Explore our MS in Forensic Psychology Criminal Justice Self Designed specialization
Gain a broad understanding of the intersection between the forensic psychology and criminal justice fields. This self-designed specialization allows you to create a unique learning program to deepen your understanding of forensic psychology as well as focus on criminal justice practice and theory. Select specialization courses that will build your knowledge of how forensic psychology professionals, criminal justice practitioners, and victim advocates work together.
Minimum Degree Requirements
- 48 total quarter credits
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Core courses (25 cr.)
- Specialization courses (15 cr.)
- Capstone or Field Experience (5 cr.)
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Foundations of Graduate Studies in Psychology
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students build a foundation for academic and professional success as social change agents. They assess the relationship of Walden's mission and vision to professional goals. They establish connections with their peers and the broader Walden community. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of scholarly writing, critical-thinking skills, academic integrity, ethics, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence within the field of psychology.
Intersection of Crime, Psychology, and the Law
Students in this course are provided with an expansive overview of forensic psychology, including basic tenets, practices, and procedures. Students explore subspecialties of forensic psychology; roles and responsibilities; and related legal, ethical, and diversity issues. They have the opportunity to learn how forensic psychology links to legal systems as they explore related topics, including criminal profiling, police psychology, psychology in the criminal courts, and correctional psychology. Through this course, students can acquire a broad understanding of forensic psychology theories and concepts, which they apply to the analysis of controversial issues and contemporary challenges within the fields.
Understanding the characteristics and causes of atypical thoughts and actions—commonly known in mental health professions as abnormal behavior—is essential in determining accurate diagnoses, answering forensic referral questions, and planning effective treatment programs. In this course, students examine the history and evolution of abnormal psychology and how practitioners use contemporary diagnostic criteria of abnormal behavior in various settings, such as schools, rehabilitation facilities, community agencies, and forensic situations. They examine specific techniques for the diagnosis, assessment, and/or treatment of cognitive, emotional, and developmental disorders, as well as for psychophysiological and psychosocial problems. Using the scholar-practitioner model, students consider environmental and biological factors contributing to behavioral disorders. Students also investigate and discuss current and future trends, legal and ethical issues, and multicultural factors that complicate diagnosis and clinical assessment.
Students in this course are provided with contemporary views, theories, and case-study analysis of maladaptive and criminal behavior, victimology, and victim-offender relationships. A broad conceptualization of criminal behavior, such as that woven from biological, sociological, and psychological perspectives is explored and evaluated. Theories of crime and the application of risk factors associated with criminal behavior are examined. Additionally, students will be exposed to specific offender groups, both violent and non-violent, including psychopaths, serial and mass murderers, criminal paraphiliacs, arsonists, white-collar thieves, scam artists, domestic terrorists, and others.
Understanding Forensic Psychology Research
Forensic psychologists, and others in the field, often rely on psychological research for a variety of functions; for example, to extract empirical data about psychological tests or to determine the efficacy of different interrogation techniques. Through this course, students work toward becoming astute consumers of forensic psychology research, acquiring skills needed to understand and interpret data. Students assess the relevance of research as well as the significance of incorporating ethics into practice. They examine basic principles of statistics, such as reliability and validity. Students also learn how to critically read forensic psychology research and how best to apply research results to forensic situations in clinical, correctional, court, public policy, and police settings.
Understanding Violence, Risk, and Threat Assessment
Students in this course explore the various assessment techniques and instruments used within the forensic psychology arena. Some of the assessment areas covered include risk assessment, juvenile evaluations, child custody evaluations, and capital punishment, as well as the various psychological instruments that are used in these types of evaluations.
Choose one course from the following two courses:
MS in Psychology Capstone
Students are provided with the opportunity to synthesize knowledge and skills acquired throughout their program into a practical project designed to promote positive social change in a capstone project. During this course, students work on a capstone project in which they complete a major integrative paper on a topic related to their specialization, incorporating theoretical and practical knowledge as well as social scientific research skills acquired throughout the program. The instructor may approve other capstone projects presented by students.
Students engage in a 12-week practical field experience at a site specific to students’ degree program and their anticipated employment setting or service population. Students work a specified amount of time on site, interact with peers, and share their experiences and perspectives. Gaining hands-on, practical experience, they apply concepts and theories learned throughout the program to the responsibilities encountered in their field experience setting.
SPECIALIZATION COURSES - Choose Three
The Nature of Crime and Criminology
Students in this course are introduced to contemporary views and theories of maladaptive and criminal behavior. They examine a broad conceptualization of criminal behavior from an interdisciplinary perspective as well as theories and application of criminal profiling. Students also explore specific views of criminal behavior germane to groups, such as psychopaths, serial offenders, and sexually violent predators. At the end of this course, students will have an understanding of the theories and practices that are the foundations of the field of criminology.
