Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Forensic Psychology
Academic Year
Semester 1
External Examiners
  • Dr Jelena Havelka (Lecturer - University of Leeds)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 5 x 2 Hour Seminars
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay (2000 words)  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay (2000 words)  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Examine theories of criminal behaviour
2. Evaluate the effectiveness of interventions with offenders and rehabilitation
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the application of forensic psychology to investigations
4. Critically evaluate the impact of psychology and courtroom decision processes
5. Demonstrate and awareness of the challenges and controversies in forensic psychology

Brochure Text

This module looks at psychology in relation to forensic situations and locations. Understanding the role of psychology in forensic settings provides the opportunity to use psychological theory to explain a number of legal and criminological topics and behaviours. The ability of students to use psychological theory within applied settings is important for their ability to relate their theoretical learning to real life situations. This is also one of the chartered routes in Psychology thus provides insight into potential career progression as a Chartered Forensic Psychologist.

Brief description

The module examines the use of psychology and psychological theory to explore a range of forensic/legal issues. It will explore a number of key areas, including the psychological aspects of offending (for example, cognitive, developmental, social, etc.) and also how psychology is applied in legal forums (for example, police, courts, prisons, etc.). The module will introduce students to the history and application of forensic psychology with an emphasis upon recognizing and developing the appropriate theoretical explanations and applications within real world situations.


The module aims to consider how psychological theory and approaches can be applied to the real world context of forensic and legal psychology.


Lecture topic

1. Introduction to Forensic Psychology
2. Part 1: Understanding Offenders, Biological and Cognitive Explanations
3. Social and Developmental Explanations
4. Mental Health and Personality Disorders
5. Treatment and Rehabilitation
6. Part 2: Psychology & Investigations, Interviewing and Deception
7. Offender profiling and Crime Analysis
8. Terrorism and Policing Critical Incidents
9. Part 3: Psychology in the Courtroom, Jury Decision Making
10. Witness Testimony
11. The Expert Witness
12. Revision

Seminar topic

1. The criminal gene - predispositions for crime?
2. Psychopathy - DSPD
3. Detecting Deception
4. Offender Profiling
5. Jury selection

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be introduced to the key concepts of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs and be required to understand and interpret published research.
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these for various target audiences. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. Fellow students will be encouraged to question their peers to critique their approach or to suggest areas for the development of the chosen topic; in turn each will discuss the contributions and ideas of the other.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the facilitator and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, and deciding the direction of their essay.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and PsychArticles).
Personal Development and Career planning The module will broaden students understanding of the career path to chartership in forensic psychology as well as career opportunities available to psychologists within the wider forensic areas. Seminar discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Additional transferable skills developed include targeting information to differing audiences, applying psychological theory to problem solve real world cases and sourcing literature.
Problem solving Independent work and individual problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; use psychological theory to validate their opinions and estimate an answer to the problem; consider case studies and reason logically. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of the essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module. These subject specific skills include: 1. Assessment of scientific methods in psychology. 2. Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. 3. Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences. 4. Demonstration of application of psychological theory to real world contexts
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module


This module is at CQFW Level 5