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Forensic Mental Health MSc



Flexible postgraduate programme for students with a clinical or academic interest in the complex relationship between mental disorders and criminal behaviour, taught by a multi-disciplinary team of clinical academics. Ideal first step towards clinical psychology training or a PhD.

Students choose one of three pathways: Clinical Forensic Psychology, Clinical Forensic Psychiatry or Forensic Mental Health Research. To help explain the three pathways offered on this programme please see this useful infographic.  

Please note, the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway is now closed for 2016 applications. Applications are still welcome to both the Clinical Forensic Psychiatry and Forensic Mental Health Research pathways. 

Key benefits

  • A unique emphasis on the neuroscientific understanding of the development of prosocial and antisocial behaviours across the lifespan

  • Excellent links with clinical services

  • Strong emphasis on evidence-based practice and developing the critical skills to evaluate new research.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, Two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90 (MSc)

Programme accreditations MSc Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway: accredited by the British Psychological Society Division of Forensic Psychology for Stage 1 chartered forensic psychology training

Course intake Approximately 40 FTE (includes 20-25 FT Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway); 25 PT.

Course leaders

Dr Joel Harvey (Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway), Dr Nigel Blackwood (Forensic Mental Health Research pathway); Dr Shubulade Smith (Clinical Forensic Psychiatry pathway)

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions enquiry form

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Department Department of Forensic & Neurodevelopmental Sciences


Entry requirements & how to apply

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

General entry advice

 The following criteria apply to all applicants:

Applicants should have, or be predicted to achieve, a good 2:1 honours degree (minimum) or the equivalent, including an introduction to empirical research, in a relevant subject, eg psychology, neuroscience, criminology, psychiatry, mental health nursing or occupational therapy

Non-graduates (eg nurses with a Diploma) will be asked to provide evidence of their capacity to study at postgraduate level and will be expected to have considerable relevant work experience since qualifying.

Degrees from outside the UK are assessed individually. US graduates should have an overall GPA of at least 3.3.

All teaching is conducted in English and it is therefore essential that students have a sufficient command of the language. Candidates who have not been educated to degree level in English will be required to provide proof that they possess an adequate level of English competence. The minimum levels are set out here.

Pathway specific entry criteria:

Clinical Forensic Psychology

Applicants must have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS. For more information on GBC and careers in forensic psychology in the UK, please consult the BPS website: 

Note - By the time of starting the programme, it is recommended that students have some relevant clinical or forensic experience working with people with psychological difficulties, people who have offended, or victims of crime. Please contact us for advice if necessary to establish whether your work experience would be considered relevant.

Clinical Forensic Psychiatry

Applicants should be qualified and experienced clinicians, e.g. psychiatrists (staff grade, ST4-6, consultant), senior mental health nurses, occupational therapists in a forensic service or working with forensic patients.

Forensic Mental Health Research

Applicants should display  evidence of a genuine interest in the relationship between mental illness and crime, and an aptitude for research. Please supply your degree transcript: we are particularly interested in your marks for research methods, statistics and your undergraduate dissertation

Application procedure

Applications for the Forensic Mental Health Research and Clinical Forensic Psychiatry pathways: We aim to process these as soon as possible after receipt of all information required. Programme admission offers are typically based solely on the application information, although interviews by Skype may be sought to help to inform admission decisions. 

Applications for the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway: Shortlisting decisions for the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway will be made after the deadline and shortlisted applicants will be called for interview in April or May. No application can be considered until full details of academic and employment history are received, including transcripts and copies of degree certificates. We require two references. Please nominate one clinical/forensic referee and one academic referee. Please state explicitly that you have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society (GBC) and provide evidence. 

All shortlisted applicants will be invited to a formal panel interview. Interviews will last 20-30 minutes. 

Please note, the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway is now closed for 2016 applications. Applications are still welcome to both the Clinical Forensic Psychiatry and Forensic Mental Health Research pathways. 



Personal statement and supporting information

These form part of the application process.

Application closing date

The deadline for applications is 02 September for 2016 entry. Note that funding deadlines may be earlier. Applications will be considered subject to availability of places, so we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. International applications must be received by 29 July to allow sufficient time for visa processing.


Course detail


The programme aims to provide students with the knowledge and advanced skills necessary for a career that will involve clinical work and/or research with mentally disordered offenders. All teaching is at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. Throughout the programme there is an emphasis on the clinical relevance of research findings. Students will develop the critical skills necessary to assess and manage risk of antisocial and criminal behaviour and to establish, manage and evaluate programmes for reducing such behaviour.

All students apply to and enrol on the MSc/in Forensic Mental Health, available full-time or part-time. Students then follow one of three ‘pathways’ through the programme. This simply means that the combination of modules chosen will lead to a qualification which reflects the student’s chosen focus of study. There are specific entry criteria for each pathway.

The three pathways are:

  • Clinical Forensic Psychology (full-time only)
  • Clinical Forensic Psychiatry
  • Forensic Mental Health Research

All students will take the compulsory modules on Pro-social and anti-social behaviour across the lifespan, Specialist forensic services, Forensic mental health practice in the criminal justice system and complete a research dissertation. 

Students on the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway will additionally be allocated to a 75-day clinical forensic placement working at the level of an assistant clinical psychologist and complete a module on Forensic Psychology Practice. Students on the Forensic Mental Health Research pathway complete additional research methods and statistics training and may benefit from a voluntary clinical placement. Students on the Clinical Forensic Psychiatry complete additional training in structured professional risk assessment and management.

Course purpose

This programme is designed to develop academic and clinical skills specific to the assessment and treatment of persons with mental disorders who engage in criminal behaviour. You will study alongside students from a wide range of professional and academic disciplines from all over the world.

Further literature

For information on open events visit

Course format and assessment

Teaching methods include lectures, group work, discussions, case analyses. Assessment varies by module; methods include essays and other written assignments, written and oral examinations, research project.


Career prospects

  • PhD programmes
  • Forensic or clinical psychology training
  • Research assistants or assistant psychologists. 


Forensic Mental Health - The Video

In the heart of London

Hear from current students and graduates on why they chose King's & the Forensic Mental Health programme. We also see what these students have gone on to do after completing their degree

Watch more videos

Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees - Home/EU

£9,000 p.a (MSc, 2016/17)

Full time tuition fees - Overseas

£24,750 p.a (MSc, 2016/17)

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU

£4,500 p.a (MSc, 2016/17)

Part time tuition Fees - Overseas

£12,375 p.a (MSc, 2016/17)

*This tuition fee is subject to annual increases.

When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The deposit is £1,000 – Home/EU and £2,000 – Overseas (2016/17)

If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2016, payment is due by 30th April 2016.

If you receive an offer between 1st April 2016 and 30th June 2016, payment is due within one month of receipt of the offer.

If you receive an offer between 1st July 2016 and 31st July 2016, payment is due within two weeks of receipt of the offer.

If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2016, payment is due within one week of receipt of the offer.

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.


Next steps

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