The American Psychology-Law Society (APLS/APA Division 41) defines forensic psychology as professional practice in “any subdiscipline of psychology (e.g., clinical, developmental, social, cognitive) when applying the scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge of psychology to the law to assist in addressing legal, contractual, and administrative matters.”
Students of the California School of Forensic Studies Clinical Forensic PsyD program receive a foundational education in clinical psychology via course work in fundamental psychological theory; assessment; intervention; ethics; multiculturalism; research design and statistics; biological basis of behavior; cognitive affective basis of behavior; developmental psychology; social psychology; and psychopathology. Additionally, foundational knowledge of the justice system is garnered through coursework that focuses upon legal systems and research, the rules of evidence and discovery, examination and cross-examination, and expert witness testimony. The application of core clinical and forensic principles is advanced through courses which focus on specific content areas such as police stress, addiction, sex offenders, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, stalking, multiple homicide offenders and victimology. Students also receive more than 3,000 hours of practicum and internship experience to develop their clinical competency in forensic settings, such as correctional facilities and community-based victim services centers.
Whereas the Clinical Forensic PhD program places greater emphasis on the production of research, the Clinical Forensic PsyD program places greater emphasis upon practice.
Goals and Objectives
The PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology support students to develop competency in 12 core clinical areas that are essential to the practice of professional psychology:
- Reflective Practice/Self-Assessment/Self Care
- Scientific Knowledge and Practice
- Individual and Cultural Diversity Awareness
- Ethical Legal Standards and Policy
- Research and Evaluation
- Management and Administration
Training Model: A Practitioner-Scholar Program
Students receive more than 3,000 hours of practicum and internship experience to develop their clinical competency in forensic settings, such as correctional facilities and community-based victim services centers.
The second and third years provide students with opportunities to apply the psychological and forensic principles acquired during their coursework through a first year and/or second year practicum experience. These experiences entail 10-20 hours per week at one of CSFS community training partners, which include adult and youth correctional facilities, department of mental health agencies and community organizations throughout California. Through these experiences, students are introduced to the role of professional psychologists, exposed to a range of populations and mental health issues and are provided with direct experience in clinical interviewing, cognitive and personality assessment and evidenced-informed and based treatment interventions.
The fourth year, students enter their internships meet or exceed the 1,500 hours of pre-doctoral internship hours required for licensure by the California Board of Psychology.
Specialized Admissions Requirements
The Clinical Forensic Psychology: PsyD, Sacramento and San Diego programs are currently not accepting students at this time.
Curriculum and Degree Requirements
130 units are required for the PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology. The PsyD program is a offered via a year-round, full-time curriculum of 4 years duration. In addition to the coursework, practicum and internship, student are required to:
- Receive 30 hours of individual psychotherapy with a licensed psychologist.
- Complete a dissertation.
- Successfully pass comprehensive examinations in the G2 and G3 years.
Non-Terminal Master's Degree
All Clinical Forensic Psychology doctoral students have the option to apply for a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Forensic Psychology.
Requirements to qualify for the non-terminal master’s degree:
- Student is in good academic standing in both the semester in which the application is being submitted and in overall GPA.
- Student has completed G1 and G2 coursework to include a minimum of 60 hours at Alliant International University, California School of Forensic Studies.
- Student is clear of all university holds with no outstanding fiscal responsibilities due.
- Student’s dissertation proposal has been approved and documentation is in the student’s academic record.
- For campuses where a Master’s Thesis is required, the thesis must be approved and on file in the student’s academic file.
The Concentration in Forensic Victimology prepares students to work with, and on behalf of, victims of crime.
Section I of the Program focuses upon Foundational Concepts in Victimology, including its history, relationship to the criminal justice system, and influence upon public policy. Students also learn quantitative and qualitative research methods which will be applied toward the completion of a research effort that will become the basis for a submission to a peer-reviewed journal. At the conclusion of Section I, students will have a working hypothesis for their individual research efforts.
