Criminology with Forensic Psychology MSc | Middlesex University London
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Criminology with Forensic Psychology MSc

Learn about the course below
Code
PGL371
Start
October 2018
September 2018 (EU/INT induction)
Duration
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Attendance
Full-time
Part-time
Fees
£7,800 (UK/EU) *
£13,500 (INT) *
Course leader
Jenni Ward

This degree combines core modules in criminology and forensic psychology with optional modules on topics including drugs, trans-national crime and conflict, policing, terrorism and the major institutions of criminal justice. The programme is delivered within the Criminology and Sociology Department in the School of Law, while the forensic psychology component is taught by colleagues with specialisms in criminological psychology.

Why study MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology at Middlesex University?

The course is of special interest to those without a first degree in psychology but with a particular interest in psychological perspectives on crime and criminal justice. All staff delivering modules on the course are engaged in research that informs their teaching on the programme.

Students have the opportunity to study modules on criminology programmes with our European partner universities supported by Erasmus funding.

Students studying this master's degree at Middlesex will benefit from field trips and expert guest lectures. Observational visits to the criminal courts assist a knowledge of psycho-legal court room decision-making and a visit to an adult prison builds an understanding of imprisoned populations and the psycho-social intervention programmes operating within prisons. Module teaching incorporates specialist guest lectures delivered by experts working in the fields of offender management, gangs, policing, prisoner care and welfare, and forensic psychology.

Students on the MSc are encouraged to attend the Common Studies Programme in Critical Criminology with postgraduate criminologists studying in universities across Europe including Athens, Barcelona, Ghent, Hamburg, Rotterdam, and also at John Jay College in New York.

You will be taught by experts from both Psychology and Criminology who have a wealth of specialist knowledge and research experience between them, including Dr Simon Harding, a gangs and dangerous dogs expert, and Dr Elena Martellozzo, who offers regular expert advice about online child safety to the Metropolitan Police.

Other research interests within the team include the criminal courts and justice administration; the treatment of mentally disordered offenders; drug policy and practice; violence towards sex workers; collective protest and social movements; organised crime and corruption; and penal abolitionism.

Course highlights

  • Learn from experts working in fields such as offender management, gangs and policing
  • Benefit from field trips to criminal courts and prisons
  • Opportunities to exchange ideas with students from other countries via the Common Studies Programme in Critical Criminology.
  • The course assists you to gain a critical appreciation of criminal offending, socio-legal decision-making frameworks, and the range of psycho-social interventions and punishments directed at different offender groups with the aim of providing you with an appreciation and knowledge of the wide range of careers available on successful completion of the course.

Please note that this degree programme is not accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and does not qualify students as professional psychologists.

What will you study on the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology?

The programme is constructed of five core modules covering, in turn, contemporary criminological theory, methods, issues and debates and psychological approaches towards the causes and management of offending behaviour.

Students then choose one optional module (selected from the list below) that enable a focus on areas of special interest, including institutions of criminal justice, community safety, drugs, youth and adult offending and comparative perspectives on each of these areas.

The modules cover all types of crime, including white collar crime, state crime, digital and on-line crimes, sexual and violent crimes, discrimination and hate crime, drugs, terrorism issues and policing, as well as looking in depth at the criminal justice system and its different institutions.

Students are able to work in computer labs on specialist information retrieval, and gain data analysis skills with the use of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and the qualitative data analysis package NVivo.

In addition, all students complete a 15,000-word research Dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff on a topic they choose, drawing on both criminological and psychological perspectives.

Not all of the optional modules listed will be available in any one year. Module availability is dependent on staffing and the number of students wishing to take each module.

