Forensic Mental Health is one of the fastest growing areas of specialization in mental health and criminal justice. As jurisdictions increasingly recognize the expanding demand for programs, services, planning, and supervision of clients who have both mental health needs and criminal justice involvement, educated personnel will be sought to address these needs. These new professionals, known as ”boundary spanners,” provide specialized expertise across the many social systems utilized by these clients. These systems include the criminal justice, mental health, substance abuse and social service systems.
In response to societal need, Russell Sage College offers an interdisciplinary M.S. program in Forensic Mental Health. This 39-credit non-clinical program prepares students to become effective professionals in an area of specialization by providing substantive knowledge of legal and social systems, mental health diagnoses, developmental disabilities, victimology, therapeutic jurisprudence, clinical assessment of court-involved youth and adult offenders, and substance abuse vulnerabilities and interventions. Disciplinary content is delivered through the lens of cultural competency, trauma-informed care, and evidence-based practice. Students learn about the many issues facing agencies, individuals and families who are affected by forensic mental health system, and will explore rational and effective solutions to these complex issues.
Our graduates have successfully entered the career fields of criminal justice, law, and psychology. They have been offered employment as social science researchers and policy makers; case managers and counselors in residential re-entry programs, juvenile treatment facilities, adult correctional institutions, and specialized court settings; probation and parole officers; law enforcement officers; employment specialists; and victim advocates. Many continue their education, entering doctoral programs and/or law school.
In addition to the general admision requirements for the Sage Graduate School, applicants must have:
- a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for regular admission to the program
- satisfactory completion of undergraduate or graduate coursework in statistics
- satisfactory completion of two (2) courses in social and behavioral sciences
- completion of the FMH application form
- two (2) letters of recommendation, including at least one academic reference
Degree Program Requirements
Health Sciences Concentration
In order to prepare graduates to be familiar with health care systems and policies, a optional concentration in Health Services Administration is offered. Upon graduation, these students will have a broader disciplinary knowledge and enhanced skill sets to work more effectively in public and private sector agencies related to behavioral health homes, substance abuse management and treatment, prerelease planning for correctional clients, and Medicaid Redesign Teams (MRT). Two courses could be used as FMH electives.
In addition to the above program and course requirements, students are expected to:
- achieve a grade of B or better in all courses
- maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better
- demonstrate effective professional behavior, including effective interpersonal skills, sound judgment, and ethical behavior