Course Title: Forensic Psychology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Forensic Psychology

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2018


City Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015

Course Coordinator: Dr Meryn Jackson

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7367

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.03.008

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

System Enforced Pre-requisites (Enforced by SAMS)



Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning. For further information go to:


Course Description

This course will expose you to a range of issues relating to forensic psychology. You will consider a variety of aspects of relationships between psychology and law. In  psychology of law enforcement  you will consider psychological profiling and police stress; the psychology of the legal system including mental impairment, expert and eyewitness testimony, jury dynamics and victims of crime. You will also review the psychology of specific offender groups including psychopathy, sex offending, arson and stalking and the psychology of corrections considering psychological interventions with offenders.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP 154 Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology):

  • PLO 1:  Understand appropriate and relevant fundamental and applied evidence based knowledge and undertake lifelong learning to improve personal and professional practice 
  • PLO 2: Demonstrate a capacity to employ a variety of approaches and procedures to research to permit judgements and decisions to be supported by appropriate evidence that places practice within a global and local context.
  • PLO 3:  Applies knowledge to diagnose and solve problems in a wide range of diverse situations, with an ability to work independently or with others and incorporate the analysis of evidence based scientific literature to solve psychological problems.
  • PLO 6: develop collaborative partnerships with colleagues, other professionals and the community that build on the capacity of others and develop open and flexible relationships that adapt to evolving needs and aspirations.

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast approaches of psychology, psychiatry and law in the area of forensics
  2. Describe the legal aspects of some major psycho-legal issues which must be demonstrated in court.
  3. Identify issues related to some investigation and assessment issues in forensic psychology
  4. Explain implications for management in the legal system of some major psychological disorders.
  5. Relate psychological theories of aetiology and psychological approaches to management of selected offender groups.
  6. Critically evaluate the contribution of psychology to criminal justice at investigative, judicial, and correctional levels.

Overview of Learning Activities

Planned Learning Experiences

This course is offered in an adult-learning model as a series of two-hour seminars on key topics facilitated by RMIT staff. Each student will be required to attend these two-hour seminars. These sessions will be delivered using a variety of techniques. Students can therefore expect multimedia delivery strategies that will include video, overhead presentations, demonstrations, lectures, and small group discussions. Students will be required to complete preparatory reading and contribute to these sessions in the form of role play, discussion, critical appraisal, and problem solving activities. Lecture outlines and readings will be available via the MyRMITStudies website. 

Teacher Guided Hours: 21 per semester

Learner Directed Hours: 42 per semester

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources. Material chosen may be digitally available to you. Lecture material will be delivered via Lectopia, Discussion Board interaction and Blackboard Collaborate workshops. Practice learning activities will be provided in a variety of ways, including simulated learning activities. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

A Library Subject Guide is available at

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks


Assessment 1: Crime Case Study: Evil Rating

Students are to select one of the crime case studies provided and use the Stone Scale of Evil to rate the level of criminality of the offender. The Scale of Evil classifies evil acts on a 22-point scale ranging from justified homicide to prolonged rape, torture, and murder. One end of the scale includes impulsive murders by those who are not actually psychopaths; the middle of the scale includes those who display a degree of psychopathic qualities including grandiosity, superficial charm, glibness, manipulation, deceit, callousness, and lack of remorse; and the third group includes the true psychopaths, especially those involved in sexual serial homicide and torture.

Weighting 20%

Word limit: 500 words 
This assessment task supports CLOs 3.  


.Assessment Task 2: Essay

Students are to prepare an essay outlining the major arguments for and against one of the controversial issues relevant to forensic psychology.

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 4, & 5.  

Word limit: 1,000 words


Assessment Task 3: Exam  

Weighting 50%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6.

One 2-hour exam 


Note: Postgraduates are expected to demonstrate advanced conceptual knowledge and application in written responses as specified in assessment rubrics.