Portsmouth's unique course celebrates 15th birthday! MSc Child Forensic Studies: Psychology and Law

This course is delivered via distance learning materials (including easily available library resources). It is a part time course that aims to equip students with knowledge, and practical and academic skills that are useful for professionals in their workplace.

This course was developed back in 1994 in response to the then new child protection law and procedures and has had a consistent programme of development in order to ensure the currency of the material. The course team, at University of Portsmouth, however, are especially proud of the latest changes that, whilst maintaining the focus of the course, has streamlined the delivery of the course content, added new course material, and further enhanced the already innovative assessment strategy.

The course team are pleased with the regular positive feedback received from students. Many point out the usefulness of the course in helping them in their work. A current student, Pauline Fedrick, a Dedicated Vulnerable Witness Officer from Derbyshire Constabulary is now studying on the final part of the course. She has provided a summary of her experience so far: "It doesn't seem two minutes ago since I plucked up the courage and persuaded myself to telephone Portsmouth University and speak with a tutor on the MSc Child Forensic Studies Course.

"I had a clutch of O and A levels but hadn't studied for 25 years and was expecting to be turned down because I hadn't got a degree. However, because of my work experience and professional qualifications they accepted me onto the course. I can honestly say that the last two and a half years have flown by, and in that time I have been given the opportunity to study and write about a wide range of truly fascinating subjects. "Although the course is distance learning, the tutors are just an e-mail or phone call away.

They are an amazingly friendly and patient bunch that are on hand to listen, and offer advice and support. The website for the course, even for the 'Computers Dummies' like me, was surprisingly easy to navigate - the online support is endless. For professionals within the legal system who work with children and are considering self development - this course is a must."

The course team, Dr Julie Cherryman (Course Leader), Dr Lucy Akehurst, Dr Clare Wilson and Mr Phil Magson of the Department of Psychology, are committed to providing a good, supportive learning environment for busy professionals studying on this course.They are currently recruiting students for Autumn 2009 start and, as Pauline mentioned above, they are a 'friendly bunch' and are happy to chat about the course.

• Further information about the course can be obtained via the University of
Portsmouth website http://www.port.ac.uk/

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