Forensic psychology

Discover what forensic psychologists study, their role in criminal investigations and how much they can earn.


Forensic psychology is often defined as the point where psychology and law meet. It covers all aspects of the legal system, including civil, family and criminal cases. Forensic psychologists examine the psychological elements within casework. It's extremely wide-ranging, with work including providing one-to-one assessments, giving evidence in court, designing rehabilitation programmes for those who've committed crimes and more.


When working with offenders, forensic psychologists often treat violence, aggression, and behaviours related to sexual offending, as well as improving social skills. The ultimate aim is to rehabilitate those who've committed crimes - to reduce the risk of reoffending.

Forensic psychologist personality traits

Our fictional famous forensic psychologist

George Huang M.D. (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)

It's no surprise to see a forensic psychologist feature in a TV show all about the criminal justice system. George Huang served as a liaison to the FBI in the show for several seasons. He could often be seen providing assessments of defendants affected by mental illness. And in the episode 'Born Psychopath', he diagnoses a young boy with increasingly aggressive tendencies with an anti-social personality disorder, allowing him to be treated appropriately.

Your potential forensic psychology career options

A Forensic Psychology Salary Guide

How much does a forensic psychologist earn working for HM Prison Service (HMPS)? As a trainee, you could expect a starting salary of between £27,021 and £34,461 per year. Once fully qualified and registered, you'd then be able to earn anywhere between £38,148 and £43,870 (band 7). When you reach senior level, this jumps again to between £42,626 and £51,154 (band 8).

Within the NHS, you could earn between £32,306 to £39,027 while training (band 6 on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scale). This would then rise to between £40,057 and £45,839 (AfC band 7) once you were fully qualified.

Source: Prospects

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