Criminal Psychology MSc
MSc Criminal Psychology
This course is part of the MSc Criminal Justice Postgraduate Flexible Framework.
The Flexible Framework allows you to customise your postgraduate degree. The units and subjects you choose will determine which award title you graduate with. To view the other unit options, visit the MSc Criminal Justice page.
If you're looking to build on your undergraduate studies in psychology and pursue a career in criminal psychology, or you're already working in the field and want to further advance your career, our MSc Criminal Psychology degree course will give you the knowledge and skills you need to reach your goals in this challenging arena.
Criminal psychology draws in elements from psychology, criminology and criminal justice, with the aim of studying offenders and offending behaviour, to improve the effectiveness of criminal investigations. On this course, you'll get to analyse the criminal justice system with a view to improving outcomes, understanding complex behaviours like police interviewing, and detecting deception, as well as gaining further expertise in courtroom psychology and jury decision making.
You'll also learn how to improve criminal investigations by adding a psychological component such as offender profiling, and look at issues like offender rehabilitation, and the links between offending behaviour and mental health.
This course can be studied either full or part-time, either on campus or through distance learning.
You'll study in our Institute of Criminal Justice Studies and learn from our team of criminal psychology specialists, so that when you graduate, you'll have the skills you need for a career as a criminal psychologist, working with offenders, working with victims or within law enforcement agencies.
This course is not accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
The additional Core Subjects you can choose from include:
Our MSc Criminal Psychology degree course offers you two routes of study, depending on your preferences and career goals:
In addition to Psychology and Offending Behaviour, and Research Methods and Ethics, you'll study a relevant Specialist Option. You'll only be able to study a Specialist Option if enough other students elect to take the option in question. You'll also have a free choice to study any other option.
In addition to Psychology and Offending Behaviour, and Research Methods and Ethics, you'll study one additional Core Units from the list above, and a relevant Specialist Option. You'll only be able to study a Specialist Option if enough other students elect to take the option in question.
Specialist Options include:
- Investigation and Psychology
- Substance Misuse, Crime and the Criminal Justice System (campus only)
- Dangerous Offenders and Vulnerable Victims (campus only)
- Policing Communities (distance learning only)
- Missing persons (distance learning only)
Your exit qualification will depend on which options you choose. You'll graduate with one of the following:
Campus (full and part time) and distance learning:
- MSc Criminal Psychology
- MSc Criminal Psychology and Intelligence
- MSc Criminal Psychology and Counter Fraud & Counter Corruption
- MSc Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice
- MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology
- MSc Crime Science and Criminal Psychology
- MSc Cybercrime and Criminal Psychology
- MSc Security Management and Criminal Psychology
- MSc Criminal Psychology and International Criminal Justice
- MSc Criminal Psychology and Policing, Policy & Leadership
What you'll experience
On this course, you'll:
- Learn from an experienced team of criminal psychology specialists in our Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
- Use our laboratories to carry out investigations, with specialist facilities including eye-tracking equipment, observation suite, and digital analysis and video editing suite
- Benefit from our local, national and international links with the criminal justice sector
- Customise your degree to meet your career goals
- Draw on the expertise and facilities in our Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
- Hear from guest speakers who are professionals in the criminal justice field
- Learn through our supported distance learning programme, which gives you the flexibility to fit your studies in around other commitments
- Have 24/7 access to the extensive facilities in our university library, including books, ejournals and newspaper
Careers and opportunities
You'll graduate with the skills and knowledge for a successful career in the field of criminal psychology.
Career opportunities include:
- Police force
- Law enforcement
- Crime analysis
- Local authorities
- Crime scene investigation
- Social work
- Prison service
- Working with offenders
- Working with victims
- Further academic study
We'll provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.
What you'll study on this MSc Criminal Psychology degree course
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
You need to study units worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 4 units worth 30 credits and 1 unit worth 60 credits.
Core units in this year include:
- Research Methods
- Research Ethics
You'll study for this course by following one of the two available routes described above, depending on whether you want to study, and be recognised for, one or two subject areas.
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.
Work experience and career planning
We'll help you to identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the field of criminal psychology.
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
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:
academicwriting notetaking timemanagement criticalthinking presentationskills referencing workingin groups revision, memory and exam techniques
Teaching methods on this course include:
- individual and group projects
- online materials
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- May to June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.
How you're assessed
You'll be assessed through:
- case study
- research proposal
- dissertation or major project
Qualifications or experience
- A second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Exceptionally, applicants with strong relevant criminal justice experience will be considered.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Tuition fees (2019 start)
UK, EU, International, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
- Full time: £8,700
- Part time: £4,350 per year (90 credits) (subject to annual increase)
- Part time distance learning: £3,500 per year (subject to annual increase)
- Full time: £13,900
- Part time: £6,950 per year (60 credits) (subject to annual increase)
- Part time distance learning: £3,500 per year (subject to annual increase)
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.
There may be travel costs for internships/placements. These will vary depending on the nature of internship/placement and can range from £50 - £1000.
If you wish to undertake the optional Certificate of Knowledge in Policy (CKP) qualification, you are likely to incur a license fee, currently set at £100, This is payable to the College of Policing for students.
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're a distance learning student, you may need to cover the travel, accommodation and subsistence costs for any optional campus-based events that you attend. Depending on the distance you need to travel to reach Portsmouth, these can vary from £50 to £500.
You may need to cover the travel costs of internships and placements. These will vary depending on the nature of the internship or placement in question, and can range from £50 - £1,000.
Apply for this course using our online application form.
When applying for this course, apply for MSc Criminal Justice. The units you choose when doing the MSc Criminal Justice will define the award you graduate with.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us or you can 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.