Our Forensic Psychology MA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University is designed to offer our students the maximum possible exposure to the broad field of forensic psychology while at the same time streamlining a curriculum that allows students to finish in 1.5 years. The primary objectives of the degree are to provide a functional terminal degree for students who wish to prepare for master’s-level forensic jobs (e.g., in juvenile /adult court clinics, penal settings, law enforcement, research departments, or forensic psychiatric settings), and provide a springboard for students interested in pursuing advanced graduate training in forensic psychology. Students complete coursework covering various areas of clinical and forensic psychology practice. In addition, students gain invaluable clinical experience through the completion of a 300-hour externship placement, and have the option to participate in forensic research and complete a thesis.

Special Information

  • All applicants accepted to the program will pay a reduced tuition rate of $600/credit.
  • Students may participate in a week at FDU’s campus in England for a special immersion in British Common Law – past and present. Note: Going to England is strictly voluntary.
  • Students may be interested in applying for the PhD in Clinical Psychology, Forensic Track.
  • The MA in Forensic Psychology is not a licensure program. States very in their licensure requirements at the master’s level.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Admissions requirements for the MA in Forensic Psychology are the following:

  • Online graduate school application.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Personal statement explaining your fit for the program, your interests in forensic psychology, and career goals.
  • Official transcript(s) to be submitted at the time of your online application demonstrating completion of an undergraduate degree (BA/BS) from an accredited institution of higher education (must include coursework in Introductory Psychology, Statistics, and Abnormal Psychology). Although there is no minimum GPA required, competitive applicants typically have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Two letters of recommendation (preferably from instructors, although one may be submitted from a supervisor from a practicum or internship). The letters should be submitted via the online application. Alternatively, they can also be sent via email to grad@fdu.edu or mail to the Graduate Admissions Office.
  • A non-refundable $50 application fee submitted with the online application.
  • We no longer require the GRE exam when applying to this program.

To Apply Online

The deadline for submitting your online application is March 31. All requested documents (including official transcripts) can be sent in afterwards, but must be submitted by May 30. Apply for Graduate Admissions

DEGREE PLAN

All students enter the program in the Fall semester. The curriculum consists of 36 credits offered over a 1.5 year period (including one summer session). Required courses include foundation courses in psychology and courses in forensic psychology.

Students are required to pass a comprehensive examination and complete a 300-hour externship placement during their 3rd (last semester). The externship is typically completed during their 3rd (last semester) while students are completing their final 3-credit course in the program (Ethics). Although students are only required to pay the equivalent of one 3-credit course for their externship, this field placement alone typically occupies the time equivalent of four courses (e.g., a minimum of 20 hours per week).

1st Semester (Fall)

  • PSYC6121     Statistics and Research Methods 
  • PSYC6114      Psychopathology 
  • PSYC6230      Introduction to Forensic Psychology 
  • PSYC6231      Psychological Basis of Criminal Behavior 

2nd Semester (Spring)

  • PSYC7235 Evaluating Criminal Responsibility and Competency to Stand Trial 
  • PSYC7230 Forensic Evaluation & Assessment 
  • PSYC6130 Forensic Interviewing Techniques 
  • PSYC6229 Psycholegal Analysis of Criminal Cases 

Summer Session

  • PSYC6227 Clinical Practice in Forensic Contexts
  • PSYC7243 Special Topics in Forensic Psychology

NOTE: Students are strongly encouraged, though not required, to enroll in the section of this course that includes a 10-day trip to study in Wroxton, England.

  • PSYC7234 Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology
  • PSYC7240 Externship in Forensic Psychology (3-credit course with a requirement of minimum 300 hours at a practicum site)

NOTE: A grade of B- or better is required for passing each of the above classes at the graduate level.

The M.A. in Forensic Psychology is not a licensure program. States very in their licensure requirements at the master’s level.

