Psychology and Criminology

BSc (Hons)


This course is available in Clearing.

Course overview

Have you ever wondered why people may commit crime? Have you thought about the difference between punishment and rehabilitation and what might be more appropriate? Our course will not only give you the opportunity to explore these questions, but also to carry out investigations using a variety of hands-on methods.

Our course is unique because rather than studying psychology and criminology as two separate subjects, some of our modules combine the two areas of study, giving a multi-disciplinary learning experience and a thorough understanding of the topic.

As well as our core modules, which give an excellent foundation in the core principles of psychology and criminology, our broad and flexible optional module choices will allow you to explore your interests in more depth as you move through the course.

You'll address how, through criminal profiling, insights are offered into deviant behaviour, youth offending, gendered violence, war and terror, genocide, rape and abuse. You might also investigate media representations of moral panic and the promotion of fear from both a psychological and criminological perspective. You'll also focus on social and developmental psychology as well as research and key skills.

You'll already have a curiosity about people's thoughts, feelings and behavior, as well as basic maths and literacy skills, whilst wanting to learn scientific, analytical and valuable transferable skills.

Studying at our Cambridge campus, a world-renowned city for academic excellence and an invaluable location for psychological contacts, you'll be able to draw on the expertise of our research-active staff and extra-curricular weekly research seminars, which will feature presentations from a range of leading academics and researchers.

With over 90% of students satisfied with our BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology, let us equip you with highly employable and desirable skills for your future.
Year one core modules
  • Adventures in Crime News and Criminology

    Crime is a major area of public policy and political debate (we are both fascinated by and afraid of crime). This module will introduce students to exploring and defining how crime shapes our thoughts, drawing on its portrayal in the media, as well as responses generated through political shifts and crime prevention/community initiatives. The module then examines the criminal justice process. In addition, the module will examine crime data (statistics, case studies, crime rates etc) and the sources from which they are gathered. Adventures in Criminology aims to engage students in the components of the Criminal Justice process through a student-facilitated case study. The case study will enable you to identify with many of the issues that are obscured or misrepresented when thinking of everyday crimes, as well as present them in a reflective and developmental style. The range of assessments in this module will allow you to demonstrate understanding and begin to develop critical thinking skills (the essay), understanding and application skills (patchwork texts) as well as an opportunity to reflect upon and relate the knowledge gained to employment in the Criminal Justice Sector (Portfolio/diary).

  • Adventures in Criminal Justice

    Building on Adventures in Crime News and Criminology, Adventures in Criminal Justice aims to introduce you to the somewhat abstract components of the criminal justice process. You will explore and analyse sections of the criminal justice system, paying particular attention to how it fits together (under the National Offender Management System ? NOMS) within five main sub-systems: law enforcement, courts, youth justice, prison and probation. Each week, you will examine and develop a portfolio relating to the following issues within the criminal justice system: freedom, human rights, net-widening, retribution, rehabilitation, politics and prevention of crime. The portfolio will provide an opportunity for you to recognise and begin to critically evaluate the effectiveness of the criminal justice process, based on contested evidence and research. As a result, you will be able to demonstrate a critical appreciation of the complicated position and treatment of offenders in England and Wales, as well as the challenges faced by policy-makers and criminal justice staff.

  • Fundamentals of Cognitive Psychology

    Our experience of the world is an interpretation based on many cognitive processes being carried out by the brain. Because these processes are so automatic, and their outcome so convincing, people are often not aware that what they are experiencing is merely an interpretation, and as such can be inaccurate. This module will challenge students to think more clearly about this, and consider the ways in which the brain constructs its interpretation of the world, and the ways in which this interpretation can be misleading. The module aims to give students a broad understanding of cognition and how we process information about the world by introducing the major issues underpinning cognitive psychology, drawing attention to the key conceptual and ethical considerations of research in the area. Throughout the module, several key issues will be repeatedly addressed, e.g. the interactive nature of cognitive processing, and the core role of empirical research in developing cognitive theory. Areas to be covered in the module include: Visual perception, Learning, Attention, Memory, Language, and Problem Solving. The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and practical based sessions during which students will be given the opportunity to carry out classic experiments supporting major theories in cognitive psychology. Students will be taught how to write up research using APA format, and their ability to do this will form part of the assessment for the module. In addition to this element of assessment, a multiple choice examination will be used to assess students' general understanding of the module material. This module will provide students with insights into their own cognitive processes (such as learning and memory) which they can apply to help in their study and understanding of other parts of their degree. It will equip students with a range of key transferable skills useful in the workplace, such as report writing, data analysis, and logical thinking.

  • Key Skills for Psychology

    Psychology is a broad discipline and most psychologists specialise in relatively narrow areas of expertise. However, all psychologists share basic skills in understanding, conducting and communicating research and this module aims to give students a grounding in these skills. Psychology is driven by empirical research - we start with a question of interest, formulate an hypothesis which we wish to test, design and implement a study to test the hypothesis, analyse the results and discuss the findings. This module will give students the basic skills needed to produce a research report from beginning to end including experimental design, statistical data analysis, the use of resources and software, writing and presentation skills, ethical issues and general study and research skills. Assessment will involve three components: 1) a portfolio of practical work including practice in writing each section of a research report and other relevant skills-based exercises. 2) The writing of a research report. 3) A multiple-choice and short answer examination. This module provides a vital grounding for Psychology students as well as offering a range of useful, transferable skills such as data analysis and report-writing which are valued by employers.

  • Media and Crime

    Media representations of crime, law and order have always been a matter of public interest, as well as debate amongst people involved in the criminal justice system. This module explores the ways in which media shapes our perception of crime and provides an overview of the theoretical perspectives on media within criminology. The module then explores the construction of crime news and the role of politics and ideology and introduces the concept of 'moral panics'. It will also address sex crimes and their fictional and factual representation in the media. Subsequently, it examines ways of analysing available statistics on criminal activity, the fear of crime and its relationship to the media representation of crime. The discussion of contemporary surveillance culture will also be included. This module will examine these issues through the use of case studies, reports, and theory. Year two core modules.

  • Social and Developmental Psychology

    This module will provide an introduction to key topics, theories and issues in social and developmental Psychology. It will enable students to understand how certain behaviours and experiences can be shaped by different social contexts (the family, peers, society) and the impact of these on social and emotional development. Key areas within social psychology (attitudes, interpersonal communication, social influence, groups, identities and ethics) and developmental psychology (genetic and environmental influences, language, cognitive and emotional development and ethics) are covered. The module includes consideration of methodological issues, and some introduction to the conceptual debates that characterise social and developmental psychology. Applications of the work of social and developmental psychologists are also considered. This module will be assessed through an essay and oral presentation. Students will learn transferable skills such as how to manage information and to collect data from appropriate sources, as well as oral communication skills.

Year two core modules
  • Research Techniques for Psychology

    In this module students will develop a critical understanding of the principles of data collection and analysis for psychology, and consider the theoretical bases of various qualitative and quantitative methods. The emphasis is on ensuring that students understand the logic behind the techniques covered, so that they know when it is appropriate to use a particular technique, and how to interpret its output. A key part of the module will be a group project, where students will be given the opportunity to design and carry out an independent piece of research in an area of their own choosing. The course will equip students with a wide range of highly useful transferable skills such as; numerical skills, use of SPSS, IT skills, experimental design, report writing, group work, research and oral presentations. Assessments will be through a combination of examination and written portfolio.

  • Psychopathology

    This module provides an introduction to psychopathology and clinical psychology. The module introduces students to the various psychological disorders, as well as their aetiology and treatment. The module will also look at models of psychopathology, as well as its classification and diagnosis. Broad theories of the development of the various psychological disorders will be touched on, drawing from psychodynamic, cognitive, and neuroscience perspectives, as well as social factors. Students will learn about the various psychological disorders through a series of lectures. Seminars will provide more focused discussions on particular disorders. Case studies and/or media examples will be used to aid understanding of various psychological disorders.

  • Trials and Errors

    Trials and Errors will evaluate the relevant techniques that are required in order to adhere to the principles of current criminal proceedings and identify the various stages within the system (such as sentencing procedures and outcomes). Students will be required to consider a range of problems and identify how some events could have been avoided. The module will examine a variety of legal case studies, paying particular attention to the processes involved and offer students the opportunity to challenge legal decisions and to evaluate the Appeal System. The aim of this module is to enable students to identify and analyse the elements involved in the criminal justice process that can contribute to a miscarriage of justice and to recognise the available procedures that can correct such errors of judgment. The module will comprise weekly lectures and seminars, including prepared debates and discussion relating to particular cases that have attracted the attention of the media.

Year three core modules
  • Clinical Psychology

    This module will enable students to have a critical awareness of the issues and debates involved in understanding deviant behaviour. It examines the psychological, social, cultural and biological influences and predispositions upon general definitions of abnormality and specific disorders. Particular categories of disorder will be studied in order to illuminate controversies concerning the value of models, methods of classification and diagnosis. Specific syndromes addressed in detail in this module are: major depression and mania, schizophrenia, and suicide. For each of these specific disorders, the diagnostic criteria, course, epidemiological factors, biological predisposition and treatment strategies (such as cognitive behaviour therapy, psycho-pharmacological treatments, and suicide prevention) are reviewed and critically evaluated. Students will learn that multiple factors can contribute to the development of mental illness and that often different psychiatric syndromes can co-occur in one patient. The role of social factors such as gender and culture in the classification and treatment of mental ill-health is discussed. Current research streams and findings on biological origin of mental illness and treatment will be presented and discussed. The module is available for students in the third year of psychology courses. Lectures will be illustrated by video demonstrations of patients with different forms of mental illness and the discussion of these case studies. Students will learn to work independently as well as in small teams/groups where they will discuss and critically evaluate contemporary issues in Clinical Psychology. Work in seminars and preparation for lectures will require the ability to independently research literature in the library and internet databases on different topics presented in lectures. This module will prepare students particularly for working in clinical settings (i.e. with psychiatric patients).

  • Comparative Criminal Justice

    There have been some profound economic, political and cultural developments in the world since the late 1980's and they have added to the complex relationship between crime, punishment, social change and the maintenance of order. In many countries, prisons numbers are dramatically increasing, yet in others they are emptying at an equally rapid rate. Some countries deal with overcrowding by building more prisons, others have waiting lists for up to a year. Some countries favour capital punishment, others outlaw it. Crime statistics are gathered in a wide range of methods and the age of criminal responsibility ranges from seven to eighteen, depending on where you live. This module examines the ways different countries and jurisdictions deal with the main stages and elements in the criminal justice process, from crime rates and policing through to sentencing. Examples from all over the world will be explored, with a particular focus on Europe, the UK, the United States and Australasia.


Assessment is via a mix of examination, essays, research reports, presentations, lab reports and dissertation.


  • Specialist research laboratories.
  • EEG laboratory (Electroencephalography) enables us to measure the minute electrical currents created by activity in the brain by using electrodes placed on the scalp.
  • Experimental laboratory is used for general experimentation and includes several testing rooms containing PCs with specialist software.
  • Eyetracking laboratory can measure the eye movements a person makes as they read a passage of text, study a picture, or watch a video.
  • Psychoneuroimmunology laboratory allows for the analysis of samples for immune system indicators. This allows us to investigate the fascinating relationship between psychological well-being and physical health.
  • Emotion & Communication laboratory comprises specialised equipment for the analysis of interpersonal interaction including video-recording facilities and a one-way observation mirror.
  • Psychometrics laboratory provides a quiet space in which people can be interviewed and equipment which allows us to monitor heart rate, breathing and skin conductance (GSR).
  • Behavioural Analysis laboratory is a sound- and light-attenuated, air-conditioned environment in which to study the behavioural and physiological bases of complex, learned and derived behavioural processes. Equipped with computerised physiological recording devices, stimulators, and specialist computers.
  • Consumer lab, including 3D printer, to investigate the effects of touch on people?s consumer judgements

Associated careers

Psychology graduates are valued across many fields because of the diverse and useful skills that are acquired from a psychology degree. A successful psychology graduate can be expected to be able to write coherent and logical reports, understand statistical and other forms of evidence and have a good understanding of human behaviour. Taken together, such skills are very appealing to a wide range of employers and not just those in specifically psychological areas.

In combination with Criminology, Psychology opens doors to career paths in: The National Probation Service as Probation Officers, prison-based Probation Service Officers; the Police (including Crime Scene and Victim Liaison Officer); The Prison Service, as Prison Officers and governors; the Home Office, as researchers and policy analysts; The Crown Prosecution Service; The Court Service; Youth Offending Teams/Youth work and Crime Reduction Partnerships.

We have developed strong links with the local National Probation Service and the Police. Students have the opportunity to work as volunteers or part time paid workers in these areas, and are also encouraged to set up placements if they have an interest there, as part of their Personal Development Plan.

Links with industry/professional recognition

Members of staff participate in national and international research in partnership with the private and public sectors.
Main requirements:
  • 240 UCAS Tariff Points from a minimum of 2 A levels (or equivalent)
  • 3 GCSEs Grade C or above including GCSE English and Maths
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University
Alternative qualifications accepted:
  • UCAS Tariff points acquired from BTEC Level 3 Diplomas are accepted
  • Access to HE Diplomas are accepted, 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction grade are required
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 24 points is accepted
  • UCAS Tariff points from the Irish Leaving Certificate are accepted
  • UCAS Tariff points from Scottish Advanced Highers are accepted
  • UCAS Tariff points from Scottish Highers are accepted
  • The European Baccalaureate at a minimum overall grade of 70% is accepted
  • HNC Qualifications are accepted
  • HND Qualifications are accepted
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Entry requirements listed are for September 2015/January 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

Please note all tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

International and EU applicants

We welcome applications from International and EU students. Please select one of the links below for English language and country-specific entry requirement information.
If you do not meet the above requirements, then there is an alternative. Consider entry to the course via an integrated foundation year at Cambridge Ruskin International College, an associate college of Anglia Ruskin, which is located on our Cambridge campus.

How to apply

UK & EU applicants

Apply via UCAS

International applicants
Apply online

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3 years

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3 December (Cambridge)
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