The MSc in Forensic Psychology at Kent is accredited by The British Psychological Society as providing the first (academic) year of professional training for those who wish to qualify as Chartered Forensic Psychologists.
The programme was introduced in October 1995, and the School of Psychology has a long tradition of research in the area of criminal justice and legal psychology. Currently, several members of the School are actively involved in research and consultancy, and several PhD students are currently conducting research under their supervision.
This MSc is the only programme that offers an entire module on offender cognition, which helps you to understand how offence-supportive thinking can increase the chances of sexual offenders, firesetters and other individuals committing offences. With the support of forensic psychology staff you will also gain real-world writing skills such as journal writing, risk assessment reports, court reports and government research reports.
We are particularly interested in receiving applications from suitably qualified graduates who have direct experience of the application of psychological principles in custodial or other forensic settings, although such experience is not essential. As a significant element of the programme involves training in advanced methodological and statistical techniques, we are unable to consider applications from candidates who do not qualify for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS - Graduate Membership of the BPS is insufficient.
Watch an additional video about Taught MSc Degrees in the School of Psychology and find out about the excellent support we give to our students.
Think Kent video series
Sexual offending is a topic that many people simply don't want to think about. Perhaps due to this, many people hold myths about sexual offending. One common myth is that child molesters are always paedophiles. In this video Dr Caoilte Ó Ciardha examines different approaches that can measure age appropriate-sexual interests in male participants. He discusses these approaches and their potential in the measurement and understanding of paedophilic sexual interest.
About the School of Psychology
As a student within the School of Psychology at Kent, you benefit from our supportive, dynamic and diverse environment for creative research and learning.
All of our taught Master's (MSc) programmes have been recognised by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the nationally recognised criteria for preparation training for PhD research.
Conducting both basic and applied research in several areas, Psychology at Kent is highly regarded as a leading European centre for postgraduate research. Our long-established international reputation in social psychology is complemented by our strengths in cognitive, developmental and forensic psychology. We attract excellent visiting scholars and postgraduate students from both within the UK and overseas.
Some of our PhD students are self-funded, and others are funded by grants or awards either from the School, UK or their countries of origin. Some are also paid to undertake part-time teaching within the School. We have a strong track record of attracting ESRC research studentship funding, which involves partnerships with external organisations such as Age UK and the Equality and Human Rights Commission and collaborative studentships with partners such as People United.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Psychology was ranked 11th in the UK for research intensity.
An impressive 95% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 97% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School's environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
Teaching on core forensic modules is enhanced by the contributions of several honorary teaching staff, all of whom are Chartered Forensic Psychologists working in applied settings (eg in Special Hospitals, RSUs and prisons).
Recent research projects undertaken have included:
- an evaluation of the relapse prevention module of the Prison Service Sex Offender Treatment Programme
- an investigation of the incidence of sexual and physical abuse in the backgrounds of sex offenders with learning disabilities
- an investigation into non-verbal cues to lying in police interrogations
- an examination of organisational and psychological factors related to the treatment of offenders in a Maltese prison
- a study of the incidence of ADHD indicators in a young offender population
- a comparison of socio-demographic and psychological factors related to women who do, and do not, self-harm in a Special Hospital
- a study of the incidence of PTSD indicators in the prison population of the Channel Islands.
View this year's timetable (PDF) for our other MSc courses with some common modules. Please note that timetabling and modules may change from year to year.
The modules below are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
The MSc in Forensic Psychology is composed of the following six compulsory modules:
SP801 - Statistics and Methodology (40 credits)
The aim of this module is to provide a postgraduate-level orientation to both basic and advanced contemporary statistical and methodological issues in psychology. It is compulsory for all our MSc students. The methodological issues considered include validity and reliability in measurement; experimental, quasi-experimental, and correlational research designs in the laboratory and field; observational, archival, and qualitative research methodologies; and the problem of bias in psychological research. The statistical techniques taught include univariate and bivariate descriptive and inferential statistics; psychometric techniques; exploratory data analysis; basic and advanced topics in ANOVA and ANCOVA; multiple regression; factor analysis; and structural equation modelling.
Credits: 40 credits (20 ECTS credits).
SP809 - Research Project in Criminology,Legal or Forensic Psychology (60 credits)
This module entails the student undertaking independent empirical research on a forensic topic. The area is guided by the students supervisor, but also informed by the Division of Forensic Psychology curriculum. The research is to be at a publishable level and should make an original contribution to the field, however it is not required to provide as comprehensive coverage or investigation as that which would be required for a PhD.
During the process of conducting your research, you should adhere as closely as possible to your time plan and keep in close contact with your supervisor. Your supervisor will advise you on specific issues relating to content and structure, however, the structure of the research dissertation as two journal style articles means that is should be relatively easy to find copies of similar work in published journals. You are strongly encouraged to select a number of articles, which have looked at similar topics and use these to help you structure your work appropriately. In terms of review paper this may mean using similar sub-headings to group the work you have reviewed, historically or thematically and in terms of the empirical paper, this may mean looking at research which has used similar research techniques and identifying the elements which have to be included and looking at how others have presented the data. Both papers do need to be produced in appropriate journal format and the notes to authors in the forensic journals do provide useful guidance. A list of journals identified by the DFP as being good forensic journals is provided below. This is for guidance only and is not exhaustive; your supervisor will also help you to select appropriate journals and structures.
Behavioural Sciences and the Law
British Journal of Criminology
Bulletin of The American Academy of Psychiatry and Law
Crime & Delinquency
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health
Criminal Justice & Behaviour
Development & Psychopathology
The Howard Journal
International Journal of Offender Therapy
Journal of Forensic Psychiatry
Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Journal of Police Science & Administration
Law & Human Behaviour
Legal & Criminological Psychology
Psychology Crime & Law
Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).
SP805 - Psychology of Criminal Conduct (20 credits)
This course examines the topic of criminality from a broad psychological perspective. The evidence that consistent criminal tendencies can be reliably assessed is considered, and the extent to which personality factors can explain that consistency is evaluated. The study of offence behaviour and the contribution of investigative psychology to police work are examined. The concept of psychopathy is explored along with examining more generally the relationship between crime, law and moral judgement. The origins of the criminal tendency in childhood are detailed and its abundant expression in adolescence highlighted and examined. The role of victims in creating, defining and reporting crime is analysed, and the psychological consequences of crime for victims and potential victims are explored.
This module examines the topic of criminality from a broad psychological perspective. The evidence that consistent criminal tendencies can be reliably assessed is considered, and the extent to which personality factors can explain that consistency is evaluated. The study of offence behaviour and the contribution of investigative psychology to police work are examined. You explore the concept of psychopathy before examining more generally the relationship between crime, law and moral judgement. Theoretical perspectives on the origins of the criminal tendency in childhood are detailed and its abundant expression in adolescence highlighted and examined. The role of victims in creating, defining and reporting crime is analysed, and the psychological consequences of crime for victims and potential victims are explored.
Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).
SP806 - Psychology of Law and Justice (20 credits)
This module examines the social psychological processes involved in defining an act as criminal and deserving of prosecution and conviction. When do we rightly blame someone for wrongdoing? How do models of blame inform our criminal justice system? The actions of police, suspects, witnesses and the courts are examined in turn. The police feature prominently in the early stages as they identify and apprehend offenders. Given evidence supplied by the police, the decision whether to prosecute will be taken. Before a case comes to trial, opportunities for the suspect to confess and to bargain, implicitly or explicitly, over the precise charge will have occurred. In court the prosecution and defence present their alternative narratives of the events that are alleged to have taken place for a jury to consider. The behaviour, attitudes, and role of witnesses are given separate consideration. Following a guilty verdict, the judge features prominently and factors determining sentence decisions will be examined, as will the influence of public opinion in the justice system. Further, the position of psychologically abnormal offenders will be discussed in relation to the appropriateness of current practice. We conclude the module by examining the psychological effects that imprisonment can have on offenders.
Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).
