Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences>Courses>Forensic Psychology (Practitioner Programme) - PgD

Forensic Psychology (Practitioner Programme) - PgD

This course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and, upon completion, provides students with eligibility to apply to the register to practice as Forensic Psychologists in the UK.

The course is designed to be placement based, with various workshops for students as well as clinical and academic supervision. Workshops are usually delivered in block teaching sessions and students are expected to be in Cardiff for around 15 days over the course of their study. We have students from all over the UK so we aim to make access to workshops as straightforward as possible for those students who have to travel long distances to attend.

Each student will be allocated both a clinical supervisor and an academic supervisor – at least one of these supervisors will be an appropriately qualified and experienced Forensic Psychologist. Students should consider the availability of a forensic psychologist who is willing and able to offer supervision in their workplace or placement site for the duration of their studies.

Please note: Applications for our April 2023 intake, along with all compulsory documents, must to be submitted by 4th December 2022

Related course: MSc Forensic Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions

​Course Content​​

There are 6 modules to the programme:

Professional Practice Portfolio in Forensic Psychology 1 (100 credits, Level 8)
Professional Practice Portfolio in Forensic Psychology 2 (40 credits, Level 8)
This is the largest assessed piece of work and it provides credits towards a Professional Doctorate qualification that students may wish to undertake following this programme or at a later stage in their career. The portfolio is a collection of exemplars of work students have undertaken to demonstrate competence in the application of forensic psychology to assessment and intervention work with service users. It will include exemplars of clinical practice (assessments, interventions, evaluation and recommendations) reflective evaluations, practice logs (detailing a minimum of 360 days of professional practice), supervision logs and a variety of placement checklists.

Consultancy (20 credits, level 8)
This module explores the experience students have in demonstrating the application of psychology in the context of consultancy, developing policy and evaluating service provision.

Teaching and Training (20 credits, level 8)
This module explores the experience students have in demonstrating the application of psychology in the context of teaching and training.

Ethical and Professional Practice  (20 credits, level 8)
This module explores the experience students have in demonstrating the application of psychology within the appropriate ethical and professional boundaries that are required by the Regulatory Body (Health and Care Professions Council, HCPC), by appropriate professional bodies (British Psychological Society, BPS) and by the relevant placement organisations.

Advanced Applied Research (40 credits, level 8)
This module explores the experience students have developed and can use advanced research methods and apply this to their practice.  We want students to demonstrate that they are excellent consumers of research and can engage in research activities that affect practice and policy in the context of forensic psychology., particularly functional assessment and case formulation.

Learning & Teaching​

​​Our students are placement based and the programme follows an apprenticeship model, where students work under the supervision of a qualified forensic psychologist and aim to demonstrate their developing competency in the areas identified as relevant to the role (HCPC Standards of Proficiency). So, the primary mode of learning on this programme will be through supervised practice. 

To support the learning of students we also offer workshops. Some of the workshops are compulsory and mean that students need to attend Cardiff for 9 days over the course of their study with us. 

We make no apology when stating that this course is challenging and will require a great deal of investment from students in order to complete it. Our students on placement (not employed by placement provider) we expect to be in placement 4 days a week and spend an additional one day in study. It is very much a full time programme of study and whilst there are part time options, the commitment is something we urge applicants to consider.  Students who use their employment as a placement for the programme are encouraged to consider their ability to meet the requirements of this study time.

Students are provided with a supervisory team which is comprised of a work placement supervisor (we refer to this supervisor as the clinical supervisor) and a supervisor from the University (we refer to this supervisor as an academic supervisor). Both of these supervisors will be forensic psychologists, except in exceptional circumstances where the course leader has approved a different arrangement. Both supervisors will provide support to the student and will encourage their development and provide pastoral support. Additional support is provided through the Peer Mentors, other students who are a step further along the process .


Students are assessed for competency and professionalism, these issues are reviewed in tri-partite supervision sessions every quarter for full time students. There are 6 modules that students will complete. The largest of these are the Portfolio modules where students will gather exemplars of their work with forensic psychology service users following the processes of assessment, intervention, evaluation and recommendation. Additionally, students will complete four reflective report modules on aspects of their practice; Functional Assessment and Formulation, Ethical and Professional Practice, Teaching and Training and Consultancy.  See Course Content tab for more information.

