Professor Mitch Waterman


Mitch Waterman is a Professor of Forensic Psychological Science, having conducted research involving violent, drug and sexual offenders for almost 20 years. He has a BSc from the University of Lancaster, and a PhD from Keele University, where he worked with Professor John Sloboda. From 2008 to 2018 Mitch was Pro-Dean for Student Education in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds, with responsibility for a diverse range of vocational and academic programmes, approximately 600 taught students, working with 14 professional bodies and closely with NHS partners. His background is in cognitive neuropsychology and the psychology of emotion, though in recent years his psychological research interests have focused mainly on forensic populations, pioneering objective assessments of deviant interest, and involvement in the development of new treatment programmes to reduce reoffending. His interest in pedagogy has several related origins; working with Bradford Education Authority on a large-scale intervention to address boys' underachievement in primary and secondary education, the experiences of offenders in prisons, his time as Director of Learning and Teaching for the School of Psychology at the University of Leeds, and seven years as a member of the British Psychological Society's Accreditation Committee, and latterly as a core member of the BPS's drafting group for new accreditation criteria for all undergraduate and postgraduate professional programmes of study. As one of the principal investigators of the University's M.A.R.K Project he now chairs the University's Assessment Strategy Group, and is the chair of the University's Enhancing Educational Practice Network (LEEP Network) and is a member of the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence Board..

He remains the chair of the University's Leeds Curriculum Evaluation Group, having chaired a number of the Curriculum working groups and been Deputy Chair of the Leeds Curriculum Project Board. Mitch is also the longest serving chair of the University's Appeals Committee (the Committee on Applications). Current research activity centres on reducing self-harm in prisons, a collaboration with Leeds Beckett University and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland, to help reduce offending against children, and a PhD project investigating self-harm in adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. Mitch teaches on the Level 1 Forensic Psychology Discovery module, and on the D.Clin.Psychol programme Biological Bases of Behaviour (Neuropsychology). 


 Erika Shilling (PhD)

 Emmanuel Nii-Boye Quarshie (PhD), with Allan House

Katherine Grindheim (D.Clin.Psychol)

Teaching and Responsibilities

 PSYC1610: Forensic Psychology Biological Bases (Neuropsychology), D.Clin.Psychol programme


University of Leeds Academic Development Fund: The MARK Project: Making assessment relationships known. 2007 £88,316. Principal Investigator with Siobhan Hugh-Jones, 2007-2011.

Assessing the feasibility of implementing and evaluating a new problem-solving model for patients at risk of self-harm and suicidal behaviour in prison. Joint Lead Applicant with Dr A Perry (University of York), co-applicants: Prof. A House (Leeds), Prof. R Pawson (Leeds), Dr G. Richardson (York), Ms. A Farrin (Leeds). £248,635. May 2013-November 2015.

Professional activities

 Member of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Offenders (NOTA) (UK), and chair of the NOTA Research Committee, and member of the NOTA Board.

Member of the US Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, and member of the ATSA International Committee.

Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, past member of the BPS Undergraduate Education Committee, and QA Review Group.


Waterman, M.G. and Turner-Moore, T.J. (2013). Thoughts on a think-tank: influencing practice and the Sexual Thoughts Project. Keynote to be delivered at the UK National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) annual conference. \n Waterman, M.G. (2012). What are we doing when we assess? Insights, evidence and some solutions. Keynote delivered at the University of Plymouth, Vice-Chancellor’s Learning & Teaching Conference.


  • Chair of Univeristy Assessment Strategy Group
  • Chair of Leeds Curriculum Evaluation Group
  • Chair, University Committee on Applications

Research interests

Mitch’s research interests mainly focus on inhibition; problems following traumatic brain injury; self-harm and aggression; dissociation, trauma and psychosis; offending behaviours and associated thoughts. Since the year 2000, working with a variety of PhD students and collaborators, he has developed new so-called objective tests of sexual deviance, and shown that such attention-based measures can be used effectively with violent offenders, examined injecting drug use in prisons, helped develop the world’s most detailed survey of male sexual thoughts, to investigate differences (and similarities) between the thoughts of offenders and non-offenders, and helped shape a new prisoner-led problem sleving intervention to reduce self-harm in prisons. He chairs the Notional Organisation for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse (NOTA) Research Committee and is a member of the NOTA Board. Current research priorities are a three-year collaboration between the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, US, to further examine data from the Sexual Thoughts Project to help elicidate risk factors associated with child sexual abuse, and further development of the prisoner-led problem support mentor scheme with HMP Wealstun, other prisons and Her Majesty's Prison and Probration Service (HMPPS).  


  • BSc (Hons) Psychology (Major), Biology (Minor)
  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • Associate Fellow, British Psychological Society
  • Board Member, NOTA and chair, NOTA Research Committee
  • International Member, Association for the Treatment of Abusers (ATSA)

Student education

Major contributor to the Level 1 Forensic Psychology Discovery Module

Neuropsychology components  of the Biological Bases part of the D.Clin.Psychol programme.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>