Forensic Psychology Handbook

Welcome and Overview

Welcome to the Master's Program in Forensic Psychology at the University of Houston - Victoria (UHV) in the School of Arts and Sciences!

This Handbook contains policies specific to the Master's Program in Forensic Psychology that supplement those found in the UHV Catalog, the Psychology Graduate Handbook, the UHV Student Handbook, and course syllabi. Please become very familiar with this Handbook. Students are responsible for using the Handbook as a resource when questions arise and as a guide to academic and nonacademic policies and procedures.

The content regarding policies and procedures in this Handbook applies to all students. However, students who began their education in the Forensic Psychology Master's Program prior to Fall 2016 should refer to the Handbook of the year of their acceptance for information related to their Degree Plan requirements. For students entering during the Fall 2016 semester or later, this Handbook reflects your degree and curriculum requirements.

The information in this Handbook is updated annually. Changes may also be made throughout the academic year. If a change occurs, an announcement will be posted on the psychology website located in the Arts and Sciences webpage; students will also be notified via their UHV e-mail.

Congratulations on your decision to advanced your education. The Faculty and Staff are here to help you reach your goal!

Academic Program & Degree Requirements

University of Houston-Victoria Forensic Psychology Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide comprehensive education and training relevant to the application of psychological theory, knowledge, skills, and competencies to the civil and criminal justice systems and administrative agencies, in turn providing students with foundational Forensic Psychological abilities. Our emphasis is on developing strong clinical skills, and the preparation of our students to enter the job market eligible for licenses as both Licensed Psychological Associates (LPA) and as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC). The program conforms to basic Master’s level training and licensing requirements in counseling for most states. Our students will have the skills to engage in assessment and counseling in a variety of forensic settings such as prisons, juvenile detention facilities, child protective agencies, and private forensic practice groups.

We also aim to provide students with strong foundational educational and clinical experiences to facilitate furthering educational attainment (e.g., obtaining a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with a Forensic emphasis), should they so choose.

The American Board of Forensic Psychology defines Forensic Psychology as “the application of scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge of psychology to inform matters of law within the judicial system, legislative bodies, and administrative agencies. This includes, but is not limited to, conducting psychological evaluations, treatment, or research in anticipation of future legal, contractual, or administrative proceedings; offering expert psychological opinions in the form of testimony or amicus briefs; and, trial consultation" (ABFP webpage).

Forensic Psychology Program Goals and Objectives

The primary goals of the Forensic Psychology Program are:

  • To prepare students for entry into the mental health profession with forensic populations.
  • To provide students with a coordinated program of study that complies with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists’ requirements for the Licensed Psychological Associate’s (LPA) credential.
  • To provide students with didactic coursework, exploration of cultural diversity issues in mental health, ethical considerations, and practical field experiences through the practicum requirement.
  • To provide students with curricular opportunities for self- enhancement, critical thinking, and professional development throughout their graduate school experience, which may include participation in the Psychology Colloquium Series and faculty research projects to enrich their classroom experiences.
  • To provide students with core academic knowledge and clinical skills that may assist in pursing additional educational opportunities.

Forensic Psychology Foundational and Functional Competencies

The student's overall professional development and training is based upon a foundation of knowledge and clinical application of functional skills. The Foundation of students’ knowledge is gained through the Program’s core courses that will cover career development, ethics, cultural diversity, life-span development, psychotherapy theories, and specific forensic issues. Students’ Functional Skills will be addressed through other core courses, which cover cognitive assessment, personality assessment, assessments particular to the forensic setting, psychotherapy techniques, and clinical applications of students’ skills through practica. Students enrolled in this program are expected to pursue a plan of study to assure increased professional competence and breadth of knowledge in the field of Forensic Psychology.

In keeping with the program’s goals, the Forensic Psychology Program endorses preparing our students in a number of professional foundational and functional competencies.

