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Preparing Forensic and Legal Psychological Professionals for Intelligence Analysis

Friday, February 28, 2014
Marymount Adds Intelligence Studies Concentration to M.A. in Forensic and Legal Psychology  
Marymount University offers a unique graduate forensic psychology program. While most forensic psychology programs focus on preparing clinicians, Marymount’s 39-credit M.A. in Forensic and Legal Psychology addresses the application of psychological knowledge to the legal system. It combines the study of psychology, sociology, criminal justice, policy, and ethics – preparing graduates for careers in victim advocacy, mitigation, research, law enforcement and investigations, trial consultation, and offender management.

The program capitalizes on the university’s alliances and proximity to key agencies important to study in this field – organizations such as the FBI, NCIS, ATF, TSA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Marymount integrates the resources of such agencies through site visits, courtroom observations, field research, internships, and distinguished speakers. For those at Marymount who want to engage in clinical work, a dual degree with the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is the way to go.

Students now also have an Intelligence Studies concentration option, which provides the knowledge and skills to be competitive for analytic jobs in the intelligence community. Recognizing the growing importance of forensic psychology in intelligence analysis, Marymount is stepping in to fill the need for trained professionals who can quickly be productive in the field.

To ensure that coursework meets the needs of the intelligence community, Marymount established an Advisory Group of current and former senior-level intelligence community officials. It includes individuals from the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Naval Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, and private sector companies that support the intelligence community. This Advisory Group will also mentor students and help identify internship opportunities.

The Intelligence Studies concentration includes five courses: The Intelligence Community: Theory, Process, and Challenges; Intelligence Analysis I and II; Counter Intelligence; and the choice of Contemporary Terrorism and the U.S. Response, or Human Considerations in Cybersecurity.

This is a skills-based program to enhance employability. Students who complete the Intelligence Studies concentration will be prepared for entry-level positions in intelligence analysis. They may work in a range of areas, including analysis of strategic global issues; tactical assessments in support of ongoing military and intelligence operations; targeted analysis of specific intelligence objectives, such as terrorists and drug traffickers; and the collection and dissemination of intelligence throughout the intelligence community.

Jason Doll, chair of Marymount’s Department of Forensic and Legal Psychology, points out, “Career opportunities in the field of forensic and legal psychology continue to emerge and expand, as law enforcement, courts, corrections, law firms, private organizations, and particularly the intelligence community increasingly seek experts who can effectively operate in the challenging area where the law and the human mind intersect. Our program prepares ethical and proficient professionals who are highly skilled at facing these demands.”