  • Core modules

    • Contemporary Criminological Theory and Research (20 credits) - compulsory

      This module forms the core of the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology. It has two major aims. First, the module aims to get you to engage in a discussion of major theoretical trends and debates in contemporary criminology, with particular attention to the links between these perspectives and criminal justice research, practice and policy-making. Your studies will interrogate theoretical criminology in a dynamic way, in dialogue with the social and political contexts of its production and circulation in our increasingly interdependent world. The second aim of the module is to equip you with basic knowledge and skills in contemporary criminological research methods. In this section of your studies you’ll combine conceptual sessions on the main qualitative and quantitative methods deployed in criminological research with practical exercises tailored to familiarise you with computer-assisted data analysis software.

    • Critical Issues in Criminal Justice (20 credits) - compulsory

      This module forms the core of the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology course. In this module you’ll use the criminal justice system and its different institutions to critically examine contemporary issues, debates and policy relating to crime control, the processing of defendants through the criminal courts, sentencing and punishment. You will explore shifts and changes in criminal justice responses to assess whether we are witnessing an era of tightening and punitive crime control policy. The module takes as a central underpinning that we live in a world of enhanced ‘securitisation’ along with emerging and sophisticated ‘risk’ identification and offender management strategies; in turn having a bearing on who, and how people enter the criminal justice system. It incorporates the intersections of migration and criminal justice, how gender, race and class interact with the criminal justice system, sentencing and imprisonment trends, and new considerations of restorative and integrative justice. The module takes a comparative perspective to assist an understanding of different approaches and responses to crime, offenders and criminal justice in other European and international jurisdictions, and to consider whether they provide ideas for alternative policies in this area. You’ll study this module alongside the core module ‘Psychological Interventions and Responses to Offending’ and visits to the criminal courts and one of HM Prisons embed learning across both modules.

    • Forensic and Investigative Psychology (20 credits) - compulsory

      This module aims to develop your understanding of fundamental psychological explanations of criminal behaviour, its aetiology, and its ramifications in determining criminal justice and penal responses and/or psychological treatment interventions. You will examine the synergies and connections between criminology and psychology (in particular forensic psychology), and look at how these disciplines feed into each other. We will examine psychological explanations for violence and sexual violence, and how these fit within theories that have arisen from within criminology. Finally, you will look at key contributions psychology has made to our understanding of offenders, the investigative process, and offender management.

    • Psychological Interventions and Responses to Offending (20 credits) - compulsory

      This module is core to the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology programme and aims to develop your understanding of how psychology interacts with the criminal justice system. You will consider the psychological and psycho-social dimensions of crime and offending, and the psycho-judicial reactions to it. The module will require you to look at key contributions psychology makes to criminal justice and its related institutions – from delinquency interventions, ‘therapeutic jurisprudence’ and specialist courts, how we understand offenders’ experiences of prison, and specialist offender assessment tools and behavioural treatment programmes both within the community and in prison settings. Through an analysis of the relationship between decisions made at different stages of the criminal justice system, such as by the police, the courts, the parole board, and the implications of those decisions at subsequent stages in the legal process, you’ll be encouraged to reflect upon the application of psychology to the practice of criminal justice.

    • Research Strategies in Criminology and Psychology (20 credits) - compulsory

      A core module for the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology programme, this module will acquaint you with the principal qualitative and quantitative research methodologies deployed in criminological and psychological enquiry. This module will develop and advance your knowledge and critical appreciation of research enquiry, interpretation and practice. It will equip you with the core skills involved in developing, conducting, analysing and presenting criminological and psychological research findings.

  • Plus one of the following:

    • Dissertation in Criminology with Forensic Psychology (60 credits) - optional

      This module aims to provide you with the opportunity to develop a detailed and advanced understanding of a particular aspect of criminology, criminal justice and forensic psychology. You will define your own topic area, write a proposal for your dissertation work, conduct a comprehensive review of existing knowledge on the subject, formulate a methodology for conducting your own enquiries and write an in-depth report of the findings of your research. Alternatively, you may choose to conduct a theoretically oriented piece of work involving the systematic analysis of an issue or area of policy/practice.

