Introduction to Forensic Psychology

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Introduction to Forensic Psychology

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Forensic Science, Psychology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course provides an introduction to the various domains of expertise of forensic psychologists. It examines the way in which psychologists produce and use psychological theory and research within the criminal justice setting. In particular, the course focuses on the use of psychological assessments in court, issues of criminal responsibility and predicting dangerousness, jury processes and decision making, eyewitness testimony, the use of psychological knowledge in prisons, and the psychology of criminal behaviour.

    Course Introduction
    The study of forensic psychology in Australia has expanded dramatically over the past decade and a half. This is due in part to an increased interest in the field by students as well as an increased demand in the workforce (particularly in corrections) for graduates with skills in forensic psychology. There is a growing awareness of the value of studying and applying psychological principles to the legal system. This course offers an introduction to forensic psychology.

    One of the most common questions about forensic psychology is: What is forensic psychology? The term "forensic" literally means "of the courts", so forensic psychology is essentially the "psychology of the courts". For the purpose of this course we use the term forensic psychology to refer to both the production of knowledge (research and theory) and application of knowledge (professional practice) as it relates to the criminal justice system and offenders.

    Course Aims
    The course allows students to focus on both the academic and vocational aspects of forensic psychology and will assist in developing skills to critically evaluate criminal justice processes. With this in mind, the three aims of the course are:

    1. To examine the various ways that psychologists interact with the legal system and apply research and theory to legal problems;

    2. To provide a working knowledge of the psychological theories that underpin human behaviour in the criminal justice system, including the behaviour of witnesses, children, jurors, and offenders.

    3. To critically review the research in forensic psychology and to enable students to become intelligent consumers of this research.

    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1 Be able to describe the various ways that psychologists interact with the legal system
    2 Understand the importance and limitations of psychological research to the application of legal processes
    3 Understand the importance of developing testable theories and how these theories help to explain and predict human behaviour within the legal system
    4 Be able to articulate the tensions that exist between psychology and law
    5 Have acquired and improved core skills and competencies relevant to criminology and in line with the Griffith Graduate, including: (a) Ability to communicate effectively through tutorial or web-based discussions (b) Be information literate, by developing skills in criminological research including finding and using empirical research published in academic journals (c) Ability to work autonomously, including gathering resources and producing written work; ability to work in teams during tutorials (d) Critical evaluation of academic literature and research (e) Ability to manage time and multiple tasks (f) Effective writing skills

    Assessment Plan
    Test or quiz - Online Quiz 1 5%/100
    Test or quiz - Online Quiz 2 5%/100
    Test or quiz - Online Quiz 3 5%/100
    Assignment - Research-based Assignment - Essay 25 40%/100
    Test or quiz - Online Quiz 4 5%/100
    Exam - selected response - Exam 40%/120

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.