Forensic & Legal Psychology

A two-year, full-time program, the Master of Arts in Forensic & Legal Psychology is designed to prepare students for Ph.D. programs focused on research. Students work with faculty to design and implement studies addressing empirical questions in clinical/forensic or legal psychology. Students are trained in research design, statistical analysis, as well as clinical assessment and psychological testing. Research practicums or directed research are required as well as a comprehensive thesis.

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A two-year, full-time program, the Master of Arts in Forensic & Legal Psychology is designed to prepare students for doctoral training focused on forensic or legal psychology. Students will be trained in clinical assessment and psychological testing, the diagnosis of psychopathology, treatment planning, individual and group interventions, research design, and statistical analysis and program evaluation. Research practicums or directed research are required as well as a comprehensive thesis.

The M.A. in Forensic & Legal Psychology seeks to:

  • Prepare graduate students for further academic training at the doctoral level in applied, clinical, experimental, or legal psychology
  • Provide students with training in research design, statistical analysis, and forensic assessment
  • Provide students with directed research and research practicum experiences that will promote and develop professional skills in forensic and legal psychology
  • Provide students with the requisite skills to design and analyze quality research projects.

Looking for the 60-credit M.A. Forensic Mental Health Counseling program?

The eleven-course core sequence provides students with the breadth and depth of knowledge and competencies needed to be an effective forensically/legally-informed researcher.

Requirements for the Master of Arts in Forensic & Legal Psychology Program

(All courses are three credits unless otherwise indicated)


A. Required core courses: 33 credits

PSYCH501Research Design
PSYCH502Quantitative Methods I
PSYCH503Forensic Psychology
PSYCH504Psychology and Law
PSYCH505Introduction to Clinical Assessment
PSYCH509Methods of Psychotherapy I *
PSYCH532Multicultural Competence in Psychological Practice
PSYCH534Advanced Developmental Psychology
PSYCH550Professional Ethics in Psychology

An additional assessment course: 3 credits (Choose from the following) *

PSYCH506Assessment in Criminal Law
PSYCH512Child Assessment

A psychopathology course: 3 credits (Choose from the following)

PSYCH520Developmental Psychopathology
PSYCH521Adult Psychopathology

* Students may request a substitution course from the catalog at the discretion of the program director.

B. Directed Research or Research Practicum: 6 credits

PSYCH595Research Practicum
PSYCH596Directed Research

Note each respective course is taken twice to fulfill the six credit requirement.

C. Thesis: 6 credits

PSYCH597Thesis
PSYCH597Thesis

(Minimum of 45 credits)

RWU Alumna Danielle Beam
RWU Alumna Danielle Beam '19 won first prize for her thesis work she presented at the American Psychology-Law Society Annual Conference in New Orleans March 5-7, 2020. She completed her thesis work with RWU Professor Dr. Frank DiCataldo.

2019-2020

American Psychology-Law Society Annual Conference – New Orleans, LA – March 2020

Lauren Stornelli (Class of 2021) and Joseph A. Camilleri, Westfield State University
Errors and biases in bystander identification of perpetrators
Poster presentation

Marcus Krodel (Class of 2020), Frank DiCataldo, PhD, and Kaila Kutz (B.A. '19)
Early Childhood Adjustment of Juvenile Males Convicted of Murder

Poster presentation

Olivia Alfano (Class of 2020), Kristina Todorovic '18, Garrett Berman, PhD, Toglia, M.P., & Lamothe, H. 
From Project to Record: Analyzing Factors Contributing to Erroneous Convictions due to Mistaken Identification

Paper and poster presentation

Rachel Serafinski '19 and Garrett Berman, PhD
The Impact of Neuroimaging and Scientific Testimony Complexity on Capital Sentencing Decisions

Paper and poster presentation

Cassie Flick '19 and Judith Platania, PhD
Information Processing in Civil Litigation: Case Complexity and Jurors’ Reliance on Heuristics

Paper and poster presentation

Danielle Beam '19 and Frank DiCataldo, PhD
Internalizing and Externalizing Problems in Juvenile Males Adjudicated for Sexual Offenses

Poster presentation

Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers Annual Conference – Atlanta, GA – October 2019

