Criminology and Psychology BA (Hons)


Course Code

UCAS Code: CM89
International Code: HLSU192


Coventry University (Coventry)


Study mode



3 years full-time
4 years sandwich

Start date

September 2022

Course overview

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.

  • No.1 for career prospects for Criminology in the Midlands in the Guardian University Guide 2021
  • A global top 200 university for Psychology according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021
  • The current teaching team come from a range of specialist backgrounds including mental health, psychology, sociology and criminal justice giving a rich and varied range of perspectives that underpin your learning.
  • Opportunities to participate in exciting field trips abroad*, which have previously included the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, Robben Island and Victor Verster Prison in South Africa, and the Stasi museum in Berlin.
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Global Ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

This course explores public social attitudes, psychological explanations of criminal behaviour and consequences for social policies and for the management of offenders. Ideal for those who are looking at potential career options in the criminal justice sector (e.g. policing, community safety, youth offending) upon successful completion, this fascinating course explores the role of crime and its control through the criminal justice process. It draws on aspects of applied psychology to look at better understanding the behaviour of criminals and the impact of both crime and punishment.

  • The course aims to equip you with an understanding of how crime and punishment are perceived, exploring a wide variety of phenomena associated with crime, victimisation, punishment and criminal justice in a global context. The curriculum focuses on the causes of crime and the means by which society attempts to deal with it.
  • Staff engage in research, national and international conference presentations, and writing for publication on topical issues related to the curriculum, such as gun control, drugs, violence, sexual abuse, policing and policy issues, all of which inform your learning.
  • We adopt an innovative approach to student learning through involving guest speakers from different spheres such as prison service, probation, police, practising psychologists, victims support and rehabilitation agencies, designed to provide effective learning insights (subject to availability). We have excellent current professional links with employers including Police, HM Prison Service and Positive Youth Foundation.
  • A focus on out of classroom activity emphasises practical field trips* which may include visits to prisons, courts and destinations which in the past have included trips to South Africa, Finland, New York, Germany and Poland. The course also has a strong track record of work with international partners to offer opportunities for online international learning, field trips and overseas placements.
  • You will be encouraged to engage in volunteering activities supported by the university and our Talent Team can support you in finding such opportunities. In previous years an annual Criminology Volunteering Fair has been hosted. Agencies such as Warwickshire and West Midlands Police, Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Victim Support have previously attended to advertise PCSO and support worker roles. This event also provides excellent professional networking opportunities for posts such as intelligence analysts.

for career prospects for Criminology in the Midlands

Guardian University Guide 2021

Criminology students observe Weinstein trial

In January 2020 our Criminology students, on a field trip to New York, had the good fortune to observe the initial stages of jury selection for the Harvey Weinstein trial. They also watched Gloria Allred, a high-profile lawyer in the US, who currently represents several of Weinstein’s alleged victims - and who has been instrumental to the #metoo movement - give a press conference. Following the press conference, Gloria Allred agreed to talk to the students and explained the importance of the case and answered questions.

male and female students standing outside  smiling in New York with Gloria Allred

What you'll study

In the first year, we introduce you to the foundation principles of criminology and psychology – the causes of crime, types of criminal activity, victims of crime, and the construction of crime. We explore core ideas in criminology from key thinkers, such as Bentham, Lombroso, Foucault, Cohen and Young. For example, we’ll examine the theory of labelling – or stereotyping – and explore how the self-identity and behaviour of individuals may be influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them, at times becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You’ll be exposed to a wide-ranging analysis of historical and contemporary issues in the area of social control, crime prevention and criminal justice. We’ll consider informal controls within communities, as well as formal controls administered by the principal criminal justice agencies: the police, courts and prisons. We also examine alternatives to conventional crime control strategies, such as restorative justice and abolitionism.


  • The first aim of this module is to provide you with an overview of the main perspectives and theories within Criminology. You will be provided with core ideas in a range of perspectives and how these relate to and differ from one another in terms of thinking about, and acting on, crime and deviance.

    A second aim of this module is to help you relate the perspectives and theories to expectations of study at degree level. You will learn about academic standards and conventions of writing and referencing and be provided with opportunities to practice these. This element of the module also introduces the concept of personal and professional development designed to assist you to prepare for employment after graduation.


