Take the next step towards a professional career as a registered forensic psychologist. This program is designed for psychologists looking to pursue a career within the legal system.

 

Faculty
Faculty of Science
Delivery Mode
Face-to-face (includes blended), Research
Award
Master of Psychology (Forensic)
Commencing Terms
Term 1
Duration (Full Time)
2 Year(s)

Overview

Legal, investigative, corrective and policy agencies across Australia are looking for individuals with the psychological expertise to aid understanding and management of forensic issues. The Master of Psychology (Forensic) will prepare you to meet the increasing demand for professionals in this field.

This program - first offered in 1998 - focuses on the integration of clinical, research and legal skills. Your courses will cover psychological assessment, intervention in and applications of forensic psychology, law for psychologists and professional and ethical practice. In addition to coursework, you’ll complete a research thesis, in the form of a scholarly journal article, on a topic relevant to forensic psychology.

Forensic psychologists can be involved in all professional aspects of the interface between psychology and the law. Forensic psychologists work in a wide range of settings, including prisons, courts, police, probation and parole, juvenile justice, public policy, insurance, community services and child protection. 

Key features

  • Practical experience 
    You’ll undertake training in the assessment of people with a range of psychological disorders and disabilities. You’ll be equipped with knowledge and skills in a multitude of areas, including interviewing and intervention skills, civil and criminal law, expert testimony and investigative approaches. 
  • Two industry-leading schools
    This degree is unique among master’s programs in forensic psychology in that both a school of psychology and a law school are involved in its teaching.

Why study this degree at UNSW?

Study with the best
The UNSW School of Psychology is one of the best in Australia - we’re ranked 24th in the world for psychology.* UNSW Law is ranked 13th in the world* and is a leading Australian centre of rigorous legal education and research. We have strong links with professional practitioners in the areas of clinical, neuropsychological and forensic psychology.

Prepare for professional practice
This program includes a professional practice component, where you’ll complete a minimum of 1,000 supervised practicum hours within the UNSW Forensic Psychology Clinic and in at least two other field placement settings. This practical experience will ensure that you develop and demonstrate competence in a wide range of work undertaken by forensic psychologists.

Learn from industry-leading educators
You come to university to learn from the experts – researchers who are leaders in their fields, striving to create new knowledge. The School of Psychology is well known for its research tradition. Many of our staff have international reputations in their respective fields and a number are Fellows of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. Our staff attract several million dollars in external research funds per year.

Access cutting-edge facilities
Our teaching facilities include world-leading behavioural neuroscience laboratories and cognitive testing laboratories running specialist software that will allow you to design/implement your own psychological research and analyse/interpret the data you collect. You’ll also gain access to laboratories for the analysis of cognition and brain function, including electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and eye-tracking.

*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021

 

Program Code
8257
CRICOS Code
028068E
Campus
Kensington
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
96
Indicative Enrolments
13

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Entry requirements

The minimum entrance requirement is completion of a four-year APAC-accredited sequence in psychology, including a major research thesis, completed within the last ten years with Honours Class 1 (85%), Upper Second-Class Honours (75%) or their equivalents.

Psychology qualifications from overseas must include a major research thesis/project and must be assessed by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) as equivalent to a four-year APAC-accredited sequence in psychology completed in Australia.

As the number of places available each year is limited, entry into the program is competitive. Selection is based on academic qualifications, two referee reports and performance at an assessment centre. Only shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend the assessment centre, which must be attended in person at UNSW (Kensington campus). Although work experience is not an admission requirement, applicants with a history of employment will be positively regarded, even if this employment is not necessarily clinically or forensically relevant experience. 

Invitations to attend the assessment centre are usually made on a rolling basis from around mid-November and in some instances may be made with only a few days' notice. The assessment centre is typically held during the last week of November and/or the first week of December. 

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the relevant registration standards for the psychology profession. You must meet these requirements before an application for registration as a provisional psychologist can be approved.

English language requirements​

 

You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If you’re completing an Australian Year 12 qualification (e.g. NSW HSC or equivalent), you do not need to provide anything extra to prove your proficiency. Your qualification will be used as evidence of your English proficiency.

If you do need to provide evidence of your English proficiency, this will be indicated in your application. You can prove this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

UNSW Global offers courses and programs designed to help you reach the English language level required for entry into your chosen degree. Different options are available depending on your current English language level. Learn more.

The minimum entrance requirement is completion of a four-year APAC-accredited sequence in psychology, including a major research thesis, completed within the last ten years with Honours Class 1 (85%), Upper Second-Class Honours (75%) or their equivalents.

Psychology qualifications from overseas must include a major research thesis/project and must be assessed by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) as equivalent to a four-year APAC-accredited sequence in psychology completed in Australia.

As the number of places available each year is limited, entry into the program is competitive. Selection is based on academic qualifications, two referee reports and performance at an assessment centre. Only shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend the assessment centre, which must be attended in person at UNSW (Kensington campus). Although work experience is not an admission requirement, applicants with a history of employment will be positively regarded, even if this employment is not necessarily clinically or forensically relevant experience. 

Invitations to attend the assessment centre are usually made on a rolling basis from around mid-November and in some instances may be made with only a few days' notice. The assessment centre is typically held during the last week of November and/or the first week of December. 

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the relevant registration standards for the psychology profession. You must meet these requirements before an application for registration as a provisional psychologist can be approved.

