Unlike other courses which focus on offender assessment and rehabilitation, this new course will examine the theoretical and investigative aspects of forensic psychology, tracking the criminal justice process from the crime scene to the court room. It is an exceptionally hands-on, practical course, using our unique on-campus Crime Scene Training Centre together with Psychology Testing Suites with the latest eye-tracking and face-processing equipment.
As well as the underlying theories regarding the psychology of investigations and considering areas such as how face processing can assist identification of individuals, you will explore different offence types - sexual offending, murder and violent crime, group offending (including terrorism, hooliganism and rioting), and different forms of cyber-crime (e.g. hacktivism and on-line sexual abuse).
You’ll be expected to investigate and scrutinise violent mocked-up crime scenes to provide written and verbal evidence, learning how to present expert witness testimony in a mock court.
A Bachelors Honours degree, 2:1 or above or equivalent. Less standard/traditional qualifications and relevant experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If English is not your first language you´ll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above.
Investigative Psychology: The theoretical and practical understanding of investigative psychology, focusing on serious crime investigations. You will initially explore the roles psychologists can play and general theories regarding why people commit crime, and subsequently specific theories as applied to different crime types including murder and violent crime; serial and sexual offending; group offending and cyber-crime. Case studies will be embedded to demonstrate investigative issues and how behavioural investigative advice (including offender profiling and offence linkage), crime analysis, and police decision making are used. Once these fundamentals are covered, you will learn about investigative interviewing with a focus on interviewing victims and witnesses.
Forensic Perspectives in Face-Processing: Focuses on the individual differences in face-processing, with an emphasis on the forensic implications of this work. As well as examining cognitive and personality factors that may influence our face recognition ability, you´ll consider social biases that affect our ability to process faces. This body of research will be discussed in relation to eye-witness testimony identification and occupations that require proficient face recognition skills, like passport control and other forensic and security settings. You´ll be introduced to the concept of ‘extraordinary’ face recognition – the ability for example demonstrated by some police officers when attempting to identify individuals from CCTV footage, and debate will focus on whether these skills can be taught to typical perceivers.
Professional Practice in Forensic Science: Providing you with an understanding of, and initial training in expert witness and courtroom skills, legal and practical aspects of evidence. We will demonstrate pre-trial duties, courtroom procedures, lawyers’ requirements, and the preparation and structure of the expert witness’ report. The unit will be delivered through a combination of lectures, training in court room skills and practical exercises involving behavioural analysis of simulated crime scenes. This unit is shared with students on similar courses, and the simulations are tailored to each degree, so you may be working alongside archaeologists excavating a simulated murder case and anthropologists undertaking the only simulated mass grave exercise currently offered as part of a UK Masters programme. Such joint working reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the work in practice.
Advanced Research Methods: You will explore a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and tools used for conducting advanced level research. It evaluates the intricacies of experimental design in different contexts. The unit will prepare you to undertake independent research using advanced research techniques.
Advanced Statistics: This unit covers appropriate selection and use of a range of statistical techniques intended for analysing data from psychological research.
Key Transferable Skills - Presentation & Scientific Writing: Here the key skills for interpreting, presenting,writing and publishing research are taught. Topics include writing research and grant proposals, presentation skills and developing advanced writing skills.
Research Project: You´ll work closely with a member of staff engaging in discussions in order to choose an appropriate research project based around a particular topic that interests you, or expanding an element from the course that you want to pursue further, perhaps linked to your future career aspirations. You will be responsible for providing an in-depth literature review, designing and undertaking a study in order to address your research question. You´ll also be expected to collect and analyse data and provide a full write up of the project. Supervision for your project will be provided in regular meetings.
This course will give you a sound understanding knowledge of how and where you can responsibly and pragmatically apply knowledge and findings from research into real world situations and within a number of potential work environments.
During the course, you will be made aware of your professional responsibilities working in the field - for example when writing reports, being an expert witness or conducting research. These can include consideration of ethics, managing personal development and building resilience.
The applied nature of this course will appeal to both new graduates and experienced professionals looking to expand their opportunities in fields such as crime analysis, policing (locally or with agencies such as the National Crime Agency), court work, victim services, insurance agencies, secret services, social work, emergency services, academia, research and policy implementation (College of Policing, Ministry of Justice).
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