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 – The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Program Description

From the website: Graduates of The Chicago School’s Forensic master’s program are trained to apply the art and science of psychology within the legal system and related fields. Chicago Campus students gain hands-on experience at The Chicago School Forensic Center, which provides high-quality forensic psychological services and programming (such as evidence-based interventions, policy advocacy, and program development) to improve the health and well-being of individuals within diverse communities.

Through a range of community partnerships, the center gives students powerful service-learning opportunities that prepare them to be competent and civically engaged forensic mental health practitioners. Internship placement rates typically exceed 95% for students enrolled in the program’s licensure track. The Chicago School offers students a wide range of applied forensic psychology learning experiences rarely available at other schools—such as providing expert witness testimony in front of practicing judges and attorneys during a realistic mock trial experience, participating in a hostage negotiation simulation, or providing Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to families involved with the juvenile court system.

Students pursuing the forensic psychology master’s degree may tailor their coursework to meet particular educational and professional goals and may choose from forensic psychology concentrations in child protection, sex offenders, or corrections. The program prepares licensure-track students to sit for the professional counselor licensure exams in Illinois (LPC and LCPC).

In addition, from another website: Licensure, Non-Licensure Practice, and Thesis tracks lead to a Master of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology. The tracks are campus-based and share a common core of 28 credit hours. Within the first semester, students officially declare their track (consisting of an additional 20 to 32 credit hours). These tracks are offered on a semester calendar system with a total of three semesters per academic year. The Licensure track is the only track in which students, upon program completion, are eligible to sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE) within the state of Illinois for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), respectively.

Note: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology also offers an online-only Masters in Forensic Psychology, which is described elsewhere.

Specializations

Three areas of concentration are available: child protection, corrections, or sex offenders.

Credits

Students may complete either a licensure track, which prepares them for the professional counselor licensure exams in the State of Illinois (60 credit hours) or a non-licensure practice or thesis track (48 credit hours).

Students are required to take 28 credit hours of core coursework and then an additional 20 – 32 credit hours, depending upon the chosen track (thesis, licensure, or non-licensure practice).

Thesis

Not required. Student may complete a non-licensure thesis track (but this track is not eligible for licensure; the goal is to prepare students for doctoral level training). The thesis track requires 6 credits of thesis work (four semesters).

Externship/Practicum

Required for the licensure track and the non-licensure practice tracks. Both the licensure track and the non-licensure practice track require 700 hours of fieldwork over a period of 9-12 months.

Admission Requirements

From the website: Application to the M.A. in 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: GPA from undergraduate and any graduate schools, successful work history after completion of the baccalaureate degree, 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. 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.

The GRE is not required.

Tuition & Fees

In-State Residents

$953/credit hour

Out-of-State Residents

$953/credit hour

Coursework

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers the Masters in Forensic Psychology at the Chicago, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles campuses. The information provided below is for the Chicago campus.

Core Coursework (28 credits)

FO 608 – Professional Development Group (1 credit)

FO 610 – Introduction to Forensic Psychology (2 credits)

FO 611 – Ethics and Professional Issues in Forensic Psychology (3 credits)

FO 612 – Psychology of the Lifespan (3 credits)

FO 613 – Psychopathology (3 credits)

FO 617 – Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing (3 credits)

FO 622 – Mental Health Law (2 credits)

FO 627 – Forensic Documentation, Report, Writing and Testifying (3 credits)

FO 647 – Diversity in Forensic Psychology (3 credits)

One of the following

FO 619 – Evaluation and Treatment of the Adult Offender (2 credits)

FO 620 – Evaluation and Treatment of the Juvenile Offender (2 credits)

The following course for licensure and non-licensure practice tracks

FO 614 – Research Methods (3 credits)

The following course for thesis track

FO 659 – Research Methods for Thesis Students (3 credits)

Track Courses

The track courses depend upon the track chosen (thesis, licensure, or non-licensure practice) as well as the area of concentration selected (child protection, sex offender, or corrections). Thus, there are multiple different combinations of courses available for the various tracks/concentrations.

The licensure track: (no concentration) requires an additional 32 credit hours (in addition to the core coursework); with a concentration in child protection requires an additional 33 credit hours; with a concentration in sex offenders or corrections requires an additional 35 credit hours.

The thesis track: (no concentration) requires an additional 20 credits (in addition to the core coursework); with a concentration in sex offenders or corrections requires an additional 23 credit hours. There is no option for a thesis track with a concentration in child protection.

The non-licensure practice track: (no concentration) requires an additional 20 credits (in addition to the core coursework); with a concentration in sex offenders or corrections requires an additional 23 credit hours. There is no option for a non-licensure practice track with a concentration in child protection.

Each of the courses required for the various track/concentration combinations can be found here.

Concluding Comments

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology appears to offer Masters degrees in Forensic Psychology to fit most any students’ academic and professional goals. Those students desiring to move into doctoral education in forensic psychology are advised to complete the thesis track whereas those desiring to become licensed counselors (note: this is not the same as a licensed psychologist, which requires a doctoral degree in most states) are advised to complete the licensure track. Those who desire to practice under the supervision of others, without being licensed, are advised to complete the non-licensure practice track. Of courses, this might also be an appropriate track for students who desire to complete doctoral level psychology professional degrees, such as the PsyD (which would allow the doctoral level psychologist to obtain licensure as a psychologist).

There are no differences in tuition level as a function of whether a student is in-state or out-of-state, although this generally means that tuition will be more costly for in-state students than attending a state university or college.