Criminology and Psychology BA (Hons)Study level: Undergraduate
This course is designed to give you an understanding of the study of human behaviour, the causes of criminal behaviour, public reactions to crime and the psychology of all those involved in and affected by crime.
Year of entry
Coventry University (Coventry)
3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
After a grounding in first year, you will specialise in a range of areas of crime, victimology, criminal justice, and crime prevention emphasising key transferable skills in preparation for graduate level employment in a global market.
You will have the opportunity to:
- Link major theoretical perspectives to contemporary issues and debates – putting theory into practice.
- Reflect analytically and critically on a wide range of issues and emerging trends relating to crime, criminal behaviour, control, and criminal justice in local and global contexts.
- Apply creative solutions to crime problems, and to systemic failures in dealing with crime.
Joint Top Modern University for Career ProspectsGuardian University Guide 2021 and 2022
5 QS Stars for Teaching and FacilitiesQS Stars University Ratings
Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)QS Best Student Cities Index 2023
Why you should study this course
- Applied approach designed to develop the skills required for graduate employment in various criminal justice roles.
- Expert speakers from agencies involved in criminal justice complement and contextualise your understanding (subject to availability).
- International perspective on crime.
- Opportunities to participate in international field trips – previous criminology trips have included South Africa, USA, Finland, Estonia and Poland2.
for career prospects in Criminology
Guardian University Guide 2022
I have learned a wide range of information about offenders, crime and how victims and society are affected by these. Within psychology I have learnt about numerous theories and how to apply these to a multitude of topics. The degree has helped me develop the skill to delve more critically into criminological and psychological topics. I really enjoyed partaking in the assessment centre. It gave me the opportunity to lead a group, gain a thorough understanding of real-life application of criminology and showed me clearly a potential career path I could take once my degree has finished.
What you'll study
This course has a common first year
The common first year enables you to work alongside students doing similar courses to you, to widen your knowledge and exposure to other subject areas and professions. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other students, so you can share your insights and experience which will help you to develop and learn.
If you discover an interest in a specific subject you have studied, upon successful completion of your first year, you could swap degrees with another course in your common first year (subject to meeting progression requirements).
Common first year courses
- Criminology BA (Hons)
- Criminology and Law BA (Hons)
- Criminology and Psychology BA (Hons)
Year one aims to give you a thorough grounding in the study of crime, criminal behaviour, justice, and the law in a global context. Working alongside students from Criminology, and Criminology and Law, you will not only develop the knowledge you need to progress in your degree, but also be encouraged to think critically about the issues, see crime from legal and moral viewpoints, and be creative in finding solutions to problems.
Crime and Society - 20 credits
This module introduces you to a broad range of historical and contemporary ideas in understanding crime and social harm moving from traditional interpretations based on 19th and 20th Century thought to a critical perspective on the impact of social change in the 21st Century. A key focus will be on the way crime is socially constructed according to a range of factors, including media and culture, and the vested interests of different individuals and social groups. The module also aims to explore the relationship between legality and morality in the way crime is perceived and defined, and how this re-defines what crime is perceived to be.
Criminal Behaviour - 20 credits
This module explores criminal behaviour in the context of a range of criminal activities and events drawing on key criminological and psychological theoretical perspectives. You will aim to develop the ability to distinguish between perspectives in terms of similarity and difference across disciplines. Theories will be examined that consider how the concepts of structure and agency influence human and criminal behaviour, for example social identity, cognitive development, self-regulation and free will. You will be expected to develop a critical awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of the different theories and perspectives in terms of their power to explain criminal behaviour.
Criminal Justice - 20 credits
This module introduces and evaluates criminal justice systems and the roles of legal personnel. It will provide you with an insight into the sources, institutions, and structures of the English legal system in comparative perspective. You will be able to develop a critical awareness of the wider political and social context in which the law operates, and the principles and values underpinning legal systems. Concepts of truth, justice and jurisdiction will be discussed. The module also highlights increasing challenges to national and international criminal justice systems in defining, preventing, and prosecuting criminal acts that increasingly occur at a transnational level.
Crime Typologies - 20 credits
This module aims to equip you with a grounded knowledge of different types of criminal activity, with a particular focus on the relationship between types of crimes, criminals, and representations in the media. It will examine patterns and trends of violence, acquisitive crimes, public order offences, and organised crime and consider the impact of globalisation and technological development on the nature of these types of offences. It will also encourage you to think critically regarding methods of measuring crime.
Forensic Mental Health - 20 credits
This module offers a critical and theoretical exploration of the intersection between mental health, crime, and justice. The module draws on theory from across disciplinary boundaries including criminology, psychology, sociology, and forensic psychiatry to analyse the relationship between serious mental illness, violence, victimization, and (in)justice.
