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Forensic Mental Health MSc

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New scholarships for 2020 entry. Find out more and apply here.

We are proud to have been awarded an IoPPN Excellence Award in 2018 for student satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Education Survey (PTES).

Unravel the complex relationship between mental disorders and criminal behaviour. At the same time, develop the skills to establish, manage and evaluate programmes designed to reduce antisocial behaviour. 

You’ll have a choice of two pathways: clinical forensic psychology or forensic mental health research. With different entry criteria, you’ll need to pick the one that suits your interests and matches your level of experience. 


Key benefits 

  • Explore the neuroscientific understanding of the development of prosocial and antisocial behaviours across the lifespan 

  • Learn from a multi-disciplinary team of clinical academics who specialise in a range of forensic mental health areas 

  • Observe evidence-based practice in secure units, magistrates courts, prisons and more 

  • Take your first step towards clinical psychology training, a PhD or MD degree with British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited pathway, clinical forensic psychology

  • Study surrounded by the expertise and facilities of the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, MRC Social & Genetic Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Maurice Wohl Neuroscience Centre, and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre


You’ll be taught by clinicians who split their time between King’s and running specialist services in the community. They might work with sexual offenders, in prisons, or at threat services monitoring risk to politicians.  

At King’s, not only are we building knowledge in the field, we’re also discovering innovative ways to apply research to clinical practice. By the time you graduate, you’ll have the skills to make an impact in the area that interests you.  

Key information

Application status Closed

Duration One year FT, Two years PT (Forensic Mental Health Research pathway only), 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. Hannah Dickson, Interim Course Lead (Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway),

Dr Nigel Blackwood (Forensic Mental Health Research 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 administrator e:

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Department Department of Forensic & Neurodevelopmental Sciences Division of Academic Psychiatry



Explore campuses

Why study Forensic Mental Health at the IoPPN?

In the heart of London

Hear from Course Leader, Dr Nigel Blackwood, and current Forensic Mental Heath students and Alumnus of this fantastic course.

Watch more videos

Course detail


Students join this course from a range of backgrounds – you might be a psychologist or psychiatrist, work as nurse or occupational therapist or have a background in criminology. Being part of this multidisciplinary community gives you a real flavour of working in this field.  

You’ll take a developmental approach to understanding why people develop prosocial or antisocial behaviour. Then we’ll help you explore the relationship between neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and offending.  

An important element of this course is looking at how forensic services are set up. You’ll think about different ways to effectively manage offenders in the community and explore the journey through the criminal justice system – from the point of arrest to sentencing.  

As a student on this course, you’ll have access to highly specialist services including prisons, secure units and the courts. The amount of time you spend in practice depends on your pathway – the clinical pathway has a 60 day placement whereas the research and forensic psychology pathways have ten days of observation.  

“The IoPPN is the main postgraduate research and education centre in this field, in the UK. Because we explore psychology, psychiatry and neuropsychiatry, students develop a multidisciplinary understanding of the area”  

Dr Nigel Blackwood, Course Leader


Further literature

For information on open events visit

Course format and assessment


You will be taught through a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials. 

Prosocial and antisocial behaviours across the lifespan 

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (3 hours) | Self-study time (117 hours)

Specialist forensic services: assessment, treatment and development 

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (3 hours) | Self-study time (117 hours)

Research Methodology and Statistics A 

Lectures (44 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (10 hours) | Self-study time (96 hours)

Research Methodology and Statistics B 

Lectures (41 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (2 hours) | Self-study time (107 hours)

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

Lectures (35 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (3 hours) | Self-study time (117 hours)

Forensic Psychology Practice in Context (Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway only)  

Lectures (30 hours) | Seminars / Tutorials (15 hours) | Placement Hours ( 420) | Self-study time (135 hours)

Dissertation Clinical Forensic Psychology 

Seminars / Tutorials (8 hours) | Self-study time (592 hours)

Dissertation Forensic Mental Health

Seminars / Tutorials (8 hours) | Self-study time (592 hours)


Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.


The primary methods of assessment for this course are written examinations, coursework and practical work.  The study time and assessment methods typically give an indication of what to expect. However, these may vary depending upon the modules.

Dissertation Clinical Forensic Psychology

Extra information

King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students


Year 1

You will be required to choose one of two 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 two pathways are:

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

Students on the Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway will undertake a 60-day (minimum) 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 training and can also benefit from a 10-day voluntary clinical observation period in a forensic setting.
Required Modules

Courses are divided into modules. A total of 180 credits is required for the MSc degree. Part-time students typically achieve 90 credits in each of their two years on the course. 

Students select one of the following pathways, which determines their module selection for the course:

Clinical Forensic Psychology

  • Research Dissertation Forensic Mental Health (60 credits)

  • Forensic Mental Health Practice in the Criminal Justice System: legal and investigative processes (15 credits)

  • Prosocial and antisocial behaviours across the lifespan (15 credits)

  • Specialist Forensic Services: assessment, treatment and development (15 credits)

  • Research Methodology and Statistics A (15 credits)

  • Forensic Psychology Practice in context (Clinical Forensic Psychology pathway only) (60 credits)


Forensic Mental Health Research

  • 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)

  • Research Methodology and Statistic A & B (30 credits)



Optional Modules
There are no optional modules for this course.

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 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. In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme.

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.

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. 

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 £70 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 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

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Document checklist
Personal Statement Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our first application deadline is the 31 March 2020. After this date, applications will remain open if places are available, but 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 31July 2020 or from UK/EU nationals after 28 August 2020.

Please note you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline and places are filled before the final deadlines above and we are unable to process more offers.

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 Home/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2020/21)
  • Full time overseas fees: £29,850 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: £4,995 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time overseas fees: £14,925 per year (2020/21)

Students starting their programme in 2020/21 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2021/22.

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 before 1 June 2020, payment is due by 30 June 2020.

  • If you receive an offer between 1 June 2020 and 30 June 2020, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.

  • If you receive an offer between 1 July 2020 and 31 July 2020, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.

  • If you receive an offer on or after 1 August 2020, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

  • If you receive an offer in late August, payment is due within 2 days 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

Most graduates from this course apply their knowledge to their career in the forensic mental health field. Other students continue their training, take on roles as research assistants or apply for a PhD.  

Career destinations

King’s 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  

  • 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 our guide in PDF format.

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