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BA (Hons) Criminology and Psychology

What motivates people to behave as they do? Why do people commit crime? BA (Hons) Criminology and Psychology explores how the mind works and how that relates to crime and society and prepares you for a wide range of careers within the criminal justice system.

A psychologist listens to a sad looking client

Explore the criminal mind and the causes and consequences of crime

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Full-time Part-time

Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above

Or Access with 23-45 D/M with a minimum of 6D

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above and GCSE Maths or a Science at grade 4 or grade C or above (or equivalent qualifications)

UCAS points 96


UCAS institution code P63

Duration Three years full-time or up to six years part-time

Course Summary

Our BSc (Hons) Criminology and Psychology degree explores the causes of crime, the criminal justice system, the legal framework and responses to crime. It combines the sociology of crime and causes and responses, with the study of Psychology. Teaching and learning gives equal weight to the two core subjects of Criminology and Psychology, developing a deep understanding of human behaviour and how this relates to the criminal justice system.

During the course you'll be introduced to psychology and criminology theories with a focus on the social psychology of crime. You’ll investigate the common traits of actors in the criminal justice system in a criminal justice setting, such as a court or a crime scene. You'll also have opportunities to develop research techniques and to complete your own piece of social psychological research and to do 50 hours of work placement in a criminal justice organisation. You'll also develop a sound understanding of the ethics of criminology and take an in-depth look at the psychology behind crime.

Why this course at Marjon?

Learn to apply criminological and psychological tools to any type of investigations, but with an emphasis on crime scene investigations

Study in dedicated psychology lab spaces and at simulated crime scenes in our 'crime scene house' with the support of specialist tutors

Small groups for teaching and learning allow you to have support to develop your individual projects

Learn how to apply psychology to develop effective forms of crime deterrent, rehabilitation and victim support

Visit real criminal justice environments

Get a broad perspective by studying crime in the context of local communities, as well as nationally and internationally

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

Your first year will see you develop an understanding of psychological perspectives as well as learning broad knowledge about crime and law in society. In the second year you will learn about the biology of emotion in the brain and how criminologists think differently about crime scenes. You will also take on a work placement to gain experience in the industry. In the third year you will learn about the mind of criminals and what underpins criminal behaviour. You will also develop communication skills and focus on the ethics of working in criminal justice.
Dr Hazel Bending - Lecturer

1st Year

Social psychology
The module answers questions such as how do people work in groups? What influences our group roles and behaviour? Is the Zimbardo study into the roles people play in prisons still relevant today?
Crime and the criminal justice system
This module focuses on the challenges of defining and responding to crime and deviance. You'll consider the punishment of crime and learn about the criminal justice system in England and Wales.
Academic personal and professional development
You'll reflect on your own academic, personal and professional aspirations, and plan for the personal development needed to achieve these. We'll help you to develop a broad understanding of careers available to criminologists. You'll learn how to manage yourself and your work at university, how to access and create resources, and how to develop the core knowledge, skills and attributes needed to become an enterprising Marjon graduate!
Criminological theory
You will explore the philosophies of crime and deviance. You will also study the key theories and theorists of crime and deviance, and apply these criminological theories to criminal justice in practice.
Psychology in practice
You decide the content. Together we explore topics and questions which are of interest to the class.
Public law and justice
You'll study the history and principles of the British constitution and examine ‘common law’, tracking the development of human rights law, the scope of government authority and the workings of judicial review.

2nd Year

Social psychology 2
You will look at personality and close relationships, addressing questions such as: Is personality fixed? How do we construct our sense of self? Do early attachments impact on adult life?
Understanding punishment: prisons and penology
In this module, you will study the philosophy of punishment. You will investigate how and why society punishes, and explore the impact of punishment and alternative approaches to punishment.
Thinking and learning
You'll focus on thinking, intelligence, problem solving and learning, and exploring how they typically develop.
Research methods
In this module you'll undertake an original piece of research, learning the process of research design, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, literature review and how to analyse and write up your research findings.
Memory and language
You'll learn about long-term and working memory, plus language expression and comprehension. How do these typically develop? What are the biological underpinnings? How do we assess memory and language when working with individuals?
Designing safe communities
What is globalisation? How is criminal activity influenced by globalisation? You'll explore key topics in international crime and responses to crime on an international level, focusing on the intersection between globalization, crime, and justice.

