Forensic Psychology Handbook

Welcome and Overview

Welcome to the Master’s Program in Forensic Psychology at 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 on the Arts and Sciences webpage; students will also be notified via their UHV e-mail.

Congratulations on your decision to advance 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). UHV’s Forensic Psychology Program operates under this definition as applied to the specialized education, training, and experience required for the practice of Forensic Psychology.

Goals/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 pursuing additional educational opportunities

Forensic Psychology Foundational and Functional Competencies

Students’ 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; and        
  5. ethical‐legal standards.          

The functional competencies include:

  1. assessment‐diagnosis;
  2. case formulation/presentation;
  3. intervention;
  4. research/evaluation; and
  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 Teas 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. Dr. Paige Harris will serve as the Faculty Advisor for all Forensic Psychology graduate students. As soon as possible after admission to the Forensic Psychology Program, but no later than during the first semester of work, students should contact Dr. Harris to develop a Degree Plan for the Forensic Psychology Master's Degree, this Degree Plan will also be made in concert with the Advising Coordinator.

After the student's Degree Plan is signed by Dr. Harris 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 needed for graduation. Each student is responsible for keeping the Degree Plan updated and for bringing the plan to advisement sessions.

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. All students are strongly encouraged to attend. Students that suspect they will be unable to attend are required to contact Dr. Harris prior to the mandatory orientation to secure approval and to obtain information about specific expectations established for those students who do not attend.

For further information regarding Degree Plans or course scheduling, please contact Dr. Paige Harris. She can be reached via email at HarrisPB@uhv.edu.

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. Harris 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, then you 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. Harris 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

The Forensic Psychology Comprehensive Examinations are traditionally offered during the Fall and Spring Semesters. 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). The exam is taken through the online platform called Blackboard/Learn 9.  Exam items are randomly selected from a pool of items and then randomly ordered for each student.  Students will have three hours to complete the exam. The exam will be taken as a proctored online exam at the Victoria Campus of UHV. Students are eligible to take the Forensic Psychology Comprehensive Examination when they have a minimum of 24 credit hours and have completed the eleven specified courses (listed below).  Dr. Harris will send students a letter of notification, information about the examination, and the application.  Students who believe they are eligible to take the examination must submit their application to Dr. Harris prior to the deadline.  She will contact students prior to the date of the Comprehensive Examination informing them of approval of their application to take the Comprehensive Examinations (i.e., eligibility to take the exam).

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 the Comprehensive Examination. 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 may include the requirement that the student retake one or more courses, and is designed to increase the student’s competencies and proficiencies in areas of weakness, as identified by performance on the Comprehensive Examination.

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

At the beginning of the second year of the degree program, or the Fall semester of the second year 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 have had contact with the Practicum Coordinator about this prior to the application deadline. The application deadline for practicum for the initial Fall semester is traditionally in July; however, students are responsible for knowing their specific year’s deadline and the 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 6333 Ethics and Practice of Psychology

PSYC 6335 Techniques of Psychotherapy

PSYC 6337 Personality Assessment

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. Students may also take PSYC 6330 Life-Span Developmental Psychology while enrolled in the following Fall semester of Practicum, although a final grade of B or better is required for continuing eligibility for Practicum.

Second, there are competency benchmarks embedded within two pre-requisite courses. Students must satisfactorily complete assignments in their Techniques of Psychotherapy and Personality Assessment courses. The Forensic Psychology Faculty rely on the well-established qualifications, responsibility, and authority of the instructors of these courses to evaluate students' performance and to assign grades. Therefore, information and criteria for these assignments, as well as determinations of satisfactory completion are at the discretion of the instructors of these courses.

Third, you must be able to identify a Graduate Psychology Faculty member that would recommend you for practicum. Last, 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 that the Faculty and Practicum Coordinator are satisfied with the resolution of the identified issues. 

More information about practicum is located under the “Practicum Information” section of the Forensic Psychology webpage, which includes the Psychology Practicum Handbook, also available on the Forensic Psychology webpage.

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 UH-Victoria, 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 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.

Probation and Remediation Steps*

Being placed on probation indicates a very serious Faculty concern about a student's performance. Students are placed on probation (as opposed to being terminated from the program), when in the opinion of the Faculty, it is likely that the student will be able to address the difficulty that led to the probation, if appropriate remediation is provided. Students can be placed on probation behavioral/academic reasons, including failure to demonstrate personal attributes of graduate psychology students (delineated in the Psychology Graduate Handbook), repeated behavioral problems, and performing below Forensic Psychology Program academic expectations. Once the Faculty has determined that a serious concern about a student’s performance exists, the following steps are generally taken:

