Postgraduate study
Psychology

MSc Forensic Psychology

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society and forms the essential component for Stage 1 of the Chartership process towards becoming a chartered forensic psychologist. The course offers some students the opportunity of ongoing work experience placements with local prisons and the local forensic secure unit.

Course information

Full-time

  • 1 year

More full-time details

Part-time

  • 2 years

More part-time details

  • Tuesdays in first year, Thursdays in second year
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 384491

Contact details

  • Facilities

    Psychology facilities

    Studying Psychology at the School of Social Sciences, Business & Law gives you access to outstanding facilities, including eye-trackers, EEG and Near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS). You also get to use specialist interviewing labs and our replica courtroom.

 

It provides an advanced and up-to-date understanding of theoretical and applied issues in forensic psychology. It integrates the development of an appropriate psychological and professional knowledge base with training in many of the professional skills utilised in practice. The course also emphasises the importance of ongoing assessment, intervention and throughcare, and highlights the role of the forensic psychologist as a project manager, consultant, investigator and practitioner. The course strikes an excellent balance between aspects of investigative psychology and the applied professional and clinical aspects of practice as a forensic psychologist.

Professional accreditation

British Psychological Society This course is accredited by the BPS. This gives students Stage 1 of the two-stage process towards becoming a chartered forensic psychologist.

Modules

Core modules

Applied Qualitative Research Methods

You will gain the requisite skills needed to analyse, conduct and assess qualitative research within the applied psychology setting. You will also gain an understanding of key theoretical approaches in designing qualitative research projects as well as practical experience in collecting and analysing qualitative data. The module aims to facilitate the development of a knowledge of and skills in using advanced qualitative research designs, specifically it will develop your knowledge and skills in qualitative research design and methods as applicable to applied psychology at MSc level. You will understand the relationship between theory and practice of interpretative approaches in psychological research, and explore different modes of investigation and analysis employed within these interpretative approaches.

Indicative content:

Theoretical approaches in qualitative research: phenomenological, ethnographic, social constructionist, discursive and narrative approaches
Sampling in qualitative research
Interview design and constructing the data corpus
Analysis of textual and visual data including Grounded Theory; Interpretative Phenomenological analysis; Narrative inquiry; Semiotics; Discursive Psychology; Conversation analysis; Critical discourse analysis & affective textual analysis
Trustworthiness and credibility

The assessment for this module is a 5,000 word qualitative research bid including feasibility study and data analysis (ECA, 100%).

Applied Quantitative Research Methods

The module aims to facilitate the development of a knowledge of and skills in using advanced research designs, including the use of quantitative analysis techniques. Specifically, you will develop additional knowledge and skills in research design and methods, appropriate statistical analysis, as applicable to applied psychology at MSc level. Quantitative analysis of advanced research designs, includes effect size, power analysis, confidence intervals, multiple regression, logistic regression, factor analysis and reliability analysis, mediation analysis, moderation analysis.

Indicative content

Knowledge and skills in research design, methods, and applied statistical analysis.
Experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental research designs

The assessment consists of one component: a three-hour open-book examination on quantitative methods (ECA, 100%).

Assessment and Interventions in Forensic Practice

This module is designed to develop a thorough understanding of the theoretical explanations of offending behaviour, its origins and the purpose and principles of the assessment and intervention process. It emphasises the importance of psychological assessment (including risk, personality disorder and cognitive assessment) and specialist intervention, exploring issues specific to a group of offenders including but not exclusive to: sexual offenders, violent offenders, young offenders, mentally disordered offenders, offenders affected by issues of intellectual functioning and cognitive impairment, female offenders and those with personality disorder.

Integral to this module is an understanding of the role of the psychologist as a practitioner. Through the use of case studies, you will develop the skills required of a forensic psychologist and demonstrate the importance of skills for sharing knowledge and information. The module will describe the role the forensic psychologist plays in assessment and intervention, effective communication, project management and training others. You will gain an understanding of the requirements of independent working, ethical and professional considerations and multi-disciplinary work.

You will gain a comprehensive and critical understanding of the theoretical explanations of offending behaviour, psychological assessment, interventions with offenders and the process of training other professionals. The module will also provide an understanding of ethical and professional considerations with regard to professional competencies, evidence based practice and required skills of a forensic psychologists within their varied roles; trainer, consultant, supervisor and practitioner.

Indicative content

Theoretical explanations of offending behaviour, exploring issues specific to a group of offenders including but not exclusive to: sexual offenders, violent offenders, young offenders, mentally disordered offenders, offenders affected by issues of intellectual functioning and cognitive impairment, female offenders and those with personality disorder
Purpose and principles of psychological assessment process, notably risk assessment, personality disorder assessment, case formulation and cognitive assessment
Offending and morality, excuses and justification for offending behaviour
Crime, victim and offender interaction/mediation, including restorative justice
“What works” literature and evaluation of offending behaviour interventions with various groups of offenders; sexual offenders, violent offenders (including domestic violence) and personality disordered offenders
The role of a forensic psychologist as a practitioner
Independent working and reflective practice as a forensic psychologist
The relevance and importance of multi-disciplinary working.

This module will be assessed by way of a 5,000 word Psychological Risk Assessment and Case Formulation Report of a case study (ICA 60%) and 3,000 word Training Plan Report underpinned by a critical review of literature (ECA 40%).

Forensic Psychology Project

This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your research competency within a specialist area of forensic psychology. You are required to produce an original empirical research project of 12,000 words on a specialist area of your choice within forensic psychology.

Law, Justice and Psychology

You are introduced to the multi-disciplinary nature of forensic psychology, and to the application of psychological knowledge to the criminal justice system. You discuss a range of theoretical approaches that have been used to explain crime, and gain an understanding of the principles of studying the justice process.

The module also introduces you to civil and criminal law. It includes discussion of the issues relating to jury selection and jury decision making, the nature of expert evidence, child witnesses, assessment and interventions with victims and witnesses, and the role of the psychologist as an expert witness.

The development of the new replica courtroom at the University offers an excellent opportunity for you to practise key professional skills such as presenting specialist court reports in an appropriate context and to undertake research related to this area.

The Psychology of Investigations

This module gives you a critical understanding of the psychological and legal issues regarding the psychology of investigations. It analyses the ways in which psychological theories can be applied to the investigative process (including the gathering of evidence) and considers the investigatory process of victims, witnesses and suspects of crime.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

The course utilises seminars and lectures. There are aspects of self-directed learning in some modules and applied learning including visits to courts and specialist expert external speakers. There is also the possibility for some students to undertake placements with a local forensic unit, the Hutton Centre and prisons in the North East.

How you are assessed

The course is assessed using a variety of methods, formative and summative. These include traditional essay writing, applied assignments including functional analysis reports, the development of training plans, and the delivery of evidence and cross-examination in the unique court room facility at the University.

Career opportunities

After Stage 1, students can become chartered forensic psychologists by successfully completing the Stage 2 Qualification in Forensic Psychology.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have at least a second-class honours degree in psychology and the Graduate Basis for Chartership as recognised by the BPS. Applicants with other degrees are invited to call the admission enquiries number to discuss possible additional requirements for entry.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Course information

Full-time

  • 1 year

More full-time details

Part-time

  • 2 years

More part-time details

  • Tuesdays in first year, Thursdays in second year
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 384491

Contact details

Open days

Postgraduate prospectusRequest a prospectus

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