    • Practicum in International Organisations (60 credits) - optional

      The module aims to provide you with an opportunity to undertake work experience commensurate with your postgraduate level of study and, by so doing, to advance your knowledge, critical thinking and understanding to an appropriate level. You will be provided with an opportunity to work alongside key decision makers in organisations where global governance occurs. Providing an alternative to the dissertation credit for your degree, the Practicum will enable you to develop advanced insight into core issues in global governance, developing your capacity for problem solving, interpretation and critical construction of knowledge.

  • Plus one optional module from the list below

    • Community Safety and Public Protection (20 credits) - optional

      Crime and disorder reduction remains a dominant issue on local and national governments' agendas. This module enables you to understand and analyse developments in crime and disorder reduction in urban localities though partnership working. You’ll examine crime and 'disorder' in its sociospatial aspects, exploring 'urban' and 'neighbourhood' dimensions of crime in the contemporary context, local modes of regulation and national-level policies to deal with neighbourhood problems, their problems and merits. Alongside the theoretical background to crime reduction, you will critically review applied practitioner solutions to crime prevention and reduction in a partnership context. The module prepares you with an understanding of key issues of public protection in the partnership context, including the National Offender Management Service (NOMS); risk assessment with regards to victims of crime; compliance to national standards; a critical appraisal of 'What Works' with offenders, tackling offending behaviour and restorative justice. The learning outcomes will enable you to develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and policy concepts relevant to practice within the criminal justice system.

    • Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice (20 credits) - optional

      The module will be delivered at HMP Wandsworth and provides a unique experience that involves reflection on the learning journey and the meaning of learning with, and from others. Using the criminal justice system to examine contemporary issues and debates relating to crime control, the criminal courts and sentencing, and theories of punishment and imprisonment the module focuses on the criminal justice system as a series of interlinked institutions in which ideas of rehabilitation, system reform, and social justice are embedded.

    • Cybercrime and Society (20 credits) - optional

      With increasing amounts of social activity taking place on the Internet cybercrime is becoming an important area of study. By exploring the history, nature and patterns of cybercrime this module introduces you to the sociological and criminological study of crime on the Internet. Through a series of examples and case studies of Internet related crime you’ll be required to consider the diversity of cybercrime as well as its prevention and detection.

      What is cybercrime? What criminological theories can we use to explain cybercrime? What harm does cybercrime cause? How do people become victims of cybercrime? How is cybercrime policed? How can cybercrime prevented? These are some of the questions that you will tackle in class. This module is designed to provoke you to critically analyse selected issues in the study of cybercrime and its control. This aim translates into the following objectives:

      • To provide you with a critical introduction to the concept of cybercrime;
      • To examine the impact of cybercrime on contemporary society;
      • To develop an understanding of the relationship between developments in information technology and social harm;
      • To understand how the study of cybercrime challenges existing criminological theories and criminal law;
      • To develop your critical and written communication skills in relation to cybercrime issues;
      • To help you develop independent research and learning
    • Drugs and Crime (20 credits) - optional

      This module aims to help you develop advanced skills in the application of criminological theories and concepts in relation to drugs, drug use, and drugs control and in critically analysing the relationship between drugs and crime. You will critically evaluate the laws, policies and institutions of drugs control within their social, political and economic contexts and compare and contrast the role of the criminal justice system in responding to drugs in various countries. The module also aims to get you to foster a critical interest in the reform of drugs control policy and institutions at both national and international levels.

