Forensic Mental Health MSc

2019-20 (also available for 2020-21)

This course is eligible for Master's loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

25 September 2019


1 year full-time

Phone contact: +44 (0)1484 471451

About the course

Our MSc Forensic Mental Health course is aimed at both graduates and those who have experience of working within forensic mental health, mental health, prison service, police and community-based services.

It aims to equip you with an advanced, in-depth research-informed knowledge and critical awareness of theoretical, methodological and practical issues in forensic mental health.

You will cover topics such as assessment and formulation, complex presentations in mental health, risk assessment and management and research methods.

The course is taught by a passionate multi-disciplinary team with experience across a broad range of forensic/forensic mental health settings and specialist forensic/forensic mental health researchers.

When you graduate with an MSc Forensic Mental Health you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be independent, ethical and culturally sensitive in their learning and future application of forensic mental health. This is an academic course that does not have a professional accreditation and would not allow graduates to practice.

The MSc Forensic Mental Health course at the University of Huddersfield explores the complex relationship between crime and mental disorder. The modules use research and methods to look at the scientific underpinnings of this relationship in an attempt to understand these disorders and potentially how services should develop i.e. prisons and secure settings. Students join this innovative course from a range of multi-disciplinary backgrounds which gives a real flavour of working in this field. Most graduates from this course will apply their knowledge to their career in the forensic mental health field. Other students will continue their training, take on roles as research assistants or apply for a PhD.


Dr Tammi Walker, Deputy Director of The Centre for Applied Research in Health (CARH), Reader in Forensic Psychology

Course detail

Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

This module provides the theoretical and conceptual foundation for Master’s level research study within Public Health. The module provides the opportunity for you to develop key skills to understand and critically evaluate quantitative and qualitative research, including data collection and analysis methods. You‘ll be assessed through coursework.

Introductory Statistics for Public Health

This module introduces you to a range of statistical techniques used for the analysis of quantitative data used in Master of Public Health and Master of Forensic Mental Health. You will learn about the treatment of regression in settings where several independent variables may be assessed or where the outcome is binary. You will also study treatments applicable to the analysis of multivariate data sets. The emphasis will be placed on the practical application of such techniques through the use of the statistical software SPSS. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework, where you will undertake a detailed analysis of a large data set, using a range of statistical techniques.

Forensic Mental Health, Assessment and Formulation

This module will commence with you developing an in-depth knowledge base and understanding of the historical background and development of contemporary forensic mental health services. You will explore the policy and legal context that shape modern forensic services. The module will then focus on understanding and working with the challenges presented by clients in different forensic settings from whom information is required - such as about symptoms, behaviours, offences, and risk. You will be introduced to forensic assessment and clinical interviewing skills, strategies, and techniques relevant to interviewing within and across gender, culture, age group as well as in relation to specific area of concern (personality problems, sexually harmful behaviour, violent behaviour including politically motivated violence, and a background trauma). The development of case and risk formulation will also be considered.

Risk Assessment and Risk Management

This module will provide you with the knowledge of the historical development of risk assessment approaches over time. Teaching will review the evidence base relating to the progression from first generation tools through to the latest fourth generation in risk assessment. Structured Professional Judgement frameworks to assess, formulate and manage risk will be outlined.

Complex Presentations in Mental Health

This module will provide you with the knowledge about some of the most complex and most severe mental illnesses including self-harm, eating disorders, personality disorders and substance misuse issues. You will also develop your ability to identify, understand and critically appraise the key evidence for the use of a range of evidence based therapeutic interventions to forensic mental health service users with complex mental health needs. The module will include critical exploration of the evidence for reducing restrictive practices; the use of cognitively based therapies; motivational interviewing; psychosocial interventions for psychosis; interventions for problematic drug and alcohol use; psycho-dynamically oriented psychotherapies; and secure care recovery approaches across mental health service environments.


This module provides the opportunity to develop and implement a project proposal related to your course outcomes facilitated with learning materials and procedural guidance made available electronically. In addition, you will attend lectures and have access to supervision with a subject specialist or researcher in the field. You will be assessed through submission of two pieces of coursework in the form of a project preceded by a project proposal. This module provides you with an opportunity to integrate the skills and learning afforded by the Master’s programme. You will develop a proposal and have the opportunity to implement and analyse into a project. The work undertaken must demonstrate appropriate design, ethics, methods and techniques along with interpretation and evaluation of the findings reported to a high professional standard. Your project will be either a literature review using a systematic approach, empirical study, application project or practice/service audit or service evaluation. An element of the project undertaken will address the implications of wider dissemination of the work in terms of strengths and limitations.

