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Masters Degrees (Handwriting Analysis)

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This course is designed to enable graduate students and forensic practitioners to develop the theoretical knowledge underpinning forensic document examination and provide intensive training and practical experience. Read more
This course is designed to enable graduate students and forensic practitioners to develop the theoretical knowledge underpinning forensic document examination and provide intensive training and practical experience. It covers the analysis of handwriting, signatures, questioned and fraudulent documents and provides training in the use of a range of highly specialised techniques, such as VSC, comparison microscopy, ESDA and Raman Spectroscopy.

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AND ASSESSMENT

The dedicated laboratory for this course houses an ESDA and a VSC-5000 and this is where MSc students will take a wide range of practical classes, carry out simulated casework and conduct laboratory-based dissertation research projects. Students will also have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation within the Analytical Unit. The Unit houses gas chromatographs with pyrolysis injection capability and FID, MS and EC detectors, ion chromatographs and high performance liquid chromatographs with diode array fluorescence, MS and Differential refractometer detectors. The Unit also houses facilities for Atomic absorption, UV-Visible and Infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, NMR spectrometry, Inductive coupled plasma mass spectrometry and Scanning Electron Microscopy With Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDAX).

Modules will be assessed through theory and practical examinations, and coursework (essays, moot courts, presentations and a dissertation). Students will be required to examine documents and equipment, produce case notes and reports.

Please note that Distance Learning students will be required to attend a two-week residential workshop at UCLan’s Preston campus during Semester 2. More information will be provided about this in Semester 1.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Modules are assessed through theoretical and practical examinations as well as coursework. Assessments include the examination of suspect documents and pieces of equipment from simulated cases and the production of formal case notes and expert reports, as well as essays, mock courtroom trials, group and individual presentations and a dissertation. Upon graduating from this course you will be well placed to gain employment in forensic science laboratories, police investigation teams, fraud departments in major government or private organisations, or to go on to further research in academia.

MSc Document Analysis is designed to enable graduate students and forensic practitioners to understand and develop the theoretical knowledge underpinning all aspects of forensic document examination and to develop skills in a variety of areas, which concern the processing, analysis, identification and interpretation of questioned documents. The course provides intensive training in all areas of forensic document analysis and provides extensive practical training in the areas of the analysis and identification of handwriting, signatures, printing apparatus and fraudulent documents. The course also provides you with training to act as an expert witness and presentation and communication skills.

You will study the principles underpinning the scientific analysis of handwriting and signatures together with the considerations involved when carrying out forensic casework. This course will also provide practical experience in the examination of printing equipment, typewriters, photocopiers and the identification of forged or counterfeit documents. You will be trained in a number of analytical techniques using highly specialised apparatus, such as the use of the video spectral comparator, a comparison microscope, ESDA (Electrostatic Detection Apparatus) and a Raman Spectrometer. In addition, the course will provide you with the opportunity to develop a large number of transferable skills.

Upon graduating from this course you will be well placed to gain employment in forensic science laboratories, police investigation teams and fraud departments in major government or private organisations, or to go on to further research in academia at doctoral level.

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The Qualifying Certificate in Psychology is designed to enable students with no previous experience of psychology in higher education to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills to study at FHEQ level 5/6 (second or third year of full-time study) at a UK university. Read more
The Qualifying Certificate in Psychology is designed to enable students with no previous experience of psychology in higher education to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills to study at FHEQ level 5/6 (second or third year of full-time study) at a UK university.

The certificate is offered as an entry qualification for the Oxford Brookes MSc Psychology, but it also meets the entry requirements for other universities' psychology conversion courses.

The course is available from September for part-time students, and from January for full-time and part-time students.

See the website http://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-at-brookes/courses/postgraduate/2015/psychology-qualifying-certificate/

Why choose this course?

- Oxford Brookes has one of the largest groups of developmental psychologists in the UK along with expertise in cognitive neuroscience and qualitative methods.

- Our professionally-accredited courses allow chartered membership of the British Psychological Society.

- Excellent opportunities for progression into courses across psychology, education and health.

- State-of-the-art facilities including a video observation lab, Babylab, action research lab and perception lab.

- Strong connections through joint research projects with partners in health, education and industry.

- A comprehensive programme of research seminars offered by the department as well as specialist seminars organised by individual research groups.

