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Dual Law JD/MA in Psychology or Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)

Program Description

Aspects of legal practice often involve a psychological dimension, including nuanced interviewing, empathy for clients, inferring motivation, predicting behavior, selecting juries, and understanding psychological reports and testimony.

Two dual degree options enabling graduate study in psychology and counseling are offered through collaboration between VU’s Graduate School and the School of Law. Each option provides a different level of psychological competency relevant to legal practice. Because a limited amount of coursework for each degree may apply toward the other, the total number of credits required for the dual degree is substantially less than that required for both degrees individually.

JD/MA Psychology

The JD/MA Psychology augments the JD with a 30-credit MA in psychology. This program requires a total of 108 credits for both degrees and provides a general foundation in theories of personality and counseling. Coursework in professional issues and ethics for mental health counselors, as well as integrative work in law and psychology, is required. This program is suited for law students whose practice may require understanding of and sensitivity to psychosocial issues (family law, mental health, children, the elderly, social services, etc.), but may also benefit others planning to work in settings where an understanding of human behavior is advantageous. This degree does not prepare students as mental health professionals.

JD/MA CMHC

The JD/MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) is intended for law students who are interested in becoming licensed mental health counselors in the State of Indiana or other states offering this or similar licensure options. This program combines the 90-credit JD with a 60-credit MA CMHC. Because each degree recognizes coursework completed for the other, the total credits amount to 132-138. This program serves students having a variety of goals related to the growing integration of law and psychology, including:

  • legal practice with a focus in mental health and social service (e.g., legal expert for Mental Health Centers);
  • mental health and social service administration where understanding of the law and ability to interact with legal systems is required (e.g., director of a social service agency);
  • government employment dealing with regulatory procedures and laws that impact mental health and social service agencies, professionals, and clients;
  • legal work for national, regional, or state mental health organizations and associations;
  • understanding of issues pertinent to the practice and enhancement of mediation using standard counseling techniques;
  • positions that, for whatever reason, require credibility within the mental health professions.

Program Requirements

Law school students are encouraged to begin coursework in psychology 2-3 semesters prior to beginning studies in the law program. The JD and MA degrees need not be awarded simultaneously; rather they are presented when the requirements for each degree are fulfilled. Students in the MA CMHC degree program should plan a minimum of 1-2 additional semesters beyond the third year of law school.

Curriculum

JD/MA Psychology (in addition to meeting the JD requirements)
Core Requirements
15 credits
COUN 660 Helping Relationships: Counseling Theories
3 cr
COUN 693 Foundations of Professional & Ethical Issues in Counseling
3 cr
PSY 700 Law & Psychology: Integrative Project
3 cr
Select six credits from the following:
LAW 245 Pretrial Skills
3 cr
LAW 406 Children and the Law
2 cr
LAW 412 Alternative Dispute Resolution
3 cr
LAW 425 Race and the Law
2 cr
LAW 485 Family Law
3 cr
LAW 486 Law and Health Care Process
2 cr
LAW 497 Elder Law
3 cr
LAW 488 Selected Topics in Elder Law
2 cr
LAW 662 Clinic Internship
2-3 cr
Electives in Psychology/Counseling. Select five credits from the following:
COUN 602 Research Methods 3 cr
COUN 620 Human Development: Biological and Learned Bases of Behavior 3 cr
COUN 635 Introduction to Psychopathology 3 cr
COUN 642 Advanced Psychopathology 3 cr
COUN 662 Helping Relationships: Counseling Processes 3 cr
COUN 691 Advanced Topics in Counseling (with permission of Dept Chair) 3 cr
COUN 695 Independent Study (up to 3 credits) 3 cr
PSY 565 Psychology and Law 3 cr
PSY 687 Psychology Internship (approved by Prog.Dir.& Couns Train.Dir.) 3 cr
Electives in Psychology/Counseling
15 cr

 

