Taught course

Child Forensic Studies: Psychology and Law (Distance Learning)

Institution
University of Portsmouth · Department of Psychology
Qualifications
MSc

Entry requirements

Students should usually have an honours degree or equivalent. Applicants with professional qualifications in lieu of an honours degree will be considered on an individual basis. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry

September

Course content

Why take this course?

This distance learning degree is designed especially for graduate students or professionals already working with children caught up in the legal system.

Supported by academics who have research interests and expertise in child witnessing and children as suspects/offenders, this course provides a chance for you to study relevant specialist topics.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Be taught by actively researching academics at the cutting edge of child forensic psychology research
  • Participate in live web-based chat forums to discuss your work with lecturers and other students
  • Tap in to our Library’s vast selection of electronic resources or access library facilities and borrow books locally via the SCONUL scheme

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course provides an opportunity for those supporting or working with child victims, witnesses or suspects to enhance their knowledge and skills, and gain an academic qualification.

Module Details

Year One:

Full time students will study all units in one full year.

Part time students - Year One:

You will normally study three units each year, and will begin to explore potential research ideas and research methodologies in your first year.

Here are the units you will study:

  • Child Development and Young Offenders: This unit discusses child development theories including cognitive, emotional, social, and sexual development and in the second half of the unit, it critically discusses the factors, prevention, and intervention strategies for children as perpratators. A summary of research on adolescent violent offenders and adolescent sex offenders is followed by a section on child suspects, criminal responsibility, and false confessions and suggestibility.
  • Law and Procedures Relating to Children: This unit provides an historical overview of what influenced the changes to the law that have provided the special measures to help children have greater access to the criminal justice process. It also outlines current laws and procedures in England and Wales.
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods: This unit introduces experimental and survey-based research methods, as well as quantitative data analysis techniques. It also covers qualitative methods for data collection and analysis, as well as to how to write research reports in both traditions.

Year Two:

Part time students - Year Two

In your second year you will cover several other applied topics and carry out an independent research project relevant to children caught up in the legal system.

Here are the units you will study:

  • Interviewing Child Witnesses and the Detection of Deception: This unit introduces the issue of suggestibility and outlines the current advocated interview protocols for the investigative interviewing of child witnesses. It discusses Statement Validity Assessment, a technique for assessing the truthfulness of statements based solely on what is spoken by the child. The second part of this unit includes discussion of risk factors, prevention and intervention strategies for children as perpetrators.
  • Research Project: The research project requires you to initiate, conduct and report upon an original piece of research. The work is conducted to deadlines agreed with a project supervisor and must include empirical quantitative or qualitative research – data collection and relevant analysis must be included. Any statistical analysis must be both descriptive (e.g. means, standard deviations and graphs and so on) and inferential (i.e. statistical tests).
  • An option unit – the current choices are one unit from these two options:
  • Communication and Investigative Interviewing of People with Intellectual Disabilities: This unit aims to promote communication skills and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and outline the status of the law concerning vulnerable adults as witnesses/victims. It aims to provide you with the opportunity to examine issues that arise when people with intellectual disabilities are interviewed as witnesses/victims of crime.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: This unit outlines and discusses the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy. You are strongly encouraged to view this course as an introduction to the academic literature on this subject, rather than as training to be a therapist.

Programme Assessment

Despite its distance learning mode, this course is still extremely student focused. You will be given resources, materials, help and guidance to complete your studies to your full ability. Using our virtual learning environment you can participate in group discussions with other students in a friendly yet challenging online class environment. Plus real-time text based 'chat sessions' with lecturers will ensure you receive all the support you need for the topics you study.

You are assessed in a variety of ways to reflect the individual topics, however there are no examinations and all assessment is coursework based. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • essays
  • critical reviews
  • information leaflets
  • wikis
  • presentation slides
  • a research project

Student Destinations

Many of our students are already employed or involved with children caught up in the legal system. Others, however, are new graduates and have yet to work in this environment. Whatever your experience, this course aims to enable you to have a greater understanding of many aspects concerning children as victims, witnesses or suspected offenders.

Previous graduates of the course frequently make significant progress in their careers. Some are just in the beginning stages while others move on to senior manager positions and upwards. Those yet to embark on a career have gone on to find work in related professions, such as the police. Others have chosen to complete more studies such as a social work qualification to be able to work directly with children. More recently, students have gone on to study for advanced academic qualifications.

Qualification and course duration

MSc

distance learning
12/24 months

Course contact details

Name
Admissions Team
Email
admissions@port.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)23 9284 5566