Program Description


The Post Graduate Certificate and Advanced Studies Programs in Forensic Psychology are training programs for forensic psychologists, forensic social workers, forensic psychiatrists, forensic psychiatric nurses, and other forensic mental health practitioners who offer services within the legal system. Graduate students enrolled in terminal masters' or doctoral degree programs may also take elective courses in these Certificate and Advanced Studies programs. The practice of clinical forensic psychology occurs throughout the United States with few university based or institute training affiliations. Yet courts rely on practitioners to provide valuable information that often results in dramatic decisions that impact the safety, security, and well-being of clients and the larger public interests. The Department of Psychology through a faculty of experienced forensic psychologists and researchers and legal practitioners provide the academic and applied experiential learning to succeed in this challenging and high profile career.

Program Focus

In the civil family arena, the program focuses on areas such as:

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Parental fitness and termination of parental rights
  • Divorce and marital dissolution
  • Child custody and parenting time
  • Domestic violence

In the criminal arena, the program provides training in conducting comprehensive evaluations to aid the court in matters of:

  • Criminal competence
  • Criminal responsibility
  • Violence and risk assessment
  • Psychopathy
  • Predatory behavior

Certificate and advanced studies programs additionally focus on the broad ethical principles and guidelines in forensic psychology as well as the relevant professional issues associated with civil and criminal practice.

Infused in all of the courses is a detailed review of:

  • Relevant laws, precedents, and state statutes
  • Court rules and rules of evidence
  • Civil and criminal procedure
  • Communication with the courts and expert testimony.

All practitioners can expect to become skilled in testing and/or assessment practices and the appropriate application of clinical judgment and bias.

Professional Competencies

The American Psychological Association (APA) provides guidelines through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)/American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP) and Division 41 (the Psychology-Law Society, AP-LS) for professional competence and ethical practice. While there is no national licensing standard for forensic practice beyond state licensure this program is aligned to meet the requirements for application to ABFP/ABPP Specialty Board Certification and Diploma in Forensic Psychology. Our program is designed to include all of the core readings recommended by ABFP to facilitate individuals' preparation for the Specialty Diploma written exam in Forensic Psychology. Additionally, we offer Fellowship Opportunities, which are constructed to meet the guidelines for waiver of the ABFP five-year experience requirement. Please note that final approval rests with ABFP/ABPP and each application is reviewed and examined on a case-by-case basis. This program is designed to meet and exceed the most demanding academic requirements of Forensic Psychiatry, Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) and Forensic Nurse Examiners.