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Masters Degrees (Sex Offenders)

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The PhD and MSc by Research in Clinical Psychology offer the chance to work with, and be supervised by, a range of clinical academics across many areas of psychology. Read more

Research profile

The PhD and MSc by Research in Clinical Psychology offer the chance to work with, and be supervised by, a range of clinical academics across many areas of psychology.

Candidates should note that these programmes do not lead to Chartered Clinical Psychologist status.

Our research involves national and international collaborations, with many projects involving NHS partnerships.

We have specific research strengths in the areas of children and adolescents; developmental psychopathology of mental health; ageing and older adulthood; adult psychological problems; brain injury; chronic health conditions; psychological therapies research, including cognitive behavioural interventions; emotions and emotion regulation; sex offenders; learning disability; neuropsychology; quality of life; severe and enduring mental health problems; and the development and validation of measures.

Specific areas of interest include cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, psychosis, health psychology, and qualitative approaches.

Recent successful PhD topics have included eating disorders and emotion; chronic pain; quality of life and intellectual disabilities; developmental factors in adolescent mental health, and intervention for bipolar disorder.

We have an active research group in the area of applied developmental psychology and psychological therapies research for severe mental health issues. We coordinate the Edinburgh Child and Adolescent Psychology Network. The group’s research areas include child and adolescent health and mental health; cognition, language and learning; social development and relationships; and atypical development.

For more detailed information about potential PhD supervisors in this area, their research interests and publications, please visit our website.

Our research interests include:

onset and recovery from severe and enduring psychological disorder
mindfulness and third wave approaches
medically unexplained symptoms
child and adolescent mental health
eating behaviours and disorders
attachment and emotion regulation and sex offenders.

Training and support

The PhD and MSc by Research programmes allow you to conduct an independent research project that makes a significant contribution to your chosen field of study and to further develop your research skills. We provide expertise in a variety of research methods including qualitative and quantitative approaches.

You will be assigned two supervisors (usually one for MSc by Research) and you will meet with your supervisors regularly. Workshops, seminars and courses in research methods are available to postgraduate students undertaking a higher degree by research.

We work in close collaboration with the Graduate School of Social & Political Science, enabling School of Health in Social Science research students to benefit from the extensive suite of social science research courses offered by both Schools.

With close ties with other humanities disciplines and with colleagues in the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, we offer PhD students excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary supervision and research project development.

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This distance learning degree is designed especially for graduate students or professionals already working with children caught up in the legal system. Read more

Why take this course?

This distance learning degree is designed especially for graduate students or professionals already working with children caught up in the legal system.

Supported by academics who have research interests and expertise in child witnessing and children as suspects/offenders, this course provides a chance for you to study relevant specialist topics.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Be taught by actively researching academics at the cutting edge of child forensic psychology research
Participate in live web-based chat forums to discuss your work with lecturers and other students
Tap in to our Library’s vast selection of electronic resources or access library facilities and borrow books locally via the SCONUL scheme

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course provides an opportunity for those supporting or working with child victims, witnesses or suspects to enhance their knowledge and skills, and gain an academic qualification.

Module Details

Year One

Full time students will study all units in one full year.

Part time students - Year One:

You will normally study three units each year, and will begin to explore potential research ideas and research methodologies in your first year.

Here are the units you will study:

Child Development and Young Offenders: This unit discusses child development theories including cognitive, emotional, social, and sexual development and in the second half of the unit, it critically discusses the factors, prevention, and intervention strategies for children as perpratators. A summary of research on adolescent violent offenders and adolescent sex offenders is followed by a section on child suspects, criminal responsibility, and false confessions and suggestibility.

Law and Procedures Relating to Children: This unit provides an historical overview of what influenced the changes to the law that have provided the special measures to help children have greater access to the criminal justice process. It also outlines current laws and procedures in England and Wales.

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods: This unit introduces experimental and survey-based research methods, as well as quantitative data analysis techniques. It also covers qualitative methods for data collection and analysis, as well as to how to write research reports in both traditions.

Year Two

Part time students - Year Two

In your second year you will cover several other applied topics and carry out an independent research project relevant to children caught up in the legal system.

Here are the units you will study:

Interviewing Child Witnesses and the Detection of Deception: This unit introduces the issue of suggestibility and outlines the current advocated interview protocols for the investigative interviewing of child witnesses. It discusses Statement Validity Assessment, a technique for assessing the truthfulness of statements based solely on what is spoken by the child. The second part of this unit includes discussion of risk factors, prevention and intervention strategies for children as perpetrators.

Research Project: The research project requires you to initiate, conduct and report upon an original piece of research. The work is conducted to deadlines agreed with a project supervisor and must include empirical quantitative or qualitative research – data collection and relevant analysis must be included. Any statistical analysis must be both descriptive (e.g. means, standard deviations and graphs and so on) and inferential (i.e. statistical tests).

