Psychology (Forensic) - 8257

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Science


Campus: Sydney

Career: Postgraduate

Typical Duration: 2 Years  

Typical UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC Per Semester: 3

Max UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC For Award: 96


Master of Psychology (Forensic) (Specialisation)

View program information for previous years

Program Description

The Master of Psychology (Forensic) program was offered for the first time in 1998. The degree is unique among masters programs in forensic psychology at Australian universities in that both a school of psychology and a law school are involved in its teaching; each School at UNSW is a recognised leader in its field in Australia. The program is accredited as fifth and sixth years of study leading to generalist registration within the PBA (Psychologists' Board of Australia) of APHRA (Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency), as well as full membership of the Australian Psychological Society. Graduates who complete two years of supervision after completing the program are eligible for endorsement as a Forensic Psychologist.

The minimum period of registration before the award of the degree is four semesters for full-time students and six semesters for part-time students. Distance enrolment is not available.

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

1. Knowledge of the Discipline

Overall knowledge of the discipline underpins all of the other capabilities and includes knowledge of psychological principles, professional ethics and standards, theories of individual and systemic functioning and change, dysfunctional behaviour, psychopathology, the cultural bases of behaviour and organisational systems.

2. Ethical, Legal and Professional Matters

The ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychological practice.

3. Psychological Assessment & Measurement

The ongoing, interactive, and inclusive process that serves to describe, conceptualise, and predict relevant aspects of a client (be that client an organization, group or individual).

4. Intervention Strategies

Activities that promote, restore, sustain or enhance cognitive functioning and a sense of well being in individuals or groups of clients through preventive, developmental or remedial services and/or in the case of groups or organizations, restoring or enhancing group or organizational functioning.

5. Research and Evaluation
Systematic inquiry involving problem identification and the acquisition, organisation, and interpretation of information allowing critical analysis and disciplined, rigorous, careful and scientific inquiry into psychological phenomena.

6. Communication and Interpersonal Relationships

The capacity to convey, appraise and interpret information in both oral and written formats and to interact on a professional level with a wide range of client groups and other professionals, including:
  • the ability to establish and maintain constructive working relationships and in clinical settings therapeutic alliances with clients;
  • the ability to communicate, interact and liaise for a range of purposes (e.g., discussing research with other professionals; discussing relevant psychological services with clients, potential clients);
  • the ability to develop knowledge of theories and empirical data on professional relationships, such as:
  • interpersonal relationships;
  • power relationships;
  • therapeutic alliance;
  • interface with social psychology;
  • more specific knowledge of the fluctuations of the therapeutic/professional relationship as a function of intervention setting.

Program Structure

The program consists of three components, all of which are compulsory:
  1. Coursework - Weekly lectures and seminars with associated written forms of assessment (48 UOC)
  2. Professional practice - Completion of a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised practice in forensic settings, weekly Forensic Psychology meetings, and Skills Training Workshops (24 UOC)
  3. A research thesis (24 UOC).
The three components total 96 units of credit (48 in each stage).

Stage 1
Stage 2
*LAWS9800 and LAWS9810 are offered in alternate years. Students can complete these two courses in any order and should enrol in which ever is offered regardless of whether they are at Stage 1 or Stage 2.

Academic Rules

Please refer to Program Structure for the Academic requirements relating to this program.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:

Admission Requirements

The minimum entrance requirement is completion of an Honours Class 1 or high Class 2 degree in Psychology from the University of New South Wales or from a recognised APAC university.

Psychology qualifications from overseas must consist of a research thesis component and also be assessed as equivalent to an Australian four-year undergraduate degree (including Honours) by the Australian Psychological Society (APS). See the APS website ( for more details.

Selection is based on academic qualifications for the program. As the number of places is limited, entry into the program is competitive. Referees reports will be sought for applicants who are shortlisted and an interview may be required.

Applicants should also refer to the relevant information on the School of Psychology website

Additional Information

Please note that this program extends over two calendar years (rather than four academic semesters with vacation breaks).

The minimum period of enrolment before the award of the degree is four semesters for full-time students and six semesters for part-time students.

Part-time students are normally expected to take 12 UOC per semester.

Area(s) of Specialisation