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 –University of Denver

Program Description

From the website: Our mission is to provide comprehensive education and training relevant to the application of psychological theory, knowledge, skills, and competencies to the civil and criminal justice systems.

The Master of Arts in forensic psychology was first offered at the GSPP in 1999 in response to the growing interest in the rapidly developing field of forensic psychology. The degree supplements fundamental master’s level clinical psychology training with course work and practicum experiences in the area of psychology and law. The Masters Degree in forensic psychology concerns the application of psychological theory, knowledge, skills and competencies to the civil and criminal justice systems. It is designed to train students to become mental health professionals, able to work in a variety of clinical settings within the criminal and civil legal system, including but not limited to: adult, juvenile and child populations; victim assistance; police consultation; correctional institutions; domestic violence and child abuse programs; and trial consulting.

Specializations

The Masters in Forensic Psychology is a clinically-oriented degree and students are expected to engage in practical application of their learned skills through field placements in a variety of forensic settings. No specializations, per se, exist in this program and all students are expected to take the same general sequence of coursework.

Credits

The program website does not appear to specify how many credits are required for this Masters program. It states that the degree is completed over a 2-year period.

Thesis

It does not appear that completing a thesis is an option in this program. The program was designed to prepare masters-level clinicians for work in a variety of forensic settings.

Externship/Practicum

Students are required to complete field placements as part of their clinical training. At least two field placements appear to be required.

Admission Requirements

A Bachelor’s degree is required for admission to the Masters program. If the student did not major in psychology as an undergraduate, 4 psychology courses are required (these are recommended: abnormal psychology, child psychology, experimental psychology, personality theory) as is a statistics course. This requirement can also be met by obtaining a score of 660 or higher on the Psychology Subject GRE.

All applicants must submit GRE scores. “The school expects an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.5 and a graduate GPA of 3.0. Higher scores may make an application more competitive.”

Tuition & Fees

The University of Denver has one of the most difficult websites to navigate and it is difficult to find straightforward answers to simple questions such as “How much is this degree going to cost me?” I was unable to find how many credit hours the Masters degree is comprised of but could ascertain that students were expected to attend the program for 2 full-time years, which appears to be 3 “quarters” a year. I was unable to find different rates for in-state and out-of-state residents so assume that the cost of a graduate education is the same for both (as it is at most other institutions).

In-State Residents

$12,312 per quarter (students attend three quarters in a calendar year) = $36, 936/year (the Masters degree is a 2-year program)

Out-of-State Residents

$12,312 per quarter (students attend three quarters in a calendar year) = $36, 936/year (the Masters degree is a 2-year program)

Coursework

Again, this was a difficult site to navigate and did not include a lot of specific information. The site includes a list of courses but does not contain any course numbers or credit hours. The courses are described and listed by year in the program.

Typical First-Year Courses

Professionalism and Practice I (First-Year Case Conference)

Introduction to Clinical Interviewing and Psychotherapy

Forensic Mental Health: The Basics (Forensic Psychology I)

Forensic Mental Health: The Front LinesLaw Enforcement and Correctional Psychology (Forensic Psychology II)

Forensic Mental Health: Risky Business (Forensic Psychology III)

Group Interventions

Statistics

Research Methods

Issues in Measurement

Adult Psychopathology and Diagnosis

Trauma and Crisis Intervention

Profiles in Crime: The Psychology of Criminal Behavior

Conflict Resolution in Forensic Practice and Real Life

Typical Second-Year Courses

Professionalism and Practice II (Second-Year Case Conference)

Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology

Cognitive Assessment

Self Report Assessment

Projective Assessment

Sociocultural Issues in Forensic Psychology

Family Law

Mental Health Law

Evaluation and Treatment of the Juvenile Offender

Evaluation and Treatment of the Adult Offenders

Cognitive Behavioral Interventions

Substance Abuse: Theory and Treatment

Criminal Evaluations

Concluding Comments

The website for this program is perhaps one of the most difficult to navigate and therefore one of the least informative that I have seen. No specific answers to simple and important questions, such as “How much is this going to cost?” “How many courses am I required to take?” “What is the sequence of coursework?” or “How many credits do I need to earn?” were provided. Given that almost every other program in this area provides at least this information to prospective students, I wonder why this is not a priority for this particular program. If anyone from the University of Denver happens to read this post, please fill out the comments section below if you can provide me with some of the answers to these questions. If you are a student considering this program, I strongly advise you to contact the program director to find out the answers to these and other relevant questions.

What is clear is that this is a clinically oriented program that is intended to prepare students for work as masters-level clinicians and not necessarily for further study at the doctoral level. Students considering this program will want to inquire about whether the state in which they intend to reside licenses master’s level clinicians in psychology. Although the website indicates that 29% of their graduates go on to doctoral programs, I suspect that those individuals have sought out other opportunities for research while in the program. As the program is described, there does not appear to be a required research component.