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Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now
This course integrates the core areas of psychology. This approach is especially beneficial for forensic psychology where all aspects of the discipline are relevant to the profession.
In addition to the British Psychological Society (BPS) core areas that you will study, you will also take an integrated perspective to examine criminality and legal issues. You will develop vital skills for forensic psychology such as using psychometric tests and working with other disciplines.
You will be taught via lectures and seminars, but also student-centric models such as problem-based learning, using your own psychological knowledge to address realistic issues. You will learn how to conduct psychological research and throughout the course will carry out your own research.
Assessment methods include traditional essays and exams, but also case studies, expert witness reports, and historical reviews of crimes. Extensive feedback is provided, both formatively through one-to-one student-lecturer meetings during seminars and summatively on submitted assignments. Our feedforward system will help you to identify the key components for you to work on and how you can achieve this.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Learn the essential skills needed to study psychology at degree level including academic skills, personal development and research studies. Broaden academic and psychological literacy via a series of research projects and practicals supported by personal tutors.
Connect the twin themes of research methods/statistics and academic development and appreciate how research and statistics are designed, performed and interpreted in light of the complex theories that are created by the researcher with an emphasis on the process of becoming an ethical co-creator of knowledge alongside academic staff.
Consider the relationship between biology and the human mind. Examine how DNA ultimately gives rise to thinking, conscious and complex human beings. Explore genetics and evolution, as well as the core areas of biological psychology, cognitive psychology and individual differences across topics as diverse as addiction, altruism, and sexuality.
Learn the story of how single units of personhood (or ‘minds’) interact with one another and come together to create societies. Focus on the way in which humans communicate with each other and operate in their social world. Explore the core areas of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology and social psychology across topics such as perception, language, interpersonal relationships, emotion, autism, and psychopathy.
Examine biological, cognitive, and social models of mental illness and mental health. Consider a number of mental health problems including mood disorders (such as depression and anxiety), psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia), eating disorders, and personality disorders. Analyse behaviours that pose a risk to physical and mental health, including alcohol and drug use, poor diet, and a lack of physical activity. Discuss public health approaches to mental health and wellbeing and how we can aim to improve the mental health of the general population and/or lower risk of mental illness, by considering social networks, social inequality, and happiness.
Learn about key theoretical concepts relevant to forensic psychology. Develop an understanding of what forensic psychology is as well as the relative contribution of psychology to the study of criminal behaviour. Study how crime, offender treatment, and the legal system have been conceptualised and approached. Examine different types of crime, including cyber bullying and trolling, juvenile offending and gangs. Examine real-life crimes and apply psychological theories to understanding these crimes and the impact on the victims.
Work on a number of research projects across core areas of psychology. Develop more advanced skills in research methods, and gain opportunities to have input into research design as you become more skilled. Learn more advanced data analysis skills and apply these in the research projects.
Explore your own potential as a lifelong learner and leader. Develop your understanding of the importance of agency and self-advocacy in relation to life and career transitions and how lifelong learning can enhance social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also self-sustainability and employability.
Use research techniques that include psychometric measures, narrative and storytelling. Undertake volunteering opportunities to provide an additional context in which to consider your lifelong learning and leadership characteristics – and to develop a sense of your future professional self.
Meet a fictional family as you learn about the psychology of the human journey through the lifespan, from parent-offspring conflict in the womb to explanations for ageing and death. Explore topics including attachment, the 'teenage brain' and challenges in adolescence, personality development and cognitive change.
Apply social, cognitive and biological psychology to understanding everyday motivations and biases in, for example, perception and memory. Explore topics including vision and sensory perception, social group processes, aggression, eyewitness testimony and eating disorders.
Investigating Complex Issues in Psychology (20 credits)
Explore specialist psychology routes such as clinical skills, health and wellbeing, counselling and forensic psychology. Draw on your own knowledge of psychology and apply different perspectives to current, real-world psychological issues in a problem-based learning context. Work in groups with other students to learn from one another about the role of the different specialisms, and how these can be successfully integrated and applied.
The Psychology of Detection, Interviewing and the Criminal Trial (20 credits)
Investigate how psychology is used in detecting and interviewing suspects, and collecting evidence for conviction, including eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, and confessions. Study sources of bias in the collection and presentation of forensic evidence, fallibility of eye-witness memory, and how to recognise and decrease the risk of mistakes. Examine the psychology of the courtroom, focusing particularly on jury decision-making. Consider forensic scenarios and case studies which will facilitate the application of knowledge and understanding of theories and research from social, cognitive, biological, and developmental psychology, and individual differences.
Work with a supervisor to apply what you have learned in research methods modules to your own research project. Report your findings in an extensive research report, and present your project in the form of an academic poster at our poster conference.
Apply psychology to understanding offenders and forms of serious and violent offending, such as those a forensic psychologist may encounter in the field. Examine killing, stalking and harassment, fire-setting crimes, corporate crimes, cybercrime and sexual crime.
Please note, the full list of optional modules may change from year to year.
Focus on the scope of occupational psychology and its application to work, employees and organisations. Cover topics aligned with the British Psychology Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology such as psychological assessment at work; learning, training, and development; leadership, engagement, and motivation; wellbeing and work.
Engage with, and evaluate, some of the ‘big issues’ at the cutting edge of psychology, including free will, the nature of consciousness, the interface between psychology and politics, and cyber crime. This module will encourage you to look beyond your university experience and to engage with psychological aspects of current culture and society.
