Online course details
Full-time: 2 years, Part-time: 4 years †
£6,330 (2023/24) ‡
September, January, May
Online course description
- If you hold a BPS-accredited MSc in Forensic Psychology (Stage 1), this online programme, coupled with 360 days of practice experience within a forensic setting, confers eligibility to apply for Health Care Profession Council (HCPC) registration, to become a registered forensic psychologist
- All teaching will take place online around your work and other commitments. It’s a great option for those who can’t get onto campus, including working professionals and international students*
- You will still be able to interact and share insights with tutors and other students, through digital cafés and forums
- You will also receive regular support throughout the programme, including through your Clinical Supervisor and your Academic Supervisor, both of whom will be HCPC Registered Forensic Psychologists
- Our highly regarded teaching team includes practising forensic psychologists, who will bring their industry experience and research-informed practice to the programme
*If you are an international student, you will need to identify suitable placements, as well as an approved clinical supervisor. Overseas training is unlikely to qualify the trainee to practice in the UK, but may be acceptable in their home country. Please confirm this before starting the programme — it is your responsibility.
The final stage of your forensic psychology training
This new, Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Psychology Practice is unique in that it combines online teaching with practice-based learning and independent study. Once you successfully complete the programme, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and, if this is granted, you will be able to practice as a forensic psychologist in the UK.
We expect that most students will already be working in a forensic setting where they can carry out the necessary 360 days of practice, but if you are not, there may be placements available provided by University of Derby, though these are not guaranteed.
It will train you to be both the ‘scientist’ and the ‘practitioner’. You will develop an advanced understanding and independent judgement of psychological perspectives, theories, policy, and practices relevant to criminal behaviour.
It will also help you to become critically aware of issues at the forefront of forensic psychology, and encourage your enquiring, analytical and creative skills.
We will provide you with an Academic Supervisor who will help you meet the academic requirements of the programme and support you to apply the academic learning to your practice setting. They will be a HCPC registered Forensic Psychologist.
You will also need a Clinical Supervisor, who will be based within your workplace or placement setting. They will be a HCPC registered Forensic Psychologist, with at least two years’ experience post-qualification. They will provide you with suitable practice opportunities and help you make sense of your learning experiences.
Expert tutors and strong industry links
You will be taught by a team of enthusiastic and experienced lecturers who are experts in their fields, including chartered psychologists and registered forensic psychologists.
Our staff are involved in internationally renowned research that is helping to shape understanding and practice across the criminal justice sector. They have expertise in topics such as psychopathy, sex offending, domestic violence, stalking, and personality disorders. As a result, your teaching sessions will often 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 research projects with them.
You will need to complete six core 10-credit modules and the two 30-credit modules so, on the full-time programme, you will study three 10-credit modules and one-30 credit module in each year, applying that to practice.
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.
Whilst this is a professional programme, it is delivered entirely online so you can study this course virtually, from any location and have the flexibility to fit your studies around your work. You will engage in all course materials and live sessions through our virtual learning environment, which is easy to use and offers a highly interactive study experience.
You will learn through:
- Weekly, Live sessions, delivered by a module tutor, to allow for revision and consolidation purposes (live sessions are 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 (subject to change and availability)
- Your own online study and research, which you can choose to do at times that suit you
- Hands-on experience gained on your placement
You will be required to undertake and evidence a total of 360 days of supervised practice-based work experience to develop competencies in four key areas:
- Research: 90 days
- Conducting psychological applications and interventions: 90 days
- Communicating psychological knowledge and advice to other professionals: 90 days
- Training other professionals in psychological skills and knowledge: 90 days
Through your professional practice, you will build a portfolio of evidence and reflections which will count toward your final assessment.
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. Alongside our expert academics and your Academic Supervisor, 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. For the full-time course, you will need to study the equivalent of 20 credits each trimester. For the part-time course, you will study the same modules and number of credits, with placement practice time but across a 4-year period. If you are interested in the part-time option, please contact us for details.
