Forensic Psychology MSc

Why choose this course?

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). It draws on Kingston University's established expertise in psychology and criminology.

You will have the opportunity to undertake a minimum 15-week work placement. This will be in one of a number of settings applicable to forensic psychology, including high, medium and low security hospitals, children's homes and youth offending teams. The placement will enable you to put what you learn into practice and gain valuable transferable skills and relevant experience.

You will be taught by research active staff with special interests ranging from intimate partner violence, forensic mental health, and detection of deception. You will also benefit from the close links our staff have with forensic settings located in London and the surrounding area.

On successful completion of the course, you may continue your training to become a Chartered Forensic Psychologist, or pursue a career in sectors such as the prison and probation services, crime analysis or education.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Two days throughout the academic year, plus two days in placement over a consecutive period of 15 weeks, plus other days by arrangement September 2021
Part time 2 years Please contact us to discuss September 2021
Location Penrhyn Road

2021/22 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Kingston has close links to forensic settings in London and the surrounding area. You may undertake a work placement at one, or a research placement with the forensic psychology team.
  • This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as a Stage 1 masters programme. After graduating, you may train further to become a chartered forensic psychologist.
  • Guest speakers are active practitioners in forensic psychology, from prisons, women's services, and other specialist services (eg Broadmoor Hospital).

Accreditation

British Psychological Society

British Psychological Society

British Psychological Society

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), which means that you could go on to become a Chartered Psychologist if that is your chosen career path. This is an ongoing accreditation.

Upon successful completion graduates will be exempt from Stage 1 of the BPS qualification in forensic psychology and will be eligible to apply for Stage 2 supervised practice and full membership of the BPS division of Forensic Psychology and registration with the Health Care and Professions Council (HCPC) should you wish to follow the practitioner route.

What you will study

Forensic psychology is concerned with the psychological issues associated with criminal behaviour and the treatment of those who have committed offences. It refers to the investigation of deception, fraud, crime and the psychological aspects of legal and judicial process.

You will learn how psychology is applied in various forensic settings and be introduced to the role of the forensic psychologist in practice. You will gain knowledge of the legal aspects of forensic psychology, such as considerations for courts and sentencing, and examine the aetiology of criminal behaviour in depth.

Full time - 1 year

Part time - 2 years

You will study four core, 30 credit, modules plus a Psychology Dissertation, worth 60 credits.

Core modules

Psychology Dissertation

60 credits

The dissertation project will be based on a critical literature review addressing complex and contradictory evidence and will usually require carrying out an empirical study using one or more methodologies of data collection such as experiments, observation, psychometric testing, surveys and questionnaires, interviews and field studies. In all cases, the dissertation will involve the analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data, as well as the presentation and critical evaluation of research findings. Through independent study and meetings with a project supervisor, the dissertation project will allow you to better understand the role of research methodologies, theoretical considerations and ethical issues in psychological research.

Research Design and Analysis

30 credits

The module provides an advanced coverage of the design and analysis of psychological research. Building on a revision of intermediate inferential statistics (eg. ANOVA, factorial ANOVA, regression and multiple regression), the course moves quickly towards a consideration of more advanced and specialised quantitative methods (eg., multivariate statistics, co-variance, structural equation modelling, factor analysis, meta-analysis and advanced regression techniques) and their applications. The course introduces principles of questionnaire design, evaluation and data analysis, along with advanced qualitative research methods. The laboratory workshops combine formal teaching with hands-on activities. The material provides an important foundation for the development and execution of the master's level research dissertation.

Antisocial behaviours across the lifespan; Treatment and intervention

30 credits

This module will enhance your understanding of the key processes that underpin prosocial and antisocial behaviour. You will gain understanding of how biopsychosocial processes can impact on the development of criminal behaviour and neurodevelopmental disorders. You will extend your understanding of the organisation of prisons and forensic mental health services and will achieve some understanding of the assessment and treatment of offenders. You will also learn to evaluate the evidence that supports psychological and biological treatments for those with mental disorders which will enable you to consider its application to forensic psychology practice.

