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 – Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

Program Description

From the website: This program examines the relationship between psychology and the legal system, and trains students at this intersection as it relates to applying psychological principles to legal issues in judicial, correctional, clinical, administrative, and education systems. The full-time two-year course of study combines intensive on-site weekends and online learning over a two-year period. Although the primary goal is to prepare master’s level clinicians, this program will also provide students with some of the necessary foundations for pursuing further graduate study. Graduates of this program will have fulfilled all educational requirements to qualify for licensure in the state of Massachusetts as Mental Health Counselors (LMHC).

“Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology are trained to work as master’s level practitioners with individuals, families and systems that interface with the legal and criminal justice arena. Our aim is to prepare clinicians who will be able to assess, treat, consult and apply counseling psychology in forensic settings. When so many individuals involved with the criminal justice system have great need for trained professionals in this area, we are providing clinicians that are thoroughly trained and sensitive to their particular challenges.”

—Nilda M. Clark, Psy.D.
Head, Counseling Psychology Department

Specializations

No concentrations are available. All students take the same series of courses, including two years (960) hours of fieldwork placement.

Credits

The program consists of 60 credits (18 courses, and two years (960 hours) of fieldwork placement, as well as a Capstone Project).

Thesis

Not required. Students complete a Capstone Project and Presentation in lieu of a Masters Thesis.

Externship/Practicum

Required. Students must complete two years (960 hours) of fieldwork placement as part of the degree requirements. This includes a 360-hour practicum in the first year and a 600-hour internship in the second year. Students who complete this degree are eligible for licensure in Massachusetts as Mental Health Counselors.

Admission Requirements

From the website: Eligible applicants must hold a four-year college degree from a regionally-accredited institution (or its equivalent). Although not required, at least some coursework in the field of psychology is strongly recommended. Although cutoff scores are not strictly applied, the most competitive candidates for admission will have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. The GRE is not required. For applicants whose primary language is not English, the preferred TOEFL combined scores will be 637 (paper-based). 270 (computer-based), or 110 (internet-based). Applicants whose scores are substantially lower than these should qualify the reasons for this in their application. The written components of the application (i.e., the required work samples) are also vital for this evaluation.

Tuition & Fees

In-State Residents

$1011/credit

Out-of-State Residents

$1011/credit

Coursework

Required Foundational Courses (42 credits)

COU CX510 – Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
COU LS659 – Lifespan Development
COU CC523 – Psychology of Diversity and Difference
COU PS635 – Professional Issues and Ethics
COU FS620 – Forensic Internship Seminar I
COU FS621 – Forensic Internship Seminar II
COU CS500 – Clinical Practicum Seminar I – Helping Relationships I
COU CS501 – Clinical Practicum Seminar II – Helping Relationships II
COU SB515 – Substance Abuse and Treatment
COU GR501 – Group Counseling and Psychotherapy
COU PA530 – Psychological Appraisal and Assessment
COU RS510 – Research and Evaluation in Psychology
COU PR625 – Forensic Capstone Project Seminar
COU PY522 – Adult Psychopathology

Required Specialized Courses (12 credits + 6 credits of fieldwork)

COU FS500 – Behavioral Criminology
COU MH530 – Psychology and the Legal System
COU FS550 – Consultation and Testimony in Forensic Psychology
COU FS501 – Sex Offender Evaluation and Treatment or COU TR602 – Trauma, Treatment and Theory

Concluding Comments

The website also indicates that students can complete this program on a part-time basis, with the 60 credit hours being distributed over the course of 8 consecutive semesters (and a maximum time to completion of 3 years).

This masters program is intended to prepare students for work in forensic settings and to become licensed mental health counselors in the state of Massachusetts. While there does not appear to be a strong emphasis on research in this program, the point of this program is to prepare students to work in clinical and applied settings, rather than to prepare them for further education at the doctoral level. Those students who desire to continue their education at the doctoral level are advised to evaluate other masters program with a stronger emphasis on research training. This program appears to be a good option for those students who are interested in working in applied forensic settings as licensed mental health counselors, an area for which there appears to be a growing need.