Programme description
Progress of the programme
Articles and presentations
Application procedure
Who are we?

Who are we?

For more information about the programme, contact:

The candidates have successfully completed a Master's degree (or an equivalent degree, for example a three year degree with an additional one-year honors programme) in Psychology (for all topics) or in another social science field (only for topics in Portsmouth and Maastricht) in which sufficient psychology and research methods training has been completed to pursue doctoral training in the Erasmus Mundus programme. Additional academic qualifications were also  considered.
Preference was given to those candidates proven to be experienced in (experimental) research and those who possess general knowledge of Law.

Statements (March 2019) from current PhD candidates about the programme;
Meghana Srivatsav, PhD candidate at Gothenburg University.
Contact: meghana.srivatsav@psy.gu.se

"I started my Ph.D. studies within EMJD Legal Psychology Programme in 2016. My home university is the University of Gothenburg and I spent 6 months a the University of Portsmouth from September 2017, which is my host University. My research mainly focuses on investigative interviewing and the determinants of guilty suspects’ behavior during interviews. 

Being a part of the House has not only provided me with an amazing opportunity to work with the top names in the field of Legal Psychology across Europe but also a world view of the subject collaborating with colleagues from all over the globe. We get the best of theoretical, practical and social exposure needed to develop holistically as a professional in the field through Summer and Winter schools organized by the House. This is a great programme for anyone who not only wants an academic career but also to learn about world culture, travel to various countries as part of the research group, and meet brilliant people who educate and inspire.

Statements (June 2014) from PhD candidates about the programme;

Andy Clark
Andy Clark, PhD candidate at Portsmouth University.
"The Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate PhD programme offered by the House of Legal Psychology is a great opportunity for anyone interested in psychology and law. The programme offers a balance of research, theoretical and practical development opportunities.
Although I am based at the University of Portsmouth, I have spent six months at Maastricht University and the University of Gothenburg. This collaboration between these institutions means you have a wide range of support from many experts in the field. Another great aspect of this programme is that each year we all gather at one of the institutions for a summer and winter school. Apart from getting to visit the fantastic cities, this is also a great opportunity to catch-up with the other candidates from the programme and discuss your research. 
I am really pleased with my decision to apply for this programme and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in this research area".

On the 5th September 2016 Andrew started a full-time permanent position as a Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK. 

Tanja van Veldhuizen, PhD candidate at Maastricht University
"In September 2013 I started my PhD at Maastricht University. So far I am very happy with my choice for a PhD within The House of Legal Psychology!
During my bachelor and master in social psychology I found out that my interest primarily lies with concepts like morality, justice, and culture. I further realized that I am passionate about applied psychological research that has direct relevance for social reality. Legal psychology is a field of research that perfectly combines my interests and passion.
Within the EMJD program my research focuses on evidence in the European asylum procedure. Because evidence to support the statements made by asylum is often lacking, much weight is placed on a credibility assessment. Asylum officials have to assess whether the asylum seeker is veracious about who he is, where he came from, and what he has experienced. My main research question is how immigration authorities can test in the best possible way whether an asylum claim is veracious, while considering the possibilities and limitations of human memory.
Besides being able to work on a topic that I am passionate about, I also very much enjoy the theoretical and practical program offered by The House of Legal Psychology. In the theoretical program we are studying a wide range of topics (e.g., child witness interviewing, interrogation in counterterrorism settings) to become an all-round legal psychologist. The courses are kicked-off and completed with an international gathering at one of the partner universities. During these gatherings there is a lot of interaction with the other PhD candidates. Sharing experiences with each other is both enriching and fun.
All together I would say that the House of Legal Psychology offers a great opportunity for (psychology) graduates to become a critical and innovative researcher within the field of legal psychology".  