Legal Approaches to Crime - 20 credits
This module introduces you to the practice of researching and formulating structured ideas about criminal law cases. It focuses on legal investigation research in terms of methods, processes, and skills for finding information about crimes, particularly the retrieval and use of primary and secondary legal sources. Emphasis will be placed on the links between theory, policy, and practice and preparing you for assessing their impact on criminal law issues. You will be encouraged to develop a critical and evaluative approach to the issues raised.
In year two you will continue to build on your knowledge and understanding of crime and criminal justice by looking deeper into forensic psychology and at key institutions, such as policing, and systems of punishment. You will also be introduced to the concept of victimology. Finally, you will begin preparing for your final year research project by exploring methods and processes for researching crime.
Researching Crime - 20 credits
The aim of this module is to develop your knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice involved in researching crime. You will be provided with the methodological and practical tools to develop your own thoughts and ideas about criminological matters, review criminological literature, plan and conduct research, and present research outcomes to diverse audiences. In addition, you will acquire digital literacy and transferable skills that will be benefit you in other learning and employment environments.
Victims and Victimology - 20 credits
This module focuses on political, social, cultural, and popular constructions of victims of crime and wider social harms. The module places particular critical focus on the victimisation experiences of marginalised social groups, demonstrating that certain individuals and groups are more readily ascribed victim status than others. You will consider the international context, with technology and global insecurity impacting on contemporary victimisation experiences.
Perspectives in Forensic Psychology - 20 credits
This module aims to provide coverage of the core domains of biological psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology and individual differences. It will achieve this by adopting a thematic approach. Several themes will be considered across the module delivery that will be contemporary, of global significance (e.g. mental health) and may change in any given year. You will be required to examine individual and group responses to the issues presented by drawing on knowledge and understanding of key topics within each of the core domains and demonstrating how these relate to the criminal context.
Forensic Psychology in Context - 20 credits
This module continues the development of your understanding of the core domains of psychology from Perspectives in Forensic Psychology and extends this to consideration of how this knowledge could contribute to solving a community relevant issue. It continues the aim to provide coverage of the core domains of biological psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and individual differences by adopting a thematic approach. In addition, it tasks you with developing an output designed to highlight an issue relevant to external community-based organisations. You will be required to examine individual and group responses to the issues presented by drawing on knowledge and understanding of key topics within each of the core domains.
Policing and Society - 20 credits
This module introduces you to key issues relating to policing democratic societies. This will include a critical evaluation of the relationships between the police, the state, and the citizen. The independence of the police and their interdependence within the wider criminal justice system will be assessed, and concepts such as consensus, legitimacy, and accountability in relation to policing practice will be explored. Topics to be debated range from policing protest and disorder to the role of the media in representing the police.
Punishment and Control - 20 credits
This module focuses on historical developments and contemporary issues surrounding the use of criminal sanctions. It covers the theoretical underpinning of punishments and risk management whilst aiming to equip you with a critical understanding of the effectiveness of custodial and community sentences. You will explore key issues relating to punishment and control, such as the complexities of managing a diverse prison population, privatisation, and reintegration, and will demonstrate your understanding through group exercises in an assessment centre environment.
There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.
If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.
UK Work Placement– 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
International Study/Work Placement – 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
In the final year you will apply the knowledge from your first two years in the more specialised areas of violence and exploitation and organised crime. You will also be able to develop specific interests and expertise to suit your career plans through options in Psychology including crime-related areas such as addiction or aggression, or other areas such as counselling or educational psychology. You will also take your research project in which you will produce a research paper on your own contribution to knowledge.
Global Organised Crime - 20 credits
This module aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary global organised crime. It will examine organised crime as a transnational phenomenon and the need for major organised criminal activities, such as drugs, weapons, and human trafficking, to cross borders. A broader analysis will explore how the expansion of global trade and lowering of barriers to free movement that have enabled the world economy to grow have also provided parallel opportunities for illegal trade. A detailed comparative analysis will also be made of traditional criminal organisations, such as the American and Sicilian mafia, Japanese Yakuza, and Chinese Triads, and new organised criminal groups in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Africa, South America, and the United Kingdom as well as terrorist groups. Particular attention will be given to international and domestic organisations involved in fighting organised crime and the impact of globalization on organised criminal groups.
