Module Catalogue 2018/19

PSY3030 : Foundations in Forensic Psychology

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Miss Faye Horsley
  • Lecturer: Dr Stuart Watson
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

This module is for single honours psychology students only, or with express permission from the Module Leader

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To provide students with an insight into the general area of forensic psychology and to develop critical understanding of: (i) how psychological research has been applied to understanding the causes of criminal behaviour, including the assessment and treatment of offenders, and: (ii) the way such research can be used in an applied setting to help with the identification of offenders through investigative psychology.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to forensic psychology
Personality theories and crime
Assessment and treatment of offenders
Theories of aggression and causes of aggressive behaviour
Psychological disorders e.g. Antisocial and Narcissistic Personality Disorders, Psychopathy.
Investigative psychology

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

After completing the module, students should be able to:
1. Describe and evaluate key psychological paradigms which have been used to explain criminal behaviour;
2. Recognise ethical dilemmas and manage the implications by identifying and evaluating appropriate information required for risk assessment/functional analysis;
3. Compare and contrast knowledge of different methods of assessing and treating offenders;
4. Evaluate the importance of investigative psychology and the different interview and interrogation techniques used when conducting investigations;
5. Explain the different types of aggressive behaviour and be aware of the various causes of such behaviour
6. Explain how mental illness may result in aggressive behaviour and the subsequent implications of such behaviour;
7. Compare the many careers associated with forensic psychology and have an insight into what working in that area entails.

Intended Skill Outcomes

After completing the module, students should be able to:
1. gather information from a variety of sources and have the ability to select those most appropriate for the specific task;
2. critically evaluate theoretical arguments and research evidence in relation to forensic psychology;
3. formulate independent views on a range of topics associated with forensic psychology;
4. develop the skills necessary to write a functional analysis report of a problem behaviour.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Assessed
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Written Other : Assessed
  • Application
    • Occupational Awareness : Assessed
    • Legal Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading170:0070:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice111:0011:00Preparation of Functional Analysis Report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops121:0012:00To provide guidance for preparation of Functional Analysis Report
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study155:0055:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The contact time for this module reflects the amount of preparation students are expected to do for the assessments (ICA and ECA). They will be expected to carry out literature searches and further reading from the essential and background reading suggested by the module leader and, with guidance, will prepare a Functional Analysis Report (ICA).

Lectures will be used as the main way to impart knowledge and to stimulate interests in the topics. Students will be given detailed guidance on the principles of assessment and how to write a Functional Analysis Report (ICA). The workshops will be used for showing educational DVDs and talks to illustrate the material in addition to seeing students in smaller groups, and individually, to advise them on the assessment preparation and general advice relating to forensic psychology. The private study time will allow students to carry out an in depth review of the knowledge imparted through lectures, to generate their own views on the topics and to follow these out by carrying out independent reviews of the literature, thereby taking control over their learning and preparing them for the unseen exam.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A60Written exam comprising two ‘unseen’ essay questions from a choice of six
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M40A 1,000 word functional analysis report of a problem behaviour (no ethics required). See Additional Data section below.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

For the in-course assessment (ICA), students are required to submit a 1,000 word functional analysis report of a specific problem behaviour. This report will allow students to demonstrate their occupational awareness in forensic psychology, skills in synthesising and presenting materials, and evaluating and summarising appropriate material. It will assess their ability to select the appropriate information from source materials and their critical evaluation skills.

The exam essays will test their knowledge of the topic area, their understanding of their further reading, the ability for planning and organising material, their writing communication skills and their critical evaluation skills.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

The Functional Analysis report will involve students interviewing each other (one-to-one) about a problem behaviour (nail biting, smoking or something similar), however, if students are unable to find a suitable fellow student, there will be a write-up of a mock behaviour that they can utilise instead.

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.