Psychology & the Legal System – CJUS 640

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/02/2020

Course Description

This course applies the methods and theories of psychology to the criminal justice (legal) system. Specifically, students will gain an understanding of how the field of psychology and psychological research has been applied in law enforcement, the judicial process, and the corrections process. Issues of morality, the criminal personality, eyewitness testimony, the use of psychological evaluation, jury selection, criminal profiling, child custody evaluation, police, and inmate counseling are among topics covered. Since this course focuses on the criminal justice system, it will not include civil litigation.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Criminal Justice 640 is an important course in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice Forensic Science track.  As such, students in this course explore various intersections of psychology and the legal system.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify the various functions of the legal system and psychology and integrate a Christian worldview
  2. Apply psychological principles to the legal/forensic system
  3. Assess current states of scientific literature in forensic psychology.
  4. Synthesize the dimensions of forensic psychology within its related sub-fields..

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

There will be 4 Discussion Board Forums throughout this course. Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided topic for each forum. Each thread must be 500–700 words (with citations to support assertions for full credit to be possible and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 200-300 words. Both the thread and the replies must cite course-specific and non-course-specific material.

Chapter Application Papers (2)

The student will write two (2) chapter application papers. Each paper is to be between 3-5 pages. Students should pay particular attention to the identification of the premise and supporting points of the chapter, a synthesis of the information from the chapter, and a critical application of the premise(s) and supporting points from the chapter to an issue in facing psychology and the legal system.  The paper must follow current APA guidelines. The page count does not include the title page, abstract, reference section, or any extra material. See the assignment instructions and grading rubric for additional instructions and guidance. Students should follow the article focus prompts in the assignment instructions closely.

Topic Research Papers (2)

The student will write two (2) topic research papers The student will be given some flexibility to write a research paper focused on the topic indicated for the week the Topic Research Paper is due. The research paper shall be a minimum of 8 to 10 pages and must follow current APA guidelines. The page count does not include the title page, abstract, or reference section. It must include 10–15 sources with at least 1 source being the Holy Bible and no more than two (2) books.  The student should have a specific section in the paper dedicated to a synthesis of Christian Worldview and their topic. See the assignment instructions and grading rubric for additional instructions and guidance.

Quizzes (4)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the module/week in which it is assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 25 multiple-choice (worth 1 point each) and 5 essay questions (worth 5 points each), and have a 1-hour time limit.