The details
Location: Online Mode of study: Part-time Qualification: BSc (Hons) Indicative duration: 4 years
Start date: Awarding body: University of Essex Delivered by: Kaplan Open Learning For queries: Call +44 (0) 1206 489 358

Does the rapidly expanding field of criminal psychology interest you? Do you want to learn more about the critical issues facing today’s criminal justice system?  Take a deeper look inside the criminal mind with our degree.

This programme gives you the opportunity to study alongside fellow professionals and classmates to take part in thought-provoking modules covering topics such as offender profiling, risk management and offender rehabilitation.

Our course emphasises the importance of evidence-based practice along with the integration of psychological theory to understand, reduce and prevent offending behaviour. You’ll also study the core areas of psychology including cognitive, social and developmental psychology.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore fascinating topics including:

the study of the social factors that impact on individual’s lives

  • crime from a psychological and sociological perspective
  • understanding of the importance of forensic psychology within the Criminal Justice System.
  • criminal liability and the key definitions associated with criminality
  • the history and theoretical perspectives on victimology

Finally, you’ll be able to build on your research skills acquired during the programme through your final project on a criminal psychology topic that is of personal interest to you.

Please note: This programme is not accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). If you would like to study a BPS accredited course, please see our BSc (Hons) Psychology.

Why we’re great

  • Our courses involve a range of technical competencies which can be applied immediately to the real world, making you an asset to any team or employer.
  • Graduates of the course will have a holistic understanding of both criminology and psychology in addition to a wide range of transferable skills including critical thinking, research, self-motivation and communication.
  • On this course you can choose optional modules to tailor your learning to your personal interests.

The BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology is made up of the following modules and, upon completion, is equal to a total of 360 credits.

Optional modules: choose one at Level 4; choose two at Level 5; choose one at Level 6.

This engaging module encourages you to develop the competencies required for higher online education learning, such as academic styles of writing. You’ll also critically reflect on your personal development while learning about key psychological areas including cognitive psychology’s theory of learning styles.  

This defining module provides you with the toolkit to analyse how we process, store and use information about ourselves and others. You’ll learn about the role of social psychologists and explore the ethical principles of research and conduct set by the British Psychological Society.  

In this fascinating module you’ll learn to identify the key issues associated with the social contexts of crime, and define the different types and categories. Through the lens of case studies, you’ll discover the influences of criminal behaviour, and the social and economic effects upon both communities and the state. 

Ready to discover more about brain behaviour, human memory and cognition? This exciting module will broaden your knowledge by introducing you to the history and science behind cognitive psychology. You’ll learn how to apply cognitive psychology to other disciplines and find out more about relevant research and theories within this fascinating field. 

Learn how to spot patterns of criminal behaviour in this stimulating module. You’ll explore the myths on offender profiling and learn about a range of methodologies and theoretical perspectives used in this method. Upon completion, you’ll have developed a range of useful skills – including the ability to describe the appropriateness of offender profiling. 

Gain hands-on and transferable research skills, and strengthen your knowledge of data collection and analysis. In this valuable module, you’ll develop a capacity to select appropriate analytical techniques and test hypotheses. You’ll also conduct a literary review to further deepen your understanding of relevant theory within social science research.  

Discover the key principles of prevention, intervention and rehabilitation of offenders within the criminal justice system. In this exciting module, you’ll learn to recognise the legalities of sentencing and how to identify methods of controlling offenders within the community. Upon completion, you’ll be able to explain the different approaches to dealing with offenders. 

By studying this thought-provoking module, you’ll understand why people are different from each other and explore the avenues to critically evaluate and measure these differences. You'll learn fundamentals of psychometrics and take the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and present a theory-based personality assessment.   

Biological psychology is an intricately complex area, covering functions of the human brain and physiological processes. In this exciting module, you’ll explore breakthrough advances and current debates within the field, as well as gain an understanding of the science behind human thoughts, feeling and behaviour.  

