BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Forensic Psychology

UCAS codeC810

Full Time3yrs

Part Time6yr

Run by one of the UK’s largest forensic psychology research groups

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This is one of only a few undergraduate courses in the country specialising in forensic psychology. You can train in investigative interviewing and deception detection, and cover topics such as eye witness identification and burglar selection strategy.

This course combines hands-on experience of practical investigations with issues and research at the forefront of forensic psychology today.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Be taught by high calibre and actively researching academics at the cutting edge of their field in forensic psychology
  • Put your investigative techniques to the test in our Forensic Interviewing Suite
  • Do a work placement to gain real-life experience in an area that interests you

What opportunities might it lead to?

We are a dynamic and growing department, which houses the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology (ICRFP). We have a very active forensic psychology research group and for those committed to the subject, an MSc in Forensic Psychology. Continuing your studies will ultimately enable you to become a professional forensic psychologist.

Our course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) which provides eligibility for graduate membership of the BPS and the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership – the first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist.

Alternatively, it is an excellent stepping stone for developing a career in any area of psychology as well as a range of other employment areas.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • teaching
  • health associated professions
  • social welfare
  • police work
  • probation service work
  • research


Hannah Brock, BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology student 2015

I like the fact that we are able to study forensic topics throughout the course and not only in the final year as was offered at some universities.

Hannah Brock, BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology student 2015



Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • The practical work that backs up the theoretical study
  • The ability to take part in cutting-edge research
  • Friendly lecturers who have worked in the field

Browse all courses in Psychology

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

You will begin by building a broad understanding of the subject through introductory core units. You’ll also learn analysis and research skills which you will continue to apply throughout the course.

Core units in this year include:

  • Forensic Psychology in Context
  • The Psychology of Everyday Life
  • Exploring Psychology
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis for Psychologists
  • Applying Psychological Research Methods 1 and 2

Year two

You will develop your knowledge in a number of the specific fields of psychology as well as study a careers unit to improve your employability skills.

Core units in this year include:

  • Biological and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social and Developmental Psychology
  • Individual Differences and Psychometrics
  • Professional Development and Employability
  • Research Methods and Analysis 1 and 2

Year three*

This is the year of your Psychology Research Project and the chance for you to take control of your own learning. You can choose to dedicate your research to an area that you find most stimulating while also focusing your learning through some of the optional units below.

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Psychology of Offending Behaviour
  • Psychology of Security
  • Psychology of Investigations
  • Disability: Theory, Research and Practice
  • Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • Issues in Clinical and Health Psychology
  • Self and Subjectivity
  • Exploring Data
  • Educational Psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology of Human Sexuality
  • Trauma, Memory and Law
  • Psychology Work Placement

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work or study placement).

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


We give high priority to integrating our research activities with your teaching programme. This ensures that you learn about the most important and current issues in forensic psychology that effect real-life practice.

Teaching usually takes the form of lectures and small tutorial groups, together with practical sessions in our labs and studios.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 77% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 16% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 84% studying independently and 0% on work placement


We assess you in a variety of ways throughout the course. Here’s how:

  • written examinations
  • practical reports and essays
  • poster presentations
  • oral presentations

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 25% by written exams, 22% by practical exams and 53% by coursework
  • Year two students: 38% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 54% by coursework
  • Year three students: 33% by written exams, 13% by practical exams and 54% by coursework

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Facilities & Features


You will benefit from our range of modern, high quality facilities. Monitor behaviour using our eye-tracking equipment or test minority influencing scenarios in our Observation Suite. Other labs include:

  • Toddler and Infant Laboratory
  • Psychophysiology Laboratory
  • Digital Analysis and Video Editing Suite
  • Psychology of Applied Cognition Laboratory

Forensic Interviewing Suite

Train in the art of forensic interviewing. Use the suite’s state-of-the-art audio and video-recording facilities to uncover your subjects bluff. Or detect deception using our thermal imaging cameras, specifically looking for the blush reflex around the eyes, cheeks and neck.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

Placements are an optional course component and you will be required to pay for additional costs for you work placement abroad. These will vary depending in the location and length of stay. These costs range from £50 - £2000 to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Our course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) which provides eligibility for graduate membership of the BPS and the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership - the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist. To become a professional forensic psychologist, you will need to undergo further academic training for up to six years.

However, this course is well received by a wide range of graduate employers as it provides you with much sought-after, work-relevant abilities. As well as subject-specific knowledge, you will develop skills in communication, numeracy, teamwork, critical thinking, computing and independent learning – all of which are valued by employers. It is a great springboard to a wide range of people-oriented occupations.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • clinical psychologist
  • forensic psychologist
  • educational psychologist
  • counsellor
  • health planning analyst

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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