CLINICAL PLACEMENTS

In the final term of the program, students complete a 300-hour clinical placement. All students must complete and pass a background check prior to any externship placement; the cost associated with the background check must be covered by the student. Students have recently completed externships at the following forensic and clinical sites:

  • Ancora Psychiatric Hospital
  • Ann Klein Forensic Center
  • Bergen County Jail
  • Bergen Regional Medical Center
  • Center for Alcohol & Drug Resources / Youth & Family
  • Center for Evaluation and Counseling Inc.
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Downstate Correctional Facility
  • Green Haven Correctional Facility
  • Greystone Psychiatric Center
  • Institute of Forensic Psychology
  • Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
  • Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center
  • New Jersey Department of Corrections and the Department of Human Services
  • New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission
  • New Jersey State Police
  • Northern State Prison
  • Rockland Psychiatric Center
  • Special Treatment Unit (STU)

 

RESEARCH

Students may choose to complete the optional thesis track, although it is not recommended, since a thesis may require extending the duration of the program to a fourth semester (Spring of the 2nd year), depending on progress of the student’s project. Thus, the thesis track should only be considered by individuals who are serious about pursuing future employment or education (i.e., Ph.D.) requiring research experience. Students who do not choose this track still have opportunities to participate in research, dependent on research assistant openings within faculty research labs.

Development and Implementation Project for the Youth Needs and Progress Scale

Three-year grant project supported by the Department of Justice (DOJ; SMART Office). Developed a scale for assessing juvenile sex offenders that focuses on risk mitigation & intervention rather than solely on “risk assessment.” Data gathering from juveniles ages 10 to 24 years (n = 608 boys), plus 1,609 re-assessments at 3-month intervals). Principal Investigator: Robert Prentky.

Example dissertation topic: Taxonomic Differences Among Juvenile Sex Offenders

Interventions for College Students Found Responsible for Sexual Misconduct

Four-year grant project supported by DOJ (SMART Office). Developed two intervention programs for college students (Science-Based Treatment, Accountability, & Risk-Reduction; STARRSA). Surveys completed by 1,172 men & 1,398 women at 14 universities. Principal Investigator: Robert Prentky.

Example dissertation topics: Attachment & Campus Sexual Misconduct: Mediating Roles of Psychopathy & Empathy; Student Non-reporting of Sexual Assault on Campus

A Multi-Prong Approach to Strengthening Internet Child Safety

Grant project supported by DOJ (OJJDP) Investigated online sexual victimization of children & adolescents. Survey data from high school students (926 men and 1,151 females), college students (595 men and 689 females), Internet sexual offenders (n = 113) and child sexual abusers (n = 176). Principal Investigator: Robert Prentky.

Example dissertation topics: Uncovering the Diversity of Offenders who Exploit Children Online: A Comprehensive Comparison of Child Pornography Offenders

Assessment for Safe and Appropriate Placement

Project supported by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and DOJ (NIJ).Record data from 822 children (667 boys and 155 girls) in Child Protective Services flagged for sexually inappropriate behavior. Principal Investigator: Robert Prentky.

Example dissertation topics: Retrospective Study of Firesetting Among Boys in a Child Welfare Sample; Sexual Re-offense Trajectories with Youths in the Child Welfare System.

Paraphilic Interests and Disorder in the General Population

Project supported by the New Jersey Association for Treatment of Sexual Abusers and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Data collected from over 2,500 U.S. citizens regarding their paraphilic interests and disorders. Principal Investigator: Georgia Winters.

Sexual Grooming Scale: Victim Version

Project supported by Fairleigh Dickinson University. Data collected from over 400 adult victims of child sexual abuse regarding their experiences of sexual grooming behaviors. Principal Investigator: Georgia Winters.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS

  • Graduate student admins: Rebecca Steinert and Caitlin Krause (forensicpsychologyma@fdu.edu

FACULTY

  • Robert Prentky, Ph.D., Co-Director (rprentky@fdu.edu)

  • Georgia Winters, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Co-Director (gwinters@fdu.edu)

  • Jennifer Romei, Ph.D., Clinical Lecturer (jromei@fdu.edu)

Course Descriptions