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What makes Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence at Worcester special?

Our Domestic and Sexual Violence degree aims to enhance your knowledge and skills to boost your prospects for a career working with victims and/or perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence. The course promotes the important link between academic learning and real-world practice.

This postgraduate course has built on our teaching and research experience over the last decade. The course is delivered within the Department of Violence Prevention, Forensic Psychology and Criminology in the School of Psychology. Staff specialise in a range of disciplines across this sector. Our reputation in research continues to grow, and you can expect to learn from, and be supervised by, leading academics in the field. 

For further information on the Blended-Learning course and to see the dates for 2023/24 you can download our PG Cert/PG Dip/MA in Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence MA (pdf)




Key features

  • Suitable for anyone interested in the subjects of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Highly relevant to those who may be working with either victims/survivors, and/or perpetrators, adults, young people or children affected by domestic and sexual violence.
  • Blended-learning - combining taught sessions in a classroom environment as well as through online activities.
  • Study with peers from a diverse range of practitioner and cultural backgrounds.
A lecturer is speaking to a student

Postgraduate Open Day

Book a place at our Postgraduate Open Day, on Saturday 22 April 2023 between 10am - 2pm, to learn more about this course, get a feel for our campuses, and meet your lecturers. 

Book here

Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence Online Learning Pathway

We are pleased to announce that we have a new online delivery of the Postgraduate Certificate Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence which should start in September 2023. This includes an online delivery of Individual modules from the MA Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence for anyone interested in accessing a module as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

This new form of online delivery will appeal to you as a prospective student who would prefer the option of studying online from home and where the course will suit your personal and professional commitments. We are also keen to promote the online programme to international students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to study this subject and where the online delivery should certainly suit your individual circumstances.

If you are interested in this new online delivery, please contact Beverley Gilbert as the Admissions Tutor at or, Dr. Claire McLoone-Richards (Course Leader) at

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

Prospective students will be required to have

  • A relevant first degree gained at a 2.1 (or equivalent level) in a health related or social science discipline, or similar subject discipline
  • A relevant professional qualification and experience, including but not exclusively, Social Work, Police, Probation, Health and Education
  • Significant experience of working with victims and/or perpetrators of domestic or sexual violence over at least 12 months.

You may also be required to provide an Enhanced DBS check subject to module selection.

Other information

In some cases, an applicant may be required to attend for interview, this may by via attending in person, Skype or telephone.

For those with significant experience of working with victims and/or perpetrators, but without a first degree or professional qualification, these applicants will need to evidence through Recognition of Prior Learning procedures how their knowledge and experience demonstrates their potential to meet the programme requirements, which includes meeting the academic requirements of the programme, the ability to communicate effectively and an appropriate understanding of the dynamics of domestic and/or sexual violence. The admissions team will provide further guidance.

The IELTS score for international applicants is 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in component). Other English Language qualifications will be considered.

If you have any questions, please contact the Admissions office on 01905 855111 or

Course content

What will you study

Theoretical Perspectives on Gender, Violence and Interpersonal Relationships

Module code: DSVM4001

In this module, we explore a range of theories that have been applied to the issues of domestic and sexual violence - ranging from feminist explanations of violence against women, to social learning theories which focus on the family environment, to biological explanations that explain violence according to the psychology of the offender.

Recognition, Responses and Impact of Violence

Module code: DSVM4002

In this module we look at the impact of domestic and sexual violence on victims and the costs of violence to our society. The module is designed to examine the impact of violence from a range of cultural perspectives, which will also focus on faith and spiritual beliefs providing students with an in depth critical awareness of the multiple costs of domestic and sexual violence.

Preparing for Independent Research

Module code: DSVM4003

This module prepares students to conduct research in the field of domestic and sexual violence in preparation for their dissertation. Students will learn to critique different research methodologies and consider their theoretical underpinnings. Students will also be asked to consider the practical and ethical issues associated with researching in the field of DSV and will develop their own research proposal which is contextualised by the existing literature.

Public Health Responses to Violence and Managing Perpetrators

Module code: DSVM4004

In this module we look at perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence and the work that is being done to try and prevent these forms of violence in our societies. The module will critically analyse perpetration and interventions within social and culturally specific contexts and explore implications for good practice in relation to prevention; enabling students to develop a critical understanding of legislation, policy and practice.


Module code: DSVM4005

The dissertation module allows you to focus on as aspect of domestic and/or sexual violence that you wish to explore through primary research. You will be allocated a supervisor who will guide you through the research process. 

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Teaching and Learning

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a combination of traditional face-to-face study days and innovative online learning sessions.