Controversies in Criminal Justice
Justice is at the heart of the U.S. democratic system, yet opposing viewpoints surrounding and within the system often muddle interpretations of the law and the development of policies to promote and enforce justice. In this course, students examine events that have significantly changed how the legal system interprets the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Code, and the U.S. Patriot Act, for example, the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. They learn how social and historical changes have shifted perspectives and sparked debates on expanding the rights of government versus safeguarding personal civil rights and civil liberties. Through discussion with peers, assessment of contemporary articles, and examination of Supreme Course cases, students have the opportunity to reflect on and potentially broaden their own opinions and perspectives on current criminal justice affairs in regard to issues of law enforcement, public perception, policy development, and ethics.
Students in this course are provided with an in-depth analysis of the treatment of women and people of color as professionals, litigants, victims, and offenders in the criminal justice system. Students examine the systemic outcomes of the intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, and gender for these groups as they relate to social justice and social inequality. Through critical examination of readings and data analysis, students learn about the complexity of the historical relationship between these groups and the U.S. criminal justice system and broader social context.
What is the relationship between victims and those who commit crimes against them, and how does the criminal justice system protect and respond to victims of crime? In this course, students have the opportunity to answer such questions through a comprehensive assessment of victimology, a relatively new discipline in the field of criminal justice. Students examine victim patterns and tendencies and learn how victims interact with the police and the legal system. They also examine how factors of class, race, and sexual orientation affect the perception of the victim by different constituents, including the public, the court system, and the media. Students assess and discuss the concept of primary and secondary victims and gain practical insight on a range of services and resources available to all types of victims.
Disaster Response and Recovery
A major concern of disaster response professionals is meeting basic and humanitarian needs of disaster-affected populations. In this course, students explore a range of issues, including evacuation, relocation, and tactical and strategic decisions in the immediate aftermath of an emergency episode. Students study important federal policies related to disaster response and recovery, including the National Response Framework (NRF), and they can gain an understanding of how local, state, and federal policies mesh in response and recovery efforts. Through their exploration, they study how recovery begins once the immediate threat of the emergency wanes and the focus shifts to restoring disaster-affected areas. As part of this course, students complete the FEMA Emergency Management Institute course IS208.a: State Disaster Management.
Critical Issues in Emergency Management
Students in this course examine the theories and concepts underpinning contemporary emergency management and how to understand the phenomena of natural and human-caused disasters. Students examine the historical context of emergency management, the general process of risk assessment, the emergency management cycle, communications within emergency management and crisis planning, and the general policy and legal framework surrounding the process of emergency management in the United States with a focus on the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Case studies of major catastrophes are used to explore contemporary and practical hazard management. Students can complete the FEMA Emergency Management Institute courses IS-100.b - Introduction to Incident Command System and either IS-800.b - National Response Framework: An Introduction or IS700.a - National Incident Management System as part of this course. Nationally recognized certificates are awarded for successful completion of FEMA courses.
Fundamentals of Law and Public Policy
Legal decisions and the law have an impact on the creation of public policy. Students in this course explore the relationship between laws and public policy and the impact court decisions have on policy and policy leaders. Topics include legal concepts and terminology, legal jurisdictions, case law, seminal cases, and the Supreme Court's roles and procedures. Students apply fundamental legal concepts and principles to case studies and contemporary problems.
Contemporary Cases and Issues in the Courts
Major issues in the Supreme Court have an impact on public policy at the state and local levels. Students taking this course examine major past and current U.S. Supreme Court decisions and explore how these decisions affect public policy. Topics include individual rights, property rights, administrative law, immigration law, and foreign policy. Students apply legal research and verdicts to case studies and current issues.
|VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses|
Tuition and Fees
|Curriculum Component||Requirements||Cost||Total *|
|Tuition||48 total quarter credit||$535 per quarter hour||$25,680|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$160||$800|
|Transfer up to 24 credits||$13,224|
|Total with Maximum Transfer Credits†||$13,256|
The tuition reflects the minimum credits to completion. Program completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $2,500 to $3,500.
†Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time.
Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.
*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.Find Ways to Save
Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.
I really enjoyed both of my master’s degree programs with Walden, and have not ruled out returning for a doctoral degree.
Brandon Shurn MS in Forensic Psychology Graduate
I transferred to Walden University because it offers a tailored system of academic advisors, instructors, and support staff to ensure my journey is smooth and successful.
Ginger L. Jenkins MS in Forensic Psychology Graduate
I have always been passionate about helping survivors of heinous crimes. I knew that I wanted to get a degree in something that could help me make a difference.
Nicole Pavone MS in Forensic Psychology Graduate