University of Surrey - Guildford

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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Psychology Short Name: PS.M33
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: WILSON M Dr (Psychology)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability


Assessment Pattern

Units of Assessment
Percentage Weighting  
Essay (3000 words)  
1.5 hours, unseen paper   

Module Overview

None (available to MSc Forensic students only)

Module Aims

This module aims to introduce students to the domain of criminal behaviour from a predominantly psychological theoretical perspective.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the module, you will be able to:
•    be aware of the variety of offending behaviours, the means required for managing them and methods for evaluating the effectiveness of interventions.
•    have an understanding of the contexts (environmental, social and psychological) within which criminal behaviour occurs.
•    have an insight into the special needs of mentally disordered offenders and their assessment, treatment and management.
Module Content

The course comprises of 9 two-hour sessions and a one day workshop.  The first session provides an overview and introduction to the area and sets the scene for the remaining sessions. Subsequent sessions focus on specific manifestations of violent and non-violent crime issues and their interaction with various forms of mental disorder including:

Theories of criminal behaviour
Developmental aspects of crime
Brain functioning and criminal behaviour
Women and criminal behaviour
Mental illness and criminal behaviour
High volume crime - burglary and car theft
What works? - Reducing re-offending
Psychopathy and criminal behaviour
Neuropsychology and criminal behaviour
Working with personality disorder (workshop)
NB:    This content is subject to minor fluctuation due to availability of external speakers

Methods of Teaching/Learning

Lectures and seminars.

Selected Texts/Journals

Blackburn, R. (1993) The psychology of criminal conduct: theory, research and practice.  Chichester: Wiley & Sons.
Brown, J.M. & Campbell, E.A. (2010). The Cambridge Handbook of Forensic Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cooke, D.J., Forth, A.D. & Hare, R.D. (eds) (1998) Psychopathy: Theory, research and implications for society.  Dordrecht: Netherlands: Kluwer.
Eysenck, H. & Gudjonsson, G. (1989) The causes and cures of criminality.  New York: Plenum Press.
Hare, R.D. (1998) Without conscience: the disturbing world of the psychopath among us. New York: Guildford Press.
Hodgins, S., Viding, E. & Plodowski, A. (eds.) (2009) The Neurobiological Basis of Violence: Science and Rehabilitation. Oxford University Press.
Kroner, D.G., & Mills, J.F. (2001).  The accuracy of five risk appraisal instruments in predicting institutional misconduct and new convictions.  Criminal Justice and Behavior, 28, 471-489.
McGuire, J. (ed) (1995) What works: reducing offending.  Chichester:  Wiley & Sons.
McGuire, J. (ed) (2002) Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment: Effective Programmes and Policies to Reduce Re-offending.  Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Andrews, D.S. & Bonta, J. (1998) The psychology of criminal conduct. (2nd ed.) Cincinnati: Anderson.

Further reading will be recommended during the course of the module.

Last Updated
9th August 2010