This article describes the new joint Masters in Forensic Psychology and Law degree offered by John Jay College of Criminal Justice and New York Law School, including admission requirements, curriculum content, and FAQs.

MA-JD Program in Forensic Psychology and Law

An MA-JD dual-degree program in Forensic Psychology and Law, offered through NY Law School (NYLS) and John Jay College (JJC) has been officially approved by NY State, and is now beginning at the two institutions. Interested students must apply to and be accepted by both institutions and must complete one full year at one institution before beginning their second full year at the other. The advantage of the combined program is that 12 specific JJC credits can be counted towards the JD, while 12 specific online JD credits at NYLS can be counted towards the MA, thus saving 24 total credits, the equivalent to one full year of study.

Degree Requirements

The Four-Year Forensic Psychology MA/JD offers qualified students the opportunity to earn both a John Jay Master of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology and a New York Law School Juris Doctor degree in Law which may be completed in as little as four years. The curriculum is composed of the existing required and elective courses for the MA and for the JD, requiring a combined total of 128 credits, including 42 credits for the completion of the MA Program in Forensic Psychology and 86 credits for the completion of the JD Program in Law. However, 12 New York Law School credits focusing on mental disability law will be credited towards both the JD and the MA Program. Likewise 12 MA credits from the John Jay Forensic Psychology MA Program will be credited also to the New York Law School JD program. Consequently, due to the 24 transfer credits applied in the dual degree program, the actual number of credits taken will be 104, resulting in graduation for full-time students in four years instead of five.

The MA Program in Forensic Psychology will consist of 24 required credits; 15 forensic elective credits, including 12 credits from the NY Law School Mental Health and Disability Law track; and 3 credits of externship.

The JD from New York Law School will consist of 41 required credits, 12 credits from the Mental Disability Law Studies, 12 transfer credits from the JJC MA Forensic Psychology Program, and 21 additional law school elective credits.

Students will be required to complete their first full year of law school without John Jay MA courses during that regimen; and they are likewise required to complete their first year of the MA Program in Forensic Psychology (24 Credits) without NY Law School courses (except for those counting towards the MA degree) during that period. However, they have the option of starting their first year in either of the two degree programs.

Required Courses

MA Program in Forensic Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (42 Credits, including 12 Transfer Credits from New York Law School)

Required MA Courses (24 Credits)

• PSY 700 – Mental Health Professionals, Social Science, and the Law

• PSY 715 – Research Methods

• PSY 745 – Psychopathology

• PSY 769 – Intermediate Statistics in the Social Sciences

• PSY 731 – Human Growth and Development or PSY 741 – Theories of Personality and Counseling

• PSY 760 – Counseling & Psychotherapy Methods or PSY 761 – Clinical Interviewing & Assessment

• PSY 734 – Criminal Psychological Assessment

• PSY 754 – Advanced Forensic Assessment

Required MA Supervised Externship (3 Credits)

• PSY 780 – Fieldwork in Counseling I

MA Forensic Electives (15 Credits)

Mental Health and Disability Law Electives (Select 4 courses, 12 Credits from NY Law School)

• CRI 507 – Survey of Mental Disability Law (Required for this Specialty)

• ADV 600 – Advocacy Skills in Cases Involving Persons with Mental Disabilities: The Role of Lawyers & Expert Witnesses

• CON 275 – The Americans with Disabilities Act: Law, Policy and Practice

• FAM 160 – Custody Evaluations, Juvenile & Family Law, & Mental Disabilities

• CRI 280 – Forensic Reports, the Role of Experts, and Forensic Ethics

• CRI 260 – Mental Disability and Criminal Law

• CRI 250 – Mental Health Issues in Jails and Prisons

• CRI 275 – Mental Illness, Dangerousness, the Police Power and Risk Assessment

• CRI 508 – Sex Offenders

• UCI 125 – Therapeutic Jurisprudence

• Trauma and Mental Disability

MA Forensic Electives (Select 1 course, 3 JJC MA Credits)