Section II focuses upon Prevention of Victimization. Students gain knowledge of victimization antecedents and develop the skills necessary to conduct threat and suicide assessments in various milieus (public venues, households, the workplace, school campuses). Students will also learn safety planning strategies that potentially prevent victimization. At the conclusion of Section II, students will be expected to have completed the literature review and methodology sections of their research paper.
Section III focuses upon the role of victimology in offender identification and apprehension. Students learn how to conduct a comprehensive Victimology Assessment, the role of the victim in judicial proceedings, and approaches to working with Victim-Witnesses. Students are expected to finalize data collection and begin analysis related to their research endeavors during Section III.
Section IV will focus upon the intervention following victimization. The impact of victim variables (such as age, cultural and gender variables, crime dynamics, trauma history and cognitive-affective processing) upon recovery will be reviewed. Evidence-based and evidence-informed diagnostic screening and assessment tools (including the Traumatic Events Questionnaire; Traumatic Events Scale; SCID-PTSD Module; MMPI-2 and MMPI-RF) will be explored, as will trauma-informed intervention strategies (such as Psychological First Aid and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing-EMDR). Finally, this Section will explore the challenges to the practitioner who works with crime victims; discussions and strategies for the prevention of secondary victimization, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue will be reviewed.
To be accepted into the program, students must meet the following requirements:
1. Successfully complete all G1 course requirements.
2. Be in good academic standing.
3. Receive the recommendation of their Program Director.
4. Receive the approval from a two-person review committee composed of Victimology Program faculty.
The review will include submission of an essay as well as an interview.
Additionally, students must meet the following Program standards:
1. Complete all four coursework sections.
2. Complete one research endeavor of a caliber appropriate to submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
Concentration Curriculum Plan
Student must apply and be accepted into this specialty concentration. Applications are accepted following the student’s successful completion of their first year in the PsyD or PhD programs. Sections I and II are typically held in the Fall of student’s G2 year, while Sections III and IV are typically held in the Spring of the student’s G2 year.
Victimization Concentration Faculty
Faculty for the Victimology Concentration are listed below:
Diana Concannon, PsyD, Associate Professor
Valerie Forward, PhD, Assistant Professor
Lisa Ware, PhD, Assistant Professor
For a detailed description of program faculty background and research interests, please see the alphabetical listing of Faculty for the California School of Forensic Studies.
Sacramento and San Diego Clinical Forensic Psychology PsyD Faculty
Core faculty for the Sacramento and San Diego Clinical Forensic Psychology PsyD programs are listed below
Marion Chiurazzi, PsyD, Associate Professor and Program Director
Diana Concannon, PsyD, Associate Professor
Valerie E. Forward, PhD, Assistant Professor
Glenn S. Lipson, PhD, Professor
Amy Tillery, PhD, Assistant Professor
James Turner, PhD, Associate Professor
Lisa Ware, PhD, Assistant Professor
For a detailed description of program faculty background and research interests, please see the alphabetical listing of faculty for the California School of Forensic Studies.
All psychologists who offer direct services to the public for a fee must be licensed or certified by the state in which they practice. Applicants for licensure in the state of California must hold an earned doctoral degree in psychology, educational psychology, education with a specialization in counseling psychology, or education with a specialization in educational psychology from an approved or accredited educational institution. They also must have completed 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience (of which at least 1,500 must be postdoctoral) and have taken and passed the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE). In addition, they must submit evidence of having completed coursework in human sexuality, child abuse, substance abuse, spousal abuse, and aging and long-term care. Continuing education is required to maintain the license. CSFS doctoral course requirements are designed to fulfill the programmatic requirements for licensure in California, and in some cases they exceed the requirements.
Every state has its own requirements for licensure. Therefore, it is essential that all CSFS Clinical Forensic PsyD and PhD students who plan to apply for licensure in states other than California contact the licensing board in those states for information on state requirements (e.g., coursework, practicum and internship hours, supervision, or nature of the doctoral project or dissertation). Students seeking licensure in other states should plan ahead to ensure they meet all of those states’ requirements.
For further information on licensure in California or other states contact:
Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
PO Box 241245
Montgomery, AL 36124-1245
(334) 832-4580, email@example.com
California Board of Psychology
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1400
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 263-2699, firstname.lastname@example.org