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Forensic Psychology (MSc)

Course Description

The programme is jointly delivered by the School of Law and the Department of Psychology and is designed for full and part-time study.

The contributions to the programme from academics in Psychology, Criminology and Law reflect the multidisciplinary context of applied forensic psychology and will develop your skills in integrating multidisciplinary concepts and communicating to multidisciplinary colleagues. The strong links with external practitioners in the field of forensic psychology give the programme a distinctive emphasis on detention and prisons, the assessment and treatment of the mentally disordered offender and young people in the Criminal Justice System.

The programme is accreditated by The British Psychological Society, so accounts for Stage 1 of the Qualification in Forensic Psychology

Embedded within the programme are a series of optional work experience opportunities that staff members promote among the cohort. Although these opportunities will not attract course credits or extend the period of student registration, staff endeavour to generate a range of relevant opportunities and work with colleagues in the careers service to ensure that necessary paperwork and insurance are in place.

See the website https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/criminologyandsociology/coursefinder/mscforensicpsychology.aspx

Why choose this course?

- The contributions to the programme from academics in Psychology, Criminology and Law reflect the multidisciplinary context of applied forensic psychology and will develop your skills in integrating multidisciplinary concepts and communicating to multidisciplinary colleagues.

- The strong links with external practitioners in the field of forensic psychology give the programme a distinctive emphasis on detention and prisons, the assessment and treatment of mentally disordered offenders and young people in the Criminal Justice System.

- The assignments that we use are not only exams and traditional academic essays but also include professional reports, oral presentations and written reflections which enable you to build important skills that are critical for your future career as a forensic psychologist.

- The programme is accredited by the MSc British Psychological Society, so accounts for Stage 1 of the Qualification in Forensic Psychology.

- We deliberately limit student numbers to ensure high standards and to enable us to develop a good relationship with each of our students.

Department research and industry highlights

The programme is delivered by a team of leading academics with expertise in their fields. The core teaching staff is made up of:

- Dr Emily Glorney is a Registered Forensic Psychologist with over 15 years of experience working in forensic practice and conducting research across secure hospitals and prisons. Emily is currently working on collaborative research projects with Broadmoor Hospital, exploring the meaning of religion and sprituality in the recovery pathways of patients and developing a quantitative observation system for the alerting of aggressive and violent behaviour.

- Professor Rosie Meek is a Chartered Psychologist and prison researcher, conducting qualitative and quantitative research throughout the UK and internationally. She works closely with a range of Criminal Justice agencies, including prisons and Immigration Removal Centres, a broad range of third sector organisations that work directly with offenders, and the Ministry of Justice. Her specialisms include prison healthcare and education, the role of the voluntary sector in reducing reoffending and promoting desistance, and the evaluation of prison-based interventions and programmes. Dr Meek’s most recent book ‘Sport in Prison’ has been used by those responsible for developing physical activity policy in prisons in England and Wales.

- Dr Laura Mickes is a Cognitive Psychologist who specialises in modelling human memory. Laura was part of the team that developed a widely-used statistical method for use in eyewitness identification research. Her current research is dedicated to identifying and developing procedures that enhance eyewitness accuracy, where she works with Identification Officers at the Metropolitan Police.

- Professor Amina Memon is a Chartered Psychologist with over 25 years of experience in higher education and research. Her research in the area of psychology and law spans cognitive, social and forensic domains. Her work is firmly grounded in policy and practice, for example she studies how to maximise the accuracy, truthfulness and credibility of witness statements, has contributed to training of the police and judiciary and has served as an expert witness in family court cases and criminal trials. Professor Memon’s background in human rights had led to her extending her research to third sector organisations such as Asylum Aid, Plan UK and Freedom From Torture.

- Dr David La Rooy is a Chartered Psychologist. He is an internationally recognised memory expert, expert in investigative interviewing techniques, and conducts research that has influenced the training of child forensic interviewers, the police, lawyers and judges around the world in how best to interview victims of child abuse. He has co-edited two volumes for the 'Wiley Series in the Psychology of Crime, Policing and Law.'

Course content and structure

The programme is made up of the following six core courses (Four delivered in the Autumn term and two in the Spring term) and the dissertation which is undertaken throughout the year.

The programme confers Stage 1 of a two-stage process of professional training in forensic psychology that is assessed by the British Psychological Society (the second stage of professional training is subsequent and external to the MSc Forensic Psychology programme at Royal Holloway). International students would be welcome on the programme of study.

The British Psychological Society requires that core knowledge domains are incorporated into the course so as to reflect the diversity of research and practice in forensic psychology. The unique selling point and emphasis of the programme at Royal Holloway is defined by the multidisciplinarity of the teaching (jointly by forensic psychologists and those carrying out research relevant to forensic psychology in the departments of Psychology and Law) and the research strengths of both departments.

Core course units:
- Research Based Practice in Forensic Psychology
- Young People in the Criminal Justice System
- The Legal Process
- Aspects of the Investigative Process
- Advanced Techniques in Social and Behavioural Research
- Statistics for Research
- Dissertation

On completion of the course graduates will have:
The design of the programme has been guided by the goal of training students in the research-practitioner model. A solid foundation in scientific research methods is developed in order that students can design, conduct and analyse empirical psychological research. Students are trained in qualitative and quantitative methods and in ethical issues relating to research and practice. In addition, the core forensic psychology courses cover the knowledge base necessary to lay the foundations for students to become qualified Forensic Psychologists and to provide students with an understanding of the necessary interrelationship between scientific research and forensic psychological practice. The course aims to foster key transferable skills in order to develop advanced analytical and critical thinking as well as practical skills including report writing, group working and effective communication. Personal and professional development is facilitated through self-reflection, constructive feedback and the opportunity to engage with a broad range of practitioners and Criminal Justice agencies, as well as work experience opportunities. The MSc in Forensic Psychology is taught through traditional lectures and participative workshops by both research and practice-led internal and external professionals.

The primary educational aims of the course are:
- to provide students with advanced knowledge and understanding of the principles in research and practice of Forensic Psychology in accordance with the knowledge base components required by The British Psychological Society in achieving course accreditation;

- to train students in the informed and systematic application of the research-practitioner model involving problem analysis and formulation, intervention, assessment and evaluation;

- to expose students to the major theoretical formulations and models in the area of Forensic Psychology in order to provide a conceptual underpinning to inform their approach to research and practice;

- to develop employability, interpersonal, technical and creative skills required for their students' effective transition to the world of work by opportunities to take personal control of their own development, promoting individual and team working, enhancing decision making skills and facilitating a range of placement opportunities in forensic settings;

- to prepare students to conduct research by giving them the appropriate technical and critical thinking skills in design and analytical procedures;

- to facilitate self-reflection in support of personal and professional development via constructive feedback;

- to model a professional and ethical approach to colleagues and potential clients mindful of equality issues and acknowledging human rights of those with whom they come into contact;

- to enable students to communicate the results of research to a variety of audiences.

- To develop further students’ written and oral communication skills, required for further research and many senior professional positions

- To hone a range of other transferable skills, e.g. how to organise complex information, critical analysis, deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, solve problems in a self-directed and original fashion, plan and implement tasks autonomously, work to deadlines.


Knowledge and understanding is assessed by a broad range of both informal (i.e. class exercises and feedback) and by formal means (i.e. examination, presentations and oral reports, coursework and dissertation).

Employability & career opportunities

Part of the process of undertaking an MSc Forensic Psychology is exposure to the breadth of the domain, developing new and consolidating existing interests. To that extent, your career aspirations might shift throughout the course. You might find yourself excited about engaging in applied forensic psychological research and decide that you would like to pursue a PhD; the advanced research training on the MSc Forensic Psychology programme will provide you with strong research skills and the interdisciplinary team of staff can support the formulation of your research ideas to maximise the impact of your research in the real world. You might decide that you would like to pursue training as a Practitioner Forensic Psychologist; the assessment pattern through the MSc Forensic Psychology programme will equip you with the foundations on which to build skills relevant to a career as an applied psychology practitioner and the tangible theory-practice links throughout the course will help you to develop in your career as a scientist/researcher practitioner. You might decide to take the skills that you develop in the MSc Forensic Psychology programme and apply them to the workplace, such as secure settings in the NHS and private sector, prisons, probation, the police, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Youth Support and Justice Services or research units (in Universities, charitable organisations and private companies).

An MSc qualification is an indication of your capacity to engage in advanced academic study in a specialised area and a recognition of a highly developed set of skills in managing multiple demands. When you complete your MSc in Forensic Psychology you will have developed further a core set of skills - such as critical thinking and evaluation, research, formulation, reflection, communication, time management, organisation and prioritisation - that you can transfer to any work environment.

Successful completion of the MSc Forensic Psychology will satisfy the British Psychological Society (BPS) requirements of Stage 1 of the Qualification in Forensic Psychology. Whilst we are committed to providing the academic training that will be your first step in gaining the Qualification and offer you connections to psychologists in practice, we are not responsible for continued supervision on Stage 2 once the course is completed. Please refer to the BPS website for specific advice on the process for working towards the Qualification in Forensic Psychology and applying to become a Practitioner Forensic Psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/studyhere/postgraduate/applying/howtoapply.aspx .

Visit the Forensic Psychology (MSc) page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Honours degree graded 2:1 or higher in BSc (Hons) Psychology, or any Psychology joint degree accredited by the British Psychological Society. A graduate conversion course accredited by the British Psychological Society. IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores.

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