After having reviewed the five fully online masters programs in forensic psychology, numerous requests were received for more information on the campus-based masters programs in forensic psychology that are available. Thus, this series of articles will review each of the masters programs in forensic psychology and provide information on each program in a similar format so as to assist in comparisons between the various options.

The goal of this series of articles is simply to provide information in a consistent format to assist those individuals who are considering an education in forensic psychology and not to convince anyone to attend a particular program. Having been a professor in this field for the last 13 years I am familiar at some level with almost every forensic psychology program available in North America. Many undergraduate students are not familiar with all the possible options and so this series will lay them out in a consistent format for ease of comparison.

Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology – Fairleigh Dickinson University

Program Description

From the website: Although many forensic psychologists are academics who teach and do research, most are full-time practitioners. Forensic psychologists are, essentially, clinicians trained to conduct specialized evaluations for the courts and testify as expert witnesses. The evaluations that the courts may request vary widely, ranging from criminal responsibility, diminished capacity and competency to child custody, disability, personal injury, death penalty mitigation, malingering, and violence / dangerousness risk.

Masters-level forensic psychologists will not, for the most part, be assigned to conduct these evaluations, although they may assist under the supervision a doctoral-level forensic psychologist. Masters-level forensic psychologists most frequently are employed as clinicians who conduct therapy with forensic clients, either in forensic settings (e.g., jails, prisons, locked forensic units in state hospitals) or in the community with probationers or parolees. Masters-level forensic psychologists are also employed to do research with a variety of justice-related agencies and organizations. As noted, masters-level forensic psychologists may also be hired by court clinics or private practitioners to assist with evaluations under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.

Our program at Fairleigh Dickinson University is designed to offer our students the maximum possible exposure to the broad field of forensic psychology while at the same time streamlining a curriculum that allows students to finish in 18 months. Students are exposed through coursework to all of the aforementioned areas of forensic psychology practice. In addition, students gain invaluable clinical experience through the completion of a 300-hour externship placement, and have the option to participate in forensic research and do a thesis.

Specializations

No concentrations are available. All students take the same series of courses and 2 electives.

Credits

The program consists of 36 credit hours, which the student takes over the course of 1 ½ years.

Thesis

Not required. Students have the option to participate in research and complete a thesis.

Externship/Practicum

Required. Students complete a 300-hour externship placement as a requirement of the program.

Admission Requirements

Students are required to have completed an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field from an accredited institution of higher education (including coursework in Introductory Psychology, Statistics, and Abnormal Psychology) and must submit their scores from the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The website does not provide any information regarding average or minimum GRE scores or GPA.

Tuition & Fees

In-State Residents

$1075/credit hour

Out-of-State Residents

$1075/credit hour

Coursework

Required Coursework (36 credits; the following + 2 electives)

PSYC6121 Statistics and Research Methods

PSYC6114 Psychopathology

PSYC6230 Introduction to Forensic Psychology

PSYC6231 Psychological Basis of Criminal Behavior

PSYC7235 Evaluating Criminal Responsibility & Competency to Stand Trial

PSYC7230 Forensic Evaluation & Assessment

PSYC7130 Forensic Interviewing Techniques

PSYC6227 Clinical Practice in Forensic Contexts

PSYC7234 Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology

Externship and Proseminar

Concluding Comments

This is a relatively short (fewer than usual credit hours) and relatively expensive (higher tuition per credit hour than most) masters program that appears mainly geared towards those students who wish to be involved in the delivery of psychological services to those in the correctional or forensic mental health systems. The focus on assessment appears relatively strong whereas interventions and other treatment methods are less emphasized. There does not appear to be a strong research focus in this program but the materials do note that a thesis is optional and is recommended for those students who would like to pursue doctoral-level study in psychology. It is unclear whether the thesis work would substitute for the externship requirement or some other part of the curriculum or would be completed in addition to the regular curriculum. Students interested in doctoral-level study in forensic psychology might wish to consider a more research-focused masters program.