JD/MA CMHC (in addition to meeting the JD requirements:)
Core Requirements
39 credits
COUN 545 Community & Health Counseling
3 cr
COUN 570 Assessment in Counseling: Testing & Appraisal
3 cr
COUN 602 Research Methods 3 cr
COUN 620 Human Development: Biological & Learned Bases of Behavior
3 cr
COUN 625 Social & Cultural Bases of Behavior
3 cr
COUN 635 Introduction to Psychopathology
3 cr
COUN 642 Advanced Psychopathology
3 cr
COUN 660 Helping Relationships: Counseling Theories
3 cr
COUN 662 Helping Relationships: Counseling Processes
3 cr
COUN 664 Career Counseling: Appraisal & Intervention
3 cr
COUN 668 Group Counseling
3 cr
COUN 693 Foundations of Professional & Ethical Issues in Counseling
3 cr
COUN 694 Counseling Proseminar (4 semesters) 0 cr
PSY 700 Law & Psychology: Integrative Project  3 cr
Experiential Training
12 credits
Select law clinics and externships may substitute for the counseling practicum with the approval of the Psychology Department.
COUN 685 Counseling Practicum 3 cr
COUN 686 Counseling Internship I 3 cr
COUN 687 Counseling Internship II 6 cr
COUN 688 Advanced Counseling Internship 3 cr
Electives  9 credits
Law: select six credits from the following:
LAW 245 Pretrial Law
3 cr
LAW 406 Children and the Law
2 cr
LAW 412 Alternate Dispute Resolution
3 cr
LAW 425 Race and the Law
2 cr
LAW 485 Family Law
3 cr
LAW 486 Law and Health Care Process
2 cr
LAW 487 Elder Law
3 cr
LAW 488 Selected Topics in Elder Law
2 cr
LAW 662 Clinic Internship 2-3 cr
Psychology/Counseling: 3 credits from the list of approved courses (see electives for the MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling curriculum)

 

Criteria for Admission

Applicants must be admitted to both The Graduate School and the Law School. Admission to each program is separate. For a graduate application, click here.  For a VU School of Law application, click here.  Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate Division, which include:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited University;
  • TOEFL of at least 550 (or 80 iBT) for non-native English speakers;
  • An overall grade point average of 3.0;
  • Applicants to the JD/MA Psychology program must have at least 9 credits of prior coursework in psychology in order to enter the program;
  • Applicants to the JD/MA CMHC program must have at least 15 credits of graduate or undergraduate study (equivalent of a minor) with a minimum 3.0 grade point average in the social and behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, social work, human development, or other closely related fields). Prior coursework must include introductory psychology and statistics.

As part of the application process, students must provide:

  • Valparaiso University Graduate Application;
  • Official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework.  If you have received an undergraduate or graduate degree from Valparaiso University, you are not required to submit an official transcript from Valparaiso University;
  • Two letters of recommendation (Letters may be forwarded from the Law School);
  • A reflective essay relating your professional goals to law and psychology;
  • Application Fee: $20.

Because the number of positions in both JD/MA programs is limited, applications received by March 1 will be given priority for fall semester admission. Furthermore, presenting the minimum credentials as listed above does not guarantee admission into the program. Applications received after March 1 will be considered on a space-available basis

Financial Considerations

Full time students enrolled in Valparaiso Law School may take a maximum of 6 credits in the Graduate School without paying additional tuition, as long as these credits are taken during the fall and spring semesters.  Because dual and joint degree programs provide significant savings in tuition, time, and credit hours, law students in such programs will not be able to take advantage of these 6 credits.  The savings afforded by combining degrees enables a law student to add on a Master of Arts in psychology degree for just over $10,000 and the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree for under $15,000. Students are strongly encouraged to begin their study during either the summer or fall semesters.

Students may be surprised to discover the affordable tuition rate at Valparaiso University. Tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year is $560 per credit hour, highly competitive for a private institution of recognized national quality. Students enrolled in graduate courses pay a $100 general fee each spring and fall semester. Financial aid is available through direct and indirect student loans for students taking 6 credits or more during fall and spring semesters.

CLICK HERE for more information about Valparaiso Law curriculum.

Interested students should request an application packet from the Office of Graduate Studies through our website or by e-mailing Graduate.School@valpo.edu.