Master of Arts (MA) in Forensic and Counseling Psychology

Graduates of the MA in Forensic and Counseling Psychology program will have fulfilled all the educational requirements to qualify for LMHC licensure in Massachusetts.


There is great need for professionals trained specifically to provide mental health and substance abuse assessment and treatment services to individuals involved with the criminal justice system.

In 2000*, an estimated 57% of Federal inmates and 21% of State inmates were serving a sentence for a drug offense; about 10% of Federal inmates and 49% of State inmates were in prison for a violent offense.  More than 50% of the women in jail said they had been physically or sexually abused in the past, compared to more than 10% of the men.  In 2002*, over 1 in 3 State prisoners, 1 in 4 Federal prisoners, and 1 in 6 jail inmates who had a mental health problem had received treatment since admission.  Nearly a quarter of both State prisoners and jail inmates who had a mental health problem, compared to a fifth of those without, had served 3 or more prior incarcerations.  In 2007*, over 7.3 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at year end -- 3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 31 adults.

*Data from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics

Program Overview

This program examines the relationship between psychology and the legal system, and trains students at this intersection as it relates to applying psychological principles to legal issues in judicial, correctional, clinical, administrative, and education systems. The full-time two-year course of study combines intensive on-site weekends and online learning over a two-year period.   Although the primary goal is to prepare master’s level clinicians, this program will also provide students with some of the necessary foundations for pursuing further graduate study. Graduates of this program will have fulfilled all educational requirements to qualify for licensure in the state of Massachusetts as Mental Health Counselors (LMHC).

“Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology are trained to work as master’s level practitioners with individuals, families and systems that interface with the legal and criminal justice arena.  Our aim is to prepare clinicians who will be able to assess, treat, consult and apply counseling psychology in forensic settings. When so many individuals involved with the criminal justice system have great need for trained professionals in this area, we are providing clinicians that are thoroughly trained and sensitive to their particular challenges.”

—Nilda M. Laboy, PsyD
Head, Counseling Psychology Department

Program Philiosophy

William James College integrates rigorous academic instruction with extensive field education and professional development assistance. We believe that the best learning comes from integrating classroom knowledge with hands-on experience. The curriculum provides for an understanding of theory, training, and practice of forensic counseling psychology. We emphasize the development of professionals who are committed to the ethical provisions of quality services to culturally diverse clients, agencies, and organizations.

“I chose William James College because of the small class size and the individual attention from faculty.  The blended-learning format adds flexibility to the classroom.  It allows me to work on my own time towards the due date at the end of the week and gives me more time for my internship without feeling overwhelmed.”

—Hayley Nemiroff, Forensic Psychology Program

Program Outcomes

 The Master of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology enables graduates to work in fields that utilize the study and practice of forensic counseling psychology, including court clinics, secured forensic units, correctional facilities, child advocacy centers, forensic assessment, and treatment facilities, in addition to being prepared to work in general counseling settings.

Letter from the Program Chair

Nilda LaboyThe Masters of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology is a blended program, combining online components of learning with weekends in residence for each course in addition to weekly clinical seminars and field experience.  The program affords all college graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in the  rapidly growing field of Forensic & Counseling Psychology an opportunity to play an important and vital role in our society as the need for professionals to work at the intersection between psychology and law is great and continues to grow.  Through challenging course work and field training, the program prepares our students to meet this need with unquestioned competency, passion and commitment. 

William James College and the faculty of the Masters of Arts in Forensic & Counseling Psychology are proud to be able to offer students such an opportunity.

Nilda M. Laboy, Psy.D.
Program Chair, Counseling Psychology Department
nilda_laboy@williamjames.edu

Who This Program Is For

The MA in Forensic & Counseling Psychology is designed to attract a diverse pool of students interested in examining the relationship between Psychology and the legal system.  The program is structured to develop competency through the education and training of individuals who are currently functioning, or wish to be trained to function, in fields that utilize the study and practice of forensic psychology such as court clinics, secured forensic units, correctional facilities, child advocacy centers, forensic assessment and treatment facilities.

Students enrolled in the MA in Forensic  Psychology Program  will develop knowledge and skills in clinical and forensic practice-oriented coursework that will be comprehensively integrated with extensive fieldwork opportunities.  In essence, the MA in Forensic & Counseling Psychology curriculum provides for an understanding of theory, training, and practice of forensic psychology that will meet the education and degree requirements that will qualify them for licensure as mental health counselors. Further, the MA in Forensic & Counseling Psychology emphasizes the development of  students who are committed to the ethical provisions of quality services to culturally diverse clients, agencies, and organizations.

GREs are not required to apply to this program. A minimum amount of prior coursework in Psychology is expected.

Career Outlook

Employment Opportunities for MA in Forensic & Counseling Psychology Graduates and LMHCs

Mental Health Counselors work in a wide range of settings. Graduates of the MA, Forensic Psychology program are prepared to work in court clinics, secured forensic units, correctional facilities, child advocacy centers, forensic assessment and treatment facilities.

Additional career options for our graduates are employment in community mental health centers; hospitals and clinics; residential treatment enters; substance abuse treatment facilities; college and university counseling centers; employee assistance programs; managed behavioral health care organizations; government agencies; elder care facilities; and faith communities. Once they have earned licensure, they can also pursue independent practice. There are many employment opportunities in the Boston area and throughout the United States for qualified master's level clinicians. Once they have completed their post-master's work experience requirements and have passed the national licensing examination (known as the NCMHE), mental health counselors can also pursue independent practice. In Massachusetts, licensed mental health counselors are known as LMHCs.


Advantages of a Graduate School Education at William James College

94% of Graduates receive jobs in their field within 6 months of graduating

Job Outlook: Percent (%) Change in Employment for 2012-2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics
Marriage and Family Therapist Up 31%
Mental Health Counselor Up 29%
Clinical, Counseling & School Psychologists Up 11%

US News & World Report Best Social Service Jobs Best Jobs US News Best Jobs Logo
School Psychologist No. 1 No. 31
Marriage and Family Therapist No. 33 No. 76
Mental Health Counselor No. 38 No. 97

Median Salaries* Data from 2009 APA Salary Survey and US News & World Report

American Psychological Association Logo
US News Best Jobs Logo
Clinical Psychologist $87,015
School Psychologist $67,880
Mental Health Counselor $47,000
Marriage and Family Therapist $46,240
* Licensed mental health professionals have the opportunity for additional income through private practice.

Our Difference: Percent (%) of Graduates to obtain a job within 6 months of graduation

William James College
MA in Counseling Psychology 100%
MA/CAGS in School Psychology 100%
MA in Forensic and Counseling Psychology 100%
MA in Organizational Psychology 88%
PsyD in Clinical Psychology 87%

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