The foundational competencies include: 

  1. reflective practice
  2. scientific mindedness
  3. interpersonal relations and conduct
  4. individual‐cultural diversity
  5. ethical‐legal standards  

The functional competencies include:

  1. assessment‐diagnosis
  2. case formulation/presentation
  3. intervention
  4. research/evaluation
  5. application of supervision/ learning/ advising

Curriculum Requirements

Please note that the curriculum of this program has changed. Previously, the program involved 60 hours. Changes in Texas state licensure led this program to a 63-hour course of education and training. Students admitted in or after Fall 2016 are in a 63-hour program. Students admitted in 2015 or later are in a 60-hour program. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements of their Degree Plan, based upon year of entry into the program, and will not be eligible for graduation until their specific Degree Plan has been satisfied. Descriptions of curricular requirements in this Handbook are applicable to students entering the Program in Fall 2016 or later.

The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology is a 63-hour planned program of study designed to train mental health professionals for work in public and private agencies, and to provide an overall breadth and depth of psychological and specialized forensic psychological knowledge and training experiences. The Forensic Psychology Program offers graduate education by providing a curriculum that blends didactic coursework and practical field experience. Each student must complete 54 hours of required coursework to meet the concentration in Forensic Psychology requirement. This foundation supports the knowledge, skill, and understanding developed through concentrated study in the area of Forensic Psychology. For the practical application of coursework, students are required to complete 9 hours of Forensic Psychology Practicum field experience prior to graduation. The clinical experiences provide an opportunity for ongoing development and assessment of the professional growth and skills of the Forensic Psychology student prior to graduation from the program.

Advisement and Orientation

One of the most important people in your graduate education is your Forensic Psychology Program Faculty Advisor. Your advisor is your advocate and confidant. Your advisor recommends and approves your Degree Plan, monitors your progress, approves course selection, helps you in securing practicum and internship placements, and recommends students for graduation. As soon as possible after admission to the Forensic Psychology program, but no later than during the first semester of work, students should contact their assigned advisor to develop a Degree Plan for the Forensic Psychology Master's Degree.

After the student's Degree Plan is signed by the advisor and the department head and approved by the Graduate School, the student is expected to follow it as the basis for all subsequent enrollments. The Degree Plan is the primary advisement tool, as it provides the listing of courses need for graduation. Each student is responsible for keeping the Degree Plan updated and for bringing the plan to advisement sessions.

Please sign and return your degree plan promptly when it is provided to you by the office of the School of Arts & Sciences.

At the beginning of each academic year, all newly admitted and currently admitted graduate students will be invited to attend a Mandatory Psychology Graduate Studies orientation conducted by the UHV Graduate Psychology Faculty. During orientation, students will receive information regarding curriculum and program requirements, and will be introduced to the Graduate Psychology faculty members, as well as have the opportunity to engage with other members of the Psychology Graduate Programs. If a student is unable to attend, he/she is required to notify their faculty advisor as soon as possible.

For further information regarding Degree Plans or course scheduling, please contact Dr. Karen Parsonson.  For questions regarding academic advisement, degree plans, registration, graduation, or other UHV matters, please contact your Arts & Sciences Academic Advisor, Jennifer Reeder

Recommended Schedule & Degree Plan

The Forensic Psychology Program Degree Plan can be found on the Forensic Psychology webpage.

Please be aware that courses often have previous courses as prerequisites. For instance, a course in the Spring or Summer semesters may require a course offered in the previous Fall semester. If you plan to take a part-time load, it is important that you consult with Dr. Parsonson to discuss prioritizing courses. While part-time study is permissible, we encourage part-time students to take a minimum of 6 hours per semester to ensure they are meeting program deadlines for graduation. Forensic Psychology Graduate students who have not enrolled in classes for a one-year period must reapply to the program to regain admission status. They may or may not be accepted for admission.

Students who began their education in the Forensic Psychology Master's Program prior to Fall 2016 should refer to the Handbook of the year of their acceptance for information related to their Degree Plan requirements. For students entering during the Fall 2016 semester or later, this Handbook and the Forensic Psychology webpage reflect your degree requirements.

