Forensic Psychology BSc (Hons)
BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology
Explore how psychological knowledge informs criminal investigations and forensic practice, and help to understand offending behaviour on this accredited BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology degree.
This course combines hands-on experience of conducting research on forensic topics with developments at the forefront of psychological science. You’ll explore the patterns and behaviours of offenders and victims, build skills in gathering and analysing forensic data, and learn how to present your findings.
As well as studying interviewing and deception detection techniques, you’ll have the opportunity to learn to use eye-tracking equipment, thermal imaging cameras, and advanced digital and video analysis in our observation suite.
Previous graduates of our Forensic Psychology course have gone on to roles in the police force, probation service and welfare, as well as the prison service. Or you could continue your studies in Forensic Psychology as a postgraduate student.
95% Graduates in work or further study (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted in 2019)
This degree offers eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS), if you graduate with a 2:2 or higher.
BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology degree entry requirements
- A levels – AAB–ABB
- UCAS points – 128–136 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDD–DDM
English language requirements
- English Language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
What you'll experience
On this BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology degree course, you’ll:
- Have the opportunity to do a one-year placement in forensic psychology
- Have the chance to study abroad at one of our partner universities in Europe or Asia.
- Be taught by academic researchers, who are conducting pioneering research in forensic psychology
- Have the opportunity to put your investigative techniques to the test in our Forensic Interviewing Suite, which features thermal imaging cameras and advanced digital and video analysis
- Develop transferable skills in communication, numeracy, teamwork, critical thinking, computing and independent learning
- Be able to use eye-tracking equipment and test minority influencing scenarios in our Observation Suite
- Enjoy the benefits of studying in a department hosting one of the UK’s largest forensic psychology research groups
- Use our motion capture studios, which feature the latest Vicon optical system, to explore the mechanics and perception of human movement, looking at how body language influences our appraisal of others and affects interpersonal interactions
Take a tour of King Henry Building at the University of Portsmouth and the specialist psychology equipment and facilities we use in our Forensic Psychology BSc and Psychology BSc courses.
In my first year we visited the courts of law and sat in the public gallery to watch a court case. In our course you have the chance to participate in studies and I think this is valuable experience to get an idea of what it would be like to conduct and administer your own research study.
Careers and opportunities
When you complete the course, you'll be eligible for graduate membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS), which is an essential first step to becoming a professional forensic psychologist. To become a professional forensic psychologist, you'll need to do further academic training for up to 6 years.
What can you do with a Forensic Psychology degree?
Many graduates go on to do an MSc in Forensic Psychology after the course. You could also start a career in areas such as:
- health associated professions
- social welfare
- police work
- probation service
What jobs can you do with a Forensic Psychology degree?
Roles previous graduates have gone on to include:
- clinical psychologist
- forensic psychologist
- educational psychologist
- health planning analyst
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the field.
Previous students have completed work placements in medium secure units, youth offending teams and prisons, including HMP Bronzefield, HMP Ford and HMP Winchester. Others have taken placement roles in organisations including:
- Catch 22
- Hampshire Constabulary Student Watch
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies and build links in the industry. After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.
Phoebe, one of our Forensic Psychology BSc students, talks about her experiences on the course and her plans after graduation at the University of Portsmouth.
Phoebe: I wanted to study psychology because I did forensic science at college and I absolutely loved it. I read up on the course here for Forensic Psychology and thought that sounds amazing, just what I want to do. So I applied, got in and here I am.
It's just all the skills you build up through uni. You engage with so many different people, you really learn group work and think these are all going to help me for my future career.
So after my third year, I'd like to go on to do a master's degree. I hopefully would like to do it at Portsmouth because I love it here. I would definitely like to work in prisons. I think it would be interesting to assess offenders. I'm hoping that going into my master's will open up more avenues and it might completely change my mind.
I have really enjoyed my offending behaviour model. It's been all to do with different offenders, why they offend and it's been so interesting. I have also really enjoyed doing my dissertation. I've had to interview different people. It quite rewarding doing your own research as well because you have put in all that work yourself.
I would recommend University of Portsmouth. It's such a great location. It's got a great atmosphere. The courses are brilliant and the support is fantastic. I've just completely enjoyed it. It's just been such a great experience.
"The thing that really hooked me? The facilities. There’s a fully functioning forensic lab that I can use here!
Now I’m studying forensic psychology, with elements of criminology, that is focused on understanding the abnormalities in people’s thinking and learning how to fix them."
What you'll study on this BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology degree
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, in the first 2 years, you'll study 6 modules, each worth 20 credits. In the final year of your degree, you'll study 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.
- Applying Psychological Research Skills (40 credits)
- Exploring Psychology (40 credits)
- Forensic Psychology in Context (20 credits)
- Perspectives in Psychology (20 credits)
There are no optional modules in this year.
All modules listed below are worth 20 credits each.
- Biological & Cognitive Psychology
- Individual Differences & Psychometrics
- Professional Development and Employability
- Psychological Research Methods
- Quantitative Data Analysis
- Social & Developmental Psychology
There are no optional modules in this year.
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
- Psychology Research Project (Extended) (40 credits)
- Psychology Research Project (20 credits)
All modules listed below are worth 20 credits each.
- Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology
- Educational Psychology
- Exploring Data for Forensic Psychology
- Introduction to Teaching
- Issues in Clinical and Health Psychology
- Psychology of Investigations
- Psychology of Offending Behaviour
- Psychology of Security
- Social Construction of Disability
- Trauma, Memory & Law
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 modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Academic skills support
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- Academic writing
- Note taking
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Presentation skills
- Working in groups
- Revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Support with English
If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- tutorial groups
- practical lab and studio sessions
There’s a priority on integrating research into all of our teaching. This ensures you'll learn about the most important and current issues in forensic psychology that effect real-life practice.
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
How you're assessed:
You’ll be assessed through:
- written examinations
- practical reports and essays
- poster presentations
- oral presentations
- self-led research project
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
The way you’re assessed will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous year of how students on this course were typically assessed:
- Year 1 students: 25% by written exams, 22% by practical exams and 53% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 38% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 54% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 33% by written exams, 13% by practical exams and 54% by coursework
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2022 start)
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £18,300 per year (subject to annual increase)
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
If you do an optional placement unit during your study, you’ll need to pay additional costs.
These costs will vary depending on the location and length of the placement. You’ll normally pay £50–£2000 to cover travel, accommodation and living costs.
How to apply
To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – C810
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.