MSc Investigative Forensic Psychology: Successes of the First Cohort!

The MSc Investigative Forensic Psychology course at London South Bank University is only the second course of its kind in the UK and the only one in the South of England. It aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to evaluate, apply, and advance current understanding of the theory and practice of Investigative Forensic Psychology. The course was developed in consultation with the Metropolitan Police Service Crime Academy during 2006/7. Our first cohort of students, roughly two thirds police and a third recent graduates with degrees in relevant subjects, arrived in September 2007 and they have now successfully come to the end of their course and will be graduating this July.

The students studied a number of taught units which included topics such as accuracy of witness evidence, detecting deception, offender profiling, police decision making and interviewing vulnerable suspects. After the taught units students completed a research-based dissertation. Staff were incredibly impressed by the originality and quality of the dissertations submitted. Students conducted research on topics including: methods of improving accuracy of child witnesses' identification evidence, police decision making in senior investigating officers, mock jurors perceptions of witnesses with intellectual disabilities, factors affecting the outcomes of police video identification procedures, and the performance of witnesses viewing multiple perpetrators. Students were highly engaged with the dissertation unit, for example one student said "this was probably the most challenging unit, but also the most enjoyable. There is a certain sense of satisfaction to be gained from designing your research. Also it helped to pull together the course in its entirety and felt as though that's what we had been working towards all along."

With regard to the course overall students employed in the Metropolitan Police Service have given feedback that the course is extremely relevant to their duties. For example, one student, a Detective Inspector said, "the knowledge I am gaining will have a specific impact on my ability to deliver quality policing, I am also learning from experience and my dissertation will potentially suggest ways where I can suggest change for the better in investigation methods." This feedback supports the view of staff teaching on the course because a number of topics promote interesting classroom discussions based on students' everyday work experience.

We are now recruiting for 20010/11 entry to the course. The course runs on a part-time basis, which means students attend teaching for one afternoon/evening per week for six hours during term time. It will take students two and a half years to complete the course. If you are interested in finding out more details about the MSc Investigative Forensic Psychology please see our website or please e-mail/phone the Course Director Dr Rachel Wilcock on t: 0207 815 5857 e:

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