The Forensic Psychology program, taught at Maastricht University gives students the opportunity to learn the applications of psychology associated with the legal system along with issues and problems that arise when psychology is applied. Over the course of 3 weeks in July, students will take part in classes and field trips that cover the most important topics within the field of Forensic Psychology.
The program contains four main themes and incorporates lectures, tutorials, case studies, experiments and discussions. The first topic is eyewitness memory which includes eyewitness identification and children’s false memories. The second topic is interviewing and interrogation during which students lean about police interrogation techniques, deception detection and false confessions. Cognitive biases in the legal context is the third topic and students will explore interpretation and reliability of forensic evidence and the role of biases in expert’s decisions. As the final (fourth) topic, students will learn about the association of mental illness and crime – more specifically the psychopathic mind, the psychology of sex offenders and the effect of sex offender registration laws.
Maastricht’s psychology faculty is world-renowned , and this program is a unique opportunity for Australian psychology students who have an interest in the legal system to experience University life at Maastricht and also gain valuable experience within the field of Forensic Psychology!
**Details for the program are subject to change.**
The Forensic Psychology program welcomes students from the disciplines of Law, Psychology and Criminology. Law students will be required to complete a series of pre-readings before the program commences in order to be familiarised with the fundamental themes and concepts of Psychology. For the greater benefit of the students partaking in this program, AIM Overseas will endeavour to form an even mix of students across these 3 disciplines.
It should also be highlighted that Forensic Psychology will powerfully incorporate PBL (Problem-based Learning). This is a student-centered pedagogy that allows for the development of other desirable skills and attributes, and requires students to have a more active role in the program than what they may experience in Australia.
Under this topic, factors that could lead to inaccurate identification decisions such as the cross-race bias and problems with the construction and the administration of lineups, such as post-identification feedback will be addressed.
The aim of this topic is to demonstrate how false memories can be instilled and their far reaching consequences in the legal arena.
Police Interrogations & False Confessions
You will be introduced to different interrogation techniques and how some of these can lead to false confessions and consequently wrongful convictions. We will investigate police procedures and these can be improved.
We will attempt to debunk some of the popular myths about the ability of people to detect deception and we will look at promising methods such as the verbal credibility assessment methods.
Cognitive Biases in the Legal Arena
With this topic we aim to provide a glimpse of various biases that may undermine the quality of expert witnesses’ and judges’ decisions.
Bias in Forensic Speech Analysis
You will learn about the effects of biases and context information on forensic experts’ analyses and interpretation of results and how these can be avoided.
Mental Illness and Crime
The aim of this topic is to provide an overview of the prevalence and the type of mental illnesses one can encounter in a forensic setting. Additionally, we will examine to what extent mental disorders confer a greater risk of violent behavior.
Neuroscience and the Law
Therein we will examine why and when neuroscience may be useful to law and the problems with the use of brain scans in the court.
There will be site visits, trips and cultural activities scheduled as part of the program and included in the program fee. A confirmed list of activities will be provided to you in your program schedule which will be provided prior to arrival.
Below is a tenative list of activities that are likely to be included:
- Welcome pizza dinner
- Walking tour of Maastricht
- Visit to nearby caves
- Visit to Apostelhoeve Winery
- 4th July BBQ
- Visit to United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
- Visit to Anne Frank House
- Visit to Zaanse Schans Open Air Museum
- Trip to Cologne
- Guided tour of Scholls Benrath in Dusseldorf
Maastricht University is a public University in the Netherlands, founded in 1976. In 2013, nearly 16,000 students studied at Maastricht University, 47% of whom were international students. About half of the bachelor’s programs are fully offered in English and most of the master’s and doctoral programs are in English as well. In 2013, Maastricht University was the second Dutch university to be rewarded the ‘Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation’ by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).
Find out more about the beautiful city of Maastricht, Maastricht University and the Centre for European Studies below:
Assistant Prof. Anna Sagana is an Assistant Professor in Legal Psychology at Maastricht University. Her expertise is on eyewitness identifications, eyewitness memory and decision making. So far in her career she has published articles on eyewitness identification and choice blindness in a range of legal psychology journals including Applied Cognitive Psychology, Behavioural Science and the Law, and Legal and Criminological Psychology. She has experience as a lecturer in legal and forensic psychology; interrogation & interviewing and as well as forensic neuropsychology in topics at Maastricht University.
Dr. Jenny Schell-Leugers is a legal psychologist who has been teaching at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Honours College of Maastricht University for over 9 years. Her research focuses on false confessions and their impact on wrongful convictions. She is particularly interested in examining risk factors for innocent suspects in police custody. She coordinates and teaches topics in Legal Psychology and a project on Wrongful Convictions. Furthermore, she supervises undergraduate research projects, Bachelor and Master Theses in the field of Legal Psychology.
