: ARP Track and Master of Legal Studies. Students must meet the admission requirements for both programs. Specific coursework requirements are outlined in the attached document.
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 Counselor Licensure Track students only)
- Successful completion of Forensic Competency Examination (Professional Counselor Licensure Track students only)
- Successful completion of the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) (Professional 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 M.A. 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
Professional Development Group and Academic Advisor Assignment
All Professional Counselor Licensure Track 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.
For the Non-Licensure Track, 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 difficulties. A multi-tiered support system is in place, including support from the academic advisor, department chair, and student support counselor.
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 treatment, assessment, public policy, legal issues, and other nuances of working with each population or setting. Note that all concentrations other than Generalist increase the total track credit hours.
All students in the Los Angeles and Irvine-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/Internship for Professional Counselor Licensure Track Students
The M.A. 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. Students must receive and accept an official offer from a prospective practicum site by the first week of classes in the fall semester to complete their training within that academic year.
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 Department of Applied Professional Practice (APP) 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 close 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 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/internship under the supervision of a master’s level licensed clinician or psychologist (e.g., LCSW, LPC, LCPC, LPCC, LMFT, or licensed psychologist). 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 should dedicate at least 280 hours to direct client contact, which could include a variety of clinical activities such as diagnostic interviewing; individual, group, or family therapy; crisis intervention; intake interviews; and milieu therapy. Students are also typically responsible for administrative and case management tasks, such as, victim advocacy, consultation, applied research, and/or court attendance.
Students 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 campus specific training manuals.
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 during the spring semester of the student’s clinical training experience in order to fulfill program requirements. Students must pass at least one practice FCE prior to completing the final examination.
The objective of the FCE is for the student to demonstrate the ability to apply relevant theory, empirical literature, assessment, and intervention to a case formulation. 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 provided to students during the practicum and internship training experience.
Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE)
All students are required to successfully complete The Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE)’s Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE). CPCE scores are reported based on the core areas of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) to help students study and prepare for the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). The CPCE test items measure a student’s knowledge of the eight core curriculum standards defined by CACREP:
- 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 administered at least twice a year and is taken during the last year of enrollment in academic coursework. Students must be in good academic standing to be eligible to take the CPCE. Students who have not successfully passed the CPCE are not eligible for degree conferral and must retake the exam during the next scheduled administration.