Forensic Psychology (Postgraduate Certificate / Postgraduate Diploma / MSc)

forensic psychology

Study mode



Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

This programme provides the underpinning knowledge and builds the skills and attributes central to Forensic Psychology in preparation for your progress towards becoming a professional forensic practitioner.  You will develop a sound appreciation of academic research evidence that underpins practice, an¬¬d an understanding of the role of the forensic psychologist across a variety of forensic settings-- in investigations, legal processes, the assessment and treatment of offenders and the support of victims. 

You will learn about what it means to engage in reflective practice and develop an understanding of what is required to maintain professional integrity.  Through practical exercises, such as role-played scenarios, you will begin to examine your own assumptions and biases that could affect your work as a professional.  You will also explore the ethical, legal, professional and personal dilemmas that may arise in the settings where forensic psychologists work.  The course also benefits from  guest lecturers who contribute specialist insight from their work in different forensic settings.

One focus of this programme is in investigation, particularly how the practitioner obtains accurate and best information.  We will explore topics including investigative interviews, the detection of deception, optimising protocols and questioning techniques, and the use of technological advances in research.  The effect of these factors in optimising the gathering of information, intelligence and evidence is of importance to both researchers and practitioners as evidence-based science-practitioners.

Another focus is on issues surrounding the commission, detection and prosecution of sexual offences, and the management and treatment of sex offenders. Topics include the prevalence of rape myths, juvenile offenders, multiple perpetrator sexual offending including leadership, victim resistance, and sexually-motivated murder.  Understanding of these issues then shapes the forensic psychologist’s approach to assessing risk and formulating treatment plans.

Assignments are designed to model aspects of a professional forensic psychologist’s caseload. For instance, you may use assessment evidence to undertake an offence analysis and, from that, identify treatment targets and develop a case formulation for proposed interventions.  You will collate portfolios of material based on practical activities undertaken in seminars, or on field visits to courts or prisons.  We also emphasise the importance of acquiring skills to communicate across different registers, including how to convey challenging material to a non-expert audience. 

At dissertation stage, you can use a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques to explore your professional and academic interests via an independent piece of research. EEG, virtual reality equipment, and biomarker measurement tools are available to those wishing to undertake experimental studies, and you can make use of our forensic investigation suite and our crime scene house.

Study style

Learning and teaching strategies are supported by a mixture of lectures and seminars, personal and professional reflection, with the opportunity of field visits . Assessment is by a range of coursework, such as reflective practice reports, case formulations, presentations and portfolios.

Course modules

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

Entry requirements

  • At least a 2.2 honours degree or equivalent in psychology
  • Eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered membership of the BPS
  • Applicants for this course will be invited to attend an interview to assess suitability
  • A strong academic reference
  • EU and international students need IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in each component) or equivalent

You will be expected to undertake some relevant experience before starting the course, for instance in a volunteer capacity or shadowing a professional in a forensic-related setting.  Advice on suitable options can be available on request should you be invited for interview.


Fees - 2019/20 Academic Year
Home and EU Students
Full-Time Fees
Masters £8700
International Students
Full-Time Fees
Masters £14250

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.


he course equips students with the knowledge and skills for a career in forensic settings such as: assistant psychologist posts, national and international police services, crime analysts and fraud investigators, prisons and probation services, youth teams, secure units and special hospitals, and the wider security and investigative services (Dstl, MoD, IPCC,  Home Office).  In addition there is potential to advance to further academic study and research.

Associated professional accreditations

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

Court room

Gathering information

Develop specialist knowledge of investigative processes and procedures which are used to enhance the gathering of information, intelligence and evidence.

psychologist talking to client

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.

evidence room

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. There is also the opportunity to explore scenarios in our Crime Scene House.

The British Psychological Society - Promoting excellence in psychology