A master’s degree in Forensic Psychology will open doors to a variety of professional opportunities that apply the art and science of psychology to the understanding and functioning of legal and related fields. Forensic psychology professionals have a solid understanding of a range of issues relating to psychology and the legal system, including public policy, the public’s view of criminals, criminal behavior, demographics, insanity and mental illness, the court system, and the correctional system.
Students at the D.C. Campus program obtain a solid understanding of a range of issues, such as juvenile delinquency, criminal behavior, child custody, domestic violence, substance abuse, trauma, victimology, insanity and competency to stand trial, sexual offenders, violence and risk assessment, and expert testimony. They also have the opportunity to take advantage of the school’s proximity to key agencies important to study in this field—organizations such as the FBI, NCIS, Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, the Supreme Court, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Virginia Department of Corrections. Through a range of community partnerships, faculty members integrate the resources of such agencies through site visits, courtroom observations, field research, internships, and distinguished speakers. Students also benefit from a variety of applied learning experiences rarely available at other schools and are prepared to practice forensic psychology in an ethical, academically informed, and research-based manner.
Forensic psychology professionals may work directly within the arena of police and public safety as a consultant, hostage negotiator, or EAP specialist. Individuals trained in forensic psychology may also work for victim advocacy programs, correctional institutions, forensic hospitals, domestic violence and child abuse programs, or juvenile delinquent intervention programs. In these roles, they can provide assessments, counseling, case management, and other services to help their clients cope with the mental and emotional effects of traumatic experiences, overcome addictions, or make more positive life choices.
There is one track to the program offered on the Washington, DC Campus:
Professional Counselor Licensure Track
The M.A. in Forensic Psychology is designed in accordance with licensure requirements in the District of Columbia. For licensure in other jurisdictions, please consult the Department Chair.
700 hours over 9-12 months
Forensic Mediation and Dispute Resolution
Focuses on emerging issues in mediation and mediation techniques for managing conflict. Dispute resolution techniques are also a strong focus of this course.
Examines strategies for negotiating a critical incident, understanding and managing the critical incident, and communication techniques, as well as understanding perpetrators, stress and stress management, and the Stockholm syndrome within a hostage situation. In addition, students gain an understanding of crisis negotiation, debriefing, hostage-taker demands, and the effects of time on a situation.
Evaluation and Treatment of the Juvenile Offender
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.
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