Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology: Non-Licensure Track Course Descriptions
Always at the forefront, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s online-blended M.A. in Forensic Psychology: Non-Licensure Track program sets the standard in applied forensic psychology education.
At The Chicago School, we recognize that forensic psychology practitioners not only have the ability to impact individual lives, they also have the potential of influencing our entire justice system. For this reason, our online-blended master’s in forensic psychology program was carefully designed to give you the skills you’ll need by offering:
• A program that keeps pace with the latest advancements in the field of forensic psychology
• An experienced faculty member who is a personal mentor/facilitator/resource for you
• An instructional environment that recognizes you as a mature learner and welcomes your experience and
expertise into the classroom
• Readings and materials that expose you to new theories, concepts, and best practices relevant
to your careers
• Classmates who provide a broader range of workplace experiences and diverse perspectives on
workplace situations and challenges.
FO610 Introduction to Forensic Psychology (2 credits)
This course introduces students to the field of forensic psychology, its history, and its impact in today’s world. The focus is on the relationship between law and psychology, the mental health system, mental illness and criminal conduct. A brief introduction to the legal system is also included. This course must be taken during the first semester of enrollment.
FO611 Ethics and Professional Issues in Forensic Psychology (3 credits)
This course reviews standards, ethics codes, and laws applicable to the forensic mental health practitioner and scientist. Ethical and legal conflicts and dilemmas a forensic practitioner might encounter while working within the legal system are explored, as are ways to resolve such issues. The role of regulatory agencies and professional associations is reviewed. The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics is emphasized.
FO612 Psychology of the Lifespan (3 credits)
This course examines the developmental process across the lifespan from infancy through advanced age, focusing on the perceptual, cognitive and social-emotional factors. Through the examination of theoretical frameworks and empirical research, students become familiar with the developmental psychology literature. The exploration of individual and cultural differences also receives considerable emphasis as these variations create the diversity in humankind across the lifespan. In addition, the course explores the applicability of developmental psychology literature to individuals within the forensic setting.
FO613 Psychopathology (3 credits)
This course provides an in-depth survey and understanding of the range of mental disorders. The overall objective of the course is to enable students to appropriately diagnose psychopathology for purposes of efficacious treatment and the facilitation of clear clinical dialogue and agreement with fellow professionals. The course emphasizes research as it pertains to empirically-based treatments for a variety of mental health disorders. Additionally, issues of culture and gender as it relates to mental health diagnoses are discussed. Diagnostic criteria are drawn primarily from the DSM-IV-TR with some contribution from other sources considered as appropriate.
FO617 Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing (3 credits)
This course addresses theoretical and practical issues related to clinical forensic interviewing and diagnosing that includes information gathering, effective listening, rapport building, and the assessment of mental status. In addition, the impact of culture and diversity on interviewing and diagnosing are explored.
FO622 Mental Health Law (2 credits)
This course explores landmark legal cases that have shaped the activities and practices of mental health professionals, the civil rights of persons with mental disabilities, and the uses of mental health knowledge within the legal arena. Students are exposed to the legal system, constitutional law, and case law. Focus is placed on those cases pertaining to expert witness testimony, violence risk assessment, criminal responsibility (insanity), capital punishment, sexual dangerousness, civil commitment, civil and criminal competencies, confidentiality, professional liability, and personal injury.
FO647 Diversity in Forensic Psychology (3 credits)
This course will engage students in a level of self-awareness through self-reflection to identify their personal value systems, culture, and biases. In addition, students will gain knowledge with regard to the worldview of others in the context of psychological, socio-political, historical, privilege/power, and economic factors that form social identity. This course will specifically address individual and group differences across racial, ethnic, gender, age, disability, social class, sexual orientation, and religious boundaries. Attention will be given to diversity-related issues within the forensic context.
FO619 Evaluation and Treatment of the Adult Offender (2 credits)
Prerequisite(s): FO 613 and FO 617. This course acquaints students with the most common adult criminal forensic evaluations conducted by forensic mental health professionals, theories associated with criminal behavior, and the various treatment modalities provided to adult offenders. Students gain a basic understanding of the legal criteria upon which criminal forensic evaluations are based, the appropriate methodology to perform competent and objective forensic assessments, the mental health services delivered to adult offenders in prison and community settings, and some of the ethical and professional difficulties that a forensic mental health professional encounter.
