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Module PSP-3001:
Forensic Psychology

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Simon Viktor

Overall aims and purpose

This module will give students a broad overview on the connections between psychology, criminal offending behaviours and the criminal justice system. Forensic psychology can be said to be “concerned with the psychological aspects of the legal process, including police investigations and court procedures”. However, students will learn how to apply psychological theories to criminal investigations and criminal offending behaviours, and understand the psychological problems and processes associated with criminal offending behaviours and rehabilitation. There will also be an introduction to the assessment and treatment of those who have committed criminal offending behaviours.

Course content

Module Content: (1) introductory lecture; (2) early theories of criminal behaviour, (3) psychological assessments and offender profiling, (4) deception in clinical forensic psychology, (5) victimology and offending behaviour, (6) treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, (7) sexual and violent offending behaviour, (8) mental health and offending behaviour, (9) substance misuse and offending behaviour, and (10) Intellectual developmental difficulties and offending behaviour.

Assessment Criteria


Shows a comprehensive and accurate coverage of the topic area. Shows good clarity of argument and expression. Demonstrates depth of insight into theoretical issues. Shows extensive background reading and study. A highly focused answer that is well structured and written in the required academic/APA manner/style. Few grammatical and punctuation errors. Shows original thought, interpretation and deliberation. Evaluates the evidence base presented, rather than being a shallow over-view without any depth of understanding. Has a good evidence base (Grade level: A- to A*).


Reasonable coverage of the topic area. Shows a reasonable level of clarity of argument and expression. Demonstrates a reasonable level of depth of insight into theoretical issues. Shows a reasonable level of background reading and study. A reasonably focused answer that is reasonably structured and written in the required academic/APA manner/style. Some grammatical and punctuation errors. Shows some level of original thought, interpretation and deliberation. Shows some evaluation of the evidence base presented, rather than just being a shallow over-view. Has a reasonable evidence base (Grade level: B- to B+).


Shows a poor coverage of the topic area. Has poor clarity of argument and expression. Demonstrates a weak insight into theoretical issues. Shows limited background reading and study. A poorly focused answer that is unstructured and not written in the required academic/APA manner/style. Many grammatical and punctuation errors. Fails to show any original thought, interpretation and deliberation. Fails to evaluate the evidence base presented, it is just a shallow over-view without any depth of understanding or meaning. Has a weak evidence base (Grade level: C+ to C-).

Learning outcomes

  1. To be able to understand how scientific and research methodologies are employed in Forensic Psychology.

  2. To be able to understand, evaluate and critically review the main psychological theories related to the occurrence of criminal behaviour.

  3. To understand, know and be able to evaluate the main concepts of Forensic Psychology.

  4. To be able to critically evaluate and synthesize the evidence base for different interventions which are designed to treat and rehabilitate criminal offenders.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Coursework essay

Please see the guidelines on BlackBoard.

EXAM Final Exam

You will have to provide answers to the three long-questions from a choice questions that are based on the core module content, the core readings and any additional recommended readings. The exam will de delivered online via BlackBoard.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


12x2 hr lectures to be delivered online

Private study

• 176 hours of self-directed learning to include: (1) Core reading for lectures, (2) the written coursework assessment and (3) final exam. This will also allow for engagement in interactive weekly drop in sessions and the discussion board in Blackboard.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.


Resource implications for students

• Some printing costs for ‘journal articles’ may also be incurred.

Reading list

The core textbook can be accessed via the library search engine or directly via:

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: