PY0572 - Psychological Perspectives on Crime

What will I learn on this module?

On this module, you will explore a range of topics to develop an understanding of the approaches to research and knowledge generation in forensic psychology. You will learn about Serial Killers, Sex Offenders, Psychological Profiling and Polygraphy, exploring questions such as ‘What makes a serial killer?’ and ‘What underlying factors drive the behaviour of sex offenders?’ These will be approached scientifically with reference to published research and theoretical frameworks. Discussions will examine the contribution made by forensic psychology research to our understanding of the causes, treatment and prevention of criminal behaviour in tandem with theoretical models, and cultural beliefs and practices.

How will I learn on this module?

You will attend weekly lectures that will provide the framework for the development of understanding based on wider reading. These will be supported by discussion seminars led by invited guest speakers, and associated directed and independent learning.

Videos will also be used to provide examples related to the topics covered and to generate discussion around how scientific information is communicated to and understood by the general public, with a particular focus on popular culture.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor will support you by making a variety of resources linked to the lectures and assessments available on the eLearning Portal (e.g. PowerPoint slides, lectures handouts) along with links to resources to encourage further exploration of specific research topics. A discussion board on the eLearning Portal will be available for students to pose and respond to questions among peers and to the module tutor. This enhances collegiality and also means that support is available to all students. Technology enabled learning will be implemented through the use of Panopto recording software, online submission and marking of the summative assessment, along with the incorporation of different media formats into the lectures and seminars

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MK1: You will be expected to demonstrate understanding of a range of topics in forensic psychology by sourcing, critiquing and reviewing a range of peer reviewed research publications
• MK2: You will competently apply evidence to forensic psychological debate, to justify own opinions

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MIP1: You will develop skills in sourcing, critiquing and reviewing a range of peer reviewed research publications
• MIP2: You will take charge of your own career development learning, through critical self-evaluation and reflection on the relevance of the module for career enhancement and future learning.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MPV1: You will develop and reinforce the characteristics of a Northumbria graduate by building research skills to contribute to knowledge generation and dissemination, demonstrating awareness of ethical principles

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
This will take place through discussion based tasks where you will consider questions relating to the communication of science to academic, medical, social policy and general public populations (MK1, MK2)

Summative Assessment
The first is an assignment (3000 words) that will review and integrate research on a topic to answer a set question (MK1, MK2, MIP1, MPV1). This will be worth 90% of the module mark.

The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has impacted on your employability and future career (MIP2). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words)

Verbal group feedback will be given for formative discussions in class

For the first summative assessment, individual written feedback will be provided on the electronic submission. As a minimum, this will identify a strength, a weakness and an area for improvement.

You will be required to arrange a tutorial with your Personal Guidance Tutor for formal feedback on your reflection.





Module abstract

This module will enable you to explore a number of topics that are core to the study of forensic psychology and that generate great interest from students. Serial killers, sex offenders and terrorists; what drives their behaviour, and how can we understand and change it? The module focusses on research and scientific approaches to what can be emotionally laden aspects of criminal behaviour. How knowledge is developed and what we do and do not know will be clearly delineated so that you begin to appreciate what forensic psychology is and what it can offer to society.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full time or 4 years full time with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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