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  Forensic Psychology MSc

University of Portsmouth    Department of Psychology

Full time & Part time September MSc 1 year full time, 2 years part time

About the course


If you want to apply what you learned through your undergraduate psychology studies to the field of offender behaviour, then this Master's in Forensic Psychology will give you the knowledge and skills to work in the criminal justice system, or train to become a qualified forensic psychologist.

The course brings together the disciplines of clinical, social and cognitive psychology, with criminology and law. You'll address the major issues concerning the justice system in relation to individuals, organisations and society, and when you successfully complete your studies, you'll be able to apply your knowledge in a range of contexts from criminal investigations, to welfare, wellbeing and rehabilitation.

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Entry Requirements

A 2:1 honours degree in Psychology or a Pass in an MSc Psychology conversion course.
In either case, the course must be recognised by the British Psychology Society as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

Consideration will also be given to applicants with a 2:2 degree where the applicant can demonstrate, through their account of their relevant education and experience in their personal statement, commitment to and awareness of diversity and inclusion (eg. caring responsibilities, disability, exclusion/unconscious bias).

Applicants are expected to have some relevant experience at the time of application.

 Course Content

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Student Profile(s)

Sarah Farman

Sarah Farman, studied part time for the MSc in Forensic Psychology. She is now an Assistant Psychologist in a Medium Secure Unit for patients sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
There were 250 applicants for the assistant post, the most the NHS has ever had for any position. I believe that the Masters degree and my research experience were the strengths that set me apart and got me an interview.
My job involves assisting the Chartered Clinical and Forensic Psychologists in the assessment, treatment and management of patients. Under supervision I carry out psychometric assessments (e.g. personality, skills, offence specific), individual treatment, co-facilitate groups in areas such as anxiety management and assertiveness and I contribute to service evaluation. The aim is to assist patients to understand and live with their mental disorder and to help them address their long-standing problems and offending behaviour to reduce the risk of re-offending. The work is varied, challenging and very rewarding.
I've always been fascinated by people Ð the way people think, feel and behave. In the first year of my undergraduate psychology degree, I saw a television programme about female prisoners who self-harmed which had a profound affect on me and provoked my interest in both clinical and forensic psychology.
When I began my forensic Masters, I was working as a research associate for the Department of Psychology evaluating the effect of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy on female prisoners diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Most of them had a history of self-harm and a risk of serious re-offending. The treatment is a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy with influences from Zen Buddhism. The course fitted well with the research I was doing and reflects my current clinical work.
The Psychology Department at Portsmouth has a great reputation and the Forensic Masters is considered to be one of the top courses in the country. My time at the University has been invaluable, both because of what I've learnt academically and the interpersonal skills I have developed.
In the future I'd like to train as a Clinical Psychologist, working with people who have personality disorders. Until recently these patients were considered untreatable so it will be a new challenge for psychology.

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