The following is the recommended schedule for the Forensic Psychology Master’s Program based on enrolling with a full-time course load*:

Year One-Fall

PSYC 6321 Psychopathology I

PSYC 6333 Ethics and Practice of Psychology

PSYC 6334 Theories and Issues in Psychotherapy

PSYC 6336 Intellectual Assessment

Year One-Spring

PSYC 6332 Advanced Social Psychology

PSYC 6335 Techniques of Psychotherapy

PSYC 6337 Personality Assessment

PSYC 6343 Professional Practices in Forensic Psychology

Year One-Summer

PSYC 6327 Assessment for Forensic Psychology

PSYC 6331 Multicultural Psychotherapy

PSYC 6338 Group Psychotherapy

Year Two-Fall

PSYC 6304 Practicum in Forensic Psychology

PSYC 6326 Advanced Research Methods

PSYC 6330 Life-span Developmental Psychology

PSYC 6339 Theory and Techniques of Family Therapy 

Year Two-Spring

PSYC 6304 Practicum in Forensic Psychology

PSYC 6322 Psychopathology II

PSYC 6350 Addictions Counseling

**Students should plan to take their Comprehensive Examination this semester**

Year Two-Summer

PSYC 6304 Practicum in Forensic Psychology

PSYC 6319 Vocational Psychology and Career Counseling

PSYC 6351 Crisis Intervention

* Please note that most courses are only offered one time a year. Students who plan to attend on a part-time basis should carefully look at the UHV catalog to determine which courses have pre-requisites, and what those pre-requisites are. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with Dr. Parsonson about prioritizing courses, if choosing a part-time course of study. To illustrate: if a student does not take PSYC 6336 (Intellectual Assessment) during the Fall of his/her first year, he/she will not be eligible to take PSYC 6337 (Personality Assessment) the following Spring semester, and this would, in turn, delay when he/she is eligible for other courses, such as PSYC 6327 (Assessment for Forensic Psychology) and 6304 (Practicum in Forensic Psychology).

Comprehensive Examination

Forensic Psychology Comprehensive Examinations (“Comps”) are offered during the Fall and Spring Semesters. Full-time Forensic Psychology students should plan on taking Comps during the Spring semester of their second year, after having completed all courses covered by the Comprehensive exam. Students with a minimum of 24 credit hours and who have taken the eleven specified courses (see below) are eligible to take the exam. Those who are eligible will be notified via UHV email by the faculty member overseeing the Comprehensive Exam with information about the exam and the application. They must submit their application prior to the deadline.

The Forensic Psychology Comprehensive Examination has 220 items, 20 selected from each of the ten core classes (listed below) and PSYC 6343 (Professional Practices in Forensic Psychology).  Exam items are randomly selected from a pool of items and then randomly ordered for each student.

Each exam item is worth one point. All students are required to obtain a minimum of 154 points (equivalent to 70%) or better out of 220 points in order to pass the exam. For example, a score of 153 items correct (equivalent to 69.6%) does not meet the minimum score to pass and is considered a failing grade. A student who fails the exam (a score below 154 points) twice must complete remediation work specified by the Psychology Graduate Faculty before regaining eligibility to re-take the Comprehensive Examination. The remediation plan is designed to increase the student's competencies and proficiencies in areas of weakness, as identified by previous performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Remediation work may include the requirement to retake one or more courses.

Students in the Forensic Psychology M.A. program who enter the program in Fall, 2019 and after must pass the Comprehensive exam on or before their third attempt at taking the exam. Failure to pass the comprehensive exam after three tries will result in dismissal from the program.