An option unit – the current choices are one unit from these two options:

Communication and Investigative Interviewing of People with Intellectual Disabilities: This unit aims to promote communication skills and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and outline the status of the law concerning vulnerable adults as witnesses/victims. It aims to provide you with the opportunity to examine issues that arise when people with intellectual disabilities are interviewed as witnesses/victims of crime.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: This unit outlines and discusses the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy. You are strongly encouraged to view this course as an introduction to the academic literature on this subject, rather than as training to be a therapist.

Programme Assessment

Despite its distance learning mode, this course is still extremely student focused. You will be given resources, materials, help and guidance to complete your studies to your full ability. Using our virtual learning environment you can participate in group discussions with other students in a friendly yet challenging online class environment. Plus real-time text based 'chat sessions' with lecturers will ensure you receive all the support you need for the topics you study.

You are assessed in a variety of ways to reflect the individual topics, however there are no examinations and all assessment is coursework based. Here’s how we assess your work:

Essays
Critical reviews
Information leaflets
Wikis
Presentation slides
A research project

Student Destinations

Many of our students are already employed or involved with children caught up in the legal system. Others, however, are new graduates and have yet to work in this environment. Whatever your experience, this course aims to enable you to have a greater understanding of many aspects concerning children as victims, witnesses or suspected offenders.

Previous graduates of the course frequently make significant progress in their careers. Some are just in the beginning stages while others move on to senior manager positions and upwards. Those yet to embark on a career have gone on to find work in related professions, such as the police. Others have chosen to complete more studies such as a social work qualification to be able to work directly with children. More recently, students have gone on to study for advanced academic qualifications.

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This MSc Forensic Psychology course offers you the chance to learn about some of the most dangerous offenders in society, their victims, approaches to assisting police with their enquires (investigative psychology), the criminal justice system from a psychological perspectives and to enhance your skills in communication, group work, professionalism and ICT. Read more
This MSc Forensic Psychology course offers you the chance to learn about some of the most dangerous offenders in society, their victims, approaches to assisting police with their enquires (investigative psychology), the criminal justice system from a psychological perspectives and to enhance your skills in communication, group work, professionalism and ICT.

We will also improve your research skills and knowledge, through teaching you how to design high-level research projects, conduct statistical analysis, and to evaluate and scientifically report research findings.

The core aim of the course is to prepare students to work with clients and professionals in a range of forensic and forensic-related settings. Equipped with a sound knowledge of key theoretical and applied issues in forensic psychology, you will gain not only a critical appreciation of theoretical and factual concepts, but an awareness of the strengths and limitations of research evidence. The course integrates psychological theory with the development of practical skills and an understanding of professional practice.

What's covered in the course?

The aims of the programme are to:
-Equip you with a detailed critical understanding of the key theoretical and applied issues in forensic psychology, including the development of offending behaviour, re-offending, the effects of offending on victims, and the assessment and treatment of offenders;
-Provide training in forensic methods primarily from a psychological standpoint, but also to familiarise you with the perspectives of a range of professions involved in the assessment and treatment of offenders;
-Enable you to acquire an advanced ability to design research, conduct statistical analysis, and evaluate and scientifically report research in forensic psychology;
-Enhance your skills in communication, group work, professionalism and ICT so that you can perform at a high level of competence in these respects;
-Satisfy the academic requirements for Master’s-level knowledge, set out by the Division for Forensic Psychology, British Psychological Society.

On successful completion of the course, you will be able to demonstrate an advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the applied issues in forensic psychology.

You’ll also be able to apply a range of academic, intellectual and professional skills to forensic psychology, as well as being able to display significant insight into the application of forensic skills in the assessment and treatment of both offenders and victims.

Graduates of this course are expected to have developed strong academic, intellectual and professional skills, with the ability to work autonomously and in groups

Why Choose Us?

-Completion of this MSc course enables you to gain specialist knowledge of dealing with people within the Criminal Justice System, including sex offenders, offenders with personality disorders, victims of crime, the police and probation services.
-You’ll be provided with training in forensic methods primarily from a psychological standpoint, but you'll also be familiarised with the perspectives of a range of professions involved in the criminal justice system
-We have expert practitioners, such as Professor Michael Brookes OBE, who will support you throughout your study.
-We have expert academics, such as Dr Chrisa Pornari, who can supervise your research project in a wide range of areas, including investigative psychology, jury decision making, interpersonal violence, rape myths and offender cognition.
-With full or part-time options on offer, you can choose whether to study over one year or two.

How you learn

We use a range of learning, teaching, and assessment techniques on this programme.

Learning takes place in the University, through the University’s virtual learning environment which is an online based tool, giving you the flexibility to study conveniently both in the university and at home. You will study in lectures and workshops, through electronic learning, reflective practice, court visits, prison visits, case studies and discussion groups.

In order to allow you to fully demonstrate the acquisition of learning and skills throughout the course, a range of assessment strategies are used, both formative and summative. These include essays, report writing and structured literature reviews; data analysis reports; preparing and delivering presentations; reflective practice reports and examinations

There are 24 staff directed hours per module which needs to be combined with a least 130 hours of independent study.