• PSY 701 – Criminal Behavior

• PSY 705 – Victimology

• PSY 714 – Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

• PSY 716 – The Evaluation and Treatment of the Juvenile Offender

• PSY 718 – Social Science Evidence in Court

• PSY 720 – Social Psychology and the Legal System

• PSY 726 – Mental Health Issues in Policing

• PSY 727 – Eyewitness Identification

• PSY 742 – Family Violence and Disputes

• PSY 746 – Empirical Profiling Methods

J.D. Program, New York Law School (86 Credits, including 12 transfer credits from John Jay College of Criminal Justice)

Required J.D. Courses (41 Credits)

• REQ 100 – Civil Procedure (4 Credits)

• REQ 200 – Constitutional Law I (3 Credits)

• REQ 250 – Constitutional Law II (3 Credits)

• REQ 300 – Contracts (3 Credits)

• REQ 400 – Criminal Law (3 Credits)

• REQ 650 – Evidence (3 Credits)

• REQ 600 – Lawyering (3 Credits)

• REQ 450 – Professional Responsibility (3 Credits)

• LWR 100 – Legal Reasoning, Writing and Research (3 Credits)

• REQ 150 – Legislation and Regulation (2 Credits)

• REQ 500 – Property (4 Credits)

• REQ 550 – Torts (4 Credits)

• LWR 200 – Written and Oral Advocacy (3 Credits)

J.D. Mental Disability Law Studies Electives (Select 4 courses 3 credits each, 12 Credit totals, maximum one per semester)

• CRI 507 – Survey of Mental Disability Law (Required for this Specialty)

* ADV 600 – Advocacy Skills in Cases Involving Persons with Mental Disabilities: The Role of Lawyers and Expert Witnesses

• CON 275 – The Americans with Disabilities Act: Law, Policy and Practice

• FAM 160 – Custody Evaluations, Juvenile & Family Law, & Mental Disabilities

• CRI 280 – Forensic Reports, the Role of Experts, and Forensic Ethics

• International Human Rights and Mental Disability Law

• CRI 260 – Mental Disability and Criminal Law

• CRI 250 – Mental Health Issues in Jails and Prisons

• CRI 275 – Mental Illness, Dangerousness, the Police Power and Risk Assessment

• Race, Gender, Class, and Mental Disability

• CRI 508 – Sex Offenders

• UCI 125 – Therapeutic Jurisprudence

• Trauma and Mental Disability

MA Transfer Credits from John Jay College of Criminal Justice to NYLS (12 Credits)

Required MA Courses (3 courses, 9 credits)

• PSY 700 – Mental Health Professionals, Social Science, and the Law

• PSY 734 – Criminal Psychological Assessment

• PSY 754 – Advanced Forensic Assessment

Elective (Choose one 3-Credit MA Course)

• PSY 701 – Criminal Behavior

• PSY 705 – Victimology

• PSY 714 – Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

• PSY 716 – The Evaluation and Treatment of the Juvenile Offender

• PSY 718 – Social Science Evidence in Court

• PSY 720 – Social Psychology and the Legal System

• PSY 726 – Mental Health Issues in Policing

• PSY 727 – Eyewitness Identification

• PSY 742 – Family Violence and Disputes

• PSY 821 – Empirical Profiling Methods

J.D. Additional Elective Courses (21 Credits)

Students must choose an additional 7 out of 250 other elective law school courses from groups outside the Mental Disability Law track, including those in administrative law, externship and clinic settings, constitutional law, criminal law, history philosophy sociology and theory of law, international law, professional skills, public interest law, and tort law. Course offerings vary from semester to semester, and the full catalog and listing are available online at the New York Law School website, www.nyls.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the MA-JD Program?

A: The Four-Year MA/JD dual-degree program offers qualified students the opportunity to earn both a Master of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College (JJC), and a Juris Doctor degree in Law at New York Law School (NYLS), which may be completed in as little as four years.

The MA/JD Dual Degree Program will capitalize on New York Law School’s nationally renowned expertise in Mental Disability Law with John Jay College’s highly recognized specialization in Forensic Psychology, to develop lawyers who will be uniquely trained to advocate for the mentally disabled, as practitioners, policy makers and legal scholars. [Graduates will also be able to work as MA Psychologists exempt from doctoral-level licensure in limited NY State civil service job settings; and as MA Psychologists in various other states, depending upon their licensing laws].

Q: What is the Focus of the Program?

