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MSc Forensic Psychology

Our BPS accredited MSc in Forensic Psychology will enhance your critical understanding of psychological theories and evidence relevant to the legal and criminal justice context. You will receive training in the scientist-practitioner model (the relationship between scientific research and forensic practice) and build a conceptual foundation and core skills for training as a forensic psychologist.  The high quality of our programme means that you will be taught by a very strong and enthusiastic team both in the Department of Psychology and School of Law. The course director is Dr Emily Glorney, a Chartered Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, HCPC Registered Forensic Psychologist and a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology. 

The unique contributions to the programme from academics in Psychology, Criminology and Law reflect the multidisciplinary context of applied forensic psychology and will develop your skills in integrating multidisciplinary concepts and communicating to multidisciplinary colleagues. The strong links with external practitioners in the field of forensic psychology give the programme a distinctive emphasis on detention and prisoners, the assessment and treatment of the mentally disordered offender and young people in the Criminal Justice System.

jailcellThe programme is designed to give you in-depth insights into topical issues and the latest research in forensic psychology, in line with the British Psychological Society curriculum requirements. Teaching and learning in the programme are closely informed by the active research of staff and the British Psychological Society Standards for Masters Programmes in Forensic Psychology. Teaching and learning are mainly by means of sessions lasting between two and three hours; a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions. The assessment pattern has been developed to capture a broad range of skills development relevant to forensic psychological theory and practice and is clearly aligned with learning objectives. 

For details about admissions procedures, fees and funding please see our course finder.

Applicants for this programme will be required to attend an interview with Dr Emily Glorney (Programme Director) and another member of the teaching staff. Applicants will be expected to attend an orientation talk in the morning and lunch as well as having an individual interview throughout the course of the day. 

Interviews will be held on the following days:

7th February 2018

20th March 2018

8th May 2018

June 4th 2018

Telephone interviews will be only be offered to applicants living oversees.




The assessment pattern promotes advanced critical evaluation through engagement with theory explicitly (e.g. essays and critical review) and implicitly (e.g. case report, reflective report and small group presentations). Transferable skills are developed through: engagement with the reflective process; psychological report writing and formulation; oral presentations; professional practice skills. The assessment pattern addresses the learning objectives (theory, knowledge and skills) of the British Psychological Society Standards for Masters Programmes in Forensic Psychology.

Programme Content

prisoners The programme consists of six taught courses and a piece of empirical research over one year of full-time study or two or more years of part-time study. In The Legal and Criminal Justice Context for Forensic Psychology you will be taught by multidisciplinary academic and practitioner staff from law, criminology and psychology in the School of Law.

The course aims to provide you with knowledge of the legal and criminal justice context for forensic psychology, including theory relevant to legal and criminal justice processes. In addition, the course aims to engage you with key debates and issues in the legal and criminal justice context, such as the safeguarding of vulnerable witnesses and defendants, sentencing practices and disposal (including mentally disordered offenders.)

In Research-Based Practice in Forensic Psychology you will be taught by forensic and applied psychologists. You will develop an appreciation of ethical and professional considerations of forensic psychological research and practice and learn to use and communicate information in forensic psychological practice. The course is designed to provide the theoretical underpinnings to core domains relevant to forensic psychological practice (such as assessment, formulation and treatment of offenders) as well as to develop and enhance skills relevant to professional practice. 

Our unique course - Young People in the Criminal Justice System – aims to provide you with a multidisciplinary perspective on young people in the criminal justice system. Criminological, sociological and psychological theories are integrated to inform the unique context of understanding and working with children and young people in conflict with the law or involved in the criminal justice system. You will engage with 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 rehabilitation from offending.

Cognitive, Social and Neuroscience Approaches to Forensic Investigations is strongly informed by research active staff in the Department of Psychology and covers selected topics such as social approaches to different victim and offender groups, neuroscience of psychopathy, interviewing victims, physiological approaches to deception detection and the role of eyewitness identifications in the legal system.

You will also take courses in Advanced and Applied Research Techniques and Statistics for Research. You will develop an advanced understanding of key qualitative and quantitative research methods and an understanding of advanced statistical techniques. Both courses provide you with opportunities to practice and apply techniques and provide a methodological foundation for undertaking your own research. You will undertake a piece of empirical research – a Dissertation – throughout the academic year, working with an expert supervisor in either the Department of Psychology or the School of Law. This is your opportunity to pursue a piece of independent research on a topic of relevance to forensic psychological theory and practice. You will work with your supervisor to formulate and plan your research, conduct the research independently and write up your dissertation in a format suitable for submission for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

 As a student on this programme you will get a fine mixture of intellectual stimulation and professional training that will equip you with a strong set of transferable skills to take to your place of work upon graduation. 

Teaching Staff

Pictured below are some of the staff who will be teaching on the programme (from left): Prof Amina Memon, Dr Ryan Mckay and Dr Catherine Sebastian who are located in the Department of Psychology.

Other Royal Holloway academic staff include Dr Laura Mickes, Dr Alana James and Dr Nick Furl (Department of Psychology), Dr Emily Glorney, Dr Jennifer StoreyDr David La Rooy and Professor Rosie Meek (all psychologists in the School of Law), Dr Rita D'Alton-Harrison (School of Law), and Professor Derek Perkins (Honorary Professor of Forensic Psychology).


A Dickie Johnson 2015 cropped

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Forensic Psychology MSc so far. One of the best aspects of the course is the combination of the Law School and the Psychology department. Challenging at times, it has always been interesting because I am continuously learning something new. For example, for a legal module I had to observe two court cases for a piece of coursework; this was an interesting experience as I had never sat in a court before, and it was a unique opportunity to apply my psychological knowledge to a real event. The course is taught by a variety of lecturers, and I especially appreciate this as they all provide different insights into Forensic Psychology. I think that being taught by top professionals and researchers is a great opportunity for me and I already feel that I have made a lot of progress.

Amilcar Dickie-Johnson, 2015


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