This degree has three stages, each comprising two 60-credit modules.
- At Stage 1 you’ll be introduced to core academic skills and concepts in the social sciences and psychology.
- At Stage 2 you'll explore a wide range of real-life problems and issues to which psychology has been applied, along with a variety of research and practical skills used by professional psychologists.
- Finally, at Stage 3, you'll specialise in psychology as it has been applied to criminal justice contexts, including counselling and forensic psychology in prisons. You'll complete your degree with an independent research project.
Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
Stage 1 provides a firm foundation for more specialised study in forensic psychology, and develops essential study skills. You’ll begin by gaining a fascinating overview of the major social science disciplines. This will be followed by exploring how psychologists study our thinking and behaviour – and how academic research can be applied in real-life settings.
At Stage 2, you’ll investigate a range of psychological theories and research that relate to real-world issues and everyday problems – including group behaviour and crowd violence, prejudice and discrimination, obedience and conformity. You’ll also learn about a wide variety of research methods used to explore these issues and undertake your own supervised research projects.
At Stage 3, you’ll begin by focusing on counselling and forensic psychology, taking an applied approach to issues such as counselling vulnerable clients and working with offenders. In the final module you'll further explore the questions psychologists ask, the methods they choose to answer them and complete your degree with an independent research project.
The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Forensic Psychology uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- working in a group with other students
- using and producing diagrams or screenshots
- undertaking practical work
- finding external/third party material online
- using specialist software (for example SPSS software for statistical analysis).
If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our disability page to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Forensic Psychology degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Essential Documents website.
Skills for career development
As well as specific knowledge about forensic psychology, this degree course will help you to develop many transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers. These include:
- effective team-working
- independent and critical thinking
- IT and data handling
- analysing and evaluating diverse sources of information, including qualitative and quantitative data
- designing and carrying out research projects, and presenting their findings
- problem-solving and reasoning
- application of learning to real world problems and situations
- independent learning.
This degree is relevant to a broad range of careers, including those within the criminal justice system, such as the prison and probation services, and organisations concerned with the care and resettlement of offenders, victim support, crime prevention, social care and social justice.
Please note that this degree does not qualify you to practise as a forensic psychologist – although it provides ideal preparation for the additional training required.
A career as a professional psychologist in the applied areas of psychology will require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree – for which this degree course provides useful preparation.
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulated titles include:
- clinical psychologist
- counselling psychologist
- educational psychologist
- forensic psychologist
- health psychologist
- occupational psychologist
- sports and exercise psychologist.
This degree is designed to deliver the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS). To be eligible for GBC you must achieve a 2.2 or higher for this qualification.
There are many other types of career for which the knowledge and skills that you will develop as a graduate may be useful such as:
- the health professions
- human resources
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the website are available to see at any time, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- forensic psychologist
- clinical psychologist
- police officer
- prison officer
- probation worker
- social worker
- youth worker
- human resources manager.
This degree does not provide direct entry to the career fields listed, but it may ease access and increase your employability in relation to them, and it enhances prospects for progression once you are qualified to enter them.
Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.