Violence and Exploitation - 20 credits
The aim of this module is to explore forms of violence and exploitation in childhood and adulthood. You will investigate violence and exploitation in relation to incidence, prevalence, and reporting, as well as theoretical and explanatory frameworks. You will be also encouraged to develop an understanding of the concepts, issues, and current debates in the field of violence and exploitation with emphasis on developments in theoretical approaches, policies and procedures. Through discussions of recent research, you will explore the impacts and meaning for victims/survivors, persistence and change with respect to the justice system, support services, and approaches to prevention.
Choose one from the following three modules:
- Criminal Behaviour and its Contexts - 20 credits
This module aims to explore the contribution psychology can make to our understanding of criminal behaviour across different contexts in society. At a theoretical level it will examine the development of explanations of crime across different contexts in society. Applying psychological theories, three types of crimes which include violent, sexual and economic crimes will be examined in specific contexts. These include family, workplace and sports contexts. At an applied level it will demonstrate the impact psychology has made in specific areas of the criminal process, for example, the development of treatment programmes, and the prevention of crimes related to the contexts examined
- Addictive Behaviours - 20 credits
This module aims to further your knowledge of key topic areas in the domain of psychopharmacology. Psychopharmacology aims to develop your understanding of the interrelationship between drugs, psychology and behaviour and draws on several areas of psychology (particularly cognitive and biological approaches) in developing models of, for example, addictive processes. Relevant findings from several branches of science, including psychophysics, psychopharmacology and molecular biology will be considered
- Child and Educational Psychology - 20 credits
This module is designed to enable you to gain knowledge of key theories and research that relate to the psychology of development, teaching and learning and the application of those theories to applied contexts. You will be introduced to areas of special educational needs experienced by children and adults and how these difficulties impact on their experience of school and growing up. Issues of assessment, labelling, intervention, and remediation will be examined.
- Criminal Behaviour and its Contexts - 20 credits
Choose one from the following three modules:
- Clinical Neuroscience - 20 credits
This module builds on the biological and cognitive approaches to Psychology introduced in the second year. It introduces contemporary and complex neural mechanisms of human behaviour in typical and clinical populations. The module seeks to develop your ability to critically evaluate published scientific reports of current research in the area of Clinical Neuroscience, with a particular focus on criminal behaviour. The module aims to develop an appreciation of neurological mechanisms underlying human thinking and behaviour and the clinical pictures that arise when the mechanisms are disrupted. You will engage with the emerging critical issues within Clinical Neuroscience and recognise a range of factors that influence human behaviour, particularly in light of criminal behaviour. This will be encapsulated within the assessment, which requires you to present an in-depth understanding of a selected neuropsychological function and submit a written project demonstrating a firm command of classical Neuroscience concepts and how they relate to known clinical disorders and criminal behaviour.
- Counselling Psychology - 20 credits
The module aims to introduce you to the broader concepts within Counselling Psychology and specifically you will gain an understanding of the key theoretical explanations and how to implement these in practice with diverse clients (e.g. cross-cultural counselling, sports performers, former athletes, victims and ex-offenders). This will be focused within three main approaches in Counselling Psychology: humanistic (person-centred), cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic and across different treatment modalities (e.g., individual, group, couples and/or family therapy). You will also have the opportunity to develop counselling skills by engaging in co-counselling skills sessions for each of the key approaches involving a variety of different group-based activities (e.g., scenario-based behavioural rehearsal, inter-personal strategies). You will engage in critical reflection on your experience of using counselling skills within your chosen approach.
- Aggression and Violent Behaviour - 20 credits
This module will introduce key theoretical explanations of aggression and violence within different contexts (e.g., mental health hospitals; prisons; intimate relationships). You will integrate mainstream psychological theories across the core areas of psychology (i.e., developmental, social, biological, cognitive) to build an understanding of how aggression and violence can explain deviant/criminal behaviours and interpersonal conflict within different situations and professional relationships. There will be a focus on thinking critically, developing interventions, and analysing existing models/framework linked to different forms and explanations of aggression and violence. For example, Triggered Displaced Aggression may be explored within various contexts, drawing on the different perspectives. You will have the opportunity to critically evaluate contemporary literature across the domains of aggression and violence, with an applied focus.
- Clinical Neuroscience - 20 credits
Research Project in Criminology - 40 credits
This module is designed to enable you to develop, enhance and implement the skills involved in carrying out an in-depth study of a criminological issue in combination with focusing your attention on a specific area of knowledge in the criminological sphere. The aim is for you to accept responsibility for your own independent learning, communicate effectively and appropriately retrieve, and use information from a variety of sources, and develop time management skills.
We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.
How you'll learn
Teaching and learning are delivered in a range of formats as follows:
- Lectures are normally up to one-hour in duration and may be delivered online or face-to-face plenary-style.
