module specification

SS7085 - Psychology and Crime (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Psychology and Crime
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 200
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
155 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   4500 word essay or 20 minutes screencast
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

The main aim of this module is to provide you with core knowledge and understanding of approaches to explaining criminal behaviour and its impact upon individuals and society.

During the course of studying this module you will cover some diverse topics including an overview of the major perspectives in criminology, a discussion on the measurement  of crime and following from this workshops focusing on psychological elements to forms of crime and violence, such as sex offending, domestic violence, stalking and homicide.

When studying this module you will:

● Provide an overview of the measurement of crime and factors influencing the degree of error in this measurement.
● 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).
● Evaluate the contribution of psychology to the explanation of criminal behaviour relative to and in interaction with explanatory frameworks and factors from other disciplines.

Prior learning requirements

Available for Study Abroad? YES


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 (LO1)

● 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) (LO2)

● Explanations of general criminal behaviour from non-psychology or multi-disciplinary perspectives (LO1)

● Explanations of criminality in specific offender groups (e.g., the personality disordered) (LO2, LO3)

● Explanations of particular types of offending (e.g., violent offending) (LO3)

● Fear of crime and victims of crime (LO4)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Each week, this module will be delivered through a one-hour lecture, and a two hour seminar or workshop. The reading and workshops will be supported by weblearn and you 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, you 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

There will be either a 4,500 word essay OR alternative of a 20 minute screen cast. You must achieve a mark of 50%.

This assessment will assess all of the learning outcomes by requiring significant reading, demonstrating your understanding and, if aiming for higher marks, to engage critically with the issues addressed in the module. An alternative assessment is allowed if you feel your abilities are not best catered for by a written assignment.