Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), this course provides you with a thorough grounding in the theory, themes, issues and practical skills central to forensic psychology, with a focus on forensic mental health.
This course is designed to cover the British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology's (DFP) core curriculum. However, it has a specific emphasis on mental health issues in forensic populations and the role of psychologists working in forensic settings.
It covers diverse topics such as the theoretical basis of forensic psychology across a range of settings, through all stages of the criminal justice process. However, there is a specific focus on mental health and offending.
The aim of the course is, upon successful completion, for you to have gained an understanding of the influence mental health can have on how people think, feel and act, as well as the opportunity to consider how our criminal justice system can respond to people committing crime, and those being victimised.
Our teaching and learning is designed to encourage your participation and deepen your understanding of specific subjects. For example, by debating and discussing topics such as the effectiveness of prison in reducing reoffending behaviour and the ethics associated with risk assessment.
Coventry, United Kingdom
Why you should study this course
In 2017, the National Audit Office estimated that 10% of the prison population in England was receiving treatment for a mental health problem. Further, that 37% of people in prison had reported mental health problems to HM Inspector of Prisons. In this course, you will have the opportunity to study the types of mental health disorders commonly found in prisons and be taught how to assess and work with individuals in forensic settings, including understanding appropriate treatment programmes and the psychological challenges that can be faced by staff working in the Prison Service.
Our current staff have many years of combined, varied professional psychological experience, either as British Psychological Society Chartered/Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Members themselves, and/or as active researchers (staff may be subject to change).
You will have the opportunity to gain a CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice, upon successful completion of the relevant module.
This course is delivered on campus full-time over one year, starting in September. It can also be studied online on a part-time basis over two years, starting in January – Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc (online). Please see page for details (HLST253. We recommend the part-time option for anyone who has significant responsibilities outside of University, life, because although the content is the same, the delivery is at half the intensity. There is also a sister course, the MSc Forensic Psychology. If you’re not sure whether you want to specialise in Mental Health at this stage, please consider whether that would be preferable. Please read the linked pages for information on each option, to ensure you choose the best option for you.
Five core mandatory modules will be delivered alongside students on the aligned MSc courses - Forensic Psychology MSc and Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc. Additionally, three mandatory pathway modules will then be delivered separately to students on the Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc to specialise the content and differentiate them from the Forensic Psychology MSc course. It is therefore important to read all course webpages related to the different pathways and compare the specific topic areas covered, to ensure you apply for the most appropriate course for you.
What you'll study
Core modules are common to all four Forensic Psychology master’s courses - Forensic Psychology MSc (campus-based and online) and Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc (campus-based and online). Pathway modules are individualised specifically for each course. It is important to read all four course webpages and compare the specific topic areas covered, to pick the most appropriate course to apply for.
Risk Assessment and Management in Forensic Settings - 20 credits
This module is designed to provide you with a thorough grounding in the underpinning theory and methods of risk assessment and risk management utilised within forensic settings.
The Legal Process - 10 credits
This module seeks to provide you with a general awareness and understanding of comparative law and the legal systems (e.g. inquisitorial vs. adversarial systems). This module is aimed at enabling you to appreciate the nature and functions of the criminal and civil justice systems, as well as the distinctions between them.
Ethical Research and Methods in Forensic Psychology - 40 credits
This module aims to provide direct practical experience of how to design, conduct and report quantitative and qualitative research in forensic psychology. The module is intended to provide an interconnected understanding of research methods and designing projects, with the aim of enabling you to progress the conceptual understanding necessary to develop research proposals. The course is also designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge required to summarise, analyse and present research findings relevant to the subject area.
Dissertation in Forensic Psychology - 40 credits
The aim of the dissertation is to give you the opportunity to engage in supervised but independently undertaken empirical research (following successful ethical approval through the Coventry University ethics process) at an advanced level. You will be encouraged to integrate and practice the skills that you should have acquired during the course and to investigate, at master’s Level, an area of specific interest to you.
