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Forensic Mental Health MSc/ PG Dip



Flexible postgraduate programme for students with a professional &/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, Forensic Mental Health Research.

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 and researchers with teaching from a distinguished multi-disciplinary team.

  • 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); UK 120/ECTS 60 (PG Dip)

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

Course contact for further information Forensic Mental Health MSc Co-ordinator Tel +44(0)20 7848 0624

Course contact email

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 medicine, biology, mental health nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, neuroscience, criminology.

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

Forensic Mental Health Research

We are looking for evidence of a genuine interest in, and aptitude for, research as well as forensic mental health. Please supply your degree transcript as we will look particularly at marks for research methods, statistics and your undergraduate dissertation.

Clinical Forensic Psychology

Candidates 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:

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.

Application procedure

Applications from outside the European Union (except for the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway): we aim to process these as soon as possible after receipt of all information required. All shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview, as explained below. Skype interviews will be offered.

All other applications, for all three pathways: shortlisting decisions 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. Clinical Forensic Psychology: 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. 

Interviews: all shortlisted applicants will be invited to a formal panel interview. Interviews will last 20-30 minutes. Applicants for the Clinical Forensic Psychology and Forensic Mental Health Research pathways will be asked to deliver a short presentation on a research proposal. This is not the research project the applicant would carry out as part of the MSc. The aim is to assess the applicant's research skills and knowledge. For Clinical Forensic Psychology, the second half of the interview will focus on clinical and forensic skills and knowledge. For Clinical Forensic Psychiatry, the focus of the interview will be on the applicant's clinical background, knowledge and skills. In all cases, places will be offered to the applicants rated most highly by the selection panels.



Personal statement and supporting information

These form part of the application process.

Application closing date

The deadline for applications is 01 April 2016 for 2016 entry. Prior to this date all applications will be given equal consideration and considered on their individual merits. After this date applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.


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, and includes training on assessment and treatment of mentally disordered offenders and on actuarial risk assessment tools. 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 as well as co-ordinating treatment and service programmes in a variety of settings. Much teaching is provided by practising clinicians.

All students apply to and enrol on the MSc/PGDip 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 and Risk Management, Treatment and Services for Mentally Disordered Persons. Students will then choose from a range of optional modules, including mental health law, structured professional risk assessment and management, criminal justice mental health and forensic psychology practice.

Students on the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway will be allocated to a 75-day clinical forensic placement working at the level of an assistant clinical psychologist.

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 antisocial and/or criminal behaviour. You will study alongside students from a wide range of professional and academic disciplines from all over the world.

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.

Extra information

Students on the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway will be allocated to a 75-day clinical forensic placement working at the level of an assistant clinical psychologist. This is an integral and assessed part of the programme.

Clinical attachments can be arranged for overseas students who are qualified clinicians to complement the academic programme. These are not an assessed part of the programme.



Career prospects

Former students have enrolled on PhD programmes in Cambridge, Toronto, Utrecht, New York and the IOP. Others have gone on to forensic or clinical psychology training or to work as research assistants or assistant psychologists. Part-time students have found that the MSc is a valuable addition to their CV in seeking promotion and many have become involved with research or teaching in their own field, including Clinical Academic Fellowships.


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)*; TBC p.a. (PGDip, 2016/17)*

Full time tuition fees - Overseas

£24,750 p.a (MSc, 2016/17)*; TBC p.a. (PGDip, 2016/17)*

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU

£4,500 p.a (MSc, 2016/17)*; TBC p.a. (PGDip, 2016/17)*

Part time tuition Fees - Overseas

£12,375 p.a (MSc, 2016/17)*; TBC p.a. (PGDip, 2016/17)*

*This tuition fee is subject to annual increases.

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


Next steps

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