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School of Social Sciences

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BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Psychology, Crime and Criminal Justice

Unit code LAWS10432
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Law
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


1. Introduction to psychological criminology 
2. Human nature [evolutionary approaches] 
3. Heredity [behavioural genetics] 
4. The brain [neuropsychology] 
5. Personality [& personality disorder] 
6. Development [criminal careers] 
7. Learning [theory and application] 
8. Cognition [SCT, schemas & scripts] 
9. Situations [social, environmental and opportunity theory] 
10. Conclusion [summary, strengths and limitations, implications for practice]


- introduce the discipline of psychology as it applies to the study of crime and criminal justice 
- explore the contribution of psychology to the explanation, investigation and reduction of crime 
- critically appreciate the strengths and limitations of the featured approaches and literature 
- develop marketable transferable skills, as well as subject knowledge

Teaching and learning methods

10 x 2 hour lectures, with time for questions and exercises for student interaction. This includes the unique ‘BigPsyCrim’ survey in which YOU as a class provide the psychological data we use to explore the big ideas from the course.

10 x 1 hour seminars (or 5 x 2 hours). Each week, you’ll expand your reading in relation to the topic of the previous lecture. You’ll discuss and debate in small groups and write up your experience for your assessment portfolio.

10 x 1 office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11-12.

10 x BB9 self-study hours linking to resources provided on the course site

Assessment methods

Assessment is in two parts:

  1. an exam (2 questions from no less than 6) worth 70% of the overall grade


  1. a portfolio of reports of seminar work worth 30% of the overall grade


Non-assessed coursework takes the form of two exam-style essays written in seminars in weeks 5 and 9.


Feedback methods

Full written feedback will be given on all work (assessed and non-assessed) by the Course Director. Oral feedback will be given by seminar takers.

Recommended reading

COURSE TEXT (available as an e-book through the main library and course reading list): 

Wortley, R. (2011) Psychological Criminology: An Integrative Approach. Abingdon: Routledge.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jon Shute Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Closed book examination.

Restricted to: BA (Criminology) students for which this is compulsory;  also available to non-Law first year students.

Pre-requisites: None.

See Law School timetable


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