MAFP Program Description and Requirements
Broadly, our mission is to provide comprehensive education and training, relevant to the application of psychological theory, knowledge, skills, and competencies to the civil and criminal justice systems. Our courses actively encourage scholarly inquiry and critical thinking, and challenge the students to become self‐reflective in their approach to their education and clinical training. Through the course work and field work, students learn to apply their psycho‐legal knowledge and skills in an ethical and culturally competent manner. The MAFP program is committed to an active presence in the community through direct service to
underserved populations, continued collaboration with community agencies, and training future competent professionals to work within the community once they have graduated.
The MAFP program upholds the vision, values, mission, and goals set forth by the University of Denver. Since its inception, the MAFP program has demonstrated its commitment to excellence, and is viewed locally and nationally as a leader in providing education that promotes scholarly inquiry and cultivates critical and creative thought. Our practical training emphasis models the vision of the University’s mission to partner with “local and global communities [to] contribute to a sustainable common good.”
The MAFP program has established six broad goals including: 1) to ensure exposure to, and critical analysis
of, the broad spectrum of scientific and philosophical perspectives concerning the bases of human
development and behavior across the life span; 2) to provide experience with, and critical analysis of, a
wide range of clinical and/or forensic assessment and intervention strategies and techniques; 3) to provide
exposure to a wide array of clinical and/or forensic populations through the use of supervised practicum
experiences; 4) to inculcate the highest standards of ethical and professional functioning into clinical
thinking and practice; 5) to foster a deep and abiding respect for, and understanding of, the diversity of the
human experience; and 6) to instill an understanding of the application of the scientific and experimental methods to applied clinical forensic practice, and to prepare students to conduct and critically evaluate psychological research.
In keeping with these goals, the program endorses the concept of preparing our students in a number of professional foundational and functional competencies. These foundational competencies include:
1) reflective practice;
2) scientific mindedness;
3) interpersonal relations and conduct;
4) individual‐cultural diversity; and
5) ethical‐legal standards.
The functional competencies include:
2) assessment‐diagnosis case formulation/presentation;
4) research/evaluation; and
5) application of supervision/learning/advising.Master’s Program Design
The program is designed to be completed in two academic years of full-time study. The University of Denver is on a quarter system, and students must attend fall, winter and spring quarters. The program focuses on three knowledge and skill areas and provides the necessary training for an individual to work as a Master’s level mental health professional in agency and institutional settings or under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist. The three areas of competency include assessment of a variety of populations, individual and group therapy across the lifespan, and consultation in a variety of legal and criminal justice settings.
Master’s Program Requirements
The MAFP program approaches its goals and objectives through a variety of teaching, clinical, and administrative elements that are sequential, cumulative and graded in complexity.
Broadly, our curriculum includes education in law and the legal aspects (e.g., statutes, case law and legal theory) affecting professional forensic psychology practice; knowledge of the relevant literature and ways of assessing the legal questions posed to clinicians/researchers; familiarity with broad and specialty area ethics and guidelines; and field placements in forensic settings. Students receive coursework that will provide them with the technical knowledge and practical skills to facilitate their clinical work in the forensic psychology field, such as clinical interviewing and psychotherapy, and psychopathology and diagnosis. In addition, students receive sufficient grounding in research design and methodology and statistical analysis to understand the empirical bases for diagnosis and intervention, as well as critique the literature in the field. As we are a clinically focused program, our curriculum includes coursework in the historical basis of assessment and measurement of different variables in forensic settings and a sequence of traditional and specialized assessment courses. To meet the diverse needs of our students, and prepare them for flexibility in their careers, coursework includes such specialized topics as the understanding and treatment of offenders (male/female, sexual, juvenile),
trauma/crisis intervention, substance abuse, and group therapy.
As the population of the United States is changing and becoming increasingly diverse, socio‐cultural and diversity issues are infused within the curriculum as well as offered as a distinct course.
We utilize many different approaches in delivering the curriculum in a way that has a meaningful and lasting impact on our students and embraces the spirit of collaboration with the local and national community. Our primary mode of delivery is through didactic and experiential teaching in the classroom setting; in addition, we utilize field trips to community mental health agencies offering offender and victim treatment, courts,
jails and prisons, and law firms. We actively invite professionals in the legal, law enforcement, and mental health communities to participate as guest speakers and/or adjunct faculty.
Finally, we require that students engage in direct service through their field placements, working with diverse populations and in diverse settings. As an adjunct to their field placements, students are enrolled in case consultation/peer supervision courses that provide added support and foster development as professionals and practitioners.
Clinical Competency Exam
Students will be required to pass a clinical competency exam in the spring of their second year. The oral
exam is clinical in nature, and evaluates students on their mastery of the theoretical and conceptual
underpinnings of forensic practice, as captured through our foundational competencies, and their ability
to convey the technical and applied aspects of forensic practice, as reflected by our functional