PY0573 - Investigative Psychology and the Criminal Justice System

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn about the difference between interrogation and investigative interviewing and the impact this can have on victims, witnesses and suspects involved in a crime. You will also learn how vulnerable individuals are dealt with at this stage of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and what safeguards they should be afforded. Controversial topics such as profiling and lie detection will be examined and you learn how psychological understanding has shaped what we know about these processes. You will be introduced to the criminal courts and learn about eyewitness testimony and jury-decision making. Psychological research will be explored to examine how this can be influenced.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn through a combination of lectures, tutorials, along with independent study.

You will attend a series of two-hour lectures to learn about the main areas of investigative psychology and the ways in which psychology has been applied to the development and study of the Criminal Justice System (CJS). These lectures will provide the basic framework for syllabus topics. There will be additional lectures which will comprise of the presentation of supplementary video material, guest lectures on specialist topics relating to the module content and interactive sessions during which you will be engaged in activities such as quizzes and discussions to enhance your learning. The aim of the lectures is to consolidate information learnt through independent reading and to encourage critical evaluation of the area. You will have the opportunity to engage in group discussion, enabling you to communicate your ideas and findings in a group setting, showing sensitivity to the perspectives of others.

Directed study will be encouraged through the provision of reading lists, which will serve as a basis for further, independent study. This will be further encouraged through the provision of study questions and topics. Independent learning skills and reflection on the role and value of those skills will prepare you for career development learning.

Together, the learning strategies of lectures, tutorials, directed and independent study aim to develop conceptual knowledge of the topic area and illustrate the range of paradigms and methods that can be used to investigate it. Tutorials will provide an opportunity for you to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor will support you by making a variety of resources linked to the taught elements and assessments available on the e-learning portal (e.g. PowerPoint slides, handouts, reading lists, mock questions) along with links to websites to encourage further exploration ofinvestigative psychology and the Criminal Justice System (CJS). A discussion board on the e-learning portal will be available for students to pose and respond to questions among peers, this enhances collegiality. The module tutor will also engage in discussion on the e-portal where appropriate, which also means that support is available to all students. Technology enabled learning will be implemented through the use of Panopto recordings and electronic submission and feedback tools..
Tutorials can provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
MK1: You will demonstrate conceptual knowledge of key topics in the psychological study of investigative psychology and the Criminal Justice System (CJS).
MK2: You will develop a critical understanding of the major issues and topics of debate in the study of investigative psychology and the CJS.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
MIP1: You will develop your skills in the critical evaluation of psychological theory and research and its application to the CJS in England and Wales.

MIP2: Develop reflective skills relating to learning and development for future career enhancement and learning.

Personal Values Attributes:
MPV1: You will develop and reinforce the ethical characteristics of a Northumbria graduate as you consider the values that underpin practice when understanding and working with in investigative psychology and the CJS.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
Formative assessment will take the form of in-class quizzes and discussions, focussing on topics covered in the lectures

Summative Assessment
There will be two assessments for this module.

The first assessment (90%) will be 3000 word written assignment on a specific topic covered on the module (MK1; MK2; MIP1; MPV1)

The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has impacted on your employability and future career (MIP2). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words)

Immediate feedback for formative in-class quizzes will be provided. Oral feedback for formative discussions will be provided
For the summative assessments, feedback will be provided on the electronic submission in the form of a level-specific rubric. Additional written comments will be provided that identify a minimum of one strength, one weakness and one area for improvement.

You will be required to arrange a tutorial with your personal guidance tutor for formal feedback on your assessed work.





Module abstract

On this module you will be introduced to investigative psychology and how it underpins the Criminal Justice System (CJS). You will explore the investigative process such as the police interview process and how vulnerable individuals are treated within this process. Controversial topics, such as the use of profiling, the use of the polygraph, and lie detection will be explored, as well as the criminal court processes, including eyewitness testimony and jury decision-making. Psychological understanding that underpins these processes and the CJS will be interwoven. A combination of lectures, in-class activities and tutorials, along with independent study, will form the basis of the main material that will be assessed at the end of the module. The module is assessed in two parts; 1) A 3000-word essay on a topic chosen from the module syllabus. 2) A reflective passage which evaluates the skills you have gained through the module and how these may be applied to your degree pathway and wider career.
Your learning will be supported by a variety of e-learning resources, as well as in-class quizzes and discussions.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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