Catalog 2013-2014 
    Jul 20, 2024  
Catalog 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

California School of Forensic Studies

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools

Dean, California School of Forensic Studies:
Eric W. Hickey, PhD
Phone: (559) 253-2226

Clinical Forensic PsyD and PhD Programs

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 and Clinical Forensic PhD programs 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.

The PhD in Clinical Forensic Psychology and PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology support students to develop competency in 12 core clinical areas that are essential to the practice of professional psychology:

  • Professionalism
  • Reflective Practice/Self-Assessment/Self Care
  • Scientific Knowledge and Practice
  • Relationships
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity Awareness
  • Ethical Legal Standards and Policy
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Research and Evaluation
  • Supervision
  • Management and Administration
  • Advocacy

The first two 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.

Many students also choose the first or second year as a time to fulfill the 30 hours of individual psychotherapy required by the program. This requirement provides students with additional exposure to the application of psychological principles in forensic practice and also furthers the development of self-reflection – a skill that is particularly important to the practice of psychology in forensic settings.

Dissertation proposal development also begins during the second year. The dissertation, required for both the PsyD and the PhD programs, provides students with the opportunity to apply their foundational conceptual and research knowledge to the investigation of a forensic psychology interest area. With the guidance and support of a faculty member, who serves as the student’s dissertation chairperson, as well as the dissertation committee composed of one additional member, the student is guided to complete their dissertation prior to degree award.

During the second or third year, students must pass a competency examination which assesses knowledge and understanding of core concepts such as assessment, intervention, research design and statistics and the theoretical foundations of psychology. Competency exams also expose students to the content and type of examination associated with attaining licensure.

The third and fourth years of study build upon the foundational knowledge gained during years one and two. During these years, coursework focuses upon multiculturalism, substance abuse, psychological consultation and advanced social psychology. Students also study advanced issues in forensics, and continue to take courses in application of psychology to forensic issues such as hostage negotiation, homeland security and workplace violence. Beginning in the third year, students also participate in practicum and internship experiences that focus upon clinical intervention, psychological assessment, professional development and lifelong learning, multicultural issues, professional ethics and standards, supervision and consultation and scholarly commitment. During each of these experiences, students work with increasing independence to apply the knowledge and skills gained during the preceding years, supporting their future success as psychologists within forensic arenas. Clinical internships meet or exceed the 1,500 hours of pre-doctoral internship hours required for licensure by the California Board of Psychology.

All Clinical Forensic Psychology doctoral students have the option to apply for a Master of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology.  Students should contact their Academic Advisor and Program Director for eligibility information.

The California School of Forensic Studies offers the following:

Applied Criminology Program

Applied criminology is the use the empirical findings of criminology (prevention, criminal prognosis, sanctioning, informal social-control and the investigation of effects) in legislation and practice. Through the two-year program, students will be supported to achieve competencies necessary to work in management or executive capacities within law enforcement or private security agencies or within victim services. Our master of science degree in applied criminology is designed to enhance the skill set and employability of those already working within or interested in entering this emerging and dynamic field. Possible careers in applied criminology for graduates of our program include private and criminal investigator, criminal profiler, consultant to state and federal agencies, probation officer and much more.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools