Chicago | Master of Arts
Adler University’s Master of Arts (M.A.) in Forensic Mental Health Leadership program prepares individuals to become socially responsible leaders, consultants and agents for change in forensic mental health and related public safety fields. Students in this program will gain new skills and strategies to use research-driven data to address the social issues, shifting cultural landscapes, increased public scrutiny, and the growing demand for increased accountability and transparency from the communities and stakeholders they serve.
Graduates are prepared to serve in a variety of capacities in forensic mental health systems and related public safety settings including, but not limited to law enforcement, correctional settings, advocacy, and research.
This program also allows students to add on a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling for an additional 12 credits of coursework.
In this program, students learn to apply contemporary leadership models and practices, individual, organizational and community based assessment and intervention skills, research and program development, consulting skills, ethical practices, and a foundation in empirically supported policies and principles that will inform your choices as leaders within forensic mental health and related public safety organizations, or as consultants to such organizations.
Graduates are prepared to serve in a variety of capacities in forensic mental health systems and related public safety settings including, but not limited to:
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
Adler University has developed a dual-degree policy enabling students to pursue graduate work in two fields and fulfill the requirements of two degrees simultaneously, typically over a period of time shorter than would otherwise be required to complete both programs sequentially. Dual degrees provide students the opportunity to combine two skill sets and increase networks and career opportunities.
M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Stand out in the job market with a unique dual degree that offers training in mental health counseling and forensic mental health leadership—all with a focus on social justice. Our M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling dual degree program prepares graduates to work with a range of clients in traditional mental health programs as well as mental health counselors with individuals, families and systems that interface with the legal and criminal justice arena. Our aim is to prepare clinicians who will be able to assess, treat, consult and apply a full array of counseling services in forensic and correctional settings, allowing for a range of dynamic career paths.
M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling
Adler University’s unique M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling dual degree prepares graduates to improve quality of life for individuals who face physical, behavioral, developmental, and emotional challenges — all with a focus on social justice. Trained to confront systemic barriers and increase opportunities for inclusion, our graduates are well-equipped to empower populations such as the elderly, veterans, and people with disabilities in a wide range of settings. The forensic distinctions offered in the dual degree program will also prepare graduates to work as mental health counselors with individuals, families and systems that interface with the legal and criminal justice arena. Our aim is to prepare clinicians who will be able to assess, treat, consult and apply a full array of counseling services in forensic and correctional settings.
The dual degree option also uniquely qualifies graduates to conduct specialized evaluations and provide expert witness and consultant services to the courts in a variety of civil litigation venues, including: personal injury; product liability; Worker’s Compensation; Social Security disability; employment law; discrimination; catastrophic injury with a Life Care Plan; professional malpractice; divorce; wrongful death of an adult or child; and other related areas.
The Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Leadership is a 36-credit hour program that includes the following:
Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University Course Catalog.
This course teaches basic relationship and helping skills using role-plays and other experiential activities. This course breaks down the basic concepts and skills involved in communication and helping others, including interpersonal communication principles and methods, and establishing of rapport.
This course will provide students with a grounding in mental health issues and community and systems based responses for those with mental health disorders. Specifically, this course will provide an overview of the major disorders in the current edition of the DSM.
This course is designed to provide an operational knowledge base and skills needed for providing more effective forensic mental health and public safety services in a multicultural society.
This course will explore the historic roots of the forensic mental health and public safety professions, as well as provide clarification as to the roles, developments, professional responsibilities, legal and ethical standards, leadership styles and models, and future directions of the field.
In this course, students will explore the theory, methods and practices for effective and responsive program planning that involves multi-stakeholder collaboration and ongoing evaluation. This course introduces students to research methods and program evaluation as it pertains to the field of forensic mental health and public safety professions.
This course provides an analysis of structures, culture, and leadership of organizations. Much of the course addresses the theories, activities, challenges, and ethics of change management initiatives affecting individuals, work units, task groups, agencies and communities, and the role of the consultant in these processes.
This course will apply Adlerian principles in community and organizational contexts. Students will explore the impact of Adlerian principles on quality of life for individuals, communities and systems within diverse communities.
In this course, students will explore the dynamics of crisis and crisis intervention, including the human stress response (the flight, fight or freeze mechanism), the nature of “shock” and the signs of distress and crisis. Students will be able to recognize how the impact a crisis can have on their own wellbeing is essential to mitigating its impact on themselves, as well as those entrusted to their care.
This course introduces students to a conceptual framework for understanding substance use disorders and addictions. It examines the history of alcohol and drug problems in the United States, various etiological theories and models of addiction, the role of culture in substance use and abuse, high-risk groups, the physiology and pharmacology of different types of substances, and the effects of substance abuse on individuals, families, and communities.
This is the capstone course for the Forensic Mental Health Leadership (FMHL) program, and should be taken in the student’s last semester.
The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that begins in the fall term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.
The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that continues through the spring term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.
This course explores the psychosocial, political, and economic systems that influence behavior and the role they each play in the development of conflict, aggression, violence, and social deviance.
This course will explore community based programing and social innovation using a wide range of tools, techniques and methods intended to unleash creative solutions to deeply rooted community based challenges. Students will be introduced to the Innovator’s Journey as a framework for social innovation tools and to transform the way they view community based problems.
This course exposes students to the wide gamut of approaches utilized in the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, with attention given to the evaluation of their effectiveness. The course also explores the complexities of assessing and treating various mental health diagnoses and conditions within forensic settings.
This course prepares students to be forensic mental health evaluators. It focuses on the role of forensic mental health counselors and evaluators in legal processes relating to family violence, child custody, sex offenders, juvenile justice, and other judiciary issues in both criminal and specialized courts.
A unique and proven program designed to give students real world experience throughout their time at Adler University, the Social Justice Practicum is a required 200-hour internship that spans four courses (or terms for online programs). Every student is given a number of civic-minded categories to choose from. They submit their desired areas of interest. After which, they are assigned a specific and aligned community outreach site where they will work 8 to 10 hours per week.
Matthew Finn, Psy.D., LCP
Interim Program Director, Forensic Mental Health Leadership (M.A.)
Helping the next generation of students develop into professional, competent, and compassionate mental health professionals is a great responsibility. My teaching philosophy is to challenge students to grow intellectually, emotionally, and behaviorally into complete clinicians. Becoming a mental health professional requires a unique set of personal qualities that students strive to develop at Adler University.
Applicants are required to submit the following items to be considered for admission:
Approved applicants will be invited to complete an interview with faculty.
Please submit all application materials including official transcripts to the Office of Admissions prior to the application deadline.
Adler University – Office of Admissions
17 N. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Official electronic transcripts should be sent to [email protected].
Tuition for Adler University’s programs is charged each term according to the number of registered academic credits. The number of credits a student will register for varies by academic program and by term. To estimate the amount of tuition and fees that would be charged in a given term, please use our Tuition Estimator tool below, or read about tuition and fees for all Chicago programs.
Nisan Ilkmen a Ph.D. student in the Couple and Family Therapy program in Chicago, shares how her immigration experience and multi-cultural background led her to want to become a social-justice-focused family therapist.
Bustle featured Rachel D. Miller, M.A. ’17 and a current doctoral student at Adler University, in an article about setting boundaries in friendships. Miller, who is a practicing marriage and family therapist, shared her perspective on how to nurture positive, healthy friendships.