Serra Tekin, PhD candidate at University of Gothenburg and
EAPL 2014 Conference Award Winner 2nd place!
"I started my Ph.D. studies within EMJD Legal Psychology Programme in 2013. My home university is University of Gothenburg and I will have the privilege to spend my third semester at University of Portsmouth where I have my second supervisor. My research mainly focuses on investigative interviewing and suspects’ counter-interrogation strategies.
The programme consists of theoretical, practical and social components. It offers highly interesting courses given by academicians from three universities involved in the programme. This provides the opportunity to get to know the field through the lens of different viewpoints. Moreover, the courses are designed to equip us, the students, with knowledge about theory, empirical data and real life applications. In addition, we have our own research projects running. One of the most beneficial features of the programme is that we get to collaborate with researchers from other universities in our Ph.D. projects. Finally, it is important to note that EMJD is not all about research. It is also about mobility and getting to know new cultures as well as new people. All in all, it is a good fit if one wishes to have an academic career and new experiences along with it".  

Nathalie Brackmann, PhD candidate at Maastricht University and
EAPL 2014 Conference Award Winner 1st. place!
"The PhD-program offered by the House of Legal Psychology is a great opportunity to improve psychological research skills and to pursue self-generated research questions in a highly supportive research team. As a first year PhD-student, I started my research project at the University of Maastricht under the supervision of two legal psychologists and in a critical and interactive peer group of researchers that deal with topics concerning eye- and ear-witness memory, the role of stress on memory, lineup identification tasks, feigning symptoms, lie detection and others. 
I am really looking forward to the six months that I will spend abroad at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. During the regular summer and winterschool once a year where the PhD-students deal with up-to-date topics of legal psychology, I already became acquainted with the other scholars involved in the program as well as with the other students. These researchers are not only qualified, but also very kind and open-minded. 
If you are a motivated psychology graduate eager to pursue your research career, do not hesitate to apply for this program".

Joanne Rechdan, PhD candidate at Portsmouth University.
"The EMJD-LP program offers students the unique opportunity to work with leading experts in the area of Legal Psychology across Europe.  I am very grateful to be a part of the first cohort of students. I hold a BA in Psychology, and an Mphil in Social & Developmental Psychology. My doctoral thesis examines the effects of social influence on eyewitness memory reports. I am based primarily at the University of Portsmouth, but will also complete a six-month stint at the University of Maastricht. I am very much looking forward to taking advantage of the possibilities for personal and career development that lie ahead".

Haneen Deeb, PhD candidate at Portsmouth University.
"I joined the Programme in September 2014. I am based at the University of Portsmouth, but I will be leaving in September 2015 to the University of Gothenburg for six months. My research work is on detecting lies by measuring statement consistency across interviews. I am happy to be part of this Programme, and I have already gained a lot within this short period of time!
The Programme gives us the opportunity to discuss our research with colleagues with similar as well as different interests and to receive invaluable feedback from leaders in the field. The Winter and Summer Schools help us develop our practical skills - we have already been trained in expert testimony, investigative interviews, television interviews, etc. Further, the workshops we will be organizing/attending are only one other way to develop our skills and get in contact with experts outside our immediate context. I would definitely recommend this theoretically- and practically- based Programme to anyone with a passion for legal psychology!"

Aleksandras Izotovas, PhD candidate at Portsmouth University.
I joined the EMJD PhD programme offered by ‘The House of Legal Psychology’ in September 2015. After completion of master’s degrees at the Vilnius University (Psychology and Criminology) and Maastricht University (Psychology and Law), and joining Lithuanian police system, I was interested in this PhD programme, as it offers an excellent opportunity to work with the best experts and researchers in the field of Legal Psychology. By being a part of ‘The House of Legal Psychology’ I have discovered that it offers a great opportunity for me to be on the frontlines of the latest scientific and research knowledge, as well as meet and share the ideas with the other experts and researchers. During the first 6 months of my PhD I have had the chance to attend great workshops in the Summer and Winter schools organised by the ‘The House’, and in my home institution, the University of Portsmouth. As a part of one of our courses, I also had the chance to attend trial of a murder case in one of the UK’s Crown Court.
My Phd project ‘The development of a memory based lie detection tool’ mainly focuses on the effect of a time delay in a lie detection context. I look forward to implementing my research ideas in the mobility period at the Gothenburg University where I will spend six months.

