Forensic Clinical Psychology Minor

Overview for Forensic Clinical Psychology Minor

A minor in forensic clinical psychology is for students who have an interest in clinical, applied, and/or research within the area of clinical psychology and law. It is an interdisciplinary field encompassing the role of mental health (psychology, psychiatry, social work) within the context of the law and public policy. Forensic clinical psychology offers a wide variety of career opportunities. The objective of this minor is to provide you with a background in areas commonly needed to support forensic clinical psychology roles, as well as help you develop critical thinking skills in analyzing psychological theory, research, and practice within legal settings, apply an understanding of complex social, moral, and psychological influences of human behavior within legal contexts, and explain professional codes of behavior and understand ethical values and constraints affecting psycho-legal practice.

Notes about this minor:

  • Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.

The plan code for Forensic Clinical Psychology Minor is CLINFOR-MN.

Curriculum Update in Process for 2024-2025 for Forensic Clinical Psychology Minor

Current Students: See Curriculum Requirements

Required Courses
Choose three of the following:
   Diagnosing the Criminal Mind
This course will introduce students within the biomedical sciences, physician assistant, psychology and criminal justice fields to understand basic clinical diagnostic terms, symptoms and behaviors that pertain to clients who commit crime. The course will introduce students to the relationship between mental health, drug addiction, crime and violence. Students will be involved in mock trials, debates and case write ups. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   Researching the Criminal Mind
This course will introduce students to clinical research as it pertains to symptoms, behaviors, the prediction of violent behaviors and treatment outcomes among offenders who commit crime. The course will introduce students to evidenced based science and the application to forensic populations, manuscript preparation, clinical case write ups and small grant proposals. (Prerequisites: BHNS-311 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   Addiction Pharmacology
This course will explore the general concepts, social consequences, policy, and other aspects of substance abuse and addiction. Multiple perspectives will be presented, including those of addicts, health-care providers, and family/friends affected by addiction. Then, commonly abused drugs will be discussed in detail. Topics to be presented and discussed for each drug class include: epidemiology, pathophysiology, drug class information, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics actions, short-term and long-term consequences of misuse (including overdose), and contemporary pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment modalities. Availability of resources used to address substance abuse will also be presented. (Prerequisites: (BHNS-311) or (BIOL-101 and BIOL-102) or (BIOL-121 and BIOL-122) or (MEDG-101 and MEDG-102) or (BIOL-123 and BIOL-124 and BIOL-125 and BIOL-126) or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience, the study of neurobiological basis of cognition and behavior. Topics include neuroanatomy and physiology, localization of function, brain injury, research methods in behavioral neuroscience, and biological basis of language, memory, emotion, conscious states, and sexual behavior, with an evolutionary perspective. (Prerequisites: PSYC-101 or PSYC-101H or completion of one (1) 200 level PSYC course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Choose two of the following:
   Neurological Disease and Behavior
This course focuses on clinical and pathological aspects of neural processes associated with mental activity, cognitive function, emotional states, and social behavior. This course addresses functional behavioral neuroanatomy, administering and interpreting mental status examinations, the neurochemical bases and pharmacological management of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disturbances detected within forensic populations. This course addresses theory and methods that allow an integration of core knowledge of cognitive psychology and key biological bases of complex behavior. This course will provide an overview of methods in clinical and cognitive neuroscience with exposure to methodology. The methodological and conceptual basis of neuroscience are considered and the course emphasizes both a functional and an anatomical approach to the study of brain-behavior relationships. Specific neurobehavioral syndromes and neuropsychiatric manifestations of neurological disorders are discussed. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   Assessment and Differential Diagnosis in Forensic Psychology
This course addresses general and specific topics in criminal forensic assessment. Students will become familiar with the administration, scoring, and interpretation of instruments used to assess competence to stand trial, criminal responsibility, malingering, dangerousness, and risk of sexual violence among forensic clients. In order to demonstrate familiarity and knowledge of specific forensic assessment tools, each student will administer, score, and interpret test protocols and provide interpretations of test data with regard to the issue at hand. Finally, students will gain an understanding of the integration of interview data, assessment data, and collateral information in a forensic evaluation report. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   Forensic Clinical Case Studies
This is an advanced course focused on the intersection of psychology and the law. The course focuses on the use of clinical mental health information in courts and other legal settings in cases that involve adults and children. The course reviews the framework of law in civil and criminal cases that are most likely to involve psychologists as forensic evaluators or expert witnesses. Forensic evaluations in criminal cases include competency to stand trial evaluations and mental health evaluations for legal purposes. The role of the clinical psychologist in conducting forensic evaluations is discussed in detail, including specific kinds of clinical and ethical challenges that may arise. Specialized evaluations within the legal system, such as violence risk assessments, substance use assessments, and intimate partner violence assessments are described. Particular attention is paid to how clinical psychologists conduct forensic evaluations for use in civil and criminal proceedings, and how their findings are communicated in the form of written reports or testimony before the court. (Prerequisites: BHNS-311 and BHNS-411 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   Clinical Neuroscience I
This course focuses on clinical and pathological aspects of neural processes associated with mental activity, cognitive function, emotional states, and social behavior. This course covers relationships between biological processes (on the level of genes, hormones, and neural processes) and psychopathology as it is represented in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2013, 5th ed.).The course will focus on neurocognitive and neuropsychological disorders associated with major brain pathologies and disorders. The course will discuss etiologies pertaining to Addiction/Substance Use Disorders, Delirium, Major Neurocognitive Disorders & Mild Neurocognitive Disorder. We will also discuss Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Vascular Disorders, and Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and HIV infection. The disorders will also underscore pathologies associated with aggression, violence and forensic populations. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   Integration of Behavioral Health Scholarship
Students in this course will be involved in carrying out one or more empirical research project through collaboration with the supervising clinical faculty and a research group. Students will meet regularly with the faculty member, read relevant forensic research articles, and collect data. Students may also participate in entering, coding, or analyzing data. Students will engage in manuscript development and professional presentations. (Prerequisites: BHNS-411 or equivalent course.) Lecture 1, Project 2 (Spring).
   Neurobiological Basis of Therapy
This course covers relationships between biological processes (on the level of genes, hormones, and neural processes) as well as structural and physiological changes that contribute to psychopathology as it is represented in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2000, 5th ed.). Content will focus on biological bases of behavior frequently observed among forensic populations, including learning disabilities, sociopathy, substance use, and psychotic disorders. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   Clinical Neuroscience II
The course focuses on clinical and imaging assessment methods, psychological testing batteries and evidence-based treatments pertaining to neurocognitive and neuropsychological disorders associated with major brain pathologies. Students will learn about evidence-based testing batteries to assess and detect neurocognitive impairments known to commonly co-occur with addiction/ substance use disorders, disorders associated with delirium, major neurocognitive disorders and mild neurocognitive disorder. Students will learn about neuropsychological testing results associated with specific brain regions involved to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury (TBI), vascular disorders, and dementia with Lewy Bodies, frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, HIV infection and frontal lobe disorders associated with aggression and violence in forensic populations. (Prerequisites: BHNS-311 and BHNS-467 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   Forensic Psychology
An exploration of the theoretical, methodological, and practical issues associated with forensic psychology. Topics will cover the psychological aspects of the full range of the criminal justice system from policing to incarceration. Specific topics include: criminal profiling, eyewitness memory, jury decisions, and special trial cases (e.g, discrimination, sexual harassment). (Prerequisites: PSYC-101 or PSYC-101H or completion of one (1) 200 level PSYC course.) Lecture 3 (Annual).
   Law and Society
This course focuses on the relationships between law and other social institutions, and examines the values and interests that are expressed in law and shaped by legal structures and processes. Consensus and conflict perspectives of the law are compared and contrasted, and applied to understanding the law's impact on everyday life. This course takes an explicit interdisciplinary approach to understanding law. Lecture 3 (Biannual).
   Domestic Violence
This course focuses on domestic violence in the United States and globally. Various types of domestic violence will be examined, including intimate partner violence, child abuse, and elder abuse. The course will also examine criminal justice responses to domestic violence, including police, court processing of domestic violence cases and punishment of domestic violence offenders. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
   Global Mental Health
This course covers to epidemiology and prevalence of mental health disorders across the globe. It also focuses on the diagnosis of psychopathology across the developmental life-span while considering cultural factors. This course emphasizes specific global mental health concerns and the importance of culturally appropriate screening, diagnosis, assessment and treatment. A major component of this course focuses on the use of technology to overcome barriers and bridge treatment gaps for mental health on a global level while keeping ethical considerations in mind. Lecture 3 (Fall).