    Assessment: Coursework and group work

  • In this module you will focus on political, social, cultural and popular constructions of victims of crime and wider social harms. The module places a particular 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.


    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module is intended to introduce you to the practice of researching and formulating structured ideas about criminological issues. The module will emphasise the link between theory, policy and practice and how you can approach explaining each of these and assessing their overall impact on a criminological topic. Ultimately the module focus is on developing your ability to think, write and talk about crime, including for employment.


    Assessment: Coursework

  • The module is designed to provide you with an overview of key themes in psychology and forensic psychology from historical, theoretical and applied perspectives. The expertise you develop in this module will provide the framework required to understand how different theoretical and methodological approaches in psychology link together. The module will enable you to explore how these approaches contribute to understanding of human behaviour in context of a range of criminal activities and events. This module aims to provide a theme-based approach to key concepts and theories relating to psychology and crime. For example, themes could include key ideas in psychology such as: emotional development; self-regulation; social identity; cognitive development, context and culture, interpersonal relationships; maladaptive behaviour; and aggression. Sub-themes included within each of these overarching categories will reflect the contemporary subjects relating psychology and crime.


    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module aims to investigate the popular perception of psychology and crime. A range of portrayals of psychology and crime in the popular media will be explored. The module aims to demonstrate how psychological ideas are used to explain crime and how it is portrayed in popular media such as newspapers, magazines, film, TV and on the internet. Subject matter is drawn from different areas of psychology and forensic psychology. The module aims to highlight how psychology and criminology have been viewed when applied to explaining crime. The module will also critically investigate the more complex reality behind these “pop” portrayals of psychology in explaining crime. The content, and the presentation, have been developed in order to introduce both academic and independent study skills in a supportive, directed and developing environment.


    Assessment: Coursework

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.


    Assessment: Coursework and exam

The second year introduces you to a range of topics around the major institutions involved in crime control, community safety and representation – the police, the prison service and the public. We will evaluate the relationships between the police, the state and the citizen, exploring the independence of the police and their accountability.

We’ll also examine the science of the mind, looking at the biological and cognitive processes underpinning specific behaviours. For example, we’ll consider the role of sleep, the nature of addiction, behavioural genetics and pain in criminal behaviour.


  • The aim of this module is to further develop your criminological research thinking and research practice. You will be provided with the methodological and practical tools necessary for: developing your own thoughts and ideas about criminological matters; how to go about reviewing criminological literature; how to plan and conduct research; and how to present it to diverse audiences. The knowledge acquired during this module is designed to provide you with a set of digital literacy and other skills that are transferable to other modules and employment scenarios.


    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module focuses on both 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 a number of key issues relating to punishment and control, such as the complexities of managing a diverse prison population, privatisation and reintegration. You will demonstrate your understanding through group exercises in an assessment centre environment.


    Assessment: Coursework and assessment centre

  • The key issues relating to policing democratic societies will be your focus in this module. This will include a critical evaluation of the relationships between the police, the state and the citizen. You will assess the independence of the police and their interdependence within the wider criminal justice system and investigate concepts such as consensus, legitimacy and accountability in relation to policing society. Topics to be discussed range from policing protest and disorder to the role of the media in representing the police.


    Assessment: Coursework

  • 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. Themes 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.


    Assessment: Coursework and test

  • This module continues the development of your understanding of the core domains of psychology from Psychological Perspectives on Crime 1 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.


    Assessment: Coursework and test

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.


    Assessment: Coursework and exam

After successfully completing your first two years of your degree course, you will have the opportunity to spend a year on professional placement or studying abroad.

While both of these modules are non-credit bearing, if successfully completed, these modules will appear on your final academic transcript and you may be required to submit a piece of work reflecting on what you have learned during the placement or study abroad year.

Coventry University’s Talent Team can provide you with a wide range of support services in order to help you apply for a placement opportunity. 


  • Optional

  • Optional

The final year of the programme is based around the development of specialist interests on cutting edge topics.

