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PSYC71-407: Forensic Psychology January 2018 [Standard]

General information

This subject is designed to give an introduction to the ideas, methods and content of forensic psychology. Forensic psychology involves the study of the behaviour of people within the legal system, including offenders, witnesses, victims, police, judges and magistrates, prisoners and prison staff. This focus on one area of human activity is seen as justified by its social importance and the growing involvement of psychologists in forensic issues, such as theories of crime and delinquency, the role of drugs, penal theories and practices, and techniques for intervention or prevention. This subject emphasises the scientist-practitioner approach to forensic psychology.

Changes due to Commonwealth Games: The University has marginally altered the timetable for the January semester of 2018 (181) to ensure that students have the opportunity to engage with the Commonwealth Games to be held in April 2018. The modified timetable has been designed to not impact on overall subject or program learning outcomes. Some subjects may be delivered in a slightly modified mode to accommodate the change. Specific arrangements will be included on the iLearn site for each subject. All changes to the class schedule have the full approval of University and Academic Unit administration and will not adversely affect student learning or assessment.


Academic unit:Faculty of Society & Design
Subject code:PSYC71-407
Subject title:Forensic Psychology
Subject level:Postgraduate
Semester/Year:January 2018
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Lecture: x12 (Total hours: 24) - Weekly Lecture
  • Tutorial: x12 (Total hours: 12) - Weekly Tutorial


Prescribed resources:
  • Fritzon, K., and Wilson, P. (2008). Forensic psychology and criminology. North Ryde: Mcgraw Hill
  • Heltzel, T. (2007). Compatibility of therapeutic and forensic roles. 122-128.
  • Gannon, T., and Pina, A (2010). Firesetting: psychopathology, theory and treatment. 224-238.
After enrolment, students can check the Books and Tools area in iLearn for the full Resource List.
[email protected] & Email:[email protected] is the online learning environment at Bond University and is used to provide access to subject materials, lecture recordings and detailed subject information regarding the subject curriculum, assessment and timing. Both iLearn and the Student Email facility are used to provide important subject notifications. Additionally, official correspondence from the University will be forwarded to students’ Bond email account and must be monitored by the student.

To access these services, log on to the Student Portal from the Bond University website as

Enrolment requirements

Requisites: ?


Restrictions: ? This subject is not available to
  • Study Abroad Students

The Master of Psychology (Clinical) and Master of Professional Psychology programs are accredited pathways towards registration as a Psychologist. Entry into these programs is based on a calculated GPA derived from a completed four year sequence of study in Psychology as accredited by APAC as well as invitation into the degree. As such, this subject can only be taken by those students successfully admitted to the degree.

This subject is not available as a general elective. To be eligible for enrolment, the subject must be specified in the students’ program structure.

Assurance of learning

Assurance of Learning means that universities take responsibility for creating, monitoring and updating curriculum, teaching and assessment so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need for employability and/or further study.

At Bond University, we carefully develop subject and program outcomes to ensure that student learning in each subject contributes to the whole student experience. Students are encouraged to carefully read and consider subject and program outcomes as combined elements.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Program Learning Outcomes provide a broad and measurable set of standards that incorporate a range of knowledge and skills that will be achieved on completion of the program. If you are undertaking this subject as part of a degree program, you should refer to the relevant degree program outcomes and graduate attributes as they relate to this subject.