Global Professional Development – Leading and Creating Organisational Health and Wellbeing (CMI module) - 10 credits
You will have the opportunity to learn how to critically evaluate and develop solutions to complex, inter-related and multi-faceted issues that can be found in a variety of organisations and professional contexts.
Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc students (campus-based full-time and online part-time):
The following pathway modules are studied solely by students enrolled on the Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc:
This module will cover the contribution psychology has made to our understanding of criminal behaviour, with psychological theories examined and evaluated in an attempt to understand how these are situated in the real-world context and applied and used in forensic case formulations.
You will have the opportunity to study the contribution psychology has made to our understanding of mental health disorders in forensic client groups (e.g. different types of offending, patients and at risk individuals, victims/survivors, individuals across the life span).
The aim of this module is to consider professional and practice issues in forensic mental health and how they impact on the work carried out by forensic psychologists across different client groups with mental health issues.
How you'll learn
On this full-time, campus-based version of the course, teaching and learning follows the traditional campus-based model of delivery, including face to face lectures and the expectation of full attendance during term-time.
The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.
Applicants should hold the equivalent of a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree in Psychology. Consideration will be given to applicants who hold the equivalent of a minimum of 2:2 undergraduate degrees in Science or Social Sciences where a minimum of 50% of undergraduate study is in Psychology with evidence of studying a curriculum including research methods. Such non-standard applications will be subject to approval by the Course Director.
English language requirements
IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5
£10,600 per year
£16,950 per year
International Pathways 2022 Scholarship
You could enjoy a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees.
Our high-quality foundation, international year one and pre-masters courses are for international students who do not meet the requirements for direct entry to their preferred Coventry University undergraduate or postgraduate course. We can support you to achieve the academic and/or English grades you need and help you gain the personal and professional skills required to study at university.
We want to encourage ambitious international students like you to study at Coventry University, so we’ve secured extra financial support for you worth £3,000, to help with the cost of tuition fees, living expenses and accommodation.
The scholarship application deadline is:
September 2022 intake: 31 July 2022
Developed with a focus on your future employability, the highly practical nature of the course is intended to help you develop many of the core skills we consider to be necessary for effective practice.
On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and critical understanding of how psychology can be applied to a range of criminal justice, legal, and forensic settings and client groups (including forensic mental health settings)
Demonstrate competence in applying psychological knowledge and skills (e.g., critical evaluation) to practice-based scenarios in forensic psychology in mental health settings
Demonstrate reflective and critical understanding of themselves as future practitioners in forensic mental health settings
Demonstrate and consolidate a range of transferable and professional skills that are applicable to a range of forensic practice settings with a particular focus in forensic mental health
Demonstrate a critical understanding of psychological research paradigms, research methods, ethical procedures, data analyses, psychological literature evidence and theory
Critically evaluate the principles for leading and developing people and a culture of organisational health and wellbeing.
According to the British Psychological Society, the largest single employer of forensic psychologists in the UK is the HM Prison Service. Psychologists can also be employed in rehabilitation units, secure hospitals, social services, university research and in private consultancy.
There are two stages to becoming a practising Forensic Psychologist and Chartered Member of the BPS, requiring a combination of professional education and practice. In the first instance, you need the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), followed by an accredited master’s in forensic psychology, such as this course.
The second stage requires a minimum of two years of supervised practice and successful completion of Stage 2 of the BPS Qualification in Forensic Psychology before you are eligible to register with the HCPC and use the title of ‘Forensic Psychologist’.
You may also be interested in other relevant roles across the criminal justice system such as crime scene analyst; trainee forensic psychologist; trainee clinical psychologist; behavioural investigative advisor; lecturer in forensic psychology; Home Office, local government or police researcher; police officer; youth offending team worker; or probation officer.
Where our graduates work
Some of our previous Forensic Psychology and Mental Health MSc graduates have gone on to further study, or into Stage 2 of the BPS Qualification in Forensic Psychology. Other graduates have gone on to work for HMPPS, including a range of prison settings such as those dedicated to rehabilitation of people convicted of various offences.