Taught course

Criminal Psychology

University of Portsmouth · School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a relevant subject (Social Science, Humanities, Law, Psychology, Forensic Science or Management subject). Information Technology or science related subjects will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants with equivalent professional experience in a relevant organisation will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry


Course content


If you're looking to start your career in criminal psychology, or you're already working in the field and want to progress, our MSc Criminal Psychology degree course will give you the knowledge and skills you need.

Understanding the psychology of crime is essential to its investigation. On this course, you'll explore and analyse the role of psychology within complex criminal investigative techniques, such as police interviewing and deception detection, and gain insight into courtroom psychology and jury decision making.

You'll delve into key issues such as offender profiling and the links between offending behaviour and mental health. You'll customise your degree by choosing specialist subjects, such as missing persons investigations or offender rehabilitation.

When you graduate, you'll be ready to work with offenders or victims within any area of the criminal justice system, including policing, law enforcement, probation and intelligence analysis.

This course is not accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Course highlights

  • Understand the psychology of offending behaviour within the contexts of causation, intervention, rehabilitation and mental health, while also weighing up the efficacy of current legislation
  • Learn from an experienced team of criminal psychology specialists in our School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and hear from industry expert guest speakers from around the world
  • Have the opportunity to use our lab equipment to carry out your own research, such as our eye-tracking and VR technology, and crime scene and operational simulation spaces
  • Enrich your learning through events and field trips – examples include Bethlem Museum of the Mind on the grounds of the infamous 'Bedlam' Hospital and facilitated tours of Portsmouth Crown Court
  • Be part of our community of researchers by getting involved with our criminology research groups, such as the Collaboration of Forensic Interviewing and the Probation, Prison and Penology research group
  • Interact and explore criminal psychology with fellow professionals from the world of criminal justice
  • Complete a major project based on your chosen area of research, with the support of qualified and enthusiastic experts in the field

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Business and Law Career-Ready Programme. This support will continue for 5 years after you graduate.

Career support

You'll benefit from:

- Networking events

- Regular emails from the Career Ready Programme sharing job opportunities, application tips and events

- Applied projects with companies such as IBM, Boeing and Hampshire County Council

- Workshops to enhance your employability skills

- Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair

- 1-to-1 appointments

- CV and cover letter advice

- Interview preparation and practice

- Support starting your own business

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master's prepares you for

Criminal psychology brings together the study of psychology, criminology and criminal justice, with the aim of studying offenders and offending behaviour to improve the effectiveness of criminal investigations.

On this Master's in Criminal Psychology, you'll gain a tailored postgraduate qualification to add to your undergraduate degree, or to back up your existing career knowledge from the field. You'll delve deep into the subjects you choose to study through research, gaining an evidence-based perspective and a greater ability to be analytical and evaluative.

You'll graduate with the tools you need to not only understand the difference criminal psychology can make to the justice system, but also to challenge existing processes and make improvements.

If you already work in the field of criminal justice, you'll be ready to pursue higher-level roles, or to break into a different area of the discipline. If you're still to embark on your career in criminal justice, you'll gain the knowledge and advanced research problem-solving skills you need to stand out to employers and contribute positively to justice system reform.

You could also go on to further study, or progress on to a graduate scheme such as PoliceNow or the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme.

Graduates of this course can go on to roles such as:
  • police or law enforcement officer

  • probation or prison officer

  • data analyst

  • intelligence analyst

  • cybersecurity

Graduates of this course can go on to work for organisations such as:
  • the Civil Service
  • national and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • Government agencies and departments internationally
  • probation and prison service
  • the Courts
  • local administration / authorities
  • private security companies
  • charities

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

University Admissions Centre
+44 (0)23 9284 5566