Forensic Psychology (Postgraduate Certificate / Postgraduate Diploma / MSc)

forensic psychology

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Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

Forensic Psychology is a challenging profession which involves working with vulnerable people, both offenders and victims.  For this reason, the emphasis on this course is on building the skills and attributes which will prepare you for this challenge, underpinning your practice with a sound appreciation of academic research evidence and an understanding of the forensic psychologist’s role in the investigative and legal processes, and the assessment and treatment of offenders.

Core to this is the module The Practitioner Forensic Psychologist which gives you the opportunity to develop and critically reflect upon your emerging skills. For instance, a role-played interview with a mock offender will be videoed, allowing you and your tutors to assess your communication technique and identify the critical incidents in the interview.

You will learn how to engage in reflective practice which is essential to maintaining professional competence and integrity, and through practical exercises you will begin to examine your own assumptions and biases that could affect your work. You will also explore the ethical, legal, professional and personal dilemmas which can arise in the settings where forensic psychologists work.

This course has a focus on sex offending and you will examine the research evidence on the variety of sexual offenders and offences, and the causes and maintenance of sexual offending. Topics include the prevalence of rape myths, male victims, juvenile offenders, multiple perpetrator sexual offending including leadership, group dynamics and victim resistance, and sexually-motivated murder.  Understanding of these issues then shapes the forensic psychologist’s approach to assessing risk and formulating treatment plans.

The course benefits from contributions from visiting speakers who contribute specialist insights from their work in different forensic settings. Regular guest lecturers include a senior investigator whose international work with child victims of sex offenders focuses on how to achieve best evidence in different cultural and legal contexts; and an international investigator with expertise of interviewing victims of torture.

Assignments are designed to replicate aspects of a professional forensic psychologist’s workload. For instance, you will use assessment evidence to undertake an offence analysis and, from that, identify treatment targets and develop a case formulation for proposed interventions. Some modules are assessed by a portfolio of material based on practical activities undertaken in seminars, or on field visits to courts and prisons.

While some assignments will take a conventional academic format, we also emphasise the importance of acquiring skills of communicating in different registers, including how to convey challenging material to a non-expert audience.

At dissertation stage, students use a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques to explore their professional and academic interests via an independent piece of research. EEG, virtual reality equipment, and biomarker measurement kit are available to those wishing to undertake experimental studies.

Past and current students have presented their Master’s research at international conferences, on topics including: typologies of solo female sex offenders and solo female murderers; strategies of online grooming; the use of EEG to investigate psychopathy; and football fans’ attitudes towards professional footballers convicted of sexual assault.

Study style

Typically, full-time students study two days a week and part-time students study one day a week.


Course modules

Take a look at the course map for a breakdown of modules that you'll study to complete the course.

Entry requirements

  • You will need at least a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent in Psychology
  • You will be required to attend an interview
  • You should be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC) of the BPS
  • A strong academic reference
  • International students need IELTS 6.5 overall (no less than 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other band) or equivalent.
  • Applicants for this course will be invited to attend an interview.


Fees - 2018/19 Academic Year
Home and EU Students
Full-Time Fees
Masters £8400
International Students
Full-Time Fees
Masters £13840

The fee displayed is the total course fee for full-time or part-time study. Please refer to the Tuition Fee and Bursary Policy for payment methods and timescales.


The course equips students with skills and practical competencies for a career in forensic settings such as the police, prison and probation services, secure units, special hospitals, the Home Office, or to advance to further academic study and research.

Associated professional accreditations

British Psychological Society (BPS)


British Psychological Society (BPS Accredited

Accredited by the British Psychological Society, you will cover the core areas demanded of Stage 1 registration.

evidence room

Specialism in issues surrounding sexual offences and sexual offenders

Develop specialist knowledge around the perpetration, investigation and prosecution of sexual offences, as well as the task of the forensic psychologist in assessing and treating offenders.

psychologist talking to client

Access specialist facilities and technology

Make use of our forensic interviewing suite, kit for recording stress biomarkers, as well as cutting edge technology that includes EEG and virtual reality equipment.

Contact us

Find out more about our courses

Call +44 (0)3330 141414

The British Psychological Society - Promoting excellence in psychology