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, in one of a number of settings applicable to forensic psychology, including high, medium and low security hospitals, 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

2020/21 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 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 2020/21. 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.

Find out more about this course

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

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

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

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

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

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 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.

In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.

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 to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Modules

We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of 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 and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

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, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.

While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open 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 current 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 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. 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 significantly, 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 appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.

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 teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.

Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.

Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

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

As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

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

As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done 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 will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.

The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. 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 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.

In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are 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.

Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a 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 during the induction period.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

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.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.