Understand the psychology behind criminal behaviour
How does criminal behaviour develop? Are psychopaths born or made? Are eyewitnesses accurate? How should we rehabilitate offenders? These are just some of the challenging questions you will explore on this stimulating BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology degree.
Forensic psychology is increasingly used to inform practice within the justice system and there is a growing demand for professionals who can draw on knowledge of the subject in a wide range of roles and contexts.
We are one of the few universities in the UK to offer an online forensic psychology degree, enabling you to study from any location at any time. We also teach specialist modules from day one.
Our BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology course enables you to apply psychological theories, methods and research to some of the critical challenges facing the criminal justice system today.
You will cover all the main areas of psychology and gain a thorough understanding of complex issues such as criminal behaviour and the personal consequences of crime. There is also the chance to focus on specialist areas through optional modules, including:
- Working with offenders in forensic settings
- Offenders with mental and intellectual disabilities
- Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD
- Clinical applications of psychology
- The use and abuse of psychological theory
Throughout, we emphasise the importance of evidence-based practice so you will research real-life criminal justice problems and look for pragmatic solutions to address those problems.
Our BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology course is pending accreditation by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Graduating from a BPS-accredited bachelors degree means you will be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS, provided that you:
- achieve at least a 2:2, and
- obtain at least 40% in your Independent Study
GBC is the essential first step to becoming a chartered psychologist. You can find out more about the other steps in our Careers section.
Expert tutors and strong industry links
Supporting you all the way is our team of enthusiastic and experienced lecturers who are experts in their fields, including chartered psychologists. Several members of staff are still actively engaged with practice, which helps you keep up to date with the latest developments.
Your learning will be underpinned by the internationally renowned research activities of our staff who are helping to shape understanding and practice across the criminal justice sector. They have expertise in topics such as psychopathy, dark triad, sex offenders, domestic violence, and personality disorders. This means that your modules will feature the latest thinking and contemporary materials.
We also have strong links with a wide range of criminal and community justice agencies including the police, probation services, prisons, youth justice, courts, and victim support organisations. This means you might hear guest lectures from some of these organisations, or you might be able to undertake independent research projects with them.
We encourage you to take up additional volunteering opportunities throughout the degree to add substance to your CV and to ensure you are ‘workplace-ready’ on graduating.
We will prepare you to become a competent researcher yourself, who is equipped with the skills to analyse data and policies critically, and to contribute to original forensic psychology knowledge.
As part of the course, you will conduct independent research into an area that matches your career ambitions and interests. You may also have the chance to get involved in staff research projects and to present your work at conferences.
To complete the programme, you must acquire 360 credits in total. To do this, you will need to complete thirteen core 20 credit modules, three optional 20 credit modules and the Independent Research Project, which is a core 40-credit module.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
This programme is delivered entirely online, so you can study from anywhere in the world and fit your studies around your existing work or personal commitments. We use a Virtual Learning Environment to deliver this course, which offers you a highly interactive experience.
You will learn through:
- Weekly, live sessions delivered by a module tutor, which are also recorded and available to watch later
- Pre-recorded videos delivered by members of the academic team, which are available to watch at any time
- Discussion boards, which enable you to discuss a particular topic with fellow students and tutors
- Guest lectures delivered by industry specialists or alumni, which will provide you with current insights
- Your own online study and research, which you can choose to do at times that suit you
Support for your learning
You will get plenty of support, so if you are new to online learning or haven’t studied for a while, you don’t need to worry. You will be taught by our expert academics, who bring a wealth of experience and specialist knowledge to enrich your learning. There will also be a team of online learning advisors who will help you with any non-academic queries.
Pace of study
The academic year is made up of three, ten-week terms, known as trimesters. We recommend doing about 20 hours of study each week to complete one 20-credit module over a trimester.
The option to take an accelerated study plan will be available from September 2023, whereby you can opt to study two 20 credit modules in one trimester. For this route, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.
This course is assessed through coursework. There will be ongoing assessment (known as ‘formative assessment’) through things like self-assessment, peer review, or feedback directly from your tutor. These aid your learning but do not count towards your grade. Then there will be an end-of-module assessment (known as a ‘summative assessment’) for each module. These count towards your grade and may include things like:
- case studies
- presentations including research-style posters
The final assessment is the independent research project, which is a 40-credit module. For this, you will use the knowledge and skills you have learned so far, to undertake an in-depth investigation into a psychological problem or topic related to your own interests or career ambitions.
Student support and guidance
Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:
All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.
These are typical qualification requirements for September 2023 entry.
||What we’re looking for
||120 - 128
||ABB - BBB
||Merit - Distinction
||GCSE Maths* and English Grade 4 / Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification
|Access to HE
||Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15, Merit: 24, Pass: 6
Applicants will also be considered without these formal qualifications providing you have suitable experience in the forensic environment.
In making our decision, we will consider all the information that you include in your application, including your experience and prior learning. We will also want to see that you are enthusiastic and motivated to study Forensic Psychology with us, and that you have can demonstrate the potential to benefit from studying at the university.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
RPL may be available for you based upon past study and experience.
English language qualifications
If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:
- IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each module)
- TOEFL: 580 (paper based), 237 (computer based) or 92 (internet based)
- Pearson Test of Academic English: 51
- Cambridge Advanced Certificate: pass
- London Tests of English: level 5
- International GCE O level English Language: Grade C
- International GCSE English or English as a second Language: Grade C
- ASE Proficiency: pass
*If you don't have GCSE Maths, you can study our Certificate of Credit in Introduction to Maths in Preparation for Higher Education, which is a 20-credit module designed to help you develop your mathematical skills in preparation for higher education.
If you are unable to take an English Language Test locally, you may wish to consider our Derby English Language Test (DELT), which is an online test in two parts: reading and writing, and listening and speaking. Take a look at our Derby English Language test (DELT) page for full course details, online exam dates and how to book.
‡2023/24 Fees for new entrants
Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.
| ||Per 20 credits||Modules||Cost|
||17 (sixteen 20 credit modules and one 40 credit module)
About your fees
This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.
However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:
- Pay your full course fees upfront, or
- When enrolling in September, pay for all of your modules to be studied in that academic year upfront
Flexible payment plans available
Choose from three payment plan options:
Pay monthly and only for the modules you are studying
Pay your full course fees upfront, receive 5% discount and avoid annual increases
Pay for all modules studied in the year and receive a 5% discount (September enrolment only)
Undergraduate funding options
Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for an undergraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to meet the cost of tuition fees.
If you already hold an honours degree, and you are looking to re-skill or up-skill, you may still be eligible for a loan to study this course.
Students should apply directly to the University.
For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.
Documents to support your application
In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:
- Photo ID – this could be your passport or driving licence
- Current CV
- Copies of certificates and transcripts or a letter of testimony for previous qualifications*
*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:
- Confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
- The date of the translation
- The full name and signature of the translator, or an authorised official of the company
- The translator’s contact details
A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.
Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.
All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.
This online BSc in Forensic Psychology can be a starting point for a career as a registered forensic psychologist. The largest employers of registered forensic psychologists in the UK are Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and the National Health Service (NHS). However, forensic psychologists can also work in rehabilitation units, private secure hospitals, social services, the police, local and central government, and academia.
To become a registered forensic psychologist, you would need to undertake further training after this BSc, as follows:
- A Stage 1 BPS accredited postgraduate qualification, such as our online MSc Forensic Psychology
- A Stage 2 HCPC approved qualification, such as our online PG Diploma in Forensic Psychology. You would then need to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to become a Registered Forensic Psychologist
Find out more about these steps and what forensic psychologists do
If you don’t want to be a forensic psychologist, this BSc can also take you into other roles, such as:
- Offender manager (prison or probation)
- Roles with youth justice boards and youth offending teams
- Offending behaviour programme facilitator
- Social researcher in central or local government
- Policymaker within the criminal justice system
- Criminal intelligence analyst
- Behavioural support mentor in a school
- Mental health recovery worker
- Therapy coordinator
- Mental health advisor at a university
- Academic or researcher within higher education
With further study, you could also move into social work or counselling and psychotherapy.