Psychology of Criminal Conduct - PSYC8050

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Afroditi Pina checkmark-circle


This module examines the topic of criminality from a broad psychological perspective. The origins of the criminal tendency in childhood are detailed and its abundant expression in adolescence highlighted and examined. The evidence that consistent criminal tendencies can be reliably assessed is considered, and the extent to which personality factors can explain that consistency is evaluated. The concept of psychopathy is explored along with examining more generally the relationship between crime, law and moral judgement. The role of victims in creating, defining and reporting crime is analysed, and the psychological consequences of crime for victims and potential victims are explored.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 33
Private study hours: 167
Total study hours: 200


Forensic Psychology MSc-T

Method of assessment

Report (5,000 words)

Reassessment methods: Like for like.

Indicative reading

Reading List (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Adler, J. (Ed.). (2004). Forensic Psychology: Concepts, Debates and Practice. Devon: Willan Publishing.

Blackburn, R. (1995). The Psychology of Criminal Conduct: Theory, Research and Practice. Chichester: Wiley.

Davies, G, Hollin, C, & Bull, R (Eds.) (2008). Forensic Psychology. Chichester: Wiley.

Howitt, D. (2009). Introduction to Forensic & Criminal Psychology. Essex: Pearson Education.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of criminological theory regarding the origins of offending.

8.2 Demonstrate knowledge of techniques for the study of offender behaviour and its contribution to police work, through critical evaluation of current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline.

8.3 Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of rational decision-making as applied to crime and offences conducted by people who make non-normal decisions, e.g. psychopaths, sex offenders.

8.4 Form a conceptual and systemic understanding of the reality of the functions of different parts of the Criminal Justice System through attendance on course visits.

8.5 Explain to the public, using plain English, how offenders and victims of crime are dealt with by the Criminal Justice System.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Demonstrate intellectual and subject-specific skills (include critical thinking and argumentation, reasoning and reflection, information structuring, analysis and synthesis, application of theory, appropriate use of sources, and clarity in thinking)

9.2 Demonstrate key transferable skills, including communication and information technology (e.g. undertaking online research, producing written documents), working with others, problem solving, and improving learning (including time management and exploring personal strengths and weaknesses).


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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