Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Students attend lectures on psychology and psychiatry as it applies to police investigations of criminal acts, independent assessment of risks of recidivism and dangerousness, insanity, contributors to criminal behaviour and amenability to change or modification by interventive strategies. Lectures are given by academic, professional and industry forensic practitioners. Students also attend seminars given by research students to develop an awareness of modern forensic science technologies.

6 points

Students are able to (1) understand the basic principles of psychology and psychiatry as they apply to investigations, prosecutions and rehabilitation; (2) acquire the use of psychological principles in interviewing and profiling; (3) understand the application and admissibility of psychological principles in identification evidence; (4) apply the principles relating to admissibility of forensic psychological and psychiatric evidence including debates in relation to memory; (5) develop the understanding of mental impairment in criminal law; and (6) apply current psychiatric theories of insanity and their integration into principles of criminal law including the M'Naghten rules.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) weekly problem tests (30 per cent); (2) student presentations of case studies, both designed to assess research ability and the application of learning in an investigative context (30 per cent); and (3) a major essay designed to assess research ability and critical/analytical skills (40 per cent). Assessment is explicitly tailored to provide continuous feedback so that individual progress can be monitored. Students may also be required to work both individually and in a team environment, thus reinforcing the skills they require in 'real-world' forensic scenarios. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Adjunct Associate Professor Judith Fordham
Unit rules
enrolment in
the Graduate Certificate in Forensic Investigation (52210)
or the Graduate Diploma in Criminal Investigation (52390)
or the Graduate Certificate in Forensic Science (51220)
or the Graduate Diploma in Forensic Science (50320)
or the Master of Forensic Science (coursework and dissertation) (51520)
or the combined Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Forensic Science (00880)
Contact hours
lectures: 45 hours over three weekends
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.