module specification

SS7085 - Psychology and Crime (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Psychology and Crime
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
140 hours Guided independent study
60 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay 4,000 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module will introduce students to the basic principles and psychological theories underlying criminal behaviour. It is assessed by coursework and taught jointly by the Criminology and Psychology Schools.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The main aim of this module is to provide students with core knowledge and understanding of approaches to explaining criminal behaviour and its impact upon individuals and society. More specifically, the aims are:

To provide an overview of the measurement of crime and factors influencing the degree of error in this measurement.
To provide an account of psychological factors that are related to or help to explain crime at both a general level and in terms of specific offences (e.g., arson) and specific offender groups (e.g., juveniles).
To evaluate the contribution of psychology to the explanation of criminal behaviour relative to and in interaction with explanatory frameworks and factors from other disciplines.

To provide a brief introduction to victimology.


The syllabus will include coverage of topics such as those listed below.
• Definitions and measurement of crime; Impact of variations in crime figures on the development of theories of criminal behaviour and the development of crime prevention policy;
• Explanations of general criminal behaviour from a psychological perspective (e.g., social development, moral reasoning, intelligence, personality, mental health, parenting styles, attachment and maternal deprivation, neuropsychology, etc);
• Explanations of general criminal behaviour from non-psychology or multi-disciplinary perspectives;
• Explanations of criminality in specific offender groups (e.g., the personality disordered);
• Explanations of particular types of offending (e.g., violent offending);
• Fear of crime and victims of crime.

Learning and teaching

Each week, this module will be delivered through a one-hour lecture, and a one hour seminar or workshop. The reading and workshops will be support by weblearn and students will be encouraged to engage in debate, presentations and web materials as well as attending lectures and seminars.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

1. Discuss different definitions of crime and different methods for assessing the rate and prevalence of crime
2. Critically evaluate psychological factors in the explanation of criminal behaviour
3. Present and evaluate explanations of criminality in different groups of offenders (e.g., juveniles, women, the elderly) or in particular types of offending (e.g., violent, sexual, serial, terrorist, etc.)
4. Outline the impact of criminal behaviour on victims and potential victims of crime.

Assessment strategy

Assessment consists of one 4,000 word essay (100% of marks). The assessment is predicated upon thorough academic analysis, and appropriate student reading and research.


Core text book:

Andrews, D.A. & Bonta. J. L. (2003). The psychology of criminal conduct (3rd ed). Cincinnati: Anderson. Also available as a library e-resource (2010 edition)
Blackburn, R. (1993). The psychology of criminal conduct: theory, research and practice. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.
Boon, J., & Sheridan, L., (2002). Stalking and psychosexual obsession psychological perspectives for prevention, policing, and treatment. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Castelli, P., Goodman, G. S., Edelstein, R. S., Mitchell, E. B., Paz Alonzo, P. M., Lyons, K. E., & Newton, J. W. (2006). Evaluating eyewitness testimony in adults and children. In I. B. Weiner & A. K. Hess (Eds.), Handbook of Forensic Psychology (3rd ed). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Davis, R. C., Lurigio, A. J. & Skogan, W. G. (Eds.) (1997). Victims of crime (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
Evans, C., Ehlers, A., Mezey, G., & Clarke, D. M. (2007). Intrusive memories and ruminations relating to violent crime among young offenders: Phenomenological characteristics. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20 (2), 183-196.
Glicksohn, J. (2002). The Neurobiology of criminal behaviour. London: Kluwer Academic Press.
Graham-Berman, S. A., & Edleson, J. L. (Eds.) (2001). Domestic violence in the lives of children. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
Hodgins, S. (2000). Violence, crime and mentally disordered offenders. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Hollin, C., Browne, D. & Palmer, E. (2002). Delinquency and young offenders. Oxford: BPS Blackwell.
Maguire, M., Morgan, R., & Reiner, R., (Eds.) (2002). The Oxford handbook of criminology (3rd ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Needs, A. and Towl, G (2004). Applying psychology to forensic practice. Oxford: BPS Blackwell.
G. J. Towl & D. A. Crighton (Eds.) (2010). Forensic Psychology. Oxford: BPS Blackwell.

These texts are all available from London Metropolitan University library, and most of the books are available from the Short Loan Collection as well as One Week Loan books.