Spring 2020 - PSYC 268 D100

Introduction to Law and Psychology (3)

Class Number: 8910

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 9660, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 17, 2020
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    SSCB 9201, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 102.



An introduction to the area of law and psychology. The role and influence of psychology in the legal system will be discussed. Topics include: social psychology and law, developmental psychology and law, juvenile justice, experimental psychology and law, mental disability and law.


Important Note about the Format of this Course
This is a hybrid course, meaning that SOME OF THE CLASSES ARE IN-PERSON AND SOME ARE ONLINE. The dates for the in-person and online classes are clearly indicated in the syllabus below. On-line classes are highlighted in yellow. Online classes will be held through Canvas Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. It is very important to use Canvas Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, and not the standard version.

Office Hour:  Monday 12:30 - 1:30 RCB 6320


Course Description and Objectives:
This course is designed to give students an up-to-date survey of law and psychology, also known as forensic psychology. The primary focus will be on issues related to psychology and criminal law, although some issues related to civil law (e.g., civil commitment, child custody) may be discussed. Topics include: the justice system, pretrial issues such as police investigations/interrogations and confessions, trial issues such as expert testimony and eyewitness testimony, and post-trial issues including sentencing, rehabilitation, and parole. Special populations including children and juveniles in the justice systems will be considered as well as mental health issues related to fitness to stand trial and particular defences. The two major objectives of the course are to introduce students to: (a) basic issues in law and psychology, focusing specifically on Canadian law; and (b) the application of theory and methods from clinical and experimental psychology to various legal issues.


  • Midterm Exam: 35%
  • Final Exam: 45%
  • In-Class Thought Papers: 20%
  • _______________________________________
  • Topics by Week:
  • Week 1: January 6 In-Person Class. Come to the lecture theatre. Introduction and Orientation to the Hybrid Course Format and Canvas Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Overview of Course Content and Expectations Crime in Canada Readings: None%
  • Week 2: January 13 Online Class Introduction and Overview of Forensic Psychology The Canadian Legal System Readings: Chap 1 & 2%
  • Week 3: January 20 Online Class Forensic Assessment in Criminal Domains Readings: Chap. 3%
  • Week 4: January 27 In-Person Class. Come to the lecture theatre. Forensic Assessment in Civil Domains Readings: Chap 4%
  • Week 5: February 3 In-Person Class. Come to the lecture theatre. Forensic Treatment Readings: Chap 5%
  • Week 6: February 10 Online Class. Correctional Psychology Readings: Chap 12%
  • February 17 Reading Break No class this week%
  • Week 7 February 24 In-Person Exam. Come to the lecture theatre. MID-TERM EXAM%
  • Week 8: March 2 In-Person Class. Come to the lecture theatre. Eyewitness Identification Readings: Chap 8%
  • Week 9: March 9 In-Person Class. Come to the lecture theatre. Police Psychology Readings: Chap. 10%
  • Week 10: March 16 Online Class Police Investigations, Interrogations, and Confessions Readings: Chap. 9%
  • Week 11: March 23 Online Class. Juveniles in the Legal System Readings: Chap. 7%
  • Week 12: March 30 In-Person Class. Come to the lecture theatre. Children and the Law Readings: Chap. 6%
  • Week 13: April6 In-Person Class. Come to the lecture theatre. Controversies and Future Directions in Psychology and Law Readings: None!%


Computer Literacy and Equipment Students are expected to be computer literate and familiar with the internet. You will be familiarized with how to log into the online classes during the first class. Students will need access to a Mac or Windows-based computer with multi-media capability (including a headset with microphone), high-speed Internet access, and Chrome, Explorer, Firefox, or Safari.


Minimum Course Requirements:
There will be two exams (midterm and a final). Lectures will present new material as well as some material from the text. Exams will cover all lectures and chapters from the text (whether or not the chapter material was reviewed in lecture). All students must write the midterm and final exams on the scheduled days.  If it is impossible for you to write the exams on the scheduled days you must see the instructor to discuss alternative arrangements. Alternative arrangements will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances that are beyond your control. A make-up exam may not be the same format as the scheduled exams. It may be a single essay question that may be administered in writing or orally.   Alternative arrangements for exams will be approved in the most extraordinary circumstances only: Two exams on the same day is NOT a sufficient reason to request this accommodation. Students who are unable to meet course requirements (i.e., midterm exams and final exam) on schedule should see the instructor before the date the work is to be completed.  It should only be in rare cases that a student cannot consult with the instructor before the scheduled completion dates. Documentary evidence will be required. Students who, due to illness, request exam accommodation must submit a Health Care Provider Statement to the instructor. The document is available at http://www.sfu.ca/~tjd/310summer2019/_downloads/SFUcertificateOfIllness.pdf
Equity dictates that these conditions be applied rigorously.  Concessions will only be awarded in extraordinary circumstances.  If such circumstances arise please see me as quickly as possible and I will do my best to accommodate you. 

Thought Papers
There will be two in-class thought papers prior to the mid-term, and two after the mid-term. These will only occur during the IN-PERSON classes. Each is out of 5% of your final grade. The lowest mark will be dropped, and remaining three pro-rated for a total out of 20%. Students will be given 10 minutes during the beginning of class to respond to one or two short-answer style questions based on the previous week’s lecture.   

Policy on E-mail:
Please forward all email regarding course material to the teaching assistants. We will make every effort to respond to emails within one week. Please restrict your questions to ones that can be answered in a few sentences. If your question requires a more comprehensive answer, you should ask the question at the beginning of the next class, or come to office hours/make an appointment. 

Grade Disputes
If you wish to dispute a grade assigned, your dispute must be presented to Dr. Douglas in writing within one week of receiving the grade. You must include a specific rationale for why your answer is correct (e.g., a reference to a specific page in a reading). The review may lead to higher grades, lower grades, or no changes. Academic Dishonesty: Basically, don’t do it! Please review the following sites to ensure you understand what academic dishonesty is and how to avoid it: http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html http://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/academic-integrity/plagiarism-tutorial   Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion. 



Roesch, R., Zapf, P. A., Hart, S. D., & Connolly, D. A. (2014). Forensic psychology and law: A Canadian perspective. Toronto, ON: Wiley.
Note: You do not need to purchase this book. It will be provided to you online at no charge.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html