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MSc Forensic Psychology

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  • Objectives
    The course aims to provide 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. It 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.
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants should have an honours degree in psychology (normally 2.1 or above) and the Graduate Basis for Registration as recognised by the BPS.
  • Academic Title
    MSc Forensic Psychology
  • Course description
    This MSc has been designed to meet the growing demand for further study in forensic psychology.

    More information
    This MSc Forensic Psychology course emphasises the importance of ongoing assessment, intervention and through-care. It highlights the role of the forensic psychologist as a project manager, consultant, investigator and practitioner.

    The course is designed to provide an advanced and up-to-date understanding of theoretical and applied issues in the field of forensic psychology. It integrates the development of an appropriate psychological and professional knowledge base with training in many of the professional skills used in forensic psychology practice.

    Course Content

    The course places an emphasis on a holistic approach, enabling you to gain an understanding of how all parts of the criminal justice system interface with each other. It identifies the role of the forensic psychologist at different parts of the offending and victim pathways through the investigative process and from pre-trial/pre-conviction, to through-care and restorative justice.

    Implicit within this approach is recognition of the forensic psychologist working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, often working across agencies and being relied upon as a consultant for their expert knowledge and skills. The course aims to enable understanding of the role of the forensic psychologist existing within the wider legal context in both civil and criminal frameworks.

    It integrates the development of an appropriate psychological and professional knowledge base with training in many of the professional skills used in forensic psychology practice. This includes the role of psychological processes in offending behaviour, the role of psychologists in the assessment, management and interventions with offenders, and an understanding of the psycho-legal processes.

    Modules

    The Psychology of Criminal Behaviour
    (15 credits)
    This module will introduce you to theoretical explanations of criminal behaviour and its origins. You will receive grounding in the practice of forensic psychology through the analysis of various psychological explanations applicable to criminal behaviour and its psychological consequences.

    Due to its integrated approach, this module will also give you an understanding of the principles of studying criminal behaviour. The progression of studies leads on to other modules.

    The Psychology of Investigations (15 credits)
    This module gives you a critical understanding of the psychological and legal issues regarding the Psychology of Investigations. It will analyse the ways in which psychological theories can be applied to the investigative process (including the gathering of evidence) and will consider the investigatory process of victims, witnesses and suspects of crime.

    Law, Justice and Psychology (15 credits)
    You will be introduced to the multi-disciplinary nature of forensic psychology, and to the application of psychological knowledge to the criminal justice system. You will 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 will also introduce you to civil and criminal law. It will include 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 practice key professional skills such as presenting specialist court reports in an appropriate context and to undertake research related to this area.

    Forensic Assessment (15 credits)
    You will gain an understanding of various psychological assessment procedures, including functional analysis and formulation.

    Various offender cohorts are examined including issues relevant to violent offenders, sex offenders, young offenders, female offenders, mentally disordered offenders, intellectual functioning. You'll also explore cognitive impairment, personality disorder, issues with children and families, dual diagnosis, drug and alcohol use as factors in offending behaviour. You will be introduced to risk assessment tools.

    Interventions in Forensic Psychology (15 credits)
    This will provide you with detailed accounts of the clinical interventions and treatment of offenders as described in the Forensic Assessment module, with emphasis on contextual issues, factors affecting effective treatment and interventions, multi-disciplinary working and risk management.

    Forensic Psychology: Theory in Practice (10 credits)
    This will provide you with case material for study and an opportunity to integrate psychological theory in practice situations. You will be introduced to the concept of the psychologist as a consultant, organisational issues and the skills required for personal development. This includes interpersonal communication, evaluation and feedback. It is distinct from the stage 2 process of professional skills training undertaken for achieving Chartership with the BPS.

    Applied Research Methods (40 credits)
    You will focus on three components:

    -the quantitative research component, which allows you to further develop knowledge and skills in research design, -additional methods and applied statistical methods;
    -the qualitative component, which provides you with the skill needed to analyse, conduct and assess qualitative -research within the applied psychology setting;
    -the research project proposal which will normally be the basis for your final stage 12,000 word project.

    The applied research methods seminars will be specific for MSc Forensic Psychology students. This will allow for the use of forensic data sets and will ensure that delivery is tailored to your specific requirements.

    The Research Project (60 credits)
    This will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your research competency within a specialist area of forensic psychology. You will be required to produce an original empirical research project of 12,000 words on a specialist area of your choice within forensic psychology.

    Additional Information
    We have an agreement for students to undertake work experience (where appropriate) at The Hutton Centre, a forensic unit with a diversity of clients and a number of Chartered Forensic Psychologists.

    Our links with this local service will enable you to access work experience in a real world setting and to develop your own professional and research skills with access to both psychologists and clients. We also have excellent links with the area prison service, which may also give you enhanced opportunities for research and experience.

    The University of Teesside is also home to the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG). This brings together academics and practitioners who wish to study and carry out research in investigative interviewing of victims, witnesses and suspects of crime.

    Strong interaction between academia and practitioners is a major mutual benefit of the group, helping to shape and hone research to focus more directly on real concerns.

    The iIIRG is open to all professionals (academic researchers, psychologists, criminologists, police officers and any other law enforcement agencies) involved in investigative interviewing who can contribute to this complex and intriguing area of research.

    Students conducting research in this area are also welcome to join. Membership is free.

    Full-time or part-time?
    The MSc in Forensic Psychology has a full-time and part-time route. The full-time route demands forty hours per week studying to successfully complete the course; this includes time spent in workshops. The part-time route typically takes two and a half years to complete. It must be completed within five academic years.

    Course structure

    There are seven core modules: The Psychology of Criminal Behaviour; The Psychology of Investigations; Law, Justice and Psychology; Forensic Assessment; Interventions in Forensic Psychology; Forensic Psychology: Theory in Practice; and Applied Research Methods. In addition you do a Forensic Psychology Project.

    Professional accreditation
    The course has been designed to meet the British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation criteria. Accreditation is currently being applied for and, if successful, accredited status will give students Stage 1 towards becoming a Chartered Forensic Psychologist.

    Careers
    After Stage 1, students can become Chartered Forensic Psychologists by enrolling for Stage 2 of the BPS Diploma and undertaking supervised practice.

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