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MSc Forensic Psychology

Course Description


The Forensic Psychology MSc will provide you with a thorough grounding in the theory, themes, issues and practical skills central to psychological research into behaviour relevant to crime and forensic settings.

The programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society as fulfilling the requirements of Stage 1 towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and Full Membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology with the British Psychological Society and a Forensic Psychologist registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) (UK).


The course was designed to cover the BPS Division of Forensic Psychology's (DFP) core curriculum. Many experienced forensic psychology practitioners visit the course to contribute their knowledge. It will give you an opportunity to gain an understanding of how psychology works in a forensic setting.


You will complete the twelve modules listed below. The first five 10-credit modules cover the theoretical basis of forensic psychology across a range of settings, through all stages of the criminal justice process, i.e. from investigation to punishment and through care, and as applied to a broad range of crimes. A double (20-credit) module provides an overview of a key aspect of forensic practice, risk assessment and the associated risk management of offenders. Two further 10-credit modules are particular features of this course and explore the legal process (taught by the Coventry Law School), and practice and application in forensic psychology (involving a number of guest speakers who are practitioners in forensic settings). The latter module is delivered in a four day intensive teaching block in June which provides students with a variety of teaching delivery styles. Two modules (30 credits)cover advanced research methods including both qualitative and qualitative methods, and a further 10 credit module focusing on study skills and project planning prepares students for the final module (50 credits), which is an independent research dissertation/project.

The course is offered on a full-time basis and students attend university two days per week for one academic year. The course begins at the end of September each year and is completed in mid September, one year later.. Students who do not choose to complete the full MSc may obtain a postgraduate Certificate in Forensic Psychology if they successfully pass the equivalent of 6 single modules (60 credits), or a Diploma in Forensic Psychology if they successfully complete the equivalent of 11 single modules (130 credits) of the course (e.g. if they do not complete the dissertation).

Visit the MSc Forensic Psychology page on the Coventry University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Madeleine van der Bruggen, 2011 - 2012 (MSc Forensic Psychology)

1972.jpg I completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology at Coventry University in 2011 and then went on to complete the MSc Forensic Psychology course. The course was appealing due to the lack of Forensic Psychology courses in Holland at the time and I looked forward to the challenge of completing a further postgraduate course in a language different to my native own. Having completed the course in September 2012, I feel that it was definitely worth the effort, and the course lived up to all of my expectations. The course consists of academically challenging modules and modules aimed at developing your practical skills that are applicable within a variety of forensic psychology settings. Learning how to write risk assessments was a particularly interesting and beneficial skill to accrue in relation to working within such settings. The research methods modules were also invaluable, as for the first time, I actually understand how to do quantitative research! In addition to this, the staff are very driven, enthusiastic, friendly and knowledgeable and possess a personal approach towards students, which I found very helpful when trying to learn a complex subject. Whilst I was in the process of writing my dissertation, I found a job as a researcher for the Terrence Higgins Trust working on a research project looking at sex work in Warwickshire. I also gained some experience of rehabilitation work with ex-offenders, and together with my dissertation supervisor I am in the process of working towards the publication of my dissertation. I have recently obtained a new job working as a research analyst/expert for the Dutch national police, whereby I will be working with the child pornography and exploitation team, and where I will be focusing on offender profiles, interrogation techniques and sexual crime in an international setting. I feel that the course has given me transferable skills that I can use in my new role and would therefore strongly recommend the course for future students who wish to pursue a career in the field of Forensic Psychology.
Madeleine van der Bruggen, 2011 - 2012 (MSc Forensic Psychology)

(Student Profile)

Laura Williamson, Part Time Student 2009 - 2011

I decided to do my Masters in Forensic Psychology at Coventry University whilst in full time employment as a Psychological Assistant at HMP Lowdham Grange. Although I was aware that this would be hard work, I knew it would help me to develop my ability to work with offenders with complex personalities and diverse offending behaviours. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the course, particularly the law module which I found really interesting. My final empirical paper explored offender readiness and the effectiveness of engagement and motivation strategies within the ‘Thinking Skills Programme’; a prison offending behaviour programme. I was able to take the findings from my paper back into the prison and use these to improve design and implementation of the programme and develop innovative methods to motivate and engage offenders.

I chose to consider a speciality area for my final literature review surrounding a particular interest of mine; deaf offenders. My literature review examined the disproportionate prevalence of sexual offences amongst deaf offenders and this paper has recently been accepted for publication in the Journal of Sexual Aggression. I was able to use aspects of all modules studied in my day-to-day work at the prison and through the research methods and final dissertation modules I was able to develop my ability to design, evaluate and write reports to a high standard. The course also enabled me to develop my presentation skills which has had a huge impact on my career progression. My career has taken various unexpected, yet positive turns since completing my masters and I went on from HMP Lowdham Grange to work as a substance misuse therapist in a therapeutic community at HMP Wymott. I worked there for a year and then applied for a Researcher position for the fourth largest drug and alcohol provider in the UK. Now, as the lead researcher for Phoenix Futures, I combine my academic and practical knowledge of forensic psychology and research methods to develop treatment within prisons and communities to help people who are dependent on drugs and alcohol to transform their lives.

I believe that my experience on the MSc Forensic Psychology course has helped me to excel in a variety of different occupational environments and has provided me with a number of transferable skills which will benefit me throughout my career.

Laura Williamson, Part Time Student 2009 - 2011


Entry Requirements

An honours degree in psychology at first class or 2:1 level and must be eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC, previously the Graduate Basis for Registration, or GBR) with the British Psychological Society. Applicants will demonstrate either relevant work experience and/or, relevant academic research or equivalent along with a strong personal statement Applicants with an honours degree in psychology at a 2:2 level (and GBC) will be considered if they are able to demonstrate significant work experience or a good relevant postgraduate study along with a strong personal statement.

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Recipient: Coventry University

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