Forensic Psychology MSc

 

Course Code

HLST190

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

 

Study mode

Full-time

Duration

1 year full-time

Start date

September 2023

The information on this page is for 2022-23 entry and should be used as guidance for 2023-24 entry. Please keep checking back on this course page to see our latest updates.


Course overview

Study level: Postgraduate

Accredited1 by the British Psychological Society (BPS), this 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 course is accredited1 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 is delivered on campus full-time over one year, starting in September. It can also be studied online on a part-time basis over two years, starting in January – Forensic Psychology MSc (online). We recommend the part-time 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. There is also a sister course, the Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc which is available campus-based or online, if you’d prefer to specialise further 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 these aligned MSc courses. Additionally, three mandatory pathway modules will then be delivered separately for students on the Forensic Psychology MSc to specialise the content and differentiate them from the Forensic Psychology and Mental Health 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:

British Psychological Society

British Psychological Society (BPS) - Accredited Forensic Psychology

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for the 2022/2023 intake1. 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)

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 the module, you will gain the CMI  Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice  at no additional cost.

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.


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.
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What you'll study

The content and assessment strategy are the same on the full-time campus-based and part-time online versions of the course. However, on this full-time version, all eight Modules are studied in one year, rather than four per year on the part-time online version. Five Core Modules are shared with the MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health. 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, and the number of modules studied at one time, to pick the most appropriate course to apply for.

Modules

  • These modules are specialised and studied solely by students enrolled on the Forensic Psychology MSc courses only. 

    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).

    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. 

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

On this full-time, campus-based version of the course, teaching and learning follows the traditional campus-based model of delivery, including face to face lectures and the expectation of full attendance during term-time.

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

If you would prefer an online style of delivery, please look at the page for the Forensic Psychology MSc (online) course for more details.  


Teaching contact hours

Campus-based learning consists of ‘face-to-face’ teaching time and other campus-based activity that will normally take place two days per week over one year. This is usually up to six hours of classroom time a week, depending on the Semester you are in. In addition, you will have 10 hours of one-to-one supervision across the year, to support you with your empirical project and guide your studies. You will have access to recorded content, have directed reading and be required to engage in independent study. You will be studying for 60 credits per Semester.

Please note that each module credit requires 10 hours of study, thus a 20-credit module requires 200 hours of study. This includes campus-based teaching and independent study. Self-directed study includes completing the recommended reading that accompanies your lectures and working on coursework assignments. This is a full-time course that requires full engagement for success. We recommend anyone with significant commitments outside the university to consider studying the part-time equivalent.

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 Accreditation and Professional Recognition section.

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.  


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. 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.

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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. Such non-standard applications will be subject to approval by the Course Director.

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.

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

2023/24 Tuition fees

Student Full time Part time
UK £11,200 per year Not available
International £18,600 per year 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

Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities4

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The Library

The Lanchester Library is open 24/7, 364 days a year and has 1,400 study spaces, including group and silent areas. It also currently offers more than 550 computers and an additional 120 free-to-loan laptops.

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Jaguar Centre

Our refurbished Jaguar Centre has been specifically designed to provide facilities and services to support our postgraduate students including: social spaces, computer suites and separate areas for small group study.

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TheHub

TheHub is the centre of student campus life. It's also home to: The Health and Wellbeing Centre, The Spirituality and Faith Centre, The Tank Studio, The Careers and Add+vantage Office and the Enterprise Hub.


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 2023/24 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.