This course is assessed through coursework. There will be assessments for each module that count towards your final qualification (‘summative assessments’), which may include things like:
- case studies
- presentations including research-style posters
- research reports
- a reflective portfolio
- a learning and development log
At the end of the programme, each assessment with contribute to your final practice 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.
All eligible applicants will be subject to an interview prior to admissions onto the course.
- Applicants must hold a British Psychological Society (BPS) recognised postgraduate degree in Forensic Psychology (or similar) that confers Stage 1 eligibility (e.g., an MSc Forensic Psychology)
- Applicants need to evidence they have secured a suitable practice placement (Please note: Placement providers may require different levels of prior work experience in forensic settings):
- You may already be working in a forensic setting and will be able to have their practice/placement in the workplace
- Or you may arrange a ‘time limited’ placement with an eligible supervisor yourself
Alternatively, you may apply to the university for one of our few ‘time-limited’ placements. It is important to note that the university placements are extremely limited in availability and allocation will be subject to an interview process. Securing a university placement cannot be guaranteed.
As this programme confers eligibility to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a practitioner psychologist, the good health and good standing of students need to be assured. All applicants will be required to complete an annual declaration of this.
If you have studied at another institution you may be able to translate some of this prior learning into credits (a maximum of two taught modules or 40 credits) towards this course. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL. This could potentially reduce the course length to a minimum of 12 months. Learn more about RPL.
Applicants will be required to have appropriate liability insurance to cover you during your practice placement. This may be provided through your employer where you are undertaking your placement within your place of work.
If you secure a placement independently, or through the University, you will be required to take out your own professional liability insurance. Costs are approximately £100 per year.
You will be required to supply evidence of your liability insurance cover. It is your responsibility to renew your liability insurance as appropriate.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is required when going on placement during this course. Applicants are required to obtain/hold a valid DBS themselves in advance of applying for this course.
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
Find out more about our English language requirements
‡2023/24 for new entrants
Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.
UK/EU fee: £6,330
International fee: £6,330
2024/25 for new entrants
Starting between September 2024 and August 2025.
UK/EU fee: £6,300
International fee: £6,300
About your fees
This figure would be the total cost of this course based on the fee 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.
If you are required to undertake any associate study or additional study as a condition of your offer for the programme, please be aware that the cost for this will be in addition to the programme cost stated above.
Breakdown of fees for academic year 23/24
||Cost per 10 credit module
||Cost per 30 credit module
||8 (six 10-credit modules and two 30-credit modules)
Breakdown of fees for academic year 24/25
||Cost per 10 credit module
||Cost per 30 credit module
||8 (six 10-credit modules and two 30-credit modules)
Flexible payment plans available
Choose from two 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*
*Please note: the discount for paying your fees up front will only be available to students enrolling for eligible online studies between August 2023 and July 2024 and will not be available for the September 2024 intake onwards.
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:
- Official photo identification such as a passport or driving licence
- Copies of certificates and transcripts or a letter of testimony for previous qualifications*, including evidence of your BPS accredited Stage 1 MSc in Forensic Psychology qualification
- Current CV
- An academic and an employer reference explaining your suitability for the course, each provided on signed letter headed paper
- Evidence of appropriate public liability insurance
- A completed Supplementary Information Form
- In your application form, please explain if you have your own placement or whether you are applying for one our 'time-limited' placements.
*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.
Completing this Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Psychology Practice will enable you to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and, if granted, you will be able to practice as a forensic psychologist in the UK.
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.
Alternatively, you could choose to use your qualification to pursue an academic or research career, for example by working as a research assistant or associate, or by taking your studies to the next level with a PhD.
Utilise our Careers and Employment Service
Whilst you are a student at the University of Derby, and for 3 years after you graduate, our Careers and Employment Service can assist you with job search advice, CV creation, workshops and events, as well as one-to-one appointments with employment advisers to help with career planning and interview preparation.
Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:Contact usFrequently asked questions
† Additional information about your studies
The first start date for this course is January 2023. Part-time study is available from September 2023
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