MSc Forensic Psychology (BPS accredited)

Can you determine whether a violent offender will reoffend? How reliable is a child’s witness testimony? How do you conduct a HCR-20 risk assessment?

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Overview

Examine the role of psychologists in legal settings, advances in the psychological understanding of criminal behaviour, and offender assessment and rehabilitation.

Our masters course is specifically designed to meet the criteria of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Forensic Psychology Training Committee. It’s accredited as the first stage towards gaining Chartered Psychologist status with the BPS.

You’ll explore topics such as investigating and prosecuting crime, rehabilitation, and other current issues within forensic psychology.

In practical sessions, you might work on case formulations, complete violence risk assessments and undertake behavioural investigative advice reports.

As well as lectures, seminars and workshops, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers to help you learn about what it’s like to work in the field. Past speakers include alumni talking about their careers, members of the local police force, and psychologists working in prisons.

Our course lecturers have forensic research and practice experience, and draw on their experience to bring relevant examples to lectures. Some members of staff continue to work in forensic practice alongside their teaching here at Manchester Met.

Features and Benefits

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

Career Prospects

To practise as a forensic psychologist in the UK, you’ll need to complete further training and register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

After this course, many students begin Stage 2 of the Qualification in Forensic Psychology and work towards Chartered Psychologist status with the BPS and Registration with the HCPC.

As a Chartered Psychologist, you might work in a range of criminal justice settings such as prisons, probation, voluntary sector services or the police.

Some of our previous graduates work as forensic psychologists in prisons and secure units.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to have a good honours degree, minimum 2:2 classification honours degree (or international equivalent). You also need to fulfil the British Psychological Society’s criteria for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership. You will also hold a GCSE or equivalent in English language. Prior learning and experience may count for advanced standing.

International students please visit mmu.ac.uk/international

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Course details

To give you a thorough understanding of forensic psychology, you’ll study core curriculum content from the British Psychological Society (BPS). This includes investigating crime and courtroom processes, offender assessment and rehabilitation, and topical issues within forensic psychology.

Some of the areas you’ll typically explore include the role of psychologists in the criminal and civil courts, offender assessment, and Investigative Psychology (IP). You’ll consider interviewing and eyewitness testimony, the role of individual subjectivity, and psychological measurement.

You’ll also learn practical skills in how to conduct risk assessments, such as the completion of HCR-20 (an assessment tool that helps you to evaluate a person’s likelihood of violence.)

Alongside building your academic knowledge of forensic psychology, we’ll help you to develop skills in communication (including presenting), report writing, and analytical thinking. These are transferrable skills that you’ll be able to use across your career.

Some of our areas of expertise in forensic psychology include juror decision making, expert witness evidence, eyewitness and alibi evidence, and homicide and police decision-making.

When you have GBC and successfully complete this course, you’ll fulfil stage one of the requirements towards Chartered Membership of the BPS and full membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology.

The MSc Forensic Psychology course is only open to applicants who possess the BPS Graduate Basis for Registration/Chartering or its equivalent as recognised by the BPS Admissions Committee. 

Core units

  • Psychological Measurement
  • Introduction to Investigative Psychology
  • Offender Assessment and Treatment
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Psychology and Law
  • Qualitative Methods in Psychology
  • Quantitative Methods in Psychology
  • Theory and Practice in Forensic Psychology
  • Dissertation

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Introduction to Investigative Psychology

This unit provides an introduction to the theoretical frameworks, research methodologies and professional applications of Investigative Psychology (IP). Students will acquire an understanding of the emergence of IP from offender profiling activities in the early 1990s and the importance of the empirical research carried out over the last 20 years to advance psychological understanding of criminal behaviour and police investigative processes.

Personal and Professional Development

This unit supports personal and professional development through your identification and monitoring of learning objectives and personal goals within a critical and supportive academic community. The unit promotes ongoing reflection, completion of personal development records, planning and participating. 

Psychology and Law

The overall aim of this unit is to introduce how psychology is applied in legal settings. Topics covered include: psychologists as expert witnesses, the role of psychologists in the criminal and civil courts, the role of psychologists in mental health law and  psychological assessment in legal settings. Students are encouraged to integrate theory with the development of practical skills to enhance their understanding of the topic and their professional development.

Qualitative Methods in Psychology

The overall aim of this unit is to provide a background to qualitative research concerned with social action and the role of individual subjectivity. The rationale for qualitative research approaches differentiated from the quantitative tradition is elaborated with reference to specific methodological frameworks. The unit covers a wide range of qualitative methods, with a focus on how to apply these in practice. Approaches to qualitative analysis are also covered, and students receive practical experience of data collection and analysis in teaching sessions, as well as training on being reflexive in research.

Quantitative Methods in Psychology
The unit introduces advanced techniques for quantitative data analysis and provides you with the opportunity to apply these to datasets in a workshop format. It is related to the themes of applied practice and applied psychology.
Dissertation

The overall aim of this unit is to develop your independent research skills. It is related to the themes of applied psychology, social and personal change and applied practice. The research may be desktop, laboratory based or field based; may be experimental or non-experimental; qualitative or quantitative and or collaborative with external agencies (if necessary).  Reports of the work can take one of two forms: a standard thesis (incorporating references to literature, ethical issues) or a journal article (prepared to specification)

Theory and Practice in Forensic Psychology

This unit presents theory alongside practice and encourages students to develop an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of forensic psychology, and how this translates into practice. Viewing theory and practice as complementary components in forensic psychology, this unit forms part of core learning and provides key foundations for skill and knowledge development.

Offender Assessment and Treatment

Within this unit students will develop a critical overview of specialist applications of forensic psychology in relation to diverse groups of offenders, in terms of assessment, formulation, management, and treatment. The unit will provide students with an understanding of a variety of assessment and treatment approaches used within public and private sector settings, specifically applied to an offending population.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study
Assessment

Department of Psychology

Our Department of Psychology is a large, diverse team of accredited psychologists, which includes practicing researchers, counsellors, and forensic and community psychologists.

The department aims to bring a real, relevant and modern perspective to teaching, with a view to using its wealth of knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to inspire the next generation of psychologists.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff

Fees

UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £8,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £945 per 20 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £15,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £1723 per 20 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,280 for many Postgraduate Courses

Find out more

Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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Want to know more?

How to apply

Download our course application form. There are instructions on what to do next and who to send the form to in the Word document.

Please provide a personal statement (typically around 750 words) where you will set out your interest in the programme and your reasons for applying. Your statement may draw upon your previous experience of relevance to the programme, and may include voluntary, employment, academic or personal experience. Where possible please relate this information to the programme for which you are applying. 

MANCHESTER IS YOUR CITY. BE PART OF IT.

Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at officeforstudents.org.uk.

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.

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