Find your program

Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding of major concepts and historical trends in forensic psychology, and knowledge of the theoretical and empirical bases underpinning evidence approaches to psychological intervention,
  2. Demonstrate practical skills in laboratory based and other psychological research,
  3. Respect and use critical and creative thinking, sceptical enquiry, and the scientific approach to solve problems related to behaviour and mental processes,
  4. Explain how the science and practice of forensic psychology is influenced by social, historical, professional and cultural contexts, and act ethically,
  5. Communicate effectively in a variety of formats and in a variety of contexts, and
  6. Understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social and forensic issues.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
Essay Lab Report. Students will be given a data set and a research question, and will be asked to write a lab report, following the format outlined in the handout. This lab report should be 2,500 words. 25% Week 5 1, 2, 3, 5, 6.
Essay Court Report and Moot Court Exercise. Students are given fictional case material and sample copies of Court reports, together with information on relevant psychological assessments. This information is used to prepare a Court Report, which addresses a referral question to be discussed in class. A detailed assignment handout is provided in class and on iLearn. There will be a moot court held during the semester where students will be expected to gain experience giving expert evidence with the tutor as cross examining lawyer. At least two cases will be presented this year in the moot court all of which will be discussed during the class. The Moot Court component of the assignment is worth 10% 35% Week 8 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Paper-based Examination (Closed) Final Examination. The final exam will assess all material covered in this subject. The format of the examination will include multiple choice, and short answer (approximately one paragraph) questions. 40% Final Examination Period 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

Quality assurance

For the purposes of quality assurance, Bond University conducts an evaluation process to measure and document student assessment as evidence of the extent to which program and subject learning outcomes are achieved. Some examples of student work will be retained for potential research and quality auditing purposes only. Any student work used will be treated confidentially and no student grades will be affected.

Study information

Submission procedures

Students must check the [email protected] subject site for detailed assessment information and submission procedures.

Policy on late submission and extensions

A late penalty will be applied to all overdue assessment tasks unless an extension is granted by the subject coordinator. The standard penalty will be 10% of marks awarded to that assessment per day late with no assessment to be accepted seven days after the due date. Where a student is granted an extension, the penalty of 10% per day late starts from the new due date.

Policy on plagiarism

University’s Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as the act of misrepresenting as one’s own original work: another’s ideas, interpretations, words, or creative works; and/or one’s own previous ideas, interpretations, words, or creative work without acknowledging that it was used previously (i.e., self-plagiarism). The University considers the act of plagiarising to be a breach of the Student Conduct Code and, therefore, subject to the Discipline Regulations which provide for a range of penalties including the reduction of marks or grades, fines and suspension from the University.

Bond University utilises Originality Reporting software to inform academic integrity.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback on assessment will be provided to students within two weeks of the assessment submission due date, as per the Assessment Policy.

Accessibility and Inclusion Support

If you have a disability, illness, injury or health condition that impacts your capacity to complete studies, exams or assessment tasks, it is important you let us know your special requirements, early in the semester. Students will need to make an application for support and submit it with recent, comprehensive documentation at an appointment with a Disability Officer. Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Office at the earliest possible time, to meet staff and learn about the services available to meet your specific needs. Please note that late notification or failure to disclose your disability can be to your disadvantage as the University cannot guarantee support under such circumstances.

Subject curriculum

Introduction covering general theoretical concepts, scope of work that forensic psychologists do and overview of professional and ethical issues

1, 3, 4.

Covering a range of general assessments used in forensic psychology, with a specific focus on evaluations for risk

1, 3, 4, 6.

Overview of major theoretical models of treatment for offenders Risk Needs Responsivity principles Overview of risk factors for juvenile and adult offenders Examples of intervention techniques

1, 3, 4, 6.

theories of violence and aggression treatment needs for violent offenders

1, 3, 4, 6.

Overview of theories of sexual offending, assessment and treatment of offenders convicted of sexual offences, including internet sexual offences

1, 3, 4, 6.

verbal and non-verbal indicators of deception, including the work of Paul Ekman

1, 3, 6.

Assessment and treatment for those who set fires

1, 3, 6.

Legal rules of evidence, criteria for giving expert evidence and areas of mental health evidence commonly provided to courts

An overview of the interaction between mental illness and crime, including why people with mental illness are over-represented in the criminal justice system, as well as treatment needs.

1, 3, 4, 6.

How to assess for psychological injury including the legal framework of civil litigation and the legal rules for personal injury claims

1, 3, 6.

Different approaches taken to offender profiling and research relevant to the task of inferring offender characteristics from offence actions

1, 3, 6.

Discussing the over-representation of indigenous people within the criminal justice system

1, 3, 5, 6.
Approved on: Nov 6, 2017. Edition: 1.1