A: The focus of the program is on forensic psychology, and mental health disability law. In addition to the MA in forensic psychology, students will be required to include 12 online credits about aspects of mental health disability law offered by NYLS.

Q: How Many Credits are Required for Graduation?

A: The curriculum is composed of the existing required and elective courses for the MA and for the JD, requiring a combined total of 128 credits, including 42 credits for the completion of the MA Program in Forensic Psychology and 86 credits for the completion of the JD Program in Law. However, 12 New York Law School online credits focusing on mental disability law will be credited towards both the JD and the MA Program. Likewise 12 MA credits from the John Jay Forensic Psychology MA Program will be credited also to the New York Law School JD program. Consequently, due to the 24 transfer credits applied in the dual degree program, the actual number of credits taken will be 104, resulting in graduation for full-time students in four years instead of five.

Q: What is the Course Sequence?

A: Students may begin their training in either the MA or the JD program, but the first year must be exclusively in one program, followed by the second year exclusively in the other program. Students may then mix their courses between the two programs in their third and fourth years.

The MA Program in Forensic Psychology will consist of 24 required credits; 15 forensic elective credits, including 12 credits from the NY Law School Mental Health and Disability Law track; and 3 credits of externship. The JD from New York Law School will consist of 41 required credits, 12 credits from the Mental Disability Law Studies, 12 transfer credits from the JJC MA Forensic Psychology Program, and 21 additional law school elective credits.

A typical course sequence for a student choosing to start in the MA Program would look like this: First Year at JJC would cover Mental Health Professionals & the Law, Research Methods, Psychopathology, Statistics, Human Growth & Development, Criminal Psychological Assessment, Advanced Forensic Assessment, and Clinical Interviewing.

Second Year at NYLS would include Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, Legal Reasoning, Property, Criminal Law, Advocacy, Legislation, and Lawyering.

Third Year at both would include Survey of Mental Disability Law, Forensic Psychology Elective, Constitutional Law I, Two NYLS electives, Professional Responsibility, Mental Health Disability Elective, Constitutional Law II, and Evidence.

Fourth Year at both would include two NYLS Mental Health Disability (online) Electives, 5 additional NYLS electives, and the JJC psychology externship.

Q: What are the Admissions Requirements?

A: Applicants must apply to both programs for the joint dual-degree program. For admission to the MA Program, a bachelor’s degree, with an undergraduate minimum GPA of 3.0; GRE’s scores, with a minimum score of 1000 combined in Verbal and Quantitative [or the equivalent LSAT percentile]; a minimum of 12 combined psychology credits in undergraduate and graduate coursework; plus Statistics, and Research Methods, which can be taken upon admission to the program; plus a personal statement and recommendations. For further Graduate Admissions information at JJC, go tohttp://www.jjay.cuny.edu/451.php

NYLS JD admissions are competitive, and applications must be submitted in electronic format, and include an LSAT score, resume, and at least one letter of recommendation. Additional biographical, education, employment and other information is also required. For further details, go to http://www.nyls.edu/.

Q: What are Possible Post-Graduate Careers?

A: Attorneys with a specialization in Forensic Psychology and Mental Health Disability Law may consider work with nonprofit organizations or public interest law firms, representing individual clients denied services or rights, or advocating for systematic change. They may represent people with mental health disabilities regarding informed consent, guardianship, and access to community services. They may also work for nonprofit corporations such as hospitals; or government agencies at the state of federal level. Some possibilities include departments of mental health and disability, human services, state juvenile and adult correctional services, and health services; and various mental health profession regulatory agencies. Further career and employment information is available from NYLS at www.nyls.edu.

Q: Where Can I Obtain More Information About the Dual-Degree Program, and About New York Law School and John Jay College of Criminal Justice?

A: The JJC website is www.jjay.cuny.edu. The NYLS website is www.nyls.edu. These sites will direct students to the Admissions Offices of each program. Also, those with questions about the dual-degree program may contact the JJC office of Coordinator James Wulach, Ph.D., J.D., at Jwulach@jjay.cuny.edu, or call 212-237-8782; or at NYLS applicants may contact Lianne J. Bass, Esq., administrator of the Online Mental Disability Law Program, at 212-431-2125, or call 212-431-2125.