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Forensic Psychology and Crime MSc


This course is only for a January intake.

The Forensic Psychology and Crime MSc provides part-time students with a unique opportunity to study forensic psychology at a distance, whilst also being able to continue in employment.

The course is underpinned throughout by reflection and critical evaluation of theoretical concepts, research evidence and best practice to ensure the development of a sound, effective and reasoned approach in professional forensic psychological practice. The programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as fulfilling the Stage 1 requirements towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and obtaining Full Membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology with the British Psychological Society. Graduates of the programme who go on to successfully complete Stage 2 of the Qualification in Forensic Psychology will be eligible to apply for registration with the UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Forensic Psychologist.


  • A unique opportunity to study the BPS accredited Forensic Psychology and Crime MSc through blended learning;
  • interactive and participative teaching supported through the use of Coventry University’s extensive online learning resources;
  • a range of assessment methods, including essays, practical reports, literature reviews, practice-based reports, oral presentations and examinations;
  • development of important transferable skills for forensic practice, for example in considering ethical dilemmas, reflective practice and writing papers in formats suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals.


You will complete the nine modules listed below. In your first year, you will complete sixty credits studying a range of topics such as theoretical explanations of criminal behaviour, violent crime, and responses to crime, as well as research methods.

The second year includes topics providing an overview of key aspects of forensic practice, risk assessment and risk management. Two modules explore the legal process and the use of psychology in forensic/legal decision making, one of which is taught by Coventry Law School. In the third year, you will complete your dissertation.


The course is delivered by blended learning methods – a mix of online and classroom-based learning – and as such you will only pay for the modules you take each year. Blended learning incorporates the use of a well-established online learning system, an interactive, informed and participative teaching approach and residential schools. 

Indicative course content

Psychological Explanations of Criminal Behaviour (M71PY)

  • What is criminal behaviour?
  • measurement of crime;
  • who commits crime?
  • theories of crime;
  • alternative theories of crime.

Research Methods in Psychology (M72PY)

  • Review of basic research methods and SPSS;
  • experimental (and quasi) designs;
  • psychometric techniques, questionnaire design and scaling;
  • ANOVA, MANOVA, multiple regression, SEM and path analysis;
  • the quantitative–qualitative debate;
  • discourse analysis and grounded theory.

Violent Crime (M73PY)

  • theories of violent crime;
  • domestic violence;
  • homicide;
  • stalking;
  • juvenile offenders.

Criminal and Civil Justice Responses to Crime (M74PY)

  • Theory of criminal and civil justice responses to crime;
  • what works?
  • prison, secure units and therapeutic communities;
  • restorative justice;
  • responses to juveniles and female offenders;
  • victim issues.

Psychology in Forensic Decision Making (M75PY)

  • Eyewitness testimony;
  • children and vulnerable witnesses/suspects;
  • legal decision-making;
  • expert testimony;
  • confessions and identification;
  • offender profiling and case linkage.

Practice and Contemporary Developments in Forensic Psychology (M76PY)

  • Crime reduction strategies;
  • drugs, alcohol and crime;
  • report writing, presentation and other practitioner skills;
  • ethical codes of conduct;
  • professional issues (eg managing stress, using supervision).

Risk Assessment and Offender Programmes (M77PY)

  • Assessment and risk factors;
  • assessment of psychopathy and personality disorders;
  • treatment theory and approaches;
  • programmes for violent and sexual offenders;
  • working with offenders with mental health disorders;
  • effectiveness of treatment programmes.

Introduction to the English Legal System (M49CLS)

  • Introduction to the criminal justice system;
  • introduction to civil justice systems;
  • expert testimony.

Dissertation in Forensic Psychology (M114PY)
Literature Review and Empirical investigation of a forensic psychology topic.

The course has been accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as fulfilling the Stage 1 requirements towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and Full Membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology with the British Psychological Society and a Forensic Psychologist registered with the UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The requirements for Stage 2 training or for HCPC registration can be found on the BPS and the HCPC websites.


Teaching and assessment

A range of assessment methods is used, including essays, practical reports, literature reviews, practice-based reports, oral presentations and examinations, many of which develop important transferable skills for forensic practice.

Research Dissertation (MSc level)

The purpose of the dissertation module is to contribute substantially to the research training aim that is appropriate to a taught Master’s programme. To achieve this aim the student is required to demonstrate an understanding of the philosophy and principles of research and show competence in the design, execution and reporting of an independent empirical research project in forensic psychology. Rather than the more traditional dissertation thesis, the project will be written up as two articles, a literature review and an empirical research report, produced in a standard academic journal format.


The blended learning format of this course means that students guide their own study timetable.  However, it is expected that students will complete around 15 hours of self-study each week. Each module has an engagement component that students have to complete as part of the assessment requirements of the module.  There are also two mandatory residentials each year during Levels 1 and 2 (usually in January and June) and a mandatory dissertation day at Level 3 (January).

Entry Requirements

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

Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. Pre-sessional English is available if required.


To find out more about how to apply, click on the Apply For This Course button above. Many of our courses offer a part-time study option. Note that the part-time mode of study is not applicable to international students, unless you hold a relevant visa – please check with the international office.

Please note: we have a range of taught postgraduate awards to suit your needs, from Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma to a full Master's Degree (MA, MBA, MSc, LLM). In most cases you can decide to exit at Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma level, without carrying onto the full Master's qualification.

How will this course enhance my career prospects?

The Forensic Psychology and Crime MSc provides career opportunities in a variety of forensic settings, such as the prison, probation and police services, local government and other agencies. Expected jobs are varied but may include Assistant Forensic Psychologist, Crime Scene Analyst, Prison Psychologist, Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, Researcher, Police Analyst, Police Officer and Probation Officer. Course alumni have gone on to work in a wide range of settings and roles such as psychological assistants and trainees in a range of settings (including in prisons and mental health settings), probation officers and psychologists within probation, drug support workers, youth offending team staff, police analysts, university lecturers, PhD students, academic researchers and at least one alumnus has set up a new forensic-related company.


Centre for Global Engagement logoTo prepare students for the challenges of the global employment market and to strengthen and develop their broader personal and professional skills Coventry University has developed a unique Global Leaders Programme.

The objectives of the programme, in which postgraduate and eligible undergraduate students can participate, is to provide practical career workshops and enable participants to experience different business cultures.

Click here for further details on the Global Leaders Programme.


Further information

If you click on the Order a Prospectus button above, we will send you a printed Postgraduate Prospectus; alternatively you can download a pdf prospectus.

To find out more information about Postgraduate Study at Coventry University, including finance and funding and the benefits of further study, see our Postgraduate Study pages.

Course code:
  • 3 years

  • Postgraduate Degree (MBA / MSc / MA / MPA)

Course type:
  • Part time
  • Blended - mix of online and classroom base


Contact Details:

International Office

+44 (0) 24 7765 2152