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The field of Forensic Psychology focuses on the application of the scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge of psychology to the 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 broad and general concepts of clinical psychology into the legal and public policy arenas in an ethical, academically informed, and research-based manner.
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. For instance, 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.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program students will be to:
- Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of psychometric theory, assessment techniques, and forensic literature to evaluate various dimensions of human experience, outcomes of interventions, and the application of forensic assessment to psycholegal issues.
- Develop and maintain effective professional relationships with clients, peers, supervisors, faculty, and other professionals.
- Integrate an advanced 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 culture 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.
The Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology program aligns with degree and coursework requirements for eligibility for psychologist licensure in California. Prior to applying for licensure, students must complete a minimum number of hours of post-doctoral supervised professional experience. Licensure requires that students apply for and pass the National Examination of Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Law and Ethics Examination (CPLEE). All candidates are also required to complete the licensure application process, which includes fees and/or background check. For further information about licensure, please visit the California Board of Psychology.
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: undergraduate and any graduate coursework, 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. Based on the evaluation of these materials, selected candidates may be invited to interview for further consideration of their application. Applications must be submitted with a $50 (US) fee in order to be evaluated.
The program requires applicants to have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate course in Statistics with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better in the course. If needed, the course in Statistics must be completed in accordance with the policies outlined in the Progression Requirements section below.
The program also requires applicants to have successfully completed at least 15 semester hours of psychology (or related field) credit at the undergraduate or graduate level, including a course in Abnormal Psychology with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better in the course. The course in Abnormal Psychology can be completed in accordance with the policies outlined in the Preparatory Coursework section below.
The remaining semester hours of psychology (or related field) credits must be completed prior to enrollment.
Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology Preparatory Coursework Requirements
Applicants who otherwise meet the admissions requirements of the program, but who have not previously successfully completed at least one (1) course in Abnormal Psychology, will be required to fulfill this requirement prior to enrolling in this program through the completion of Preparatory Coursework.
Applicants should review the Preparatory Coursework policy for additional details. Applicants who are required to complete Preparatory Coursework must satisfy the following course requirement prior to enrolling in this program:
Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology Progression Requirements
This program requires applicants to have successfully completed (with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better) at least one (1) undergraduate or graduate level course in Statistics by the end of their first semester (two terms) of study. Students must successfully meet this progression requirement through one of the following options:
- A grade of “C” or higher in TCS 390
- A grade of “C” or higher in a comparable course at the Chicago School
- A grade of “C” or higher in a comparable course at another regionally accredited institution
All students must meet this progression requirement by the end of their first semester (two terms) of study. Students who do not successfully fulfill this requirement will not be allowed to register in any future coursework in the program of study until this requirement is met. 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.
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.
Degree Completion Requirements
- Successful completion of 105 credit horus of coursework
- Successful completion 1,200 hours of supervised practicum; 600 hours accrued each academic year during two (2) consecutive semesters; over at least a nine (9) month period; and with at least 40-60% direct service hours.
- Successful completion of 2,000 hours of supervised internship at a site, and with supervision, that is acceptable for licensure by the California Board of Psychology.
- Successful completion of at least eight (8) Comprehensive Psychological Test Batteries, completed at Practicum and/or Internship
- Successful completion of Dissertation
- Successful completion of Clinical Forensic Competency Examinations (CFCE)
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.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has 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.
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 Psychological Association, 2013). 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 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 professional psychology practice, students shall ensure that the appropriate malpractice insurance is in effect.
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.
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 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.
The practicum is an integral component of clinical psychology 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 complete at least six semester hours each of Assessment and Therapy practicum. Additional Advanced and Supplemental practicum experiences are available. Practicum requires successful completion of at least 1,200 hours of supervised clinical training; at least 600 hours accrued each academic year during two (2) consecutive semesters; over at least a nine (9) month period; and with at least 40-60% direct service hours. Some or all Comprehensive Psychological Test Batteries may be completed at Practicum.
More specific information is located in the APP Manual.
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 are both formative capstones used to measure student learning, and evaluative tools that allow the department to assess the student’s abilities as a future clinical forensic psychologist.
The CFCE cases are presented during practicum seminar courses and scheduled by the seminar leader. Students formally present their CFCE cases within the spring semester of the Assessment and Therapy Practicum Seminars, respectively. The seminar leaders will provide additional information about specific guidelines and requirements in the course syllabus.
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 summative 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 Dissertation Manual.
All students are required to complete an approved internship following the completion of all course work, practicum, and dissertation requirements. At 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. Internship requires successful completion of at least 2,000 hours of supervised clinical training at a site, and with supervision, that is acceptable for licensure by the California Board of Psychology. Some or all Comprehensive Psychological Test Batteries may be completed at Internship.
More specific information is located in the APP Manual
Earning a Master of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology
Students in the Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology program may be awarded an M.A. in Forensic Psychology - Non-Licensure Track degree following the successful completion of required coursework and specific program requirements. At the beginning of the semester in which a student expects to be eligible for the master’s degree, he or she is required to submit a Petition for Degree Conferral to the Office of the Registrar. The petition is a request to conduct an audit to determine eligibility for the degree. Students who meet the requirements are eligible to participate in the next scheduled commencement. Eligibility guidelines are contained in the catalogue under which the student was admitted. All students who file a Petition for Degree Conferral will be charged a fee.
The specific requirements for award of a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology - Non-Licensure Track degree are as follows:
- Good academic and professional standing
- Successful completion of the required coursework: