The Forensic Psychology Diploma – Level 3 Course focuses on the use of psychology to the criminal justice system and is designed to give the student an understanding of the psychological processes related to criminal behaviour. There are fifteen units in the course which will explore different aspects of forensic psychology.

Forensic and criminal psychologists will often work with criminal investigations and profiling although this is only one part of a role that can also cover the assessment and treatment of criminal behaviour, working with offenders and working with other professionals involved in the judicial and penal systems.

This highly engaging course starts with an Introduction to research methodologies followed by an introduction to statistics for research. The course then examines the psychology of violent crime, and gives the student an opportunity to conduct their own investigation into the connections between a specific mental disorder of their choice and violent crime, before making a brief examination of serial murder and the different causes detailed as contributory factors in the development of a serial killer.

The course will then test the student to use their knowledge along with further research, to explore three serial killers, and to produce an essay of approximately 500 words, which will examine the character of their chosen subject in association to the popular urban myths identified by the FBI, and explain why these myths can hinder an investigation. The course also inspects criminal activity focusing on the links between substance misuse and abuse within the community.

On successful completion of this course, students will receive an accredited Level 3 Certificate Award.

The course includes the following units:-

  • Unit 1 - Introducing Research Methods

Unit Objectives: To understand the importance of research design; To have an understanding of the differences between exploratory, descriptive and explanatory research projects; To understand why it is necessary to standardise the experiment; and To have an awareness of different research methods and instruments.

  • Unit 2 - Introduction to Basic Statistics

Unit Objectives: To have a basic understanding of probability; To understand what is meant by the independent variable; To understand what is meant by the dependent variable; To have a basic understanding of relative frequency; To be able to construct a simple Likert scale; To be able to construct a simple histogram; and To understand what is meant by the terms random sample and population.

  • Unit 3 - Psychology and Violent Crime

Unit Objectives: To have an awareness that perceptions of mental disorder as a cause of violent crime are distorted; To have an awareness that research suggests serious violent behaviour is not frequent among people with schizophrenia; To have an awareness of the personality traits that characterise the psychopath; To have an awareness of the emotional aspects of violence; and To conduct research into a possible psychological cause of violent behaviour.

  • Unit 4 - Serial Killers

Unit Objectives: Understand that there is no single definition of a serial killer; Understand the difference between serial murder, mass murder and spree killing; Understand that there are a number of urban myths about serial killers; and Conduct research and produce a report that tends to prove or disprove these urban myths.

  • Unit 5 - Crime and Substance Abuse

Unit Objectives: Understand that not all drugs are illegal; Understand that abuse of legal substances can have high social and economic costs; Recognise the links between crime and substance abuse; and Have a basic understanding of government approaches to the reduction of crime resulting from substance abuse.

  • Unit 6 - Child Abuse

Unit Objectives: To have a basic understanding of the different types of child abuse; To have a basic understanding of the signs of child abuse; To have a basic understanding of the effects of child abuse; and To have an awareness of some of the explanations of sexual offending and their incomplete nature.

  • Unit 7 - The Evidence of Children

Unit Objectives: Have an awareness of the factors considered to make a child's evidence unreliable; Have an awareness of the flaws in the concerns about the reliability of a child's testimony; Have an awareness of the current arrangements for the giving of evidence by children; and Have an awareness of the defects in the current arrangements for children to give evidence in court.

  • Unit 8 - Criminal Responsibility and Psychiatric Defences

Unit Objectives: Have a basic understanding of the role of the psychologist/psychiatrist in cases involving mentally disordered offenders; Have a basic understanding of what is meant by mental disorder; and Have a basic knowledge of the insanity defence.

  • Unit 9 - Mental Disorder as a Defence

Unit Objectives: To have a basic understanding of dissociative identity disorder; To have a basic understanding of dissociative amnesia; To have a basic understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder; To have a basic understanding of what is meant by dangerous people with severe personality disorder; and To be able to conduct research into dissociative identity disorder.

  • Unit 10 - Eyewitness Testimony

Unit Objectives: To recognise that eyewitness memory is highly fallible; To recognise that memories are considered a product of conceptual systems; To have a basic understanding of some of the research into perception, memory and eyewitness testimony; and To examine and report on personal perception and memory

  • Unit 11 - Psychology in a Correctional Setting

Unit Objectives: To have a basic understanding of the effects of imprisonment on the psychological and physical health of offenders; To have an awareness of the psychological effects of imprisonment on female offenders; To have an awareness of the psychological effects of imprisonment on young offenders; To have an awareness of re-offending risk assessment and its purpose; and To conduct research into psychology in a correctional setting.

  • Unit 12 - Psychology and Police Selection, Recruitment and Training

Unit Objectives: To have a basic understanding of the issues involved in the recruitment, selection, training and retention of police officers; Understand the advances that have been made in police training; Recognise the links between relevant and continuous training and the promotion process; and Understand why such major changes in training within the police service were necessary.

  • Unit 13 - Police Stress

Unit Objectives: Have an awareness of what is meant by stress; Have an awareness of some of the contributory factors of stress; Have an awareness of some of the research around stress and Have an awareness of the contributory factors of stress in your own work place or a familiar work place.

  • Unit 14 - The Decision to Assist

Unit Objectives: Understand what is meant by an unresponsive bystander; Understand what is meant by an impulsive bystander; Understand how various models have been constructed to explain bystander behaviour; and Conduct own research into how the behaviour of the authorities might affect bystander behaviour.

  • Unit 15 - The Research Proposal and the Research Project Report

Unit Objectives: Understand what is meant by a research proposal; Produce a research proposal; Understand what is meant by a research project report; and Produce a research project report.

Prerequisites:

There is no prior learning knowledge or experience required to take this course. This course is not recommended for students under the age of 16 due to the subjects covered.

Course Duration & Support:

Students may register at any time and have a full year to complete their studies. As the course is self study you can complete in as little or as long a time as you prefer. You also have access to a personal tutor by mail or email for a 12 month period and our student support team are also available for any other queries that you may have whilst completing your course.

Assessment:

Completion of the research based learning activities accompanying each module contributes 70% of the assessment for the award of the Forensic Psychology Diploma. The last module of the course requires the student to produce a research proposal based on activities carried out during the Forensic Psychology Diploma.

The student will be required to plan, conduct and report on a research project of their choice. The report will be approximately 5,000 words, that is 15 x A4 typed pages of 1.5 spacing. This research will account for the final 30% assessment for the Forensic Psychology Diploma.

Certification:

NCFE On successful completion of this course students will be awarded a Forensic Psychology Certificate of Achievement by NCFE.

The course measurable learning outcomes have been benchmarked at Level 3 (using Ofqual’s Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) level descriptors) to allow you to consider the depth of study, difficulty, and level of achievement involved.

Further information about Ofqual’s Qualification & Credit Framework level descriptors can be found at http://www.ofqual.gov.uk/qualifications-and-assessments/qualification-frameworks/levels-of-qualifications/.

NCFE is recognised as an Awarding Organisation by the qualification regulators for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are: the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) in England, the Welsh Government, and the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland.

NCFE accreditation gives assurance that the content of a training course is of a high standard and meets the rigorous requirements of a national awarding organisation. NCFE accreditation also gives formal recognition to courses, which result in the award of a certificate of achievement but does not qualify you for a nationally recognised qualification. This course has been accredited under NCFE IIQ Licence through NCC, an approved NCFE Investing in Quality (IIQ) centre to give formal recognition to this course. Training courses have been specifically designed by the course developer to meet the needs of learners who prefer to study from home.

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