Online course details
Part-time: 1.5-3 years
£9,495 (2022/23) ‡
Online course description
- This MSc is the same course as our on-campus MSc Forensic Psychology but is now offered through online learning. It’s a great option for those who can’t get onto campus, including working professionals and international students
- It’s pending British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation, but once granted, this MSc will count as a Stage 1 qualification for people who aspire to work as forensic psychologists in the UK
- We are one of the few universities to offer all three stages of forensic psychology training online: a BPS-accredited BSc, this Stage 1 MSc and a Stage 2 Postgraduate Diploma. This means you can complete the full journey to registration online with us!
- This online MSc is also valuable for other job roles, for example in the prison and probation service, secure units, hospitals, mental health services or the police
- Our teaching team is made up of forensic practitioners and academics with considerable experience of working with offenders and victims in a range of forensic contexts
Deepen your forensic psychology knowledge
This postgraduate degree is for students holding a BPS-accredited undergraduate degree in Psychology, Forensic Psychology, or similar. It will equip you with the academic knowledge and skills you need to work within a forensic context.
You will cover areas such as:
- forensic risk assessment and case formulation
- the criminal justice context of forensic psychology
- advanced psychological research methods
- the psychology of the offender and the victim
- forensic settings and rehabilitative interventions, and
- professional skills for applied psychologists
The culmination of this MSc Forensic Psychology course is a research project. This will enable you to study in-depth, an area of forensic psychology that particularly interests you or is relevant to your career aspirations. To support this work, you will develop skills in collecting and analysing data relevant to forensic psychology. You will also use a range of techniques and research methods applicable to advanced scholarship in the discipline.
This online MSc course is pending accreditation from the British Psychological Society (BPS). Once accredited, it will count as a Stage 1 qualification for those who already hold Graduate Basis of Chartership (GBC) with the BPS.
Qualifying as a forensic psychologist
Gaining a BPS accredited MSc is the second step (Stage 1) towards becoming a registered forensic psychologist. The final step (Stage 2) is to complete applied training, such as our online Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Psychology Practice, which is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
What is Forensic Psychology?
To complete the programme, you must acquire 180 credits. You will need to complete six core 20 credit modules and the Empirical Research Project which is a core 60 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 course 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.
Many of our students have not studied for a long time so we put in place support to enable them to study at postgraduate level. If this applies to you, there are several advanced study skill resources available, covering areas such as research skills, critical evaluation in academic context, literature search, referencing, plagiarism and more.
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.
You will also have the option 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 end-of-module assessments (known as ‘summative assessments’). These count towards your grades and may include things like:
- case studies
- research reports
The final assessment on the MSc is the 60-credit empirical research project. For this, you will conduct a supervised empirical research project (including an extended literature review) and a self-reflective portfolio.
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.
Applicants are required to have a British Psychological Society (BPS) recognised undergraduate degree (minimum 2.1) in Psychology (or equivalent) that confers Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the Society. Eligible applicants will be asked to submit a draft research proposal as well as undergo an interview prior to admission onto the course.
You can also apply for this course if your Psychology degree (minimum 2:1) is not accredited by the BPS (does not confer GBC). Please note, however, for this MSc Forensic Psychology to be used as a Stage 1 qualification in Forensic Psychology prior to continuing onto Stage 2 and applying for registration with the HCPC, GBC is a requirement; applicants would need to complete a BPS accredited conversion course in Psychology.
Alternatively, if you hold a BPS accredited undergraduate degree in Psychology (2.2), the final selection for applicants holding a 2.2 undergraduate degree is based on an interview process.
Are you an overseas student?
If you are an international student with a degree that is not accredited by the BPS or is accredited by a different association, you can apply independently to the BPS to see if your degree can be recognised. We will consider applications from international students whose degree is not recognised by the BPS, however completion of the MSc Forensic Psychology would not confer Stage 1 status. To achieve a Stage 1 qualification from this course, applicants would need to complete a BPS accredited conversion course in Psychology prior to joining this Masters award.
For further information or guidance, please contact us.
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 5.5 in each)
- TOEFL: 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based) or 80 (internet based)
- Pearson Test of Academic English: 51
- Cambridge Advanced Certificate: Pass
- London Tests of English: we accept level 5 for postgraduate courses
- International GCE O Level English Language: Grade C
- International GCSE English/English as a Second Language: Grade C
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.
‡2022/23 Fees for new entrants
Starting between September 2022 and August 2023.
| ||Per 20 credits||Modules||Cost|
||7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module)
2023/24 Fees for new entrants
Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.
| ||Per 20 credits||Modules||Cost|
||7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 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)
Masters funding options
Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for a postgraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to help with living costs and tuition fees whilst studying your masters programme.
Alumni discount for Derby graduates
We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.
Find out more about the Alumni discount
How to apply
Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.
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
- 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.
When you have completed this masters degree, you can continue your training to become a registered forensic psychologist through our online PG Diploma in Forensic Psychology Practice (a Stage 2 qualification).
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. Find out more about what forensic psychologists do and how to become one.
If you decide not to pursue a career as a forensic psychologist, this MSc 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
With further study, you could also move into social work or counselling and psychotherapy.
This MSc also provides an excellent platform if you want to move on to PhD research or pursue an academic career.
Please note: that it is possible to obtain GBC status after you have completed the MSc by undertaking a BPS-accredited conversion course such as our online Postgraduate Diploma Psychology.
Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:Contact usFrequently asked questions
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