Master of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology PROGRAM (MA)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is the degree called "Forensic & Counseling Psychology" and not "Forensic Psychology"?
A: Our degree is a Counseling Psychology degree that qualifies individuals (after following the appropriate post-masters requirements by the state licensing board) to obtain a license as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts. You may pursue a license as a mental health counselor (LMHC) or professional counselor (LPC) in other states if you comply with their licensing requirements. Our graduates are trained to provide therapeutic services and to perform basis assessment services (not including psychological testing) for individuals involved with the criminal justice system. On the other hand, Forensic Psychologists have a doctoral degree and are licensed as psychologists or clinical psychologists.
Q: What is the format of the MA Program in Forensic & Counseling Psychology?
A: The Masters of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology at MSPP offers courses in a blended format and in a traditional (on site) format.
Fully onsite requirements: All clinical seminars are taught on site, for two hours per week, each semester. The field placement will require you to be on site at your assigned placement for a number of hours per week (see below). In addition, during the summer between the first and second year, you are required to take a group therapy course on site that lasts 7 weeks and meets for three hours twice a week. There is no field placement requirement during the summer. You are also required to meet with your academic advisor at least twice per semester.
All other courses are offered in a blended format. The onsite requirement for those are as follows: one meeting the first week of classes for each course you are taking, and one intensive Weekend in Residence (WIR) that consists of a Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and a Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm per course.
Online requirements: Each blended course consists of 7.5 weeks of modules (8 modules total) that include asynchronous (not live) lectures, assigned readings, and learning activities consisting of discussion on a discussion board, and completing other learning activities as assigned by the faculty. Although you don't have to log in at a specific time (i.e., to see a live lecture), you will have deadlines to complete work on a weekly basis. Faculty will give you feedback about your participation and will return graded activities via email. You also can schedule times to talk to your faculty via telephone or to meet in person as needed.
On site course alternative: Some onsite courses (especially those during the first year) may be available to the students in this program on a space available basis.
Q: What types of individuals are drawn to the MA Program in Forensic & Counseling Psychology?
A: The first year field placement (practicum that requires 12 to 16 hours per week) may be in a general counseling setting, as this is a counseling degree and students should have a well-rounded experience and training. For the second year field placement (internship that requires 20 to 24 hours per week), students are placed in settings such as juvenile detention centers, adult house of corrections and/or prisons, outpatient centers that provide services to people under probation and/or parole, substance abuse treatment centers with clients involved with the criminal justice systems, outpatient sex offender treatment centers, among others. Because of the time requirements of field placement, individuals who work full-time during traditional day hours may not be able to pursue this degree on a full-time basis, or even on a part-time basis without making adjustments to their work schedule.
Q: What student supports are provided for students?
A: Faculty will be available by telephone, email, or in person. Faculty will also be on-site during the once-per-month weekend seminars.
Q: Where do forensically-trained Mental Health Counselors work?
A: There is an array of settings open to our graduates. In addition to general counseling settings, they may work at child advocacy centers, juvenile and adult correctional facilities, educational settings, court clinics, and private practice.
Q: What degree or certificate does a graduate earns?
A: The successful student earns a Masters of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology with the educational requirements needed to pursue a license as a Mental Health Counselor. Without a professional license, graduates may work as clinicians under the supervision of a licensed individuals, or work as consultants.
Q: How long does the Program take to complete?
A: The Masters of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology is a full-time two year 60-credit program, with the additional time requirement of 12-16 hours a week for 30 weeks in the first year and 20-24 hours a week for 30 weeks during the second year. Students are required to take a group therapy course on-site during the summer between the first and second years. There is no field placement during the summer.
Students may pursue this degree on a part-time basis during three years. If you choose that option, you will have to map out your course of study with the Program Director. You must be aware that field placement opportunities may not be available during weekends or nights. If you work traditional hours, you will have to make changes in your schedule or other arrangements to be able to complete all the requirements for this degree.
Q: Beyond course work and field placement, are there any other requirements needed to earn the degree?
A: Yes. In order to ensure that our graduates are competent in their field of study, each student will be required to complete a Forensic Capstone Project.
Q: When Do I apply?
A: MSPP begins to accept applications in the fall for the following fall enrollment. After the set deadlines, applications are only considered on a space availability basis.
Q: How can I learn more about applying and financial aid opportunities?
A: Contact MSPP Admissions at 617-327-6777 x1506 and x1507and Financial Aid office at x524.