    • Environmental Crime & Green Criminology (20 credits) - optional

      This core module on the MA Environmental Law and Justice critically evaluates perspectives on green criminology, and crimes against the environment (including animals). It considers contemporary perspectives on green offending, the regulation of environmental problems, and global perspectives on green crimes, green criminality and the effectiveness of justice systems in resolving environmental problems. It also adopts a critical approach to theoretical debates on animal rights, the legal personhood of animals, and the tension between the continued exploitation of natural resources and the prosecution of environmental crime. In this module you will also critically examine the link between environmental offending and mainstream crimes, including the link between violence towards animals and violence towards humans and the extent to which corporate environmental crime constitutes a ‘crime of the powerful’ or a corporate-state crime. The module will require you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in environmental justice and consider how examining environmental harms inevitably results in a wider definition of green ‘crime’ than simply considering those activities defined as such by the criminal law. The module will also help you to develop knowledge and skills appropriate to working in the environmental justice sector with NGOs, local authorities and other policy and enforcement bodies.

    • Global Criminology and Policing (20 credits) - optional

      This module aims to engage you in exploring criminological issues from a global perspective, particularly in respect of contemporary debates on the policing of transnational problems and the development of global policing. The module considers policing in a wide rather than narrow context identifying that the changing nature of crime and crime control in a 'globalised' world and the emergence of crimes which transcend national borders requires a globalised approach to crime and justice. The module provides you with a comparative analysis of different countries' approaches to and systems for dealing with crime and the 'globalisation' of criminal justice and explores global policing systems. The module seeks to equip you to undertake your own international and or comparative research and analysis informed by the overarching and illustrative themes and questions raised in lectures and seminars.

    • Human Rights and Contemporary Justice (20 credits) - optional

      In this module you’ll critically evaluate contemporary perspectives on human rights and justice systems. You’ll learn to critically explore concepts, debates, literature (i.e. recent research and policy material) related to the operation of human rights within the British criminal justice system and internationally. It will foster engaged and critical thinking about human rights in terms of its impact on the operation of the criminal justice system and the wider application of human rights discourse to issues such as free speech and environmental protection and ecological justice. In this module you’ll consider the apparent conflict between contemporary perspectives on human rights and the administration of justice systems as well as wider issues relating to how both theoretical and practical conceptions of human rights impact on the extent to which respect for rights is embedded into justice policy. You’ll be required to adopt a critical approach to theoretical debates on human rights, justice, and the tension between state justice policies and the rights of individuals and marginalized groups.The module aims to allow postgraduate students to engage with a range of issues that they are likely to encounter in contemporary practice settings. The module requires you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in human rights and will appeal to anyone seeking an academic and technical exposure to human rights prior to undertaking doctoral work. The module also helps you to develop knowledge and skills appropriate to working in the NGO sector, local authorities and other policy and enforcement bodies within the public justice sector that are bound by the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and whose decisions and actions are ultimately amenable to challenge on human rights grounds.

    • Interpersonal Violence and Hate Crime (20 credits) - optional

      In this module you will explore issues under the inter-related headings Interpersonal Violence and Hate Crime ranging from domestic violence to far right extremism in both real world and virtual settings. The late twentieth and early twenty first century has seen a growing focus on these issues and in this module you will examine why this is the case, highlighting transformations in the economy, technology, social structure and social relations, the emergence of identity politics and the development of new academic discourses and theoretical perspectives. Within this overarching context, you’ll examine different forms of interpersonal violence and hate crime. This will include analysis of the contested knowledge base from which estimates and accounts of their nature and extent can be drawn. Finally, the module will also ask you to critically evaluate policy and practice relevant to these issues, questioning the extent to which existing responses are adequate and effective.

    • Placement (20 credits) - optional

      Placement learning aims to link your academic studies to a placement organisation providing an opportunity for you to apply, consolidate and develop skills and knowledge from University to the placement and future employment. This practical experience module provides you with the means to link your academic work with the 'real world' situation in order to conceptualise the meaning of theory in the wider world context. This module facilitates the embedding of transferable and graduate skills necessary for future career paths and employment. It is envisaged that you will reflect upon areas of knowledge relevant to your placement learning experience and develop personal knowledge through a review of your learning. The placement learning experience provides you with the opportunity to enhance your skills of self expression, communication, self reliance and co-operation. You will also engage in risk assessment.

