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Forensic Psychology BSc(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time C8C6 2018
4 years full time including foundation year C816 2018
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2018

Why choose this course?

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This course is designed to help you build a career as a forensic psychologist or to work in a complementary sector, such as the police force, drug rehabilitation or legal services. It is one of only a few degrees in the UK offering a specialist forensic psychology qualification.

The course focuses on the psychological aspects of criminal investigations, the psychology of offending behaviour, and the connections between mental disorders and offending behaviours. The course combines theoretical and practical approaches central to the investigative process. You will learn about the reasons for assessing risk and analyse the validity of instruments used.
This course has been accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Graduates are eligible for graduate membership of the BPS and the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership, which is the first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist. With further training, this can lead to a career in forensic psychology.

Foundation year - Social Sciences

If you are thinking of returning to education after a break you could apply for our foundation year course. This course will provide you with the academic and transferable skills you need to study an undergraduate degree in any of the Social Sciences. At Kingston these include Criminology, Sociology, Psychology, Economics and Politics.

Throughout the year-long course, you can study a range of these subjects, allowing you to get a better idea of which ones you prefer. It'll guide you in the direction of a social sciences degree that you're particularly interested in. The foundation year will develop your independent study skills and help you to better understand your academic ability, a potential career path and how to develop the skills that employers look for in graduates.

What you will study

Year 1 introduces the core principles and major techniques of forensic psychology, the issue of crime and the criminal justice system. It examines concepts, methods and theories in core areas of psychological science, such as relationships between brain and behaviour, interaction within groups, how human beings learn and develop.

Year 2 studies relationships between crime, mental health and interventions in a forensic context. Modules include research methods, individual differences, social psychology, child development, biopsychology and cognitive psychology.

Year 3 includes valuable work experience and studies psychological theories related to investigation and criminal behaviour. You will choose a dissertation topic, supervised by researchers whose range of expertise includes: investigation into the predictors of criminal and partner violence, including the role of gangs, substance abuse and marital breakdown; the application of psychological principals to verbal and non-verbal aspects of deception; and detection of deception through interviewing. You can choose from a range of option modules, and tailor your studies to your own interests and aspirations.

Theme week

You will also take part in the annual School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology themed week. During one week, regular teaching is put on hold for a series of workshops, presentations, discussion and reading groups on a contemporary social issue, all led by expert speakers. Our 2014 Gender Week, 2015 War and Peace Week, and 2016 Race and Ethnicity Week were all great successes. We look forward to your participation in 2017's Poverty and Inequalities Week.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Foundation year

  • The module introduces you to a wide spectrum of disciplines and approaches in social and behavioural sciences. It'll look at common features of any social sciences degree, like the study of collective and individual human behaviour, and defining features of the individual disciplines.

    A key focus will be on the overlapping boundaries between different disciplines in the social and behavioural sciences. You'll learn how to use qualitative research methods to understand collective and individual human behaviour.

    By the end of the module, you'll have a better understanding of the differences and commonalities of the individual fields of study within the social and behavioural sciences and the key features of each.

  • Practical Research Skills gives you the opportunity to carry out a research project on a topic agreed with a supervisor, who will guide you in conducting a literature review, formulate a research question, design a research study, collect data and present findings.

  • Using Quantitative Methods enables you to apply mathematical knowledge to solve a range of problems within social and behavioural scientific contexts. You'll learn how to use calculators and computer software to analyse and present mathematical data in a variety of formats, and develop your competence in algebraic, graphical, numerical and statistical techniques, as well as elementary formal logic.

  • This module aims to prepare you for undergraduate study and gives you the skills and knowledge related to the study of social and behavioural science subjects. You'll cover research skills (like using a library and electronic resources), planning, note taking, building a bibliography, and avoiding plagiarism. You will also develop your communication skills, especially focusing on essay and report writing, delivering presentations and being an active participant in debates and discussions. It'll give you helpful strategies for time management and stress management, particularly focusing on recognising points at which stress needs to be dealt with.

    The module will encourage you to develop the independent learning, critical analysis, and reflective skills crucial to succeeding in a degree.


Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This module will provide students with an introduction to the institutions, processes and legal foundations of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. The module is core to the undergraduate degree. The module familiarises students with the language and reasoning of the criminal law and the structure and chronology of the criminal justice process. There is an emphasis on the development and practice of key academic skills especially information retrieval.

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  • This module introduces students to theories and ideas of psychological science in core areas of research. This module allows students to acquire a broad foundation of knowledge of these core areas, as well as many specialist sub-areas of psychology (e.g., biological psychology, learning, sensory and perceptual processes, memory, thought and knowledge, language, social, developmental, neuropsychology, individual differences, clinical).

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  • This module will introduce students to major areas of investigation within forensic psychology with special emphasis on how these link to core areas of the discipline (social, biological and developmental psychology and approaches to personality/individual differences). Students will also be introduced to related topics in law, court procedures and forensic science. The module will also provide some insight into the training and career pathways for forensic psychologists.

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  • This module is a core requirement for students taking psychology in level 4. The module will introduce students to key strategies which are used in psychological research, including designing an experiment, hypothesis testing, and statistical analysis. The main features of the module will involve the acquisition of practical skills in psychological research, learning how to apply and carry out statistical tests using SPSS, and how to report research findings.

    Throughout the module students will design a research project, write a report of the research project. Students will also analyse and report a psychological experiment.

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Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This module will cover major topics within the field of cognitive psychology, and will examine the relationship between brain function and our understanding of cognition and behaviour. The module will introduce key theoretical explanations proposed to account for human cognition and introduce students to some real-life applications of cognitive psychology. The module will also introduce students to the structure and function of the nervous system before examining the contribution of specialised brain structures to cognitive functions such as perception, attention, language, memory and decision making, and behaviours such as motivation, eating, emotion and sleep. Finally the module will examine the effect of hormones, drugs and neurological dysfunction on cognition and behaviour.

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  • This module builds on the introduction to research methods and inferential statistics offered in PS4001 Research Methods 1. It will cover more advanced research designs — involving multiple independent variables — and more advanced inferential statistics such as analysis of variance, regression analysis and factor analysis. It will also introduce students to qualitative research methods and data analysis. Students will learn to develop and implement multifactorial experimental designs through practical research exercises and a project. Students' scientific writing skills will be further developed on the basis of a series of lab reports.

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  • The module will cover a broad range of key theories and empirical research in social, individual and developmental psychology. This module will allow students to explore current theory and practice in psychology across range of topics that focuses on the person in psychology. In consideration of the social, individual (human abilities and personality attributes) and developmental areas of enquiry, the scientific approach and the notion of measurement is fundamental. 

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  • This module will introduce students to the associations between mental disorders and antisocial behaviour and criminal offending. Consideration will be given to the predisposing and precipitating factors that influence antisocial and criminal behaviour among those with mental disorders. Students will be introduced to the reasons for assessing risk and the validity of the instruments used. Students will also gain knowledge about the police investigative process and approach of the criminal courts to those with mental disorders and their disposal.

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Year 3 (Level 6)

  • This module will provide the opportunity to study and employ different methodologies in psychology by evaluating the strengths and limitations of different research designs. Students will execute an empirical research project on a topic agreed in consultation with a Psychology staff supervisor. Supervisory sessions with an academic supervisor will guide students to conduct a literature review, formulate a research question, design a research study, and consider research ethics relating to their study, culminating in data collection and writing up of a research report which satisfies APA guidelines.

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  • This module is an option at levels 6; it is likely to be of interest to students who want to extend their knowledge of the biological aspects of psychology as well as to those students who want to learn more about current clinical approaches to the treatment of drug-related problems. The module will introduce students to the basic principles of drug action before examining the mechanisms and effects of popular psychoactive drugs (such as alcohol, nicotine, cannabis and cocaine). The problems that can arise for the individual user and for society more generally due to drug abuse will be explored, for example by looking at the drugs' effects on physical and mental health and on the everyday lives of users. Different interpretations and explanations of "addiction" and "dependence" will be examined. Finally, the various treatments that are available for people with drug and alcohol problems will be evaluated. 

