Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton
Psychology graduate leavers pack Careers

Forensic psychology

Job Summary

As a Forensic Psychologist you would apply psychological theory to the criminal and civil justice field. You would consider psychological problems associated with criminal behaviour and would develop and use intervention techniques and treatment programmes for offenders. The treatment programmes can be one-to-one or can be carried out within a group setting to try to modify offender's actions and minimise the chances of them re-offending.

Possible treatments often include anger management, cognitive and social skills training and treatment for addiction to drugs. You will be assessing the offenders and may also provide support and training for other staff in order to reduce workplace stress.

Other aspects of the job include:

The largest single employer of Forensic Psychologists in the UK is the HM Prison Service. However, Forensic Psychologists can work for a wide range of agencies including young offenders units, secure hospitals and rehabilitation units within the NHS, community forensic services, education (researching and lecturing) and the social services.

To find out more about life as a Forensic Psychologist, take a look at the BPS video:

Qualifications – How do I become a Forensic Psychologist?

1) You will need a 3 year degree in Psychology that meets the standards of accreditation by the British Psychological Society. Qualification with a 2i or more provides eligibility to apply for GBC (Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the BPS).

2) Relevant work experience should be undertaken.

3) British Psychological Society accredited Masters in Forensic Psychology OR Stage 1 of the BPS' Qualification in Forensic Psychology.

4) Stage 2 of the Society's Qualification in Forensic Psychology (two years supervised practice) which provides eligibility to apply for registration with the HPC (Health Professions Council) and for Chartered Psychologist status.

5) Some Universities offer a Doctoral programme – this can be undertaken in place of the Masters and Stages 1 and 2 of the BPS' Qualification in Forensic Psychology and provides a more direct route to apply for status as a Chartered Psychologist. The University of Southampton does not offer a Doctoral programme but please refer to the BPS website for details of providers.

What relevant work experience would I need?
It is often very competitive to obtain a place on a postgraduate course in Forensic Psychology. Work experience may be just as important to a postgraduate selector as your degree. It proves that you are committed to the particular area and it helps you to stand out from the crowd.

The following points include examples of relevant work experience, together with local opportunities:

Privacy Settings