    • Political Violence and Terrorism (20 credits) - optional

      This core module on the MA Criminology will introduce you to key debates about political violence and contemporary terrorism. You’ll be required to consider a range of perspectives emerging from the study of the different forms of political violence, including terrorism and war. It also adopts a critical approach to theoretical and contextual debates on the use of the term terrorism as shorthand for a range of issues relating to political violence. Both institutional and anti-institutional violence will be discussed, along with critical analysis of the controversies surrounding the definitions of violence and terrorism in the different epochs. In the module you’ll examine in detail the contributions of the major schools of thought, along with the most recent sociological-criminological analysis of authorised and unauthorised political violence. The module requires you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in contemporary political violence and terrorism discourse drawing on a range of case studies.

    • Qualitative Analysis with NVivo (20 credits) - optional

      The module introduces you to techniques of coding and qualitative data analysis and is specifically tailored for the use of the NVivo10 software, with the aim of developing practical skills and a critical appreciation of the benefits and disadvantages of computer software for storing, organising and analysing qualitative data. NVivo is one of the most powerful and widely used research packages for the analysis of qualitative data and you will be able to analyse a range of qualitative data such as interviews, focus group transcripts, diaries, journal articles, policy reports as well as multimedia.

    • Qualitative Research Methods (20 credits) - optional

      This module aims at providing you with the necessary methodological foundations to carry out qualitative research. It introduces you to a range of epistemological approaches for undertaking qualitative research and highlights specific qualitative research methods focussing on a critical awareness of the possibilities and limitations associated with each approach. The module also offers insights into visual methods, e-research, pluralist methods and post-qualitative research and affords experience of each part of the qualitative research cycle, focussing on specific techniques required for carrying out qualitative research. These include for instance qualitative sampling, qualitative data collection tools such as semi-structured interviews, focus groups and on-line ethnography. In this module you’ll also critically examine the links between qualitative data collection and qualitative data analysis highlighting ways to analyse qualitative data such as critical discourse analysis, thematic analysis, narrative analysis, visual analysis. You will also pay particular attention to demonstrating reflexivity in the research process and what it means to conduct embodied research.

    • Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences (20 credits) - optional

      This module aims to provide you with an account of a range of quantitative research methods and strategies for the Social Sciences, encouraging you to discuss their application, potential and limitations (including issues of data quality, data protection and ethics). You’ll achieve this by taking part in both theoretical discussions and the presentation of several case studies from a range of research areas and settings (including academic research and public sector data reports). You’ll be provided with an overview of existing secondary data sources, with a particular focus on official statistics, showing you how to assess, access and analyse publicly available data-sets and data-banks. You’ll be introduced to the use of software packages (particularly Excel) to analyse, summarise and present quantitative data. Finally, you’ll discover survey design methodologies and develop the basic skills to design a questionnaire, implement an online survey (using Qualtrics), collect responses and report on results through tables, charts and commentary.

    • Social Science Statistics with SPSS (20 credits) - optional

      This module aims to introduce you to statistics in the social sciences, presenting and discussing a variety of methods that can be applied to a broad range of research areas. You’ll approach this through critical discussion of statistical theory as well as through the application of statistical analysis techniques to small and large scale secondary data-sets. You will learn these techniques through several in-lab exercises using the software package 'SPSS' (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) - and in this way the module aims to provide you with skills in using SPSS in an analytical, non-mechanical way. The module starts from the basics of descriptive statistics aiming to build your knowledge and skills in more advanced methods, including analysis of statistical relationships, statistical tests, multivariate analysis and modelling. Finally, you will look at issues of data visualisation, reporting and interpretation of findings, through a series of case studies of relevance and interest within the social sciences.

