University of Huddersfield

University of Huddersfield

Investigative Psychology

This course currently offers: Intensive training on advanced statistical methods, which may open doors into many jobs beyond crime and investigations; a range of visiting speakers including experts from around the world and police officers talking about real life cases; 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; specialist software for statistical and crime analysis; opportunities to engage with Centres within the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences (IRCAHS); an international network of law enforcement contacts. The course is 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 is a unique course that provides 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.

Entry requirements

A Bachelors degree in Psychology recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as conferring eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), Criminology or other relevant disciplines. Applicants whose degree is not recognised by the BPS or in another discipline are also eligible to apply. Minimum overall grade of 2.1 (or its international equivalent) 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. Applicants educated outside the UK are required to have International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at a score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in any element. If applicants have alternative qualifications or do not meet the IELTS requirement we also offer a range of Pre-Sessional English Programmes. Applicants may be eligible to gain accreditation for prior learning towards this course.

Course modules

Core modules: 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 (worth 100% of module marks). 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 (worth 100 per cent of module marks). 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 (worth 100 per cent of module marks). 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 (worth 50 per cent of module marks) and an exam (worth 50 per cent of module marks). 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 (worth 100 per cent of module marks). 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 (each worth 25 per cent of module marks) and a journal article (worth 50 per cent of module marks). 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 (worth 100 per cent of module marks). 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 2 pieces of coursework including a presentation (worth 50 per cent of module marks), and a written assignment (worth 50 per cent of module marks).

Assessment methods

Include varied projects and coursework such as court reports, geographical profiling reports, research reports, journal articles and oral presentations. Assessment is a combination of coursework, competency based learning and examination. The nature of the assessment varies from module to module, and mirrors the modes of communication expected of graduates in this field, for example grant proposal, professional case report, presentation to an expert audience.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MSc Full-time September 2016 GBP 6,000 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 1 years
MSc Full-time September 2016 GBP 6,000 per Year 1 (Scotland) 1 years
MSc Full-time September 2016 GBP 6,000 per Year 1 (Wales) 1 years
MSc Full-time September 2016 GBP 6,000 per Year 1 (England) 1 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
University of Huddersfield Huddersfield HD1 3DH Yorkshire and the Humber

Key information

Admissions Assistant
Telephone number: 
01484 472272