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Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology

Course Description

Why take this course?

With this professional doctorate you can achieve Chartered status with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Registered status with the Health and Care Professions Council as a Practising Forensic Psychologist.

This programme uses guided knowledge, applied experience, specialist input and evidence based practice, and you'll be well supported in a positive and collegiate atmosphere. There's also a range of placement opportunities.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Engage in specialist fields of forensic mental health and disorder
Learn how to use a minimum of two risk assessment tools
Be supported through placements by experienced and expert staff
Learn how to deliver expert evidence and training

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course will give you the knowledge and skills to become a practising forensic psychologist. The title, ‘forensic psychologist’ is a legally protected title and this course will enable you to use it and apply your skills with confidence.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

Chartered and Registered Forensic Psychologists in a range of settings: prison, community, NHS (secure units), developing their own private practice initiatives
Training Design and Training Delivery
Project Management

Module Details

Teaching will be delivered in blocks at the beginning and end of each semester so you are in regular contact with the University and feel well supported. We will support your professional work placement and help you to develop practitioner skills including the use of supervision, workload management, professional relationships and reflection, assessment and formulation skills. You will also learn intervention approaches which include desistance, environmental impact and rejection sensitivity research, forensic mental health and disorder - a unique unit not delivered anywhere else which focuses on a specialist area of increasing relevance in multi-disciplinary working approaches in forensic psychology.

Core and optional units

Core units include:

Practitioner Skills 1 and 2
Forensic Psychology in Context
Forensic Mental Health and Disorder
Forensic Practice Placements
Tools of the Trade
Training Skills
Approaches to Intervention
Empirical Research Project
Options to choose from include:

Research Skills

Programme Assessment

Our staff are experienced practitioners and are well regarded in the profession having held national leadership roles including Chair of the Division, Chair of the Training Committee and many others. Staff are Chartered and HCPC registered practitioner psychologists supported by REF entered psychologists within a department with long established forensic psychology links. They will bring this extensive experience as practitioners to their teaching which is applied, collegiate and supportive. Supervisors will engage with you in a positive working relationship and your needs will be well noted and addressed by your tutor at the earliest stage. A positive, supportive approach is nurtured at all times, as with the current delivery of the BSc and MSc in Forensic Psychology.

You will complete a variety of assessments including:

Empirical Research Project
Systematic Review
Case Formulation Exercise (x2 – one for assessment and one for intervention)
Placement Reports and Reflective Practice Diaries
Design and Delivery of Training Package
Group Presentation/Discussion
Tool Training Completion
Report Writing

Student Destinations

This course is specifically tailored for individuals seeking to hold a doctoral research degree and become a forensic psychologist. It's a unique course which provides a blended approach to gaining these qualifications in one programme of work. After completing this course, you will be will equipped for a career in academia (i.e., research, lecturing) and/or applied practice in the domain of forensic psychology.

Visit the Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An undergraduate degree or conversion course in Psychology or Forensic Psychology which confers Graduate Basis for Chartered status (GBC), and a BPS accredited masters degree which confers Stage I of the BPS Qualification in Forensic Psychology. Applicants are subject to interview. All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5. For detailed entry requirements, please refer to the University of Portsmouth's website.

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