The field of cognitive neuropsychology gives you an exciting opportunity to further explore the biological processes which determine human behaviour. In this in-depth module, you’ll make links between the history of cognitive psychology, your previous studies, and our current understanding of the mechanisms concerning brain dysfunction and mental processes.  

Have you ever wondered why people differ from one another? Discover the answers in this thought-provoking module. You’ll start by studying personality and intelligence, and explore the topics of mood, motivation and how those constructs influence behaviour. Throughout the module youll also build a strong understanding of the principles of psychometrics. 

Statistics are at the heart of psychology, as they help us to summarise data and quickly identify trends. In fact, psychologists use data for objective, systematic description and interpretation of research results. This defining module teaches you about the most commonly used statistical techniques, allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge in future practice. 

Ready to explore major developmental milestones from a variety of theoretical perspectives? On this fascinating module, you'll examine the principles of cognitive, social, biological, and emotional psychology, with the aim of understanding the impact of developmental stages on human behaviour. 

Have you considered how offenders with mental health disorders are managed and assessed? This module will help you investigate the role of forensic psychology within the criminal justice system – including the origins of criminal behaviour, psychopathology and regulations set under the current Mental Health Act. By the end, you’ll be able to apply your theoretical knowledge to offending behaviour in multiple settings.  

Start thinking critically about the criminological, legal and statistical definitions of crime. In this comprehensive module, you'll be introduced to key historical and contemporary criminological perspectives of crime, as well as the function of punishment in the penal system. By the end, you’ll be able to identify between various methods of crime. 

Did you know there are a range of definitions of risk? From mapping to assessing, this comprehensive module reveals the core importance of risk management. Explore some of the ways risks are managed in a criminal justice setting and consider the growing problems caused by a risk-averse society. 

Gain insight into the concept of criminal investigation and the models of investigation. In this fascinating module, you’ll have the opportunity to critically evaluate investigative skills, and identify the need for strategy within an investigationsuch as treatment of witnesses and suspects. By the end, you’ll have the skills to identify and assess a major investigation. 

Delve into the relationships between ‘youth’ and ‘crime’, and analyse both historical and contemporary criminological theories associated with youth crime. You’ll assess the culture and societal causations of youth crime, as well as how the media’s power of influence creates ‘moral panic’ on perception of ‘youths’. 

In this thought-provoking module, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of theories surrounding criminal rehabilitation, as well as insight into policy and legislation relating to prisons and the rehabilitation of offenders. Discover the meaning of ‘the penal crisis’ and define the roles of those working with offenders in the penal system. 

Discover the link between substance misuse and crime with this insightful module. You’ll develop an awareness of the size of the problems related to substance abuse and how to assist with these. The module also ensures you’re able to identify the breadth of legislation designed to address the issue of drugs and crime. 

From probation history and development to sentencing and public protection, this thought-provoking module introduces you to every aspect of community justice. You’ll also learn about the punishment, sentencing and probation process – while considering the importance of public confidence when it comes to community safety.  

Like many subjects, psychology has its critics. In this insightful module, you’ll discover how taking psychological research and studies at face value could lead to false assumptions and flawed understanding. You'll explore how viewing psychology as a political tool that serves some more than others makes critical social psychology integral to a real-world view of this fascinating subject.  

What are the unique abilities humans have? Find out in this stimulating module. You’ll discover the fascinating areas of human development – including neuroscience, perception, cognition, emotion and social interaction. That way, you’ll be confident in evaluating human development from multiple perspectives. 

What drives someone to commit a crime? What influences can lead to them reoffending? Find out with this in-depth module. By the end, you’ll have developed a solid understanding of the role of psychology and sociology in studying crime – as well as strong knowledge of how various factors can influence violent behaviour.  

Interested in the investigative aspects of offending behaviour? This thought-provoking module will introduce you to common psychological principles, and geographical principles and interviewing techniques used in the criminal justice system. On completion, you’ll understand how psychological and social factors impact on criminal behaviour, while having strong knowledge of the practical applications of investigative psychology. 

