PY3FP1-Forensic Psychology 1: Managing Offending Behaviour

Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: PY2RM Research Methods and Data Analysis
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Rachel Pye


Summary module description:
Forensic Psychology 1: Managing offending behaviour

This module enables students to study topics in forensic psychology in depth. It also aims to allow students to gain experience of critical evaluation of research into the management of offending behaviour, to enhance their awareness of the application of psychological theory and research to the management of offending behaviour, and to help students develop the ability to study independently.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module the student will be able to
1.Appraise key theoretical explanations for offending behaviour, with critical reference to the literature
2. Critically evaluate research approaches which apply to the management of offending behaviour in the UK
3. Apply their understanding of the key factors in the management of offending behaviour including reference to political, social and media influences.

Additional outcomes:
Students will gain experience from participating in evaluative discussions of research and theory in large and small groups.

Outline content:
This module comprises 7 x 2-hour seminars.

The ethical issues involved in treating offenders as opposed to other clients of applied psychologists are examined and there is some description of the different community and institutional settings where forensic psychologists work and the range of tasks that they may undertake. The impact of the media and the high public and the political profile of crime is discussed and how this can make scientific evaluation of forensic practice problematic. The course covers various theories of crime that have existed since the early twentieth century including models devolved from psychoanalysis and sociology. There is a particular focus on the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders which looks at the psychological motives behind this kind of crime, the details of group treatment practice and the evolving procedures which assist in risk assessment of such individuals. Theories of anger and aggression are covered, as well as an examination of treatment methods with this group of offenders. The concept of personality disorder and how this can relate to offending behaviour is reviewed. Different typologies of fire-setting are presented. The principles of group therapy are discussed as well as the practice of utilising therapeutic communities in treating offenders. The theory and practice of ‘cognitive skills’ treatment programmes is covered. Recent developments in the assessment and treatment of offenders with learning difficulties and disabilities are addressed. The teaching methods include lectures, group discussion, student presentations, videos and case studies.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Seminars involve lectures, interactive discussions, student presentations, videos and case studies.

This module is taught by Andrew Bates. Andrew is a chartered forensic psychologist with over twenty years experience in working directly with offenders in community and institutional settings. His main current employer is the Thames Valley Probation Area and he works part-time as a lecturer at Reading University. His breadth of experience provides students with an opportunity to explore how theory and research is applied to the management of offending behaviour.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 14
Guided independent study 86
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 75
Written assignment including essay 25

Other information on summative assessment:
This module is assessed through coursework (25%) and a final exam (75%).
The 1.5-hour Summer Exam will require students to answer 1 essay question on topics covered in the module.
Coursework will comprise a 2000-word essay.

Formative assessment methods:
Students have the opportunity to provide the module convenor with up to two essay plans for comment and feedback in preparation for the exam.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    1.5 hours

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment is by re-examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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