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Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology links psychology to both criminal behaviour and its reduction and prevention, and to the functions of the legal and correctional systems. This subject will also give students an opportunity to align the strong empirical and theoretical traditions from western psychology to Māori-led approaches to understanding and reducing recidivism, and the overrepresentation of Māori in the criminal justice system.

Forensic  Psychology is an excellent companion minor for psychology and other majors, especially in the BSocSc or BSc, and to build a foundation for further studies in Security and Crime Science.

Graduates from this minor will be able to use their knowledge of models of criminal behaviour, including indigenous models, and effective principles of behavioural change to explain criminal behaviour in individuals in their ecological context, and to propose and support approaches to reducing criminality and improve wellbeing.

Forensic psychology offers numerous pathways to employment and will be particularly relevant to Correctional staff, including probation officers, prison officers, programme facilitators, case managers and sentence planners, along with staff in non-governmental organisations who support and manage people disengaging from the criminal justice system.

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Key information

Area of Study:

Study Forensic Psychology as a specialisation of

Career opportunities

  • Correctional staff
  • Police Officer
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Forensic Science
  • Policy Advisors/Analyst
  • Government Advisor

100 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
CRSCI101Introduction to Security and Crime Science15.024A (Hamilton) & 24A (Online)
This paper introduces the topics, theories, and approaches that make up Crime Science. The central focus is on understanding crime.
FPSYC101Introduction to Forensic and Criminological Psychology15.024B (Hamilton) & 24B (Online)
This paper introduces students to forensic psychology and encompasses a wide range of topics derived from the intersection of psychology with the crime, the legal system and the criminal justice system.
PSYCH100Brain, Behaviour and Cognition15.024A (Hamilton) & 24A (Tauranga)
This paper introduces perceptual systems, mechanisms of learning, emotions and motivation, the biological basis of psychology, such as brain structure and functioning, processes underlying behaviour, memory and cognition.
PSYCH101Social Psychology, Health and Well-being15.024B (Hamilton) & 24B (Tauranga)
This paper will introduce major issues in psychology particularly as they relate to health, wellbeing, mental illness, forensic psychology, lifespan development, and social factors in a range of contexts.
SOCIO102The Sociology of Crime, Deviance and Social Justice15.024A (Hamilton) & 24A (Tauranga)
This paper provides students with an introduction to criminology and the criminal justice system, with a focus on the New Zealand context.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
FPSYC201Psychology and Crime15.024A (Hamilton) & 24A (Online)
Crime is a result of how people think, feel, and behave within their ecological context, making psychology one of the core disciplines in understanding, explaining and addressing problems associated with crime.

300 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
FPSYC301Correctional Psychology: Theory, Research and Practice15.024B (Online)
This paper examines the application of psychological theory, research and practice to the operation of correctional systems and their various roles with the people in their care. There is a strong emphasis on New Zealand practice, including emerging Maori-led and Maori-influenced practices.

Charlotte Miller I didn’t know Security and Crime Science or Forensic and Criminological Psychology were even options before I was looking at electives for my degree. I was instantly drawn to them and wanted to give them a go.

Read stories from other Forensic Psychology students

Subject requirements

Forensic Psychology is available as a minor.

To complete a minor in Forensic Psychology, students must complete 60 points, including FPSYC101FPSYC201FPSYC301 and 15 points from CRSCI101, CRSCI105, PSYCH100PSYCH101 or SOCIO102.

Scholarships and prizes

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

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Subject links

The new minor in Forensic Psychology is offered through Te Puna Haumaru New Zealand Institute for Security and Crime Science

For information about the Institute, its partners and research interests please check out their website


If you have any questions and need more advice contact one of our friendly student advisors phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4080 or email: [email protected]

or check out Te Puna Haumaru New Zealand Institute for Security and Crime Science