Forensic Psychological Studies
MSc in Forensic Psychological Studies
This masters degree enables you to gain an advanced understanding of the fascinating area of forensic psychology, while enhancing your analytical and communication skills, and your research literacy. You'll learn about a broad range of topics relevant to forensic psychology and develop an understanding of the relationship this field of research has with UK law, legal practice, policy, public opinion and the media. You'll develop your critical analytical thinking and your understanding of the principles driving different research methods. By completing this qualification you'll be able to source, select and review forensic psychological research independently, evaluate its relevance for complex real life issue/cases, assess its validity and clearly communicate your findings to academic and non-academic audiences.
Key features of the course
• Provides professional development for careers where research literacy, analytic and communication skills are valued
• Experienced tutors and bespoke teaching materials provide an exploration of engaging topic areas and research
• Relevant for existing professionals or those with an interest in all areas of the UK criminal justice system and civil or social services.
Please note that this masters degree is not accredited by The British Psychological Society and be aware that when studying forensic psychology you will encounter sensitive topics and case details (e.g. relating to murder, rape, child sexual abuse) which may be upsetting.
To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:
• Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801) 60
• Investigating forensic psychology (DD802) 120
Please note that Investigating forensic psychology (DD802) is worth 120 credits. Fees for postgraduate modules are based on the number of credits you study. Therefore, the fee for this 120-credit postgraduate module will be double that for the 60 credit module Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801).
You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time.
You must hold a UK honours degree (2:2 at least) or equivalent to be accepted for the MSc in Forensic Psychological Studies. Your first degree need not be in forensic psychology or psychology, but you must have the skills expected of a social sciences graduate.
All students will begin with the postgraduate module, Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801). This module will help equip you with the requisite skills needed to undertake postgraduate-level study, but it does not offer remedial training for those with an unsuitable bachelors degree or inadequate experience.
You must be able to:
• write accurately, clearly and concisely
• read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
• classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
• argue logically and consistently
• select and interpret evidence to support a logical argument.
Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details. If you're not sure whether your English skills are good enough, there is some help and guidance at our Skills for OU Study website.
This qualification has a required study order, so there is only one pathway. This provides you with the opportunity to study with a cohort of peers throughout, while modules and assessment build on one another systematically.
How long it takes
You will be able to complete this masters qualification within two years by studying one module each year.
Post Course Info
By studying forensic psychological studies at postgraduate level, you will develop skills relevant to a broad range of careers, including all areas of the criminal justice system such as the police, crown prosecution and probation services, youth offending teams, various areas of social work, as well as the civil service or third sector. The skills developed will be recognised by employers in all fields who value people who can complete a complex project independently, communicate clearly and effectively to diverse audiences, analyse and evaluate complex information, and are capable of independently seeking out and selecting good research evidence relevant to real-life issues.
This qualification is not accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.