Investigative Psychology MSc

2020-21

This course is eligible for Master's loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

21 September 2020

Duration

1 year full-time

Places available (subject to change)

80

Phone contact: +44 (0)1484 472265

About the course

This course explores the application of psychological principles to diverse aspects of the analysis, investigation and legal processing of crime.

This exciting course currently offers intensive training on advanced statistical methods, which may open doors into many jobs beyond crime and investigations. It allows you access to a unique and extensive Investigative Psychology archive developed by Professor David Canter, containing original case files and material on murders, serial killers, profiles and publications. As well as an international network of law enforcement contacts and specialist software for statistical and crime analysis.

The course offers you the opportunity to engage with Centres within the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences (IRCAHS). During your studies you will hear from visiting speakers including experts from around the world and police officers will talk about real life cases.

The course is currently accredited by the British Psychological Society and recognised as the first step towards status as a Chartered Forensic Psychologist in the UK for students who have Graduate Basis for Chartership.

Investigative psychology is the systematic science that developed out of early ‘offender profiling’ contributions by psychologists and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to police investigations and court cases. In recent years this sub-discipline has become an increasingly dominant area of forensic psychology.

The course covers the full range of contributions that professional psychologists can make including the legal and investigative process; evaluating the validity of suspect or witness accounts; assessing the decision-making processes of detectives or jurors; to developing profiling inferences about the likely characteristics of an offender and predicting their likely home location.

Much of this expertise is predicated upon the detailed understanding of criminal action patterns, so intensive examinations of the variations in criminal behavioural style are a central feature of this course.

This course aim to provide in-depth expertise in all aspects of Investigative Psychology as developed by the originator of the discipline Professor David Canter. It has a strong research emphasis, helping to equip you with the expertise to conduct your own crime research projects in diverse professional contexts.

Course detail

Clinical Forensic Psychology

This module will introduce you to the major issues within clinical forensic psychology. You will explore the psychology of criminal behaviour and the relationship between mental disorder and crime. You will also study psychopathology, mental disorders, the different interventions, treatments and rehabilitation of offenders, as well as the risk factors and risk assessment measures used to assess the risk of (re)-offending and approaches to helping victims. Assessment will involve one piece of coursework, where you will produce a case/court report.

Dissertation (Investigative Psychology)

You will undertake a research project, which you will design, implement and analyse. This will be in the form of a literature review of a focused topic using a systematic approach or an empirical study that draws on and makes a contribution to investigative psychology. The project must demonstrate appropriate design, methods and techniques along with interpretation and evaluation of the findings reported to a high professional standard. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework.

Improving Legal Testimony and Evidence in Court and investigations

In this module you will explore potential sources of error within the evidence at each stage of an investigation, from initial witness statements and comments from suspects, to how the evidence is presented in court. You will examine the challenges of investigative information and investigative decision making, explore the procedures that have been developed to improve the effectiveness of investigative interviews and consider factors that lead to false confessions and reasons for false allegations. You will also study how to improve eyewitness testimonies and the psycholinguistics of questioned documents. Assessment will involve a piece of coursework.

Introducing Investigative Psychology: from Offender Profiling to the Science of IP

Investigative psychology is concerned with the psychological input to a range of issues related to the management, investigation and prosecution of crime. You will be introduced to the scope of investigative psychology and the principles on which it is based. The module explores the contributions that psychologists can make to police investigations, the emergence of investigative psychology from offender profiling, processes of detection, the significance of inference and the main questions investigative psychologists ask. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework and an exam.

Investigative Psychology for Violent Acquisitive and Sexual Crime

You will explore the complexities in the process of drawing offender inferences from offence behaviour and why deriving such inferences empirically is not as straightforward as it is expected. You will study ‘criminal narratives’, considering the life stories of offenders and the roles they perceive themselves as playing throughout their lives. Theories and models for a range of different crime types including robbery, burglary, fraud, murder, stalking, domestic violence, sexual offences, organised crime and terrorism will be critically examined. You will be assessed through a piece of coursework.

Investigative Psychology: Tactics and Strategies for Studying Criminal Action

Through this module you will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the variety of research methods used in investigative psychology. You will conduct and interpret advanced statistical analyses, as well as communicate research findings in a format suitable to the research community. You will also explore data sources, interviewing techniques, questionnaire design, content analysis of qualitative data, psychometrics, multivariate statistics, inferential statistics and multidimensional scaling. Assessment will involve completing three pieces of coursework, two exercises and a journal article.

Offender Spatial Activity: Beyond Geographical Offender Profiling

This module will examine how offence locations relate to the lives of offenders. You will explore the significance of closeness of the crime locations to key places in the offender’s life and the geometry of the distribution of the offences. You will also study propinquity (the distance offenders travel), morphology (whether investigators can predict the offenders home area), variations in criminality and offender geography and geographical profiling systems. Assessment will involve producing a piece of coursework.

Professional Issues and Applications

This module explores the importance of professional and ethical issues in the application of investigative psychology. You will study topics including professional applications relating to forensic medical sciences (pathology and toxicology), forensic physical sciences, legal processes and expert evidence, as well as behavioural investigative advice and crime analysis. You will be assessed through two pieces of coursework including a presentation and a written assignment.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are normally one of the following:

  • An Honours degree (2:1 or above) in Psychology recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as conferring eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) or its international equivalent. Criminology or other relevant disciplines will be considered.
  • Or the ability to complete a Master’s course at a higher level demonstrated through professional, vocational or other documented experience.
  • Basic understanding of research methods, statistics and some experience of working with offenders, the police, the courts or another relevant institution is also beneficial.

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0, or equivalent will be considered acceptable. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages. If you have alternative qualifications or do not meet the IELTS requirement we also offer a range of Pre-Sessional English Programmes.

Please note that during the three study weeks you must be available in class from 9am to 7pm on all five weekdays. Sessions may start slightly later or finish earlier and you will be advise prior to the start of term.

Teaching excellence

  1. Huddersfield is a TEF gold-rated institution delivering consistently outstanding teaching and learning of the highest quality found in the UK (Teaching Excellence Framework, 2017).
  2. We won the first Global Teaching Excellence Award recognising the University’s commitment to world-class teaching and its success in developing students as independent learners and critical thinkers (HEA, 2017).
  3. Here at Huddersfield, you’ll be taught by some of the best lecturers in the country. We’ve been the English university with the highest proportion of professionally-qualified teaching staff for the past four years*.
  4. For the past ten years, we’ve been the UK’s leading university for National Teaching Fellowships too, which rate Britain’s best lecturers. It’s all part of our ongoing drive for teaching excellence, which helps our students to achieve great things too.
  5. We’re unique in the fact that all our permanent teaching staff** have, or are completing, doctorates. This expertise, together with our teaching credentials, means that students here learn from knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers and academics who are at the forefront of their subject area.

*HESA - First awarded in 2016, maintained in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

**Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching; research degrees applies to those on contracts of more than half-time.

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

A wide range of resources are also offered within the School of Human and Health Sciences, which provides you with support in a variety of areas. These include:

Student Hub: a one stop shop for students, studying within the School. Their services include offering advice on extenuating circumstances, extension requests, attendance and welfare support, organising appointments with academic staff, signposting to other support networks and loan of MP3 recorders.

Academic Skills Development Team: provides guidance about how students can develop their academic skills in order to improve their grades. The team provide support with general academic skills including essay writing, time management, presentations and group work skills; information technology and numeracy; research skills, as well as personal development for example confidence building and assertiveness.

Learning Technology Support Unit: helps students with any problems they experience with the University’s Brightspace System, including logging on or difficulties experienced when accessing modules.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

Changes to a course you have applied for

If we propose to make a major change to a course that you are holding an offer for, then we will tell you as soon as possible so that you can decide whether to withdraw your application prior to enrolment.

Changes to your course after you enrol as a student

We will always try to deliver your course and other services as described. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below:

Changes to option modules

Where your course allows you to choose modules from a range of options, we will review these each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback or demand for certain modules. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let you know in good time the options available for you to choose for the following year.

Major changes

We will only make major changes to the core curriculum of a course or to our services if it is necessary for us to do so and provided such changes are reasonable. A major change in this context is a change that materially changes the services available to you; or the outcomes, or a significant part, of your course, such as the nature of the award or a substantial change to module content, teaching days (part time provision), classes, type of delivery or assessment of the core curriculum.

For example, it may be necessary to make a major change to reflect changes in the law or the requirements of the University’s regulators; to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body; to improve the quality of educational provision; in response to student, examiners’ or other course evaluators’ feedback; and/or to reflect academic or professional changes within subject areas. Major changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, such as a key member of staff leaving the University or being unable to teach, where they have a particular specialism that can’t be adequately covered by other members of staff; or due to damage or interruption to buildings, facilities or equipment.

Major changes would usually be made with effect from the next academic year, but this may not always be the case. We will notify you as soon as possible should we need to make a major change and will carry out suitable consultation with affected students. If you reasonably believe that the proposed change will cause you detriment or hardship we will, if appropriate, work with you to try to reduce the adverse effect on you or find an appropriate solution. Where an appropriate solution cannot be found and you contact us in writing before the change takes effect you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the University without liability to the University for future tuition fees. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

Termination of course

In exceptional circumstances, we may, for reasons outside of our control, be forced to discontinue or suspend your course. Where this is the case, a formal exit strategy will be followed and we will notify you as soon as possible about what your options are, which may include transferring to a suitable replacement course for which you are qualified, being provided with individual teaching to complete the award for which you were registered, or claiming an interim award and exiting the University. If you do not wish to take up any of the options that are made available to you, then you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the course without liability to the University for future tuition fees and you will be entitled to a refund of all course fees paid to date. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, along with the Student Protection Plan, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.