Criminology with Forensic Psychology MA

Why choose this course?

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

The criminology elements will introduce you to the complex nature of crime, harm and victimisation, together with an appreciation of the role of criminal justice systems in relation to crime control, protection and the delivery of justice.

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 decision-making through different profiling methods which are also critically evaluated.

This course is designed for those who have a social science, socio-legal or policy studies background and who want to develop their knowledge further. The course is open to those who have a good undergraduate degree in a relevant area, and, or, to those whose background is characterised by practitioner experience at an appropriate level in a relevant field.

You will also explore the practice and boundaries of Behavioural Investigative Advice in the UK. The criminology course examines the social, economic and political contexts that give rise to crime and victimisation. You will explore and challenge formal responses to offending behaviour, including policing, punishment and rehabilitation, and wider strategies of social control.

You will study the criminalisation process and engage critically with ‘what works' to reduce crime.

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 2023
Part time 2 years September 2023
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 imprisonment, transitions into the community and the desistance process.

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 court room 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'.

Criminological Research in 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.

Option modules (choose 1)

Punishment: History and Meanings

30 credits

Through the readings of classical texts and contemporary works, you will question: how we punish? who we punish?, why is the meaning of punishment so debated and why are prisons in a state of constant reform? The aim is to build a critical framework to better understand the decisions of judiciary and policymakers in the social history of punishment. You will explore empirical and theoretical research on sentencing, the experience of imprisonment and the wider political discourse on punishment. Local punishment practices will be compared with other countries of the West in order to understand the social and economic relations of criminal justice systems.

Critical Criminology

30 credits

This module seeks to offer a critical understanding of the social, economic and political contexts that give rise to crime and to state responses to crime. You will explore different levels of offending, from individual offences to business/corporate violations and state transgressions. We will problematise the constructions of crime and deviance and the processes that have led to the dominant, accepted conceptions of crime and deviance becoming ‘naturalised'. One of the purposes of the module is to develop an understanding of the ways in which the definition of acts as ‘crimes' is central to shaping responses to them. We will examine a wide range of social harms that criminologists and the legal system often fail to examine, or to define as offences, or those that are seen as offences, but that are under-enforced. This includes not just violations of the law, but also harmful individual, institutional, and socially-accepted activities, behaviours, and practices. We will also build up an understanding of the relationship between processes of marginalisation and criminalisation.

Please note

Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.

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 gone on to work for Metropolitan Police Service, Avon & Somerset Police, HM Prison Service, Suzy Lamplugh Trust/National Stalking Helpline, Prison Advice Care Trust and private 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

  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 189 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1611 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 189 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1611 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises practical assessments (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg 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: 92%
  • Practical: 8%

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 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

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

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MA full time £8,560
  • MA part time £4,708

International 2022/23

  • MA full time £15,400
  • MA part time £8,470

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.

Funding 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. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks – this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

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 approximately £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.