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BA (Honours) Criminology and Psychology - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

Although as individual disciplines criminology and psychology can help to make sense of many popular fascinations (and fears) about human behaviour, human interaction, crime and criminalisation, when studied together they help to explain more about these subjects by the ways in which the two disciplines complement and challenge each other. This qualification takes a critical approach that enables you to question widely-held beliefs and understandings of crime and human behaviour, and to confront taken-for-granted assumptions about some pressing contemporary social issues.

Criminology and Psychology adopts a broad-based approach across both subjects. This includes considering the nature of criminal acts and the human motivations that lead to them, but it also goes some way beyond this focus. Criminology is concerned with social conditions and the structures of social organisation and of power, for example, and as a result takes an holistic view of crime, what counts as crime, and why. Psychology, too, is fundamentally concerned with a very wide range of influences on human interactions and with the causes of conflicts that arise between nations, races and social groupings as well as between individuals.

The broad focus of the qualification is reflected in its diverse range of fascinating topics. You'll be introduced to many different ways of thinking about crime and criminal justice, and about people’s behaviours and thought processes. In the criminology modules you will learn about a wide range of interpretations of the causes of crime, what counts as crime and why, and about disorder, resistance and state crime and violence, for example. In the psychology modules you will learn about human interaction, how people make sense of the world, how they experience trauma or behave as victims, and much more. You will also have opportunities to think about concepts like labelling, victimisation and harm as they are understood by criminologists and by psychologists. This degree also provides opportunities for the development of a wide range of skills that are of practical relevance.

In all, this degree will give you

  • an understanding of key concepts, theories, methods and debates in criminology and psychology 
  • an appreciation of different perspectives within criminology and psychology, and the ability to evaluate them critically 
  • an understanding of the uses of criminological theory and analysis for evaluating criminal justice policies and practices
  • an understanding of the application of psychology to social, educational, practical and professional issues and contexts 
  • support and guidance to improve your learning and help you to develop as an independent learner.

The skills you will develop are highly valued by many employers. As noted above they do not provide you with the qualifications you would need as a professional or practitioner, but they may offer some useful preparation towards aspects of some jobs within the criminal justice system, including the police, prison and probation services, and the care and resettlement of offenders. They are also highly relevant to jobs concerned with civil liberties, human rights, social justice, victim support, crime prevention, community safety, and conflict resolution. Similarly, the psychological skills you develop will be of considerable value to occupations in education, health, human resources, management, social services, advertising, and career counselling.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On gaining this qualification, you will:

  • have critical understanding and extensive knowledge of key concepts and theoretical approaches in relation to crime, harm, victimisation and criminal justice
  • have extensive knowledge and critical understanding of key approaches to psychology, and understand how psychological theories and research are applied in practical or professional contexts
  • understand a range of ethical issues and research methods in criminology and psychology, and their appropriate use
  • have developed a critical awareness of the ways in which social interests, positions and values may impact on policies and practices in criminal justice and psychology.

Cognitive skills

On gaining this qualification you will be able to:

  • identify and select evidence from a variety of sources and interpret, analyse, and critically evaluate evidence of crime, criminalisation and human behaviour including recognising the possible limitations of sources
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key criminological and psychological theories, concepts and principles
  • deploy a conceptual understanding of criminology and psychology in order to explore a range of complex social problems and to devise and sustain arguments
  • select and apply appropriate methods and techniques to review, consolidate and extend knowledge and understanding of crime, criminalisation and human behaviour.

Practical and/or professional skills

On gaining this qualification you will be able to:

  • recognise and critically evaluate personal viewpoints and engage the views of others with respect
  • demonstrate the skills of independent learning
  • learn from feedback and reflect on the process of learning to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses
  • identify and work toward targets for personal, academic and career development.

Key skills

On gaining this qualification you will be able to:

  • accurately and effectively communicate information about crime, criminalisation and human behaviour, in ways that are suitable for a range of audiences, both formally and informally
  • select, access and exploit a wide range of digital literacy tools and resources (and the practices associated with them) in order to find, use and share data relevant to crime, criminalisation and human behaviour
  • plan, conduct and present an independent investigation of an issue in crime, criminalisation and human behaviour that involves collating, analysing and interpreting secondary data
  • work with other learners in group situations to achieve shared outcomes.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will learn independently, using the following types of study material, provided by us:

  • printed and online teaching texts
  • multimedia packages, including the internet, and which may also include audio and video
  • directed readings which may be drawn from a wide variety of printed sources.

We will support your learning with:

  • self-assessment questions and exercises, included in the teaching texts and virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • feedback and guidance from a tutor
  • online tutorials
  • email and online discussion forums
  • study guides
  • tailored support for each form of assessment, via a combination of the above methods.

We will assess your learning with:

  • tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
  • interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
  • a formal examination in at least one module
  • end-of-module assessments (EMAs).