Alejandro Leguizamo, PhD, and Kristin Mahan (Class of 2020)
Cognitive Distortion or Social Norm? Identifying and Addressing Sociocultural Factors in Treatment
Pre-conference seminar

Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention – Chicago, IL – May 2020

Kristina Todorovic '18, Olivia Alfano (Class of 2020), Toglia, M.P., & Garrett Berman, PhD
Fuzzy Tracy Theory's Understanding of Lineup Misidentification in Wrongful Conviction Cases
Poster accepted for presentation

Eastern Psychological Association Annual Meeting - Boston, MA - March 2020

Tiara Cross (Class of 2020) and Judith Platania, PhD
Street Credibility: An Assessment of the Determination Between Fear and Respect

Poster accepted for presentation

Alejandro Leguizamo, PhD, Emily Manis (Class of 2021), and Evelyn Behrends (B.S. '15)
Psychological Well-Being Among Survivors of College Sexual Assaults: A Gender Comparison

Poster accepted for presentation

Lauren McDowell (Class of 2020), Matt Zaitchik, PhD, and Judith Platania, PhD
Effect of Defendant Appearance, Behavior, and Offense on Perceptions of Criminal Responsibility
Poster accepted for presentation

Samantha Sutton (Class of 2021), Sarah Trifari (Class of 2021), Lauren McDowell (Class of 2020), Judith Platania, PhD
Attitudinal Predictors in the Context of Racial Profiling
Poster accepted for presentation

Alejandro Leguizamo, PhD, MacKenzie Ramsay (Class of 2021), and Irene Sanchez (B.A. Class of 2020)
Predictors of Psychological Well-Being Among Latinxs: An Ecological Systems Approach

Poster accepted for presentation

International Congress of Psychology – Prague, Czech Republic – June 2020

Toglia, M.P., Kristina Todorovic '18, Olivia Alfano (Class of 2020), & Garrett Berman, PhD
Memory theory and archival analyses of Innocence Record misidentification cases: A two-way street
Paper accepted for presentation

Massachusetts Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers Annual Conference – Marlborough, MA – April 2020

Kristin Mahan (Class of 2020), Emily Manis (Class of 2021), and Alejandro Leguizamo, PhD
Self-reported Paraphilic Behaviors Among Incarcerated Sex Offenders: Rates and Comparison to DSM-V Prevalence Rates
Poster presentation

Alejandro Leguizamo, PhD, and Kristin Mahan (Class of 2020)
Hegemonic Masculinity: Impact on Sexual Aggression and Intervention Strategies
Workshop presentation

Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Conference – Chicago, IL – April 2020

Kristina Todorovic '18, Olivia Alfano (Class of 2020), Garrett Berman, PhD, & Toglia, M.P. 
Misidentification Cases Involving Witnesses Under Age 18
Paper accepted for presentation

2018-2019

American Psychology-Law Society Annual Conference – Portland, OR – March 2019

Cassie Flick '19, Rachel Serafinski '19, and Judith Platania, PhD
Perceptions of Race and Etiology of Brain Injury Through the Lens of Improper Argument

Paper presentation

Danielle Rumschik '18 and Garrett Berman, PhD
What do you remember? An investigation of MPI and type of memory test on memory accuracy
Paper presentation

Kristina Todorovic (Class of 2018) and Judith Platania, PhD
Perceived Social Support as a Mediator in Child Sexual Abuse Cases

Paper accepted for presentation

Eastern Psychological Association Annual Meeting – New York, NY – March 2019

Cassandra Beinemann (Class of 2019), Garrett Berman, PhD, and Judith Platania, PhD
Perceptions of culpability as a function of pretrial publicity and random violence

Poster presentation

Psychonomic Society Annual Meeting – Montreal, QC – November 2019

Olivia Alfano (Class of 2020), Garrett Berman, PhD, Toglia, M. P., Kristina Todorovic '18, & Danielle Rumschik '18 
Beyond the Innocence Project! An Enhanced Archival Analysis of Wrongful Convictions using the Innocence Record

Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition Annual Conference – Brewster, MA – June 2019

Toglia, M. P., Garrett Berman, PhD, Olivia Alfano (Class of 2020), Harvey, C. N., & Franz, M. H. 
Analysis of exoneration eases of wrongful convictions: Implications for judicial reform and the laboratory.  