SP825 - Assessment and Treatment of Offenders in Forensic Settings (20 credits)
This module examines the variety of perspectives and practical methods employed by practising Forensic Psychologists in the treatment and training of both normal and psychologically disturbed offenders. The module sessions examine the assessment and treatment of offenders including sex offenders, firesetters, violent offenders, and female offenders who have been sexually abused, and the treatment of addictions in special hospitals, regional secure units and prison settings.
Thise module examines issues relating to the assessment, management and treatment of offenders from a psychological perspective. An introduction to the role of clinical psychology within a maximum-security hospital explores issues related to working with dangerous mentally disordered and non-disordered offenders. The importance of assessment in understanding the function of offending, identifying treatment targets and measuring change are highlighted, along with the difficulties associated with it.
The module explores the variety of perspectives and practical methods employed by practising Forensic Psychologists in the treatment and training of both normal and psychologically disturbed offenders. It begins with an extended site visit to Broadmoor Special Hospital, and continues with sessions on the assessment and treatment of offenders in both Special Hospital and prison settings, including sex offenders, arsonists, violent offenders, female offenders who have been sexually abused and the treatment of addictions.
Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).
SP847 - Forensic Cognition: Theory, Research and Practice (20 credits)
What sort of thinking occurs in men and women who sexually molest children, rape adults or commit acts of violence? Cognition is recognised as being a key component underlying the way people think and behave. In this module, you learn about the influential theories and latest research designed to help understand why individuals offend. You learn about treatment programmes designed to alter cognitive characteristics associated with offending in order to reduce recidivism. You also study fascinating social-cognitive phenomena associated with child and adult eyewitness testimony, and discover how memory can play havoc with the criminal justice system.
Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).
Teaching and Assessment
The MSc in Forensic Psychology aims to satisfy the academic component of professional training in forensic psychology (that is, to become a Chartered Forensic Psychologist). Throughout the programme, you attend non-assessed seminars and go on site visits.
The programme includes lecture, workshop and seminar-based teaching, as well as an individually supervised empirical research project.
Advanced Statistics and Methodology is assessed by examination. All other taught modules are assessed by written work and presentations. Research is assessed by two articles: one empirical paper and one review article on your chosen topic.
This programme aims to:
- foster your intellectual development by providing you with specialised knowledge of a range of theoretical approaches to forensic psychology and statistical and methodological expertise in order that you should be well equipped to make your own original contribution to psychological knowledge
- provide teaching that is informed by current research and scholarship and that requires you to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge
- help you to develop research skills and transferable skills in preparation for entering academic or other careers as psychologists
- satisfy the academic requirements of the knowledge base specified by the British Psychological Society
- enable you to manage your own learning and to carry out independent research
- help you to develop general critical, analytic and problem-solving skills that can be applied in a wide range of settings.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- a range of general, historical, theoretical and philosophical issues underlying the disciplines of forensic psychology
- the major analytic techniques and research methodologies employed by forensic psychologists
- specialist knowledge and systematic understanding of the key issues in forensic psychology.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- the ability to critically reflect on key themes
- the ability to produce sustained work
- discussion skills
- written analysis and interpretation of relevant material
- a critical awareness of both cognitive and neuropsychological approaches to the nature of mind/body.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- how to identify, locate and use material available in the library and online resources
- the major analytic techniques employed by forensic psychologists
- how to evaluate and select appropriate methods for researching questions in forensic psychology.
You will gain the following transferable skills:
- numeracy: the ability to analyse data and make sense of statistical materials, integrate numerical and non-numerical information, understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information.
- communication: the ability to organise information clearly, write coherently and concisely about your chosen research area and other areas of forensic psychology, and give oral presentations about your work.
- working with others: the ability to review the work of others, work co-operatively in groups, understand ethical principles and the procedures for gaining ethics approval for research
- improving your own learning: the ability to explore your personal strengths and weaknesses, develop the skills of time management, review the student-staff relationship, develop specialist learning skills, develop autonomy in learning
- information technology: use computers for data analysis, word processing, graphical display of data for analysis and presentation, bibliographical research, documentation and email
- problem-solving: the ability to identify and define problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them
- teaching and learning: we will provide lecture workshops on computing, drop-in computing surgeries, training in making oral presentations of research material, lecture-seminars on writing critical reviews of literature, carrying out literature searches, lecture-workshops on career development, media training and training in the dissemination of research findings.
- you will also sit computing tests and unseen examinations and write coursework essays.
The School has excellent facilities for both laboratory and field research, including advanced laboratory and teaching facilities. Resources include:
- three fully equipped colour video laboratories for face-to-face group research, together with ten satellite laboratories connected via remote-control CCTV and two-way audio links
- 58 research laboratories, all containing networked computers
- a further 80 PCs available exclusively to Psychology students, including a designated MSc computer-networked room providing full email and internet access
- shared offices and a personal, networked computer for research students
- a full range of computer-based experiment generators and productivity software installed on all the School's systems
- an upgraded laboratory suite with equipment for digital sound and vision recording
- four Brain Vision EEG labs (including one for simultaneous TMS & EEG, and one portable EEG system)
- two Trans-cranial direct current electrical stimulators (GVS, Magstim)
- Neuroconn tDCS/tACS electrical stimulator with facilities for simultaneous EEG
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) PowerMAG Research 100 High Frequency Stimulator
- two Tobii eye-trackers (Tobii X120 & Tobii T60 XL portable)
- one Arrington eye-tracker
- a suite equipped with Bio-Pac recorders to allow for a range of physiological measures to be taken during stressful and other tasks
- specialist laboratories equipped for face processing and vision research
- CRS ColorCal II Colorimeter/Photometer
- CRS Audiofile for synchronized audio-visual presentation
- numerous PC and Mac labs to run behavioural experiments
- Mirror Stereoscopes for dichoptic presentation and stereo vision research
- immersive virtual reality lab (including integrated eye-tracker)
- a social cognition laboratory
- creation in 2010 of the Kent Child Development Unit and research team focusing on how children learn about their world, about other people and about the language they hear around them.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; Child Development; Clinical Psychology Review. Details of recently published books can be found within the staff research interests.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Our postgraduate students commonly go into the fields of health, teaching or further education. For instance, many of our graduates take up roles as assistant psychologists in the NHS with a view to becoming a professional clinical or forensic psychologist. Upon completing our Master's courses, graduates have also pursued doctoral study and academic careers at higher education institutions.
The programmes we offer help you to develop general critical, analytic and problem-solving skills that can be applied in a wide range of settings.
All of our taught Master's (MSc) programmes have been recognised by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the nationally recognised criteria for preparation training for PhD research.
The MSc in Forensic Psychology at Kent is accredited by The British Psychological Society as providing the first (academic) year of professional training for those who wish to qualify as Chartered Forensic Psychologists. Graduates from the programme are then required to gain the equivalent of a further two years' relevant experience under the supervision of a Chartered Forensic Psychologist before qualifying for Chartered status themselves. You should contact the BPS directly if you have enquiries about the nature of the supervised practice element of qualification.
Please note that only students who gain a mark of 40% or above in every module, with an overall mark of at least 50%, are eligible for accreditation by the British Psychological Society.
a. GBC status
You must hold, or have applied for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC, formerly GBR) with the British Psychological Society (BPS). Please note that Graduate Membership of the BPS is not accepted.
You will normally have GBC status if you hold a Psychology honours degree accredited by the BPS. Otherwise, you can apply to have your existing degree assessed by the BPS, or take a conversion course. If you are not sure whether you hold GBC status, please contact the BPS directly.
b. Adequate level of academic achievement
You must also hold a Bachelor's or Master's degree with a classification (grade average) of a high 2.1 (i.e. average grade of 65 or over) or Merit in the UK system (the second highest classification after First/Distinction). Results from institutions in other countries will be assessed individually according to this standard.
c. Statistics and research methods training in the social sciences
This programme includes a one-year statistics sequence which you must normally pass in order to receive your award. The teaching assumes that you are familiar with the following topics:
- Means and standard deviations
- Distributions, hypothesis testing and statistical significance
- Correlation coefficients
- Variables and measurement
Therefore, your existing degree transcript should note that you have taken and passed a minimum of one term each in statistics and social science research methods courses (or two terms of a joint statistics and research methods course).