Investigative and Legal Processes in Forensic Psychology

30 credits

This module covers a range of theoretical and applied topics regarding investigative and judicial processes. For example, psychological principles may be applied to investigative approaches to interviewing, detecting deception, bearing false witness, offender profiling, case linkage, eyewitness memory, jury behaviour and decision-making, examining the state of mind and assessment, and expert psychological testimony (ethics, code of practice, report writing and practice). By taking this approach you develop a critical understanding of pertinent stages in the investigative process where psychology may be used to improve interviewing strategies, as in the employment of the cognitive interview to assist in the improvement of witnesses' memory recall. This course then develops upon the investigative knowledge base provided by encouraging you to identify areas within the courtroom process where psychological techniques could be utilised. Thus, you are taken on an analytical and evaluative journey of the key criminal justice processes of the investigation and presentation of evidence in cases.

Applications of Forensic Psychology

30 credits

This module will enhance your understanding of the application of forensic psychology. You will gain knowledge and understanding about organisations in which you might work as a forensic psychologist and the systems and structures within these settings. You will gain an understanding of the skills required when working as a reflective scientist-practitioner. You will also gain knowledge of the foundations of assessment and intervention including theory practice links, critical evaluation, training and consultancy. You will engage with this material through a series of interactive workshops and your participation in either a forensic work based placement or an applied research placement.

Part-time students will take three core, 30 credit, modules in the first year. In the second year you will take one 30 credit module plus a Psychology Dissertation, worth 60 credits.

Year 1

Antisocial behaviours across the lifespan; Treatment and intervention

30 credits

This module will enhance your understanding of the key processes that underpin prosocial and antisocial behaviour. You will gain understanding of how biopsychosocial processes can impact on the development of criminal behaviour and neurodevelopmental disorders. You will extend your understanding of the organisation of prisons and forensic mental health services and will achieve some understanding of the assessment and treatment of offenders. You will also learn to evaluate the evidence that supports psychological and biological treatments for those with mental disorders which will enable you to consider its application to forensic psychology practice.

Research Design and Analysis

30 credits

The module provides an advanced coverage of the design and analysis of psychological research. Building on a revision of intermediate inferential statistics (eg. ANOVA, factorial ANOVA, regression and multiple regression), the course moves quickly towards a consideration of more advanced and specialised quantitative methods (eg., multivariate statistics, co-variance, structural equation modelling, factor analysis, meta-analysis and advanced regression techniques) and their applications. The course introduces principles of questionnaire design, evaluation and data analysis, along with advanced qualitative research methods. The laboratory workshops combine formal teaching with hands-on activities. The material provides an important foundation for the development and execution of the master's level research dissertation.

Investigative and Legal Processes in Forensic Psychology

30 credits

This module covers a range of theoretical and applied topics regarding investigative and judicial processes. For example, psychological principles may be applied to investigative approaches to interviewing, detecting deception, bearing false witness, offender profiling, case linkage, eyewitness memory, jury behaviour and decision-making, examining the state of mind and assessment, and expert psychological testimony (ethics, code of practice, report writing and practice). By taking this approach you develop a critical understanding of pertinent stages in the investigative process where psychology may be used to improve interviewing strategies, as in the employment of the cognitive interview to assist in the improvement of witnesses' memory recall. This course then develops upon the investigative knowledge base provided by encouraging you to identify areas within the courtroom process where psychological techniques could be utilised. Thus, you are taken on an analytical and evaluative journey of the key criminal justice processes of the investigation and presentation of evidence in cases.

Year 2

Applications of Forensic Psychology

30 credits

This module will enhance your understanding of the application of forensic psychology. You will gain knowledge and understanding about organisations in which you might work as a forensic psychologist and the systems and structures within these settings. You will gain an understanding of the skills required when working as a reflective scientist-practitioner. You will also gain knowledge of the foundations of assessment and intervention including theory practice links, critical evaluation, training and consultancy. You will engage with this material through a series of interactive workshops and your participation in either a forensic work based placement or an applied research placement.

