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What our Forensic Psychology students say



Jennifer Bamford
DForenPsy (Top-up programme)

Dr Jennifer Bamford graduated in 2015 and went on to work as a Chartered and Registered Forensic Psychologist for Cygnet Hospitals. She also owns her own company, completing independent psychological assessments such as prison parole reports, where her Doctoral level knowledge and training has been critical to her work.

“At my MSc graduation I was speaking to a fellow graduate who told me about this 'up and coming' course at Nottingham University that enabled you to become a Registered Forensic Psychologist as well as receive a Doctorate level award, recognising the skill and study involved in the process. This sounded too good to be true although after some internet digging I came across the Top-Up Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology at The University of Nottingham and the rest is history.

The course was the perfect combination of lectures/university based work and clinical placement work. The university helped forensic psychologists in training to find placements but also gave us the freedom to find them ourselves. This was undoubtedly the biggest learning curve of my time in education yet; whilst dramatically improving my understanding and execution of clinical skills I also learnt how to complete empirical research fit for publication. I have since had a paper accepted for publication in a high-ranking journal. My supervisors went above and beyond their roles, offering me invaluable advice and support and treating me as an equal, not someone subservient to them. To my surprise they also later nominated me for the Junior BPS award for 'outstanding quality and innovation' and I was lucky enough to be the 2015 winner.

Although all of us in the cohort came from different parts of the UK, we felt very much ‘in it together’ during the course, offering each other advice and support after a hard day during the 4 block weeks of training, which are spread through the 2 years full-time programme. My supervisors never made me feel isolated despite being over 100 miles away from the campus. Unlike my previous degrees, this was a collaborative relationship, not that of 'teacher and student'.

Shortly before I finished the course I had three very good job offers in different parts of the country and it was hard to decide where I wanted my career, and life, to go. I now work for one of the top 3 medical providers in the UK, being responsible for a forensic ward of female patients with personality disorder as well as a locked rehabilitation facility for male service users. Alongside my clinical work at the hospital I also complete private reports through my own company. The doctorate has equipped me with the skills, knowledge and confidence to take on a lot of responsibility and to progress far beyond even my own expectations professionally in a relatively short space of time. I highly recommend the programme and the core team of dedicated staff.”

(Added: October 2015)


Jamie Walton
DForenPsy (Top-up programme)

Dr Jamie Walton graduated in 2013 and gained employment with HM Prison Service as a Chartered and Registered Forensic Psychologist. Jamie is now a National Specialist Lead for Sexual Offending Programmes at Interventions Services within the National Offender Management Service.

I first became aware of the Top-Up Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology at The University of Nottingham in 2010, having completed an MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2009. The course appeared to ensure a strong blend of advanced research and specialist clinical practice, ensuring students meet high professional standards conferring both registration with Health and Care Professions Council as a Registered Practitioner Psychologist and Chartered Status with the British Psychological Society. The course certainly fulfilled expectations.

The course provided a highly structured programme of professional training with clearly linked competency criteria and professional practice expectations. Integral to the programme was a focus on breadth of clinical experience with a variety of service user groups in a range of forensic settings. This ensures that Forensic Psychologists in Training possess sufficient clinical skills and familiarity with different organisational demands to work effectively in challenging and changing environments. Sharing experiences with others during teaching periods on the course was useful and provided a great way to learn and reflect collaboratively. In addition, both the clinical and academic requirements of the programme were supported by relevant teaching provided by leading experts in selected areas. I was supported through my clinical placements by a very skilled and experienced coordinating supervisor. By the end of the programme, I had developed a portfolio of clinical competency and had developed skills which continue to ground my professional and ethical practice.

The course commitment to advanced research ensured that I developed a high level of analytical and critical skills, as well as in-depth knowledge in my chosen area of specialism. Similar to my clinical placements, I was supported by two knowledgeable and skilled supervisors who provided reassurance and guidance throughout the process. The course requires high standards of its research component and meeting these, with the support of peers, experienced academic and clinical staff, ensures that Forensic Psychologists in Training have the potential to contribute to scientific literature in their chosen field. For instance, my supervisors and I have successfully published different chapters from my doctoral thesis for which in 2014, I received the Junior Award in Forensic Psychology from the British Psychological Society. I still regularly share ideas with both of my supervisors from the program and consider them professional colleagues.

I would recommend this programme to those who aspire to develop a high level of clinical competency and academic ability. The Top-Up Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology offers a programme of advanced training. It offers levels of support, guidance and structure to ensure its high standards can be met in preparing Forensic Psychologists in Training with the skills necessary to work effectively in environments that often present unique challenges alongside great reward."

(Added: November 2015)

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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