Psychology of Crime

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Psychology of Crime

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Criminal Justice, Criminology, Psychology

  • 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

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course is designed to complement Sociology of Crime. The course focuses on individual-level explanations of criminal behaviour. The contributions of biological theories, psychodynamic theory, learning theory, personality theory and moral development theory are examined.

    Course Introduction
    This course addresses the question "What is it about individuals and their experiences that produce criminal behaviour?". Psychologists are concerned with how an individual?s biological make-up, personality, upbringing, current circumstances and so forth produce criminal behaviour. The unit examines criminal behaviour in terms of nine theoretical perspectives: evolutionary theories, genetic theories, biobehavioural theories, psychodynamic theories, trait theories, behavioural theories, social learning theories, moral development theories, and environmental theories. The unit also examines the implications of these theories for three areas criminology: the functioning of the criminal justice system, crime prevention, and the rehabilitation of offenders.

    Course Aims
    This is a core course in the Criminology and Criminal Justice program, providing students with a
    foundation in psychological explanations of criminal behaviour. In this respect, the course complements
    Sociology of Crime, which focuses on sociological explanations of crime. The aim of the course is to
    examine the psychological, biological and environmental factors which influence individuals to commit
    crime, and to introduce students to the various theories that explain criminal behaviour at the individual

    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1 Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between individual-level and society-level explanations of criminal behaviour.
    2 Explain their personal position with respect to the major debates about the nature of criminal behaviour, for example, the nature/nurture debate, the free-will/ determinism debate, and the person/situation debate.
    3 Demonstrate an understanding of the major individual-level theoretical explanations of criminal behaviour, and be able to apply these theories to individual cases.
    4 Demonstrate an understanding of the practical and policy implications of the theories of criminal behaviour.
    5 Understand how scientific theories can be tested using psychological experiments.
    6 Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical concerns with individual-level explanations of criminal behaviour.

    Assessment Plan
    Assignment - Laboratory/Laboratory Report - Experiment Participation and Review 10%/10
    Assignment - Written Assignment - Case Study 50%/50
    Exam - constructed response - Exam 40%/40

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.