The courses covered by the Comprehensive Examination are:

PSYC 6321 Psychopathology I

PSYC 6326 Advanced Research Methods

PSYC 6330 Life-Span Developmental Psychology

PSYC 6331 Multicultural Psychotherapy

PSYC 6332 Advanced Social Psychology

PSYC 6333 Ethics and Practice of Psychology

PSYC 6334 Theories and Issues in Psychotherapy

PSYC 6335 Techniques of Psychotherapy

PSYC 6336 Intellectual Assessment

PSYC 6337 Personality Assessment

PSYC 6343 Professional Practices in Forensic Psychology

Practicum in Forensic Psychology

At the beginning of the second year of the degree program, or the Fall semester Year II in the Forensic Psychology Program, students typically enroll in PSYC 6304, Practicum in Forensic Psychology. The Practicum Coordinator will solicit applications from those students identified as eligible for practicum. If a student believes he/she is eligible for Practicum, he/she should be sure to contact with the Practicum Coordinator about this prior to the application deadline. The application deadline for the initial Fall semester is traditionally in July; however, students are responsible for knowing their specific year's deadline and timely submission of their application.

The application for initial eligibility for Practicum requires several components. First, there are coursework requirements. Students must have completed and passed with a final grade of B or better the following courses, prior to submitting their applications:

PSYC 6321 Psychopathology I

PSYC 6330 Life-Span Development

PSYC 6333 Ethics and Practice of Psychology

PSYC 6335 Techniques of Psychotherapy

PSYC 6337 Personality Assessment

PSYC 6338 Group Psychotherapy

Students may be concurrently enrolled in PSYC 6338 Group Psychotherapy during the Summer semester while their application is pending, although completion of the course with a final grade of B or better is required for eligibility before formally beginning Practicum in the Fall semester.

Second, there are competency benchmarks embedded within two pre-requisite courses. Students must have satisfactorily completed their final criterion or project in their Techniques of Psychotherapy and Personality Assessment courses.

Third, enrollment in PSYC 6304 requires approval by your Faculty Advisor and the Course Instructor. You must submit an application for practicum every semester you intend to enroll in the practicum course. An announcement regarding Practicum Applications availability will be sent via UHV email to all Forensic Psychology students. You should apply for Practicum the semester prior to your desired practicum start date. Lastly, you must have proof of Professional Liability Insurance.

Forensic Psychology graduate students are required to complete three semesters (9 credit hours) of Practicum (PSYC 6304). This entails two treatment rotations and one assessment rotation. The application process is the same for on-going Practicum eligibility, and the Practicum Coordinator continues to monitor student performance to ensure ongoing eligibility.

Termination from a practicum site precludes student eligibility from engaging with patients and enrollment in Practicum until the matter has been addressed with the Director of the Forensic Psychology Program and Practicum Coordinator are satisfied with the resolution of identified issues.

More information about Practicum is located under the “Practicum Information” section of the Forensic Psychology webpage, including the Psychology Practicum Handbook.

Review of Student Progress

Given the high degree of ethical and professional behavior and competency required of future Forensic Psychology practitioners, the Forensic Psychology Program requires satisfactory performance throughout the program. We seek to identify students who are in need of and suitable for remediation for relevant issues, such as maintaining expected standards of academic performance, appropriate personal attributes and/or ethical behavior, as well as the acquisition of the appropriate clinical and professional skills. Subsequently, unsatisfactory progress and/or professional behavior and a student's response to efforts at remediation (e.g., failure to uphold elements of a probation agreement), could make him or her eligible for dismissal from the Forensic Psychology Program.

Academic Standards for Forensic Psychology Graduate Students

All Forensic Psychology students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (B) over all graduate courses attempted at UHV, regardless of whether the courses are counted toward degree requirements. In addition, graduate students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all courses that appear on their Degree Plan, including transferred courses. No more than two courses with earned Cs may be applied toward graduate Degree Plan requirements. No credit toward a graduate degree is allowed for courses in which grades of D or F are earned, although the grades are included in the Grade Point Average. The Director of the Forensic Psychology Program will review students' GPAs at the end of every semester to ensure the GPA requirement is being met.

In the event a student's semester or cumulative GPA is lower than 3.0, the student will be notified in writing that he or she is placed on academic probation for the semester. The student will have the opportunity to meet with the Forensic Psychology Program Director and be required to sign a remediation plan. If the student's GPA is not raised by the designated date on the remediation plan, the student will be in jeopardy of dismissal from the Forensic Psychology Program. Certain graduate courses may be graded as S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory), and I (incomplete). Such grades will not be considered in computing the Grade Point Average.

