Psychology of Crime - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP2 , SP4
  • Availability for 2018: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Case Study - Case Study (40%) , Invigilated Exam - Exam (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit addresses the question "What is it about individuals and their experiences that produce criminal behaviour?". Psychologists are concerned with how an individual’s biological make-up, personality, upbringing, current circumstances and so forth produce criminal behaviour. The unit examines criminal behaviour in terms of nine theoretical perspectives: evolutionary theories, genetic theories, biobehavioural theories, psychodynamic theories, trait theories, behavioural theories, social learning theories, moral development theories, and environmental theories. The unit also examines the implications of these theories for three areas criminology: the functioning of the criminal justice system, crime prevention, and the rehabilitation of offenders.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

1  Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between individual-level and society-level explanations of criminal behaviour.
2  Explain their personal position with respect to the major debates about the nature of criminal behaviour, for example, the nature/nurture debate, the free-will/ determinism debate, and the person/situation debate.
3  Demonstrate an understanding of the major individual-level theoretical explanations of criminal behaviour, and be able to apply these theories to individual cases.
4  Demonstrate an understanding of the practical and policy implications of the theories of criminal behaviour.
5  Understand how scientific theories can be tested using psychological experiments.
6  Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical concerns with individual-level explanations of criminal behaviour.

  • Case Study — Case Study (40%)
  • Invigilated Exam — Exam (40%)
  • Quiz — Online Quiz (20%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

This is not an introductory unit, it is a second year unit. You must have a basic understanding of the first year criminology units.

This unit addresses the following topics.

2Evolutionary Theory
3Crime and Genetics
4Bio-behavioural Theories
5Psychoanalytic Theories
6Trait Theories
7Behavioural Theories
8Social Learning Theories
9Developmental Theories
10Environmental Theories
11Implications for the Criminal Justice System
12Implications for Crime Prevention
13Implications for Rehabilitation

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture

Online materials

  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Psychological Criminology: An Integrative Approach

    By:Richard Wortley

    ISBN: 9781843928058


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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