Last Updated on July 29, 2023
- Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught
- Start Date(s): September 2021
- Duration: One year full-time / two years part-time
- Study Mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
- Campus: City Campus
- Entry Requirements:
Year of entry:
Find us on:
- What you’ll study
- How you’re taught
- Entry requirements
- Fees and funding
- How to apply
This British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited Forensic Psychology Masters degree is designed to prepare psychology graduates with the academic knowledge and skills necessary to conduct practical work and research within a forensic context. The BPS accreditation means that by obtaining the MSc in Forensic Psychology you’ll be completing the first stage in your professional training required by the BPS to become a qualified practitioner within the field of forensic psychology (Chartered Forensic Psychologist).
The focus on blending research and practical expertise is reflected in the course team, which consists of forensic practitioners or academics who each have considerable experience working with offenders and victims in a range of forensic contexts in the UK. Attached to the MSc in Forensic Psychology is the Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit (SOCAMRU), which incorporates a group of active researchers currently engaged in collaborative work with:
- HM Prison Service
- the Police Service
- the National Health Service (NHS)
- High Secure Hospitals.
The application deadline date for 2021 entry has been set as 12pm GMT on Friday 11th June 2021
Applicants are advised to upload their reference documents as soon as possible, and preferably before submitting their application. Applicants for the course who do not upload references may be offered a place on the course (subject to a successful interview) on the condition that suitable and satisfactory references are provided before the start date. However, places cannot be confirmed until these references are received
What you’ll study
*We are currently reviewing the content of our courses to ensure that they remain relevant and current to our students’ future ambitions and society. Please continue to check this course webpage for the latest developments.
This course is designed to give you the academic knowledge and practical and research skills recommended by the BPS. You’ll also develop the core practical skills that will equip you to become a practitioner in the field of forensic psychology.
During the course you may have the opportunity to gain real life experience within forensic settings. The team appreciate the difficulty of gaining experience in this field and the importance of doing so for your future career, and so offer a selection of different projects and opportunities which will open the door to the practical field of forensic psychology.
Example projects from previous students include: assisting with the evaluation of a treatment programme through interviewing staff; assessing the reliability of a scale with prisoners, including disseminating questionnaires; the impact on staff of working with suicidal prisoners; staff boundary management in Rampton secure hospital; detecting deception with eye-tracking; evaluating support for prisoners on release from prison including interviewing staff who work with mentally ill offenders and their families; testing suicide theories within an offending population.
A range of forensic work experience opportunities (usually one day per week during term time) and / or applied forensic projects are available each year. These will allow you to gain experience in the forensic field of work. For example, you may be working within a forensic environment or a secure hospital.
Explanations of Crime, Criminal Behaviour and Victimology
This module provides a conceptual basis for understanding crime, criminal behaviour and victimisation, as well as the evidence and theoretical basis for more applied modules such as Assessment, Formulation and Treatment and Professional Forensic Practice. In brief, this module covers the philosophical, historical and social meaning of crime, as well as methodological shortcomings associated with measuring crime. A range of theoretical explanations of criminal behaviour and victimisation are critically reviewed, including psychological models associated with adults, children, violent and sexual offending. This is assessed through two coursework essays, including a focus on reflective writing.
Police, Justice System and Psychology
This module will permit you to develop current knowledge of the relevant evidence base and an understanding of the ethical and legal factors influencing professional practice in the UK justice system. It will cover the legal framework of the law and the civil and criminal justice systems, with a detailed knowledge of the legal system in England and Wales. Legal processes and methods, in particular the role of the jury in legal decision-making, sentencing processes, expert testimony and legal statutes and case law will be considered. You will also develop an awareness and understanding of the structure and function of Police Services and related agencies. Psychology will be applied to the process of crime prevention and investigation, and students will gain an understanding of the limits on police powers, including the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). The role of the victim and vulnerable persons (e.g. children) in the justice system will be also be explored. This is assessed through a seen exam.
