Forensic Psychology MSc (online)

 

Course Code

HLST252

Location

100% online study

 

Study mode

Part-time

Duration

2 years part-time

Start date

January 2023


Course overview

Study level: Postgraduate

Accredited1 by the British Psychological Society (BPS), this 100% online course 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.

The course has been designed to cover the British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology's (DFP) core curriculum, which includes foundational topics such as the theoretical basis of forensic psychology across a range of settings and risk assessments associated with forensic psychology.

  • This course is designed for people who are embarking on, or who wish to continue in, a career associated with forensic psychology in a range of forensic settings without specialising at this point, or for those who wish to undertake a postgraduate programme before determining their future career trajectory in forensic psychology.
  • You will have an opportunity to study a range of topics associated with forensic psychology, including offending behaviour and the criminal justice system. You will also explore the theories, research and practice related to intervention with diverse client groups, with a specific focus on violence and sexual offending.
  • Throughout the course you will investigate what makes people think, feel and act in ways that lead to crime, and how our criminal justice system can respond to this. This course also offers coverage of legal approaches that we consider to be relevant to psychology.
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Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Employability

Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

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.

The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) providing Stage 1 requirements towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist (see accreditation section for full details).

Our current staff for this course 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. Please note staff may be subject to change.

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 MSc (campus-based). 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.

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.

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is accredited1 and recognised by the following bodies:

BPS logo

British Psychological Society (BPS) - Accredited Forensic Psychology

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). 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.


CMI logo

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 intake. 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 webpage.

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.


More than just a degree

Each module that I have been on so far has expanded the knowledge I gained as an undergraduate. With each module, you will learn new concepts and strategies that apply to the forensic populations (mental health and prison) within England and Wales.

Benjamin Thompson, Forensic Psychology MSc student, quoted in 2021
Students in the mock prison cell, one with a clipboard

What you'll study

The modules are studied online only, on a part-time basis over two years, starting in January. The content and assessment strategy are the same as the full-time campus-based course. However, four modules are studied in each year, rather than all eight in one. Five core modules are shared with the MSc Forensic Psychology (campus-based and online) and MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health (campus-based and online). However, there are three pathway modules which differentiate the courses. It is important to read all four course webpages and compare the specific topic areas covered, and the number of modules studied at one time, to pick the most appropriate course to apply for.

Modules

  • This module is specialised and studied solely by students enrolled on the MSc Forensic Psychology. This differentiates it from the MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health course, which has its own pathway module.

    Offending Behaviour and the Criminal Justice System (20 credits)
    This module aims to develop your understanding of the knowledge and contribution psychology has made to the understanding of criminal behaviour. A range of psychological theories will be examined, evaluated, and applied to processes within the criminal justice system from investigative settings (e.g., eyewitness testimony) to legal procedures (e.g. jury and legal decision making).

    Compulsory

  • These modules are mandatory for the Forensic Psychology MSc and Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc courses.

    Ethical Research and Methods in Forensic Psychology (40 credits)
    This module aims to provide you with direct practical experience of how to design, conduct and report quantitative and qualitative research in forensic psychology. The module is intended to provide 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 the Accreditation and Professional Recognition section.

    Compulsory

Modules

  • These modules are studied solely by students enrolled on the MSc Forensic Psychology. They differentiate this course from the MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health course, which has its own pathway modules.

    Intervention Across Different Client Groups (20 credits)
    The aim of this module is to provide you with an opportunity to develop an understanding of the theories, research and practice related to interventions with diverse client groups, with a specific focus on violence and sexual offending.

    Professional Practice in Forensic Psychology (20 credits)
    The aim of this module is to engage you in considering professional and practice issues (e.g., ethical legal) in forensic psychology, which impact on the work carried out by forensic psychologists in the diverse settings in which they work.

    Compulsory

  • These modules are mandatory for the Forensic Psychology MSc and Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc courses.

    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 Coventry University ethics process) at an advanced level. You will be encouraged to integrate and practice the skills that you should have acquired during the course and to investigate, at master’s level, an area of specific interest to you.

    Compulsory

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, potentially (but not limited to) practitioners who are already working in forensic psychology settings. 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).

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.

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 role of family factors in offending 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

This course has been designed specifically to allow you to study when it is convenient for you. You can access materials any time of the day or night, seven days a week. The course material is presented online and contains interactive activities. You will be allocated a named staff member who will be your main point of contact (staff may be subject to change). You can also interact with students and staff through forum and peer-feedback activities. You will be studying for between 20 and 40 credits per semester, depending on the stage of the course.

Please note that each module credit requires 10 hours of study, thus a 20-credit module requires 200 hours of study including engaging with online materials and independent study. Self-directed study includes online engagement with the learning materials, recommended reading that accompanies your learning, and working on coursework assignments. There is no requirement for students studying this course to attend campus. This is a part-time course that runs over a period of two years. We recommend this option for anyone with significant commitments outside the university.

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.


Assessment

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 MSc to achieve this qualification. As the course is accredited graduates must achieve a minimum of 50% pass mark on first attempt for all modules contributing to the accredited MSc degree (BPS Standards for the Accreditation of Masters and Doctoral Programmes in Forensic Psychology). 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. Please see the Accreditation and Professional Recognition section.


Entry requirements

You 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.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (APEL) scheme provides the opportunity for applicants to make claims for both certificated and experiential (non-certificate) learning, in accordance with the University Regulations (Section 4: Regulations for the Admission of Students). The learning claim submitted by the applicant may be against credit or exemption. The claims made will be against the fulfilment of the learning outcomes associated with specific modules of study.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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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.

Specific requirements

You 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.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (APEL) scheme provides the opportunity for applicants to make claims for both certificated and experiential (non-certificate) learning, in accordance with the University Regulations (Section 4: Regulations for the Admission of Students). The learning claim submitted by the applicant may be against credit or exemption. The claims made will be against the fulfilment of the learning outcomes associated with specific modules of study.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. 

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.

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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.


Facilities

This is an online learning course, allowing you the flexibility to integrate your studies with work and personal commitments. Our platform provider is currently Aula, an online learning platform accessible from your phone, desktop or tablet. The design is based on existing social media platforms, so it feels familiar and easy to use.


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.
  • Demonstrate competence in applying psychological knowledge and skills (e.g., critical evaluation) to practice-based scenarios in forensic psychology.
  • Demonstrate reflective and critical understanding of themselves as future practitioners.
  • Demonstrate and consolidate a range of transferable and professional skills that are applicable to a range of forensic practice settings.
  • 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 MSc graduates have gone on to further study, or into Stage 2 of the BPS Qualification in Forensic Psychology.


How to apply


  • 1Accreditations

    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.

    3Tuition fees

    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.

    4Facilities

    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.

    Student Contract

    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.