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Forensic psychology

Study Forensic psychology with the Open University Research in forensic psychology at the OU is supported through the:

Current work focuses on how psychological knowledge can be used to improve investigative techniques for obtaining information from witnesses and suspects. We work in interdisciplinary teams with, for example, colleagues with interests in criminology, computing and the history of crime, and much of our research is conducted in close collaboration with policing forces and organisations. Many of these projects are facilitated through The Open University Policing Consortium, an externally funded initiative involving more than ten UK police forces. Research in forensic psychology at the OU is also supported through the Forensic Cognition Research Group and the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC).

As well as more traditional research outputs, we work hard to engage users and the public more broadly. This includes an app (PhotoFit Me); Eyewitness on BBC2; considerable content on informal learning platforms (e.g. FutureLearn and OpenLearn); and a regular series of public lectures and workshops.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) We normally expect applicants to have an appropriate masters degree, or some evidence of substantial experience in doing independent research at postgraduate level A recognised MSc (Research Methods) is required for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships.

Potential research projects

  • Eyewitness identification evidence
  • Eyewitness memory, perception and attention
  • Developing techniques for working with younger and older witnesses
  • Uses and perceptions of forensic evidence (e.g. the CSI Effect)
  • Investigative interviewing, particularly narrative strategies
  • The impact of social media on policing
  • Improving evidence-based policing
  • Techniques for improving eye-witness accuracy
  • Non-verbal behaviours to detect deception
  • Suggestibility
  • Gender and sexual violence
  • Approaches to collaborations with policing organisations, especially with regard to policing policy and practice
  • Application of psychological knowledge to real-world criminal justice institutions, policies and practices
  • Impact of factors such as accent, race on perceptions of witnesses in courtrooms
  • Community responses to terrorism and extremism
  • Qualitative research into witness memory and testimony (particularly child witnesses)
  • Conceptual and historical research into the interaction between psychology and law (also international perspectives)

Current/recent research projects

Much of the current research conducted within this area takes place through the Centre for Policing Research and Learning. This programme of work has an emphasis on evidence-based practice and includes problem-solving research on topics such as cybercrime, citizens use of technology, police use of social media, witness identification, gaming tools to improve interviewing of children and ethics and leadership.

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

David Kaposi
+44(0)1908 652589

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.