Course Title: Forensic Psychology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Forensic Psychology

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006


City Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006

Course Coordinator: Merv Jackson

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7367

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

BESC 1126 Principles of Psychology
BESC 1123 Foundations of Psychology

Course Description

The purpose of the course is to expose students to a variety of issues relating to forensic psychology. This course will consider a variety of aspects of relationships between psychology and law.

Topics will include:

  1. psychology of law enforcement (psychological profiling, police stress);
  2. psychology of the legal system (mental impairment, expert and eyewitness testimony, jury dynamics, victims of crime);
  3. psychology of specific offender groups (psychopathy, sex offending, arson, stalking); and
  4. psychology of corrections (psychological interventions with offenders).

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course the student should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the differences in approach of psychology, psychiatry and law.
  2. describe the legal aspects of some major psycho-legal issues which must be demonstrated in court.
  3. describe the issues related to some investigation and assessment issues in forensic psychology.
  4. describe their implications for management in the legal system of some major psychological disorders.
  5. describe psychological theories of etiology and psychological approaches to management of selected offender groups.
  6. examine critically the contribution of psychology to criminal justice at investigative, judicial, and correctional levels.

Overview of Learning Activities

Each student will be required to attend two hours of lectures, and one hour of tutorials per week. These sessions will be delivered using a variety of techniques. Students can therefore expect multimedia delivery strategies that will include video programs, overhead presentations, lectures, tutorials, small group discussions, tutorial presentations, and psychological journals

Lectures - Students in lectures acquire a framework of relevant knowledge and an understanding of theoretical / conceptual material and relevant research.

Tutorial discussions - Students participating in tutorial discussions engage in analysis of practical applications of underlying theoretical / conceptual material. Students further their knowledge of the contribution of Psychology to criminal justice.

Tutorial exercise - Students investigate a controversial issue in forensic psychology using theoretical and empirical research findings. Students are required to present their findings in a debate in tutorials.

Essay - Students address a topic in depth, by analysing critically theoretical and research sources arguing for a particular conclusion.

Video presentations - Students are able to better appreciate the reality of particular offender issues by viewing film footage.

Overview of Learning Resources

There is no prescribed text for this course. Prescribed articles may be provided.

Overview of Assessment

1. One 1500 word essay
2. Tutorial presentation and paper
    * Tutorial Presentation
    * Tutorial Paper
3. Tutorial participation
4. End of semester exam