Explore the development of our understanding of neurodiversity. Address the historical progression of how we have characterised neurodiverse populations, including autism spectrum conditions and Williams syndrome, from early diagnostic formulation to current day. Examine biological aspects of neurodiversity such as brain differences, as well as their relevance to cognition and behaviour. Study relevant topics in neurodiversity, including relationships, healthcare and education.
Gain specialist knowledge of Environmental Psychology, an applied sub-discipline of Psychology which bridges a range of core areas and related disciplines such as architecture, planning, and geography. Cover topics which include the role of the environment in social development and relationships, the relationships between environments, health and wellbeing, place attachment, place identity and the importance of home.
Take an introductory look at the psychology of both substance and non-substance-related addictive behaviours. Examine a variety of addictive behaviours such as alcoholism, addiction to psychoactive drugs, gambling, and sex addiction, as well as theories relating to the development, persistence, control and treatment of addictive behaviours. Link these behaviours to various areas of psychology such as the biological effects of drug use, how cognition plays a role in addictive behaviours and the social implications of addiction.
Engage in a comprehensive review of the academic literature related to a specific negotiated topic in psychology, unrelated to your Stage 3 project/dissertation topic. Under supervision, critically evaluate the current understanding of the topic from multiple psychological perspectives and identify themes within the established literature. Consider possible future research directions that would extend the understanding of your chosen topic.
Look at the nature of cognitive and emotional impairments following brain damage in adults. Cover topics including the causes of brain damage in adults, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's Disease, neuropsychological assessment procedures and rehabilitation following brain injury.
Examine how psychological concepts, principles and theories can be applied to understand and alleviate problems associated with health and health-related behaviours. Cover topics which include personality, health and illness, sociocultural aspects of health and illness, and stress and health. Focus on psychological interventions aimed at changing health-related behaviours.
Consider how neuroscience and psychology are used in storytelling including myths and fairytales and their function in human culture where they are said to define who we are and shape our identities and our character. Map the hero’s journey, consider its features, and apply it to a range of epic stories such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. We will consider the importance of character and compare the hero, the antihero and the superhero - and explore the relationship between hero and self.
Apply psychology to understanding offenders and a number of common forms of serious and violent offending encountered in forensic settings. Draw on approaches from across the discipline of psychology, applying psychological theory and research to aspects of serious and violent offending, for example gang violence and crime, intimate partner violence and other forms of domestic violence, sexual violence, murder, terrorism, financial and corporate crime, cybercrime.
Study cyberpsychology, the psychology of how humans interact with technology and online environments. Look at the online world and its impact on human behaviour. Explore how humans have adapted to a world with increasing amounts of technology: becoming digital humans in the process. Study the rise of artificial technology, and its impact on human behaviours. Consider how we interact with virtual environments, explore virtual identity, online vs. offline behaviours, and how we approach privacy and self-disclosure in an increasingly digital world.
Further develop your research design and data analysis skills, building on the foundations provided at Years 1 and 2. Cover advanced quantitative research design and acquire a number of advanced data analysis techniques.
Explore the malleable and changeable quality of the human brain. Look at brain development running from childhood through to adulthood, and how age affects the plasticity of the brain. Examine evidence of the interconnectedness of the human brain from birth, looking at individuals with born sensory defects and synaesthesia as well as the ability of the brain to reorganise after damage.
Study real world issues and problems relating to memory such as recovered and false memories, post-traumatic stress disorder and memory, memory closure and expressive writing, childhood amnesia, pregnancy and memory, life stories and post-traumatic growth, mindfulness and memory, role of memory making in mental health after perinatal loss, simulation of future experiences and anxiety.
Acceptance onto this module is competitive and based on academic engagement and staff references. If your application to this module is successful, you will complete a 140-hour placement with a professional organisation, possibly, but not necessarily, related to psychology. Past placements have included conducting research and analysing data for NHS trusts and private clinical organisations or working as psychology teaching and research assistants.
Focus on two main areas: firstly, can psychology help us to understand and explain how and why people create art. Secondly, can psychology help us to understand why (some) humans like art, how art communicates meanings and what humans gain from experiencing art.
Understand key conceptual, ethical, legal, and regulatory issues in clinical psychology. Understand the regulatory framework in which clinical psychologists practice, the legal obligations they must comply with such as issues concerning consent, confidentiality, data protection, and safeguarding, and the ethical issues clinicians encounter when working with people with mental health problems such as protecting an individual’s liberty and protecting individuals from harm.
The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.
Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.
Eligible entry qualifications:
1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.
Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.
If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!
** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.
If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.
For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.
The annual fee for this course is £9,250 but you will receive £3,000 cashback in Year 1 of the full undergraduate course.
In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.
If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.
Please note, this course is not available to international students.
If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.
Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.
Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.
This information was correct at the time of publication.
Graduates from this course may go on to study forensic psychology at postgraduate level in order to become a Chartered Forensic Psychologist. Chartered Forensic Psychologists may be employed in prisons, rehabilitation units, and secure hospitals working with criminals. This involves assessing prisoners, formulating treatment and rehabilitation plans, evaluating their progress, and making expert recommendations to the parole board and in criminal proceedings. They can earn between £20,000-£70,000.
Forensic psychologists are usually employed in prisons, by courts, and in secure hospitals. However, many of our graduates go on to follow non-psychology career routes in management, social work, public services, human resources, and teaching due to the highly transferable skills you will gain.
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