The Psychology of Murder

University of Roehampton

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Psychology of Murder

  • Host University

    University of Roehampton

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • UK Credits

    10 - 20
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 5
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4.5 - 7
  • Overview

    This module has been designed with ‘murder in mind’! Murder and why individuals commit such heinous crimes is a fascinating topic of study. Throughout history scholars have tried to understand the motivation behind taking another person’s life. The principle aim of this module is to introduce you to the psychology of murder.

    Initial sessions will provide a background through exploring the importance of psychology in the field of criminology and what exactly do we mean by murder. Our intellectual journey will then progress to delve into the most fascinating area of murder: the world of the serial killer. Exploring actual crimes we will gradually build up a picture of the psychological motivations behind such serious crimes – are murderers mad, sad or bad? To further understand the motivation behind murder we will explore why certain victims are selected (female, homeless, children) and debate how such crimes should be punished in our society.

    The module will comprise lectures, workshops and debates as well as a walking tour of some of the famous London murder sites.

    Learning Outcomes
    At the end of the module students will have an understanding of:
    1. The relationship between psychology and criminology
    2. Legal definition of murder and the issue of responsibility
    3. A range of psychological perspectives to understanding murder
    4. The forensic impact of murder including profiling
    5. The psychology of victimology

    The assessment for this module will comprise two components:

    • A 2000 word case study of an actual murder case (80%)
    • A Class presentation of the case study (20%)

    Indicative Bibliography
    Roland, P. (2007). In the Minds of Murderers. Arcturus: London

    Wilson, C. & Seaman, D. (2007). The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence. Virgin Books: London

    Hollin C.R. (2012). Psychology and Crime: An Introduction to Criminological Psychology. Routledge: London

    Newman, T. (2017). Criminology. Third Edition. Routledge: Oxon

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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