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Masters Degrees (Offender Profiling)

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The MSc Forensic Psychology is the only BPS accredited programme in Wales, offering a unique opportunity for students to study Forensic Psychology in Wales. Read more

Course Overview

The MSc Forensic Psychology is the only BPS accredited programme in Wales, offering a unique opportunity for students to study Forensic Psychology in Wales. Working collaboratively with NOMS Cymru (National Offender Management Services, Wales), helps keep the programme up to date with strategy development and policy decisions. Regular contributions from practitioners within the Principality enable students to understand more about services within Wales and their impact on our society locally. We also have many national contributors who share their extensive knowledge and experience.​

Due to the popularity of this programme you should submit your application at the earliest opportunity, and at the very latest by 29th July. ​

See the website https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/health/courses/Pages/Forensic-Psychology---MSc-.aspx

​Course Content​​

Forensic Psychology is the practice and application of psychological research relevant to crime, policing, the courts, the criminal and civil justice system, offenders, prison, secure settings, offender management, health and academic settings as well as private practice.

It looks at the role of environmental, psychosocial, and socio-cultural factors that may contribute to crime or its prevention. The primary aim of Forensic Psychology as an academic discipline is to develop understanding of the processes underlying criminal behaviour and for this improved understanding to impact on the effective management and rehabilitation of different groups of offenders in all settings within the criminal justice system.

The first aim of the programme is to provide students with a thorough and critical academic grounding in the evidence relating to environmental, cultural, cognitive and biological factors that may contribute to a wide variety of forms of offending. The programme will encourage students to consider the role and limitations of causal explanations for offending in the development of offender treatments, services and policy.

The second aim of the programme is to introduce students to the basic professional competencies for working in the many settings where forensic psychology is practiced, including skills related to inter-disciplinary working, risk assessment, ethics, continuing professional development, report writing and differences in practice when working with offenders, victims, the courts and the police.

The programme aims to produce Masters degree graduates with the ability to understand the limitations of the conceptual underpinnings of interventions and assessments used in forensic psychology and who are able therefore to engage in critical evaluation of the evidence base upon which their own practice will eventually be based. The programme will specifically avoid providing any formal supervised practice. Its aim is to produce reflective scientist-practitioners who will be ready to engage with the next stage of training (i.e. BPS Stage 2 or HCPC route) towards registration as a Forensic Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Students will complete the following taught modules and will also be required to conduct a novel, supervised research dissertation with participants preferably drawn from a forensic setting:

Research Methods and Design (30 credits)
The aim of this module is to extend students knowledge and experience of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Topics covered include: randomised control trials, ANOVA, ANCOVA, MANOVA, Power analysis, Regression, Non parametric methods, interviews, discourse analysis, grounded theory, reflective analysis and psychometric evaluation.

Forensic Mental Health (20 credits)
This module aims to provide students with a critical examination of the relationship between mental illness, personality disorder, learning disability and criminal behaviour. The module will encourage students to view the mental health needs of offenders in the broadest possible context and to appreciate the inter-disciplinary nature of services available to mentally disordered offenders, difficulties in accessing those services and problems for custodial adjustment presented by specific psychiatric diagnoses

Professional Practice and Offender Management (20 credits)
The focus of this module is the professional practice of forensic psychology. The module builds on the groundwork laid by earlier modules and covers professional skills and the types of interventions that a practicing forensic psychologist may engage in. The topics covered by this module include ethics, report writing, working with other agencies, and working with offenders and victims.

Psychological Assessments and Interventions (20 credits)
This module covers psychology as it may be applied to the reduction of re-offending by convicted criminals. The central focus of the module is the 'what works' literature. A range of topics will be covered demonstrating the broad application of psychology to offender rehabilitation in the Criminal Justice System, and within Wales particularly. These topics include: (1) Offender assessment: risk, need and protective factors (2) factors affecting response to treatment; (3) ethical issues of compulsory treatment; and (4) interventions for a range of offending behaviours.

Theories of Criminal Behaviour (10 credits)
The module aims to examine the contribution made by biological, psychodynamic, evolutionary, cognitive and socio-cultural perspectives to our understanding of the aetiology of criminal behaviour. It will explore psychological theories of a variety of offending behaviours such as: violence, aggression, domestic abuse, sex offending, vehicle crime, fire setting as well as gangs and gangs membership.

Legal Psychology (10 credits)
This module covers psychology as it may be applied to the law, and the central focus of the module is evidence. A range of topics will be covered, demonstrating the broad application of psychology within the legal system. These topics include the interviewing of suspects and witnesses, vulnerable victims, offender profiling and the detection of deception.

Addiction and Psychological Vulnerabilities (10 credits)
This module informs students about different factors that may contribute to psychological vulnerability in offenders and victims. A variety of topics will be covered, including issues around the concept of addictive behaviours, vulnerability and the protection of vulnerable adults, including factors which may increase vulnerability to offending and victimisation.

Learning & Teaching​

​Teaching on the MSc Forensic Psychology Programme is predominantly conducted in small groups and adopts an interactive approach. The Research Methods and Design module and the Dissertation workshops are the only part of the programme which is taught in a larger group of around 40 to 50 students as opposed to between 10 and 20 students on the core modules. As a result teaching involves a range of discussions, activities, evaluations of papers, case studies and role play exercises. The focus within the programme is on both content and key skills to develop specialists in the field of forensic psychology with flexible generic skills. These experiences also help to foster student development and confidence as independent life-long learners.

