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Do the names David Rossi or Jennifer Jareau ring a bell? They are jet-setting FBI agents who use their criminological and forensic psychology skills to solve crimes in the TV show Criminal Minds. And you can join this elite team of investigators in real life by earning a BSc (Hons) in Criminological and Forensic Psychology degree from the University of Bolton. TV shows only offer a glimpse of this exciting field. There is much more interesting stuff to discover...
What is criminological and forensic psychology?
Criminological psychology involves studying criminal behaviours and thought processes. They revisit old cases and search for clues to break their current cases. If you’re a criminologist, you will conduct interviews and provide law enforcement agencies with accurate suspect profiles.
Forensic psychology applies the principles and teachings of psychology to the judicial system. The purpose is to have a more effective and robust institution. You assess a suspect’s mental state to determine if they can defend themselves in court. And you will also work with law enforcement to create suitable rehabilitation programs.
What do criminal and forensic psychologists do?
A criminal psychologist develops the suspect’s psychological profile to help law officers with the arrest. You seek to understand the criminal’s motivations by examining their mental health conditions and behaviour. The job also involves offering expert testimony in court and interviewing criminals to determine their risk of committing further crimes.
Forensic psychologists interact with criminal and civil law professionals. It requires you to work with at-risk groups, probation services, mental health institutions and prisons. You will research and apply psychological aspects to investigation methods, court proceedings and sentencing. The intention is to reduce future recidivism and the crime’s impact.
What is a real case example of criminological and forensic psychology?
Forget shows like Cracker. There are real case examples where criminological and forensic psychology is vital. Psychiatrist Dr Dorothy Lewis contributed to the conviction of Ted Bundy after examination during his trial revealed a possible psychosis. Other cases where criminological and forensic psychology played a crucial role were with the famous serial killers Aileen Wuornos and John Wayne Gacy. More information on these cases is available via various Netflix docuseries.
What jobs can you get with a criminological and forensic psychology degree UK?
A degree in criminological and forensic psychology qualifies you for jobs in different industries, including:
- Education - You will advise teachers on effective instructional methods. You apply theories of human development to understand individual learning styles
- Prison services - Here you will conduct prisoner risk assessments. This contributes to safer containment practices and provides expert testimony to parole boards
- Youth services - Emergency assessment and counselling to at-risk populations are key roles
- The NHS - Available roles include principal clinical psychologist, counselling and community forensics
Qualification for these roles varies. And some jobs may need postgraduate or prior industry experience, so check the job descriptions closely before applying.
What criminological and forensic graduate jobs are there in Manchester?
Several organisations in Manchester and the Northwest advertise these types of jobs. Positions include court intermediaries, teaching assistants, research associates and behaviour support specialists. Top hiring organisations include Omnicom Health Group, Vision for Education and Prospero Group.
Why study criminology with forensic psychology?
If you are still on the fence, here is why you should study criminological and forensic psychology:
- It is a growing career field
Society wants to understand the human brain better and its effects on behaviour. As technology continues to evolve, there is high demand for these experts. They are responsible for improving the technology and offering deeper insights. As a criminological and forensic psychology expert, you can help your community devise more effective crime prevention and judicial policies.
- It is extremely rewarding
Aside from a healthy bank balance, you have a greater impact on society with a criminological and forensic psychology career. Your work results in a better understanding of criminal behaviour and effective prevention strategies. Presenting your findings helps law enforcement improve its service offering to citizens. This creates better relationships and safer communities.
- It pays well
Earning both qualifications presents job opportunities in the public and private sectors. According to the ONS, the annual salary of someone starting out as a criminological and forensic psychology expert begins at £33,029.
- It has great job flexibility
If you are looking for a good work-life balance, you should pursue criminological and forensic psychology careers. The job allows you to schedule interviews and conduct research projects as per your schedule, preventing burnout and allowing you enough time to concentrate on your personal life.
Is a criminological and forensic psychology degree worth it?
Criminological and forensic psychology is worth it because:
- It empowers you with skills to impact people’s lives. You help them overcome trauma, deal with mental episodes and unleash their best selves
- You are in high demand. Governments are switching to treatment and counselling services for petty offenders. Health services and public health managers are top of the UK’s Skilled Worker Shortage Occupations list
- You’ll discover new things as technology improves and society’s understanding of human behaviour evolves
- It broadens your thinking by enhancing your research and critical thinking skills. Your coursework involves testing hypotheses, thorough evidence analysis and identifying the best solution
But what is the difference between forensic psychology and criminal psychology?
Both fields are crucial to solving crimes, but there are differences in their application:
- Their Purpose
Criminological psychology focuses on understanding criminal behaviour at all societal levels. You devise theories to solve and prevent crime reoccurrence. It requires studying the crime’s nature, the perpetrator’s behaviours and the victim's impact.
Forensic psychology uses psychology principles to determine how courts conduct cases and sentence criminals. The justice system uses these findings to prevent repeat crimes through mental evaluation and counselling.
- Educational Requirements
Forensic psychology requires knowledge of criminal law, social science and mental health. You'll need practical skills like mental evaluation to determine abnormal behaviour in patients. Familiarise yourself with the local court process. You will sometimes consult as an expert witness.
Criminological psychology students need an extensive understanding of human behaviour, research methods, and data analysis. Your work involves devising suspect profiles to help law officers capture criminals. The coursework may include subjects like statistics, sociology and mental health.
- The Day to Day
Forensic psychologists work with detective agencies, law firms and psychologists from other fields. You will also give expert testimonies in court on the suspect’s mental state and the nature of the crime.
Criminological psychologists assess case records, study previous criminal profiles and interview law officers and criminals. The intent is to identify criminal trends and create workable suspect profiles for the investigation. You will also work with prison authorities and health centres, facilitating prisoner treatment programmes.
Why study criminological and forensic psychology at Bolton University?
- Our criminological and forensic courses rank Top 10 in the UK and 1st in Greater Manchester for Student Satisfaction, according to Complete University Guide 2022
- We are one of the few universities with British Psychology Society accreditation offering a criminological and forensic psychology degree
- You'll enjoy personal tutoring throughout your degree from helpful and approachable faculty members. Your lecturers have enough experience to offer various research interests and professional advice
- Our focus on employability skills, practical application of your studies and academic success prepares you for an exciting career. Your coursework includes conducting risk assessments and leading group therapy sessions, with placement opportunities in relevant work settings
- You'll have access to the University of Bolton’s observation and psychophysiology laboratories
- You'll learn the latest curriculum in response to present criminological and forensic issues. Our latest revision contains up-to-date content on themes like honour-based violence and terrorism
- You'll receive personal supervision throughout the program. And we will help you reach your full academic potential
What A levels do I need for a criminological and forensic psychology degree?
You need at least five GCSEs (grade C and above) and three A-Levels. The University of Bolton’s Criminological and Forensic Psychology degrees require:
- Two GCE A2-level passes in any subject
- Grade C and above in five GCSEs, including English and Mathematics
Non-native English speakers must complete a Secure English Test (IELTS 6.0 or above) to gain admission to the programme.
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