Course Descriptions

FORP 6101 Psychology and the Legal System I

Focuses on the paradigm differences in the mental health and legal systems and the challenges associated with integrating the two.   Provides the students with an overview of the American legal system and the American mental health system.  Discuss various areas of the intersection of the two systems in criminal, civil, juvenile, and family law settings.  The role and ethics of the mental health professional in legal settings is addressed.

FORP 6102 Psychology and the Legal System II

Students will be introduced to basic legal research with an emphasis on developing an ability to read and understand primary legal materials.  Legal concepts of criminal competence and legal insanity are discussed.  Constitutional notions of due process and fair treatment as they pertain to the mentally ill, developmentally disabled and children are reviewed with an emphasis on their evolution and current trends.  The concept of dangerousness as it applies in both criminal civil commitment and sex offender commitment proceedings is reviewed.  Prerequisite: 6101

FORP 6103 Theories of Criminal Behavior

Theories of criminal behavior are discussed from the standpoint of psychodynamic theories, theories of cognition, biological and genetic theories, social learning and behavioral theories.  Developmental and cultural issues in criminal behavior are reviewed.  The interrelationship between these and other more sociological theories is discussed.  Specific attention is given to particular areas of concern surrounding violence and aggression, sex offenses and the role of substance abuse in criminal behavior.

FORP 6104 Psychopathology

This course explores the etiology and classification of mental disorders.  Manifestations, symptoms, and basic treatment issues are discussed within the framework of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual.   Emphasis is given to those disorders and categories that are a primary focus in forensic settings.

FORP 6105 Basics of Psychological Assessment

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the field of psychological assessment, including familiarizing the student with test design, methodology, psychometrics, and report design.   Includes a survey of frequently used objective and projective measures in the areas of cognitive, personality, and emotional functioning and their forensic application.

FORP 6106 Ethics in Forensic Psychology

Professional, ethical, and legal issues are explored within the context of forensic psychology practice.  Expectations for professional and ethical behavior as it relates to forensic psychological services are presented, as defined by the applicable ethical codes (APA, ACA and ABA).  Ethical dilemmas or conflicts between psychology and the law are presented and discussed from the vantage points of psychology and the law.

FORP 6107 Research and Statistics

Students will be provided with an overview of research methods, techniques, and implementation.  The course will also examine basic descriptive and inferential statistics in psychology.  Emphasis will be given to training to the student in the interpretation of published studies and normative data in assessments.

FORP 6108 Consultation and Testimony

The role of the forensic practitioner will be explored in the context of providing services within the legal system and other related organizations, including evidentiary issues with regard to expert testimony as well as a discussion of techniques for successfully presenting psychological testimony.  A practical approach to effective consultation with other disciplines, including attorneys, mental health providers, and criminal justice personnel will be presented.  A review of research in the area of jury selection will be discussed.

FORP 6109 Evaluation and Treatment of Offenders

This course will review approaches to classification of offenders, particularly around concepts of dangerousness and psychopathy, and review treatment approaches in different settings within the criminal justice system.  The course will discuss the history of offender treatment and the relative merits of different treatment models commonly used in offender rehabilitation.  It will also review ongoing research into new and emerging treatment models.

FORP 6110 Forensic Psychological Assessment

An examination of forensic evaluations, including competency to stand trial, criminal insanity defenses, pre-sentencing and risk of dangerousness evaluations.  Communication of assessment results to the courts or other referral sources will be addressed.  Students will also develop a theoretical understanding and practical experience selecting and administering specialized forensic assessment instruments.  Issues related to the forensic evaluator’s role and their legal and ethical responsibilities are included.  Prerequisite: 6105

FORP 6111  Evaluation and Treatment of Sex Offenders

The focus of this course will be on measures utilized in assessing sex offenders with a focus on predicting dangerousness and recidivism.  Theories about the interpersonal and intrapsychic presentations of this type of offender will be examined in such areas as deviant arousal and cognitive distortions.  Treatment modalities will be discussed.  Legal and ethical difficulties arising from mandatory treatment and long term commitment for dangerous sex offenders will be discussed.

FORP 6112 Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment

This course will examine some underlying ideas of the pathology of addiction including psychodynamic theories, genetic and biological theories and those involving more environmental focus. Current assessment and intervention techniques will be reviewed along with current trends in treatment including psychopharmacological, psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral approaches.

FORP 6113 Victimology

The goal is to familiarize the student with an understanding of the psychology of the victim within social and cultural contexts.  Violent, sexual, and psychological victimization will be explored as well as the relationship between prior victimization as a precursor in criminal behavior.  Prevention, intervention, and policy issues will also be addressed.

FORP 6115 Children and Adolescents in the Legal System

The focus of this course will be on the differences in the treatment of underage offenders from adults in the legal system.  The history and role of the juvenile justice system from both legal and mental health perspectives will be reviewed.  Developmental aspects of the minor’s offending, including status offenses will be discussed as well as the role of the psychologist in court proceedings involving juvenile offenders.  Recent trends dealing with ideas of the increasing criminalization of juvenile conduct and the waivers of juveniles to the adult system will be explored.

FORP 6117 Interrogation and Interviewing

This course will focus on the use of interview and interrogation as an investigative tool in criminal investigations. It will explore methods of detecting deception during interviews, techniques used by law enforcement to elicit truthful information from criminal suspects, the psychology of confessions, and the problem with false confessions. U.S. laws concerning police questioning and the admissibility of confession evidence in court will also be discussed.. Prerequisites: 6101, 6103, 6104

FORP 6118 Psychological Profiling

This course will focus on the strengths and limitations of psychological profiling in criminal investigations.   It will discuss the main psychological principles upon which criminal profiling is based and will examine crime scene analysis and its relationships to both the demographic and psychological characteristics of a pool of unknown offender suspects.  Methods to identify potential serial offenses will be examined.  Legal and ethical issues with regard to the use of profiling will be explored. Prerequisites: 6101, 6103, 6104

FORP 6119 Police Psychology

The focus of this course is on the psychological aspects of working within or for police agencies.  Areas to be covered include personality assessment as to suitable candidates for police work, the stress involved in the work with attendant adverse psychological consequences (including aspects of legal liability) and continuing assessment of police officers after critical incidents.  Ethical and practical problems for the mental health professional when working within or for a police organization will be discussed as will services available for troubled officers.

FORP 6120 Counterintelligence 

This course will examine the history and current status of counterintelligence from the perspective of intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, and industry. The interconnection of psychological factors, motivations, strategic intent and defense measures will be examined. Current and potential threats will also be assessed including cyber security and cognition security.

FORP 6128 Terrorism and Counterterrorism

The history and current status of terrorism and counterterrorism with focus on the psychological constructs motivating terrorist activity and on countering the terror of terrorism. Current scientific studies of the interplay among psychological factors, cultural norms, and religious ideations. Potential future threats related to internet crime.

FORP 6130 Practicum/Externship 

This one-credit course is comprised of 250 hours of externship training tailored to a student's professional interest and can be completed over multiple semesters. Students should enroll in the one (1) credit option in the semester in which they will complete the required 250 training hours. Students should enroll for zero (0) credits for all other semesters in which they will participate in the externship but not complete all of the required hours.  Prerequisites: 6101, 6103, 6104