MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology / Curriculum

Put Theories into Practice with a Master’s in Forensic Psychology

Learn how psychology research methods, findings and theories have practical applications in the legal and criminal justice system with SNHU’s 12-course, 36-credit online master’s in forensic psychology concentration curriculum. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and problem solving in complex, ill-structured environments.

Forensic Psychology Learning Outcomes

Courses in SNHU’s online forensic psychology graduate program enable students to:

  • Adapt psychological theories and methods for their appropriate and effective application in forensic psychology settings
  • Evaluate the impact of the law on the field of forensic psychology and the roles of a forensic psychologist
  • Adapt to shifting demands and ill-structured problems by critically evaluating the relevance, priority and appropriateness of various information and potential courses of action
  • Design, conduct and evaluate research through the lens of its potential to advance knowledge in the field and the psychological well-being of individuals, communities and organizations
  • Integrate psychological theories, methods and research to generate new knowledge
  • Protect the integrity and professional responsibility of psychology through the demonstration of ethical comportment in all aspects of the profession

The master’s in Forensic Psychology is not a licensure program and does not prepare students to become licensed psychology professionals. Courses prepare students effectively for doctoral-level coursework should they decide to pursue a licensure path.

MS in Psychology Required Courses

PSY-510: Research Methods in Psychology I
In this course, students will have the opportunity to incorporate the methods commonly used in psychological research. As part of these methods, students learn how to gather and analyze data across a variety of settings. These newly acquired skills and techniques will be reinforced by application to a contemporary issue in psychology.
Prerequisites:
Take SCS-501 and SCS-502
PSY-520: Research Methods in Psychology II
In this course, students will develop a deeper understanding of the research process and data analysis by applying skills learned in PSY 510 and building on them with new skills and techniques including advanced research design and use/interpretation of higher-level statistical tests (ANOVA, regression, etc.). These newly acquired skills and techniques will be reinforced by application to a contemporary issue in cognitive psychology.
Prerequisites:
PSY-510
PSY-530: Advanced Social Psychology
This course expands on the student's knowledge of social psychology and includes major topics from that field. The focus of this course is on contemporary social psychology issues and research related to people's interactions with the environment, technology, and society, as well as classic studies and theories in the field including those related to conformity, obedience, identity, and attitudes that remain relevant. Students will evaluate the perspectives, relevancy, and usefulness of social psychology to real world issues and problems.
Prerequisites:
Take PSY-520
PSY-540: Cognitive Processes
Students will investigate topics in cognitive psychology, including memory, language, attention, learning, and decision-making. Students will evaluate the perspectives, relevancy, and usefulness of cognitive psychology to real world issues and problems.
Prerequisites:
Take PSY-520
PSY-550: Measurement and Assessment
In this course, students will have the opportunity to learn and apply psychometric techniques commonly used in psychology. This course will instruct students on measurement techniques and strategies for psychological purposes, as well as the analysis and assessment of gathered data.
Prerequisites:
PSY-510 and PSY-520
PSY-560: Theories of Personality
This course will emphasize contemporary theories, research, and approaches in personality psychology, connecting these to classic theorists such as Freud as well as other historical traditions and perspectives. The past and present impact of these theories within the ever-changing field of psychology will be explored, as well as the impact they have on culturally diverse clients and special populations.
Prerequisites:
Take PSY-520
PSY-570: Ethical Practice in Psychology
This course provides a comprehensive overview of the principles of ethical practice within the field of psychology. Topics include experimentation, confidentiality, respect, resolving ethical dilemmas, professional standards of conduct, and the psychology of ethical behavior.
Prerequisites:
Take SCS-501 and SCS-502
PSY-790: Capstone in Psychology
This capstone course integrates previous coursework and practical experience with a focus on contemporary issues in the student's chosen concentration in psychology. This course focuses on helping students produce a research proposal on their chosen subject as a culmination of their studies in this graduate program.
Prerequisites:
Senior standing (30 credits or more)

Forensic Psychology Concentration Courses

PSY-545: Forensic Psychology
This course provides candidates with foundational knowledge of the forensic psychology field, including its historical roots and current trends with a focus on the evolution of practical and research based approaches in clinical settings. Candidates will also explore specific forensic psychology specialty areas and how the roles and responsibilities unfold related to legal, ethical, and diversity issues. Students must have completed 18 credits in their program to enroll in this course.
PSY-622: Assessment for Forensic Psychology
This course introduces candidates to topics in forensic assessment, including historical context, relevant theories, techniques, tools, and procedures. Candidates will analyze criminal justice, family and child custodial law, and pathology-based case study based data sets using contemporary assessment approaches to gain practical insights. Candidates will be required to consider ethical, multicultural, and age-based variables while making interpreting case-based results.
Prerequisites:
Take PSY 545
PSY-624: Intersection of Law and Psychology
This course focuses on the crossroads at which the legal system and psychology meet. The forensic psychologist's roles and challenges within the legal system will be covered as well as ethical dilemmas. Candidates will explore how psychologists can impact court proceedings with respect to providing expert testimony and determining mental states of the witnesses or the accused. Candidates will also review U.S. Supreme Court cases that influence current policies that influence the mental and physical well-being of incarcerated persons.
Prerequisites:
Take PSY 545
PSY-626: Psychology in the Courtroom
This course is a seminar in which candidates will synthesize their learning from the three previous concentration courses to gain a full understanding of the forensic psychologist's roles as trial consultant, jury selection, and assessing eyewitness account integrity in the courtroom. Students will demonstrate mastery of concentration in content through a comprehensive project.
Prerequisites:
Take PSY 545, PSY 622 and PSY 624

Foundation Courses

For those who do not meet the minimum requirements, the following courses may be required:

SCS-501: Foundations in Statistics
The focus of this course is to develop a foundation of basic statistical literacy in students. Students will be able to assess the role of statistics in quantitative research, and mixed methodology as well as develop the competency to perform basic statistical calculations. An awareness of the changing relationship between computation and interpretation will be addressed. Students will focus on the analysis of real-world data and research situations to illustrate the process of interpreting the meaning underlying the data, and how statistics can be utilized to address important questions.
SCS-502: Foundations in Research Methods
In this course, students will examine both the theoretical and applied aspects of research methods and experimental design at the graduate level, which includes qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods that are commonly utilized in social science research. Students will investigate procedures used to gather and analyze data and acquire real-world skills required to design and conduct research in future courses.
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