3rd Year

Criminology honours project
The honours project is an individual piece of research on a topic of your choice related to criminology. You'll ask a research question and design your research, which is to include a literature review, data collection, data analysis and reporting. You'll write it all up to produce your dissertation.
Investigative psychology
The psychological study of crime, criminals and victims within an investigative framework is known as criminal or investigative psychology. The module explores different ways investigative psychology contributes to police training, investigations and interviewing, as well as their contribution to understanding evidence in the courtroom. Drawing on theoretical and practical considerations from global fields of knowledge alongside political, social and media reactions, the module offers a multi-disciplinary view on investigative psychology and its applications.
Contemporary issues in psychology
Again, you decide the content. Together we explore topics and questions which are of interest to the class.
Understanding violence
This module explores different forms of violence and prevention mechanisms, inter alia interpersonal, cultural, systemic, political. It focuses on our modern understanding of violence and violent behaviour, theoretical approaches, culture, environment, and pro-active and re-active actions against violence and violent crime.
Contemporary issues in crime and criminology
This module focuses on a variety of contemporary issues explored through a criminological lens. You will study issues such as migration, organised crime, social exclusion, media impact/influence, social control, human trafficking and societal reaction to crime.
Working with people
Time to put your social psychology knowledge to the test! You'll look at your own management and leadership styles and those of others. You'll work in a team and explore the social psychology of organisations.

This course is perfect if you’re curious about

Who commits crime?

What drives an individual's offending behaviour?

What causes criminality and how does psychology explain it?

How can an understanding of psychology help us reduce criminal behaviour?

How best do we support victims and offenders to prevent crime?

How do we encourage resilience to loss and trauma?

What might you become?

BA (Hons) Criminology and Psychology prepares students for careers in offender management, civil service, youth services, community development and the police.

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

Includes lectures, seminars, visits to real crime scenes and practical learning at simulated crime scenes, some of which will occur in our on-campus 'crime scene house'.

How will you be assessed?

Approx 30% of assessment is via exams and practical tests and 70% is via coursework.

 Samantha Hauptman

Dr Samantha Hauptman

Course leader

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Sam has spent over 10 years teaching criminal justice and sociology in Higher Education. Prior to that she worked for six years in administration at the South Carolina Department of Corrections, working with youthful offenders, victims and eventually in educational programming. She teaches a broad range of classes and has a variety of research interests including globalization, criminal and social deviance, social control, and immigration. She is the author of The Criminalization of Immigration: The Post 9/11 Moral Panic (2013) and co-author of the forthcoming publication: Security and the State in the Era of Globalization: Criminology in the XXI Century.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £12,500 per annum

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

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Dr Joseph Allison


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With over 20-years experience of teaching and supporting students in higher education and the private sector, I lecture on a range of modules in the social sciences and teaching-learning in higher education, including research methods.  

Dr Hazel Bending

Senior Lecturer

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Hazel is a chartered member and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS), and a senior fellow of the HEA.  She teaches community psychology, neuropsychology and research methods. Her research focuses on identity, student engagement and hidden disabilities.

She is a member of the BPS Member Board and UEC. She is the manager of the Marjon Memory Cafe and supports students in providing wellbeing interventions for people across Plymouth and the local area.

She is supervising 4 PhD & 2 MRES students on projects relating to disability, mental health, education and identity. Her current research activities include a project on assessment and feedback in higher education and a 2nd project on Student Leadership.

John Deane-O'Keeffe

Senior Lecturer, Criminology & Criminal Law

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John is a Criminologist and Lecturer in Forensic Psychology & Criminal Law and sits as a Magistrate on the Northumbrian Bench. John is also a Tutor in the University of Oxford (OUDCE) where his modules are an 'Introduction to Criminology & Psychology of Criminal Behaviour, 'Inside the Minds of Serial Killers' and 'Bad Men in Good Jobs; the Psychopaths Among Us.' He has many years' experience as both a Lecturer and Dean of School and holds taught and research qualifications in Applied Criminology, Law and History from University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Oxford, and the University of Cambridge, to name but four. 


Magda Maszczynska

Senior Lecturer - Criminology

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Magda is expert in structures and networks of transnational organised crime, deterrence, terrorism and counter-terrorism, as well as aspects of investigative psychology and geographic profiling. She is an active member of a variety of international societies, research groups and organisations in the field of criminology.

Dr Alister McCormick

Associate Professor

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Alister teaches psychology and its applications to sport, exercise, and health. His main research interest is how psychological interventions can be used to improve the performances of people who participate in endurance events, such as middle- and long-distance running, cycling, swimming, and triathlon events.

David Moore


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Currently serving police sergeant with over 26 years of experience. 9 years lecturing. Policing experience includes - response, neighbourhood, training and assessing officers, burglary squad, interview teams, custody, evidence review, licensing in both urban and rural police areas. Recently used forensic science in developing effective crime prevention within policing. Recipient of the Plymouth Police Commander's Mayflower Memorial Award in 2019. Recently received national recognition for work around the developing evaluation and investigative working practices around drink spiking offences in the UK

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