Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc Online
100% online study
2 years part-time (online)
Study level: Postgraduate
This 100% online BPS accredited course provides you with a thorough grounding in the theory, themes, issues and practical skills central to forensic psychology, focussing specifically on forensic mental health.
The course is designed to cover the British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology's (DFP) core curriculum.
- It has a specific emphasis on mental health issues in forensic populations and the role of forensic psychologists working in related settings. It is designed to provide you with a thorough grounding in the theory, themes, issues and practical skills we consider to be central to forensic psychology and forensic mental health settings.
- You will examine the psychological theories and evidential processes used in the justice system.
- You can also explore the range of interventions available to forensic psychologists, working with diverse client groups including the various types of offending, 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.
Global readyAn international outlook, with global opportunities
Teaching excellenceTaught by lecturers who are experts in their field
EmployabilityCareer ready graduates, with the skills to succeed
Why you should study this course
In 2017, the National Audit Office estimated that 10% of the prison population in England was receiving treatment for a mental health problem. Further, that 37% of people in prison had reported mental health problems to HM Inspector of Prisons. In this course, you will have the opportunity to study the types of mental health disorders commonly found in prisons, and be taught how to assess and work with individuals in forensic settings, including understanding appropriate treatment programmes and the psychological challenges that can be faced by staff working in the prison service.
- Our current staff have many years of combined, varied professional psychological experience, either as British Psychological Society Chartered/Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Members themselves, and/or as active researchers (staff may be subject to change).
- This 100% online part-time course delivered over two years is a flexible option for those with work and/or family commitments. As the course is delivered solely online and assessment deadlines made available at the start of the course, you have more flexibility and control around your study timetable. Many of our online students work or have other commitments they need to juggle. For others, online delivery better suits their preferred ways of learning in terms of pace, ability to go back to learning resources, and flexibility.
- You will have the opportunity to gain a CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice, upon successful completion of the relevant module.
- This course can be studied online only, on a part-time basis over two years, starting in January. We recommend this option for anyone who has significant responsibilities outside of university life, because although the content is the same, the delivery is at half the intensity. If you would prefer to study at a faster pace, the course can also be studied full-time on campus over one year – Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc (campus-based).There is also an option to study Forensic Psychology MSc, if you don’t want to specialise in Mental Health at this stage. Please read the linked pages for information on each option, to ensure you choose the best option for you.
- Five core mandatory modules will be delivered alongside students on the aligned MSc courses - Forensic Psychology MSc and Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc. Additionally, three mandatory pathway modules will then be delivered separately from students on the Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc to specialise the content and differentiate them from the Forensic Psychology MSc course. It is therefore important to read all course webpages related to the two pathways and compare the specific topic areas covered, to ensure you apply for the most appropriate course for you.
Accreditation & Professional Recognition
This course is accredited1 and recognised by the following bodies:
British Psychological Society
This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for the 2022/2023 intake. As such, the course fulfils Stage 1 requirements towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist (for students who also have the required Graduate Basis for Chartership). This means students also need to have an accredited undergraduate psychology degree to go on to be eligible for Chartership, or have completed an accredited conversion course prior to commencement of the MSc. For full details please visit the BPS website.
To be awarded an accredited degree, graduates must achieve a minimum of 50% pass mark on first attempt for all modules contributing to the accredited MSc degree (British Psychological Society Standards for the Accreditation of the Masters Programme in Forensic Psychology). Any subsequent attempts are capped at 40%. 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 a minimum of 40% pass mark for all modules contributing to the award.
Chartered Management Institute (CMI)
As part of this course, you will undertake a professional development module which is currently accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) for the 2022-23 intake1. Upon successful completion of this module, you will gain the CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice at no additional cost. Further details can be found under the modules and on the Professional Development module web page.
Coventry University’s accreditation with CMI is currently ongoing for the relevant modules and is regularly reviewed and monitored by the CMI through their quality systems.
What you'll study
Pathway mandatory modules:
These modules are specialised and studied solely by students enrolled on the Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc, which differentiates this course from the Forensic Psychology MSc campus-based and online.
Mental Health Disorders in Client Groups (20 credits)
You will have the opportunity to study the contribution psychology has made to our understanding of mental health disorders in forensic client groups (e.g. different types of offending, patients and at risk individuals, victims/survivors, individuals across the life span).
Core mandatory modules:
These modules are studied by all of the Forensic Psychology and Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc courses.
Ethical Research and Methods in Forensic Psychology - 40 credits
This module aims to provide direct practical experience of how to design, conduct and report quantitative and qualitative research in forensic psychology. The module is intended to provide you with an interconnected understanding of research methods and designing projects, with the aim of enabling you to progress the conceptual understanding necessary to develop research proposals. The module is also designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge required to summarise, analyse and present research findings relevant to the subject area.
Risk Assessment and Management in Forensic Settings - 20 credits
This module is designed to provide you with a thorough grounding in the underpinning theory and methods of risk assessment and risk management utilised within forensic settings.
Global Professional Development – Leading and Creating Organisational Health and Wellbeing (CMI module) - 10 credits
You will have the opportunity to learn how to critically evaluate and develop solutions to complex, inter-related and multi-faceted issues that can be found in a variety of organisations and professional contexts. Please see Accreditation and Professional Recognition section.
Pathway mandatory modules:
Forensic Clinical Assessment and Case Formulation - 20 credits
This module will cover the contribution psychology has made to our understanding of criminal behaviour, with psychological theories examined and evaluated in an attempt to understand how these are situated in the real-world context and applied and used in forensic case formulations.
