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 competencies.