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Course content

The Masters postgraduate degree in Forensic Psychology is the only BPS accredited programme in Wales, offering a unique opportunity for students to study Forensic Psychology in the Principality. Working collaboratively with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Services (HMMPS) and secure forensic mental health facility providers in Wales helps keep the programme up to date with strategy development and policy decisions. Regular contributions from Practitioner Forensic Psychologists working in Wales enables students to understand more about regional services and their impact on society locally. In addition, the programme benefits from the input of several national and international contributors who share their extensive specialist knowledge and experience within the field of Forensic Psychology.​

​Course Content​​

Forensic Psychology is the practice and application of psychological research relevant to crime, policing, the courts, the criminal and civil justice system, offenders, prison, secure settings, offender management, health and academic settings as well as private practice.

It looks at the role of environmental, psychosocial, and socio-cultural factors that may contribute to crime or its prevention. The primary aim of Forensic Psychology as an academic discipline is to develop understanding of the processes underlying criminal behaviour and for this improved understanding to impact on the effective management and rehabilitation of different groups of offenders in all settings within the criminal justice system.

The first aim of the programme is to provide students with a thorough and critical academic grounding in the evidence relating to environmental, cultural, cognitive and biological factors that may contribute to a wide variety of forms of offending. The programme will encourage students to consider the role and limitations of causal explanations for offending in the development of offender treatments, services and policy.

The second aim of the programme is to introduce students to the basic professional competencies for working in the many settings where forensic psychology is practiced, including skills related to inter-disciplinary working, risk assessment, ethics, continuing professional development, report writing and differences in practice when working with offenders, victims, the courts and the police.

The programme aims to produce Masters degree graduates with the ability to understand the limitations of the conceptual underpinnings of interventions and assessments used in forensic psychology and who are able therefore to engage in critical evaluation of the evidence base upon which their own practice will eventually be based. The programme will specifically avoid providing any formal supervised practice. Its aim is to produce reflective scientist-practitioners who will be ready to engage with the next stage of training (i.e. BPS Stage 2 or HCPC route) towards registration as a Forensic Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Learning & Teaching​

Teaching on the MSc Forensic Psychology Programme is predominantly conducted in small groups and adopts an interactive approach. The Research Methods and Design module and the Dissertation workshops are the only part of the programme which is taught in a larger group of around 40 to 50 students as opposed to between 10 and 20 students on the core modules. As a result teaching involves a range of discussions, activities, evaluations of papers, case studies and role play exercises. The focus within the programme is on both content and key skills to develop specialists in the field of forensic psychology with flexible generic skills. These experiences also help to foster student development and confidence as independent life-long learners.

Student learning is promoted through a variety of learning and teaching methods. These include: lectures, workshops, online learning through the virtual learning environment, Moodle, as well as self directed learning. Each student will have an allocated personal tutor to support them through their period of study.

The University requires students to attend at least 80% of the taught sessions for the programme. 

Assessment

The MSc is assessed by a range of different coursework assignments – e.g. presentations, reports, essays, reflective reports, academic posters, research proposal. There are no examinations. 

From September 2019, all students will need to achieve a minimum of a 50% pass mark for each module. 

Employability & Careers​

A British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited MSc in Forensic Psychology is the first step (stage one) in gaining Chartered Psychologist status with the BPS and Registered Practitioner status with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). The MSc in Forensic Psychology will provide the knowledge base and applied research skills that will provide the foundation for engagement with the next stage of training (i.e. BPS Stage 2 or HCPC route) towards registration as a Forensic Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council. From September 2019, students who do not achieve a pass mark of at least 50% in each module will not be awarded an accredited degree but an alternative award.


Visit the Forensic Psychology - MSc/PgD/PgC page on the Cardiff Metropolitan University website for more details!

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