Your browser does not support JavaScript! or JavaScript is currently disabled.
Skip to main section

MS in Clinical Psychology, Forensic

School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Forensic specialization presents master’s learners with a theoretical and practical foundation of the clinical psychology profession, with particular emphasis on psychology and the law, techniques in forensic practice, and issues and trends in forensic psychology. The specialization curriculum focuses on competencies aimed at conducting forensic assessments and research with forensic programs and populations, including incarcerated and recently released offenders. These specialization requirements are not designed or intended to meet professional licensure requirements for the counseling or psychology professions. 

Personal Suitability and Fitness for the Profession

Capella embraces the principles and guidelines set forth by the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC) related to professional psychology programs in that the faculty, training staff, supervisors, and administrators in the MS in Clinical Psychology degree program have a professional, ethical, and potentially legal obligation to ensure, insofar as possible, that all learners have the competence to manage professional relationships in an effective and appropriate manner and that they possess the emotional maturity, interpersonal stability, and intellectual judgment required to work with vulnerable populations. Personal suitability and fitness for the profession includes but is not limited to demonstration of sufficient interpersonal and professional competence; selfawareness, self-reflection, and self-evaluation; openness to processes of supervision; and resolution of issues or problems that interfere with professional development or functioning in a satisfactory manner. Throughout the graduate training of each learner, faculty and staff are responsible for educating and assessing learners with regard to their personal suitability and fitness for the profession.

Show course with description

Core courses:

Foundations of Theory and Practice for Master’s Psychology Learners †

In this course, learners acquire the ability to navigate the Capella courseroom and use the resources that support academic success, including the library and writing center. Learners identify and practice the academic requirements (including APA style and formatting) necessary to successfully complete the Master’s degree program in their chosen specialization; review their specialization’s requirements, associated professional roles and organizations, and ethics and professional standards; and articulate a professional identity based on master’s-level psychology training. For MS in Psychology and MS in Clinical Psychology learners only. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy

This course provides an overview of foundational counseling and psychotherapy theories and research-based practice. Throughout the course, learners examine various schools of therapeutic intervention; their underlying theoretical assumptions; and their historical, cultural, and ethical context, with an emphasis on the application of current theory in a variety of clinical populations.

5 quarter credits
Introduction to Psychopathology

In this course, learners examine the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various forms of psychopathology throughout the lifespan. Learners review the etiology of psychopathology; examine theories and research of psychopathology; and explore current methods of psychological interviewing, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Learners also discuss the politics of mental disorders, emerging diagnoses, and ethical and multicultural issues associated with psychopathology.

5 quarter credits
Tests and Measurements

Learners investigate essential concepts, principles, applications, and social and theoretical issues of psychological testing. Learners gain understanding in the construction of tests; analyze the development and use of tests in measuring aptitudes, achievement, attitudes, interests, and personality; and identify underlying theories of various tests. Learners analyze the characteristics desired in psychological and educational tests, with particular emphasis on reliability and validity, and evaluate best practices and professional standards for educational and psychological testing, including test bias and fairness. In addition, learners assess the role of technology in delivery, administration, scoring, and interpretation of tests.

5 quarter credits
Survey of Research Methods

Learners in this course critically evaluate research in order to gain an understanding of the scientific methods of inquiry and the ethical considerations of research. Learners develop and apply skills needed to become educated consumers and creators of research. Learners also use their research design skills to analyze and apply research methodologies, validity, reliability and other components of scientific research related to their field of interest. Learners may only earn credit for PSY7860 or RSCH7860.

4 quarter credits

Specialization courses:

PSY5110 *
Ethics and Multicultural Issues in Psychology

In this course, learners analyze multicultural perspectives and factors such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender, and their influences on the ethical behavior of psychology professionals. Learners evaluate and articulate multicultural issues within the context of different settings and practice applying ethical reasoning principles and standards within their profession. Prerequisite(s): PSY5002 or PSY8002.

5 quarter credits
Counseling Skills and Procedures

This course provides an introduction to the fundamental skills and core conditions associated with effective counseling practice, from development of the therapeutic alliance through termination. For MS in Clinical Psychology learners only.

5 quarter credits
PSY6910 *
Psychology and the Law

Learners investigate the fundamental theoretical, empirical, and ethical bases of forensic psychology and prepares learners for the advanced practical training covered in PSY6920 and PSY6930. Learners develop forensic assessment methodology skills and study psychology’s role in the judicial system, the differences between clinical and forensic psychological practice, and parameters of ethical practice in forensic psychology. Learners also analyze the basic functions of forensic practice in civil, criminal, juvenile, and family law contexts and basic principles of testimony. Prerequisite(s): PSY6210

5 quarter credits
PSY6920 *
Techniques of Forensic Practice

The primary focus of PSY6920 is on the methodology and mechanics for performing different forensic activities including training in methodology. The course also focuses on practical applications and skill-building in different forensic practice areas. The course presents forensic evaluation methodologies including competency to stand trial, insanity defense, child custody, fitness to parent, mitigating defenses, and recidivism. Evaluating malingering and understanding the guidelines for ethical practice are emphasized throughout the course. Prerequisite(s): PSY6910.

5 quarter credits
PSY6930 *
Current Issues and Trends in Forensic Practice

Learners in this course analyze current forensic psychology issues and examine appropriate application of scientific methods to forensic situations. Topics include eye-witness identification, legal decision making, forensic assessment and reporting, criminal defenses, profiling, polygraphy, risk assessment, jury composition, scientific jury selection, and other selected topics of interest to both the psychology and legal fields. Prerequisite(s): PSY6210, PSY6910, PSY6920.

5 quarter credits
Quantitative Design and Analysis

In this course, learners investigate the fundamental concepts needed to conduct quantitative research. Learners examine and apply quantitative research techniques; appropriate applications of quantitative research; research design, measurement, and analysis, and their associated interdependencies; variable types and levels of measurement; sampling; descriptive and inferential statistics; and hypothesis testing. Learners define the strengths and limitations of descriptive statistics, analyze the quantitative scales of measurement, review the logic of probability and null hypothesis testing, and leverage technology when applicable. Learners also determine the steps necessary to ensure human subjects protection, and consider methodological adaptations when conducting research with vulnerable and diverse populations. Learners may only earn credit for PSY7864 or RSCH7864.

4 quarter credits






At least 53 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Learners who do not complete all program requirements within quarter credit/program point minimums will be required to accrue such additional quarter credits/program points as are associated with any additional or repeat coursework necessary for successful completion of program requirements.