  1. Dr. Harris will notify the student, in writing, that the student is being considered for probation within the program. Additionally, the student will be requested to make an appointment with the advisor and/or a committee of Faculty members to discuss the issues involved.
  2. Dr. Harris will meet with the student and inform the student of the identified problem areas noted by the Faculty.
  3. The Faculty will develop a written plan for remediation of the student's behavior. This plan will:
    1. Behaviorally define the student's problem areas
    2. Identify the expected behavior patterns/goals and/or academic goals
    3. Specify methods that will be used to reach these goals, which may include personal counseling, self-structured behavioral change, additional academic course work or practica, additional supervision, or other remedies as appropriate
    4. Specify how goal attainment and competence in the problem area will be demonstrated
    5. Set a date for reevaluation of the student's progress and competence.
  4. A copy of the approved plan will be provided to the student and a copy will be retained in the student's file. Both copies of the plan will be signed and dated by the student and Dr. Harris.
  5. Near the date for reevaluation, the student will present to the Dr. Harris any available documentation of progress in the identified problem areas and completion of the remediation plan.
  6. At or near the date for reevaluation, the student's progress will be reviewed by the program Faculty at a regularly scheduled Faculty meeting, and the Faculty will make one of the following recommendations:
    1. Continuation in the program: The identified concerns no longer present a significant problem and the student is no longer on probation within the program.
    2. Continued probation and remediation: The student has made significant progress in addressing the identified concerns, but has not yet attained the expected degree of competence in the problem areas. An updated behavioral plan is prepared, and a date is set for another reevaluation at the program Faculty's discretion.
    3. Dismissal from the program: The student has failed to attain the behavioral goals and there is no expectation that he or she can reasonably attain them in the near future.
  7. Dr. Harris will notify the student in writing of the reevaluation decision and will request that the student make an appointment with Dr. Harris for feedback concerning the decision.
  8. The student will be requested to sign and date two copies of the reevaluation decision. One copy will retained by the student and one copy will be placed in the student's file.
  9. If dismissal from the program is recommended by the Faculty, a written notification will be sent to the student. One copy will be provided to the student, one copy will be placed in the student's file, and one copy will be sent to the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office.
  10. Depending upon the reevaluation decision, the student and the advisor will meet to review the options available to the student and assist the student in educational, career, and remediation planning.
  11. If dismissal from the program is recommended, the student will be given 30 days in which to
    1. Prepare and present to the Faculty a written response to the notification
    2. Request, in writing, a Faculty review of the termination recommendation, if the student chooses.
  12. If the student requests such a review, the student will be invited to the next scheduled Faculty meeting to present her or his case to the faculty.
  13. Following the student's presentation, the program Faculty will meet to render a decision as to whether the dismissal recommendation is to be upheld. Written notification of the decision will be provided to the student by the Director of Forensic Psychology

Change of Program

Psychology Graduate Students wishing to transfer between Psychology Graduate programs must apply for admission to the new program and will be considered with other applicants entering in the Fall semester.  They are not guaranteed acceptance into the new program. 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 Psychology Graduate degree program. As a UHV alumnus, you are only allowed to transfer up to 50% your previous programs courses to the new program’s Degree Plan if you are accepted.

Professional Issues

Students should be aware that licensing regulations are independent of the UHV Forensic Psychology Program 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.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has not approved/established accreditation criteria for the provision of a license for master’s-level practitioners in the field of Psychology.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Regulations

Texas provides licensure for master’s degree-level professional counselors (known as the LPC, for Licensed Professional Counselor). Texas state law dictates certain criteria that must be satisfied before the professional is able to gain the LPC license. All of these criteria must be satisfied prior to receiving the license.

 Degree and Curriculum Requirements: The student must graduate from a master’s-level degree program that includes a curriculum that addresses the following major areas of academic training (each content area is presented along 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 meets the Degree and Curriculum Requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. *

Examination Requirements for the LPC:

Following successful completion of the master’s degree, a student must demonstrate a knowledge base of content areas by successful completion of the National Counseling Examination (NCE). In order to become an LPC, you must take the NCE and receive an adequate score to allow for participation in supervised post-graduate counseling activities.

Post-Degree Supervision of Professional Activity:

The LPC license applicant must receive 3000 hours of supervised clinical/counseling experiences. It is the responsibility of the student to secure and obtain post-graduate supervised hours for licensure after graduation with MA from UHV. Supervision must be done by a qualified supervisor (pre- approved by the LPC board of examiners). Please go to the TSBECP web page for recent changes regarding supervision or any other rule changes.

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

  • 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 course work 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 from the board, 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

Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) Requirements

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 2018-2019 (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. LPA applicants need to complete examination and post-degree supervision requirements in addition to degree and curriculum requirements.

Examination Requirements:

  • Students interested in obtaining a license as an LPA will need toP take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and obtain a passing score of at least 70% on the paper and pencil version or a scaled score of 500 on the computer-delivered version.
  • LPA licensing applicants must also successfully pass the Texas Jurisprudence Exam with a minimum score of 90%.

Post-Degree Supervision of Professional Activity for Independent Practice:

A licensed psychological associate may only practice independently (and not under the supervision of a Licensed Psychologist) when they meet the following supervision requirements:

  • Demonstration of at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate degree experience in the delivery of psychological services under the supervision of one or more Licensed Psychologists
  • This supervised experience may have only been obtained in not less than 24 consecutive months, but not more than 48 consecutive months, and in not more than three placements
  • Submit an application for independent practice, evidencing proof of the required supervised experience

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 (LCDC) and/or Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider (LSOTP).