Participating universities and their countries

Maastricht University, the Netherlands

University of Portsmouth, the United Kingdom

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Faculty for the program include:

Professor Peter van Koppen
Professor of Law and Psychology at the departments of law of both Maastricht University and the Free University Amsterdam.
He is a psychologist. He studied psychology at Groningen University (graduation 1978) and law at Groningen University and Amsterdam University. He received a J.D. in 1984 from Erasmus University Rotterdam. From 1978 until 1992 he worked at the Law Faculty of that university, first in civil law, later in criminal law. From the foundation in 1992 until 2008 he worked at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) at Leiden.
Between 1998 and 2003 he was professor of Psychology and Law at Antwerp University, Belgium. Van Koppen is Past-President of the European Association for Psychology and Law. He is co-editor of Psychology, Crime, and Law. He is fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) te Wassenaar. He was expert witness in some 300 civil and criminal cases. He serves on the Government Board of the Dutch Register of Court Experts.
Together with D.J. Hessing, Van Koppen initiated the criminology programs at Leiden University, Free University Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam. Van Koppen has been scientific advisor to police investigation squads, member of the Task Force in Ritual Abuse of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and member of the National Expertise Group on Special Vice Cases of the Dutch College of Prosecutors-General.

Professor Harald Merckelbach 
Professor, Forensic Psychology Section, Maastricht University.
I’m interested in memory distortions and the implications they might have for courts of law. Basically, there are two different types of memory distortions. One is forgetting, a memory failure that is familiar to all people. The extreme variant of forgetting has been termed amnesia, a total inability to retrieve memories. Amnesia is said to occur in people who have been exposed to traumatic events. The technical term for this is dissociative amnesia.
A second category of memory distortions are commissions or pseudo-memories. Here, people claim to have memories of events that never happened. The more radical version of this is confabulation.
Amnesia and pseudo-memories might be authentic, but they might also be simulated. Such false claims are a form of malingering, which is a close cousin of lying.
The empirical and review articles of my colleagues and myself address these issues in various (clinical, forensic, healthy, children) samples. See for more information:

Professor Pär-Anders Granhag
Professor,  University of Gothenburg.
My research activities build on cognitive psychology; in particular human judgment, decision-making, social cognition, memory and meta-memory. Since the early 90’s I have conducted research on Legal and Investigative Psychology, with a special interest in children’s and adults’ eyewitness testimony, interview techniques and interrogation tactics, deception detection, psychology in criminal investigations and psychology in the courtroom.
My teaching is centred to the following three areas: (1) Legal Psychology (e.g., eyewitness testimony, deception detection, children’s testimony, legal decision-making), (2) Human Memory (e.g., autobiographical memory, memory and social influence, memory and emotion, applied aspects of memory), (3) Social Psychology (e.g., social influence, person perception, social cognition, and applied aspects of social psychology).

Professor Aldert Vrij
Professor, University of Portsmouth. 
I was awarded my PhD in 1991 at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and came to the UK in 1994, when I joined the Psychology Department as a Senior Lecturer. In 1996 I was promoted to Reader and in 2000 to my current position: Professor of Applied Social Psychology.
I teach Social Psychology in Year 2, and teach on Psychology and Law options in Year 3. I supervise dissertations at undergraduate level, and give lectures at postgraduate level. 
Nowadays my primary research interests are nonverbal and verbal cues to deception, and lie detection. I have published more than 400 articles and book chapters to date, mainly on these subjects. My book
Detecting lies and deceit: pitfalls and opportunities (a revised second edition of my 2000 Detecting Lies and Deceit book, and published by Wiley in January 2008) is a comprehensive text about deception and lie detection. It describes the lie detection tools used to date and discusses the problems related to these tools. It also gives guidelines on how to improve lie detection.

