Program Requirements

MA in Forensic Psychology

Program Director: Dr. Kendra Doychak 2023-2024

The MA in Forensic Psychology program is designed to provide a strong foundation in forensic psychology that can be applied to, and within, the criminal and civil justice systems. The 42-credit curriculum focuses on understanding, serving, and studying both offenders and victims, and is designed to prepare students for doctoral study in psychology and/or work in settings such as mental health courts, legal offices, jails/detention centers, or parole/probation offices. Upon completion of the program, graduates may hold job titles—including, but not limited to—advocates, research assistants, case managers, or court liaisons.

Through the program, students are provided with an advanced understanding of psychological development and psychopathology, personality assessment, psycho-therapeutic techniques, and research methods. The program places a strong emphasis on developing multicultural awareness and understanding the unique tensions between psychology and law. The program requires completion of one of the following to supplement your course work: clinical fieldwork, non-clinical fieldwork, or a thesis.

Please note: the Forensic Psychology program is not a license-eligible program. Students interested in a license-eligible master’s program are encouraged to explore the Forensic Mental Health Counseling MA program.

Find information about the doctoral program in Psychology here.

While a limited number of courses are online, the overall program requires in-person attendance.

Degree Requirements

All new matriculants in the Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program are required to complete 42 credits. This includes 39 credits of coursework plus three credits for an externship of 300 hours or the prospectus/thesis.

There is no qualifying exam for this degree.

Required Courses

Introductory Courses (These four courses must be taken within your first 24 credits.)

  • PSY 700: Mental Health Professionals, Social Science, and the Law
  • PSY 715: Research Design and Methods
  • PSY 745: Psychopathology
  • PSY 769: Intermediate Statistics in the Social Sciences

Psychological Testing Courses (Select two of these courses.)

  • PSY 734: Criminal Psychological Assessment
  • PSY 751: Intellectual and Cognitive Assessment
  • PSY 752: Projective Personality Assessment
  • PSY 753: Objective Personality Assessment
  • PSY 759: Psychopathy
  • PSY 779: Brain and Behavior

Select one of these courses.

  • PSY 731: Human Growth & Development
  • PSY 741: Theories of Personality & Counseling

Select one of these courses.

  • PSY 760: Counseling & Psychotherapy Methods
  • PSY 761: Clinical Interviewing & Assessment
  • PSY 701: Criminal Behavior
  • PSY 703: Violence and Aggression
  • PSY 705: Victimology
  • PSY 707: Counseling and Rehabilitation of the Offender
  • PSY 708: Crisis Intervention and Short-term Counseling
  • PSY 714: Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
  • PSY 716: Assessment and Counseling of the Juvenile Offender
  • PSY 719: Psychology of Cults*
  • PSY 722: Evaluation and Counseling of the Sex Offender
  • PSY 726: Mental Health Issues in Policing
  • PSY 727: Eyewitness Identification*
  • PSY 729: Terrorism
  • PSY 730: Ethical Issues in Forensic Mental Health*
  • PSY 733: Dissociation and Trauma
  • PSY 739: Clinical Crime Scene Analysis*
  • PSY 742: Family Violence and Disputes
  • PSY 746: Empirical Profiling Methods*
  • PSY 748: Empirical Crime Scene Analysis*
  • PSY 754: Advanced Forensic Assessment
  • PSY 762: Transdiagnostic Mindfulness Treatment for Impulsive, Addictive and Self-Destructive Behaviors
  • PSY 766: Personality Profiles of the Homicidal Offender
  • PSY 768: Mental Health Stigma: Concepts, Research and Clinical Interventions*
  • PSY 770: Positive Psychology: The Science of Well-Being and Flourishing
  • PSY 771: Career Development Theory and Practice
  • PSY 773: Child Abuse and Neglect
  • PSY 779: Brain and Behavior
  • PSY 784: Gender, Sex, and Sexuality*
  • PSY 790: Psychology Seminar in Select Topics*

*These electives are not offered every semester.


Note: For particularized student interest, students may be permitted two cognate courses (0-6 credits). Students may enroll in up to two additional graduate courses offered at John Jay College, including those courses in the Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity, Public Administration or other master's degree programs. 


Occasional Offerings:

  • PSY 718: Social Science Evidence in Court
  • PSY 720: Social Psychology and the Legal System
  • PSY 728: Social Psychopathology
  • PSY 747: The Treatment and Prevention of Childhood Psychopathology
  • PSY 763: Behavior Modification and Learning Theory
  • PSY 764: Hypnosis, Psychology and the Law

    Thesis Track

    • PSY 791: Prospectus Seminar
    • PSY 738: Advanced Research Methods
    • PSY 737: Descriptive Statistics & Analysis
    • 3 electives of choice (9 credits)

    Externship Track

    • PSY 780: Fieldwork in Counseling OR PSY 782: Fieldwork in Forensic Psychology
    • 5 electives of choice (15 credits)

    Dual Track (Thesis + Externship)

    • PSY 791: Prospectus Seminar
    • PSY 738: Advanced Research Methods
    • PSY 737: Descriptive Statistics & Analysis
    • PSY 780: Fieldwork in Counseling OR PSY 782: Fieldwork in Forensic Psychology
    • 2 electives of choice (6 credits)

    Thesis Information:

    If interested in the thesis track, you must find a full-time faculty member to work with you as a thesis advisor. For assistance in finding an advisor, email the Master’s Student Research Group: Thesis students must obtain approval from a full-time faculty advisor serving as a thesis sponsor before enrolling in PSY 791. Students are advised to enroll in PSY 715 and PSY 769 early in the program to determine thesis eligibility, as they must achieve an A- or higher to graduate with a thesis. It is recommended students enroll in PSY 737 after completing PSY 791 and PSY 738. 


    When ready to enroll in PSY 791 and PSY 738 (co-requisites), fill out the Graduate Thesis Prospectus Form with your thesis advisor and send the PDF form to the PSY MA Admin Office: The PSY MA Admin Office will review your form, sign for the program director, and submit to Registrar on your behalf. Registrar will then manually create the course and add it to your course schedule. You will then have permission to self-enroll in PSY 738.


    To graduate with a thesis, you must achieve a grade of A- or higher in PSY 715, PSY 769, PSY 737, and PSY 738, as well as a "PASS" in PSY 791.


    All tracks must be formally declared after completing 24 credits. To declare your track, fill out the Forensic Psychology Track Declaration Form and submit it to the PSY MA Admin Office (


    All questions regarding thesis deadlines and submission guidelines must be directed to the FP office: 


    Externship Information & Contacts

    Prerequisites for the Externship:

    Students must complete 24 credits and have their externship approved before starting an externship.  The prerequisite courses needed are:

    • For PSY 780 (Clinical Externship): PSY 745, PSY 760 or PSY 761
    • For PSY 782 (Non-Clinical Externship): PSY 700

    Contact Information:

    • Externship Office:
    • Externship Director: Naomi Naiztat: