Criminology with Forensic Psychology MA

Why choose this course?

This Criminology with Forensic Psychology MA programme enables you to combine two complementary subject areas.

In the forensic component of the course, you will study investigative and legal processes. For example, how psychological methods can improve interviewing techniques and police inquiry decision-making. Different investigative methods will also be critically evaluated from the historical to the contemporary.

The criminology component examines the social, economic and political contexts that give rise to crime and criminal victimisation.

Also, the formal responses to offending behaviour, including policing, punishment and rehabilitation, and wider strategies of social control will be considered and challenged. In addition, you will study the criminalisation process and engage critically with crime reduction methods.

Note: If you are interested in becoming a practising psychologist you should undertake the MSc in Forensic Psychology as this programme is BPS-accredited

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2024
Part time 2 years September 2024
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Kingston's location offers opportunities to see the criminal justice system in operation through the close network of courts, prisons and community-based crime-reduction programmes.
  • In addition to learning about forensic psychology and the substantive elements of criminological theory, research and practice, the course examines an array of social harms and perspectives which have traditionally been neglected by criminologists and the legal system.
  • The course offers opportunities to learn first-hand experiences of imprisonments, alternative community rehabilitation provisions, and legal perspectives.

Specialist careers support

You will take part in an Assessment Centre Experience, providing the opportunity to experience the pathway to employment with tailored feedback to help develop your employability skills for the world of graduate employment.

  • Develop your understanding of the jobs market, including current trends and opportunities, different recruitment processes and how to identify relevant roles
  • Receive personalised feedback reports to help you to improve and progress
  • Access additional webinars on top tips, employer expectations and best practice
Specialist careers support

Kingston's Department of Criminology, Politics and Sociology

What you will study

Criminology is a dynamic and multi-disciplinary subject that draws upon a range of theoretical frameworks and social research techniques to explore criminological phenomena. You will engage with the theoretical ideas that govern the discipline and apply them to better understand the substantive issues in the study of crime, harm and justice. In the forensic psychology component, you will study the psychological processes underpinning investigative techniques and judicial processes. The programme will involve a critical appreciation of how psychology can be used to improve: police decision making when interviewing witnesses and courtroom procedures.

Full time: This course, studied across one year, is made up of three core modules, a dissertation and one elective module.

Part time: Typically, as a part-time student you will study two core modules in Year 1. In Year 2 you will take one core module and a dissertation. In addition, you will study one further elective module which may take place in Year 1 or Year 2.

Modules

Core modules

Investigative and Legal Processes in Forensic Psychology

30 credits

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 you develop 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 you to identify areas within the courtroom process where psychological techniques could be utilised. Thus, you are taken on an analytical and evaluative journey of the key criminal justice processes of the investigation and presentation of evidence in cases.

Understanding Crime and Criminal Careers

30 credits

The module offers a comparative analysis of the main theoretical approaches to criminology: approaches centred on the individual (psychological and biological approaches) and approaches centred on the social context. This theoretical knowledge will be applied to the study of various types of ‘criminal trajectories' such as youth crime, professional crime, white-collar crime, and sexual offences. Students will study the role played by the police in modern and late modern societies and explore how key contemporary policing issues are situated in more general question of social control and governance. The module aims to develop an understanding of how the specific combination of individual and social factors and factors of social control lead individuals, or group of individuals, to a place where they are now labelled 'criminals'.

Dissertation Research Methods and Professional Practice

30 credits

This module is designed to stimulate students' engagement with academic research and analysis. Students develop a critical understanding of the rationale, design and implementation of different methodologies used by social scientists for their research. They develop a framework for evaluating social research and conducting their own empirical work. In the first half of the module students gain first-hand experience in quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis through instruction and class exercises. In the second half students will apply their knowledge and understanding of research methods to a specific field of enquiry.

Criminology Dissertation

60 credits

This module provides an excellent opportunity for students to extend their criminological knowledge through a detailed study on a topic of their choice and to demonstrate their capacity to utilise the key conceptual perspectives and practical skills of a working criminologist. Students can approach the module either as a theoretical study which is primarily library-based and adopts the traditional style of a dissertation as an extended essay or they can approach it as an empirical investigation and present their findings as a comprehensive research report. The module will be supervised on an individual basis by a member of the staff team.

Punishment: History and Meaning

15 credits

Through the readings of classical and contemporary texts and contributions from feminist and critical race theorists, we will debate the major theories and contributions on the following questions:

  • How do we punish?
  • Who do we punish?
  • Why do we punish the way we do?
  • Why is the meaning of punishment so debated?
  • Why did we develop "alternative" punishments in late modernity?
  • Why are prisons in a state of constant reform?

The aim of this first part of the module is to build a critical framework to understand the decisions of judges and policymakers in the social history of punishment.

in the second part of the module, we will go through current empirical and theoretical research on sentencing, the prison experience and on the political discourse on punishment. We will compare punishment practices and discourses in the UK with the other countries of the West. The aim of this second part of the module is to develop a deep understanding of criminal justice systems and their relations to the rest of society.

Victimology

15 credits

This module seeks to place the victims of crime at the centre of victimological/criminological debate and analysis. Students will explore the historical neglect of victims and the social processes that gave rise to the contemporary ‘victim movement'. You will study patterns in victimisation and its different forms, for example, inter-personal and digital. You will debate issues that relate to a variety of victim types: children/young people, elderly, women/men, LGBTQ, and specific race and religious groups. We will problematise the construction of ‘victim[s]' and examine the social relations that determine when the status of victim is awarded, and the circumstances that govern when such label is denied.

In addition to the theoretical and conceptual content, the module engages with a number of substantive areas: students will explore lived experiences of victimisation, including psychological impact, the legal rights of victims, and the role of victims in criminal justice procedures, the available protection afforded to them and existing services of support.

Kingston School of Law, Social and Behavioural Sciences

The School offers courses in economics, sociology, law, psychology and criminology. Our degrees are underpinned by a vibrant research culture and delivered by a blend of practitioners and academics who are dedicated to equipping you with the employability skills to thrive in your career.

You will have a wealth of opportunities outside the classroom to further your learning and gain hands-on experience in your chosen field.

After you graduate

This course can lead to careers within various areas, working for both public and private organisations. This may include policy making; offender management; crime reduction and multi-agency partnership work; security and policing; criminological research; local and national government; and work for related advocacy and policy-based organisations.

Recent graduates have secured employment in policing, victim and witnesses services, prisons/prison offender management, the military, counter-terrorism and security.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

A 2:2 or above honours degree or equivalent in psychology.

Candidates with non-standard qualifications but with relevant experience are welcome to apply.

Prior learning – AP(E)L

Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Contact the faculty office for further information.

International

Please note: most students from countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area and classified as overseas fee paying, are not eligible to apply for part-time courses due to UK student visa regulations. For information on exceptions please visit the UKCISA website or email our CAS and Visa Compliance team.

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with no element below 6.0. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from recognised majority-English-speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country-specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will have a personal tutor and will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

11% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 191 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1609 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises practical assessments (e.g. presentations, performance) and coursework (e.g. essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetables

Each student receives a personalised timetable. This is usually available after you have completed your online enrolment, which is typically accessible one month before the start of your course.

Class sizes

You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which supports dedicated academic guidance and advice and gives you the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes therefore you will be taught alongside students who are on these courses within the School.

Who teaches this course?

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on this course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. The following group of staff members are currently involved in the delivery of different elements of this course. This pool is subject to change at any time within the academic year.

Fees for this course

2024/25 fees for this course

Home 2024/25

  • MA full time £10,900
  • MA part time £5,995

International 2024/25

  • MA full time £17,900
  • MA part time £9,845

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • MA full time £9,860
  • MA part time £5,423

International 2023/24

  • MA full time £15,800
  • MA part time £8,690

Tuition fee information for future course years

If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.

If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.

Postgraduate loans

If you are a UK student, resident in England and are aged under the age of 60, you will be able to apply for a loan to study for a postgraduate degree. For more information, read the postgraduate loan information on the government's website.

Scholarships and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residence. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost from £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Field trips

There may be optional local field trips which would incur a travel cost of at least £25 per year.

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.