BASS Politics and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Psychology, Crime and Criminal Justice

Unit code CRIM10432
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course explores psychological approaches to understanding crime and anti-social behaviour.

Indicative content: (1) Introduction: Psychology, Crime, Criminology; (2) Evolutionary psychology (3) Heredity; (4) The Brain; (5) Personality; (6) Development; (7) Learning; (8) Cognition; (9) Situations; (10) Course summary.


This course unit aims to (1) introduce the discipline of psychology as it applies to the study of crime and criminal justice; (2) explore the contribution of psychology to the explanation, prediction and reduction of crime; (3) critically appreciate the strengths and limitations of the featured approaches and literature; (4) develop transferable communications and metacognitive skills, as well as subject-relevant knowledge and understanding.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to: (1) assess the contemporary relevance of psychology to criminology & criminal justice; (2) demonstrate knowledge of a number of psychological theories relevant to understanding crime; (3) think independently and work collaboratively with increased confidence.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching in academic year 21/22 will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide a blended offer of the best in online and on-campus teaching that includes: (1) a subject hour used for a range of exercises and activities; (2) high quality learning materials; (3) a tutorial; (4) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.

Employability skills

(i) analyse, critique and (re-)formulate a problem or issue; (ii) rapidly and thoroughly review/rate argument and evidence from targeted bibliographic searches; (iii) plan, structure and present arguments in a variety of written formats and to a strict word limit, (iv) express ideas verbally and organise work effectively in small teams for a variety of written and oral tasks; (v) obtain, manipulate and (re-)present different forms of data; (vi) manage time effectively; (vii) reflect on and improve performance through feedback.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Portfolio 100%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) draft portfolio entries. Summative feedback – a mark contextualised by class-level notes on what constitutes a good response - will be given on the submitted learning portfolio via Blackboard (Grademark), together with class-level feedback.

Recommended reading

Wortley R (2011). Psychological Criminology. London: Routledge.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 13
Independent study hours
Independent study 40

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Laura Bui Unit coordinator
Jon Shute Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of 35-40 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands 12-13 hours of study per week consisting of (i) timetabled teacher-led hours, (ii) preparation, required and further reading.



Restricted to: BA (Criminology) students for which this is compulsory;  also available to non-Law first year students.
This course is available to incoming study abroad students.
Pre-requisites: None.

See Law School timetable


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