Your final year addresses more specialist issues on contemporary topics, including forensic psychology, which delves further into the explanations of crime, such as mental health issues, as well as the development of treatment programmes and prevention of crime.

You will have the opportunity to collaborate with a member of academic staff and apply the knowledge of research methods obtained during the first two years of your degree course, in order to design and conduct your own piece of research in an area of your choice.

In the past, previous students have researched conviction rates for rape, the prosecution of war crimes in Cambodia and the regulation of environmental crimes.


  • This module provides you with the opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding of a range of criminological issues that currently dominate both political and professional attempts to make sense of the global phenomenon of ‘law and order’. Throughout this module you will be encouraged to develop your skills as an independent learner, and be given the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge across assessments.


    Assessment: Coursework

  • In this module you will explore forms of violence and exploitation in childhood and adulthood. You will explore violence and exploitation in relation to incidence, prevalence and reporting, theoretical and explanatory frameworks. You will be 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.


    Assessment: Coursework and group work

  • This module is designed to enable you to develop, enhance and implement the research skills acquired in your previous years of study in combination with focusing your attention on a specific area of knowledge in the criminological sphere. You will also develop time management and independent learning skills.


    Assessment: Coursework/dissertation

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.


    Assessment: Coursework and exam

  • Choose two from the following:

    Criminal Behaviour and its Contexts - 20 credits

    How does psychology contribute to how we view criminal behaviour? By studying this module, you will explore the development of explanations of crime across different contexts in society, and will have the chance to apply psychological theories in relation to three types of crimes which include violent, sexual and economic crimes, within family, workplace and sports contexts. The module will demonstrate the impact psychology has made in specific areas of the criminal process, and the prevention of crimes.

    Assessment: Coursework

    Drug Use and Addiction - 20 credits

    The subject of psychopharmacology focuses on the interrelationship between drugs, psychology and behaviour, drawing on several areas of psychology, in particular cognitive and biological approaches. These principles will be considered in relation to the effects of addiction and the motivations to sustain substance abuse. Relevant findings from several branches of science, including psychophysics, psychopharmacology and molecular biology will be considered.

    Assessment: Coursework

    Educational Psychology and Psychology of Special Needs - 20 credits

    By choosing this module you will study key theories and research that relate to the psychology of development, teaching and learning and the application of those theories to applied educational contexts. By examining issues of assessment, labelling, intervention and remediation you should have greater awareness of the special educational needs experienced by children and adults and how these difficulties impact on their experiences growing up.

    Assessment: Coursework

    Mindfulness and Meditation - 20 credits

    In this module you will be introduced to the western secular-based mindfulness interventions and explore their essential theoretical, applied and empirical bases. The interventions you will study include Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Compassion Focused Therapy.

    Assessment: Coursework

    Psychology of Gender and Sexuality - 20 credits

    Taking an international perspective, in this module you will examine how gender and sexuality are understood across different historical and cultural contexts. You will draw upon many areas of psychology including social psychology (e.g. sexual prejudice), developmental psychology (sexual and gender identity development across the lifespan); and biopsychology (e.g. biology of sex and sexual orientation) to consider how the psychology of gender and sexualities intersects with applied areas such as educational, clinical, health, forensic and sports psychology.

    Assessment: Coursework

    Clinical Neuroscience - 20 credits

    This module introduces contemporary and complex neural mechanisms of human behaviour in typical and clinical populations. It seeks to develop your ability to critically evaluate published scientific reports of current research in the area of clinical neuroscience. 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 have the opportunity to engage with the emerging critical issues within clinical neuroscience, and explore a range of factors that influence human behaviour.

    Assessment: Portfolio


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

You will be taught using a mixture of lectures and small group seminars and ‘hands-on’ skills workshops. This combination supports you to explore topics more independently and in more depth. You will be encouraged to utilise an innovative approach to learning through involving guest speakers from different spheres of activity such as the UK Borders Agency, practising psychologists, victims and oversight agencies, which are designed to provide effective learning insights (subject to availability).

The current teaching team come from a range of specialist backgrounds and engage in research, national and international conference presentations, and writing for publication, all of which inform teaching and learning and maintain its currency.

