The postdoctoral training program is for psychologists who have completed an APA accredited Ph.D. program in clinical psychology as well as an APA accredited internship, and wish to obtain specialty training in forensic psychology. The goal of the program is to upgrade psychologists' expertise in dealing with legal issues involving significant mental health factors. This special educational and training program has directed itself to improving psychologists' abilities to provide professional assistance to the American justice system. A unique aspect of the program is that psychology fellows are trained in tandem with psychiatry fellows who are enrolled in the Institute's accredited program that meets the training requirements for board certification in forensic psychiatry.
The full time, one-year program consists of 40+ hours a week of lectures, seminars, clinical forensic work and supervision. Forensic psychology fellows have an opportunity for extensive involvement as forensic psychology consultants to psychiatric hospitals, county jails, state or federal prisons, juvenile justice agencies, family court, coroner's office and other agencies that interrelate with Mental Health and Law. All fellows have numerous opportunities to serve as consultants and expert witnesses in psychology and law for the Superior, Municipal and Federal Criminal Courts, Family Law Court, Mental Health Court, Juvenile Court, and County and Federal Probation as well as insurance companies, and local and state governmental agencies.
Courses specifically designed for the Forensic Psychology fellows include: criminal law, civil law, juvenile law, family law, mental health law, biological factors and sociological determinants of crime and delinquency, a seminar in special issues in psychiatry/psychology and law, a videotape seminar, and landmark mental health cases seminar. Lecturers for these courses and seminars are drawn from the Institute/University faculty of forensic psychologists and psychiatrists, judges, public and private attorneys, and professionals from other forensic related disciplines.
The fellows have a minimum of five supervisors at any given time; these include clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. The supervisors are all fellowship-trained and on the faculty of the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. Supervisors are rotated so that the fellows will benefit from the supervisors' varied skills and expertise in the area of Forensic Psychology/Psychiatry.
The fellows conduct a weekly treatment group for mentally disordered offenders. Each fellow is assigned to perform forensic psychological evaluations on the average of two cases per week. These cases deal with psychological-legal issues for the criminal, civil, juvenile, and family courts as well as various administrative hearings. In addition, each fellow is assigned to a 2-day per week field placement rotation to the Department of Mental Health at Los Angeles County Jail, where their training experience is coordinated by the Director of Training and they are provided individual and group supervision by USC faculty at site. This experience exposes fellows to the practice of correctional psychology.
Each fellow will receive an academic appointment to the faculty of the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. The fellows have an opportunity to teach and supervise psychiatric residents at the University of Southern California, Department of Psychiatry in the area of forensic psychology/psychiatry. Moreover, there are clinical case conferences where each fellow presents a forensic case which demonstrates his/her knowledge and application of clinical material to the legal issues.
A second year fellowship is offered with an opportunity to focus on a subspecialty within forensic psychology. The second year fellow participates in ongoing research within the Institute Research Division or engages in his/her own research interest.
The Institute has an extensive library which also includes educational videotapes on forensic psychological issues. All other libraries (e.g., medical school, law school) within the University of Southern California system are available for the fellows' use. Fellows are provided with desk-top computers for word processing activities and Internet/research access.
All inquiries regarding application and stipend information should be made to: