Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

MSc Forensic Mental Health

The MSc in Forensic Mental Health will provide a new generation of clinicians and researchers with the skills needed to work safely, ethically and effectively with offenders who pose a risk to others due to their mental disorder. Through a combination of taught classes with a psychosocial focus and practical, placement-based learning, it will provide students with an opportunity to learn both as students, but also as active staff participants in the forensic mental health system.

This Master’s degree will be delivered in partnership with East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT). ELFT provide extensive clinical forensic services to over 300 individuals in North and East London. They have provided accredited training in forensic mental health and working with offenders to London Probation Services and the Department of Health.

The structure of the Master's degree will therefore draw on the strengths of QMUL as a world-renowned provider of teaching and research expertise to offer students a state-of-the art summary of forensic mental healthcare; together with clinical placements and supervision provided by ELFT, a recognised centre of excellence in the delivery of forensic care to one of the world's most complex and diverse populations, with an annual income of over £300million.

Different from other taught postgraduate programmes in the field, the course will offer students a distinctive psychosocial focus that will inform not just the theoretical material but also the practice-based learning. This approach recognises that all individuals come from a particular environment, which will inform their early development as well as their relationships in later life. As well as providing a framework for safe and therapeutic work with offenders, the psychosocial approach can help those on the course to reflect on their own experiences and practice in a way that is directly linked to further developing their skills as clinicians, researchers and leaders in the field

Students will learn about the legal, ethical and theoretical frameworks underpinning forensic mental health services; to apply these principles with a supervised clinical placement; and to reflect on this placement. They will learn the skills necessary work as part of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) within a forensic psychiatric setting, and how to work in partnership with other organisations and pathways relevant to forensic mental health, such as the criminal justice system, probation services and local authorities. Students will also produce an original thesis, which can be oriented towards clinical or research knowledge, and will be encouraged to publish and disseminate this work.

The course is aimed primarily at psychiatrists and psychologists seeking to broaden their experience of forensic settings and gain a formal qualification in forensic mental health, as well as students from other science or social science backgrounds who may wish to go on to conduct high-quality research in the field.

Programme aims:
1) Develop core clinical skills and academic knowledge required for working in forensic mental health services in the UK and overseas. 
2) Provide a route for psychiatrists and psychologists seeking to work in forensic services to obtain an academic qualification through taught and self-directed learning; and also the experience of reflecting on their own practice in forensic settings.
3) Provide a route for those interested in becoming future research leaders in forensics with both the methodological skills and the clinical experience to pursue this goal. 
4) To enhance the level of understanding of research evidence and research methodologies in individuals seeking to work in a forensic mental health context. 
5) To promote and develop the psychosocial approach to working with offenders - a key component of current Ministry of Justice and Department of Health Policy - through both teaching and opportunities for reflective practice. 
Programme information – Important points to note here [PDF 85KB]
Forensic Mental Health is available to study at MSc level only and offered full time for one year and two years for part time study.

The MSc Forensic Mental Health comprises four 30-credit modules and a dissertation valued at 60 credits, all of which are compulsory.

Full-time students will complete all five compulsory modules within one year of study, for a total of 180 postgraduate credits. The clinical placement (Module 4) is designed to run concurrently with Module 3 (Psychosocial Perspectives on Personality Disorder) to enable students to make use of examples from their placement practice within the seminars and work discussion groups. Students will be expected to identify potential topics for a dissertation (Module 5) early in Semester One and to pursue this topic diligently throughout all three semesters of the programme.

For part-time students, the pathway is designed to fit with the requirements of professionals (especially psychiatry trainees) already working in forensic psychiatric or comparable services. Students will complete core clinical and theoretical learning - Modules 1 and 2 - in their first year of study, and then proceed to complete the research and dissertation components in their second. Students will be encouraged to identify potential dissertation topics in their first year of study, but there will not be the same expectation that they are able to devote significant amounts of time to this module during the first year.

The course is designed to prepare students for the kind of challenges and models of practice they would encounter if working professionally in forensic mental health or criminal justice settings, and to equip them with the skills to make best use of evidence in their practice and future research. Students will learn through a combination of formal lectures; reflective practice groups; seminars; supervised placements in forensic mental health services; and completion of a final dissertation which is expected to make a contribution to knowledge in forensic services.

This programme will also seek accreditation from the British Psychological Society for Stage One of the qualification in Forensic Psychology.


The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results have shown that Queen Mary University of London has risen to 9th place among multi-faculty institutions in the UK.

The Centre for Psychiatry was ranked 5th in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 for research on public health, health services and primary care.

East London NHS Foundation Trust has an annual income of over £300million and operates adult mental health, forensic and psychological therapies mental health services from Newham to Bedford. It was voted ‘Trust of the Year’ in the 2015 Patient Safety Awards and operates the WHO Collaborating Centre

Key Academics

Course Director: Dr Mark Freestone

Module Lead & Lecturer : Dr Hannah Jones

Other Lecturers: Dr Celia Taylor, Dr Cleo van Velsen, Dr Richard Latham

Further Information on general course queries and applications

 MSc Administration Team, mha-admin@qmul.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 882 2013

Rehana Patel, Academic PG Programmes Manager, rehana.patel@qmul.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 882 2038

Detailed programme information can also be found here:

For detailed information please see attached here [PDF 85KB]

UK Students

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in psychology or cognate discipline, or have an MBBS (or equivalent) and be registered as a Core or Higher trainee in any area of Psychiatry.

Candidates seeking to obtain a qualification in part 1 of the British Psychological Society’s Qualification in Forensic Psychology must have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), previously referred to as GBR (Graduate Basis for Registration).

International Students

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website here. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency.

International Students are required to meet standard 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Find out more about our English language entry requirements.

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

Professional Accreditation
This course is seeking accreditation with the British Psychological Society as sufficient for completion of Stage 1 of the Qualification in Forensic Psychology.

Apply now.

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercise and role-play as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You will be assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.
You will have access to Queen Mary’s comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource. You will have access to a large collection of basic medical and dental texts in the main library at Mile End. The Library is open seven days a week. This resource is complemented by the two large medical and dental archives based at the Royal London and at Barts in older, architecturally distinguished buildings that are well worth a visit just to experience their atmosphere.
The diversity of our student body and our research profile reflects our location in one of the most culturally diverse areas of London.
For further information, you can also visit the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry website.
Independent Study
For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.

The second is a new module in ‘Evidence, Policy and Health’ (more information coming soon).
You will be assessed by a range of methods.
Modules 1-3:  will be assessed through written exams, coursework and/or oral presentations
Module 4:  will be assessed through two pieces of reflective coursework. 
Module 5: will be assessed through thesis/dissertation only.
Home /Eu- standard classroom based (£7950)
International students: £18,050- specialist non standard fee to be applied for full programme
There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.
Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships.

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.
Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.
Alternative sources of funding
Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079, email bursaries@qmul.ac.uk
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717