Forensic Services focus on the intersection between the criminal justice and health service systems. This concentration provides training in the complex social issues that appear at this intersection: the origins of mental illness, substance abuse, and crime; the operations of health and lawrelated services for those affected by these problems; and the impact of relevant social policies. The analytical emphasis and core interdisciplinary approach to forensic services increases understanding of ways in which public health and legal standards, specifically mental health issues and criminality, intersect and diverge. Students interested in policy or in social-service provision for vulnerable populations have the opportunity to learn about criminality, law, mental health, substance abuse, offenders, violence, the police, corrections, criminal justice, alternatives to incarceration, clinical assessment, probation, parole, private agencies, public systems, and treatment services. Students who complete this concentration are awarded both the MS in Mental Health Counseling and the Forensic Services Graduate Certificate.
THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS PROGRAM EXCEED THE 60-CREDIT REQUIREMENT FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH DEGREE IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT STUDENTS ARE LICENSABLE IN MASSACHUSETTS AND OTHER STATES. A TOTAL OF 66 CREDITS IS NEEDED FOR GRADUATION.
Graduate courses in research in psychology, principles of assessment, ethical standards and professional issues in counseling, abnormal psychology, vocational development, counseling theories and practice, individual counseling, group counseling, lifespan human development, multicultural counseling, substance abuse and crime, forensic psychology, the sociology of law, and psychiatry and the law. In individual cases, substitutions may be approved by the graduate program director.
Required field experience (700 hr., 15 cr.)
The capstone in the forensic services concentration for the Mental Health Counseling degree is a clinical case analysis that includes a tape and transcript of a counseling session; a treatment plan; and a detailed analysis of contextual, developmental, ethical, psychosocial, treatment, forensic, and transference and counter-transference issues as they apply to the case.
Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate studies programs in the “Admissions ” section of this publication. Also refer to the description of admission requirements listed under “Professional Preparation Programs for Educators ” in the “Academic & Administrative Policies ” section of this publication.
The Mental Health Program faculty recommend admission of applicants who present evidence of potential both to complete a graduate course of studies with distinction and to become thoughtful and responsive practitioners. For master’s applicants, such evidence normally includes:
- A minimum of five social science courses.
- A distinguished undergraduate transcript with at least a 3.0 cumulative average.
- All applicants must submit strong scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
- Three strong letters of recommendation indicating the applicant’s ability to work well with others.
- A statement of intent.
- A group or individual interview with other candidates and faculty members.
- At least one year of paid or volunteer work in a mental health or equivalent setting is recommended.