Failure to Meet Program Requirements

All students should expect to receive constructive or corrective feedback about their performance -- from their advisors, other faculty, other supervisors, and from their peers -- at various points during their graduate student career, and students are expected to demonstrate both openness to feedback, self-examination, and diligence in addressing and improving upon their weaknesses when such constructive feedback is received.

Serious concerns about student performance within the Forensic Psychology Program are rare. However, when serious concerns do arise and/or students fail to comply with program requirements, policies, and procedures, this is handled on a case-by-case basis, generally following the template described below. Student evaluation reflects an individualized process that considers each person's strengths and weaknesses and offers prescriptions to remedy serious concerns, and in some cases students may receive written notice of an identified concern that must be addressed and the manner in which it is to be addressed, without being formally placed on probation.

Appropriate Personal Attributes for the Graduate Psychology Programs

Responsibility

  • Shows a pattern of reliable attendance in classes and at practicum/internship obligations.
  • Shows a pattern of completing class projects and other program requirements on time.
  • Shows a pattern of a good effort when working on university tasks.
  • Shows a pattern of accepting responsibility for mistakes. 

Respect

  • Shows a pattern of respect for others and sensitivity to others.
  • Interacts in all situations (in person, via telephone or via email) with peers, supervisors, and program faculty in a respectful and professional manner.
  • Does not engage in a pattern of offensive practices.
  • Does not act in a hostile manner – name calling, intimidation, abusive or threatening behavior, sexual harassment, attempts to humiliate or ridicule others, repeated expression of racist, sexist, or prejudicial attitudes. 

Personal Problems

  • Shows sufficient insight and judgment to know the limits of ability to avoid harming clients or potential clients.
  • Is not a danger to self or others.
  • Is not too distressed to be effective in the skills required for Counseling, School, and Forensic psychology, counseling, or testing.
  • Is able to conform to the demands of the tasks involved in the program’s education.
  • Exhibits no impairments that may lead to inability to conform including substance abuse, delusions, and poor reality testing, among other possible conditions. 

Integrity

  • Shows a pattern of integrity and honesty.
  • Does not show a pattern of deception and/or lying.
  • Does not cheat or engage in plagiarism. 

Self-Presentation and Professional Demeanor

  • Shows a pattern of good personal hygiene and grooming, as well as site-appropriate professional attire.
  • Shows ability and potential to develop appropriate professional etiquette.

 

Ethical Behavior and Academic Honesty

Due to the necessarily high degree of morality and ethical conduct of the psychology profession, unethical behavior and academic dishonesty of any form, such as plagiarism or cheating, will not be tolerated and is considered unacceptable behavior for graduate students in Psychology. Any student engaging in unethical behavior and/or in direct violation of UHV’s Academic Dishonesty Policy, as noted in the UHV Student Handbook, will be subject to reasonable and appropriate sanctions as outlined by University policies.

Behavioral Probation

Students’ academic and professional development is of the utmost concern in the psychology graduate programs, as is the welfare of both students and the public. Usually, concerns about student conduct or behavior can be resolved constructively between the student, an instructor, or an advisor. However, in cases where behavioral issues are persistent or are of a nature which interferes with student development or puts others’ development or welfare in jeopardy, a more formal probationary process may become necessary. The goal of behavioral probation is to create a more formal structure to assist the student’s academic and/or professional development while ensuring the safety of all concerned: the student, colleagues, and members of the public.

In this case, the following process should occur:

1.  The student will be invited to a meeting with the program director and members of the graduate faculty in writing, including the purpose of the meeting and specific incidents which triggered the need for the meeting. For instance, a student might be sent a request to meet with graduate faculty after a practicum supervisor stated that the student was engaging in the following unprofessional conduct: cursing in front of clients, wearing inappropriate attire, or failing to attend mandatory meetings with their supervisor.

2.  The student will be informed that information gathered in the meeting could possibly result in sanctions for the student, including being placed on behavioral probation. The probation would involve remediation work designed to assist the student in the area(s) of concern found to be valid by the committee. The student will be informed that, once the findings are assessed, the Committee may instead decide that no sanctions are warranted.

