Research course

Forensic psychology

Open University · Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent). We normally expect applicants to have an appropriate masters degree, including some research methods. A recognised MSc (Research Methods) is required for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships

Months of entry


Course content

Research in forensic Psychology at the OU is supported through the:

Current work focuses on how psychological knowledge can be used to improve investigative techniques for obtaining information from witnesses and suspects. We work in interdisciplinary teams with, for example, colleagues with interests in criminology, computing and the history of crime, and much of our research is conducted in close collaboration with policing forces and organisations. Many of these projects are facilitated through The Open University Policing Consortium, an externally funded initiative involving more than ten UK police forces. Research in forensic psychology at the OU is also supported through the Forensic Cognition Research Group and the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC).

As well as more traditional research outputs, we work hard to engage users and the public more broadly. This includes an app (PhotoFit Me); Eyewitness on BBC2; considerable content on informal learning platforms (e.g. FutureLearn and OpenLearn); and a regular series of public lectures and workshops.

Potential supervisors

Department specialisms

Eyewitness identification evidence Eyewitness memory, perception and attention Developing techniques for working with younger and older witnesses Uses and perceptions of forensic evidence (e.g. the CSI Effect) Investigative interviewing, particularly narrative strategies The impact of social media on policing Improving evidence-based policing Techniques for improving eye-witness accuracy Suggestibility Gender and sexual violence Approaches to collaborations with policing organisations, especially with regard to policing policy and practice Application of psychological knowledge to real-world criminal justice institutions, policies and practices Qualitative research into witness memory and testimony (particularly child witnesses) Conceptual and historical research into the interaction between psychology and law (also international perspectives)

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
variable months
full time
15 months
part time
24 months


full time
36 months
part time
72 months
distance learning
variable months

Course contact details

+44 (0)1908 653947