Program Training

The UNL Clinical Psychology Program collaborates with the UNL Law-Psychology Program to prepare students for careers in research and clinical practice that combine behavioral science, mental health and legal scholarship. Forensic Psychology training may fall within three tracks, namely:

  1. Ph.D./M.L.S.
  2. Forensic Psychology Minor within the Clinical Psychology Training Program
  3. PhD./J.D.

Areas of study within clinical psychology and law include mental health law and policy as well as forensic psychology.

Ph.D. / M.L.S.

This track involves earning the Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree as well as the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

The M.L.S. program is designed for individuals who are interested in developing a formal understanding of the law as it affects their research and practice in psychology. It is not for individuals preparing to practice law. Students enrolled in the program are required to complete 33 credit hours of coursework in the College of Law , including three hours of Foundational Legal Skills and six hours of Contracts, Property, or Torts.  The M.L.S. Degree is conferred upon the successful completion of the 33 credit hours and an oral final examination. More detailed information regarding the M.L.S. degree is available here.

Clinical Ph.D./M.L.S. applicants must apply to the College of Law for the M.L.S. degree after admission to the Clinical Program.

Clinical Ph.D./M.L.S. students should expect an extra year duration for their graduate training compared to other graduate students.  Their law coursework will be completed in the second year of graduate school although their involvement in psycholegal research and practicum training extends throughout their Ph.D. program of studies.

M.L.S. students are required to participate in the Law-Psychology research seminar and other related activities. In addition, M.L.S. students will be required to perform relevant psycholegal research related to Masters-level and Dissertation research projects.

Clinical training is an important component of forensic training. Forensic students receive at least 1000 hours of practicum experience involving assessment or services to legally-involved populations. Forensic students also have access to other practicum opportunities in the Clinical Psychology Training Program.  Graduates have proved very competitive for prestigious internships, where solid clinical preparation is prerequisite.

Forensic Psychology Minor

Students who desire specialized forensic psychology training but choose not to complete the M.L.S. can complete a Forensic Psychology Minor. For Forensic Minor specialization status, the following courses are required in addition to the regular clinical training requirements (there may be some overlap of these requirements in some students’ program of studies):

Forensic Assessment
Mental Health Law
Law & Behavioral Sciences Prosem or Topics in Law and Psychology

At least one of the following law courses for at least three credits after the above courses:

Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure
Family Law
Juvenile Law
Torts
Other related legal coursework (with the approval of supervisory committee)

The Forensic Minor specialization also requires that at least 1000 hours of practicum activity be performed at a site involving assessment or services to legally-involved populations. Forensic students also have access to other practicum opportunities in the Clinical Psychology Training Program.  Graduates have proved very competitive for prestigious internships, where solid clinical preparation is prerequisite. Forensic minor students are required to participate in the Law-Psychology  research seminar and other related activities.

Ph.D. / J.D.

This option is available only to those students who wish to pursue interests that overlap across areas of mental health, criminal justice, or psycho-legal policy that would warrant obtaining both a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology as well as a J.D. Applicants interested in this option should contact faculty within their area of interest within both the Law-Psychology and Clinical Psychology training programs to discuss whether this option would be appropriate for their career goals. Students who pursue this option must be accepted to the Clinical Psychology Training Program, the law college, and the Law-Psychology Program.


For more information on training requirements, please visit the home pages for the Clinical Psychology Program and Law-Psychology Program.