Psychology Dissertation

60 credits

The dissertation project will be based on a critical literature review addressing complex and contradictory evidence and will usually require carrying out an empirical study using one or more methodologies of data collection such as experiments, observation, psychometric testing, surveys and questionnaires, interviews and field studies. In all cases, the dissertation will involve the analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data, as well as the presentation and critical evaluation of research findings. Through independent study and meetings with a project supervisor, the dissertation project will allow you to better understand the role of research methodologies, theoretical considerations and ethical issues in psychological research.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

What our graduates say

I chose to stay at Kingston University after I completed my undergraduate degree as Kingston has a fantastic psychology department with a strong research reputation.

The course offers a placement within a forensic, clinical or research setting for each student. I was allocated a placement in a medium security hospital for women in West London, a placement I hugely enjoyed. I was able to complete risk assessments, create and lead an art therapy group, and co-faciliate a CBT/DBT based group.

During the course we also received lectures from professionals in forensic psychology, which exposed us to potential career paths and an opportunity to meet practitioners from different services.

Since completing the course, I have worked as an assistant psychologist in a residential school for children with learning disabilities, and I am currently working as a higher assistant psychologist in the NHS with older adults in the community. I know I would not be working in the position I am now without this course. In particular, the placement aspect gave me the "hands on" experience of assessment and intervention that can be so difficult to gain as an undergraduate.

Victoria Walker, currently completing DClinPsy

I chose to continue to study at Kingston University after completing my undergraduate course in Psychology with Criminology, as I knew what the university and psychology department had to offer.

The course included an organised placement, which took away the stress of finding a suitable placement whilst studying. My placement was at a children's home for young people who had experienced trauma and broken attachments. I think this was one of my favourite parts of the course because I was able to work and learn at the same time. The course content also influenced my decision because it covered topics I was interested in and that were appropriate to my desired career path.

The course helped the application for my current job at a psychiatric hospital. In addition, I often find myself referring back to what I learnt on the course and applying it at work.

I could not have achieved as much as I did without the amazing support from all the lecturers on the course. The lecturers provided detailed feedback and discussions on assignments, which enabled me to learn every step of the way. I will be forever grateful to them all.

Raminta Petrauskaite, currently completing DClinPsy

Entry requirements

Typical offer

This course is open to those applicants who normally have achieved an upper second class degree in psychology with BPS accreditation.

Interviews

If you meet the minimum requirement for this programme your application will be considered further and you may be invited to an interview. This will be a face-to-face meeting or for International students based overseas it will be via skype.

Prior learning - AP(E)L

Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Contact the faculty office for further information.

International

Please note: most students from countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area and classified as overseas fee paying, are not eligible to apply for part-time courses due to UK student visa regulations. For information on exceptions please visit the UKCISA website or email our CAS and Visa Compliance team.

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with 7.0 in writing and at least 5.5 in all other elements. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

12% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Forensic Psychology MSc

Forensic Psychology MSc
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 194 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1406 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

Forensic Psychology MSc

Forensic Psychology MSc
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetables

Each student receives a personalised timetable. This is usually available after you have completed your online enrolment, which is typically accessible one month before the start of your course.

Class sizes

You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which supports dedicated academic guidance and advice and the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes therefore you will be taught alongside students who are on these courses within the School.

Who teaches this course?

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on this course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. The following group of staff members are currently involved in the delivery of different elements of this course. This pool is subject to change at any time within the academic year.

Fees for this course

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • MSc full time £9,430
  • MSc part time £5,187

International 2021/22

  • MSc full time £15,400
  • MSc part time £8,470

2020/21 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MSc full time £9,200
  • MSc part time £5,060

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MSc full time £14,900
  • MSc part time £8,195

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses.

Printing

In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Travel

Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19

Course information (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Composition of the course

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Modules

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.

Entry requirements (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.

Teaching (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.

If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.

Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.

‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.

In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2021/22 entry)

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.

Staff (changes for 2021/22 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.

If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.

The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.

In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Accreditation

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.

Additional (changes for 2021/22 entry)

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.