Poster Presentation

Graduates of the program typically pursue study at the doctoral level, most commonly in Ph.D. programs. While many choose to apply to clinical programs, many have also pursued study in applied, developmental, legal, or social psychology, among others. Students who wish to further their studies in forensic or legal psychology select programs with defined research opportunities in these areas. 

Here are some of the institutions where our graduates have pursued Ph.D. study:

Carleton University (Canada)University of Middlesex (U.K.)
Drexel Law (J.D.)University of Nevada - Reno
Florida International UniversityUniversity of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Fordham UniversityUniversity of Ontario Institute of Technology
McGill UniversityUniversity of Rhode Island
Michigan State UniversityUniversity of Toledo
New York Law School (J.D.)University of Vermont
Palo Alto UniversityUniversity of Wyoming
Sam Houston State UniversityWidener University

 

Open Houses

Meet us on campus in Bristol, RI, and hear about admission and financial aid, meet the faculty, tour the campus, and more.

Stay tuned for our next Graduate Open House.

Virtual Information Sessions

Short on time or just want to learn more about us from the comfort of your home, school, or office? Join us for a Virtual Information Session.

Please visit http://grad.rwu.edu/events for the most current information.

Considering a career in forensic psychology? Learn more about the forensic psychology field, job opportunities, necessary education, and more in this informative session. The first portion of the session will focus on discussing forensic psychology and the second portion will focus on the graduate school application process, advice for application materials, and discussion of finding the right "fit" in your graduate program search.

Watch the recording of our latest session:

Application Requirements

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Criminal Justice, or related field, and must have satisfactorily completed undergraduate courses in Statistics and Research Methods. To apply, students must submit the following items to the Office of Graduate Admission:

  1. Completed application form accompanied by the $50 application fee
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  3. Letter of Intent (two double-spaced pages maximum) describing your interest in Forensic & Legal Psychology, career goals and how you can positively contribute to the graduate program at Roger Williams University
  4. Official report of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores sent directly by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the Office of Graduate Admission. The ETS School Code for Roger Williams University is 3729
  5. Three letters of recommendation attesting to your potential to succeed in graduate school. All three letters should come from academic sources (professors) who can speak to your performance in the classroom and research (if applicable). You should select recommenders who know you well, can speak about your character and work ethic, and can attest to your ability to handle graduate level coursework. Recommendation letters should not be submitted from personal friends or family members. 
  6. Research Writing Sample, generally of 10 or more pages in length, demonstrating your ability to prepare, execute, and present your research. A junior research proposal is acceptable to satisfy this requirement.
  7. If your first language is not English, an official report of TOEFL or IELTS results
Application Deadlines: 

February 1st - Priority Scholarship Consideration Deadline
February 15th - General Application Deadline

International applicants should also read through this page for additional requirements.

Where appropriate, documents should be submitted online through the applicant portal or via email to gradadmit@rwu.edu. Any official documents that must be mailed (i.e. transcripts) should be sent directly to:

Office of Graduate Admission
1 Old Ferry Rd.
Bristol, RI 02809

Have questions about the application process? Visit the How to Apply page from the Office of Graduate Admission.

A headshot of Kristina Todorovic

Gaining Opportunity Through Research

Kristina Todorovic, RWU Class of 2018
Forensic & Legal Psychology

Kristina Todorovic’s graduate school experience was all about research opportunities. After speaking with students in her program during the admission process, Kristina made the easy choice to enroll at RWU.

Read full story

Graduates in Forensic & Legal Psychology are able to:

  • Conduct psychological testing and therapy in specialized treatment settings
  • Direct treatment groups or psycho- educational groups with special populations such as adult or juvenile sex offenders
  • Act as trial consultants
  • Perform psychological testing with prison populations or for disability claims agencies
  • Investigate prosecutorial misconduct in capital trials and witness tampering

Facts

  • Delivery Method: In-class
  • Start Term: Fall only
  • Course Load: Full-time only
  • Tuition: $984/credit (Fall 2020 - 45 credits)
  • Admission Deadline: February 1st for priority scholarship consideration; February 15th general deadline