Investigative Psychology MSc 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

About the course

This exciting course currently offers:

•  Intensive training on advanced statistical methods, which may open doors into many jobs beyond crime and investigations.

•  A range of visiting speakers including experts from around the world and police officers talking about real life cases.

•  Access to a unique and extensive Investigative Psychology archive developed by Professor David Canter, containing original case files and material on murders, serial killers, profiles and publications.

•  Specialist software for statistical and crime analysis.

•  Opportunities to engage with Centres within the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences (IRCAHS).

•  An international network of law enforcement contacts.

The course is currently accredited by the British Psychological Society and recognised as the first step towards status as a Chartered Forensic Psychologist in the UK for students who have Graduate Basis for Chartership.

Investigative psychology is the systematic science that developed out of early ‘offender profiling' contributions by psychologists and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to police investigations and court cases. In recent years this sub-discipline has become an increasingly dominant area of forensic psychology.

The course covers the full range of contributions that professional psychologists can make including the legal and investigative process; evaluating the validity of suspect or witness accounts; assessing the decision-making processes of detectives or jurors; to developing profiling inferences about the likely characteristics of an offender and predicting their likely home location.

Much of this expertise is predicated upon the detailed understanding of criminal action patterns, so intensive examinations of the variations in criminal behavioural style are a central feature of this course.

This course aim to provide in-depth expertise in all aspects of Investigative Psychology as developed by the originator of the discipline Professor David Canter. It has a strong research emphasis, helping to equip you with the expertise to conduct your own crime research projects in diverse professional contexts.

Start date:
25 / 09 / 2017


1 year full-time

Entry requirements

•  An Honours degree (2:1 or above) in Psychology recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as conferring eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) or its international equivalent. Criminology or other relevant disciplines will be considered.

•  Or the ability to complete a Master's course at a higher level demonstrated through professional, vocational or other documented experience.

•  Basic understanding of research methods, statistics and some experience of working with offenders, the police, the courts or another relevant institution is also beneficial.

•  If you were educated outside the UK, you are required to have International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at a score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in any element. If you have alternative qualifications or do not meet the IELTS requirement we also offer a range of Pre-Sessional English Programmes.

•  You may be eligible to gain accreditation for your prior learning towards this course. Please note that during the three study weeks you must be available in class from 9am to 7pm on all five weekdays. Sessions may start slightly later or finish earlier and you will be advise prior to the start of term.


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Tel. 01484 472272

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Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

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Course content

This course explores the application of psychological principles to diverse aspects of the analysis, investigation and legal processing of crime.

Core modules:

Clinical Forensic Psychology

This module will introduce you to the major issues within clinical forensic psychology. You will explore the psychology of criminal behaviour and the relationship between mental disorder and crime. You will also study psychopathology, mental disorders, the different interventions, treatments and rehabilitation of offenders, as well as the risk factors and risk assessment measures used to assess the risk of (re)-offending and approaches to helping victims. Assessment will involve one piece of coursework, where you will produce a case/court report.

Dissertation (Investigative Psychology)

You will undertake a research project, which you will design, implement and analyse. This will be in the form of a literature review of a focused topic using a systematic approach or an empirical study that draws on and makes a contribution to investigative psychology. The project must demonstrate appropriate design, methods and techniques along with interpretation and evaluation of the findings reported to a high professional standard. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework.

Improving Legal Testimony and Evidence in Court and investigations

In this module you will explore potential sources of error within the evidence at each stage of an investigation, from initial witness statements and comments from suspects, to how the evidence is presented in court. You will examine the challenges of investigative information and investigative decision making, explore the procedures that have been developed to improve the effectiveness of investigative interviews and consider factors that lead to false confessions and reasons for false allegations. You will also study how to improve eyewitness testimonies and the psycholinguistics of questioned documents. Assessment will involve a piece of coursework.

Introducing Investigative Psychology: from Offender Profiling to the Science of IP

Investigative psychology is concerned with the psychological input to a range of issues related to the management, investigation and prosecution of crime. You will be introduced to the scope of investigative psychology and the principles on which it is based. The module explores the contributions that psychologists can make to police investigations, the emergence of investigative psychology from offender profiling, processes of detection, the significance of inference and the main questions investigative psychologists ask. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework and an exam.

