Course Outline and Course Descriptions

Available course selection includes (see program options and fees for course requirements in each program).

Instruction in Psychology

  • PSYC 602: Introduction to Forensic Psychology (3 credits)
  • PSYC 613: Research Methods in Forensic Psychology (3 credits)
  • PSYC 620: Forensic Psychology in Criminal Proceedings (3 credits)
  • PSYC 622: Forensic Psychology in Family Court Proceedings (3 credits)
  • PSYC 659: Special Topics: Principles of Mediation (3 credits)
  • PSYC 626: Expert Testimony (3 credits)
  • PSYC 650 & PSYC 651: Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology I & II; Criminal & - Family Civil (6 credits)
  • PSYC 664 & PSYC 665: Seminar in Forensic Assessment I & II - Criminal & -Family Civil Forensic Psychology (6 credits)

Electives in Related Study

  • CHAD 502: Child Abuse and Neglect
  • CHAD 504: Children and Justice
  • CHAD 505: Forensic Interviewing of Children
  • CHAD 530: Child Protective Service Investigation
  • LSLW 555: Family Mediation

Course Descriptions

GENERAL COURSES

PSYC 602: Introduction to Forensic Psychology
Offered in Summer Session

In this course, students will develop an in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals within the justice system. This will include credential preparation and voir dire, state licensing board regulations, negotiating potential ethical challenges, as well as limits of privilege and confidentiality. Students will also survey major topics in regard to experimental forensic psychology, such as police psychology and interrogation; jury selection and decision making; and eyewitness testimony and false memories. This course will conclude with an introduction to various non-family civil concerns, such as, torts and personal injury, workers’ compensation, harassment, discrimination, disability, civil commitment, and guardianship.

PSYC 613: Research Methods in Forensic Psychology
Offered in Summer Session

This course has two primary objectives. This first is to introduce students to research methods within the discipline of forensic psychology. Emphasis will be placed on experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational, and case study research designs and related data analytic techniques. In addition, ethical and legal challenges confronted in forensic research will be examined. The second objective is to give students comprehensive study of the principles of test construction and development as they relate to the use of forensic assessment instruments. Students will learn to interpret data on reliability, validity, test norms, base rates, specificity, and sensitivity. This course will equip students to be educated consumers of forensic psychological research and assessment literatures, and will enable students to evaluate the merits of such research for its integration into forensic practice.

CLINICAL COURSES

PSYC 650: Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology I -Criminal
Offered in Fall Session
This course examines psychological concerns that occur in the course of criminal forensic evaluation. It will include review, integration and evaluation of current scientific literature and relevant case law regarding: risk assessment, violence and dangerousness; psychopathy and predatory behavior; sexual offense; pre-sentencing evaluations; competency evaluations; criminal responsibility (e.g., mental state at the time of offense); confidentiality, privilege, and duty to protect third parties from harm; and psychiatric hospitalization of inmates. Psychiatric and personality disorders relevant to criminal forensic evaluation, as well as factors influencing the validity of these evaluations will also be reviewed.

PSYC 664: Seminar in Forensic Assessment I -Criminal
Offered in Fall Session

This course provides intensive review and application of scientifically meritorious assessment instruments for the domains of criminal forensic psychology described in FORC60. Students will critique current research on empirically validated objective, subjective, and actuarial forensic assessment strategies. Emphasis will be placed on justifying selection and use of specific assessment techniques, competent information gathering, use of collateral and third party information, and construction of the written report. Through a practicum component for students electing to take clinical supervision, students will perform forensic assessments with the instructor and/or clinical supervisor in the areas of risk assessment, violence, and dangerousness; psychopathy and predatory behavior; sexual offense; pre-sentencing evaluations; competency evaluations; and criminal responsibility (e.g., mental state at the time of offense). Factors influencing the validity of these evaluations will also be reviewed.

PSYC 651: Seminar in Development Psychopathology II -Family Civil
Offered in Spring Session

This course examines forensic mental health evaluation of legal questions arising in family and civil courts. Students are expected to critically review, integrate, and evaluate current scientific literature and relevant case law regarding: principles of child abuse and neglect; parental fitness and termination of parental rights; domestic violence and battered woman syndrome; divorce and marital dissolution; child custody and parenting time; juvenile delinquency; relevant psychiatric and personality disorders; and factors influencing the validity of family evaluations such as deception, dissimulation and malingering.

PSYC 665: Seminar in Forensic Assessment II - Family Civil
Offered in Spring Session

This course prepares students to conduct thorough assessments for civil and family courts. Empirically validated assessment strategies including objective, subjective & actuarial measures will be discussed and critically evaluated. Emphasis will be placed on justifying selection and use of specific assessment techniques, competent information gathering, use of collateral and third party information, and construction of the written report. Through a practicum component for students electing to take clinical supervision, students will perform forensic assessments with the instructor and/or clinical supervisor in the areas of child abuse and neglect; parental fitness and termination of parental rights; domestic violence and battered woman syndrome; divorce and marital dissolution; child custody and parenting time; and juvenile delinquency. Students will learn how to integrate and apply relevant psychiatric and personality disorders as well as response styles and deception into these evaluations.

LEGAL COURSES

PSYC 620: Forensic Psychology in Criminal Proceedings
Offered in Fall Session

This course provides an examination of the substantive criminal law in America. Emphasis will be placed on an analysis of various legal principles of our criminal justice system. In particular, concepts such as justification of punishment, the definition of offenses, the Constitutional limits of persecution and punishment, the significance of resulting harm, group criminality and methods of exculpation or defense will be critically reviewed. Discussion and analysis will detail the impact of these legal concepts on the practice of forensic mental health evaluation.

PSYC 626: Expert Testimony
Offered in Fall Session

This course is a study of the law and rules (with particular attention given to the Federal Rules of Evidence) governing the proof of disputed issues of fact in criminal and civil trials. Emphasis will be given to the functions of judge and jury; relevancy; real and demonstrative evidence; authentication and production of writings; the examination, competency, and privileges of witnesses; hearsay; impeachment; and burden of proof, presumptions, and judicial notice as they relate to the practice of forensic mental health evaluation.

PSYC 626: Forensic Psychology in Family Court Proceedings
Offered in Spring Session

In the last few decades children have been given special recognition and increased protection under state, federal, and international law. However, doctrines and beliefs developed in periods when the social value of children was low and the legal duties of parents and the state were minimal, continue to influence the way the law views children. This course will survey various areas of the law concerning children and examine their sources and influences. Topics will include: (1) the responsibilities of the state and family in the care of the child, including education; (2) the legal treatment of abused and neglected children; (3) rules concerning the medical treatment of children; (4) adoption, surrogacy and parentage; (5) the treatment of children accused of crimes in the juvenile justice system; (6) children's disabilities; and (7) government entitlement programs for children. The course will also examine the International United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty that seeks to render universal certain rules respecting the treatment of children.

PSYC 659: Principles of Mediation
Offered in Spring Session

This course examines theoretical and practical aspects of mediation in the family law context. Overview of the laws that govern and affect the formation, maintenance and dissolution of the family unit will be critically reviewed, including study of the increasingly important role of family mediation both privately and within the judicial structure. Integration of ethical and practical considerations will be presented through role-play and independent research to enhance student understanding.