2. Forensic-related work/research experience
We favour applicants with voluntary (or in some cases paid) work/research experience in a forensic setting, for example victim support, the police, the prison service, the NHS, or forensic-relevant charities. A reference is required from the relevant organisation.
General entry requirements
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
The School of Psychology is highly regarded as a leading European centre for postgraduate research, with an international reputation for excellence in social psychology (including group processes and intergroup relations); cognition and neuroscience; developmental psychology; and forensic psychology. We have staff who can supervise research degrees in all of these areas. The research environment is designed to sustain a strong, vibrant research culture, encourage collaboration, and unite staff and students with shared research interests. Our themes ensure critical mass and create a highly energetic and stimulating intellectual climate.
Research activity is supported by:
- centrally co-ordinated provision and use of laboratories and technical support
- selection of speakers for our weekly departmental research colloquia
- weekly research meetings within each theme
- developing, reporting and analysing research, and hosting our many visiting scholars
- several monthly small meeting series on specific areas of cross-cutting research (such as forensic, social development, emotion, social cognition and health).
Forensic Psychology research at Kent and all forensic-related teaching operates through our newly constituted Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology (CORE-FP). Current research is focused on bullying in prisons, prison gang behaviour, jury decision-making, child sexual offending, rape, rape proclivity, female sexual offending, theories of offender rehabilitation, firesetting, sexual harassment, violence, aggression and alcohol, and the infrahumanisation of offenders. Other areas of research include social cognition, social and moral emotion, and group process theory, all of which are applied to the study of offending behaviour or court process issues.
Forensic psychology research at Kent is funded by various national and international sources, which include: The British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, Home Office, Leverhulme, Ministry of Justice and the Nuffield Foundation.
Research may be carried out with staff or offenders/ex-offenders in a variety of settings, including prisons, youth offender institutions, secure mental health units and probation offices. Alternatively, research may take place with students or members of the community in our newly equipped laboratories.
Much of our social psychology research is co-ordinated through the Centre for the Study of Group Processes (CSGP), the largest research group in this area in Europe. CSGP attracts a stream of major international social psychology researchers, who are officially affiliated to the Centre and visit regularly to work with our staff. The Social Psychology group also includes the co-editor of Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (Abrams).
Social psychology research at Kent is funded by a variety of British and international sources, currently and recently including ESRC, British Academy, Leverhulme, Age Concern, European Commission, European Science Foundation, Home Office, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Nuffield, and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, as well as government departments such as the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The Social Psychology group includes the following themes:
Prejudice, intergroup contact and social categorisation
This research is carried out in our social psychology laboratories, at schools and in business organisations. For example, research within this topic focuses on questions such as: how contact between members of different social groups is represented psychologically, how intergroup contact affects prejudice, when outgroups are seen as less human, when and why children show prejudice, and why organisational mergers sometimes fail.
Social inequality and cohesion
Research on this topic combines theory-driven research and engagement with policy. It is conducted in real-life settings such as the workplace, and involves national and international surveys. For example, the research focuses on the well-being of elderly people in Britain, work participation and motherhood, and discrimination against different groups in society.
Group dynamics and social influence
Laboratory studies and community-based research are conducted on this topic. For example, research focuses on co-operation in small groups, group decision-making, perception and influence of leaders, social communication and language, subjective group dynamics in adults and children, the dynamics of prison gang activity, and the impact of alcohol on group processes.
Personality and social motivation
Much of this research is carried out in laboratories, through surveys and in clinical or other applied settings. For example, research has examined aggression, the adaptive functions of perfectionism, and consequences of mortality salience.
Cognition and Neuroscience
Research under this theme has an international reputation in the topic areas of Visual Cognition, Attention and Memory, and Language and Communication. Some of this research activity occurs in the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems, a strategic partnership between the Schools of Psychology and Computing.
Visual cognition, attention and memory
Research on this topic focuses primarily on the role of vision and visual perception in human performance. The fundamental aim of this work is to identify the cognitive processes and neurological mechanisms underlying various visual tasks. Studies involving neurologically healthy volunteers examine issues such as face recognition and identification, eyewitness testimony, person detection, emotion processing, episodic memory and pattern and motion recognition.
Language and communication
Research in this group examines various aspects of semantic, pragmatic and syntactic understanding. Research questions on healthy populations include the role of executive functions in successful language use and communication, how language influences attentional processes and perspective taking, anomaly detection, and the effect of interruptions on reading. Work on developmental populations examines issues such as how children learn to understand and produce sentences in their own language, and how they learn conversational conventions and self-repair. Research also examines developmental disorders of communication, including autism spectrum disorders and dyslexia. This research group has links with researchers in the School of European Culture and Languages, as part of the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies.
Much of the research conducted by members of the Developmental Psychology group is conducted with neurotypical infants, children, and adolescents. However, we also take a lifespan approach to the study of development and conduct research with older adults. Moreover, a key focus of our research is on neuro-developmental disorders. Central research topics include:
Developmental group members are particularly interested in the expression and control of ethnic and gender prejudice, social ostracism and inclusion, conversational norms and group identity in children. We also conduct research on social aspects of older adulthood, in particular self-stereotyping and prejudice against elderly people.
Cognitive development is a major focus of many of our developmental psychologists. In particular, members of the Developmental Psychology group actively research topics such as the development of social cognition and theory of mind, language, information and sensory processing, and conversation and pragmatic skills.
Our developmental research also focuses on adolescence, as well as infancy, childhood and older adulthood. In particular, we are interested in the emergence of gang activity and antisocial behaviour during this period of development.
We also conduct cutting-edge research into neuro-developmental disorders, such as autism and language impairment, with a view to understanding the nature and basis of, and best ways to treat, these disorders.
The School of Psychology currently includes three formally constituted research centres, representing areas of concentration and excellence in research.
Centre for the Study of Group Processes
The Centre for the Study of Group Processes (CSGP) was set up in 1990 to consolidate the School's excellent international reputation for social psychological research into group processes and intergroup relations. CSGP is now a thriving international research community, including 15 full-time academic staff and a large number of research fellows and PhD students. The Centre also attracts a stream of major international group researchers, who are officially affiliated to it and regularly visit to work with our staff. The Centre also edits an international journal, Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.
Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems
The objective of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems (CCNCS) is to harness the potential for cross-disciplinary research at the junction of cognitive psychology and the computational sciences. The Centre focuses on how behavioural and neuro-physiological experimentation needs to inform and be informed by the construction of computational models. Furthermore, the results of such studies should inform the construction of artificial systems, such as forensic imaging, human-computer interfaces and robotic systems.
Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology
The main aim of the Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology is to conduct high-impact psychological research to further understand key forensic issues of social significance, and to lead to cutting-edge teaching and research opportunities for postgraduate students. Forensic psychology is an extremely popular and rapidly developing branch of psychology that seeks to understand the psychological processes underlying offending behaviour (including group processes), the reduction and supervision of offending behaviour (ie rehabilitation, treatment and management of community risk), victim responses to offending, the mechanisms underlying the criminal justice system more generally (ie jury decision-making and the courts), and attitudes to offenders and offender reintegration in society.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Dr Kirsten Abbot-Smith: Senior Lecturer in Psychology
The development of verbal communication in typical children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Use of a range of cognitive-experimental techniques with a current focus particularly on pragmatic language development.Profile
Professor Dominic Abrams: Professor of Social Psychology
Social identity and intergroup relations; prejudice; sexism; deviance; social identity in organisational contexts; group consensus processes; the selfconcept and self-regulation of behaviour.Profile
Dr Emma Alleyne: Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology
Socio-cognitive and group processes that underlie group offending e.g. what differentiates gang youth and non-gang youth with similar social/environmental backgrounds; multiple-perpetrator rape (MPR) and psychological factors that distinguish MPR from lone perpetrators; firesetting behaviour and clinical treatment of firesetters.Profile
Dr Zara Bergstrom: Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology
The neurocognitive mechanisms of episodic memory; control processes and long-term memory retrieval; cognitive neuroscience techniques; applied memory research; memory in old age.Profile
Dr Markus Bindemann: Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Face and person perception; detection of people in natural settings; person memory and eyewitness identification; perception of eye-gaze and emotion from faces and other aspects of social cognition.Profile
Dr Anna Brown: Senior Lecturer in Psychological Methods and Statistics
Quantitative modelling of psychological date; modelling response processes to cognitive and non-cognitive assessments using Item Response Theory (IRT).Profile
Dr Lindsey Cameron: Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Social developmental psychology: development and reduction of intergroup prejudice in children; direct intergroup contact and extended intergroup contact; development of ethnic and national identity in children and adolescents; acculturation in childhood; experience of prejudice and discrimination, and its consequences for social development.Profile
Dr Aleksandra Cichocka: Lecturer in Political Psychology
Links between the self and various social and political realities; how self-concept and group image relate to intergroup attitudes, political ideology and support for status-quo.Profile
Dr Kristof Dhont: Lecturer in Psychology
Dispositional and situational determinants of explicit and implicit racism: the role of intergroup contact and ideology; political psychology: ideology, political extremism, political cognition.Profile
Professor Karen Douglas: Professor of Social Psychology
Understanding beliefs in conspiracy theories, language and stereotyping, sexist language, lay theories of persuasion, social psychology of the internet, interpersonal and intergroup communication.Profile
Dr Heather Ferguson: Reader in Psychology
Language and communication; perspective taking; comprehension of counterfactuals and negation; mental representations involved in language understanding; time-course and brain processes involved in various cognitive functions; autism spectrum disorder.Profile
Dr Michael Forrester: Reader in Psychology
Children’s conversational skills; discourse and conversation analysis; psychoanalytic developmental psychology; the development of singing and musicality.Profile
Professor Theresa Gannon: Professor of Forensic Psychology
The cognition of child molesters, rapists and violent offenders; detecting fake-good responses in prison populations; the rehabilitation and treatment of sexual offenders; applied cognitive-experimental psychology; the characteristics and treatment of female sexual offenders and firesetters.Profile
Professor Roger Giner-Sorolla: Professor of Social Psychology
The role of emotions in prejudice and self-control; moral judgements and emotion (anger, disgust, guilt and shame); cross-cultural differences in moral beliefs; intergroup emotions.Profile
Dr Tim Hopthrow: Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Small group performance and decision-making especially in the context of co-operative behaviour in social dilemmas; the effects of alcohol consumption on group performance.Profile
Dr Mark James: Lecturer in Forensic Psychology
Developmental pathways to street gang membership, assessing stable and dynamic risk and protective factors associated with gang membership, as well as gang members' thoughts and feelings concerning their membership; public and professional (e.g. the police and courts) reactions to crime.Profile
Dr Amir-Homayoun Javadi: Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology/Cognitive Neuroscience
Refining and improving non-pharmacological approaches to the enhancement of memory, learning and decision making, using a variety of methods (eg, physical exercise, electrical and magnetic brain stimulation and sleep); imaging methods including eye-tracking and EEG.Profile
Dr Lydia Kearney: Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology
Social anxiety and experience of mental imagery; ways anxious self-imagery reflects cognitive biases in attention and interpretation; imagery and rumination; imagery and emotion; cognitive and behavioural precursors of depression and anxiety.Profile
Dr Erika Nurmsoo: Lecturer in Psychology
Language acquisition, focusing on word learning; theory of mind development; source monitoring and use of testimony in preschoolers; children’s comprehension of partial and ambiguous input; understanding and use of symbols, drawing, and pretence.Profile
Dr Caoilte O Ciardha: Lecturer in Forensic Psychology
Treatment needs of offenders and causal factors in offending with a particular emphasis on the role of cognition; research methods that offer potential in tapping into cognitive constructs in an indirect way, such as looking at people’s response patterns to sexually salient stimuli and how that relates to problematic sexual interest, for example paedophilia. Work to date has primarily focused on behaviours such as sexual offending and firesetting.Profile
