Doctoral admissions are based on GPA, GRE socres (both general and Psychology Subject scores), LSAT score (for J.D. students only), relevant work and research experience, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. All applicants go through a three-phase admissions process. They must be accepted by the Law-Psychology admissions committee, the admissions committee of a Core Psychology Discipline program (most commonly social, Cognitive, Clinical, or Developmental), and the Law College admissions committee.
Prospective students can download the application from the Program's website. Mail the completed application to: Law-Psychology Admissions Committee, Department of Pscyhology 238 Burnett Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0308. Persons with application questions should call the Psychology Department (402-472-3229) or write the Admissions Coordinator, Jamie Longwell, Law-Psychology Program, Burnett Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0308.
Choosing a Track
The Program is primarily research-oriented and graduates are trained to work in universities, in research and public interest organizations, or in consulting organization. The program offers three main degree tracks:
The Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) Degree Program is for individuals who are not interested in practicing law but who are interested in developing a better understanding of the law as it affects their areas of psychological investigation. All areas of psychological emphasis are open to M.L.S. students. This is a nonprofessional law degree. Students completing the track are not qualified to sit for the bar examination or practice law. Students spend their first year in the Psychology Department. During subsequent years, students take courses from both the Law College and the Psychology Department tailored for their individual programs. Ph.D./M.L.S. students also satisfy all the requirements for a Ph.D. in psychology. Most students complete the program in about five years.
Experimental Psychology focus: The UNL Law-Psychology Program collaborates with the UNL experimental psychology specialties in administering the program in law and psychology. It prepares students for careers in research, teaching, and consultation combining behavioral science and legal scholarship. Past graduates of the Ph.D./M.L.S. track currently hold positions in academic departments (e.g., psychology and criminal justice), consulting agencies, and research institutes. Students interested in the interdisciplinary study of law and experimental psychology should contact program faculty with interests similar to their own.
Clinical Forensic focus: The UNL Law-Psychology Program collaborates with the UNL Clinical Psychology program in administering the clinical forensic psychology program. The clinical Ph.D. /M.L.S. track prepares students for careers in research, clinical practice, and public policy that combine behavioral science, mental health and legal scholarship. Areas of study within clinical psychology and law include mental health law and policy, therapeutic jurisprudence (using the law for therapeutic purposes) and forensic psychology. Students interested in forensic psychology should consider the Forensic Psychology Training Program and forensic minor options. Students interested in mental health law, policy, therapeutic jurisprudence or other applications of law in clinical psychology should contact clinical faculty with interests similar to their own (http://psychology.unl.edu/grad/clinical.shtml).
The J.D./Ph.D. track is for interdisciplinary scholars who will be able to apply psychology and other social sciences to analyses of empirical questions in law. J.D./Ph.D. training provides students with the necessary skills to do basic and applied research on issues in the legal system. Students in the J.D./Ph.D. program may specialize in any specialty area in psychology. (Note: while there are special challenges in simultaneously completing the Clinical Ph.D. and the J.D. due to each degree’s requirements.) Graduates of the J.D./Ph.D. program are qualified to sit for the bar exam and ultimately practice law. Students who have completed the J.D./Ph.D. track currently hold positions in a variety of academic departments (e.g., Psychology, Law, and Criminal Justice), law firms, consulting agencies, government positions, and research institutes.
Students shall complete the minimum requirements for the J.D. (as specified by the College of Law) and the Ph.D. (as specified by the Graduate College, the Psychology Department Graduate Committee, and the student's supervisory committee). Students may opt to obtain an M.A. along the route to the Ph.D. but are not required to do so. . Students shall also complete specific requirements as required by the Law-Psychology Program. In the first year, students take the same Law College curriculum as the rest of the first year law students. During subsequent years, students take courses from both the Law College and the Psychology Department tailored for their individual programs. Most students complete the program in about six years.
The J.D./M.A. track is for students who wish to be legal practitioners but who also desire to obtain a strong background in psychology or social science methods. It provides sufficient background in interdisciplinary studies, social science methods, and psychological knowledge to permit thorough evaluation of psychological research and practice, as well as interdisciplinary collaboration in policy formation or implementation. In addition to interdisciplinary courses, J.D./M.A. students take courses designed to provide an overview of psychological research, theory and methods. In the first year, students take the same Law College curriculum as the rest of the first year law students. During subsequent years, students take courses from both the Law College and the Psychology Department tailored for their individual programs. Most students will complete the program in about four years and the M.A. degree is presumed to be terminal. (Note: Normally students in the J.D./M.A. track do not receive funding from the Department of Psychology.)