Child Forensic Studies: Psychology and Law (Distance Learning), M.Sc.

  • Unavailable
    Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • English (book IELTS)
University rank #501 (WUR) ,
This distance learning degree is designed especially for graduate students or professionals already working with children caught up in the legal system. Supported by academics who have research interests and expertise in child witnessing and children as suspects/offenders, this course provides a chance for you to study relevant specialist topics.


What will I experience?

On this course you can:
  • Be taught by actively researching academics at the cutting edge of child forensic psychology research
  • Participate in live web-based chat forums to discuss your work with lecturers and other students
  • Tap in to our Library’s vast selection of electronic resources or access library facilities and borrow books locally via the SCONUL scheme

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course provides an opportunity for those supporting or working with child victims, witnesses or suspects to enhance their knowledge and skills, and gain an academic qualification.

Programme Assessment

Despite its distance learning mode, this course is still extremely student focused. You will be given resources, materials, help and guidance to complete your studies to your full ability. Using our virtual learning environment you can participate in group discussions with other students in a friendly yet challenging online class environment. Plus real-time text based 'chat sessions' with lecturers will ensure you receive all the support you need for the topics you study.You are assessed in a variety of ways to reflect the individual topics, however there are no examinations and all assessment is coursework based. Here’s how we assess your work:
  • essays
  • critical reviews
  • information leaflets
  • wikis
  • presentation slides
  • a research project

Student Destinations

Many of our students are already employed or involved with children caught up in the legal system. Others, however, are new graduates and have yet to work in this environment. Whatever your experience, this course aims to enable you to have a greater understanding of many aspects concerning children as victims, witnesses or suspected offenders.Previous graduates of the course frequently make significant progress in their careers. Some are just in the beginning stages while others move on to senior manager positions and upwards. Those yet to embark on a career have gone on to find work in related professions, such as the police. Others have chosen to complete more studies such as a social work qualification to be able to work directly with children. More recently, students have gone on to study for advanced academic qualifications.


We are ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and the top modern university in the United Kingdom in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

  • We have a total population of 22,000 students and almost 2,500 staff.
  • 84% of our students are studying undergraduate courses. We have almost 4,000 international and EU students from over 140 different countries.
  • 45% of our students are female and 55% are male.
  • 95% of our UK students aged under 21, studying for a first degree come from state schools and colleges.
  • Over 85% of our 2012 graduates went straight in to work or chose to continue their studies.
  • The 2013 National Student Survey placed Portsmouth in the top 25% of mainstream English universities.
  • 88% our students have reported high levels of satisfaction with their course which is higher than the national average of 85%.
  • We have invested in excess of £100 million in to our buildings and resources over the last 10 years.

Programme Structure

Module Details

Year OneFull time students will study all units in one full year.Part time students - Year One:You will normally study three units each year, and will begin to explore potential research ideas and research methodologies in your first year.Here are the units you will study:
  • Child Development and Young Offenders: This unit discusses child development theories including cognitive, emotional, social, and sexual development and in the second half of the unit, it critically discusses the factors, prevention, and intervention strategies for children as perpratators. A summary of research on adolescent violent offenders and adolescent sex offenders is followed by a section on child suspects, criminal responsibility, and false confessions and suggestibility.
  • Law and Procedures Relating to Children: This unit provides an historical overview of what influenced the changes to the law that have provided the special measures to help children have greater access to the criminal justice process. It also outlines current laws and procedures in England and Wales.
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods: This unit introduces experimental and survey-based research methods, as well as quantitative data analysis techniques. It also covers qualitative methods for data collection and analysis, as well as to how to write research reports in both traditions.
Year TwoPart time students - Year TwoIn your second year you will cover several other applied topics and carry out an independent research project relevant to children caught up in the legal system.Here are the units you will study:
  • Interviewing Child Witnesses and the Detection of Deception: This unit introduces the issue of suggestibility and outlines the current advocated interview protocols for the investigative interviewing of child witnesses. It discusses Statement Validity Assessment, a technique for assessing the truthfulness of statements based solely on what is spoken by the child. The second part of this unit includes discussion of risk factors, prevention and intervention strategies for children as perpetrators.
  • Research Project: The research project requires you to initiate, conduct and report upon an original piece of research. The work is conducted to deadlines agreed with a project supervisor and must include empirical quantitative or qualitative research – data collection and relevant analysis must be included. Any statistical analysis must be both descriptive (e.g. means, standard deviations and graphs and so on) and inferential (i.e. statistical tests).
  • An option unit – the current choices are one unit from these two options:
  • Communication and Investigative Interviewing of People with Intellectual Disabilities: This unit aims to promote communication skills and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and outline the status of the law concerning vulnerable adults as witnesses/victims. It aims to provide you with the opportunity to examine issues that arise when people with intellectual disabilities are interviewed as witnesses/victims of crime.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: This unit outlines and discusses the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy. You are strongly encouraged to view this course as an introduction to the academic literature on this subject, rather than as training to be a therapist.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Full-time duration 12 months
    • Average part-time duration 24 months
    • Intensity Flexible
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    • Time flexibility
      Fully structured
    • Attendance
      No Attendance
    • Teacher support
      Continuous support with feedback on request
    • Student interaction
      Online group works/assignments

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Book IELTS

    StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more

Academic Requirements

  • Students should usually have an honours degree or equivalent. Applicants with professional qualifications in lieu of an honours degree will be considered on an individual basis.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    6400 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6400 GBP per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    6400 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6400 GBP per year and a duration of 12 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


The University operates a number of Scholarship and Bursary Schemes for International (non-EU) research students. In addition, individual Faculties may be offering additional financial support for students undertaking specific research.

University discounts and bursaries

Alumni discounts

Students who have previously studied at the University of Portsmouth on undergraduate programmes wishing to follow a full time or part time postgraduate course may be entitled to a 20% discount on any self funding element of their tuition fees (this does not apply to PGCE or MArch students). To check if you and the course you wish to study are eligible for the alumni discount use the checker on our Academic Registry pages.

Business Scholarships for Masters courses

The Portsmouth Business School offers a number of scholarships for self-funding students applying for taught postgraduate study.

Postgraduate Solutions Bursaries

Postgraduate Solutions Ltd is offering the opportunity of a £500 bursary to thirteen students starting postgraduate courses in September/October 2014. Payment of the award will be made directly to the institution, and will be discounted from the fees as appropriate. Students may only apply for a bursary after they have accepted an offer of a place at their chosen institution.

Target Courses Bursaries

Target courses is giving away six bursaries of £2,000 each, to help pay course fees. The competition is open to students interested in taking a postgraduate course next year. For further information and to complete an entry, please visit Target Courses website no later than 30th June 2014.

TARGET courses Funding Database is free to use and allows students to search for funding opportunities they are eligible for based on the following: level of study; subject of study; institution; funding source and country of origin.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.