Applying Psychological theories to investigations


The University of East London has recently developed a new programme to respond to threats police are trying to counter within the community. Based on merging practical investigative problems with behavioural theory, this programme gives an academic edge to those working in policing.

The MSc in criminal and investigative psychology (CIP) will allow you to bring psychological research and know how to professional practice. It will provide the additional information for you to enhance your existing skills by giving you best social science practice. Our students learn how to apply scientific questioning to problems faced by the police and investigators.

By focusing on micro level factors, such as the relationship between drugs and behaviour, to the macro level, for example how to best assess risk-taking behaviour, the MSc CIP allows for a range of areas of expertise to be developed. Following the ever present but changing challenges, this programme allows for a dynamic approach to crime investigation. We spend time looking at terrorism, cyber crime, immigration fraud, child exploitation and how group behaviour might change peaceful protesting into riots amongst many other topics.

We strengthen the ability to make complex decisions in real time by critically discussing how psychological theory informs investigations. Looking at the potency that a greater understanding of human behaviour brings to policing, our students will be able to more readily assess how each move in interactions related to crime will play out.

Each student will specialise in an area of his or her choosing by writing a dissertation. Dissertations may be work-related allowing the student to integrate relevant research with a range of practical tools and techniques. This will enhance expertise in crime behaviour analysis. Over the course of the programme students will become more and more familiar with evidence-based criminal behaviour theory.

Students are able to learn face-to-face and at a distance. This allows students flexible education. Some lectures are given by renowned lecturers and others are given by those with significant amounts of field experience.

The value of the new MSc and shorter qualification (e.g., certificate and diploma) courses which are now available is that the people who run them have worked with the government and in academia. This gives a more rounded perspective than coming from academia and practice alone. If you would like to find out more about this course please visit the UEL website by logging onto

This article was submitted by Dr. Lara Frumkin, Programme Leader Criminal and Investigative Psychology at the University of East London

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