    • Work-based Experience (20 credits) - optional

      This module aims to permit you to maximise academic value from your everyday employment by enabling you to make explicit links between your university and workplace activities, particularly relating theory to practice. The module will enable you to enhance the value of both your university and employment work by focusing on relevant areas of knowledge and developing these through a reflective review of learning in your normal work setting. You’ll incorporate specific aims and rationale into a negotiated learning agreement. You are expected to organise your own learning to reflect on the nature of your work-based situation, its constraints, and the goals to be achieved and your personal work and learning style. This will involve reading, negotiating, research and relevant practical activities.

    • Youth Offending, Disorder and Gangs (20 credits) - optional

      In this module you’ll critically examine contemporary social problems that are often said to threaten the fabric of society, are subject to intense media exposure and scrutiny, involve the deployment of significant resources via schools, the police, the courts, charities, independent commissions etc. and which have also attracted considerable attention from criminologists in recent years. These problems include street crime, night-time disorder, riots and riotous behaviour, the sexual exploitation of young women, cyber-bullying, the use and misuse of drugs and alcohol, most of which are commonly associated with youth in general and youth gangs in particular. The module takes a realist, applied but critical approach in analysing such issues, drawing on official as well as more critical accounts and research studies for understanding them, and investigating existing and alternative strategies for addressing them.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.

How is the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology degree taught?

Teaching on the master's is delivered by academics who are actively researching in a range of criminological and psychological subject areas and who bring these specialisms to their lecture delivery and classroom discussion. Students are encouraged to participate in their learning and prepare to engage in debate within teaching sessions and online discussions led by programme staff.

Regular events and presentations are organised within the Department to assist a dynamic culture of knowledge exchange and the generation of ideas and debate among our postgraduate students. We hold seminars throughout the year and an annual conference in April. This brings together outside speakers, academic staff and students to discuss contemporary issues of crime and conflict in the world around us. Previous conference themes have been gangs, human rights and citizenship, punishment, policing and protest, feminist debates on sex work and pornography, and European migration and crisis.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by a range of coursework design including essays, book reviews, criminal courtroom observations, student seminar presentations, a research proposal and a dissertation.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International

How can the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology support your career?

The course aims to equip you with the necessary skills to excel in a wide range of careers, such as; employment in posts working directly with offenders both in prison and within community-based reducing re-offending projects; roles concerning prisoner rehabilitation plans and prisoner health and well-being; charitable organisation-based roles supporting those on release from prison; community-based drug and alcohol project roles; domestic violence perpetrator project roles; and careers working on offender rehabilitation and therapeutic projects applying cognitive-thinking techniques

Students are also equipped for positions engaging in research, data analysis, and programme evaluation offered by research organisations, the charitable and voluntary sector, in Ministry of Justice Departments such as the National Offender Monitoring Service (NOMS), policing organisations, and the government's high-level crime fighting agency the National Crime Agency (NCA). There are many opportunities in work with young people experiencing family dysfunction and disadvantage, young people 'at risk' of offending, and in services supporting young and vulnerable 'care leavers'.

Students who have studied MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology at Middlesex have gone on to work for the National Crime Agency, in prison drug service programmes, in offender pathway planning and monitoring with the probation service, in services aimed at victims of domestic violence, as mentors for young men coming out of prison, in housing and support services for released prisoners, in local government organisations, and in youth offending organisations.

Those already in industry view their master's-level studies as a means to facilitating career progression within their organisations. A number of students have continued their studies in criminology and psychology at PhD level. Staff in the department will work alongside the employability office to facilitate your future career decisions.

Dr Jenni Ward
Programme Leader

As a specialist in criminology and criminal justice, Dr Jenni Ward is the Programme Leader for
MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology and her teaching focuses on sentencing and punishment in the criminal courts, the lay magistracy, and modernising transformations in the lower criminal courts. She has previously received funding grants from the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the UK Home Office, and works with postgraduate students completing their dissertations and doctoral research.

Other courses

Criminology MA

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGL40X

Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology MA

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGL5M9

Cybercrime and Digital Investigation MSc

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGL376

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