Research overview

Become a skilled, forensic psychologist, who'll be eligible to register with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) allowing you to work effectively within the NHS and equivalent organisations. The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS),conferring eligibility for becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Meaning that upon graduation, you are eligible to apply for BPS Chartered Psychology status, HCPC registration as a Forensic Psychologist, and full member of the Division of Forensic Psychology.

The course is run by the Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology (CFFP), located in the School of Medicine, in collaboration with the Institute of Mental Health.

Professional organisations

The Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology (3 years) is offered by the Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology (CFFP) under the Academic Unit of Mental Health and Neurosciences, School of Medicine in collaboration with Nottinghamshire Healthcare National Health Service (NHS) Trust’s Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

In 2010, it was the second professional doctorate in forensic psychology to be set up in the UK and the first to follow the 1 + 2 model (Year 1 Masters component, Years 2 and 3 Doctorate component). A major advantage of the Nottingham structure is that trainees complete all the theoretical components before starting their supervised practice. It also allows for a ‘top up’ programme for those already holding an accredited Masters to enter the programme for the doctorate component (Years 2 and 3) only.

Related programmes

Course content

The programme is competency-based and conforms to the Standards for Education and Training of the Health and Care Professions Council and the accreditation criteria of the British Psychological Society.

Teaching is informed by current research which has been developed to help you make a difference in the real world. There are three main components:

  • University-based academic teaching
  • service-based practice learning
  • clinically relevant research

You can choose to complete this programme in three years through full-time study or six years through part-time study.

You will attend the University during which you'll study five forensic psychology modules, research methods and statistics training, and carry out a research project/dissertation.

The teaching week at the University for full time trainees in Year 1 from October to April is as follows:

  • Monday - personal tutorials (on request) with module convenors or research supervisors/personal tutors
  • Tuesday - teaching day (workshop 10.30 am to 4.30pm)
  • Wednesday - teaching day (workshop 9am/10am to 4pm)
  • Thursday - teaching day (workshop 10.30 am to 4.30pm)
  • Friday - self-directed study

From May to September, trainees complete their research project and are required at the University only for research supervision/personal tutorials.

Forensic work experience during Year 1 can be organised on a Monday or Friday with permission.


This module aims to provide students with knowledge about the range of mental health conditions experienced by victims and offenders, including neurodevelopmental conditions and co-morbid conditions such as autism, alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety disorders. The module will develop students’ knowledge and critical understanding about approaches to assessment and formulation. 

This module aims to provide students with comprehensive understanding of forensic settings as systems, and the issues involved in working in complex environments. The module will develop students’ thinking about issues affecting service-users and client groups with a systems perspective. Students will also understand the principles and procedures that forensic psychologists use when evaluating the practice of organisations and conducting consultancy.

The module aims to provide students with working knowledge of the content and delivery of therapeutic programmes and approaches driven by information gathered by assessment and formulation. Students will demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of a range of interventions available for offenders, patients and at risk individuals, victims/survivors, professionals, groups and organisations.

This module aims to develop students’ critical understanding of psychological theories relating to justice systems, including police investigations and criminal and civil courts. It also aims to develop students’ knowledge of practice in the legal system. 

The module intends to build upon knowledge and skills gained at undergraduate level and provide a foundation of the current knowledge, theory and evidence base relevant to forensic psychology.

The module aims to develop students’ knowledge of major psychological and criminological theories of crime, criminality and victimisation.

Students will have the knowledge to enable them to progress to working with individuals across the lifespan (including children and young people in conflict with the law).

This module will provide students with the opportunity to engage in, and learn from, supervised project work in forensic psychology. The emphasis is on applied research and associated methods in a forensic context.

This module aims to further develop the students understanding of research methods in a forensic psychology context, exploring more complex study designs and statistical methods.

Analytical methods will be explored in depth with consideration of both quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods designs. 

This course aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to effectively plan and design research as well as to critically appraise published research.

Students will be introduced to:

  • how to write a literature review in a systematic way
  • how to write a research proposal
  • study designs (including developing research questions)
  • ethics and practical issues when planning and conducting research.

