Forensic Psychology - MSc
- Level: Postgraduate Taught
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time, Part Time
- Location: City Centre
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Want to study a forensic psychology Master’s in Birmingham? This MSc Forensic Psychology course offers you the chance to learn about some of the most dangerous offenders in society and, their victims.
It will explore, approaches to assisting police with their enquires (investigative psychology), the criminal justice system from a psychological perspective and how to enhance your skills in communication, group work, professionalism and application of IT.
We also aim to improve your research skills and knowledge, through teaching you how to design high-level research projects, conduct statistical analysis, and to evaluate and scientifically report research findings.
The core aim of the course is to prepare students to work with clients and professionals in a range of forensic and forensic-related settings. Equipped with a sound knowledge of key theoretical and applied issues in forensic psychology, you will gain not only a critical appreciation of theoretical and factual concepts, but an awareness of the strengths and limitations of research evidence. The course integrates psychological theory with the development of practical skills and an understanding of professional practice.
What's covered in the course?
The aims of the course are to:
- Equip you with a detailed critical understanding of the key theoretical and applied issues in forensic psychology, including investigative psychology procedures, the court system, the development of offending behaviour, the assessment and treatment of offenders, and the effects of offending on victims, and;
- Provide an understanding of forensic psychology techniques and the roles of other criminal justice professionals in the detection, prosecution, assessment and treatment of offenders;
- Enable you to acquire an advanced ability to design research, conduct statistical analysis, and evaluate and scientifically report research in forensic psychology;
- Enhance your skills in communication, group work, professionalism and application of IT so that you can perform at a high level of competence in these areas;
- Satisfy the academic requirements for Master’s-level knowledge as set out by the Division for Forensic Psychology of the British Psychological Society.
On successful completion of the course, you will be able to demonstrate an advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the key issues in forensic psychology of relevance to both academics and practitioners.
Graduates of this course are expected to have developed advanced academic, intellectual and professional skills, with the ability to work autonomously and in teams.
Why Choose Us?
- Our distinctive modules in Investigative Psychology and Victimology offer you insight into different aspects of forensic psychology, in addition to our modules on Assessing and Treating Offenders, the Psychology of Law and Justice, and Forensic Skills (required for both practitioner and academic psychologists).
- Completion of this MSc course enables you to gain specialist knowledge of dealing with people within the Criminal Justice System, including violent and sex offenders, offenders with personality disorders, victims of crime, the police and probation services.
- You’ll be provided with training in forensic methods primarily from a psychological standpoint.
- We have expert practitioners, such as Professor Michael Brookes OBE, who will support you throughout your study.
- We have expert academics, including Dr Chrisa Pornari, who can supervise your research project in a wide range of areas including investigative psychology, jury decision making, interpersonal violence, rape myths and offender cognition.
- We also have Dr Laura Hammond, who has expert skills in Investigative Psychology, Behavioural Modelling of Crime and Offender Profiling, Evidence Based Policing, Investigative Processes and Investigative Efficacy, The Use and Reliability of Evidence and Operational Applications of Psychology for the Police.
Our Psychology department has a wide range of psychology testing labs to suit all needs, including our BPS computer lab, which consists of more than thirty networked computers with Psychology-specific software such as SPSS, NVivo and others such as Opensesame.
- With full or part-time options on offer, you can choose whether to study over one year or two.
Find out more
This course is open to International students
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Postgraduate Master's loans
You may be able to take advantage of government-backed loans of up to £11,570 for postgraduate study.
This course is accredited by the following organisation:
|Typical Offers (UK Students)|
A minimum of an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Psychology or an MSc or Graduate Diploma in Psychology, with evidence of strong research methods skills.
UK degrees must be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), international degrees must meet similar standards particularly with regards to research methods and statistics.
Experience of working with offenders and/or victims of crime in either a paid or voluntary capacity is desirable. Part-time students will normally be expected to be working in a forensic or forensic-related setting or have experience of this.
Additional information for EU/International students
Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|English language requirements 2020/21|
6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|Other accepted qualifications||Visit our English language page|
Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 12 months
- £8,800 per year
- Part Time
- 24 months
- Show fees
- Year 1 (80 credits) £4,000
- Year 2 (100 credits) £5,000
Fees for Part-time students
This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year as shown here.
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 12 months
- £13,200 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites and available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course, such as the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Please read, in full, the entry requirements for this course before applying.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
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 £11,570 for some courses and options?
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):
This module builds upon your undergraduate and previous experience of research in psychology, and begins to prepare you to undertake advanced independent research. This module will provide you with research knowledge and skills applicable to advanced scholarship in the discipline of forensic psychology.
You will develop knowledge and a critical understanding of a variety of research designs and data collection techniques and methods, and will be able to select and use the most appropriate ones to effectively plan and carry out empirical research.
This module aims to provide you with advanced knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of the assessment and treatment of offenders. You will consider the key tools and literature relevant to assessment and treatment interventions and review how these are used by practising forensic psychologists in a range of settings.
This module provides you with a theoretical underpinning of the ethical, legal, and practical issues applicable to practice in forensic psychology. You will develop skills in communicating information in forensic psychological practice, including report writing, expert testimony, and presentation skills. In addition, the module covers transferable psychology-specific and non-psychology-specific skills; ensuring students have the requisite skills in writing for publication, group work, professionalism, and ICT.
This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the practical and theoretical issues relevant to Investigative Psychology. You will learn about a range of relevant topics (e.g. the development of Investigative Psychology, how offender and geographical profiling has evolved, and crime linkage). You will also explore particular concepts relating to policing and investigation, such as police decision making.
This module will provide you with knowledge and critical understanding of the application of psychological theory and research to legal proceedings, the criminal investigation process, and prosecution of offences. At the same time, you will be equipped with an appreciation of the role and functioning of the Criminal Justice System.
This module builds upon the knowledge and skills acquired by students in the Research Methods module that was taught in Term 1 further preparing you to undertake advanced independent research. This module will provide you with further and more advanced knowledge and skills applicable to advanced scholarship in the discipline of forensic psychology.
This module aims to equip you with knowledge and understanding relating to the concept of victimology. Whilst much of the course is centred on offenders, this module focuses on victims and is therefore beneficial to those who wish to work with individuals who have been victims of offending in the future. The module considers a range of victim cohorts including victims of sexual, violent, and trafficking offences. Whilst looking at the theory of victimisation within these concepts, the module also aims to explore the ethical applications of working with the victim.
The aim of this module is to allow the students to design, analyse, and scientifically report research in forensic psychology, demonstrating a critical awareness of existing research literature and a solid practical appreciation of ethical research principles. Students are expected to communicate their research clearly and competently in written and verbal forms. Students are required to produce their dissertation report in APA style in order to prepare students for future training in forensic psychology where part of their training and professional practice will be to produce research of a publishable standard.
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 both in the university and at home. You will study in lectures and workshops, through electronic learning, reflective practice, court visits, prison visits, case studies and discussion groups.
In order to allow you to fully demonstrate the acquisition of learning and skills throughout the course, a range of assessment strategies are used, both formative and summative. These include essays, report writing and structured literature reviews; data analysis reports; preparing and delivering presentations; reflective practice reports and examinations.
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.
This course is accredited by the following organisation:
The British Psychological Society
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.
Enhancing your employability
You will have the opportunity to visit a local prison such as HMP Birmingham, attend court hearings and gain practical experience in one of the University’s mock courtrooms.
We will also assist in identifying work experience opportunities and the Centre for Academic Success offers 1:1 and small group private tutorials in English (including academic writing), study skills, maths, statistics, Word, Excel, programming, networking and project management.
Many graduates go on to gain employment within the health, charity and policing industries, such as working as a trainee forensic psychologist in a prison or mental health facility or as an assistant in one of these settings. You can also develop your academic career and choose to undertake further research within a higher education setting.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!
All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
- Explore some of the good reasons why you should study here
- Find out how to improve your language skills before starting your studies
- Find all the information relevant to applicants from your country
- Learn where to find financial support for your studies
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
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.
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 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) Policing or BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation degrees, 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. You will also benefit from facilities across the wider campus including the Parkside and Millennium Point buildings.
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
Dr Chrisa Pornari
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, MSc in Forensic Psychology Deputy Programme Director
Dr Chrisa Pornari is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, a Chartered Psychologist, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She joined Birmingham City University in 2013 and she teaches on the MSc Forensic Psychology and the BSc Psychology courses.