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What will I learn?

How reliable are eyewitness testimonies? Which tests can you use to detect malingers? You'll explore topics like this in the specialisation in Legal Psychology. This programme, the only one of its kind in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, includes courses on topics such as lie detection, eyewitness testimonies, interrogation techniques and false confessions. By combining theory with practical skills, you’ll be equipped with all the training you need to pursue a career in police investigation units, juvenile offenders’ institutions, child protective services and high-security forensic facilities.

In the master’s specialisation Legal Psychology, you’ll learn how to apply principles from cognitive and – to a lesser extent – clinical psychology to issues in the legal system. Questions that are typical for Legal Psychology are: ‘How reliable are eyewitness testimonies?’ and ‘Do serious criminals have brain dysfunctions that make them permanently dangerous to society?’. Psychologists with a background in Legal Psychology ask questions that have direct relevance to the legal arena and conduct research to address these questions.

Programme outline

The specialisation in Legal Psychology is underpinned by two important elements: research and testing. The specialisation consists of five courses:

  • Eyewitnesses and victims: provides you with insight into the psychology of eyewitnesses and victims.
  • Perpetrators and defendants: examines different types of offenders and offending behaviour. You'll also learn to analyse these behaviours in the context of legal questions.
  • Experts and their decisions: focuses on the role that experts play in judicial decision-making. You'll also explore the validity of expert opinions.
  • Forensic neuropsychology: familiarises you with the assessment of neuropsychological disorders.
  • Public policy in legal psychology: focuses on the basics of writing public policy in legal psychology.

The literature for these courses consists of various research papers taken from experimental, applied and forensic psychiatric journals. During the second semester, you'll complete a research internship and write your thesis.

Your future

The programme provides you with a solid background for careers in a variety of settings, which may include the following:

  • police investigation
  • juvenile offender institutions
  • child protective services
  • high security forensic facilities
  • research

Alumni @ work

Graduates have found positions such as:

  • Attaché-psychologist at FOD Justitie
  • Psychologist at Telepsy
  • Behavioral expert at Police Gelderland

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience

Study options

Full Time (1 Year)

Tuition fees
€13,800.00 (11,27,451) per year
Statutory fee for this programme is € 2,083
Start date

Expected September 2022

Venue

Maastricht University

Minderbroedersberg 4-6,

MAASTRICHT,

Limburg,

6211, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants must have eligible for admission if you have a bachelor's degree from a relevant academic field, for example, philosophy or sociology. English language requirements: IELTS (6.5); TOEFL Paper-based test (575); TOEFL Internet test (90); TOEIC listening and reading (720) and speaking and writing (310); Cambridge [Advanced (CAE) Grade C (scale 180-184), First Certificate in English (FCE) Grade A (scale 180-184), First Certificate in English (FCE) Grade B (scale 176-179)].

For international students

Applicants must have a university’s bachelor degree.

IELTS test: minimum score 6.5, with no component less than 6

TOEFL test: internet-based minimum score 90

Cambridge: CPE with grade A, B or C, or CAE with grade A, B or C+

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