The course will also cover:

  • designing questionnaires
  • psychometric issues such as reliability and validity
  • using interviews and focus groups
  • use of the internet and an introduction to online research methods

This module considers a range of qualitative approaches suitable for psychologists. Students will be introduced to the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings and practical application of a number of qualitative research methods.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

In Year 2 and 3, you’ll apply your knowledge to forensic psychology research and practice while on placement in forensic environments anywhere in the UK and Ireland. You'll also attend the University of Nottingham for two weeks of block teaching each year (usually October and January).

Across the placements you will have the opportunity to experience all aspects of working as a forensic psychologist whilst developing competence in the Core Roles that form the basis of being qualified. You will develop skills and competency in four core areas:

  • conducting psychological assessments and interventions with victims and offenders
  • case studies, research, and evaluation
  • communicating knowledge and information to other professionals and clients
  • training other professionals in psychological skills and methods

At the end of the course, you'll submit:

  • a ‘practice portfolio’ summarising your forensic practice experience
  • an ‘academic research thesis’ on a specific area of forensic psychology

Year 2 structure

  • Professional Practice Skills and Case Study Plan - Block Week 1
  • Case Study 1
  • Forensic Practice Placement Reports 1 and 2
  • Systematic Literature Review and Critical Appraisal Skills – Block Week 2
  • Systematic Review Project

Year 3 structure

  • Psychometrics and Interview Skills and Psychometric critic – Block Week 3
  • Case Study/Research Project 2
  • Forensic Practice Placement Reports 3 and 4
  • Professional communication/Delivery of a Training Package & Report – Block Week 4
  • Research Project 

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.


2:1 in psychology (or international equivalent) recognised by the BPS as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with a minimum grade of 60% overall, plus 60% in your final research project.

Additional information

You'll also need:

  • one clinical and one academic reference from your most recent clinical and academic experiences respectively
  • academic transcript(s)
  • personal statement
  • abstract of your most recent research project
  • at least 50 days on application of forensic experience supervised by a registered psychologist
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate issued within the last 12 months (can be issued by the university)

2:1 in psychology (or international equivalent) recognised by the BPS as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with a minimum grade of 60% overall, plus 60% in your final research project.

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7.5 with no less than 7.0 in each element
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Additional information

You will also need:

  • one clinical and one academic reference from your most recent clinical and academic experiences respectively
  • academic transcript(s)
  • personal statement
  • abstract of your most recent research project
  • at least 50 days on application of forensic experience supervised by a registered forensic psychologist
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate issued within the last 12 months (can be issued by the university)

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.


We only consider applications submitted between 1 December to 30 June. If you apply after 30 June, your application won’t be considered until the following academic year.

You do not need to write a research proposal or select a supervisor as part of your application. You must include a personal statement of no more than one side of A4 paper.

While a driving licence is not essential, your placement may be difficult to get to on public transport and students find that driving is an advantage.

You do not need to already be working in forensic psychology to apply for this course. We have a range of national placement opportunities. However, those in employment may be able to use their employment as a placement during the supervised practice years. This is subject to being able to move to different Client Groups and Setting Types.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


Home / UK£11,850 per year full time £7,110 part-time
International£26,250 per year full time £15,750 part-time

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, such as printing or travel to placements, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or access more specific titles.


A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.

We have strong relationships with our placement providers, resulting in a variety of scholarships and bursaries, allowing us to increase the breadth and inclusivity of applicants that we can consider for our programmes. These are not guaranteed and are at the discretion of the placement provider.

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

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Where you will learn

Jubilee Campus

Jubilee Campus has eco-friendly buildings, alongside green spaces, wildlife and a lake. 

This campus is home to our business, education and computer science schools, as well as a sports centre and student accommodation.

You can walk to University Park Campus in around 20 minutes or catch a free hopper bus. Nottingham city centre is 20 minutes away by public bus.


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

90% of postgraduates from the School of Medicine secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £39,564.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.


The Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology (3 years) and the Top up Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology (2 years) are approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and therefore confer eligibility to apply for HCPC registration as a ‘forensic psychologist practitioner’ for those successfully completing the Doctorate programmes.

They are also both accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and on completion you are able to apply for Chartered Membership of the BPS and Full Membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology, which is a division of the society which promotes the professional interests of Forensic Psychologists.

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

The University of Nottingham is ranked 7th in the UK for research power, according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 11 October 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.