Investigative Psychology for Violent Acquisitive and Sexual Crime

You will explore the complexities in the process of drawing offender inferences from offence behaviour and why deriving such inferences empirically is not as straightforward as it is expected. You will study ‘criminal narratives’, considering the life stories of offenders and the roles they perceive themselves as playing throughout their lives. Theories and models for a range of different crime types including robbery, burglary, fraud, murder, stalking, domestic violence, sexual offences, organised crime and terrorism will be critically examined. You will be assessed through a piece of coursework.

Investigative Psychology: Tactics and Strategies for Studying Criminal Action

Through this module you will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the variety of research methods used in investigative psychology. You will conduct and interpret advanced statistical analyses, as well as communicate research findings in a format suitable to the research community. You will also explore data sources, interviewing techniques, questionnaire design, content analysis of qualitative data, psychometrics, multivariate statistics, inferential statistics and multidimensional scaling. Assessment will involve completing three pieces of coursework, two exercises and a journal article.

Offender Spatial Activity: Beyond Geographical Offender Profiling

This module will examine how offence locations relate to the lives of offenders. You will explore the significance of closeness of the crime locations to key places in the offender’s life and the geometry of the distribution of the offences. You will also study propinquity (the distance offenders travel), morphology (whether investigators can predict the offenders home area), variations in criminality and offender geography and geographical profiling systems. Assessment will involve producing a piece of coursework.

Professional Issues and Applications

This module explores the importance of professional and ethical issues in the application of investigative psychology. You will study topics including professional applications relating to forensic medical sciences (pathology and toxicology), forensic physical sciences, legal processes and expert evidence, as well as behavioural investigative advice and crime analysis. You will be assessed through two pieces of coursework including a presentation and a written assignment.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Career opportunities

After completing the course our graduates have gone on to work in diverse legal and forensic contexts, often progressing rapidly to senior levels as crime and intelligence analysts, behavioural investigative advisors, forensic lecturers and applied researchers. They also work in prisons or with clinical forensic populations or within commercial organisations and government agencies such as specialist crime units, the National Policing Improvements Agency or the Home Office.

Professional links and accreditations

This course is currently accredited by the British Psychological Society and recognised as the first step towards status as a Chartered Forensic Psychologist in the UK for students who have Graduate Basis for Chartership.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is delivered in three one week blocks at the University in September, January and March and is supported by online learning. A wide range of teaching and learning approaches are provided including lectures, tutorials, seminars with Professor David Canter and other members of the International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology, specialist guest speakers, time for self study and online supervision throughout. Assessment aims to support learning and to measure achievement. This is through varied projects and coursework such as court reports, geographical profiling reports, research reports, journal articles and oral presentations.Assessment is a combination of coursework, competency based learning and examination. The nature of the assessment varies from module to module, and mirrors the modes of communication expected of graduates in this field, for example grant proposal, professional case report, presentation to an expert audience.

As this course is delivered in a way which is flexible enough to allow you to continue to pursue existing work commitments, it is not possible for a student to apply for a Tier 4 visa for this course. However students studying this course can apply for a Student Visitor Visa. This will allow you to either reside in the UK for up to six months or alternatively travel to the UK only for the teaching blocks. You can then continue to pursue your studies from home accessing our various online resources. Further details on Student Visitor visas.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of the teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the full-time tuition fee for this course is £6,250. Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.

Additional routes

Interim awards A Master's course is 180 Master's level credits, which would normally take one calendar year full-time study. Interim awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level or Postgraduate Diploma level should you decide to exit the course early. Please contact us for details of the credits required for these interim awards.

Research degrees Research degrees are also available in this area. Contact us for details.

Further study

Psychology and Investigation PhD


This degree course is available to international students from outside of the UK or EU.

How to apply

We hope you're interested in what you've seen and want to apply to join us. For an application form please visit:.

International applicants should apply direct to the International Office. For further details on international applications click here.

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.

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