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PS30158: Forensic psychology

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Psychology
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: ES 80%, OR 20%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • ESSAY (ES 80%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must take PS20107
Description: Aims:
The intention of this unit is to:
* To investigate the contribution of psychology to our understanding of crime, its perpetration, control and prevention.
* To cover core topics such as theories of crime, 'cycles of crime', and psychological issues in the treatment of offenders and the risks of recidivism.

Learning Outcomes:
In completing this unit students would be expected to:
* To critically evaluate psychological theories relevant to the study of Forensic Psychology
* To gain an insight into the use of psychological theory and research in criminal investigations
* To demonstrate a critical understanding of issues surrounding the punishment and treatment of offenders
* To develop a critical approach to these key issues in Forensic Psychology


* Comprehensive and scholarly written communication (e.g. essays)
* Concise, time-bound and effective written communication (e.g. briefings / exams)
* Ability to select, summarise and synthesis written information from multiple sources
* Ability to develop rigorous arguments through precise use of concepts and models
* Ability to apply theory into practice
* Ability to select and use appropriate ideas to produce a coherent response to a pre-set question
* Ability to produce work to agreed specifications and deadlines
* Ability to work independently, without close supervision of guidance

The following topics will be covered during the course:
* Theories of crime: Particular emphasis on social and environmental theories, and individual oriented theories of crime.
* Juvenile offending: Explanations and social interventions of delinquency, and lifespan development and crime.
* Violent crime: Theories of aggression and violent crime, antecedents of aggression, personality and aggression, and the cycle of violence.
* Sexual crime: Theories of sexual deviance and rape, pornography and sex offending, myths surrounding rape, and cycles of abuse.
* Psychological profiling: The role of profiling in police investigations, approaches to psychological profiling, and the effectiveness of profiling.
* Eyewitness testimony: The accuracy of witness evidence, eyewitness evidence in court, mistaken identifications, and enhancing eyewitness memory.
* Offender treatment: Psychological services in prison, the treatment of offenders via groupwork, and the effectiveness of prison.
* Offender recidivism: The assessment of risk and dangerousness, predictor factors, and research on reducing recidivism.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PS30158 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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