PgDip Forensic Psychology Practice - University of Portsmouth

Forensic Psychology Practice

Part Time2yrs

Gain the skills to become a registered practitioner psychologist

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course (currently subject to HCPC approval) is for students wishing to achieve Health and Care Professions Council registered status as practitioner psychologists, with an emphasis on guided knowledge, applied experience, specialist input and evidence based-practice.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Achieve Registered status as a Practising Forensic Psychologist (subject to HCPC approval)
  • Become fully versed in formulation-based assessment and ethical practice
  • Engage in specialist fields of forensic mental health and disorder
  • Be supported through placements by experienced and expert staff
  • Learn how to deliver expert evidence and training
  • Use the wealth of academic expertise at the University to underpin evidence-based practice
  • Enjoy a range of placement opportunities
  • Be well supported in a positive and collegiate atmosphere

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course is primarily aimed at those wishing to become practising forensic psychologists. ‘Forensic psychologist’ is a legally protected title and this course will enable you to use it (subject to approval) and apply your skills with confidence. You will be well equipped as a practitioner and supported by experienced practitioner academics throughout the process.

Here are some routes our graduates could pursue:

  • Working as BPS Chartered and HCPC Registered forensic psychologists in settings such as: prison, community and NHS secure units and developing their own private practice initiatives
  • Training design and training delivery
  • Project management
  • Academia

The closing date for applications for September 2018 intake will be Friday 13 April. Successful applicants will be invited to an assessment/interview day in May 2018. 


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Structure & Teaching

Teaching will be delivered in blocks at the beginning and end of each semester so you are in regular contact with the University and feel well supported. Placements will be supported and a range of issues will be covered including: practitioner skills – the use of supervision, workload management, professional relationships and reflection; assessment and formulation skills; intervention approaches – to include desistance, environmental impact and rejection sensitivity research and forensic mental health and disorder – a unique unit not delivered anywhere else which focuses on a specialist area of increasing relevance in multi-disciplinary working approaches in forensic psychology.

Core units include:

  • Consultancy, Communication and Expertise
  • Professional Practice 1 and 2
  • Training and Reflection In Forensic Psychology

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.

Teaching and Assessment

Staff are experienced practitioners and well regarded in the profession, having held national leadership roles including Chair of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division, Chair of the BPS Training Committee and many others. Staff are BPS Chartered and HCPC registered practitioner psychologists supported by REF-entered psychologists in a department with long established forensic psychology links. They will bring this extensive experience as practitioners to their teaching which is applied, collegiate and supportive. Supervisors will engage with you in a positive working relationship and your needs will be addressed by staff at the earliest stage.

How are you assessed?

We assess you in a variety of ways throughout the course, including through empirical research, systematic review, oral presentations and more:

  • Case Formulation Exercise (x2 – one for assessment and one for intervention)
  • Placement Reports and Reflective Practice Diaries
  • Design and delivery of training package
  • Group presentation/ discussion
  • Report Writing

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Facilities & Features

Specialist facilities

Utilise our range of modern, high-quality facilities including multiple laboratories and our forensice interviewing suite. You can also benefit from our strong links with the Ministry of Justice, NHS and the Mental Health Foundations Charity.

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. The library also has an electronic bibliography for psychology called PsycInfo, which can be accessed via the internet from your home. It is an invaluable tool for searching for literature on any topic.


You will receive support from the Department’s specialised employability group whose aim is to assist students to gain appropriate work-based experience.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

This course is specifically tailored for individuals seeking to become a forensic psychologist. This is a unique course which provides a blended approach to gaining these qualifications in one programme of work. We would expect this course to be appealing to those interested in a career in becoming a practising forensic psychologist.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now or visit us

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

Postgraduate Open Evenings

Our Postgraduate Open Evenings are taking place between February and April. Lecturers and support staff will be available to discuss your options. You'll also find out more about your chosen course and subjects that interest you.

Booking will open soon but in the meantime, watch our Postgrad Live series to hear from our staff and students about what it's like studying at Portsmouth. 

Other opportunities to visit

Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University.

We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.

Find out more about our self-guided walking tours.

Can't get to Portsmouth?

If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and see us at one of the events we attend around the UK.

If you would like to speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email and we will arrange this for you.

Staff from the University of Portsmouth Global office also regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

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.

University of Portsmouth
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