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Psychology (PSYC) 395

Psychology and Law (Revision 1)

PSYC 388 Course website

Revision 1 closed, replaced by current version.

Delivery Mode:Individualized study or grouped study.


Area of Study:Social Science

Prerequisite:PSYC 290 is recommended.

Centre:Centre for Psychology

PSYC 395 has a Challenge for Credit option.

Course website

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Forensic Psychology is the fastest growing subspecialty in psychology. Social science impacts on most aspects of the legal process and psychologists are increasingly being asked to participate by providing knowledge to this system. This course examines the breadth of this participation and the application of psychological science to the Canadian justice system.


Unit 1: Introduction to Psychology and Law

  • Chapter 1: An Introduction to Psychology and Law
  • Chapter 2: An Introduction to Law and the Canadian Legal System

Unit 2: Investigative Procedures

  • Chapter 3: Police Investigations
  • Chapter 4: Memory in Legal Contexts: Remembering Events, Circumstances, and People

Unit 3: The Jury and Sentencing

  • Chapter 5: The Jury: Selecting Twelve Impartial Peers
  • Chapter 6: The Jury: Deciding Guilt and Innocence
  • Chapter 7: Sentencing, Parole, and Psychology

Unit 4: Forensic Assessment and Treatment

  • Chapter 8: The Assessment and Treatment of Offenders and Inmates: General Considerations
  • Chapter 9: The Assessment and Treatment of Offenders and Inmates: Specific Populations

Unit 5: Specific Psycholegal Decisions

  • Chapter 10: Fitness to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility in Canada
  • Chapter 11: Violence and Risk Assessment

Unit 6: Psychology in Civil Law

  • Chapter 12: Civil Commitment and Civil Competence: Psychological Issues
  • Chapter 13: Psychology's Intersection with Family Law
  • Chapter 14: Psychological Injuries and Tort Litigation: Sexual Victimization and Motor Vehicle Accidents


To receive credit for PSYC 395, you must complete all of the assignments, achieve a mark of at least 50 per cent on the final examination, and obtain a course composite grade of at least "D" (50 per cent). The weighting of assignments is as follows:

Six Quizzes Course Project Final Exam Total
30% 30% 40% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Schuller, R. A., & Ogloff, R. P. (Eds.). (2001). Introduction to Psychology and Law: Canadian perspectives. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Other materials

The course materials include a study guide, and a student manual.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, July 30/02.

Last updated bySAS  06/23/2015 10:56:36