Explore the history and theoretical perspectives of victimology in this comprehensive module. You’ll analyse victimisation in various contexts – including domestic violence, hate crimes and antisocial behaviour. And by the end, you’ll have developed strong knowledge of the victim’s role in the criminal justice process and the support available to them.  

This defining module allows you to demonstrate the skills you’ve learned throughout your studies. With the support of your supervisor, you’ll conduct a final project on a topic of your interest – providing an ideal opportunity for you to expand on your key research skills and apply the research, knowledge and analysis skills you already possess. 

This fascinating module allows you to gain a broad understanding of how the criminal justice system fits into the information age. You’ll investigate the economic and social impact of cybercrime and examine current approaches to policing the internet – allowing you to evaluate the way technology affects criminal and deviant behaviour.  

How does crime impact on economics? How can criminal behaviour be reduced through economical disincentives? Find out in this thought-provoking module. You’ll take an in-depth look at the relationship between economic and criminological theories – enabling you to critically assess the economic and social costs of crime, and evaluate prevention initiatives. 

Policing plays a huge role in society and this module introduces you to the social, historical and ethical aspects of the police force. You’ll explore current legislations and powers, investigate how human rights affect policing methods and analyse a range of investigatory practices – so that on completion, you can apply your knowledge to evaluate issues which may affect the future of policing. 

Teaching methods 

Studying online gives you the freedom to study when and where it suits you – at home, during your lunch hour or anywhere else you have internet access.  

Our courses are delivered through a virtual learning environment (VLE) instead of a traditional campus. This means you’ll have access to your study materials 24/7, including:  

  • multimedia lecturecasts made up of written content, short videos, animation, audio recordings, infographics, short tests and mini-assignments 
  • discussion forums for you to chat about the course content with fellow students 
  • live seminars and Q&A sessions with your tutors 
  • a comprehensive eLibrary of textbooks and academic journals  
  • support from academic staff and your dedicated Student Support team 

 

Assessments 

You’ll be assessed through a series of assignments. This can be by engaging in discussion forums throughout your modules, completing reflective journal entries, delivering live presentations or by submitting longer written pieces. 

We’re committed to providing frequent and transparent feedback in the following ways: 

  • our assessment criteria are designed to be simple and transparent 
  • you’ll always be aware of your current provisional grade, right from the start of the programme 
  • you’ll be able to view your marks clearly in your gradebook whenever you log into the learning platform 
  • there’s a 7-day turnaround for marking and feedback of assessed work 
  • you’ll have regular contact with your Student Support team, with whom you can discuss any concerns as soon as they arise 

 

Online learning experience 

Your learning experience will be fully supported by high-quality learning materials and resources, delivered via our state-of-the-art virtual learning environment (VLE).  

On average, your learning experience will include the following: 

  • directed learning (40%) this includes participating in tutor-led discussions and seminars, completing interactive exercises on the VLE, and watching videos and lecturecasts. You’ll also be able to book appointments with your module tutor during their office hours, which can be found on the VLE 
  • self-directed learning (30%) – including undertaking wider reading and research in your area of study to develop your understanding of the subject area 
  • assessment (30%) time spent preparing ad completing assignments and activities that contribute towards your overall assessment. 

Typically, you’ll need to dedicate a minimum 15-20 hours of study per module, per week. 

 

Study duration 

Our BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology has an indicative study duration of 4 years, which is a guide to how long your course will take to complete. The actual duration may be longer or shorter depending on your speed of study, study options chosen and module availability.  

It’s possible to complete your studies faster than the indicative course duration by doubling up on modules at certain times; however, minimum study durations do apply.  

Our academic year is organised into modules, typically with a one or two-week break between modules and a structured three-week break for the Christmas period. Students will receive a course timetable during the application process.  

All our courses have regular start dates throughout the year.  

