MSc Forensic and Investigative Psychology
About this course
This masters degree has a strong emphasis on psychological investigation and exploring offending behaviour.
- Exciting new course for September 2022
- Designed to meet the Stage 1 training requirement for accreditation by the British Psychological Society (BPS) to become a Chartered Psychologist*
- Join an established and respected School of Psychology, with a thriving research culture
- Learn through lectures, seminars and research projects
*LJMU's MSc Forensic and Investigative Psychology postgraduate degree has been designed to meet the Stage 1 training requirement for accreditation by the British Psychological Society (BPS). However, as BPS accreditation can only be awarded once a course is running and this is the course's first intake, it is not yet accredited by the BPS. The School intends to apply for BPS accreditation during the first year. The initial award may therefore not be BPS accredited.
This masters degree strikes a balance between Forensic and Investigative Psychology topics and skills to widen career options for graduates. The primary goal of forensic and investigative psychology as a discipline is to contribute to the understanding of why individuals engage in criminal behaviour and how they can be managed and rehabilitated back into society.
The teaching team have expertise across a wide range of forensic and investigative topics, both in research and practice. These topics relate to offenders and victims (with the recognition that many offenders have also experienced victimisation/adversity).
Our small by design cohort size of just 15 students provides the opportunity for you to work closely with your peers and teaching staff, and have sufficient support to progress successfully through your degree.
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students
The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- Access to programme-appropriate software
- Library and student IT support
- Free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.
Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.
Further your career prospects
LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.
We work closely with the careers and employability team to provide you with experiences to increase your employability, for example, visiting speakers from forensic, mental health, and other relevant organisations, mock interviews targeted to specific posts/jobs, CV support. We also ensure that across the modules, we highlight the skills you are learning, enabling you to promote these skills in future interviews.
The student experience
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Discover the building blocks of your programme
Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.
You will undertake six modules during your degree, which are all core - this means all students on the course study them.
Advanced Research Methods in Forensic and Investigative Psychology
This module reviews the key concepts of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research that are key to Forensic and Investigative Psychologists.
You will be assisted to develop a comprehensive understanding of methodologies used in the field of Forensic and Investigative Psychology and studies in this field. You will develop the knowledge to critically evaluate research studies and address the current developments in terms of conducting rigorous research, protecting participant data, and conducting ethical research particularly in terms of collecting sensitive information from vulnerable participants (e.g., victims of crime).
Empirical Project Forensic and Investigative Psychology
The Empirical Project Forensic and Investigative Psychology module gives you the opportunity to gain further practical experience of the research skills taught in the Advanced Research Methods in Forensic and Investigative Psychology Module, in relation to a research question of your own choosing (subject to ethical and practical constraints).
In particular, the module will help you to develop a deeper understanding of the conceptual, methodological, and logistical problems that may be encountered when conducting research.
Forensic and Investigative Psychology in Civil and Criminal Cases
This module aims to provide you with the conceptual understanding of what a forensic psychologist can do to assist in criminal investigations and legal cases, and how research informs such practices. Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of how forensic psychologists can work within the legal system.
Lecture topics typically include:
- Expert testimony
- Conducting forensic psychological assessments
- Victims in civil and criminal cases
- Offenders in civil and criminal cases
- Children in civil and criminal cases
Forensic Assessment and Intervention
This module aims to provide you with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills to conduct forensic assessments in line with ethical and legal practice guidelines.
As part of this, you will be taught how to formulate suitable intervention plans for forensic clients. Indicative lecture topics include:
- Forensic risk assessment: actuarial and structured professional judgement
- Assessment of protective factors
- Working with offenders across the lifespan and in different forensic settings
- The Risk, Need and Responsivity Framework
- NICE guidelines and their relevance to forensic clients
- The BPS code of ethics and conduct, and how to apply this in practice
- Neurodiversity, cultural difference, and implications for assessment and intervention with forensic clients
- Offending behaviour interventions: Theory, development, and critical issues
- Barriers to change and motivational interview approaches
- Working effectively and safely with forensic clients
- Report writing skills
Forensic Consultancy and Reflective Practice
This module aims to develop your understanding of how a forensic psychologist can act as a consultant in different applied settings, including a conceptual understanding of the skills and qualities needed for this role. This module will also teach skills in reflective practice, to support your continued professional development.
Theory, Personality, and Mental Health in Forensic and Investigative Psychology
This module aims to provide students with a deeper understanding of key theoretical concepts relating to specific offending behaviours. Consideration is given to how personality types and mental illnesses can contribute to offending behaviour. It will also help you to develop intercultural and gender awareness, skills in analysis and
Lecture topics may include:
- Theory in relation to specific crimes
- The Dark Triad and its links to criminality
- The links between personality disorder and mental illness
- Case examples demonstrating theoretical concepts within the Criminal Justice System
- The application of personality and mental illness to real criminal cases
- Literature review writing skills
An insight into teaching on your course
Each module has a different number of contact hours and learning hours attached to it. For example, a module may have 40 delivered hours and 260 hours of self-directed study. We recommend around 35 hours of student learning per week.
Standard teaching hours are between 9am to 6pm, and vary across semesters. Formal teaching occurs in Semester 1 (September to December) and Semester 2 (January to May), although you are required to attend university to meet with your dissertation supervisor and to attend presentation days and other relevant session, until your final thesis submission date at the end of August.
The course provides a range of learning approaches in the form of lectures, seminars, and workshops.
Lectures and directed independent reading are used to introduce core knowledge. These are supplemented by seminar and workshop activities in which you can explore ideas in more depth and contribute to, and benefit from, peer learning.
How learning is monitored on your programme
To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.
Assessment methods on this course include:
- essay assignments
- practical reports
- reflection portfolios
- a research proposal and dissertation
- literature reviews
- oral presentations
- research posters
The programme is led jointly by Dr Victoria Blinkhorn and Dr Kirsty Alderson.
Dr Victoria Blinkhorn
Co Programme Leader
Dr Victoria Blinkhorn
Co Programme Leader
Dr Victoria Blinkhorn is a Chartered Psychologist, Research Consultant for the NHS and Probation Service, and has worked in academia for the past 10 years. Her research interests concern how mental illnesses, personality disorders, and general personality traits help to explain offending behaviour in adults. Dr Kirsty Alderson, Co Programme Leader: Kirsty’s career began in the Prison Service, where she was involved in the delivery of drug treatment and sex offender interventions as well as conducting forensic risk assessment and attending Parole Board Hearings. She is a Chartered and Registered Forensic Psychologist, and a BPS stage 2 supervisor.
“I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and research with students who are passionate about pursuing a career within the field of Forensic or Investigative Psychology. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing them succeed” - Dr Victoria Blinkhorn "I am keen to support students to develop their career aspirations. I aim to show students just how their academic learning can inform their work with different clients in forensic and mental health settings." - Dr Kirsty Alderson
You will need:
Minimum 2:1 honours degree in Psychology.
Must achieve 60% or above pass mark in final year research project/dissertation.
Must satisfy the BPS conditions for Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC).
IELTS English Language at a minimum of 7.0 or equivalent, with no less than 6.5 in any single component.
International students applying to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU should check if they require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate.
Applicants are requested to submit an academic reference on letter-headed paper at the point of application.
Please note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.
View country specific entry requirements
Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.
An interview may be required as part of the selection process.
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.