Forensic Psychiatry


Forensic psychiatry is the sub-discipline of general adult mental health work which deals with the assessment and rehabilitation of those people with serious mental disorders who present a risk of offending. It is a multi-disciplinary activity and this is reflected in the teaching methods. The specialisation exposes students to a range of issues including the relationship between mental disorders and offending, legal and ethical issues and risk rehabilitation.

Areas of study

Forensic mental health care is a special part of mental health services that involves the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of people with mental disorders who have offended, or are at risk of offending against the law. It involves mental health practice across a range of clinical, legal and correctional settings, including court, prison, secure and open inpatient and community rehabilitation settings. It involves a capacity to practice with an awareness of legal and ethical issues, with specific knowledge with regard to theoretical and practical issues.

You can study Forensic Psychiatry in the following programmes:

What you will learn

You will be introduced to the specific knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to understand the reasons for, history of and necessary elements of clinical practice and service delivery relevant to practice in forensic mental health, and encourages inquiry into research and practice issues in this most fascinating and challenging field. New Zealand has world leading forensic mental heath services, and our programmes allow you to explore the research, practice and ethical issues relevant to this field of work.

Career opportunities

These courses are offered to graduates in medicine, nursing, law, social work, psychology or occupational therapy who work or wish to work in forensic mental health services with a view to gain further skills and knowledge in this field. It may lay a foundation for further research in this field. The courses can be credited to a Master of Health Science or other degrees depending on the background of the student.

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