In a typical teaching week, you will have approximately 14 ‘contact’ hours of teaching. This generally breaks down as:

Personal tutorial/small group teaching: around 1-2 hours of tutorials or individual project supervision each week

  • Medium group teaching: around 6-8 hours of skills workshops or seminars each week
  • Large group teaching: around 4-6 hours of lectures each week.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake approximately a further 15-20 hours of self-directed study each week e.g. completing the recommended reading that accompanies your lectures, working on coursework assignments, taking part in group work and exam revision.

Some ‘contact’ hours may take the form of synchronous online learning (e.g. live online lectures, meeting tutors via video calling etc).


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which could vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include coursework, tests, essays, formal examinations, and practical or project work.

This course is predominantly assessed by coursework.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards the achieving the intended learning outcomes. Assessments may include exams, individual assignments or group work elements.

Job ready

Our courses have been designed to provide practical work experience* and aim to equip you with a range of skills and competencies that should help to set you apart from other and should make you attractive to potential employers. These include group work, literature reviewing, critical analysis and the delivery of oral presentations.

We are committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The university’s Talent Team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career options, upon successful completion.

Successful completion of this course can give students who attain a 2:2 or above the opportunity to apply for the MA Criminology course. Please note that this is subject to competitive application, availability, meeting any applicable visa requirements and additional fees may apply.

International experience opportunities

As well as offering a range of short international field trips, which have previously included a visit to Krakow in Poland to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, you also have the opportunity to complete the course over four years with a year spent studying abroad.

The university currently has links with over 20 institutions in Cyprus, France, Malta, Spain, Sweden and Turkey, as well as several other countries around the world. In the past, previous students on this course have studied the youth justice system in Malta and the sex industry in the context of people trafficking in Madrid.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2022 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
A level BCC excludes General Studies
GCSE 5 GCSE's grade 9-4 / A*-C or above including English Language and Mathematics or specified equivalents
IB Diploma 27 points

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

If you do not have the typical entry requirements, you may want to consider studying this course with an International Foundation Year. Upon successful completion our International Foundation Year - Law will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to progress onto this undergraduate degree.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall with no component lower than 5.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2022/23 Tuition fees

Student Full time Part time
UK £9,250 per year Not available
International £15,300 per year Not available

If you choose to study this course with a professional placement or study abroad year, you will need to pay a tuition fee of £1,250 to cover your academic support.

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, stationary, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.


Mock prison cells

Our mock cells enable you to experience the practical aspects of life in prison. Have a look round our mock prison cell on our virtual 360 tour.

Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion, a Criminology and Psychology degree from Coventry University can provide you with an excellent basis for graduate-level employment in a wide range of relevant professions, from the more established career options such as the prison, probation and police service to the newer initiatives in areas of community safety and crime prevention.

Successful completion of this course can give students who attain a 2:2 or above the opportunity to apply for the MA Criminology course. Please note that this is subject to competitive application, availability, meeting any applicable visa requirements and additional fees may apply.

Where our graduates work

Previous 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 and West Midlands Police. Please note that further study is subject to competitive application, availability, meeting any applicable visa requirements and additional fees may apply.

Further study

You can choose to continue your studies at Coventry University with the Criminology MA. You may be entitled to an alumni discount on your fees if you decide to extend your time with us by progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate study.

How to apply

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  • Student Contract

    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 2021/22 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.

    Tuition fees

    The tuition fee for the course that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For UK and EU students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, we 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. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, EU students should be aware that there may be a change to UK laws following the UK’s exit, this may change their student status, their eligibility to study part time, and/or their eligibility for student finance. We will act in accordance with the UK’s laws in force in relation to student tuition fees and finance from time to time.

    For International students the tuition fee that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For international students, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation.


    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. 


    Facilities mentioned on this page may not be relevant for every course. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating 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.

    Placements and study abroad opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any placement or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (e.g. travel, visas and accommodation etc.), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the requirements in this regard, please contact the International Office for further details if you are an EU or International student.

    Additional costs

    This course may incur additional costs associated with any field trips, placements or work experience, study abroad opportunities or any other opportunity (whether required or optional), which could include (but is not limited to), equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas).

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