- Seminars involve smaller groups and include working with problems or holding discussions and debates about issues arising in the lectures.
- Workshops may involve a combination of content delivery and group working.
- Individual tutorials may also be arranged.
The current teaching team come from a range of specialist backgrounds including mental health, psychology, sociology, and criminal justice to name a few and these feed in to a rich and varied range of teaching and learning approaches. The course also emphasises a global perspective on criminological and criminal justice issues with optional field trips in the UK and abroad to take your learning outside the classroom.
Teaching contact hours
The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 12 contact hours per week in the first and second year dropping to around 8 contact hours per week in the third and final year as you become a more independent learner.
Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 12 to 15 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.
The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.
As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.
This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include for example:
- Short writing exercises such as abstracts, opinion pieces, and precis
- Extended writing exercises such as essays, reports, and research papers
- Group and individual presentations
- Posters and infographics
- Problem solving scenarios such as assessment centre exercises.
The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.
International experience opportunities
Emphasising inter-cultural awareness in all our students, the course content situates issues in a global context. It offers opportunity for international experience through collaborative international online learning projects where students work on a task jointly with students from an institution abroad. Overseas experience is also offered2 through field trips with typical destinations including New York, and Poland which includes a visit to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, now a Holocaust Museum. Study abroad forms part of the optional sandwich year which students normally take after successful completion of their second year2.
The Criminology degrees at Coventry University really offer students a unique and exciting opportunity to delve into a range of fascinating topics, from criminal behaviour, policing and the prison system to global issues like the corrupt, illicit activities of states and other powerful actors. With an extensive and diverse collective experience in teaching and working in the field, the academic team bring a passion for helping students to achieve their potential from start through to graduation.
Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.
Not got the required grades? We offer this degree with an integrated foundation year.
Fees and funding
2023/24 tuition fees.
|UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man||£9,250 per year||Not available|
|EU|| £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
£16,800 per year without EU support bursary**
|International||£16,800 per year||Not available|
If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.
For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.
We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.
The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:
- Any optional overseas ﬁeld trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
- Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad)
*Irish student fees
The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.
**EU support bursary
Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in-line with that of UK students. Students studying a Degree with a Foundation Year with us are not eligible for the bursary.
How do you know if you need to pay UK or international tuition fees?
We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.
If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.
Teaching and learning take place in state-of-the art facilities4 on the main Coventry University campus near to the University Hub, Students Union, and library. Extensive use is made of seminar and workshop rooms for smaller groups to facilitate active group learning.
Our dedicated subject librarian on main campus will provide guidance on searching and retrieving academic sources using the library systems and databases, as well as assistance and support with individual enquiries.
The Centre for Academic Writing next to the Library will offer individual advice on developing writing skills or dealing with writing problems.
Two prison cells, one single and one double, are used to give a sense of the real-life experiences of inmates, and for role play learning. Have a look round our mock prison cell on our virtual 360 tour.
Careers and opportunities
With a view to shaping your prospects as a graduate, teaching, learning, and assessment take a problem-based approach which means you get to deal with real-world issues and scenarios combining theory and practice delivered by a current teaching team with a diverse range of experience including mental health, sexual offending, imprisonment, and probation to name a few. External speakers and visiting lecturer/practitioners also bring expertise to the classroom (subject to availability).
Assessments are coursework based and varied to test independent and team-working, communication, analytical and critical thinking, and other transferable skills designed to enhance your employment prospects within or outside the criminological sphere. With an emphasis on inter-cultural awareness, the course also offers opportunity for overseas experience through field trips and study abroad with the aim of making you a strong contender for a graduate level career in the global jobs market2.
Criminology and Psychology not only provides you with the knowledge and skills for working within the criminological sphere – in areas such as the police in uniformed and civilian roles, courts, prison staff and outreach, probation, victim support, security, and community safety – but also develops transferable skills that equip you for a wide range of graduate level careers. For example, some roles recent students have undertaken have included teaching, retail management, and fraud investigation for the financial industry. Many students opt for postgraduate level study.
Where our graduates work
Recent graduates have gone on to pursue postgraduate qualifications and work for a range of organisations, including The National Crime Agency, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, HM Prison Service, Coventry Cyrenians, West Midlands Police and the Metropolitan Police.
Progression routes to courses for further study within Coventry University include:
How to apply
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 can apply for this course through UCAS from 6 September 2022. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.
Part-time students should apply directly to the university.
If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 should apply directly to the university.How to apply
For further support for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree view our International hub.
You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.
Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.
Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.
The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.
2UK and international opportunities
Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.
For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.
Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.
By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.