You will be accommodated at the Maastricht University International Student Guesthouse which is located within walking distance from downtown Maastricht behind the Court of Justice. You will receive a map of the city upon arrival so that you can find your way around easily during the first few days. All participants are encouraged to follow the example of the local students and rent a bike to cycle to classes as it is the fastest and most convenient way to get there (Maastricht is flat so no big uphill to fear, but do plan on bringing lots of layers of clothing to keep you warm!).
In terms of room options, you will be given the option of having your own room or sharing with another AIM Overseas participant. All rooms have WiFi. You will have free access to a tennis and basketball court as well as laundry facilities. Linens are provided, but you will need to bring your own towels.
Option 1) Single room, C building
You will have your own room and will share a basic communal kitchen and bathroom with the people on your floor.
There is also a common area with some couches and a TV, where you can spend time with other students. There is an additional fee.
Option 2) Double room, P building
You will be sharing a spacious twin-share room with another AIM Overseas program participant. Each room has a kitchenette. You will share the bathroom facilities with the people on your floor. There is no common area available in this building.
The Netherlands is a small densely populated country home to about 16.8 million people located in Western Europe. Tradition and innovation intertwine in this country: artistic masterpieces, windmills, tulips and candlelit cafés coexist with groundbreaking architecture, cutting-edge design and phenomenal nightlife.
Geography plays a key role in the Netherlands’ iconic landscapes. More than half the pancake-flat country is below sea level, and 20% has been reclaimed from the sea, making rows of polders (areas of drained land) omnipresent. Uninterrupted North Sea winds have powered windmills since the 13th century, pumping water over the dykes, and milling flour and more. Some two-thirds of the surface is devoted to agriculture, including fields of tulips.
The flat, fabulously scenic landscapes make cycling in the Netherlands a pleasure (headwinds not withstanding). Cycling is an integral part of life and locals live on their fiets (bicycle): more than a quarter of all journeys countrywide are by bike, rising to more than a third in big cities. The canals that run throughout the city are lined with little cafes that act as social hubs for the locals and visitors.
Maastricht, located at the very bottom of the Netherlands, has both Spanish and Roman ruins all around, sophisticated food and drink and lots of bars and cafes. It also holds French and Belgium twists in architecture. The location of Maastricht is crucial as it lies a short distance between the German and Belgium border therefore being an interesting mix of the two countries. Maastricht is the epitome of a student town perfect for travelling to as a student, the locals are bilingual in English and Dutch and are extremely welcoming to all visitors. Maastricht is a warm and energetic city with appeal and allure out of proportion to its size.
All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.
Your course convenors will not be able to approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive the syllabus upon being assessed as eligible for the program.
You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.
Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.
We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, which we further outline in an email following your Initial Consultation.
Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.
Applications are currently closed for this program and will open on the 14th October 2019.
You can REGISTER YOUR INTEREST for a July 2020 program, meaning you’ll receive more program info and updates. You’ll also be notified when applications for the July intake are open!
The application process for this program are as follows:
2. You’ll be prompted to send us a copy of your full academic results from your studies at university so far after submitting your application.
3. We’ll review your university results and application and, if you are eligible for the program, we will invite you to book an initial consultation by phone with one of our Student Experience Coordinators. You will also be sent the course syllabus with more program info.
4. You’ll pay our $55 application fee and book in your phone consultation at a suitable, available time with a Student Experience Coordinator.
5. The phone consultation lasts about 20-30 minutes and we’ll cover detailed information with you about credit, funding, the program, your application and what happens next.
6. After your consultation we’ll send you a follow-up email with instructions on what to do next, an invitation to join a program specific Facebook group to connect with other students applying for the program and a process document, which we have developed in conjunction with your Australian university, to guide you on how to apply for credit and funding.
7. Once you’ve completed the next steps in that follow-up email we’ll do a final review of your application. If all is in order, you’ll be accepted onto the program.
8. Upon acceptance, you will receive three emails containing your AIM Acceptance letter, steps for applying for credit and funding at your Australian University, as well as your downpayment invoice. Note: Your downpayment is due in two weeks from the date of your acceptance and secures your place on the program.
9. Once you’ve paid your downpayment, your application will be sent to the host university for them to process and review and they’ll send us your final official host university acceptance letter which we will send to you.
10. The full program fee (as shown on the website) minus the downpayment and application fee already paid, will be due at the absolute latest by 4th May 2020.
Programs are usually over-subscribed, so it is really important that you take care of things as quickly as possible. We’re here to help and will provide you with information and reminders about what you need to do at various stages.
For more information, see our . Alternatively, you are welcome to or . Registering your interest means you’ll receive updates (via email and phone) prior to the application deadline.