Entry requirements

An honours degree (2:1 or above) or a qualification of an equivalent standard, in a discipline appropriate to that of the proposed programme to be followed, such as Psychology, Health Professional qualifications, Social Science subjects, Applied Sciences or Criminology.

Candidates for whom English is not the first language are required to have International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at a score of 6.5 with no lower than 6.0 in any single component.

If you hold any other qualifications which are not listed please contact us before applying for the course.

Teaching excellence

  1. Huddersfield is a TEF gold-rated institution delivering consistently outstanding teaching and learning of the highest quality found in the UK (Teaching Excellence Framework, 2017).
  2. We won the first Global Teaching Excellence Award recognising the University’s commitment to world-class teaching and its success in developing students as independent learners and critical thinkers (HEA, 2017).
  3. Here at Huddersfield, you’ll be taught by some of the best lecturers in the country. We’ve been the English university with the highest proportion of professionally-qualified teaching staff for the past four years*.
  4. For the past ten years, we’ve been the UK’s leading university for National Teaching Fellowships too, which rate Britain’s best lecturers. It’s all part of our ongoing drive for teaching excellence, which helps our students to achieve great things too.
  5. We’re unique in the fact that all our permanent teaching staff** have, or are completing, doctorates. This expertise, together with our teaching credentials, means that students here learn from knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers and academics who are at the forefront of their subject area.

*HESA - First awarded in 2016, maintained in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

**Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching; research degrees applies to those on contracts of more than half-time.

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

A wide range of resources are also offered within the School of Human and Health Sciences, which provides you with support in a variety of areas. These include:

Student Hub: a one stop shop for students, studying within the School. Their services include offering advice on extenuating circumstances, extension requests, attendance and welfare support, organising appointments with academic staff, signposting to other support networks and loan of MP3 recorders.

Academic Skills Development Team: provides guidance about how students can develop their academic skills in order to improve their grades. The team provide support with general academic skills including essay writing, time management, presentations and group work skills; information technology and numeracy; research skills, as well as personal development for example confidence building and assertiveness.

Learning Technology Support Unit: helps students with any problems they experience with the University’s Unilearn System, including logging on or difficulties experienced when accessing modules.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

Changes to a course you have applied for

If we propose to make a major change to a course that you are holding an offer for, then we will tell you as soon as possible so that you can decide whether to withdraw your application prior to enrolment.

Changes to your course after you enrol as a student

We will always try to deliver your course and other services as described. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below:

Changes to option modules

Where your course allows you to choose modules from a range of options, we will review these each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback or demand for certain modules. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let you know in good time the options available for you to choose for the following year.

Major changes

We will only make major changes to the core curriculum of a course or to our services if it is necessary for us to do so and provided such changes are reasonable. A major change in this context is a change that materially changes the services available to you; or the outcomes, or a significant part, of your course, such as the nature of the award or a substantial change to module content, teaching days (part time provision), classes, type of delivery or assessment of the core curriculum.

For example, it may be necessary to make a major change to reflect changes in the law or the requirements of the University’s regulators; to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body; to improve the quality of educational provision; in response to student, examiners’ or other course evaluators’ feedback; and/or to reflect academic or professional changes within subject areas. Major changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, such as a key member of staff leaving the University or being unable to teach, where they have a particular specialism that can’t be adequately covered by other members of staff; or due to damage or interruption to buildings, facilities or equipment.

Major changes would usually be made with effect from the next academic year, but this may not always be the case. We will notify you as soon as possible should we need to make a major change and will carry out suitable consultation with affected students. If you reasonably believe that the proposed change will cause you detriment or hardship we will, if appropriate, work with you to try to reduce the adverse effect on you or find an appropriate solution. Where an appropriate solution cannot be found and you contact us in writing before the change takes effect you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the University without liability to the University for future tuition fees. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

Termination of course

In exceptional circumstances, we may, for reasons outside of our control, be forced to discontinue or suspend your course. Where this is the case, a formal exit strategy will be followed and we will notify you as soon as possible about what your options are, which may include transferring to a suitable replacement course for which you are qualified, being provided with individual teaching to complete the award for which you were registered, or claiming an interim award and exiting the University. If you do not wish to take up any of the options that are made available to you, then you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the course without liability to the University for future tuition fees and you will be entitled to a refund of all course fees paid to date. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.