Employability & Careers​

The purpose of the PG Dip in Practitioner Forensic Psychology is to allow students to progress on from Masters level study towards Practitioner status, thereby boosting their employability.  At the end of the programme successful students can apply to the HCPC to be registered as Forensic Psychologists. This course is essentially for students who wish to progress on to clinical work within forensic settings or more widely with forensic clients. The programme is placement based and provides supervised support towards developing the competencies required to be an autonomous practitioner.  

100% of the graduates from this programme are employed as Forensic Psychologists and so working in professional roles within a variety of organisations in the UK.  Some of our graduates may consider returning to complete the Doctorate in Forensic Psychology (Top-Up) once they have decided which area they would like to specialise in.  

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

Applicants will be expected to have a BPS accredited Undergraduate degree and a BPS accredited Masters degree in Forensic Psychology (or equivalence of BPS Stage 1 training in forensic psychology). In addition to the academic qualifications detailed above, applicants will be expected to demonstrate extensive experience in applied forensic psychology. This can be demonstrated by being employed as a forensic psychologist in training, or a similar role where you have practiced, under supervision, forensic psychology with forensic service users. We recommend at least 1 year (full time) experience in these roles.

We do accept Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for this programme and our rules of applying this mean we accept prior certified learning. This means that students may demonstrate that they have already demonstrated competency in areas assessed within this programme. Generally this will mean they can demonstrate that they have submitted, been assessed and passed aspects of a similar (HCPC Approved) programme in forensic psychology training. RPL is assessed individually and applicants should contact the Course Director with evidence of their RPL for further guidance.

Students will be asked to consent to participation in role-play activities during the workshops associated with the programmes. Students unable to consent to such activities will be required to work with the programme team to achieve a suitable alternative experience. Students will need to able to evidence English language skills of IELTS level 7 with a minimum of 6.5 on each subtest.

Before starting the programme, students must have an approved placement where appropriate supervised experience is offered by the placement site. For some students, their employment can be used as the placement (e.g. forensic psychologists in training employed by justice or health organisations). We support students who have been offered a place on the programme to find suitable placement opportunities. Students on placements where they are not employed by their placement provider will be expected to take out appropriate liability insurance at their own cost. The cost of liability insurance for students on placement varies, but should be less than £100.00 per year for most applicants. 

International Applicants
Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 7.0 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on the website.

How to Apply:
Applications should be made direct to the university via our Self Service facility and requires a mandatory Personal Statement, MSc Forensic Psychology (or BPS stage 1) degree certificate, BSc Psychology degree certificate from a BPS accredited course and two completed references from qualified Forensic Psychologists that have observed your practice (reference template here).  All must be uploaded with your online application before the deadline

Further information about the mandatory information can also be accessed directly via  

If you are interesting in using credit from another institution or that obtained from qualifications or experience to study for a course at Cardiff Met,  you can find further information on this as well as information on how to apply on the RPL page.


For Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service applicants only:
If you are employed by HMPPS and have financial support to apply to the programme, please choose the Commercial programme being -Postgraduate Diploma in Practitioner Forensic Psychology (Commercial) 11858 within the application self service system.  This ONLY applies to people employed by HMPPS, all other applicants should follow the general application process.  If you have any questions please contact Admissions at or ring 029 20 416040.

Selection Procedure:
Selection is normally based on a completed online application form and interview.

Further information on the DBS requirement for this programme can be found at Students who are not using their current employment for their entire placement will also need to engage with an Occupational Health screening process. 


PLEASE NOTE: Liability insurance:

If offered a place on the programme students must ensure they have appropriate liability insurance. If students are employed by placement providers in an appropriate role, which covers all core competencies of the programme, it is probable they will be covered by their employer and students are required to provide details of this cover. If students are voluntarily on placement they will need to take out professional liability insurance which costs less than £100.00 per year. The University will ask students to sign a form to indicate they are covered, and that they will be responsible for renewing it when appropriate. 

Additional Information

Tuition Fees and Financial Support:
For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available. Please refer to

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact the programme leader, Nic Bowes:
Tel: 029 2020 1169

Key Course Information

Place of Study: 
Llandaff Campus

Cardiff School of Sport & Health Sciences

Course Length:
Two years full-time (minimum): usually 4 days per week for 45 weeks per year (students need to accrue no less than 360 days experience across the two year period).
Up to Five years candidature: Accruing no less than 360 days experience across the period.​


Full terms and conditions in relation to accepting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University can be found by visiting