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A Psy.D. professor talks to his student Forensic Psychology

Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology

  • Irvine, CA
  • Full-Time
  • 4 Years

The Chicago School’s Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology program guides students into utilizing psychology applications in law and legal situations. Integrating eight core competencies informed by the educational model of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP), graduates will be prepared to sit for the national and state licensure exams for the […]

The Chicago School’s Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology program guides students into utilizing psychology applications in law and legal situations.

Integrating eight core competencies informed by the educational model of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP), graduates will be prepared to sit for the national and state licensure exams for the professional practice of psychology.

Clinical Forensic Psychology students benefit from a broad range of applied and real-world learning experiences through practica and internships facilitated by the Office of Applied Professional Practice. Guided by practitioner faculty, students also gain experience in such areas as forensic assessment, clinical treatment, and program evaluation

Graduates of The Chicago School’s Clinical Forensic Psychology Psy.D. program at the Irvine campus may find work in a variety of settings, including, but not limited to:

  • Child welfare agencies
  • Forensic units in state mental health facilities
  • Jails and prisons
  • Community mental health centers
  • Juvenile correctional facilities
  • Family courts
  • Private practice
  • Social service agencies

Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology: Irvine Student Experience

Our Irvine campus, is located in Orange County next to UC Irvine in the heart of University Plaza. Over 100 national and multinational businesses are headquartered in Irvine, opening up significant networking and job opportunities.

Our Irvine campus is also home to one of our well-known Chicago School counseling centers, which provide students the extraordinary opportunity to apply to gain real-world training at the centers while also learning marketing and operations related to running a private practice or mental health clinic.

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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-V-TR with some contribution from other sources considered as appropriate.

Forensic Assessment

This course introduces students to basic concepts of forensic mental health assessment. Emphasis is placed on the administration, scoring, and interpretation of the major forensic assessment instruments, including the Hare PCL-R, ECST-R, MacCAT-CA, MAYSI-2, VIP, PSI, TSI.

Violence and Risk Assessment

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.

The Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology program aligns with degree and coursework requirements for eligibility for psychologist licensure in California. Prior to applying for licensure, students must complete a minimum number of hours of post-doctoral supervised professional experience. Licensure requires that students apply for and pass the National Examination of Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Law and Ethics Examination (CPLEE). All candidates are also required to complete the licensure application process, which includes fees and/or background check. For further information about licensure, please visit the California Board of Psychology.

Licensure and Certification FAQ

The practicum is an integral component of clinical training. It provides a closely supervised clinical experience in which students use the knowledge obtained in the classroom to understand their clients and to develop skills in assessment, psychotherapy, and other discipline related areas. As such, the practicum serves to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the education of the professional psychologist. It allows students to become familiar with professional collaboration and consultation in a clinical setting. All students are required to take six semester hours each of Assessment and Therapy practicum.



The dissertation is an essential aspect of a student’s academic experience and clinical training. The purpose of the dissertation is two-fold: 1) to provide evidence of a student’s mastery of the program’s required research and content competencies; and 2) to provide faculty with a measurement of program effectiveness. The student uses the dissertation to demonstrate mastery of four critical research objectives: 1) professionalism, 2) methodological rigor, 3) conceptual rigor, and 4) contribution to the field of clinical forensic psychology. These objectives form a rubric for dissertation evaluation. The student’s dissertation committee is responsible for assessing the student’s abilities and giving final approval to the dissertation.


All students are required to complete an internship following the completion of all course work, practicum, and dissertation requirements. In internship, students integrate academic knowledge with clinical skills and demonstrate the effective and ethical use of these skills in clinical practice. Through intensive supervised training, students gain direct experience in applying their knowledge with a clinical or clinical forensic population.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Students applying to the Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Essay – Please answer the following question within three double-spaced, typed pages (approximately 500-750 words).
    • The field of Forensic Psychology focuses on psychology as it relates to the law and the legal system. In forensic settings you will likely assist individuals with diverse backgrounds in a variety of different contexts. Please tell us reasons why you want to become a Forensic Psychologist. Include your career aspirations and some of the challenges you might encounter when working with diverse individuals.
  • Official College/University Transcripts
    • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. If you are mailing in your letters, they should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal. You can also submit the letters online via the applicant portal.
  • Official GRE Scores
    • You must arrange for your official GRE scores to be sent to the school – our school code is 1119.
    • Students who have yet to take the GRE examination should contact GRE at to register for an exam date.
    • Students who have taken the test within the last five years should contact GRE at or 1-888-GRE SCORE, to have their scores forwarded directly to the school.
  • Previous Coursework
    • 18 semester hours of psychology (or related field) credit at the undergraduate or graduate level, including a course in Abnormal Psychology with a grade earned of “C: or better in the course.  The course in Abnormal Psychology must be completed in accordance with the policies outlined in the Preparatory Coursework section below. The remaining 15 semester hours of psychology (or related field) credit must be completed in accordance with the policies outlined in the Progression Requirements section of the catalog.
    • Applicants who otherwise meet the admissions requirements of the program, but who have not previously successfully completed at least one (1) course in abnormal psychology, will be required to fulfill this requirement prior to enrolling in this program through the completion of Preparatory Coursework.

The Chicago School is dedicated to keeping our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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