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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, as well as your research literacy. You will learn about a broad range of topics relevant to forensic psychology and develop an understanding of the reciprocal relationship this field of research has with UK law, legal practice, policy, public opinion and the media. The qualification also considers international differences in forensic theory, research and practice.

This masters degree requires an aptitude for critical analytical thinking and for understanding the principles driving different research methods. It also has a strong emphasis on applied relevance. Completing the qualification will enable you 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 all those working in 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, enabling you to engage with them in a sophisticated manner
•Relevant for existing professionals or those wishing to pursue a career 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).

Entry requirements

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 the masters degree with the postgraduate foundation 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
•marshal 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.


2 - 10 years. You will be able to complete this masters qualification within two years. Completion is required within a maximum of 10 years.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
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).

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also look at our OU study and your career pages to find out about potential career opportunities related to OU subject areas.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

This 180-credit qualification comprises one standard and one long module. This weighting is reflected in the fees, the time expected to complete and the credits.

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start

Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801) 60 07 Oct 2017
Investigating forensic psychology (DD802) planned for October 2018

This module offers an innovative approach to studying the fascinating area of forensic psychology by exploring topics through real crime cases. 120 06 Oct 2018

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.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules for the qualification you can be awarded an MSc in Forensic Psychological Studies. You will be entitled to use the letters MSc For Psych (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

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