FO620 Evaluation and Treatment of the Juvenile Offender (2 credits)
Prerequisite(s): FO 613 and FO 617. This course addresses the classification, assessment, and treatment of the juvenile offender. Various factors contributing to juvenile delinquency and empirically-based treatment approaches are discussed. Legal and institutional responses to juvenile crime are analyzed, and the role of the forensic clinician in the juvenile justice system is discussed utilizing case material. Case lectures and discussions, case examples, and video presentations are used to illustrate key concepts. (2 credits) Either FO 619 or FO 620 must be taken as a requirement for the M.A. in Forensic Psychology.
FO621 Trauma and Crisis Intervention (2 credits)
This course explores theories, research, and treatment modalities related to various types of trauma (i.e., combat; childhood abuse and neglect; and exposure to violence, rape, and domestic violence). Through the course work, students develop knowledge related to post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder. Students also acquire knowledge related to vicarious stress/secondary stress, and explore unique aspects of working with individuals that have experienced trauma.
FO625 Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment (3 credits)
Prerequisite(s): FO 613 and FO 617 . This course examines substance use and abuse, with a focus on symptom formation, diagnosis, and socio-cultural factors. Various theoretical approaches to the etiology and treatment of substance abuse, as well as the resultant psychological and physiological effects of drugs are discussed.
APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECT COURSES
FO685 Writing and Research for Practice: Professional Proposals (0.5 credits for each part, totaling 1 credit)
This two-part course introduces students to the Applied Research Project (ARP). It provides a thorough overview of the ARP process and the Project’s relationship to the learning outcomes of the program, including examples of acceptable ARPs, and ongoing means of support for the project. The course focuses on academic writing, including critical thinking and attention to cross-cultural and multiple perspectives, grammar and writing mechanics, and style and report format appropriate for the workplace. The course also reviews the basic technologies and methodologies used to conduct research in the social sciences and which are needed to complete the ARP, which are essential resources needed for continuing development of these skills. Required deliverables include: ARP Topic Paper, which describes the project and its relation to the field; ARP Proposal, which includes a problem, background, goal statement; and several article critiques related to the ARP topic. Approval by the Student’s advisor and ARP supervisor is required.
FO686 Writing and Research for Practice: Information Literacy (0.5 credits for each part, totaling 1 credit)
(Prerequisite: FO 685). This two-part course prepares students to create an effective research strategy to find and evaluate needed information. Students are provided the resources necessary to conduct a review of electronic and other resources available to graduate students at The Chicago School, including traditional scholarly resources and Internet library databases. Students learn to formulate research queries, perform advanced searches using a range of search engines and critically evaluate information for a particular application. Library sources and electronic search tools and services are reviewed. Reference information to avoid plagiarism is included. Students are given the tools necessary to develop a detailed outline of their literature review. Required deliverables include: additional article critiques used to build the Literature Review and a detailed and comprehensive Literature Review outline. Approval by the Student’s advisor and ARP supervisor is required.
FO687 Writing and Research for Practice: Overview of Applied Research Methodologies (0.5 credits for each part, totaling 1 credit)
(Prerequisite: FO 686). This two-part course is an introduction to practical research methods used in workplace settings including qualitative and quantitative research methods and action research. The course covers the interpretation and presentation of fundamental statistical data used in workplace research. The strengths and weaknesses of each approach are discussed, and students learn to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches for addressing specific and varied research questions. This course assists students in the identification and explanation of research design and requires them to think about published psychological research critically. By the end of the course, students should be able to write an expert review of an experimental study and select an appropriate methodological approach for their ARP. The course familiarizes students with resources for the continuing development of these skills. Required deliverables include: a draft of the solution/recommendation for the problem presented in their ARP; a draft of the ARP methodology section of the Applied Research Project; and a final draft of their Literature Review. Approval by the Student’s advisor and ARP supervisor is required.
FO688 Writing and Research for Practice: Professional Ethics (0.5 credits for each part, totaling 1 credit)
(Prerequisite: FO 687). This two-part course serves as an overview of individual, as well as organizational responsibilities, with regard to ethical issues and requirements related to research and professional behavior. Students will think critically about ethical situations and compliance regulations in their workplace. The research ethics requirements of The Chicago School are included. Students will continue to work on their ARP Method section, taking into consideration any ethical concerns with their approach to program evaluation and the implications of their program evaluation recommendations. Required deliverables include: a revised ARP Method section; the critical analysis of ethical considerations section of the project; and other revisions to overall ARP, if needed. Approval by the Student’s advisor and ARP supervisor is required.
