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Home > Courses > Postgraduate > Forensic Psychology
More in this section Law, Criminology & Sociology

Forensic Psychology MSc

UCAS code
Year of entry 2018
Course Length
1 year full time
2-5 years part time
Department Law »
Psychology »
Main Campus
Egham »


Our Forensic Psychology Masters degree is jointly delivered by the School of Law and the Department of Psychology.  By choosing this course at Royal Holloway you will be trained in the research-practitioner model for careers either in forensic psychology or applied psychology, and gain transferable skills that provide a valuable basis for careers in a wide range for fields.  

A solid foundation in scientific research methods is developed so that you can design, conduct and analyse empirical psychological research. Teaching will be provided by academics from Psychology, Criminology and Law which will enable you develop skills in integrating concepts and communicating on multidisciplinary levels. You will be trained in qualitative and quantitative methods and in ethical issues relating to research and practice.  

Our balanced approach to research and teaching guarantees high quality teaching from both research and practice-led internal and external professionals, cutting edge materials and intellectually challenging debates. You will receive individual attention to enhance your personal and professional development.

On graduating you will have the foundation level knowledge to work towards becoming a qualified Forensic Psychologist and the understanding of the necessary interrelationship between scientific research and forensic psychological practice.

  • Established international reputation for quality research and teaching, and for our engagement in policy and practice, through active involvement with government bodies and voluntary and statutory agencies. The Department of Psychology is ranked 6 in the UK for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2015).
  • Distinctive emphasis on detention and prisons, the assessment and treatment of the mentally disordered offender and young people in the Criminal Justice System provided by strong links with external practitioners.
  • Engage with a broad range of practitioners and Criminal Justice agencies, and have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

Core modules

Advanced Techniques in Social and Behavioural Research

In this module you will develop an understanding of many of the key research techniques that are used in social, health, forensic, clinical and developmental research. You will look at both qualitative and quantitative research techniques, covering forms of data collection such as questionnaires, online data, interviewing and focus groups, observational research methods, computerised cognitive measures, and social neuroscience techniques. You will also consider other forms of data analysis, including grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, thematic analysis, content analysis, and the use of secondary data and meta-analytic and systematic review techniques.

Statistics for Research

In this module you will develop an understanding of the main statistical methods used in psychology research. You will look at basic descriptive statistics before covering more complex techniques, including analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, correlation analysis, and simple and multiple regression. You will examine advanced statistical methods, such as structural equation modelling and factor analysis. You will gain hands-on experience in applying these methods of analyses to actual datasets and problems using statistical software, considering their respective strengths and weaknesses, and what type of problems each approach is best suited to address.

The Legal and Criminal Justice Context for Forensic Psychology

In this module you will develop an understanding of the legal and criminal justice context for forensic psychology, including theory relevant to legal and criminal justice processes. You will look at key debates such as the safeguarding of vulnerable witnesses and defendants, sentencing practices and disposal, including mentally disordered offenders. You will consider the pre-trial legal process, juidicial contexts, and criminal law and procedure, including the law of evidence. You will also examine the Mental Health Act, the Mental Capactiy Act, and defences in crimilar law, including expert testimony and cross examination.

Research-Based Practice in Forensic Psychology

In this module you will develop an understanding of the ethical and professional considerations of forensic practice. You will learn to use and communicate information in forensic psychological practice, including approaches to assessment, treatment and consultancy, and organisational interventions. You will look at the core domains relevant to forensic psychological practice, including mental disorder, mental illness, crime and rehabilitation, assessment and treatment of personality disorder and psychopathy, and approaches to risk assessment. You will consider sexual offending, child sexual exploitation, material and the internet, female sexual offenders, violent offending and fire-setting, as well as a range of professional skills, including critical evaluation, reflection and reflective practice.

Cognitive, Social and Neuroscience Approaches for Forensic Investigations

In thid module you will develop an understanding of cognitive, social and neuroscience approaches to forensic psychology. You will look at social approaches to different victim and offender groups, the neuroscience of psychopathy, interviewing victims, physiological approaches to deception, detection, and the role of eyewitness identifications in the legal system. You will also examine receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and confidence relationships as they apply to decision makers and estimator and system variables.

Young People in the Criminal Justice System

In this module you will develop an understanding of the criminological, sociological and psychological theories that are applied when working with young people in conflict with the law or involved in the criminal justice system. You will look at key debates and issues in the legal and criminal justice context for young people, such as the youth court processes, criminalisation of young people, and systemic approaches to intervention and rehabilitation from offending. You will the role of the psychologist in the youth justice system, young people and sexual exploitation, and girls and young women in the crimimal justice system. You will also examine substance abuse by young people, developmental risk factors and trajectories for crime, and young people in prison.

Dissertation

You will carry out an independent empirical research project on a topic of relevance to forensic psychological theory and practice. You will have an academic supervisor from either the School of Law or the Department of Psychology who will aid you in the formulation of your research, oversee the process of applying for relevant ethical permissions, and offer guidance in the management of the research. You will identify a target journal for your research and write up your dissertation according to that journal's author submission guidelines. 

Knowledge and understanding is assessed by a broad range of both informal (i.e. class exercises and feedback) and by formal means (i.e. examination, presentations and oral reports, coursework and dissertation).  

Entry criteria:

UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in Psychology or any Psychology joint degree accredited by the British Psychological Society.

  • A 2:1 degree which entitles you to Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (see www.bps.org.uk for details of which courses in the UK qualify for this).
  • Selected applicants will be interviewed to establish their suitability for the course. For applicants who are unable to attend, such as overseas students, the interview will be conducted by telephone or Skype. Applicant interview days are likely to be held in February, March, April and May. 
  • Applicants should have relevant practical experience and/or a relevant dissertation, project or other relevant research experience.
  • Applicants should have at least a basic appreciation of forensic psychology, as well as good references.

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities:

  • strong academic skills of writing, research and critical evaluation
  • evidence of a capacity for self-reflection and learning from experiences
  • professionalism

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores.


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK
government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

 

A Forensic Psychology masters degree at Royal Holloway, University of London can lead into a variety of career paths. Your career aspirations might change as you are exposed to the breadth of the subject through your course. You will be in a strong position to embark on a  career in applied forensic psychological research and undertake a PhD or to pursue a career as a Practitioner Forensic Psychologist. You will also have developed an enviable amount of transferable skills that will be an advantage to you in a wide variety of fields.

  • Graduates will have completed the requirements of Stage 1 of the Qualification in Forensic Psychology, then you will be able to apply for Stage 2.
  • The knowledge gained and skills developed will make you highly employable in a variety of fields,  such as: the NHS and private sector, prisons, probation, the police, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Youth Support and Justice Services or research units (in Universities, charitable organisations and private companies). 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £10,400

International students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £16,300

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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