Our Forensic Psychology Masters degree is jointly delivered by the Department of Law and Criminology and the Department of Psychology. By choosing this course at Royal Holloway you will be trained in the research-practitioner model for careers either in forensic psychology or applied psychology, and gain transferable skills that provide a valuable basis for careers in a wide range for fields.
A solid foundation in scientific research methods is developed so that you can design, conduct and analyse empirical psychological research. Teaching will be provided by academics from Psychology, Criminology and Law which will enable you develop skills in integrating concepts and communicating on multidisciplinary levels. You will be trained in qualitative and quantitative methods and in ethical issues relating to research and practice.
Our balanced approach to research and teaching guarantees high quality teaching from both research and practice-led internal and external professionals, cutting edge materials and intellectually challenging debates. You will receive individual attention to enhance your personal and professional development.
On graduating you will have the foundation level knowledge to work towards becoming a qualified Forensic Psychologist and the understanding of the necessary interrelationship between scientific research and forensic psychological practice.
This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society. Successful completion of the course fulfils stage one of the requirements towards Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society and full membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology.
In this module you will develop an understanding of many of the key research techniques that are used in social, health, forensic, clinical and developmental research. You will look at both qualitative and quantitative research techniques, covering forms of data collection such as questionnaires, online data, interviewing and focus groups, observational research methods, computerised cognitive measures, and social neuroscience techniques. You will also consider other forms of data analysis, including grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, thematic analysis, content analysis, and the use of secondary data and meta-analytic and systematic review techniques.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the main statistical methods used in psychology research. You will look at basic descriptive statistics before covering more complex techniques, including analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, correlation analysis, and simple and multiple regression. You will examine advanced statistical methods, such as structural equation modelling and factor analysis. You will gain hands-on experience in applying these methods of analyses to actual datasets and problems using statistical software, considering their respective strengths and weaknesses, and what type of problems each approach is best suited to address.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the legal and criminal justice context for forensic psychology, including theory relevant to legal and criminal justice processes. You will look at key debates such as the safeguarding of vulnerable witnesses and defendants, sentencing practices and disposal, including mentally disordered offenders. You will consider the pre-trial legal process, judicial contexts, and criminal law and procedure, including the law of evidence. You will also examine the Mental Health Act, the Mental Capacity Act, and defences in criminal law, including expert testimony and cross-examination.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the ethical and professional considerations of forensic practice. You will learn to use and communicate information in forensic psychological practice, including approaches to assessment, treatment and consultancy, and organisational interventions. You will look at the core domains relevant to forensic psychological practice, including mental disorder, mental illness, crime and rehabilitation, assessment and treatment of personality disorder and psychopathy, and approaches to risk assessment. You will consider sexual offending, child sexual exploitation, material and the internet, female sexual offenders, violent offending and fire-setting, as well as a range of professional skills, including critical evaluation, reflection and reflective practice.
In this module you will develop an understanding of cognitive, social and neuroscience approaches to forensic psychology. You will look at social approaches to different victim and offender groups, the neuroscience of psychopathy, interviewing victims, physiological approaches to deception, detection, and the role of eyewitness identifications in the legal system. You will also examine receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and confidence relationships as they apply to decision makers and estimator and system variables.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the criminological, sociological and psychological theories that are applied when working with young people in conflict with the law or involved in the criminal justice system. You will look at key debates and issues in the legal and criminal justice context for young people, such as the youth court processes, criminalisation of young people, and systemic approaches to intervention and rehabilitation from offending. You will the role of the psychologist in the youth justice system, young people and sexual exploitation, and girls and young women in the crimimal justice system. You will also examine substance abuse by young people, developmental risk factors and trajectories for crime, and young people in prison.
You will carry out an independent empirical research project on a topic of relevance to forensic psychological theory and practice. You will have an academic supervisor from either the School of Law or the Department of Psychology who will aid you in the formulation of your research, oversee the process of applying for relevant ethical permissions, and offer guidance in the management of the research. You will identify a target journal for your research and write up your dissertation according to that journal's author submission guidelines.
Teaching & assessment
Knowledge and understanding is assessed by a broad range of both informal (i.e. class exercises and feedback) and by formal means (i.e. examination, presentations and oral reports, coursework and dissertation).
UK Honours or equivalent in Psychology or any Psychology joint degree accredited by the British Psychological Society.
- This course requires a UK 2:1 (Honours) degree or equivalent in Psychology or any Psychology joint degree accredited by the British Psychological Society (see www.bps.org.uk for details of which courses in the UK qualify for this).
- If you are applying with an international qualification, we will need to see evidence that you have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership from the British Psychological Society.
- Applicants are expected to have 60% or equivalent in the dissertation modules from their undergraduate studies.
- If applicants have not yet completed their degree, they should have achieved mostly 60% in their modules with the occasional grade in the high 50’s. If there are extenuating circumstances which have affected performance but the applicant has shown ability to work at a 2:1 standard then this can still be considered by the department.
- Applicants should have at least a basic appreciation of forensic psychology, as well as good references.
- Applicants will be interviewed before being given an offer.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 54.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.
Your future career
A Forensic Psychology masters degree at Royal Holloway, University of London can lead into a variety of career paths. Your career aspirations might change as you are exposed to the breadth of the subject through your course. You will be in a strong position to embark on a career in applied forensic psychological research and undertake a PhD or to pursue a career as a Practitioner Forensic Psychologist. You will also have developed an enviable amount of transferable skills that will be an advantage to you in a wide variety of fields.
- Graduates will have completed the requirements of Stage 1 of the Qualification in Forensic Psychology, then you will be able to apply for Stage 2.
- The knowledge gained and skills developed will make you highly employable in a variety of fields, such as: the NHS and private sector, prisons, probation, the police, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Youth Support and Justice Services or research units (in Universities, charitable organisations and private companies).
Fees & funding
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £11,900
EU and International students tuition fee per year**: £21,500
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.
All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the programme via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
** For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2021, we will award a fee reduction scholarship which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.