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MSc

Forensic Psychology

Prison barbed wire
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time (day)
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Course duration: 1 / 2 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

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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.

Application deadline

The application deadline date for 2019 entry has been set as 12 pm GMT on Friday 28 June 2019.

Accredited by:

BPS Accredited Forensic Psychology logo

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.

  • Course modules

    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.

    Mixed Methods

    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.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

Following a recent successful revalidation, the BPS stated that "the applied focus of the course provides students with numerous and wide ranging opportunities to develop the skills that will enable them to succeed once they progress to stage two training".

How you’re taught

The MSc Forensic Psychology starts in late September. A dedicated induction day is provided for all students which introduces you to your course, to your teaching teams and to the university facilities. The day ends with an informal social event.

The course is completed in one year of full-time study (your final piece of coursework is submitted in late August) or two years part-time. The teaching terms run from late September to Christmas and then from January to Easter. Part-time students attend for two of the three days only.

Study and support

This course is supported by a team of approachable staff, and is delivered primarily through lectures, interactive workshops and discussions, small group teaching and one-on-one supervision.

You'll also have access to the extensive facilities within the Department of Psychology and the University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). For individuals who do not wish to complete the MSc, a postgraduate certificate in Forensic Mental Health will be offered.

International students in psychology can also access additional language and study skills support, as well as help in acclimatising, via our own International Student Support Officer.

Reflective practice

A particular feature of the MSc in Forensic Psychology at NTU is the weekly small group Reflective Practice tutorials, designed to facilitate emotional as well as cognitive development in students as they enter the frequently taxing world of forensic psychology. This is a great opportunity that this course offers to develop in reflective practice, a key skill for the stage two training and your future career as a Forensic Psychologist.

Assessment methods

Assessments will be diverse in format and will include:

  • examinations (seen and unseen)
  • essays
  • presentations
  • practical reports
  • a consultancy report
  • a research project
  • a forensic practice portfolio.

An active research environment

The team working on the Masters have a variety of different backgrounds in Forensic Psychology with a strong emphasis on practice and applied research. Due to their vast experience, including three chartered and registered forensic psychologists with a combined experience of over 40 years, and internationally renowned researchers, the staff at NTU have wide-scale ongoing collaborations with forensic organisations. These include HMP Whatton, HMP Nottingham and Brixton (Local and resettlement prisons) and Rampton High Secure hospital. Thus, students' forensic projects typically involve 'hands on' experience within a forensic environment, supervised by an experienced forensic member of the team.

Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit (SOCAMRU)

SOCAMRU was set up in 2007 to build upon the collaborative relationship of ongoing research between the Psychology Department at NTU and HMP Whatton (which holds approximately 850 convicted male sex offenders). The unit's primary aim is to conduct and facilitate applied forensic research in the area of sexual offending and sexual crime, with the research unit sitting at the juxtaposition between the world of prison and that of academia. The unit has continued to broaden its focus and develop new collaborations, including research within HMP Nottingham, HMP Lowdham Grange and Rampton High Secure hospital. The unit is continually developing specialism in mixed method evaluations of interventions to provide comprehensive and reliable findings.

You may also be interested in finding out about our Addiction and Aberrant Behaviours research group.

World-leading research

Psychology at NTU has an established international research reputation and is one of the top risers in the REF 2014 research rankings. The 2014 Assessment also showed:

  • 60% of our research outputs were considered to be internationally excellent or world leading in REF 2014
  • 100% of our research impact is internationally excellent with 73% described as world-leading
  • Our research impact and output is the highest of any UK psychology department with an equivalent research environment.

Find out more about our 2014 Research Excellence Framework results.

In-sessional English language support

In-sessional English language support classes are available to all international (non-EU) students studying on degree courses at NTU. There is no extra charge for these classes.

The teaching team have wide-scale ongoing collaborations with forensic organisations including HMP Whatton, HMP Nottingham and Brixton (Local and resettlement prisons) and Rampton High Secure hospital.

Careers and employability

Becoming a Chartered Forensic Psychologist

In order to become eligible to obtain Chartered Forensic Psychologist status you will need to be a Graduate Member of the Society with the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership and have successfully completed a Society accredited MSc in Forensic Psychology, which this course provides.

With this course completed, you'll need to complete a Qualification in Forensic Psychology Stage 2 (QFP Stage 2) consisting of two years' full time supervised practice (or part-time equivalent). Further information can be found on the BPS website.

During the course you'll study selected modules which cover the key knowledge and research skills recommended by the Division of Forensic Psychology in the British Psychological Society. The course will also equip you with core practical skills that will facilitate your progression towards becoming a practitioner in the field of forensic psychology.

Students generally choose the MSc Forensic Psychology because they wish to qualify as a BPS Chartered and Health and Care Professions Council Registered forensic psychologist and to pursue a career in forensic psychology. Others may choose to use their qualification as a stepping stone toward doctoral training in clinical psychology, to work in criminal justice and mental health settings, e.g. police, prison, probation services, the NHS, and so on.

It's also possible to pursue an academic and / or research career in psychology following graduation (for example by working as a research assistant or associate, or by studying for a PhD). Indeed, your qualification in forensic psychology is likely to be popular with a whole range of potential employers because, in addition to possessing in-depth theoretical knowledge of forensic psychology, you will also have demonstrated an ability to write essays and reports and to present in front of other people (amongst other transferable skills).

What are graduates of the MSc Forensic Psychology doing now?

The job titles below give you an indication of the careers our recent MSc Forensic Psychology graduates are following.

  • Mental health support worker
  • Force intelligence research officer
  • Assistant psychologist
  • Research assistant
  • Interventions facilitator in a prison
  • Programme facilitator in a prison
  • Healthcare support worker
  • Analyst at a police force
  • Review officer at a police force
  • Psychology graduate intern

*Data extracted from the Nottingham Trent University Graduate Destinations Database 2015/16 - 2016/17.

You may also be interested in pursuing a place on a clinical psychology doctoral route or research roles or PhD study on a forensic area.

Employability team

Our expert Employability team will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice. You can benefit from this service at any time during your studies, and for up to three years after completing your course. Find out more about the service.

Entry requirements

  • You will need a British Psychological Society (BPS) recognised undergraduate degree (minimum 2.1) in Psychology or an equivalent qualification that confers Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the BPS.
  • All applicants must explain why they want to study the Forensic Psychology course in their personal statement.
  • Applicants whose undergraduate degree is a 2.2 or equivalent will also be considered, but will be required to demonstrate relevant forensic experience and ability to study at the required academic level.
  • One academic and one vocational reference is required. Applicants who have not been in academic study for several years and cannot provide an academic reference will be required to provide a second vocational reference.
  • Take part in a face-to-face interview with a lecturer/practitioner, and complete a written exercise and a group task.

Deadline for applications - 2019 entry

The deadline for applications for MSc Forensic Psychology starting in September 2019 has been set as 12 pm GMT on Friday 28 June 2019.

In order to engage in the interview process and receive enrolment materials in good time we advise that applications are submitted as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Interview dates for entry in September 2019

Interview dates for 2019 entry are:

  • Friday 11 January 2019
  • Tuesday 5 February
  • Tuesday 5 March
  • Wednesday 8 May
  • Tuesday 4 June
  • Friday 7 June
  • Wednesday 26 June
  • Tuesday 16 July

Please note that interview dates may be subject to change and will be confirmed to successful applicants when they are invited to interview, additional dates may be organised in August or September.

To avoid delays, we advise that you submit your completed application, including one academic and one vocational reference, as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200

We accept qualifications from universities all over the world for entry onto our courses. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

  • You will need a British Psychological Society (BPS) recognised undergraduate degree (minimum 2.1) in Psychology or an equivalent qualification that confers Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the BPS.
  • All applicants must explain why they want to study the Forensic Psychology course in their personal statement.
  • Applicants whose undergraduate degree is a 2.2 or equivalent will also be considered, but will be required to demonstrate relevant forensic experience and ability to study at the required academic level.
  • One academic and one vocational reference is required. Applicants who have not been in academic study for several years and cannot provide an academic reference will be required to provide a second vocational reference.
  • Final selection is based on an interview process with members of the course team.

In order to engage in the interview process and receive enrolment materials in good time we advise that applications are submitted as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Deadline for applications - 2019 entry

The deadline for applications for MSc Forensic Psychology starting in September 2019 has been set as 12 pm GMT on Friday 28 June 2019.

In order to engage in the interview process and receive enrolment materials in good time we advise that applications are submitted as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Interview dates

Interview dates for 2019 entry are:

  • Friday 11 January 2019
  • Tuesday 5 February
  • Tuesday 5 March
  • Wednesday 8 May
  • Tuesday 4 June
  • Friday 7 June
  • Wednesday 26 June
  • Tuesday 16 July

Please note that interview dates may be subject to change and will be confirmed to successful applicants when they are invited to interview, additional dates may be organised in August or September.

To avoid delays, we advise that you submit your completed application, including one academic and one vocational reference, as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Pre-masters and foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation or pre-masters course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation and pre-masters courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.

If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our international team for advice.

International students in psychology can also access additional language and study skills support, as well as help in acclimatising, via our own International Student Support Officer.

How to apply

All applications to this course can be made through our NTU Applicant Portal.

Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Deadline for applications - 2019 entry

The deadline for applications for MSc Forensic Psychology starting in September 2019 has been set as 12 pm GMT on Friday 28 June 2019.

In order to engage in the interview process and receive enrolment materials in good time we advise that applications are submitted as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates’ guide.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) formally known as a Criminal Record Bureau check

Many students choose to collect research data in the UK as part of their projects. You may be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check depending on your project topic.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Open days

The School of Social Sciences holds open events throughout the year. Come along and learn more about our courses, speak to programme leaders and find out about studying with the School.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or support, you can call our Admissions Team on +44 (0)115 848 4200, or email applications@ntu.uk.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

All applications to this course can be made through our NTU Applicant Portal.

Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Apply for your course as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.Please allow additional processing time for international applications from countries that require a visa.

Deadline for applications - 2019 entry

The deadline for applications for MSc Forensic Psychology starting in September 2019 has been set as 12 pm GMT on Friday 28 June 2019.

In order to engage in the interview process and receive enrolment materials in good time we advise that applications are submitted as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) formally known as a Criminal Record Bureau check

Many students from overseas choose to collect research data in the UK as part of their projects. DBS checks only cover students from the UK, so unless you have been resident in the UK for five years or more, we will need a criminal record check from your home country if you plan to work with vulnerable populations. Checks from overseas can sometimes be referred to by a variety of names such as a Police Check or a Good Behaviour Record. To find out what it is called in your home country and how to apply for one, please visit the government website.

If you are an overseas student and are planning to collect data for your research project from vulnerable populations in your home country, you are advised to apply for a home police check to support your research. You will need to demonstrate in your ethics form that you have met all the requirements of your home country to work with vulnerable populations.

If you are unable to obtain a home Police Check and still wish to work with vulnerable populations in your home country, discuss this with your Course Leader in the first instance. It will need to be made clear in your written correspondence with any participants / organisations that the University has been unable to engage with any disclosure and barring service checks prior to you undertaking your research.

Once you have obtained your police check, a copy of the documentation (in English) should be passed to the relevant course administrator in the School of Social Sciences Office.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or support, you can call our Admissions Team on +44 (0)115 848 4200, or email applications@ntu.uk.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019 entry

Study routeHome (UK/EU students)
Full-time£7,000
Part-time (cost per year of study)£3,500 (for Year One*)

Fees may be subject to change.

* Please note that if you are considering a part-time route that runs over more than one year, the tuition fee stated is for Year One of study. The course fee for Year Two is subject to annual review.

Funding your studies

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

There are numerous sources of funding available for postgraduate students, both from external sources such as the Government and funding bodies, and from the University.

There are two main costs involved with postgraduate study: the cost of your tuition fees which is paid directly to the University, and living expenses such as accommodation, travel and food.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies, We award scholarships to those students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our postgraduate fees and funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Fees for 2019 entry

Study routeInternational
Full-time£14,500
Part-time (cost per year of study)£7,250 (for Year One*)

Fees may be subject to change.

* Please note that if you are considering a part-time route that runs over more than one year, the tuition fee stated is for Year One of study. The course fee for Year Two is subject to annual review.

Funding your studies

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

For more information on these and other opportunities for funding please visit our international scholarships page.

For information on how to pay your fees to the University please visit our international fee payment page.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Still need help?

School of Social Sciences Enquiries
+44 (0)115 848 4460