BASS Sociology and Philosophy

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Psychology, Crime and Criminal Justice

Course unit fact file
Unit code CRIM10432
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
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 and learning across course units consists of: (1) preparatory work to be completed prior to teaching sessions, including readings, pre-recorded subject material and online activities; (2) a weekly whole-class lecture or workshop; (3) a tutorial; and (4) one-to-one support via subject specific office hours.

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).

Recommended reading

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

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jon Shute Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of around 30-35 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands around 10-11 hours of study per week consisting of (i) 3 timetabled teacher-led hours, (ii) 7-8 independent study hours devoted to preparation, required and further reading, and note taking.



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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