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 – Holy Names University

Program Description

From the website: Holy Names University offers six graduate programs in the Counseling Psychology Programs for persons who want to work professionally as counselors in a variety of venues, including forensic and pastoral. Students will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively counsel, fully acknowledging the diverse dimensions of people’s lives. The faculty is made up of practicing clinicians, and students are exposed to a wide variety of counseling theories with an integrated, programmatic emphasis on human diversity and spirituality. Classes incorporate didactic learning with opportunities for experiential practice via written exercises, case studies, and simulations. Integration of learning is fostered by scholarly papers and reflection journals. At the end of the program, students will be able to demonstrate clinical competence and clear understanding of professional responsibilities.

Our students reflect a rich diversity of age, culture, religion, lifestyles, and lived experiences. Holy Names Counseling programs are appropriate for individuals whose own levels of personal and psychological development enable them to have high regard for all human beings, especially those different from themselves. All programs are dedicated to fostering student development of openness and respect for all people. We firmly believe that valuing differences is a hallmark of effective, compassionate counseling. All three programs are designed for the working adult. Most classes are offered in the late afternoons and evenings.

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology (30 units)

This program, designed for those who may be licensed, prepares professionals for a career in working with victims and perpetrators in a correctional setting. This program is uniquely based in a foundational philosophy of restorative justice. Students will gain theoretical knowledge of the counseling field as it relates to corrections and the legal system, in general. Students completing this program are not eligible for state licensure as Marriage and Family therapists.

Specializations

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

Credits

The program consists of 30 credit units.

Designed for the working adult, most classes are offered late afternoons and evenings, Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some Saturday classes are required.

Thesis

Not required. It does not appear that completing a thesis is an option in this program.

Externship/Practicum

Not required. Students do not have the option for an externship or field placement in this program. The website and brochure materials indicate that this Masters program is intended for the working adult and for those who may be licensed clinicians. The intent of this program is to provide a foundation of knowledge for working with clients in forensic settings. Students who do not have clinical experience may be interested in completing the dual MA degree in Counseling and Forensic Psychology.

Admission Requirements

Applicant to any counseling psychology master’s program must have taken an undergraduate general psychology or sociology course or have life experience working in the community mental health field.

From the website: Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements: (1) A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, conferred by an accredited institution of higher education. (2) An undergraduate record that is satisfactory in terms of quality of scholarship. A scholarship average of 2.7 is required for the total undergraduate program, with an average of 3.0 in the major and in any subsequent graduate work.

The GRE does not appear to be required.

Tuition & Fees

In-State Residents

$800/unit

Out-of-State Residents

$800/unit

Coursework

Required Coursework (30 units)

CPSY 200 Foundations of Counseling: Process and Skills
CPSY 206 Forensic Psychology and the Law
CPSY 207 Psychology of Criminal Behavior
CPSY 208 Substance Abuse Assessment & Treatment
CPSY 209A Assessment, Diagnosis, & Treatment of the Victim
CPSY 209B Assessment, Diagnosis, & Treatment of the Offender
CPSY 211 Forensics: Psychometrics and Assessment
CPSY 212 Forensic Psychology Professional Practice Seminar
CPSY 226 Advanced Issues in Correctional and Community Counseling
CPSY 230 Human Diversity in Counseling
CPSY 245D Domestic Violence Assessment and Treatment

Concluding Comments

This masters program is intended to prepare students for working with victims and perpetrators. It is geared towards those students who have undergraduate degrees in psychology and who are currently working in the field but who would like more knowledge and skill for working various legal and correctional settings. The program is geared towards the working adult who is already licensed and does not lead to licensure eligibility. Those students who are not licensed or who require clinical experience should consider the dual MA degree in Counseling Psychology and Forensic Psychology as the dual program offers practical experience whereas this program does not. Given the limited fieldwork involved in this program, it does not appear to be the most appropriate program for those with no experience working with clients or patients in a psychological or counseling capacity. In addition, this program does not emphasize research and provides no opportunity to conduct research; therefore, those desiring to continue on to doctoral-level training in psychology are advised against taking this masters degree program. This program appears to offer an important knowledge base for those students and licensed clinicians whose work will require them to provide services to victims and perpetrators in a variety of forensic settings.