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MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

British Psychological Society logo
This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Our MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health course is aimed at graduates who want to pursue a career as a Chartered Psychologist and/or register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Forensic Psychologist.

You will cover topics such as psychology applied to legal and investigative processes, forensic risk assessment, offending behaviour interventions, research methods, and personality disorders.

Teaching will comprise a blend of face-to-face and online delivery, and will be based on case examples from forensic and clinical practice.

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

The BPS outlined five commendations following the January 2018 BPS accreditation visit:

  • The Programme Director, programme team and administrative team have worked extremely hard to develop a high quality programme that meets all of the Society's standards.
  • The programme has been designed to have a fully embedded mental health flavour which makes the programme distinctive.
  • The programme team is approachable and supportive to the students and this is greatly valued.
  • The pilot of the reflective log for understanding the professional skills that the programme embeds is innovative and well thought-out.
  • The senior management team has shown commitment in supporting the programme and its team in their development for the future.


On completion of the course, you will demonstrate a number of competencies and have enhanced knowledge and skills including:

  • a systematic and critical awareness of current knowledge, theory and evidence base relevant to the discipline of forensic psychology;
  • a comprehensive understanding of relevant ethical, legal and professional practice frameworks;
  • a critical awareness of current psychological approaches to the understanding of the development and treatment of offending behaviour and mental health conditions;
  • appreciation of approaches to working with different client groups in forensic practice (eg victims of crime, offenders, professional groups, organisations);
  • advanced research skills to develop and implement a forensic-related research project.

Each unit enables you to develop a range of core and transferable skills central to the role of a forensic/practitioner psychologist. The course promotes the development of critical thinking and student engagement.

Special features

Mental health focus

Our unique focus on mental health throughout the units within this MSc may give you a distinct advantage over an MSc in forensic psychology at another university.

Expert teaching

The programme team comprises of psychologists with experience across a broad range of forensic/forensic mental health settings and specialist forensic/forensic mental health researchers. This enhances learning by offering numerous practice-based clinical examples and research-led teaching.

Conference award scheme

We are keen to support our students' career development. As a student on this course you will be able to apply to our conference award scheme. The student with the best abstract will be awarded funding to attend a national conference where they can showcase their research. This is a great opportunity to develop your skills and network with others in the field.

Teaching and learning

We use a range of teaching and learning methods, including face-to-face lectures, online activity, directed and guided independent study, and group tasks.

We aim to provide a grounding in current issues in forensic psychology while encouraging significant independent study, as would be expected at postgraduate level.

All teaching is delivered by clinicians currently practicing in forensic mental health and/or active researchers. This enhances learning by offering numerous practice-based clinical examples and research-led teaching.

All teaching is interactive and is supported by audio-visual stimuli such as PowerPoint slides, images and videos. All units are accessible via Blackboard, which contains timetable information, recommended reading lists, assignments, lecture materials and other material related to the course.

The scientist-practitioner approach will be advocated throughout the course, as will reflective practice and adherence to ethical and professional standards of practice as defined by the BPS and HCPC.

The teaching is designed to enable you to balance study alongside existing workplace demands. The full-time pathway is delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while part-time students would be required to attend only one day a week per semester (Tuesdays in year 1 and Thursdays in year 2).

All students will be assigned a personal tutor and regular individual and group tutorials will be held.

Coursework and assessment

We use a range of assessment methods to meet learning outcomes while also developing wider skills and capabilities in line with progression to a career in forensic psychology.

These include critical analysis of literature and theory, case reports, analysis of ethical and professional practice standards (as applied to clinical practice and research), a reflective account, oral presentations and the empirical research project.

You will be given detailed formal feedback for all summative assessments, with clear guidance on how to improve on skills and knowledge.

All students will complete the dissertation project (60 credits), which involves completing a forensic research project, and will take the lead on developing the research question and proposal, as well as conducting the data collection, analysis and dissemination.

You will receive approximately 28 hours of supervision throughout the dissertation project.

Course unit details

This course is offered on both a full and part-time basis. For the part-time option, you will be offered 60 credits per year over two years, one day per week. The second year will also include the dissertation.

For the full-time option, you will be offered 60 credits per semester over two days per week. The dissertation will commence as soon as possible within the academic year (April at the latest), with a submission deadline of September.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introduction to Forensic Psychology and Professional Practice PSYC62301 30 Mandatory
Psychology Applied to Investigative and Legal Processes PSYC62401 15 Mandatory
Offending Behaviour Interventions PSYC68762 15 Mandatory
Personality Disorder Assessment and Intervention (FP) PSYC68772 15 Mandatory
Clinical Risk Assessment, Formulation and Management (FP) PSYC68782 15 Mandatory
Dissertation (Forensic Psychology) PSYC68790 60 Mandatory
Research methods I: Design and principles PSYC68801 15 Mandatory
Research Methods II: Advanced analysis PSYC68812 15 Mandatory
Reflective skills portfolio PSYC68880 0 Mandatory

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to study Forensic Psychology and Mental Health at Manchester on our student blog .


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Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .