Forensic Psychology and Crime MSc | 2017/18

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Forensic Psychology and Crime MSc 2017/18 entry

Course code:


Study options:

3 years part-time


How to Apply

Coventry University


January 2018



Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

+44 (0) 24 7765 2152


Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), this course is designed to help you take the first step towards becoming a practising forensic psychologist. We cover psychological problems associated with legal processes and criminal behaviour within the context of crime and forensic settings.

Studying on a part-time basis and via online learning, you’ll be taught by our highly respected and experienced course team. Members of our staff are qualified themselves and have worked in a variety of forensic settings and members of the course team are also members of the DFP Training Committee and Chartered members of the BPS.

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities


Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Student experience

All the support you need, in a top student city

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is accredited and recognised by the following bodies

British Psychological Society (BPS)

This course is accredited by British Psychological Society (BPS).

If you already possess Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), either from a recognised Psychology degree or conversion course, successful completion of this Master’s fulfils the first of two stages towards becoming a BPS Chartered Psychologist and obtaining full membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP).

Graduates must achieve the necessary 50% pass mark for all modules contributing to the accredited MSc degree (BPS Standards for the Accreditation of the Masters Programme in Forensic Psychology and Crime, October 2017). Graduates who do not meet this requirement will exit with a non-accredited award. To achieve the necessary number of credits for all non-accredited awards, graduates must achieve the necessary 40% pass mark for all modules contributing to the award.

Course information

The course aims to cover the theoretical basis of forensic psychology, the legal process, research methods and application of forensic psychology in forensic settings.

The curriculum is structured to meet the BPS Stage One requirements and, over the three years, you will complete a total of nine modules, including your final year dissertation.

We place a significant emphasis on professional research methods, developing your knowledge and skills in planning, carrying out, analysing and writing about research in applied forensic psychology.



In your first year, you will be introduced to the contribution Psychology has made to our understanding and treatment of criminal behaviour. We will examine a range of psychological theories used to define criminal behaviour, such as social learning theory, and the alternative explanations of crime, like social problem solving. You will learn how to evaluate a broad range of violent behaviour, including murder, domestic violence, serial murder and stalking. To develop your understanding of how these theories are applied in real-life, we’ll look at case studies to help exemplify how theory is applied in practice.

We will examine the traditional approaches to punishment and the effects of imprisonment on offenders and their families, as well as the development of rehabilitation and intervention strategies, like restorative justice, which seek to reduce offending behaviour and support victims of crime.



  • Semester 1

    • Psychological Explanations of Criminal Behaviour 
  • Semester 2

    • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Semester 3

    • Violent Crime
    • Criminal and Civil Justice Responses to Crime


In the second year, you will gain a thorough grounding in the forensic and legal processes within the criminal justice system, such as eyewitness testimony, suspect identification, jury and legal decision making, offender profiling, confessions and detecting deception.

You will have the opportunity to produce a risk assessment report on a mock case to provide a solid grounding in the principles of assessing risk and making recommendations for parole board hearings. This process has included, for example, contemplating whether to release a violent offender from prison and, if so, what risk management strategies needs to be in place to facilitate this.


  • Semester 4

    • Psychology in Forensic Decision Making 
    • The Legal Process


  • Semester 5

    • Practice and Contemporary Developments in Forensic Psychology
  • Semester 6

    • Assessment and Offender Programmes


For your dissertation, you will produce an extensive piece of independent research on a topic of your choice – anything from offender behaviour programme evaluations to understanding the experiences of prison officers to exploring attitudes towards victims of sexual violence.


In more detail...