Prison, Rehabilitation and Aftercare
This module is the second module exploring a forensic context. This module will allow you to develop knowledge about forensic settings commonly encountered by offenders post-sentencing, in particular prisons, secure hospital settings and community initiatives. The role of the victim in post-sentencing initiatives will also be explored, e.g. victim-offender mediation.
Assessment, Formulation and Treatment of Offenders and Victims
In this module you will start to explore conceptual and applied issues associated with core practitioner skills of assessment, formulation and treatment of offenders and victims. You will gain a critical knowledge of risk assessment, clinical assessment and measurement tools, and develop an understanding of how this assessment information can be integrated with theoretical accounts to develop a formulation and treatment plan which addresses an individual’s criminogenic and / or clinical needs. The assessment of this module is 100% phase test.
Professional Forensic Practice
The module uses experiential and action learning to provide you with the opportunity to engage in theory-to-practice links. You will integrate academic knowledge with core practitioner skills and apply your knowledge and skills to problems commonly encountered in forensic psychological practice. You will also develop an academic and experiential appreciation of ethical, cultural and professional conduct considerations associated with the work of forensic psychologists.
The Reflective Practice Group, which is part of this module, is aimed at providing you with a theoretical and experiential understanding of reflection and its importance in professional forensic practice. Writing a Reflective Diary will be a key part of the module, and will provide you with the opportunity to critically and creatively consider your experiences during the initial stages of the training to become a professional Forensic Psychologist. This is assessed through a risk assessment report based on a case study and the reflective diary.
Qualitative Research Design and Analysis One
This module aims to introduce you to the field of qualitative research. The main aims of this module are to outline the main philosophical and epistemological arguments supporting the use of qualitative research methods in psychology, outline the key issues, problems, and new insights that shape qualitative research design in psychology; familiarise you with a range of data collection techniques used by qualitative researchers in psychology; develop your capacity to manage and handle qualitative data; familiarise you with a range of data analytic techniques used by qualitative researchers in psychology (and to outline the differences between them) and to further develop your ability to report, present, and evaluate qualitative research. This is assessed through a piece of coursework.
This module will consider the ontological, epistemological, practical, and theoretical issues involved in combining qualitative and quantitative research in psychology. It will demonstrate some of the most effective ways in which quantitative and qualitative research techniques can be employed together within a single research programme, and it will also introduce a methodological approach which combine quantitative and qualitative elements within a single procedure (repertory grids). The main aim of the module will be to encourage you to see the connection, rather than the conventional ‘division’ that is drawn between quantitative and qualitative paradigms in psychology. This is assessed through a piece of coursework.
Advanced Experimentation and Statistics One and Two
Advanced Experimentation and Statistics One examines the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of statistics used in experimental research (e.g., statistical inference, power and effect size). The framework for the module is a regression / GLM approach to statistics that focuses on the relationship between multiple linear regression, ANOVA and ANCOVA. The module also covers application of these concepts in widely available computer software such as SPSS and the relationship between different experimental designs (e.g., factorial designs, multi-stage sampling, RCTs, cross-sectional designs, longitudinal designs or single-case studies) and statistical issues such as power and generalizability. Practical issues such as dealing with violations of statistical assumptions or missing data are also considered.
Advanced Experimentation and Statistics Two uses the regression framework adopted in Advanced Experimentation and Statistics One and introduces additional advanced statistical topics such as logistic regression, Poisson regression, meta-analysis and multilevel modeling. The module builds on practical topics introduced in Advanced Experimentation and Statistics One such as dealing with violations of assumptions and the limitations of standard research designs for real world data (e.g., handling unbalanced or missing data in repeated measures analyses). The module also introduces you to specialist statistical software such as R or MLwiN.
Forensic Research Project
This is completed under the supervision of a research active member of staff. The research project is divided into two parts. Firstly, a structured literature review around the topic being explored. This allows you to develop and demonstrate a clear and detailed knowledge of an area of forensic interest. Secondly, a journal style research piece on the research undertaken during the course. This research is focussed on a forensic topic and can include qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods, all of which are covered on the course. The journal-style is to develop knowledge in publishing research as part of evidence-based practice and skills required for Stage 2 of the route to Chartership.