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Students offered flexible method of studying on newly accredited Forensic Psychology Masters degree

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Leeds Trinity University is one of two universities in the Yorkshire and Humber region to gain stage one accreditation status from the British Psychology Society (BPS) for its Forensic Psychology postgraduate programme. The BPS is the chartered body for psychologists in the UK, ensuring ethical practice, raising aspirations and creating opportunities in psychology. 

The Leeds Trinity MSc Forensic Psychology blended learning course is designed to give students a more flexible approach to studying. Teaching is delivered in blocks at the University alongside online learning and students are supported throughout the year with personal tutoring sessions to fit their needs. There are only four postgraduate blended learning Forensic Psychology courses in the UK accredited by the BPS. 

Leeds Trinity MSc students can expect to examine the role of psychologists in professional and legal settings and develop an understanding of crime, criminal behaviour and the assessment and rehabilitation of people with an offending history. Students will also learn to form their own opinions by applying psychological theories to criminal behaviour.

This specialist programme is aimed at students who hold a BPS-accredited Psychology degree or professionals working within the Criminal Justice arena looking to secure a forensic psychologist trainee position.

The postgraduate degree has a strong applied forensic focus, which offers excellent preparation for a future career in forensic psychology. This could include working in a variety of forensic or community settings, for example, prisons, probation, forensic mental health settings or in an academic setting.

Steve Jones, Head of School of Psychology at Leeds Trinity University, said:

“The team proposed the course in 2022 as part of our portfolio development strategy. Professor Danielle McDermott, Head of Prisons and Custody, and Dr Samantha Walkden, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Trinity University, were initially tasked with the creation of the modular structure and assessment strategy. Following an internal review, the programme was given the go ahead and Dr Walkden took a leading role in its development, with support from me and the team. 

“The successful development of this course is down to the commitment and hard work of the academic staff from the Forensic Psychology team, including Dr Walkden, Professor McDermott and their colleagues Dr Russell Woodfield, Dr Alyshia Murgatroyd-Giffen, and Anna Moore. I am proud of each of them.”

Dr Samantha Walkden, Co-Programme Director and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Trinity University, said:

“The Forensic Psychology programme has been developed for a blended learning delivery to promote flexibility of studying alongside an individual’s other commitments. This is based on my experiences during my own studies and how I felt we could improve things for future generations. 

“Students will come in for three intense learning semesters and in between are supported with online sessions. They will be supported to enhance their knowledge across the field of forensic psychology and develop practical transferable skills which are essential to their future career.

“The team include experienced academics and practitioners, with backgrounds in HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and Forensic Mental Health Services so students will learn from those who have gained real hands-on experience in this sector.

“I am proud of the team at Leeds Trinity for their hard work in helping to gain this accreditation and look forward to welcoming students and supporting them in their future careers.” 

Originally from Preston and now residing in Rochdale, Chartered Psychologist Dr Walkden always wanted to work in psychology. Since teaching at Leeds Trinity, Dr Walkden has discovered and implemented new ways of encouraging others to learn more about psychology and has become a TikTok sensation with her account PsychUpYourLife, gaining her over 41,000 followers and 2.1 million likes for her regular and fun bitesize educational videos.

Dr Alyshia Murgatroyd-Giffen, Co-Programme Director and Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Leeds Trinity University, said:

“I am proud to work alongside Dr Samantha Walkden and the rest of the Forensic Team in developing and delivering the MSc Forensic Psychology and gaining accreditation. Dr Walkden is an exceptionally hard working, innovative and dedicated team member who goes above and beyond to support our students.

“The MSc Forensic Psychology course is specifically designed to meet the criteria of the British Psychological Society as the first stage of becoming a forensic psychologist. Students will learn from professional practitioners and academics with years of experience. The team will help students develop an understanding of approaches and techniques used when working with forensic populations as well as research methods needed for psychological enquiry and how to apply these to research projects in forensic settings.”

The next intake of Forensic Psychology postgraduate students will start in September 2024. For more information about the course, visit the Leeds Trinity University website.

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