Psychology of Forensic Analysis and Investigation (C8553P)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

Your studies in this module are concerned with the application of psychological theory and research to criminological and forensic contexts.

In this module, you explore how psychology can be used to understand and enhance aspects of criminological and security investigations, such as eyewitness testimony and the identification of suspects.

In addition, you learn to evaluate connections between crime and mental illness.

The kinds of specific questions you encounter during the module include:

  • what is wrong with current face recall systems such as Photofit, Identikit and E-fit?
  • how reliable are eyewitnesses’ accounts of what they have seen, and their identifications of faces they have encountered?
  • why is that faces of other races are more likely to be misidentified in police lineups?
  • can people be recognised reliably from ID cards, passports and CCTV?
  • do children make reliable witnesses, or is their testimony not to be trusted?
  • how is memory affected by stress, and why do some individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder?
  • how can deception be detected by investigators?
  • what kinds of biases and errors affect investigators of serious crimes?
  • what is the relationship between mental illness and crime?
  • to what extent does the media portrayal of 'psychopathy' have any basis in psychological research?

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: