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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 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).   

Masters degree

Course code
F73
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
180
How long it takes
2 - 10 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

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)

This online module aims to equip you with a range of critical research literacy skills that provide a crucial foundation for your continuing postgraduate studies within psychology and the social sciences.

See full description

Register
60 06 Oct 2018
Investigating forensic psychology (DD802)

This online module uses real criminal cases to enhance your critical understanding of how forensic psychological knowledge contributes to the understanding and investigation of crime.

See full description

Register
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.


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 8th June 2018.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.


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.

Regulations

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 Student Policies and Regulations website. 

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 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
  • 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.

How long it takes

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

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).

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.