Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK fee

£7,850 for the full course or £875 per 20 credits* (2021/22)

International/EU fee

£14,700 for the full course (2021/22)

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

This postgraduate degree will equip psychology graduates with the academic knowledge and skills they need to conduct practical work and research within a forensic context.

During the course, you will be encouraged to undertake a minimum of 30 hours volunteering to gain real life experience in a related field, as well as to obtain practical insights into forensic psychology. 

The culmination of the MSc Forensic Psychology programme is the research project which will enable you to tailor your learning to reflect your own specific area of professional interest and your career aspirations. To support your work on your research project, 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.

On successful completion of the course, you may continue your training to become a Forensic Psychologist, or pursue a career in sectors such as the prison and probation services, crime analysis or education.


The MSc Forensic Psychology programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), thereby accounting for Stage 1 of the 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 first step (stage 1) towards becoming a Forensic Psychologist. The next step (stage 2) is to complete approved applied training; one route is the Qualification in Forensic Psychology provided by the BPS. The Qualification in Forensic Psychology is the independent route to training as a forensic psychologist. To find out more about the stage 2 qualification, please visit the British Psychological Society website.

Members of our Division of Forensic Psychology look at the career path of a forensic psychologist and the achievements of forensic psychology
Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

The MSc Forensic Psychology programme consists of 180 credits which will be completed in a single year. Each module is compulsory, although the research project allows you to tailor your learning to your own area of interest.

Advanced Quantitative Research Methods (20 credits)

The focus of this module is quantitative research of relevance to forensic and criminal psychology. To help you design, conduct and evaluate research within science, you must draw upon a variety of quantitative research methods, assess the appropriateness of different research designs and employ a range of analytical approaches including advanced statistical techniques. You should also be able to interpret the findings in order to draw appropriate conclusions in relation to specific hypotheses and research questions. On this module, you will gain a critical understanding of quantitative research methods and advanced statistical techniques used for different types of research design. You will also consider how statistical tests are performed and analysed using software packages and how the resulting data are interpreted and reported. 

The Psychology of Crime, Criminal Behaviour, and Victimology (20 credits)

By the end of this module, you should have gained the knowledge and skills to progress to working with a range of client groups including different types of offenders, patients and at-risk individuals; victims / survivors; individuals across the lifespan (including children and young people in conflict with the law); males and females; professionals, groups and organisations

Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (20 credits)

This module introduces a range of qualitative methods used within contemporary scientific inquiry. In order to design, conduct and evaluate research within science, you must be able to draw on a variety of qualitative research methods and assess their appropriateness, employ a range of analytical techniques and be able to interpret findings to draw appropriate conclusions. The module will provide you with a critical understanding of various qualitative research methods and their related epistemological backgrounds. You will also gain insights into a range of data generation techniques and will consider how the resulting data are interpreted and reported.

The legal and criminal justice context of forensic psychology (20 credits)

This module enables you to demonstrate a critical understanding of psychological theories and evidence relevant to processes in the justice system, including the legal framework of the civil and criminal justice systems; processes of investigation; the legal process; the process of detention; working with litigants, appellants, and individuals seeking arbitration and mediation; and interdisciplinary and multi-agency working. In addition, the tutorials that accompany this part of the course facilitate your emotional and cognitive development as you progress towards your professional career.

Forensic Settings and Rehabilitative Interventions (20 credits)

At the end of this module, you should be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of the range of interventions available for offenders, patients and at-risk individuals, victims/survivors, professionals, groups and organisations. You should understand different approaches and be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of those approaches to inform the selection of appropriate interventions. You should also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions.

Forensic Assessment (20 credits)

The first outcome of this module is that you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to progress to working within a range of settings and contexts relevant to forensic and criminal psychology, including prisons; secure units; hospitals; mental health; police; courts (including criminal, family and civil); community settings; charities and social enterprises. You should have an understanding of organisational culture and systems, and the ways in which these impact on the practice of forensic and criminal psychologists and other professionals. The second outcome of the module is that you should be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of different approaches to assessment and formulation in relation to individuals, groups and/or organisations. You should also demonstrate a familiarity with the processes and tools of assessment in line with the particular focus offered by your programme. 

Independent Study (60 credits)

The purpose of the independent studies module is to build upon your existing knowledge and understanding of forensic and criminal psychology. Informed by current scholarship and research, it will develop your critical awareness of the latest issues and developments within the discipline. By focusing on a supervised empirical research project (including an extended literature review) and a self-reflective portfolio, you will:

  • Propose a suitable area for research; demonstrating its potential scope and appropriateness through an extended literature review 
  • Consider a range of techniques and research methods, applicable to psychological enquiry, and select the most suitable
  • Apply relevant ethical, legal, and professional practice frameworks and boundaries, as set by the university and the BPS
  • Gather and critically evaluate relevant evidence and / or data, drawing feasible conclusions and recommendations
  • Disseminate your work appropriately in the form of a professional report. 

You will also produce a portfolio which critically reflects on and synthesises one of the following:

  • your research journey as noted above
  • your volunteering experiences (if opted for in semester two)
  • one or more of your forensic setting visits taken during semester one and two.

All of which will be used to inform your developing professional identity as a forensic and criminal psychologist.

Please note that we are continually developing the content of this course to ensure that it is relevant, up to date and matches our students’ future ambitions.

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.

How you will learn

The MSc Forensic Psychology is delivered primarily through lectures, interactive workshops and discussions, small group teaching, and one-on-one supervision.

You will also benefit from a number of outings and visits, as well as guest lectures by prominent figures in the world of forensic psychology.

How you will be assessed

Assessments will be diverse in format and may include: 

Who will teach you

Dean Fido wearing waistcoat

Dr Dean Fido
Programme leader

Dr Dean Fido joined the University of Derby Online Learning in January 2018 as a Lecturer in Psychology before moving on cmapus to lead the MSc Forensic Psychology. After completing his PhD at Nottingham Trent University, he completed post-doctoral research at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (University of Oxford).

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Entry requirements

Fees and funding

2021/22 Fees (August 2021 - July 2022)


£7,850 for the full course or £875 per 20 credits*

£875 per 20 credits


£14,700 for the full course


Please note 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 after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

UK students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University
International students

English language entry requirements must be achieved and evidenced as part of an application and before an interview can be offered for this programme.

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for a postgraduate degree


Students generally choose the MSc Forensic Psychology because they wish to pursue a career in Forensic Psychology. 

Forensic Psychologists work across many agencies within the criminal justice system, primarily in prison and probation services, secure hospitals, the police, and the courts in roles such as:

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.

A profile shot of a female student

Studying this course has equipped me with a lot of knowledge that employers look for. I have been offered a role as a Mental Health Key Worker in a mental health rehabilitation centre, and this is thanks to all the knowledge I gained on this course.

Andrea Nica
MSc Forensic Psychology student
Kanish Jones wearing a headscarf.

How graduate Kanish is rehabilitating offenders in prison role

Kanish Jones has gone straight from her MSc Forensic Psychology degree to working at the largest prison in Europe for sexual offenders. Kanish secured the role as Interventions Facilitator at HMP Whatton in Nottinghamshire while still studying.

Read Kanish's storyRead Kanish's story

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

Minimum numbers

Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run.

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