3.  After the meeting with the student, if a sanction is warranted, including behavioral probation, the student will be informed in writing of the sanction and the remediation. That student has the right to appeal the findings to the Chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences. If the student meets with the Chair and is dissatisfied with the outcome, the student may appeal to the Dean of Arts and Sciences. 

Change of Program

Psychology Graduate Students wishing to transfer between Psychology Graduate programs must be in good academic standing, satisfy grades of “Incomplete” in the Forensic Psychology Program, and should complete the Graduate Action Form available online or from the Arts & Sciences advisor. Additionally, students should speak with the program director in their current and intended programs before doing so. Repeated switching between programs is strongly discouraged as it often delays your desired completion date and disrupts the continuity of your professional skills development.

Any student wishing to complete degree requirements for two Psychology Graduate programs must fully complete one program before applying for a second. As a UHV alumnus, you are only allowed to transfer up to 50% of previous programs’ courses to the new Program’s Degree Plan if you’re accepted into the new program.

Professional Issues:  Post-Graduate

Students should be aware that licensing regulations are independent of the UHV Forensic Psychology degree requirements. State law dictates what criteria must be successfully met before an individual is eligible to receive a particular license. Licensing law determines what title a professional may use when presenting himself/herself to potential consumers of psychological or counseling services, and in most cases determines what type of professional activity the individual may engage in. It is the student’s responsibility to be fully aware of existing state licensing regulations. Such regulations usually dictate: a) degree and curriculum requirements, b) performance criteria for demonstration of knowledge in one’s field (e.g., successful completion of a standardized examination), and c) requirements for supervision of post-degree professional activity. Students should be aware that specific license requirements may vary considerably from state to state. Texas offers a credential for master’s-level psychology graduates, the Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA), which will permit independent practice. Texas also offers a license for master’s-level professional counselors (known as the LPC, for Licensed Professional Counselor). As such, Texas state law dictates certain criteria that must be satisfied before the professional is able to gain the LPA or LPC credentials.   

Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors License Requirements (LPC)

Current requirements for the LPC credential, as put forth by the Texas Board of Examiners of Counselors:

  • “A master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a counseling-related field from an accredited college or university
  • A planned graduate program in counseling or a counseling-related field of at least 48 graduate semester hours
  • NOTE: Board rules specifically define “counseling-related field”: §681.2. Definitions (9) Counseling-related field – A mental health discipline utilizing human development, psychotherapeutic, and mental health principles including, but not limited to, psychology, psychiatry, social work, marriage and family therapy, and guidance and counseling. Non-counseling fields include, but are not limited to dance therapy, sociology, education, administration, and theology.
  • Applicants must obtain academic coursework in each of the following areas: normal human growth and development; abnormal human behavior; appraisal or assessment techniques; counseling theories; counseling methods or techniques (individual and group); research; lifestyle and career development; social, cultural and family issues; and professional orientation.
  • As part of the graduate program, a supervised practicum experience that is primarily counseling in nature. The practicum should be at least 300 clock-hours with at least 100 clock-hours of direct client contact. Academic credit for the practicum must appear on the applicant’s transcript.
  • After completion of the graduate degree and before application, an applicant must take and pass the National Counselor Exam and the Texas Jurisprudence Exam. After receiving a temporary LPC license, the applicant may begin the supervised post-graduate counseling experience (internship). 3000 clock-hours with at least 1,500 being direct client contact of internship under the supervision of a board-approved supervisor is required. The 3000 clock-hours may not be completed in a time period of less than 18 month.
  • If reapplying for a temporary license, the applicant must submit any supervised experience gained during their previous temporary license.”