Dr Afroditi Pina: Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Sexual violence, gender equality and victimisation, in particular rape and the myths that surround it; sexual harassment, its impact on its victims, women’s coping strategies, and the link between sexual harassment and the emotions of anger and fear; self and sexual objectification and its effects on women’s self esteem; victim blaming; coping strategies.Profile
Dr Marta Ponari: Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology
Interaction between cognition and emotion; embodied semantics, especially the role of sensory-motor and emotional information in how we acquire and represent meaning; facial expression recognition; emotional processing in ageing.Profile
Dr Georgina Randsley de Moura: Professor of Social Psychology
Intra and intergroup dynamics and social psychology in organisations, especially leadership, innovation and what happens when group members break rules or norms.Profile
Dr Dinkar Sharma: Reader in Psychology
Cognition and emotion; selective attention; priming; cognitive approaches to addiction.Profile
Professor Joachim Stoeber: Professor of Psychology
Perfectionism, well-being and performance; coping; personal goals in adolescence; stress and health in the workplace; motivation; personality and individual differences.Profile
Professor Robbie Sutton: Professor of Social Psychology
Just-world beliefs and system-justification; social norms and communication processes especially as they relate to prejudice, stereotyping and the perpetuation of injustice and inequality; the inner logic of apparently irrational behaviours such as mutually destructive conflicts and environmental despoilation; implications of these processes for gender (sexism, fear of crime and views of rape complainants) and global warming (climate change).Profile
Dr Hannah Swift: Eastern ARC Research Fellow
Ageism; attitudes to age across Europe; consequences of age-stereotypes; age-based stereotype threat and stereotype priming; social identity and the social construction of age; loneliness in later life and the factors that contribute to healthy, active ageing.Profile
Dr Giovanni Travaglino: Lecturer in Social & Organisational Psychology
Social and cultural psychology of collective action and protest. Factors predicting intentions to oppose criminal (mafia-style) organisations collectively in the South of Italy. Social psychology of deviance and groups’ responses to disloyal members.Profile
Professor Ayse Uskul: Professor of Social Psychology
Cultural conceptions of honour and roots of honour-related aggression; ecocultural influences on cognitive and social psychological (eg, social exclusion, honour) processes; social, cultural, and religious correlates of attitudes toward inter-ethnic and inter-faith intimate relationships; the role of self-regulatory mechanisms in social cognition (eg, processing of health messages); social interaction (eg, aggression); well-being (eg, depression).Profile
Dr Eduardo Vasquez: Lecturer in Forensic Psychology
Aggression and displaced aggression; anger, rumination, and aggression and violent behaviours; inter-group relations; personalisation, self-disclosure and liking; inter-group conflict and aggression; intergang violence; alcohol and social behaviours: alcohol and aggression, alcohol and inter-group anxiety; applications to criminal behaviour.Profile
Dr Mario Weick: Senior Lecturer in Psychology
The impact of social and situational factors on people’s perceptions, judgements and actions; the role of power and control – specifically how powerful and powerless people differ in their perceptions, the way they make judgements and their actions.Profile
Professor David Wilkinson: Professor of Psychology
Visual cognition; perceptual and attentional performance in healthy and brain-damaged individuals; the use of sensory stimulation to rehabilitate stroke patients.Profile
Dr David Williams: Professor of Developmental Psychology
Various forms of developmental psychopathology, including autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment; the nature and neurocognitive bases of developmental disorders, as well as what these disorders tell us about typical development; use of cognitive-experimental techniques among typical and atypical populations.Profile
Dr Arnaud Wisman: Lecturer in Psychology
Coping mortality salience; terror management theory; the self-concept, self-esteem and selfregulation; groups, automatic social behaviour, conformism and cultural worldviews; evolutionary social psychology, attraction, scent and sexuality.Profile
Dr Jane Wood: Reader in Forensic Psychology
Street and prison gang formation and activity; public attitudes to crime and punishment, bullying in prison and schools; resettlement and rehabilitation of ex-offenders and the role of emotions in judging offenders.Profile
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For further information please contact the Programme Director, Dr Jane Wood
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We hold regular Open Events at our Canterbury and Medway campuses. You will be able to talk to specialist academics and admissions staff, find out about our competitive fees, discuss funding opportunities and tour the campuses.
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