On successful completion of your degree, you’ll be invited to attend a graduation ceremony at the University of Essex’s Colchester campus. 

 

Academic staff 

A quality teaching experience is at the heart of everything we do.  

The dedicated tutors who teach our course modules are subject matter experts, experienced academics and leading industry thought leaders. They play a vital role in ensuring the latest theories and areas of study are covered in our courses, and are proud to provide a high level of academic support. 

You can find more information on our key academic staff and their experience here. 

 

Quality and assurance  

We’re proud to provide a first-class education to students anywhere in the world and adhere to the strictest quality standards 

The University of Essex Online is a recognised member of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and registered with the Office for Students (OfS) 

All our degrees are delivered by Kaplan Open Learning, a world-leading education provider with over 15 years’ experience. 

While our BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology lends itself to most careers within the criminal justice system, the skills and knowledge you’ll gain are also highly sought after by employers across a wide range of sectors. These include security, marketing, research, academia and business.

Gaining an undergraduate qualification with the University of Essex Online puts you in good stead for your career prospects. Results from our 2021 student survey showed:

  • 92% of students said their course helped develop their research skills
  • 89% of students say their studies fit with their future plans
  • Almost 60% said their studies had a positive effect on their career
  • 25% of students saw their salaries increase by up to 10%

We know that many people from non-traditional backgrounds would succeed on our courses! That’s why we offer two different entry routes, taking into account your prior work experience and relevant qualifications. You will also need to meet our English language requirements.

Additionally, you will need to pass your first assignment set within the first three weeks of the course in order to continue with your studies.

 

Academic entry route

In order to satisfy the academic entry route requirements for our BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology, you must have the following qualifications as a minimum:

  • three A-levels or equivalent

 

Work experience entry route

In order to satisfy the work experience entry route requirements for our BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology, you must meet the following criteria:

  • GCSE Maths and English at grade C or above, or equivalent
  • three years’ relevant work experience

 

English language requirements

As our courses are delivered in English, a high proficiency with English is required. If English is not your first language, your English ability should be equivalent to an IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0.

Don’t worry if you don’t hold an IELTS or equivalent qualification – we offer a free online English test to assess your proficiency.

You don’t need to prove your English ability if you are a national of, or have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in, any of these countries.

Full tuition fee: 

£18,500 UK / £19,425 International (2023-24) Δ
£18,500 UK / £20,396 International (2024-25) Δ

  • Designated for undergraduate student loans in England. 
  • Simple monthly payment plan available, enabling you to spread the cost over the duration of your studies. 
  • Full payment discount of 5% if you pay upfront. 
  • Regional scholarship available for international students based overseas in eligible countries. 
  • 10% corporate discount available when three or more of your employees study with us.   

Please note, a maximum of two discounts or scholarships can be applied. The corporate discount can only be used in combination with our upfront payment discount, but not in conjunction with any other discount or scholarship. Find out more information about our discounts and scholarships here. 

Our course fees are fully inclusive – all teaching materials and required reading are included, and there are no hidden charges for assessments or resits.  

Δ All tuition fees shown are net of any applicable sales tax payable by you in your country of residence. Where we are required to add sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the tuition fees shown and confirmed during the payment process. 

Subject specialists, industry authorities and experienced academics: the tutors who teach modules on our BSc (Hons) Business Psychology are experts in the fields of psychology and criminology.

What our students say

testimonials

Michelle Franklin - CertHE Psychology

Take a breath and go for it, don’t be disheartened or held back by age or self-doubt.

My husband and I started our own business 13 years ago and we now employ a team of 20 employees and deliver training to over 400 clients. I’m really proud of what we've achieved. Away from work, I love spending time with family and friends, go horse riding when I have the time and read a lot. If it’s not a murder mystery or thriller, then it’s a book on psychology.  I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and hopefully once I’ve completed my CertHE Psychology with the University of Essex Online, I’ll be accepted to study the BSc (Hons) Psychology. I needed an online course as...

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