BSc Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Forensic Psychology

Course unit fact file
Unit code PSYC21072
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No


Forensic psychology can be thought of as an umbrella term to bring together two different streams of research in psychology and law: legal psychology is the application of psychological research and methods to the process of law, and criminological psychology is the application of psychological research and methods to the understanding of criminal behaviour. This course aims to introduce students to some of the main topics and questions in forensic psychology, so that students can appreciate the different perspectives, methods and applications involved in the discipline. The course focuses on the application of research findings to the criminal justice system, and the understanding, treatment and reduction of criminal behaviour.


The unit aims to:

To explore the diversity of psychological enquiry as it applies to law and criminal behaviour

To demonstrate the application of psychological research findings to the criminal justice system and the understanding, treatment and prevention of offending behaviour

To introduce students to the workings of the criminal justice system

To enable students to further develop important transferrable skills in critical and analytical thinking, and presentation of an argument

To provide students with a broad introduction to forensic psychology to help inform career choices.


Teaching and learning methods

This unit will be taught via lectures and seminars.

E-learning provision: Supplementary reading, resources and a monitored discussion board will be provided via Blackboard.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe and critically evaluate key theories and research findings in different areas of forensic psychology.
  • Use research findings to evaluate procedures within the criminal justice system, and offer recommendations where appropriate.

Intellectual skills

  • Synthesise, analyse, and evaluate information using primary sources, including journal articles and policy documents.
  • Make a reasoned argument for a particular point of view.

Practical skills

  • Use library, electronic and on-line resources to research areas of forensic psychology.
  • Plan, research and produce a poster on a topic in the area of forensic psychology

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Retrieve information from various sources and evaluate its significance
  • Apply scientific research to forensic situations
  • Understand the different career pathways into forensic psychology
  • Additionally, students will have the opportunity to develop their skills in: Synthesising information; summarising theories and evidence; critical thinking; evaluating research; working in groups; communicating effectively both orally and in writing; presenting concise and persuasive arguments

Assessment methods

Essay - 85%

Recommendations Summary - 15%

Feedback methods

Students will receive a grade and written feedback

Recommended reading

References will be provided each week

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 81

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Lee Wickham Unit coordinator

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