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Department of Psychology
UAC 253
Phone: (512)245-2526
Fax: (512)245-3153
E-Mail: psychology@txstate.edu
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Graduate Certificate in Forensic Psychology

Why a Certificate in Forensic Psychology?

The Department of Psychology at Texas State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Psychology to prepare individuals for career advancement in areas where Psychology and Criminal Justice intersect. Forensic Psychologists apply psychological principles to the criminal justice system. Those involved in the criminal justice system - whether they be officers making arrests, detectives interviewing witnesses, attorneys presenting a case or jurors processing information and attempting to reach a unanimous decision - will perform those duties more effectively with a background in forensic psychology. Topic areas in forensic psychology touch on all aspects of the system from more effective interviewing and questioning, the impact of drug and alcohol addiction on crime commission, how jurors function and influence each other as a part of a group, how jurors process information and make decisions, or how attorneys can best present evidence so that jurors can understand that evidence and make informed decisions.

What are the requirements for a certificate?

  1. PSY 5360G - Forensic Psychology (3 hours)
  2. Choose one of the following (3 hours) in consultation with the Certificate in Forensic Psychology Advisor:
    • CJ 5335 - Advanced Crime Theory
    • CJ 5321 - Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice
    • CJ 5380A - Ethics and the Criminal Justice System
    • CJ 5380H - Police Problem-Solving Methodologies
    • CJ 5380I - Race, Class and Crime
  3. Choose three of the following (9 hours) in consultation with the Certificate in Forensic Psychology Advisor
    (some of these courses may have undergraduate prerequisites, choose carefully in consultation with the Certificate in Forensic Psychology Advisor):
    • PSY P5310 - Advanced Abnormal
    • PSY P5317 - Group Processes and Interpersonal Dynamics
    • PSY P5345 - Psychopharmacology
    • PSY P5370 - Learning, Cognition and Motivation
    • PSY P5385 - Industrial Social Psychology

15 Hours Total

The Declaration of Pursuit of Certificate & Tracking Form MS Word Document is a useful tool for understanding the requirements and tracking your progress in the certificate program.

As minimum standards that were approved by Council of Academic Deans, admitted students are required to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA with no grade less than "C". A student has four years to complete the coursework. Upon completion of certificate course requirements, the student must submit a Texas State Certificate Program Application of Completion. The Graduate College will confirm requirements have been met and contact the Registrar's Office to request the transcript notation and printing of the certificate. The Registrar's Office will send the certificate to the appropriate college dean to present at the college's award's day.

What are the admission requirements?

Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA on the last 60 hours of bachelor's coursework with a 3.0 on the last 60 hours preferred. If a student has completed a master's or doctoral degree, a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA is required. The GRE is not required. A degree in psychology is not required.

Application Requirements

Applicants who have completed a bachelor's degree apply to the Graduate College for entrance to a Texas State certificate program online through the ApplyTexas Application and submit the $10.00 application fee. This application should be submitted prior to the student beginning coursework for the certificate program.

Transcripts/Documents Requirements:

Current Texas State students or graduates need to submit an official transcript from any college not listed on the Texas State transcript. Other applicants must submit one official transcript from each senior level post secondary institution attended. The minimum grade point requirement (GPA) is 2.5 on the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate work before the bachelor's degree. If a student has completed a master's or doctoral degree, a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA is required.

How do I apply?

Texas State University-San Marcos has a centralized process for applying to all graduate programs coordinated by the Graduate College. Requirements, instructions, and forms for applying to the certificate program are located on their website at:
 

http://www.gradcollege.txstate.edu/Prospect_Students/Pgms_Apps/TXST_Cert.html
 

Students can be admitted to the Graduate Forensic Psychology Certificate Program during any semester. All materials should be submitted directly to:
The Graduate College
Texas State University-San Marcos
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666-4605

Is the Program Available Online?

No.  The graduate certificate in Forensic Psychology is only offered in a face-to-face format.  Students applying for the certificate will not be able to complete the required courses through online offerings only.  Classes coded as face-to-face, must be completed in a face-to-face format  Though some of the courses are, occasionally, offered online, the entirety of the program is not.  Students should not apply for the certificate program if they cannot attend classes on the Texas State campus. 

Whom do I contact with additional questions?

Dr. Randall Osborne (ro10@txstate.edu) is the Advisor for the Graduate Certificate in Forensic Psychology. General Texas State Certificate information may be viewed on the Graduate College website at:

http://www.gradcollege.txstate.edu/Prospect_Students/Pgms_Apps/TXST_Cert.html

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Are there any particular undergraduate requirements the program requires?

Not really.  An undergraduate degree in psychology is NOT required but background coursework in psychology and criminal justice would better position a student for success in the program.

Is the program online based or face-to-face?

Face-to-Face.  The graduate certificate in Forensic Psychology is only offered in a face-to-face format.  Students applying for the certificate will not be able to complete the required courses through online offerings only.  Classes coded as face-to-face, must be completed in a face-to-face format.  Though some of the courses are, occasionally, offered online, the entirety of the program is not.  Students should not apply for the certificate program if they cannot attend classes on the Texas State campus. 

Could the courses from this certificate be applied towards a Master's or PhD degree?

Yes, but it depends.  If the student is pursuing a masters degree at the same time, generally they can be applied whenever they "fit" into the degree requirements.  If someone were to complete the certificate and then, at a late time, get into a masters degree, it would be up to the program to decided if any of those courses would count.  It is, of course, up to any particular program you might be accepted into as to whether they will count previous courses but many students are successful in doing so.  Even if the courses are not used to "count" toward a masters or PhD degree, many complete the certificate to build credential toward applying to those programs.

How can this certificate be used career-wise?

Usually as a bridge to a masters or PhD degree (building credential and strengthening the application) or for job placement (seeking a job where background in this area would enhance one's resume) or for promotion (seeking a promotion where having this credential might set one apart from others seeking the same promotion).

It is VERY important to note that this is NOT a graduate degree.  It is a clustering of courses that can assist in getting jobs in areas related to forensic psyhchology and criminal justice or as a stepping stone into forensic psychology masters and PhD programs.

Most students using it as a career advancement move - to apply for a promotion or seek a newly created position that seems tailored to these skills, have reported success in doing those very things.  One of the first students to complete the certificate, Adrien, was able to use it to not only get promoted in a law enforcement agency but to seek a newly created position that was well-suited to these skills.

Will the certificate allow me to work in a different State?

This is NOT a licensing program.  By calling it a "certificate," we mean a clustering of courses that demonstrates some breadth and depth in the area of forensic psychology.  It is not a degree, nor is it a professional certification or license to practice.  It is to be used to demonstrate advanced coursework and knowledge in an area to pursue job advancement or step up into a masters or PhD program.

Does the certificate qualify for Financial Aid?

By itself, NO.  Certificate programs and other clustering of courses that are not a full degree do not, generally, qualify for the Title IV financial aid.  Many students pursue the certificate while pursuing a masters degree at Texas State, hence the courses would also count towards any financial aid they have for pursuing that graduate degree.