University of Florida | Department of Psychology

Overview

This is a joint degree program between the College of Law and the Department of Psychology culminating in both a Juris Doctor and a Ph.D. in Psychology degree. Essential criteria relating to the joint degree program are outlined below.

  1. The joint degree program would not be open to persons who have already earned one of the degrees.
  2. Students wishing to pursue the joint program must be admitted to both the law school and the graduate school. Admission to one may precede the other.
  3. All requirements for the law degree, and all requirements for the doctoral degree in psychology would be fulfilled.
  4. Students wishing to pursue this degree should consult closely with their academic advisor in psychology before deciding whether to apply to the joint program.
  5. Students will be able to enter the joint degree program no later than the third semester of full-time psychology study (or its equivalent) or the first semester following completion of the first year sequence in the law school. Exceptions to this may be granted for students currently enrolled in law school or graduate school who will have completed the degree requirements for graduate school or for law school in the current academic year.
  6. A maximum of 12 SCH (semester credit hours) for course work in law would be approved for application toward the Ph.D. in psychology — these 12 SCH would normally meet the department’s distribution requirements (with the approval of the doctoral committee). All courses in the College of Law will be eligible for approval for application toward the Psychology degree with the approval of the student’s supervisory committee.
  7. A maximum of 12 SCH for course work in psychology would be approved for application toward the law degree. Two of these courses would be treated as the two graduated courses ordinarily allowed to be taken outside the College of Law for credit toward the law degree. The courses in psychology eligible for law school credit include 6000 and 7000 level graduate courses. Exceptions to this may be granted if a student’s supervisory committee certifies that a seminar is not available to fit the student’s plan of study. In such cases, it is proposed that the law school approve an appropriate research practicum or independent study course.
    The following is a list of psychology courses approved by the law faculty for credit toward the law degree:
    1. 3 SCH (1 course) from core proseminar requirements for the psychology degree comprised of DEP 6099, EXP 6099, PSY 6608, and SOP 6099
    2. 6 SCH (3 courses) from core area requirements for the degree
    3. 3 SCH (1 course) from an elective seminar

    For example, a developmental psychology student might count these courses toward their law degree — Survey in Cognition/Sensory Process (EXP6099), Advanced Developmental Psychology I and II (DEP6057 and DEP6058) and Special Topics in Developmental.

  8. A student may take courses concurrently in law and psychology except that the first year sequence of law courses must be completed as a unit in consecutive terms of enrollment. The student may begin the first year in law school or in graduate school. Students admitted to the College of Law but pursuing psychology the first year may enter the College of Law thereafter without once again qualifying for admission, provided that they are in good academic standing in the Graduate School and their law study begins no later than the third semester after commencement of graduate studies in psychology.
  9. Students in the joint program would be eligible for the graduate fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships in Liberal Arts and Sciences, working on research with psychology faculty or assisting in teaching psychology courses on the same basis as other psychology graduate students, subject to guideline and restrictions set by the Department of Psychology and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  10. If the student is not on a graduate assistantship, a minimum of twelve semester hours will be considered a full-time course load. If a student is on a graduate assistantship while taking courses concurrently, the minimum course load may be reduced as follows:
    • 1/4 time + 9 units = minimum load
    • 1/3 time + 8 units = minimum load
    • 1/2 time + 6 units = minimum load

    No credits shall be given for less than 6 units of course work.

  11. Grades earned in psychology will not be computed in the student’s law GPA, but a grade of “B” or higher must be earned for the course to be credited toward the law degree. The grades earned in the law college courses will not be computed in the student’s graduated school GPA, but a grade of “C” or higher must be earned in the law course for it to be credited toward the psychology degree. The grade requirements are consistent with the existing polices of the College of Law and the Department of Psychology.
  12. To facilitate student progress in the joint degree program it is proposed that to the fullest extent possible, given the availability and consent of appropriate faculty, the student’s doctoral supervisory committee be comprised of four psychology faculty members and one law faculty member, and the student’s dissertation submitted to the graduate school should be related in some way (either general or specific) to the law and legal issues.
  13. Students in the joint degree program would remain subject to the law college’s seminar and advanced writing requirements. The law school would permit the senior writing requirement to be satisfied by the presentation of an acceptable dissertation paper. Acceptability will be determined by a law faculty member of the dissertation committee who must approve the senior writing topic in advance and certify that the finished paper satisfies the requirements of the law school curriculum.

Purpose. Every law and every court decision is in part based upon psychological assumptions about how people act and how their actions can and should be controlled. For students interested in these interactions between law and psychology, an integrated program for learning the methodology and substance of both fields would be beneficial.
Specifically, this program could be applied to many legal and psychological issues.
The following are just a few of the possible applications:

  • Issues pertaining to children in the legal system, especially children as witnesses and victims of crime/traumatic experiences, and the effects of the legal system on the children.
  • Coping with victims of trauma within the legal system.
  • Testimonial issues in general.
  • Effects of the legal system upon victims, witnesses, criminals, and society.
  • Applications of abnormal psychology as it related to violent crimes and the function of the legal system in dealing with both victims and perpetrators of violent crimes.
  • Applications of social psychology to prison systems, especially the prison culture/community within prison facilities.

Students participating in a psychology/law joint degree program would also be able to make valuable contributions to each of the individual programs. The students would “expand the horizons” of both areas by introducing issues and research that had been previously unexplored. Therefore, students would add diversity to each program by integrating schools of thought and expanding the applications of current philosophies.