English language requirements​


You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide proof of your English proficiency before you can be given an offer to study at UNSW. You can do this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

UNSW Global offers courses and programs designed to help you reach the English language level required for entry into your chosen degree. Different options are available depending on your current English language level. Learn more.

Program structure

The Master of Psychology (Forensic) will develop your knowledge and skills in ethics, critical thinking, clinical practice and research design and evaluation. You’ll learn these core skills in the context of criminal and civil domains. The program is made up of three key components - coursework, professional practice and a research thesis.

Full program structure

The Master of Psychology (Forensic) can be completed in two years of full-time study. Please note that this program of study is very intense. Professional practice activities, in particular, are time consuming and not limited to particular hours. It’s not possible to complete the program part-time while working full-time.

Future careers

Psychology is an ideal career path for people who enjoy working with and caring for others. At UNSW Science, our graduates demonstrate skills in assessment, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems at an individual and organisational level.

There’s increasing demand from legal, investigative, corrective and policy agencies across Australia to obtain psychological expertise to aid understanding and management of forensic issues. Forensic psychologists work in a wide range of settings, including: 

  • prisons 
  • courts
  • probation and parole 
  • child protection 
  • juvenile justice 
  • insurance 
  • mediation 
  • private practice 
  • public policy 
  • legislative review.

Accreditation

This program is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) as the fifth and sixth years of study, leading to registration as a psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA). After completing a further two years of supervised practice, you can apply to the PsyBA for full membership and endorsement as a forensic psychologist.

Our alumni

“The Masters of Psychology (Forensic) program at UNSW provided a well-rounded mechanism through which to enter the field of forensic psychology. Exposure to teaching by the Law faculty inspired consideration of the complex nature of the clientele and the issues they face from within the criminal justice system, which added to the empirical focus on the human condition which the UNSW School of Psychology built into me over my time there. Their dedication to ensuring all students have access to the skill-building and experience required to expose them to the reality of forensic psychological work was greatly appreciated.”

Sam Ardasinski

Senior Psychologist (High Risk Offenders) Serious Offenders Assessment Unit, Corrective Services NSW

How to apply

Applications must be submitted through our Apply Online portal along with your supporting documentation.

The supporting documentation required for this program are as follows:

• a completed Supplementary Application Form

• evidence of enrolment in (or official completion of) a four-year APAC-accredited sequence in psychology (or international equivalent)

• a copy of your CV

• a copy of your APS assessment letter

You will also be required to submit two references. Your nominated referees will need to submit their references directly to the School of Psychology using a reference-management service provided by HODSPA (Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Australia). More information about this service can be found at https://www.psychologyreference.org/ (registration required, fee applicable).

For further details on the application process, please refer to the Master of Psychology Application Guide.

Please note that applicants wishing to be considered for both the stand-alone master’s program and the combined PhD/master’s program must submit two applications - one coursework (master’s) application (as outlined above) and one research application. The Graduate Research School’s website provides a detailed application guide for all research programs.

Ready to apply?

Applications must be submitted through our Apply Online portal along with your supporting documentation.

The supporting documentation required for this program are as follows:

• a completed Supplementary Application Form

• evidence of enrolment in (or official completion of) a four-year APAC-accredited sequence in psychology (or international equivalent)

• a copy of your CV

• a copy of your APS assessment letter

You will also be required to submit two references. Your nominated referees will need to submit their references directly to the School of Psychology using a reference-management service provided by HODSPA (Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Australia). More information about this service can be found at https://www.psychologyreference.org/ (registration required, fee applicable).

For further details on the application process, please refer to the Master of Psychology Application Guide.

Please note that applicants wishing to be considered for both the stand-alone master’s program and the combined PhD/master’s program must submit two applications - one coursework (master’s) application (as outlined above) and one research application. The Graduate Research School’s website provides a detailed application guide for all research programs.

Ready to apply?

Fees & Scholarships

2021 Indicative First Year Fee
$31,800*
2021 Indicative Fee to Complete Degree
$63,870*

*There is a limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places available for this degree. The indicative tuition fee for domestic postgraduate students shown is for fee paying students, not students in Commonwealth Supported Places. To find out more about the student contribution amounts for Commonwealth Supported Places visit Postgraduate Commonwealth Support.

Fees are subject to annual review by the university and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only - other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year you enrol in, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year). Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website.

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed here.

 

2021 Indicative First Year Fee
$44,550*
2021 Indicative Fee to Complete Degree
$91,580*

*Fees are subject to annual review by the university and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only - other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year you enrol in, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year).

Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website.

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed here.

Indicative fees to complete the program include tuition plus an estimate of study-related costs of approximately $1,000 per year. To find out more about other costs, visit UNSW International.

 

Scholarships

At UNSW, we award over $83 million in scholarships each year. We pride ourselves on rewarding excellence and making university accessible to students from all walks of life. Whether you’re a domestic or international student, our range of scholarships, prizes and awards can support your journey.


  • Top 50
    Worldwide

    QS World University Rankings, 2022.

  • Most
    Employable Graduates

    AFR Top 100 Future leaders Award.

  • Leading
    Innovation

    #1 Australian uni attended by start-up founders.

I chose psychology as I was interested in understanding the ‘whys’ that underlie human behaviour.
Sarah Altmann

Sarah Altmann

Psychology Registrar

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