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 psychology component of the programme you will study a range of investigative and legal processes, policing and geographical profiling. You will engage critically with offender profiling and explore the practice of Behavioural Investigative Advice (BIA) in the UK.

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.

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 2020
Part time 2 years September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

2020/21 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Kingston's location gives opportunities to see, at first hand, the criminal justice system in operation in London's courts, custodial institutions and community-based crime-reduction programmes.
  • Students have had access to prisons to enrich their academic learning.
  • This course challenges traditional understandings by drawing on topics including anti-racist, feminist, green, Marxist and queer perspectives.

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 centered on the individual (psychological and biological approaches) and approaches centered 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.

 

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

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

Minimum of second-class honours degree, or equivalent, in criminology or a related subject.

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 5.5. 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 a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

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 teaching and learning activity

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 189 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1611 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 189 hours
  • Guided independent study: 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

2020/21

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £9,200
  • MA part time £5,060

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £14,900
  • MA part time £8,195

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:

Changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.

In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Modules

We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.

While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.

Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.

Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.

The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

In previous years the university has sought to arrange an extra-curricular prison visit for students on this course. This year, we will not be arranging this activity due to the pandemic and restrictions imposed by prisons.

Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.

In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.