Student learning is promoted through a variety of learning and teaching methods. These include: lectures, workshops, online learning through the virtual learning environment, Moodle, as well as self directed learning. Each student will have an allocated personal tutor to support them through their period of study.

As this programme is accredited by the BPS, there is a requirement for students to attend at least 80% of the taught sessions for the programme.

Assessment

The MSc is assessed by a range of different coursework assignments – e.g. presentations, reports, essays, reflective reports, academic posters, research proposal. There are no examinations.

Employability & Careers​

An MSc in Forensic Psychology is the first step (stage one) in gaining Chartered Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Registered Practitioner status with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). The MSc in Forensic Psychology will provide the knowledge base and applied research skills that will provide the foundation for stage two of the chartered process that requires a minimum of two years of full-time supervised practice with an appropriate client group.

Find information on Scholarships here https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/scholarships

Find out how to apply here https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/howtoapply

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This exciting course currently offers. Intensive training on advanced statistical methods, which may open doors into many jobs beyond crime and investigations. Read more
This exciting course currently offers:

• Intensive training on advanced statistical methods, which may open doors into many jobs beyond crime and investigations.

• A range of visiting speakers including experts from around the world and police officers talking about real life cases.

• Access to a unique and extensive Investigative Psychology archive developed by Professor David Canter, containing original case files and material on murders, serial killers, profiles and publications.

• Specialist software for statistical and crime analysis.

• Opportunities to engage with Centres within the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences (IRCAHS).

• An international network of law enforcement contacts.

The course is currently accredited by the British Psychological Society and recognised as the first step towards status as a Chartered Forensic Psychologist in the UK for students who have Graduate Basis for Chartership.

Investigative psychology is the systematic science that developed out of early ‘offender profiling' contributions by psychologists and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to police investigations and court cases. In recent years this sub-discipline has become an increasingly dominant area of forensic psychology.

The course covers the full range of contributions that professional psychologists can make including the legal and investigative process; evaluating the validity of suspect or witness accounts; assessing the decision-making processes of detectives or jurors; to developing profiling inferences about the likely characteristics of an offender and predicting their likely home location.

Much of this expertise is predicated upon the detailed understanding of criminal action patterns, so intensive examinations of the variations in criminal behavioural style are a central feature of this course.

This course aim to provide in-depth expertise in all aspects of Investigative Psychology as developed by the originator of the discipline Professor David Canter. It has a strong research emphasis, helping to equip you with the expertise to conduct your own crime research projects in diverse professional contexts.

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By taking this course you will study the following module Forensic Psychology module plus modules from Criminology. Investigative and Legal Processes in Forensic Psychology. Read more
By taking this course you will study the following module Forensic Psychology module plus modules from Criminology:

Investigative and Legal Processes in Forensic Psychology
This module covers a range of theoretical and applied topics regarding investigative and judicial processes. For example, psychological principles may be applied to investigative approaches to interviewing, detecting deception, bearing false witness, offender profiling, case linkage, eyewitness memory, jury behaviour and decision-making, examining the state of mind and assessment, and expert psychological testimony (ethics, code of practice, report writing and practice). By taking this approach the student develops a critical understanding of pertinent stages in the investigative process where psychology may be used to improve interviewing strategies, as in the employment of the cognitive interview to assist in the improvement of witnesses' memory recall. This course then develops upon the investigative knowledge base provided by encouraging students to identify areas within the courtroom process where psychological techniques could be utilised. Thus, students are taken on an analytical and evaluative journey of the key criminal justice processes of the investigation and presentation of evidence in cases.

For information on the Criminology side of the course, please view the Criminology page: http://www.kingston.ac.uk/postgraduate-course/criminology-ma/

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Unlike other courses which focus on offender assessment and rehabilitation, this new course will examine the theoretical and investigative aspects of forensic psychology, tracking the criminal justice process from the crime scene to the court room. Read more
Unlike other courses which focus on offender assessment and rehabilitation, this new course will examine the theoretical and investigative aspects of forensic psychology, tracking the criminal justice process from the crime scene to the court room. It is an exceptionally hands-on, practical course, using our unique on-campus Crime Scene Training Centre together with Psychology Testing Suites with the latest eye-tracking and face-processing equipment.

As well as the underlying theories regarding the psychology of investigations and considering areas such as how face processing can assist identification of individuals, you will explore different offence types - sexual offending, murder and violent crime, group offending (including terrorism, hooliganism and rioting), and different forms of cyber-crime (e.g. hacktivism and on-line sexual abuse).

You’ll be expected to investigate and scrutinise violent mocked-up crime scenes to provide written and verbal evidence, learning how to present expert witness testimony in a mock court.

You will evaluate victims, witnesses, suspects and offenders, environment, geography and time, working with practitioners who create fieldwork, case studies and exercises based on their real experiences.

Guest speakers sharing their knowledge will be an integral feature of the course, as will Terri Cole, the course leader's own experiences as a Behavioural Investigative Adviser and Serious Crime Analyst. Terri worked for a number of years with police forces providing offender profiling, crime scene assessment and offence linkage advice in relation to serious sexual offences and murder. She brings her expertise and experience together to focus on crime scene behaviour and how psychology can assist investigations on this new course.

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