Your start to the fascinating field of psychology at the University of Reading Malaysia

Forensic psychology is a fascinating field that combines psychology and the legal system. It involves applying psychological research to police work, the courts, as well as institutions that protect crime victims and manage offenders.

Topics such as criminal profiling or psychopathy are popular themes for many movies and television series. Crime dramas like Criminal Minds have captivated the public’s interest, but they tend to inaccurately portray the more realistic aspects of forensic psychology. The profession is far more diverse, and the range of work environments is also wide, including universities, hospitals, and prisons.

Dr Chung Kai Li, the Programme Lead for BSc Psychology at University of Reading Malaysia teaches forensic psychology. “Throughout our programme, students discover how the limitations of the human brain can lead to serious consequences. For example, laboratory experiments have shown that our memory is not always reliable. If we are given misleading information after witnessing an event, our original memory can change. In some cases, we may even remember things that never happened. This can lead to major miscarriages of justice, especially in criminal cases where eyewitness memories are often used to determine whether a suspect is guilty.”

Examples of forensic psychology research conducted at University of Reading Malaysia include stalking, juvenile delinquency, and sexual abuse of children. “Knowledge in forensic psychology is important for us to understand such offending and reoffending behaviour,” added Dr Chung, whose research focusses on the psychology of crime. For example, prison research has shown that psychopathy is linked with domestic violence, sexual crimes, terrorism, and other criminal behaviour. An understanding of the science of brain and behaviour is therefore crucial. Through measurements, observations, and experiments, psychologists are constantly studying why people behave the way they do. Part of a forensic psychologist’s job is to apply their expert knowledge to develop assessment and treatment programmes for convicted offenders.

The psychology programme at University of Reading Malaysia is designed to provide students with a solid academic grounding in all the core areas of the discipline, as well as to equip them with the essential skills that enhance employability. Students will learn about topics including development, neuroscience, personality, and social psychology in the first two years of the degree. In the final year, they can choose a number of optional modules from a range of specialist topics in staff research areas. Topics in recent years include body perception, face processing, forensic psychology, cognitive neuroscience, cultural psychology, and dyslexia. The School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences also houses cutting-edge facilities, such as eye-trackers, EEG, nutritional testing, and psychometric tests, to support teaching and learning.

“The great thing about studying psychology at UoRM is that we get the chance to explore different areas of psychology under the guidance of experts from different fields. As all of our lecturers are also researchers, what we learn is always based on the latest developments in the field,” shared Tan Jiun Ting, a final-year psychology student. “We are also taught to critically examine the limitations in existing research, as well as to challenge the dominant views of certain issues. This shapes and trains us to be independent thinkers.”

Through a mobility programme, students will have the opportunity to study on the UK campus for a term or a year. Students from the UK can also spend a term or a year on the Malaysian campus, giving all students a first-class international education experience. Employability and professional ethics are also embedded within the curriculum of the programme, where students will gain practical experience through work placements. The University of Reading Malaysia is committed to ensuring that its students stand out in the competitive career market after they graduate.

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