Teaching and learning

Our department has a thriving community of research-active staff and research scholars. We include aspects of our research in all our courses, teach specialist modules in our areas of expertise and supervise dissertations in our specialist subjects. Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, seminars and practical work.

Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, each involving approximately 150 hours of student effort and approximately 36 hours of staff contact.

Each course module is assessed individually, generally on the quality of written work. Assessment methods may include essays, formal written examinations or in-class tests.

Specialist facilities

The Psychology Department boasts state-of-the-art facilities including a video observation lab, Babylab, action research lab and perception lab. In addition, postgraduate students have a dedicated study and social working space to facilitate group projects and provide a venue for our research seminar series.

Careers

The department offers advice on future career opportunities, including practical help with applications to future training and employment. For many of our students, their postgraduate psychology qualification is a stepping stone to professional training for careers in educational and clinical psychology. Some choose to continue their academic studies, progressing to PhD.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Research highlights

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) 95% of our research was internationally recognised and 60% of the impact of our research was rated internationally excellent.

Prof. Margaret Harris has been awarded a grant of over £315K from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to find out whether technological advances to aid children and babies with hearing loss have had a positive effect on deaf children’s literacy.

Prof. Anna Barnett and her colleague Dr Luci Wiggs have been awarded a grant of £59K from The Waterloo Foundation to examine sleep disturbance in children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). This condition is characterised by significant movement difficulty and associated psycho-social and educational problems. Previous work suggests that sleep disturbance may be a relevant factor and this project will examine sleep in DCD with extensive and objective measures in relation to child and parent functioning.

Dr Kate Wilmut has been awarded a prestigious ESRC grant of over £160k to conduct research into forward planning of movement in children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder. It is hoped that furthering our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this condition may lead to the development of effective intervention programmes.

With funding from the Leverhulme Trust, Prof. Vince Connelly is leading an interdisciplinary project conducting research into the writing problems of children with language difficulties. Embracing psychology, education and linguistics, this ground-breaking project is aimed at bridging the gaps in current knowledge and will help practitioners to develop literacy strategies to help this already disadvantaged group of children.

Dr Clare Rathbone has been awarded a grant from the ESRC to examine the relationship between memory and identity across the lifespan. Memory impairments can lead to more than mere forgetfulness; they can affect our sense of self and identity. This work will explore the changes in memory that take place in both normal ageing and in dementia.

Professor Margaret Harris and Dr Mark Burgess were awarded £640k by the Technology Strategy Board, a public research council that facilitates innovative technological collaboration between businesses and researchers. They are conducting multi-method research into the critical socio-psychological factors that underpin people’s transition from traditional combustion engine cars to ultra low carbon vehicles and are feeding their results back to car manufacturers, energy companies, and the government.

Research areas and clusters

Developmental Psychology Research Group
There are three main strands to research in this group:
1. Cognitive & Social Development - this includes work on the impact of socio-cultural contexts on human cognition and identity development, children’s evaluation of other people as sources of information, children’s understanding of emotion, the nature of mother-child interactions, children’s interactions with their peers and explanations for school bullying

2. Language & Literacy - this has a focus on the development of speech, reading, spelling, writing and handwriting

3. Developmental Disorders - this includes research on children with hearing impairment, Specific Language Impairment, Dyslexia, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Autism and sleep disorders.

Some of our research focuses on the description of typical development and explanation of developmental processes in different domains. Other work is concerned with understanding the mechanisms underlying atypical development and an examination of ways to support children and their families. Several staff in this research group work with professionals from other disciplines including health and education and are concerned with the production of practical assessment tools and the evaluation of intervention approaches to help children achieve their full potential.

- Adult Cognition Research Group
Research in this group covers the exploration of basic mechanisms as well as higher order processes in normal and atypical populations. A variety of methods are employed (behavioural and psychophysical measures, eye-tracking, movement analysis, and neuropsychological instruments). Specific research interests include: memory processes in ageing, autobiographical memory and identity processes, visual and attentional processing, reading and, perception and action

- Applied Social Psychology
The work of this group involves the application of a variety of different research methods and theoretical perspectives to investigate a range of contemporary issues and social problems. Members of the group share research interests in the psychological processes that underpin significant life transitions, the self and identify, mental and physical health experiences, attitudes, autism and sex differences.

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