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Forensic Mental Health MSc

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Our flexible Forensic Mental Health course is designed for students with a clinical or academic interest in the complex relationship between mental disorders and criminal behaviour. You will be taught by a multi-disciplinary team of clinical academics. The programme constitutes an ideal first step towards clinical psychology training or a PhD.

Key benefits

  • Focus 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)

Further details

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

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

DepartmentDepartment of Forensic & Neurodevelopmental Sciences



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Course detail


Our programme aims to equip you with the knowledge and advanced skills necessary for a career that will involve clinical work and/or research with mentally disordered offenders. There is an emphasis on the clinical relevance of research findings. You will develop the necessary skills to assess and manage risk of antisocial and criminal behaviour as well as establish, manage and evaluate programmes for reducing such behaviour.

You will be required to choose one of three pathways. This means that the combination of modules chosen will lead to a qualification which reflects your 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 *Please note this pathway is not available for the 2017/18 academic year*
  • Forensic Mental Health Research

Students on the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway will undertake 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 will 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. *Please note this pathway is not available for the 2017/18 academic year*

Further literature

For information on open events visit

Course format and assessment


Prosocial and antisocial behaviours across the lifespan 

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (3 hours) | Self-study time (267 hours)

You will be taught through a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials. In order to get the most out of the course students, should expect to devote at least one day per week to their studies (part-time students) or 2-3days a week (full-time students)


Lectures (0 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (20 hours) | Self-study time (580 hours)

Specialist forensic services: assessment, treatment and development 

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (3 hours) | Self-study time (267 hours)

Research Methodology and Statistics A 

Lectures (47 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (17 hours) | Self-study time (86 hours)

Research Methodology and Statistics B 

Lectures (47 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (17 hours) | Self-study time (86 hours)

Forensic mental health practice in the criminal justice system: legal and investigative processes 

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (2 hours) | Self-study time (268 hours)

Forensic psychology practice in context (Psychology pathway only) 

Lectures (44 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (4 hours) | Placement Hours ( 525)  Self-study time (27 hours)


You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations.

Year 1

Examination (20%) | Coursework (60%)| Practical (20%)


Year 1

Required Modules

Students on this couse are required to take: 

Clinical Forensic Psychology


Clinical Forensic Psychiatry

*Please note this pathway is not available for the 2017/18 academic year*

  • Research Dissertation Forensic Mental Health (60 credits)

  • Forensic Mental Health Practice in the Criminal Justice System: legal and investigative processes (30 credits)

  • Prosocial and antisocial behaviours across the lifespan (30 credits)

  • Specialist Forensic Services: assessment, treatment and development (30 credits)

  • Structured Professional Risk Assessment and Management (30 credits)


Forensic Mental Health Research

Optional Modules
There are no optional modules for this course.
Required for certain pathways

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, e.g. psychology, neuroscience, criminology, psychiatry, mental health nursing or occupational therapy

Non-graduates (e.g. 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

*Please note this pathway is not available for the 2017/18 academic year*

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 must be made online using King’s online application portal and a non-refundable application fee of £50 applies.

Applications for the Forensic Mental Health Research pathway: 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 Psychiatry pathway: 

*Please note this pathway is not available for the 2017/18 academic year*

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. 



Personal statement and supporting information

These form part of the application process.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline was the 31st March 2017.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full.  For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 30th July 2017 or from UK/ EU nationals after 3rd September 2017.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time UK fees: £9,450 p.a (MSc, 2017/18)*
  • Full time overseas fees: £25,950 p.a (MSc, 2017/18)*
  • Part time UK fees: £4,725 p.a (MSc, 2017/18)*
  • Part time overseas fees: £12,975 p.a (MSc, 2017/18)*

Please note: Current regulations allow some students to pay UK tuition fees on the basis of their EU citizenship or residency. Until these eligibility criteria are changed, the EU tuition fee will remain the same as the UK tuition fee.

*These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


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 UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2017, payment is due by 30th April 2017.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2017 and 30th June 2017, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2017 and 31st July 2017, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2017, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 
  • DBS Check (Psychology Pathway only)

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

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

  • PhD programmes

  • Forensic or clinical psychology training

  • Research assistants or assistant psychologists

Career destinations

Our graduates have gone on to work in a variety of organisations including: 

  • St Mungo's Broadway

  • The Priory Hospital 

  • Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust 

  • Metropolitan Police Service 

  • Ministry of Home Affairs 

  • Edgware Community Hospital 

  • West London Mental Health NHS Trust 

  • Early Intervention Service NHS



Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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Page last modified on 16 May 2017.