Focus your expertise and drive positive change with one of our master’s in forensic psychology specializations.
Homeland security is a fast-growing field with career options emerging at the local, national, and global levels. Apply both psychological and public policy principles to understand the impact of terrorism and the countermeasures required to combat terrorist threats. Gain an understanding of the systemic approaches to the issues of public safety, emergency preparedness, and disaster/trauma management. Apply the findings of behavioral, social, and cognitive research to positions throughout the quickly expanding field of homeland security.
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 advisor at 855-646-5286.
|Quarter||1||Course Code||FPSY 6002||Course||Foundations of Graduate Studies in Psychology||Credits||(3 cr.)|
|Quarter||1||Course Code||FPSY 6102||Course||Intersection of Crime, Psychology, and the Law||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||2||Course Code||FPSY 6720||Course||Abnormal Behavior||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||2||Course Code||FPSY 6135||Course||Criminal Behavior||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||3||Course Code||FPSY 6115||Course||Understanding Forensic Psychology Research||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||3||Course Code||FPSY 6126||Course||Understanding Violence, Risk, and Threat Assessment||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||4||Course Code||FPSY 6741||Course||Psychology of Terrorism||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Terrorism: A Systemic Approach for Emergency Preparedness
Current Issues in Homeland Security
|Quarter||5||Course Code||FPSY 6701||Course||Culture and Psychology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
MS in Psychology Capstone
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many sources define terrorism as a type of psychological warfare, as it induces fear and feelings of vulnerability. Therefore, professionals need to understand all aspects of terrorism to help prevent further terroristic acts and respond to victims who have been affected psychologically. Students in this course explore terrorism from a psychological perspective. They examine types of terrorism; contributing factors related to the development of terrorists and terrorist organizations; counterterrorism agencies and laws; the impact of terrorist events on individuals, families, and communities; prevention, intervention, and postvention with survivors; media coverage of terrorist events; human rights and ethical issues; and future trends related to the psychology of terrorism. Students also examine the threat of terrorism in their own community and evaluate the potential impact. Using concepts presented in the course, they consider applications for preventative measures as well as strategies to promote resiliency among individual and families who may become victims of terrorism.
Terrorism continues to be a constant threat to the American public, which leads to facilitating the need for accurate information, organized resources, and established approaches to respond to emergencies and keep the public informed. Students in this course examine terrorism and related public policy on a local, national, and international level. They also assess the need and function of systemic approaches for emergency preparedness. Students explore and discuss topical issues, such as terrorism and public health, bioterrorism, biosecurity, cyberterrorism, risk assessment, implications for public health, and components of a systemic preparedness infrastructure. Using analytic skills and tools, students assess recommendations that policymakers use in decisions to prevent or respond to terrorism. They also gain hands-on experience initiating the development and/or analysis of a terrorism-preparedness infrastructure.
Since its inception, the Department of Homeland Security has profoundly impacted public policy and administration. Students in this course examine homeland security history, concepts, policies, and strategies of prevention and response. Topics include ethical issues, telecommunications, technology, threat assessment, contingency planning, and risk management. Students apply fundamental concepts and principles of homeland security to case studies and current issues.
Students in this course explore the cultural components, research, and theory of cross-cultural psychology. In addition to the previously listed goals, students focus on the impact that culture has on the field of psychology around the world. The scope of this course is broad, with the core theme being cross-cultural psychology (focusing on cultures representing different parts of the world) and comparing cultural influence on human psychology. Many of the topics addressed are related to human development. Additionally, interactions among culture and social behaviors, health, mental health, and mental illnesses are emphasized throughout the duration of this course.
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.
For students interested in providing direct services such as assessment, treatment, and therapy to forensic populations and in the delivery of traditional mental health services to populations served by the legal system, Walden offers a Forensic Counseling specialization in its MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Learn more about this specialization and view the course descriptions.
Note on licensure: The MS in Forensic Psychology is not a licensure program and does not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology professional.