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The course was one of the first to take an internationally comparative perspective across a broad range of criminology and criminal justice issues. Read more
The course was one of the first to take an internationally comparative perspective across a broad range of criminology and criminal justice issues. It is designed to meet the needs of three groups of potential students: those requiring a thorough research training specialising in criminology and criminal justice; those who are interested in pursuing criminology and criminal justice to an advanced level; and practitioners in the criminal justice field who wish to expand their horizons from national to international levels. The programme components consist of a generic research module (The Research Process) for training in qualitative and quantitative research methods in the Social Sciences, specialised training in Applied Research Criminology and a module on international case studies in Criminology, which allows students to incorporate their particular research interests and areas of enquiry in comparative criminological and criminal justice research. The MA includes a 20,000 word dissertation.

Structure
The course aims to provide advanced training in research and analysis, linking theoretical awareness with empirical studies in criminology and criminal justice. The taught element of the course is studied by both MA and Diploma students and consists of core research training and theory modules, plus a module focussing on international and comparative criminological and criminal justice research. MA students who successfully complete the taught element proceed to the research dissertation.

Core modules:

The Research Process
Comparative Criminological Research
Key Issues in Crime and Justice
Empirical studies:

Applied Research in Criminology
MA students also take part in the fortnightly lecture series of the School of Social Sciences. Visiting speakers and Bangor staff present topics related to social policy, criminology and sociology.

Research Dissertation
The dissertation is a piece of independent research where you are expected to apply your research skills to a specific criminological or criminal justice topic. You will conduct this work with academic guidance provided by your supervisor who will be a member of the criminology and criminal justice team. Examples of successful MA dissertations in the past include:

Youth crime: high spirits or a criminal act
Sex offenders in the community
Human trafficking
An Englishman’s home is his castle
’Get out of jail free’ – malingered psychosis in prison populations
Research Interests of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Team
Youth homelessness and crime
Institutional child abuse
Critical approaches to law, crime and criminology
Sociology of law
Public opinion on crime and criminal justice
Penal policy
Rural criminology
Lay judges and jurors
Procedural justice
Popular legal culture, including film and TV
Victimology
Islamic extremism and terrorism
Trust in courts, police and the legal profession
Teaching and assessment methods
Teaching occurs via lectures, seminars and tutorials given by research experts in the School of Social Sciences. The team of lecturers employs the concept of ’active learning’ by students. Assessment methods include essays, assignments, presentations and a 20,000 word dissertation.

Careers
The course prepares for a wide range of employment including:

Law-enforcement agencies: the police, customs, the prison service
Public administration: including crime prevention units, offender management, general administration, international institutions
Political associations, work for members of parliaments, for lobby groups related to the criminal justice system and to issues of social justice broadly conceived
Research institutes, researching criminological and sociological issues
Academic institutions such as universities

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Criminology at Middlesex has a particularly strong international reputation. Read more
Criminology at Middlesex has a particularly strong international reputation. The department was pioneering in an influential strand of criminology called ‘left realism’, and established one of the very first courses of its kind in the UK, which is still considered to be one of the leading postgraduate criminology courses.

The MA in Criminology will expand your knowledge and understanding of crime and criminal justice at national and international levels. It promotes a critical and comparative approach to subject matter and will equip you to apply traditional and contemporary criminological perspectives and methods to rapidly changing problems.

A highlight of the course is an opportunity to attend common study sessions with postgraduate criminologists studying in universities across Europe including Athens, Barcelona, Ghent, Hamburg and Rotterdam and also at John Jay College in New York.

Key benefits

- Highly reputable criminology department with a long history in training the very best criminologists
Innovative and pioneering research, particularly in the areas of crime, policing, community safety, justice and victimisation and broader fields of conflict, social movements, international conflicts, political violence and terrorism
- Academic staff are all members of the Crime and Conflict Research Centre with excellent industry links
- Academic staff are involved in developing pioneering work, recently in areas such as 'status dogs' and gangs (Dr Simon Harding) and sex offenders’ use of the internet and online child safety (Dr Elena Martellozzo)
- Option to study a module in global criminology, adding a truly international dimension to your training
- Common study sessions with other postgraduate criminologists from universities across Europe and also at John Jay College in New York
- All postgraduate students in the department are invited to attend twiceyearly conferences in either Greece, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, UK or USA

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Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), students on this course will gain the academic knowledge and skills required as the initial training for a career in forensic psychology. Read more
Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), students on this course will gain the academic knowledge and skills required as the initial training for a career in forensic psychology. As a student you will benefit from experienced teaching staff who individually support you towards your own professional aims as you study a range of forensic psychology topics.

Visiting speakers and partners contribute specialist insights from working in a range of forensic settings, on issues surrounding the commission, detection and prosecution of sexual offences as well as the management and treatment of sex offenders. Assignments are designed around typical tasks faced by forensic psychologists in professional settings, such as preparing expert witness
statements and case formulations. At dissertation stage, students explore their professional or academic interests and can make use of technologies such as EEG and virtual reality equipment. Past and current students have presented research at international conferences, making an impact in the world of professional forensic psychology before graduation.

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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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