Professional Practice in Forensic Mental Health - 20 credits
The aim of this module is to consider professional and practice issues in forensic mental health and how they impact on the work carried out by forensic psychologists across different client groups with mental health issues.
Core mandatory modules:
The Legal Process - 10 credits
This module seeks to provide you with a general awareness and understanding of comparative law and the legal systems (e.g. inquisitorial vs adversarial systems). This module is aimed at enabling you to appreciate the nature and functions of the criminal and civil justice systems, as well as the distinctions between them.
Dissertation in Forensic Psychology - 40 credits
The aim of the dissertation is to give you the opportunity to engage in supervised but independently undertaken empirical research (following successful ethical approval through the university’s ethics process) at an advanced level. You will be encouraged to integrate and practise the skills that you should have acquired during the course and to investigate, at master’s level, an area of specific interest to you.
We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.
How you'll learn
All teaching and learning materials are provided online, over a two-year period. This version of the course provides flexibility and part-time continuing professional development. Our current staff have experience in delivering high quality online provision and understand how online learning is substantially different when compared with face-to-face courses. (Staff may be subject to change)
Our online teaching and learning is designed to encourage your participation and deepen your understanding of specific subjects, for example, by debating and discussing topics, such as the effectiveness of prison in reducing reoffending behaviour and the ethics associated with risk assessment. Alongside this curriculum, your course will also provide you with an opportunity to develop what we consider to be a range of globally relevant practice-based transferable skills including effective communication and dissemination, criticality, reflection, synthesis, and evaluation of ethical issues.
Teaching contact hours
Online content and library access is provided, and there is the opportunity to be part of a learning community in order to discuss topics online with course tutors, as well as access resources, including online journals and eBooks, through the library. Students are encouraged to engage with each other in online forums and share formative learning opportunities together to enhance the experience.
In addition, you will be allocated a dissertation supervisor, who will be your first point of contact in the course team. You will be allocated 10 hours of dissertation supervision over the two years, to help you navigate your independent research project.
As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.
During the course you will study a range of mandatory modules that carry between 10 and 40 credits each, and then complete a 40-credit dissertation. You will be assessed using approaches such as case studies, risk assessment report, video log, reflective practice, literature review, and empirical reports. Some of the assessments have elements linked to real world tasks. We aim to provide guidance on how to tackle each assessment during the course.
For an MSc award, you are required to complete 180 credits, including the 40-credit dissertation, i.e. you must pass all modules on the Forensic Psychology and Mental Health Online MSc to achieve this qualification. To be awarded an accredited degree, graduates must achieve a minimum of 50% pass mark on first attempt for all modules contributing to the accredited MSc degree (British Psychological Society Standards for the Accreditation of the Masters Programme in Forensic Psychology). Any subsequent attempts are capped at 40%. 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 a minimum of 40% pass mark for all modules contributing to the award.
The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.
Applicants should hold the equivalent of a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree in Psychology. Consideration will be given to applicants who hold the equivalent of a minimum of 2:2 undergraduate degrees in Science or Social Sciences where a minimum of 50% of undergraduate study is in Psychology with evidence of studying a curriculum including research methods. Such non-standard applications will be subject to approval by the Course Director.
We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.
Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:
You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.
Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.
Applicants should hold the equivalent of a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree in Psychology. Consideration will be given to applicants who hold the equivalent of a minimum of 2:2 undergraduate degrees in Science or Social Sciences where a minimum of 50% of undergraduate study is in Psychology with evidence of studying curriculum including research methods. Such non-standard applications will be subject to approval by the Course Director.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 overall (with at least 5.5 in each component area)
If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.
Fees and funding
2022/23 Tuition fees
|Student||Full time||Part time|
|UK||£10,600 Part time total fee||Not available|
|International||£16,950 Part time total fee||Not available|
For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.
We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.
Careers and opportunities
This course aims to set you on the path to obtaining the relevant skills required to become a Chartered Psychologist. Developed with a focus on your future employability, the highly practical nature of the course is intended to help you develop many of the core skills we consider to be necessary for effective practice.
On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
- Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and critical understanding of how psychology can be applied to a range of criminal justice, legal, and forensic settings and client groups (including forensic mental health settings)
- Demonstrate competence in applying psychological knowledge and skills (e.g., critical evaluation) to practice-based scenarios in forensic psychology in mental health settings
- Demonstrate reflective and critical understanding of themselves as future practitioners in forensic mental health settings
- Demonstrate and consolidate a range of transferable and professional skills that are applicable to a range of forensic practice settings with a particular focus in forensic mental health
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of psychological research paradigms, research methods, ethical procedures, data analyses, psychological literature evidence and theory
- Critically evaluate the principles for leading and developing people and a culture of organisational health and wellbeing.
According to the British Psychological Society, the largest single employer of forensic psychologists in the UK is the HM Prison Service. Psychologists can also be employed in rehabilitation units, secure hospitals, social services, university research and 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 master’s 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’.
You may also be interested in other relevant roles across the criminal justice system such as 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.
Where our graduates work
Some of our previous Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc graduates have gone on to further study, or into Stage 2 of the BPS Qualification in Forensic Psychology. Others have gone on to work for HMPPS (Prison and Probation Service), including a range of prison settings such as those dedicated to the rehabilitation of sexual offenders.
How to apply
Full-time and part-time students applying to start in September should apply directly to the university. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.
For further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.
Full-time international students applying to start in September should apply directly to the university. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.How to apply
For further support for international applicants applying for postgraduate degree view our International hub.
You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.
Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.
The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.
2UK and international opportunities
Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.
For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.
Facilities are subject to availability. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.
By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2022/23 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.