Each module will consist of four face to face teaching days (delivered in two blocks) in addition to online learning activities to be completed at your convenience. These sessions include activities such as: set readings, narrated lectures, video clips and discussion boards.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors can be arranged, either on campus, via skype or via the telephone.

Contact time

As this course is delivered in blocks, you will be on campus for four full days per module (two days at a time).

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to engage with the online learning sessions that are made available between teaching blocks. These sessions equate to 66 hours of learning over the duration of the module.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 15 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve reading and assignment preparation.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team include:

Beverly Gilbert (Senior Lecturer) has 30 years experience of working within the criminal justice sector and has undertaken research evaluation of domestic violence prevention initiatives across the UK within the criminal justice sector. .

Claire Richards (Senior Lecturer) has considerable experience of multi-agency partnership working within the voluntary and statutory sectors. Her roles have varied in the fields of mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse and her research focuses on child advocacy in the context of the safeguarding children.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and all of our course lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include essays, report writing, poster presentations and individual presentations.


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Pathway timetable

  • The PG Certificate is completed in one year for both full and part-time students.
  • The PG Diploma is completed in one year full-time and two years part-time.
  • The MA is completed in one year full-time and two years part-time.

What our students say

“I am currently in my second year of the course and have found the course to be extremely informative whilst also challenging.  As a practitioner in the field with over a decade of experience I have found the course to be a real asset and strongly believe that it has improved my knowledge and practice.  I would highly recommend the course to anyone who has an interest in the area of domestic and sexual abuse.”

“The course has far exceeded my expectations. The lecturers are incredibly knowledgeable and the content has expanded my professional practice to a considerable degree. I have been challenged to think differently about the historical roots and social impact of domestic and sexual violence and cannot recommend the course more highly.”

“For me the course has given me more confidence to support the young people I work with, in terms of relationship issues. I have a more thorough understanding of the support available in my area and how to help young people access this. The course itself has been well run, with supportive staff who are always at the end of the phone or email to answer queries and are always happy to help.  I have very much enjoyed my time at Worcester and hope to continue onto to a PhD program in the near future.”

"This course has given me the confidence to evaluate and alter my own professional practice as well as constructively challenge working practices within my own organisation. This has enabled me to develop best practice and become a more well-rounded practitioner which has greatly benefited my client group."

‘’The course has challenged what I thought I knew and tutors have sensitively delivered material that has taken me out of my comfort zone. The diverse skills and knowledge in the group has enriched the learning and supported my development, my thinking and working practice.’’

‘’This course has grown me as an academic, professional and as a person. There is no other university where I would wish to undertake this research due to the excellent quality of teaching available and it has been a privilege to be taught by such a wealth of experience and knowledge’’. 

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.


Where could it take you?

Our Domestic and Sexual Violence degree will prepare you for a range of careers working with victims and/or perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence, including: 

  • Violence prevention
  • Victim support for survivors of abuse
  • Working with abuse perpetrators
  • Working with adults, young people or children in domestic abuse support roles

You will develop a range of skills on this course that should have an immediate and positive impact on your professional role.

For those who would like to start working in the areas of domestic or sexual violence, your increased knowledge and skill-set should prepare you for future job applications.

For those already working in this sector, you will enhance your ability to critically reflect on your professional practice and make valuable contributions to service improvement.




How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time home and EU students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/LLM/MRes courses in the academic year 2023/24 is £8,180 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/LLM/MRes courses in the academic year 2023/24 is £15,800 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time home and EU students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/LLM/MRes/PGCert/PGDip courses in the academic year 2023/24 are £682 per 15-credit module, £1,363 per 30-credit module, £2,045 per 45-credit module, and £2,727 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fees for part-time international students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/LLM/MRes courses in the academic year 2023/24 are £1,317 per 15-credit module, £2,633 per 30-credit module, £3,950 per 45-credit module, and £5,267 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £122 per week to 'En-suite Premium' at £207 per week (2023/24 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

Postgraduate loans

The Government will provide a loan of up to £11,836 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2022 per eligible student for postgraduate Masters study. It will be at your own discretion whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs.

For more details visit our postgraduate loans page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Application advice

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Admissions office on 01905 855111 or

Beverley Gilbert is the Course Admissions tutor and she would love to hear from you if you would like to know more about the course and if you are interested in becoming a student on this excellent programme.

You can email Beverley directly at or even better, why not give her a call on 01905 542543.

Apply for September enrolment


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PG Dip

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PG Cert

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Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Beverley Gilbert

Course Admissions Tutor

Dr Claire McLoone-Richards

Course Leader