Fall 2019 - PSYC 379 D100

Clinical Forensic Psychology (3)

Class Number: 9894

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 16, 2019
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    AQ 3153, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201 and 268. PSYC 241 is recommended.



Clinical approaches to the understanding of behavior in criminal and civil forensic settings. Topics related to the assessment, treatment, and management of people suffering from mental disorder.


Clinical forensic psychologists conduct evaluations of individuals involved in legal proceedings, and provide treatment services to offenders and victims. The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the approaches used by clinical forensic psychologists, and to teach students some initial practical skills in this area. The course includes both a classroom component as well as a tutorial component and may be well-suited for students who are interested in considering a career or further training in psychology and/or law.

Classroom Component:
In the classroom component of the course, we will examine leading approaches used in clinical forensic psychology, and discuss how clinical psychologists and researchers may be able to provide useful knowledge to courts. We will also critically evaluate the field by looking at the key challenges, debates, and problems that the field currently faces.

Tutorial: In the tutorial component, students will get a chance to conduct a violence risk assessment based on mock data. Also, they will have an opportunity to try out other forensic assessment tools.   Note: Many of the tools used in forensic assessment cannot be used except by qualified psychologists. Therefore, students will not be qualified to use tools in real-world cases after completing the course. Instead, this tutorial is meant to provide students with a better sense of what these tools are like and how to use them.  

Topics Covered: This course will cover

This course will cover the following topics:
-        Violence risk assessment in adolescents and adults
-        Risk assessment in special populations (e.g., sexual offenders)
-        Treatment of violence/risk management
-        Assessment and treatment of psychopathy
-        Mental illness in adolescent and adult offenders, and its implications
-        Competence and criminal responsibility (e.g., the insanity defense)

This course focuses on offender populations, with an emphasis on adolescent and adult offenders.


  • *The grade break-downs are tentative and may change slightly.
  • Midterm: 30%
  • Final Exam (non-cumulative): 34%
  • Paper: 13%
  • Violence Risk Assessment (using a mock case): 20%
  • Tutorial in-class assignments & participation: 3%



There is no required text. Instead, students will be assigned about 2 articles per week that will be available online.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html