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Certificate in Criminal Psychology

Understand psychological approaches to crime and much more with the Criminal Psychology course.

Study Compass


£650 inc VAT
Or £54.17/mo. for 12 months...
Study method
Online, self-paced
100 hours
Access to content
Lifetime access
No formal qualification
Additional info
  • Tutor is available to students
  • Certificate of completion available and is included in the price

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Learn How Criminal Psychology is Used in Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention

The Certificate in Criminal Psychology will give you an in-depth look at criminal psychology and teach you about a variety of environmental influences on criminal behaviour, crime and the human body, psychopathology, along with characteristics and types of aggressive behaviour. This course is perfect if you’re seeking a career in youth work, counselling, the legal field, welfare or probation because it enables you to understand clients that have issues relating to crime and aggression.

Course media


Understand psychological approaches to crime and much more with the Criminal Psychology course.

Develop your understanding of criminal psychology and how psychology is used in law enforcement and crime prevention.

  • A useful course for anyone wanting to learn more about criminal psychology. This could be for personal interest or to improve your knowledge for work purposes. The course is suitable for solicitors, lawyers, law enforcement personnel, prison workers, teachers and trainers and anyone interested in learning more about criminal behaviour and how it can arise.
  • There are ten lessons in the course covering topics such as aggression, psychopathy, mental disorder and crime, gender and crime, youth and crime, eye witness testimonies and more.

1. Introduction to Criminal Psychology

  • Definitions of Crime.
  • Consensus View of what Crime is.
  • Conflict View of Crime.
  • Interactionist View of Crime.
  • Scope of Criminal Psychology.
  • What Criminal Psychologists do.
  • Case Study.
  • Profiling.
  • Courts.
  • Correctional System.

2. Psychological approaches to understanding crime

  • Biological explanations of Crime.
  • Phrenology.
  • Eugenics.
  • XYY Chromosome Model.
  • Genetics.
  • Twin Studies.
  • Adoption Studies.
  • Nature, Nurture.
  • Environmental Explanations of Crime.
  • Family Influence.
  • Agency Explanations; Rational Choice Theory.

3. Psychology and understanding serious crimes

  • Aggression.
  • Different Types of Aggression.
  • Terminology.
  • Drive Theories.
  • Freudian Theories.
  • Social Learning Theories.
  • Biological and Evolutionary Theories.
  • Types of Aggression.
  • Aggression an against Outsiders.
  • Aggression in Species.
  • Aggression in Humans.
  • Environmental Influences on Human Aggression.
  • Imitation or Modelling.
  • Familiarity.
  • Reinforcement.
  • Aggression and Culture.
  • Other Factors in Aggression; Alcohol, Pain, Frustration.
  • Murder.
  • Sexual Assault.
  • Stalking.
  • Pursuit Behaviour.
  • False Stalking Syndrome.

4. Mental disorder and crime 1 – Learning disabilities and crime

  • Meaning of Learning Disabilities.
  • IQ Testing.
  • Crime and Intelligence.
  • Modern Intelligence Testing.
  • Learning Disabilities and Crime in General.
  • Sex Offences and People with Learning Disabilities.
  • Courts.

5. Mental Disorder and Crime 2 – Psychopathy

  • Scope and Nature of Psychopathology.
  • Personality Disorder.
  • Psychopath.
  • Heartless? Emotionless?
  • How do People become Psychopaths.
  • Treatment.

6. Gender and Crime

  • Scope and Nature of Gender and Crime studies.
  • Rates of Crime.
  • Murder and Violence.
  • Prostitution.
  • Case Study –Women Offenders.
  • Victims.
  • Murder.
  • Domestic Violence.
  • Sexual Abuse.

7. Youth and Crime

  • Age of Criminal Responsibility.
  • Risk Factors.
  • Mental Health Risk.
  • Conduct Disorders.
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
  • Cumulative Affect of Risk Factors.
  • Prevalence and Offending.
  • Case Studies.
  • Young People as Victims.

8. Psychology and the Police

  • Social Construction of Reported Crime.
  • Eyewitness Testimony.
  • Early Research.
  • Schemas and EWT.
  • Police Line Ups.
  • Everyday Uses of Psychology by Police.

9. Psychology in the Courtroom

  • Social Cognition.
  • Behaviour.
  • Appearance.
  • Expectations.
  • The Primacy Effect.
  • Attribution.
  • Schemas and Social Perception.
  • Central Traits.
  • Stereotypes.
  • Social Inference and Decision Making.
  • Psychology and the Law.
  • Guilt Bias.
  • Media Effect.
  • Defendant Attributes.
  • Attorney Attributes.

10. Psychology and Crime Prevention

  • Punishment.
  • Types of Punishment.
  • History of Punishment.
  • Reasons for Punishment.
  • Deterrents.
  • Punishment and Impartiality.

Who is this course for?

Suitable for anyone who works within criminal justice, such as police, social workers, court workers, solicitors, lawyers, probation workers or anyone with an interest in the psychology of crime.


  • Define crime and criminal psychology.
  • Discuss psychological theories and approaches to understanding crime.
  • Define serious crimes and explain the involvement of psychology.
  • Discuss the relationship between a person having a learning disability and committing crime.
  • Define psychopathy and discuss psychological theories relating to psychopathy.
  • Discuss gender differences associated with crime.
  • Discuss the psychological theories relating to youth and crime.
  • Discuss how psychology is used by the police.
  • Discuss how psychology is used in the court room.
  • Discuss the use of psychology in crime prevention.


This course is 100% online so access to the internet is a must have.

Career path

Career Opportunities

Criminal Profiling

Legal Professions

Law Enforcement

Crime Prevention

Security Professions

Correctional Services

Investigative Researcher

Social/Youth Work

Rehabilitation Services

Community Services

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What does study method mean?

Study method describes the format in which the course will be delivered. At courses are delivered in a number of ways, including online courses, where the course content can be accessed online remotely, and classroom courses, where courses are delivered in person at a classroom venue.

What are CPD hours/points?

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. If you work in certain professions or for certain companies, your employer may require you to complete a number of CPD hours or points, per year. You can find a range of CPD courses on, many of which can be completed online.

What is a ‘regulated qualification’?

A regulated qualification is delivered by a learning institution which is regulated by a government body. In England, the government body which regulates courses is Ofqual. Ofqual regulated qualifications sit on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), which can help students understand how different qualifications in different fields compare to each other. The framework also helps students to understand what qualifications they need to progress towards a higher learning goal, such as a university degree or equivalent higher education award.

What is an ‘endorsed’ course?

An endorsed course is a skills based course which has been checked over and approved by an independent awarding body. Endorsed courses are not regulated so do not result in a qualification - however, the student can usually purchase a certificate showing the awarding body’s logo if they wish. Certain awarding bodies - such as Quality Licence Scheme and TQUK - have developed endorsement schemes as a way to help students select the best skills based courses for them.