With respect to the aforementioned coursework, each are is presented below with the UHV course(s) that addresses that content:

Normal Human Growth and Development (PSYC 6330 Life Span Developmental Psychology)

Abnormal Human Behavior (PSYC 6321 Psychopathology I)

Appraisal or Assessment Techniques (PSYC 6327 Assessment for Forensic Psychology; PSYC 6336 Intellectual Assessment; PSYC 6337 Personality Assessment)

Counseling Theories (PSYC 6334 Theories and Issues in Psychotherapy)

Counseling Methods or Techniques, including Counseling individuals and groups (PSYC 6335 Techniques of Psychotherapy; PSYC 6338 Group Psychotherapy)

Research (PSYC 6326 Advanced Research Methods)

Life Style and Career Development (PSYC 6319 Vocational Psychology and Career Counseling)

Social and Cultural Foundations (PSYC 6331 Multicultural Psychotherapy)

Family Issues (PSYC 6339 Theory and Techniques of Family Therapy)

Professional Orientation (PSYC 6333 Ethics and Practice of Psychology)

Practicum (Internship) (PSYC 6304 Practicum in Forensic Psychology)

As of August 1, 2017, the following courses to meet the 60-hour requirement (for the LPC) shall also include:

Addictions Counseling (PSYC 6350 Addictions Counseling)

Professional Practices (PSYC 6343 Professional Practices in Forensic Psychology)

Psychopathology (PSYC 6322 Psychopathology II)

Additional courses may include:

Crisis Counseling (PSYC 6351 Crisis Intervention)

Couples, Marriage, Families, or Parenting (PSYC 6339 Theory and Techniques of Family Therapy)

*A Master of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology from UHV meets the Degree and Curriculum Requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. *

Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists Licensed Psychological Associates Requirements (LPA)

Texas also provides licensure for master's degree-level psychological practitioners referred to as Licensed Psychological Associates. The state has recently made changes to the licensing laws for Licensed Psychological Associates; however, the specific Degree and Curriculum changes do not affect students entering during the 2019-2020 (or earlier) academic year. In other words, the degree and curriculum offered by the Master of Art's in Forensic Psychology Degree at UHV continues to satisfy these requirements.

However, students entering Psychology Master's programs during that time period will be eligible to practice independently, should they meet the other specific requirements set forth by the Texas licensing statutes established in November 2017 under Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists Rule 463.8. 

Current requirements for the Licensed Psychological Associate as put forth by the Texas Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP):

"Licensed Psychological Associate

 The requirements for licensure as a psychological associate are set forth in Board Rule 463.8

  • Requires a graduate degree in psychology, consisting of at least sixty (60) credit hours, with no more than twelve (12) hours of practicum, internship, or structured experience counted toward the total degree requirement.
  • A graduate degree that does not contain the term “psychology” in the name of the major or program of studies, but is primarily psychological in nature, will be accepted for licensure purposes through August 31, 2021, so long as the applicant began his or her graduate program leading to the degree before August 31, 2019. See Board rule 463.8 (g)(2).
  • Requires passage of the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.
  • Requires passage of the Jurisprudence Examination.
  • Requires six (6) semester credit hours of practicum, internship, or other structured experience within the graduate degree program, while under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
  • The following are requirements for independent practice authority for licensed psychological associates: A minimum of 3,000 hours of post-graduate degree supervised experience obtained within 24-48 consecutive months, and in not more than three placements.”

 More information can be found on the websites of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Please note that you are responsible for knowing and following the requirements of your desired professional credential 

Other Credential Opportunities

Having a Master's degree in Forensic Psychology provides a range of opportunities for additional credentials in the state of Texas. Students may benefit from examining information about obtaining additional licensure as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LDC) and/or Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider (LSOTP).

A Final Few Words:

While this handbook, the Graduate Handbook, and the Practicum Handbook are aimed at providing you all the basic information you need to succeed in the program, you may still have questions. Please feel free to ask your Program Director, Faculty Advisor, and Arts & Sciences Advisor when you do have questions. We are all here to help. 

We may have necessary information for you from time to time and will provide that information to you through your UHV email account. We will assume that you will receive that information in a timely way by checking your UHV email frequently. 

Once again, welcome to the UHV Forensic Psychology Master’s Program. We are glad that you have joined us, and look forward to working with you on your development into a Forensic Psychology