Forensic Psychology - PgCert / PgDip / MSc

Full Time, Part Time
September 2016
£7,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

This MSc Forensic Psychology offers you the chance to learn about some of the most difficult criminals in society, including sex offenders, offenders with personality disorders and victims of crime. The MSc offers an exciting opportunity for you to combine knowledge of psychological theory whilst developing the practical skills and an understanding of professional practice in forensic psychology.

After this course many students either go in to employment with the prison services and enforcement agencies such as HMP Birmingham or you may choose to continue down a more academic route and focus on research.

What's covered in the course?

We provide you with a detailed understanding of the key theoretical and applied issues in forensic psychology, including the development of offending behaviour, re-offending, the effects of offending on victims, and the assessment and treatment of offenders. We also provide training in forensic methods primarily from a psychological standpoint, but also to familiarise you with the perspectives of a range of professions involved in the assessment and treatment of offenders.

We’ll teach you how to design research, conduct statistical analysis, evaluate and scientifically report research in forensic psychology and enhance your skills in communication, group work, professionalism and ICT.

If you want to become a registered Forensic Psychologist, take your research to a doctorate level or have an interest in the area and a relevant qualification with British Psychological Society Accreditation then this course could be for you. 

Why Choose Us?

  • You can combine our MSc in Forensic Psychology alongside employment.
  • We provide you with first-hand experiences of the Criminal Justice System through visits to large local prisons and courts.
  • Completion of the MSc enables you to gain specialist knowledge of dealing with people within the Criminal Justice System, including sex offenders, offenders with mental disorders and victims of crime.
  • We have expert practitioners such as Professor Michael Brookes OBE who will support you throughout your study.
  • With flexible study options on offer, you can choose whether to focus on the academic route or a more practice based approach.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

School of Social Sciences

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Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

*Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2016

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Staffordshire & West Midlands Probation Trust
  • Victim Support (Victim Care Unit)

And in jobs such as:

  • Approved Premises Supervisor
  • Victim Care Officer

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

The British Psychological Society

Entry Requirements

UK students

Applicants are required to hold a minimum of an upper Second Class Honours degree in psychology, with evidence of strong research methods skills.

The degree must be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), or be able to provide evidence of Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS.

Please see the BPS website for further details. Experience of working with offenders and/or victims of crime in either a paid or voluntary capacity is also desirable.

There will be a mandatory interview prior to acceptance on the course. International applicants can complete this interview via internet video calling. 

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PgCert / PgDip / MSc Sep 2016 FT 12 months £7,500
PT 24 months £675 per 15 credit module

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PgCert / PgDip / MSc Sep 2016 FT 12 months £12,000

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

How to apply

Information required in support of your application

The details of two referees must be submitted in the Referees section of your application form. At least one referee should be from the institution where you obtained your academic qualifications and know you in an academic or professional capacity.

Please upload copies of all qualifications stated on your application form on the Additional Education page of your application.

British Psychological Society:

If you are studying for a first degree you must indicate that you are currently undertaking a BPS accredited course within the education section of our application form.

Get further details about membership of the British Psychological Society.

Additional costs

While there are no additional costs associated with purchasing text books, there may be other costs to you. If you are joining the course which has a professional body accreditation you may be required to pay membership or examination costs. For details of these costs, please click on the link below.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Stage 1: Postgraduate Certificate

Research Methods in Forensic Psychology
15 credits

This module builds upon undergraduate and previous experience of research in psychology, and begins to prepare you for undertaking advanced independent research. The focus will cover both qualitative and quantitative research methods, with a focus on quantitative data analysis techniques.

The Psychology of Criminal Behaviour
15 credits

You will develop an understanding of psychological approaches to explaining the development of offending behaviour and re-offending. You will also be expected to identify and evaluate methodological issues with research that attempts to explain offending behaviour.

Investigative Psychology
15 credits

You will develop an understanding of the issues relevant to Investigative Psychology, learning about the development of investigative psychology, how offender and geographical profiling has evolved, crime linkage, as well as critical and major incident management.

15 credits

Whilst much of the course is centred on offenders, this unit focuses on victims and is therefore beneficial to those who wish to work with individuals who have been victims of offending, in the future.

Stage 2: Postgraduate Diploma

Advanced Research Methods in Forensic Psychology
15 credits

This module will cover a variety of approaches to qualitative and quantitative data analysis, including thematic analysis, the use of NVivo, regression, the statistical comparison of three or more groups and meta-analysis.

Forensic and Transferable Skills
15 credits

You will be provided with an underpinning of the ethical, legal and practical issues in forensic psychology. Developing skills in communicating information, including report writing, expert testimony, and presentation skills.