FO689 Writing and Research for Practice: The Applied Research Project (0.5 credits for each part, totaling 1 credit)
(Prerequisite: FO 688). This two-part course requires students to complete the formal written Applied Research Project (ARP), which is a project related to the students’ specified concentration or workplace, as well as to present the final deliverable to their advisor and faculty supervisor(s). The formal written ARP requires students to formulate, investigate, and analyze a problem within their workplace and to develop solutions to address the well-defined problem. The project will include a section presenting an overview of the problem being examined, a review of related literature and other organizational information, a research/program evaluation methodology appropriate for the problem and organizational context, a critical analysis of the ethical considerations, a critical analysis of the project with recommendation for further action or future research, and all supplemental materials needed to implement the ARP (Note: implementation of the project and/or solutions/ recommendations is not required for graduation). The final format of the ARP will be specific to the individual project. The ARP will be presented to the advisor and faculty supervisor(s) in a style appropriate for the workplace. The formal written project must be complete at the time of presentation, and presentation of the project, using PowerPoint, is required (approximately 20 minutes in length). After the presentation, students are expected to address questions specific to their ARP. The completed ARP, presentation, and the students’ defense of relative questions regarding the presentation and findings will be evaluated against the course learning objectives for evidence of mastery. Required deliverables include: a written report documenting the Applied Research Project in a style appropriate for the workplace and a PowerPoint presentation of the project. Approval by the Student’s advisor and ARP supervisor is required. This is a blended course.
FO618 Violence and Risk Assessment (2 credits)
Prerequisite(s): FO 613. This course provides students with the fundamental aspects of conducting violence and risk assessment evaluations and the manner in which opinions are communicated. Students gain an understanding of empirically-based risk factors and assessment tools used to conduct violence and risk evaluations, as well as management strategies employed to ameliorate risk/risk conditions. Practical exercises drawn from actual cases are used to illustrate key concepts.
FO623 Psychology of Law Enforcement (2 credits)
The field of law enforcement has its own unique culture and organizational structure. This course addresses how the dynamics within law enforcement influence decision making and can lead to and/or sustain acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Students explore major areas of police psychology, such as pre-employment selection, fitness-for-duty evaluation, special unit testing, and psychometric tools utilized in this specialized area. Special attention is paid to critical incident stress debriefing techniques and models used with this population.
FO624 Forensic Psychology in Correctional Settings (2 credits)
This course exposes students to the unique culture of working in a correctional environment (e.g., socialization, communication, gang activity). Students learn how to deal with ethical dilemmas, limits of confidentiality, safety concerns, and professional issues that may be encountered when working in this setting. Students are exposed to providing treatment with different types of offender populations (e.g., mentally ill, antisocial, adolescent offender) and culturally diverse groups (e.g., elderly offenders, female offenders, religious groups, ethnic groups, and transgender individuals).
FO633 Evaluating and Treating the Sex Offender (2 credits)
Prerequisite(s): FO 613 and FO 617. This course examines the forensic and therapeutic assessment and treatment of juvenile and adult sex offenders. Students learn about the prevalence of sexual offenses, the psychopathology and theories of sexual deviance, and legislative efforts to manage sex offenders. The various treatment interventions employed with this unique population are explored.
FO658 Social Psychology and Cultural Aspects of Aggression (2 credits)
This course provides students with an in-depth examination of Social Psychological experiments and cultural studies related to the foundations of aggressive behavior. Some of the topics addressed include conformity and its relation to stereotyping, racism and aggression, bystander apathy, media impact on aggression, cultural norms as they relate to organized aggression, and prison psychology. Readings are drawn from the extensive literature of social psychological experiments as well as field studies related to the topic.
FO660 Psychology of Terrorism (2 credits)
This course is designed to introduce students to the motivations and beliefs behind those who engage in terrorism. Small-scale terror groups as well as larger and more contemporary terror movements such as the global Salafist jihad are discussed. Additional topics include law enforcement and the international response to global terrorism, psychological issues involving recruitment, the psychology of suicidal terrorism, and the impact of terrorism on children.
For questions concerning any course, or to inquire about the master’s degree in Forensic Psychology, please call 866-907-4209 or request more information.