  • Conceptions of self and other are deeply embedded in violent conflict, an activity which typically results in the most egregious violations of human rights.  Highly polarised identities often sit uneasily with a universal humanity.  Based on the broad theme of the universal versus the particular, this module explores the interaction between identity, violent conflict and the abuse of human rights.  It provides students with the opportunity to consider how protracted conflicts may be better resolved more effectively and human rights better protected.  The module blends theoretical discussion of political violence with an analysis of recent conflicts and the legal and institutional mechanisms which have emerged to reduce their detrimental impact on human rights.

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  • There are two main streams in this module: Part I - Neuropsychology. The module will place a particular emphasis on understanding the effects of brain activity on cognitive and social aspects of human behaviour (and vice-versa). In addition, the module will address the effects of brain injury and neurological impairments with a view to understand models of normal cognitive and social functioning. Video material will be used to illustrate clinical cases when available. Part II – Neuro-rehabilitation. The module will introduce students to modern techniques for the diagnosis of neurological disorders and their neuropsychiatric implications. Interventions for the treatment and management of neurological disorders will be evaluated. Students' effort and engagement will be essential for a successful and rewarding experience. This will include active participation in lectures and the reading of the indicated material.

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  • This module is a level 6 elective that draws upon both criminological and sociological debates and knowledges. The module introduces students to social and psycho-social aspects of organisations and working life.  It encourages students to think about structural forms, interpersonal relationships and practices in organisational and institutional settings of various sorts. Students will learn by observing and undertaking work-based practice within subject-relevant residencies across criminal justice, welfare and support fields. The principle underlying the module is that worksites are important contexts for students to test, validate, expand upon, supplement and enrich their academic learning.

    The module requires students to undertake a minimum of 40 hours of fieldwork in an organisational setting. The form that the fieldwork will take will depend upon the nature of the residency but typically will involve interning, shadowing or volunteering. Students will be supported throughout the module but it is their responsibility to secure the residency. Students will be required to complete an interview with the module convenor to secure their motivation and commitment to the module, and to simulate the sorts of processes that students will undergo in the practice of securing a residency.

  • The module studies the role played by race in all aspects of the criminal justice systems in the United States and United Kingdom. It takes as its point of departure Professor Paul Gilroy's 1993 concept of the ‘Black Atlantic' as a cultural-political ‘space of hybridity' involving Africa, America, Britain and the Caribbean, and we use that concept to examine the extent to which crime and the criminal justice system have been politicised.

    The module concerns itself with the shifting politics of race within the criminal justice system. Among other topics, it explores historical representations of race and crime; press and media depictions of black male offenders; racial profiling and the ‘othering' of female offenders; and the commodification of prison that has led to the United States having the highest incarceration rates in the world.

    Other focal areas include racial disparities within the criminal justice system, the politics of punishment and sentencing, and empirical, theoretical, practical and policy issues. The module addresses issues of representation, the production of knowledge, the historical contexualisation of minority experiences in theoretical perspectives, and the ethical duties of criminologists working within minority experiences.

    The module includes a field trip to Bristol to explore the history of immigration and emigration as it relates to crime. 

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  • This module will focus on psychological aspects of investigations and will combine theoretical and practical approaches to activities central to the investigative process such as interviewing, identification, profiling, decision-making and deception. In addition, the module explore the psychological and behavioural underpinnings of feelings of security, and describe psychological factors in various measures that police, government, and security personnel take in ensuring the security of people in the community.

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  • This module introduces undergraduate students to the concept of transnational crime and highlights its significant impact on contemporary globalised society. The module utilises both criminological and socio-legal perspectives within the subject area.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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