Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

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Program Director: Dr. Diana Falkenbach

The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology is designed to train practitioners to provide psychology services to, and within, the criminal and civil justice systems as well as to prepare students for doctoral study in psychology. The 42-credit curriculum focuses on the understanding, evaluation and treatment of both offenders and victims. Through the curriculum, students are provided with an advanced understanding of psychological development and psychopathology, personality assessment, psychotherapeutic techniques and research methods.

In the Forensic Psychology Program, students may take an externship consisting of a minimum of 300 hours in an appropriate psychological setting under the supervision of a licensed psychologist or other trained mental health professional approved by the program director. Alternatively, qualified students may complete a thesis.

Program details:
Degree Requirements
Required Courses
Forensic Psychology Electives
General Psychology Electives and Cognate Courses
Thesis Track
Externship Track
Externship/Thesis Combination


Degree Requirements
All new matriculants in the MA in Forensic Psychology Program are required to complete 42 credits. This includes 39 credits of coursework plus 3 credits for an externship of 300 hours or the prospectus/thesis.

Permission from the program director and completion of PSY 791 is required for those who hope to complete their degree with a thesis. In addition, enrollment in PSY 791 will be open only to students who received an A or A- in PSY 715, PSY 737, PSY 738 and PSY 769. Students should take PSY 715 and PSY 769 in their first semester and the other two courses during their second semester. There is no qualifying exam for this degree.



Required Courses

Subtotal: 24 credits

Psychology 700* Mental Health Professionals, Social Science and the Law
Psychology 715* Research Design and Methods
Psychology 745* Psychopathology
Psychology 769 Intermediate Statistics in the Social Sciences

*These three courses must be taken within the first 24 credits of the program.

Select two psychological testing courses**:
Psychology 734 Criminal Psychological Assessment
Psychology 751 Intellectual and Cognitive Assessment
Psychology 752 Projective Personality Assessment
Psychology 753 Objective Personality Assessment
Psychology 779 Brain and Behavior

**Psychology 745 is a prerequisite for all testing courses

Select one course:
Psychology 731 Human Growth and Development
Psychology 741 Theories of Personality and Counseling

Select one course:
Psychology 760 Counseling and Psychotherapy Methods
Psychology 761 Clinical Interviewing and Assessment



Forensic Psychology Electives

Subtotal: 9-15 credits

All psychology courses numbered 800-899 also satisfy forensic psychology elective distribution requirements.

Psychology 701 Psychology of Criminal Behavior
Psychology 703 Violence and Aggression
Psychology 705 Victimology
Psychology 707Counseling and Rehabilitation of the Offender
Psychology 708 Crisis Intervention and Short-term Counseling
Psychology 714 Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Psychology 716 Assessment and Counseling of the Juvenile Offender
Psychology 718 Social Science Evidence in Court
Psychology 720 Social Psychology and the Legal System
Psychology 722 Evaluation and Counseling of the Sex Offender
Psychology 726 Mental Health Issues in Policing
Psychology 727 Eyewitness Identification
Psychology 729 Terrorism
Psychology 730 Ethical Issues in Forensic Mental Health
Psychology 734 Criminal Psychological Assessment
Psychology 742 Family Violence and Disputes

Psychology 748 Empirical Crime Scene Analysis
Psychology 754 Advanced Forensic Assessment
Psychology 764 Hypnosis, Psychology and the Law
Psychology 766 Personality Profiles of the Homicidal Offender
Psychology 779 Brain and Behavior
Psychology 791 Forensic Psychology Prospectus Seminar



General Psychology Electives and Cognate Courses*

Subtotal: 0-6 credits

Psychology 728 Social Psychopathology
Psychology 731 Human Growth and Development
Psychology 737 Descriptive and Statistical Data Analysis in Psychology
Psychology 738 Advanced Research Methods
Psychology 741 Theories of Personality and Counseling
Psychology 747 The Treatment and Prevention of Childhood Psychopathology
Psychology 760 Counseling and Psychotherapy Methods
Psychology 761 Clinical Interviewing and Assessment
Psychology 763 Behavior Modification and Learning Theory

* Students may substitute any additional required course or forensic psychology elective for cognates. They may also substitute appropriate courses offered in any John Jay College graduate program.


Thesis Track

(39 credits plus 3 credits of PSY 791)

Students who choose to complete their degree by writing a master's thesis must complete 42 credits of coursework as indicated and Forensic Psychology Prospectus Seminar (PSY 791). Students must obtain approval from a full-time faculty mentor serving as a thesis sponsor and permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies before enrolling in the Prospectus Seminar.

Enrollment in PSY 791 also requires an A or A– in the following four courses, except with permission of the Director of the MA Program: Research Design and Methods (PSY 715), Descriptive and Statistical Data Analysis in Psychology (PSY 737), Advanced Research Methods (PSY 738) and Intermediate Statistics in the Social Sciences (PSY 769).

Students hoping to complete the Thesis Track should enroll in PSY 715 and PSY 769 in their first semester, and the two additional thesis preparation courses during their second semester.



Externship Track (39 credits plus 3 credits of Fieldwork)

Students who choose to complete their degree by the alternative to the thesis, the externship, must complete 39 credits of coursework as indicated, plus 3 credits of Fieldwork in Counseling (PSY 780).



Externship/Thesis Combination

(42 credits including 3-credit Thesis Prospectus (PSY 791) and 3 credits of Fieldwork in Counseling (PSY 780))

Students may opt to do both a thesis and fieldwork by taking PSY 780 and PSY 791. To do so, they must fulfill all the requirements for the thesis and take Fieldwork in Psychology. PSY 791 will count as a forensic psychology elective in that case.