Build Expertise that Spans Boundaries

Professionals with a master’s in Forensic Mental Health may work with individuals or at the policy level to support effective and collaborative criminal justice, mental health, addiction treatment and social service systems.

About Our Graduate Programs in Forensic Mental Health

As a student in our Forensic Mental Health graduate programs, you’ll complete clinical and non-clinical coursework and participate in a professional externship.

You will learn from professors with law degrees and academic and clinical doctorates — and from professionals in leadership roles in state and community agencies.

Most classes are offered in the evenings on Russell Sage College’s Albany, New York, campus. Some weekend, online or reduced-seat time classes are available.

Graduates are prepared to provide expertise that is trauma-informed, culturally competent and grounded in evidence-based best practices as they work across criminal justice, mental health, substance abuse and social service systems.

While you will complete some clinical coursework, this is a non-clinical degree program. Graduates who remain in New York will not be eligible to sit for state licensure. Students intending to relocate should review the licensure requirements where they intend to practice.

Master of Science in Forensic Mental Health, Generalist Curriculum

Our 39-credit master’s degree in Forensic Mental Health  includes clinical and non-clinical coursework in social science research, law, psychology, criminal justice, substance abuse and victimology and a 240-hour professional externship.

Most students on the generalist track complete the program in two years by taking three classes a semester and one in the summer.


Master of Science in Forensic Mental Health with Health Services Administration Concentration

Our 45-credit master’s degree in Forensic Mental Health with a Health Services Administration concentration includes the generalist curriculum, plus four courses in policy, law, finance and program planning and evaluation at Sage’s School of Management.

The Health Services Administration concentration is ideal for students aspiring to roles that require a thorough understanding of Medicaid redesign and health care reform.

Certificate of Advanced Study in Forensic Mental Health

Our 18-credit Certificate of Advanced Study in Forensic Mental Health is for anyone with a bachelor’s or graduate degree in a related discipline or working in the field, who would like to complement their knowledge and experience with a specialized focus in Forensic Mental Health.

This certificate may be pursued on its own or combined with the 60-credit master’s degree in Counseling and Community Psychology at Sage.

“Forensic mental health is a field of study where we work with students to develop their skill set at the intersection of law, criminal justice and behavioral health.”

Kim Brayton, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

Spotlights Pattern

Careers with a Master’s in Forensic Mental Health

Alumni of Sage’s graduate programs in Forensic Mental Health have been accepted to the New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship program and hired as a homicide detective at the New Orleans Police Department; director of community services at Community, Work & Independence, Inc. in Glens Falls, New York; investigator at the Polk County (Florida) Department of Children and Families; and probation officer in Schenectady County (New York).

Additional Graduate Studies with a Master’s in Forensic Mental Health

Graduates of Sage’s Forensic Mental Health programs have completed law degrees at Albany Law School and the University of Massachusetts School of Law and doctorates in clinical psychology at Walden University and William James College.

Externships and Special Research Opportunities

As a Forensic Mental Health master’s degree candidate, you will participate in a 240-hour externship within the forensic mental health system. Recent employers that have hosted Forensic Mental Health externs include the Rensselaer County Probation Department, the New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, New York State Office of Mental Health, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Services and New Paradigm Psychological Services.


Students also regularly conduct research and may apply for the Broughton Graduate Fellowship or the Jody Ann Zabel Memorial Travel Award to assist with expenses related to research or travel to conferences. Students have participated in conferences hosted by the Criminal Justice Educators Association of New York State and the New York State Alliance for Sex Offender Treatment Providers and have published in the Journal of American College Health.

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