  • 91% of Psychology students felt staff are enthusiastic about what they teach in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2016.
  • Fulfills the BPS Stage One requirements, towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and obtaining Full Membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology.
  • Outstanding track record for graduate employability – 100% of our Psychology students were in work or continuing their studies within six months of graduation (DLHE 2014/15).
  • Links with a variety of different external organisations, including: police forces/constabularies, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), Her Majesty’s Prison service, privately operated prisons and the National Crime Agency.
  • Staff with extensive professional psychological experience, either as Chartered Members themselves or as active researchers. Their recent projects have ranged from looking at police hostage and crisis negotiation to understanding multiple-perpetrator rape and police responses to domestic violence.
  • Well-equipped library with key Forensic Psychology texts and journals, access to specialist equipment and software, like Biopac and SuperLab, as well as a range of specialist laboratories, including sound-proofed cubicles, a closed-circuit TV observation suite, ‘mock’ prison cells, light and dark multisensory laboratories, all supported by dedicated psychology technicians.

Learn to act in accordance with the legal, ethical and professional standards and regulations of the BPS and the Health and Care Professions Care Council (HCPC).

Your main study themes are: 

  • Research and research methods: We will cover how to conduct qualitative and quantitative research of relevance to forensic psychology, using a range of techniques and research methods to collect and analyse data. 

  • The legal and criminal justice context for forensic psychology: Aims to develop an understanding of the psychological theories and evidential processes used in the justice system, including: the legal framework of the civil and criminal justice systems; processes of investigation; the legal process; the process of detention; working with litigants, appellants, and individuals seeking arbitration and mediation; and interdisciplinary and multi-agency working.

  • Interventions: We examine the range of interventions available to forensic psychologists, identifying strengths, weaknesses and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions.

  • Client groups: We look at the various types of client groups you may work with: the different types of offenders, patients and at risk individuals of all ages and both sexes, including children and young people in conflict with the law, as well as professionals, groups and organisations.

  • Forensic settings: Aims to develop the knowledge and skills to progress to working within a range of settings and contexts relevant to forensic psychology, understanding issues of organisational culture and systems. These include: prisons; secure units; hospitals; mental health; police; courts (including criminal, family and civil); community settings; charities and social enterprise. 

  • Development and training: We'll teach you how to take responsibility for your own professional development, and appreciate the psychological theories and evidence underpinning the development and training of others.

  • Advice and consultancy: Explores forensic psychological theories, principles, procedures and evidence when working with organisations on a consultancy basis to contribute to the development of practice, guidance and policy.

The course is intended to be studied part-time over three years and starts in January. It is delivered via blended learning through a combination of online learning and mandatory taught residential schools, which currently consists of a two-day induction, four-day residential in Years One and Two and one-day induction in Year Three.

Teaching methods include: PPT lecture notes, videos and media clips, discussion based group work and student-led presentations. You will often be provided with recommended reading materials to engage with prior to, and outside of teaching sessions, such as book chapters, journal articles or other web resources.

You may also be offered the opportunity to take part in prison visits to both HMP and privately run (G4S) prisons. These vary each year and are dependent on staffing and prison availability, but have previously included HMP Rye Hill (a privately run sex offender prison) and HMP Grendon (a therapeutic community prison). You may be invited to attend the Division of Forensic Psychology Conference, which takes place on an annual basis and was held in Bristol in 2017. Additional costs may apply.

A range of assessment methods are used – most include essays, but there are also practical reports and multiple choice tests, ethics proposals and papers written in the style of publishable journal articles. Many of the assessments have elements linked to real world tasks. You will receive guidance on how to tackle each assessment during the course.

On the successful completion of 180 level Masters credits, awards may be made with a ‘Distinction’ or ‘Merit’, based on the achievement of an average mark of at least 70% or 60% respectively. Students may be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) if they achieve 120 credits and a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) if they achieve 60 credits. Students may only progress to the final stage of Masters programmes after meeting the requirements for award of a Postgraduate Diploma.

On successful completion, you should have knowledge of:

  • The theoretical principles of psychological, criminological and legal knowledge as applied to forensic settings.
  • Psychological research methods and data analysis techniques.
  • The relevance of theory and research to professional practice.
  • Methods of working with specific client groups encountered in forensic settings.
  • Contemporary developments in forensic psychology, criminology and law.
  • The workings and procedures of the English and Welsh criminal and civil justice systems.

On successfu completion, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of psychological, criminological and legal theory and methods.
  • Critically evaluate research findings in the field of forensic psychology.
  • Synthesise information from a range of sources in order to demonstrate a coherent understanding of the links between theory and practice.
  • Communicate advanced ideas in an accessible way which demonstrates a conceptual understanding of current developments within forensic settings.
  • Design, conduct and evaluate research in an area of forensic psychology.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the need to work professionally in accordance with appropriate ethical codes of conduct.
  • Produce professional reports based on theoretical concepts and knowledge.
  • Evaluate and apply research findings to professional practice.

With the exception of the residential blocks of campus-based study, the nature of this course means that students guide their own study timetable for their online learning.

It is expected that students will complete around 15 hrs of self-study a week for the duration of the course, eg, completing recommended reading that accompanies your lectures/e-lectures, working on assignments.

Coventry University offers a multicultural, international experience attracting students from a wide range of diverse backgrounds and different countries, particularly Malaysia, China, India, Nigeria, Germany, Bulgaria, who provide global insight and experience.

We also collaborate with researchers across the globe, with past projects being conducted in collaboration with Edith Cowan University and Curtin Universities, in Perth, Australia, and Lubbock Christian University, in Texas, USA.

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2014/15, we were able to provide a total of 2,264 student experiences abroad that lasted at least five days, 73% of which were our own organised trips for undergraduates and 27% from postgraduate travel. Plus, we've been able to help more than 5,000 students spend time in other countries, from America to China, India and beyond.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni (HESA)


Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2014/15


and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far


global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold the equivalent of a 2:2 undergraduate degree in Psychology. Consideration will be given to degrees in relevant subjects such as science or social sciences provided relevant psychology modules have been studied.

Applicants should hold the equivalent of a 2:2 undergraduate degree in Psychology. Consideration will be given to degrees in relevant subjects such as science or social sciences provided relevant psychology modules have been studied.

English as a Foreign Language This course requires IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Applicants should hold the equivalent of a 2:2 undergraduate degree in Psychology. Consideration will be given to degrees in relevant subjects such as science or social sciences provided relevant psychology modules have been studied.

English as a Foreign Language This course requires IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.



January 2018

£6,212 (per year)


If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship. Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.



January 2018

£6,212 (per year)


For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!



January 2018

£11,280 (per year)


For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Career prospects

According to the BPS, the largest single employer of forensic psychologists in the UK is the HM Prison Service, but they can also be found employed in rehabilitation units, secure hospitals, the social services, conducting research in university departments and working in private consultancy.

There are two stages to becoming a practising Forensic Psychologist and Chartered Member of the BPS – requiring a combination of professional education and practice.

In the first instance, you need the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), followed by an accredited Masters in Forensic Psychology, such as this course. The second stage requires a minimum of two years of supervised practice and successful completion of Stage 2 of the BPS Qualification in Forensic Psychology before you are eligible to register with the HCPC and use the title of ‘Forensic Psychologist’.

By studying forensic psychology, you will be able to develop knowledge and skills that are relevant across the criminal justice system in a variety of roles, including: crime scene analyst; trainee forensic psychologist; trainee clinical psychologist; behavioural investigative advisor; lecturer in forensic psychology; Home Office, local government or police researcher; police officer; youth offending team worker; or probation officer.

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University’s Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

Where our graduates work

Many of our graduates go on to further related study, including the Stage Two Forensic Psychology training. Recent graduates have found a variety of different roles including: assistant forensic psychologists; crime scene analysts; trainee forensic psychologists; behavioural investigative advisors; lecturers; Home Office, local government or police researchers; youth offending team workers; or probation officers.


By accepting your offer of a place with us, a Student Contract (“the Contract”) will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail all of your rights and also the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will also contain all of the obligations that the University owes to you.  We would encourage you to read the Student Contract before you accept any offer of a place at the University. A copy of the Contract can be found here.