Professor Lorraine Hope
Professor, University of Portsmouth. 

Professor Lorraine Hope holds a Chair in Applied Cognitive Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. She is a member of the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology (Portsmouth) and the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iiiRG). Her research interests focus on the performance of human cognition in applied contexts, including witness and victim memory, stress, and decision making under challenging conditions.  In particular, her work has focused on developing theoretically-informed approaches to investigative interviewing for use in policing and wider investigative contexts.  Notably, her work on the Self-Administered Interview SAI© and the SAW-IT® has had significant international impact. Her research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Australian Research Council, Nuffield Foundation and the British Academy.  She is currently an Associate Editor for the British Psychological Society (BPS) journal, Legal and Criminological Psychology and a Consulting Editor for the American Psychological Association (APA) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.  She has published widely on both eyewitness memory and decision-making in legal contexts and regularly speaks at international conferences aimed at both academics and police practitioners. 
As part of the Erasmus Mundus House of Legal Psychology team, Professor Hope is keen to supervise cutting edge research with important theoretical and applied implications.

Dr. Melanie Sauerland
Assistant professor, Maastricht University. 
I studied at the Universities of Bonn (Germany) and Cardiff (Wales). My PhD (2007, University of Giessen) was about the postdiction of eyewitness identification performance and my research interests are in eyewitness memory, both concerning eyewitness identifications and interviewing eyewitnesses. Research topics mores specifically include postdictors of identification accuracy, the impact of the presence of multiple perpetrators on identification performance, and the Self-Administered Interview. Furthermore, I study choice blindness and the legal implications of the phenomenon.

Professor Leif Strömwall
Associate Professor,  University of Gothenburg. 
My research involves legal and investigative psychology in general, more specifically deception and lie detection, credibility assessments, interrogation techniques, eyewitness psychology, and blame attributions of rape victims.

Dr. Robert Horselenberg
Assistant Professor, Maastricht University. 
In May 2005, I was awarded a PhD on a thesis that dealt with false memories and false confessions. Since then I have been working as Assistant Professor in legal psychology. Initially I worked at the Faculty of psychology of the University of Maastricht, currently at the Faculty of law at the same University. My research is concerned with hearing children, interviewing of witnesses and questioning suspects. I also publish on these subjects, nationally and internationally. I perform regularly on as expert witnesses in criminal matters. I am also a member of the European Association of Psychology and Law and the American Psychology-Law Society.

Dr. Karl Ask
Associate Professor,  University of Gothenburg. 
My primary research interests are: (1) Investigative and legal decision making. How do motivation, emotion, and other factors affect the selection, interpretation and evaluation of evidence and other crime-related information? (2) Perceptions of crime-victim credibility. How do people expect victims to react after a crime, and how do deviations from expected behaviors affect credibility judgments? (3) Eyewitness psychology. How do eyewitnesses perform in actual criminal cases, and what factors predict accuracy and completeness of witness accounts? (4) Moral cognition. What cognitive processes and structures underlie spontaneous negative reactions to wrongful events?

Dr. Sara Landström
PhD, University of Gothenburg. 
My research interests concern various aspects of Legal and Investigative Psychology: (1) Visual Courtroom technology: How does visual technology (e.g., videotaped testimonies and video conferencing) affect observers’ assessments of witnesses and victims? (2) Emotional expressions in court: Will the emotional victim be perceived as more credible than the neutral victim? (3) Victim blame attributions: How do factors such as gender and sexual orientation affect people's attribution of rape victims? (4) Olfaction and memory: Can odors be used as a memory aid when interviewing child victims? (5) Prosecutors and child sexual abuse: What influences prosecutors willingness to prosecute in matters of sexual abuse of preschool children?

Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association
To read more about participating in an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate, visit:

Information about the EAPL-S
To find out more about being a graduate student in Legal Psychology:

The House of Legal Psychology Erasmus MundusUniversity of PortsmouthGoeteborg UniversityMaastricht University