The mission of Walden University contains three core components. The first component is the nurturing of a “a diverse community of career professionals.” The second component is providing the individual and the community with ” the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners.” The third component of the Walden University mission is the ultimate goal to “effect positive social change.” Corresponding to the mission of Walden University is the school’s vision. The vision is broader than the mission and includes a “distinctively different 21st-century learning community.” The envisioned community is “distinctively different” in that “knowledge is judged worthy to the degree that it can be applied by its graduates to the immediate solutions of critical societal challenges. The application of knowledge thereby “advances the greater global good.” In other words, students are expected to have visions that go beyond self-serving, toward serving the community. One of the reasons why I have selected forensic psychology as my course of study is that I feel that I can contribute to the betterment of the world by applying myself in this professional context. The American legal system might not be in shambles, but it has weaknesses that are harming the democracy and the quality of life of its citizens. It is my express goal to apply what I learn at Walden to eliminate some of the problems in the criminal justice system, approached from the perspective of psychology. By revealing the role of psychology in the legal system as a scholar-practitioner, I can help inform matters of public policy that impact the lives of others.

There is a direct link between the Walden mission and vision statements, and my own via the selected course of study in forensic psychology. For one, I will be participating in the “diverse community of career professionals” as a forensic psychologist. Second, as a scholar-practitioner I will be “effecting positive social change” by applying forensic psychology to the transformation of the legal system and how it is practiced. Third, I look forward to “advancing the greater global good” by applying “immediate solutions” to “critical societal challenges” ranging from prison overcrowding to the persecution of persons who have special needs.

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Walden University (2013). “Get to Know Walden.” Retrieved online: http://www.waldenu.edu/about

Assignment 1: Professional Development Plan (PDP)

Part 1: Personal and Professional Goals

It has long been a desire of mine to work within the realm of criminal justice. How exactly to apply myself to this exciting and diverse field has recently revealed itself, as I embark on my program of study at Walden University. The field of forensic psychology applies the tools, methods, and body of knowledge in the field of psychology to practical applications in criminal justice. Understanding the interface between psychology and criminal justice is the first step toward fulfilling my professional goals. The next step will be to apply forensic psychology to practice, such as by offering consulting and ultimately, public policy creation.

The Masters Degree in forensic psychology from Walden University is ideal, as my personal goals correspond with the mission and vision of Walden University. I intend to work as a scholar-practitioner with a commitment to social change and social justice. Until this point, my educational and professional background prepares me for the next phase of my career as a scholar-practitioner. Once I receive the degree, I will possess the tools for fulfilling future dreams as a forensic psychologist.

Part 2: Educational Background and Research Proficiency

My educational background has been broad and allows me to understand the following steps that must be taken in order to receive my Masters Degree in forensic psychology from Walden University. Coursework in psychology and sociology address the concepts of deviance and how those concepts impact the criminal justice system. Motivation for crime, and how to intervene from the standpoint of a psychologist, are also parts of my background in psychological studies. I have also had introductory courses in criminology and forensics. My proficiency in research methods is due in part to my having good instructors who helped me to analyze and interpret peer-reviewed, scholarly data.

My academic strengths include strong analytical and critical thinking skills; and the ability to discover creative solutions to problems identified from the research. I am hard working and dedicated. My weaknesses include the occasional bout of low self-esteem and self-doubt, which should be readily alleviated once I complete a course of higher learning at Walden University.

Part 3: Plan of Study and Program of Study Form

Stated learning outcomes of the Masters Degree program in forensic psychology from Walden University include the following. First, graduates will identify the role of psychology within the legal system. This will entail building on my undergraduate coursework in cross-cultural psychology (such as FPSY 2001). Human development (FPSY 2002 and FPSY 2003), social influences on behavior (FPSY 2005), and personality psychology (FPSY 2009) will also be critical introductory courses focusing on the field of psychology. These courses will then prepare me for introductory courses in forensic psychology for the Masters Degree such as FPSY 5101. These courses will illustrate and differentiate theories of maladaptive and criminal behavior — which is another one of the Walden stated learning outcomes for graduates.

The bulk of my Masters program will consist of more upper-level courses that do include challenging work in statistics and statistical analysis. It is important to have a foundation in statistics, because forensic psychologists are often called upon to analyze or create data for institutions dedicated to improving the criminal justice system. The courses in statistics and research design fulfill the specific learning outcome of using diagnostic and assessment tools; as well as the learning outcome of demonstrating the principles of research design as applied to forensic psychology research.


American Board of Forensic Psychology (2013). Retrieved online: http://www.abfp.com/

Cherry, K. (n.d.). What is forensic psychology? http://psychology.about.com/od/psychologycareerprofiles/a/forensicpsych.htm

Walden University (2013). Course filter. Retrieved online: http://www.waldenu.edu/programs/individual-courses/filter

Walden University (2013). Introduction to the Professional Development Plan (PDP). Retrieved online: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/47.htm

Walden University (2013). M.S. In forensic psychology. Retrieved online: http://www.waldenu.edu/masters/ms-in-forensic-psychology

Walden University (2013). Paper templates. Retrieved online: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/57.htm

Assignment 2: Program of Study

Overall Learning Goals

In order to pursue a career in forensic psychology, coursework in both forensics and psychology is necessary, as well as coursework in forensic psychology itself. There are dozens of courses in the forensic psychology Masters Degree program at Walden University. My overall learning goals correspond well with the Walden University Masters Degree in forensic psychology learning outcomes. Overall learning goals include the thorough understanding of the role of psychology and psychologists in the legal and criminal justice system. I will learn to apply psychological concepts and principles to and within forensic settings, too. Using diagnostic and assessment tools in forensic settings is another overall learning goal, as is the goal of mastering the art and science of research design. Other learning goals including an understanding of professional ethics and general ethics in the forensic psychology profession, many of which have practical application such as confidentiality issues.

Description of Coursework

FPSY 5101: Introduction to Forensic Psychology: The Master’s level introductory course supplements, builds on, and enhances the undergraduate course FPSY 2101. A broad overview of the field is offered, which helps students like me to articulate their concerns and envision areas of specialization we might hope to have in the future.

FPSY 5125 – Assessment in Forensic Psychology Settings: This Master’s level course addresses psychological evaluation procedures within the unique constraints of the legal system. I will learn how assessments impact the procedures and outcomes of a criminal case.

FPSY 5145 – Ethical Issues and Professional Responsibilities in Forensic Psychology: Forensic psychologists have to be familiar with a wide range of ethical issues and concerns. This course will illustrate those concerns and help students like me to make wide and informed decisions based…


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