The Psychology of Law and Justice
15 credits

You will gain an understanding of the application of psychological theory and practice to legal proceedings, the criminal investigation process, and prosecution of offences.

The Assessment and Treatment of Offenders
15 credits

You will explore and begin to get an understanding of the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of the assessment and treatment of offenders.

Stage 3: Masters

Dissertation Project
60 credits

The dissertation project is an independent piece of work that provides students with the opportunity to apply a range of academic, intellectual, and professional skills relevant to postgraduate study in forensic psychology, including critical awareness, effective communication skills, critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis.

How you learn

We use a range of learning, teaching, and assessment techniques on this course.

Learning takes place in the University, through the University's virtual learning environment which is an online based tool, giving you the flexibility to study conveniently, and in criminal justice settings. You’ll study in lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and through electronic learning, reflective practice, court visits, prison visits, case studies and discussion groups.

Course Structure

The aims of the MSc Forensic Psychology are to:

  • Equip you with a detailed critical understanding of the key theoretical and applied issues in forensic psychology, including the development of offending behaviour, re-offending, the effects of offending on victims, and the assessment and treatment of offenders
  • Provide training in forensic methods primarily from a psychological standpoint, but also to familiarise you with the perspectives of a range of professions involved in the assessment and treatment of offenders.
  • Enable you to acquire an advanced ability to design research, conduct statistical analysis, evaluate and scientifically report research in forensic psychology.
  • Enhance your skills in communication, group work, professionalism and ICT so that you can perform at a high level of competence in these respects.
  • Satisfy the academic requirements for Masters level knowledge set out by the Division for Forensic Psychology, British Psychological Society.

Study Commitment

Full-time: Two days per week on campus, plus self-directed learning.
Part-time: One day per week on campus, plus self-directed learning.

Student stories

Nisha Pushpararajah

I chose to study a postgraduate course in Forensic Psychology at Birmingham City University after learning that many of the lecturers had been officially recognised for their research in the area. This showed me how dedicated they were to their subjects and helping others to learn about it. The tutors were instantly welcoming and did their utmost to suit every student’s needs.

The British Psychological Society
The British Psychological Society

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society, which not only demonstrates the high quality of our teaching provision, but also ensures our course remains cutting-edge, fresh and relevant.

The Society and its members develop, promote and apply psychology for the public good. They enhance the efficiency and usefulness of psychologists by setting high standards of professional education and knowledge, and cover all areas of psychological research and practice.

Find out more about British Psychological Society accreditation.

Further Study

When you complete this course you can choose to proceed with further study at doctoral (PhD) level. Doctoral study and supervision is available through discussion with the course team and there are ample opportunities available for you to do this.

*Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2016

Student stories Dani Beck

Forensic Mental Health Care Assistant

Originally from Norway, Dani studied Psychology before he came to Birmingham City University. Alongside his studies, Dani is working as a Forensic Mental Health Care Assistant to gain the experience and skills to help him get a job as a Forensic Psychology Trainee. Following this, he hopes to work until he is chartered as a Forensic Psychologist.

My attraction to the course mainly came from my ambition to study forensic psychology. Prior to applying, I knew I had a passion for mental health and those who suffer from mental health problems, so after my degree, I needed a course that could direct my career in the right direction.

Trips and Visits

You will have the opportunity to visit a local prison and courts such as HMP Birmingham, and also gain practical experience in one of the University's mock court-rooms.

Enhancing your employability

Your employment prospects are varied and are very depend on what you want to do with your career. You could continue in the academic area and take up a lecturer positon. You could also advance in the professional world, continuing to work in HM Prison Service, the NHS or anywhere else in the broader criminal justice system. The MSc provides skills relevant to working with offenders and victims across all sectors involved with this work.

The research methods you will have practiced will provide you with the skills to embark on postgraduate research opportunities alongside your professional development if you wish to combine the professional and academic routes together.

Graduates from this course have gone on to work for Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust and HMP Birmingham.


The School of Social Sciences has relationships with a number of criminal justice agencies and non-government organisations, including the local Community Safety Partnership, HMP Grendon, the Howard League and Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Many graduates go on to gain employment within the health, charity and policing industries, in roles such as Forensic Mental Health Care Assistant and Forensic Psychologist. You can also develop your academic career and choose to undertake further research within a higher education setting.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.

The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.

For those studying on the BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation pathway, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.

Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.

Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
  • Shared facilities with the wider campus including the recently opened Parkside Building and Millennium Point

Professor Michael Brookes OBE

MSc Forensic Psychology Programme Director

Professor Michael Brookes OBE was formerly Director of Therapeutic Communities at HMP Grendon where for eleven years he was the clinical lead within this accredited therapeutic community prison. He was responsible for the effective delivery of therapy.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295