About the course
How does criminal behaviour develop? Are psychopaths born or made? Are eye witnesses accurate? How should we rehabilitate offenders? These are just some of the challenging questions you will explore on our stimulating degree.
We are one of the few universities in the UK to offer an integrated degree dedicated to the intersection between psychology and the criminal justice system. Criminal psychology is increasingly used to inform practice within the justice system and there is a growing demand for professionals who can draw on knowledge of the subject in a wide range of roles and contexts.
Our BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology enables you to apply psychological theories, methods and research to some of the critical challenges facing the criminal justice system today.
You will cover all the main areas of psychology and gain a thorough understanding of complex issues such as criminal behaviour and the personal consequences of crime. There is the chance to focus on specialist areas ranging from cybercrime to domestic abuse, hate crime to psychopathy, mentally disordered offenders to substance misuse. Among the latest additions to the portfolio are optional modules in subjects such as addictive behaviours and schizophrenia.
Throughout, we emphasise the importance of evidence-based practice so you will research real-life criminal justice problems and seek pragmatic solutions to address those problems.
Our BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). As long as you achieve at least a second class honours qualification and obtain at least 40% in your Independent Study in Psychology - you will be eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the society. This is the first step to becoming a chartered psychologist .
The second step you will need to complete is an accredited postgraduate qualification, which we offer in our MSc Forensic and Criminal Psychology. Finally, a minimum of 320 days spent equally across four areas: conducting interventions, assessments and evaluations with clients; applied research; supporting and advising other professionals; and training. All of these activities are coordinated by a chartered forensic psychologist. This leads to the completion of eight pieces of work, taking a minimum of two years to complete. These pieces of work are then submitted and examined by the British Psychological Society’s Board of Assessors. Successful submission leads to qualification as a forensic psychologist.
We have strong links with a wide range of criminal and community justice agencies including the police, probation services, prisons, youth justice, courts and victim support organisations. These enrich your learning and open the door for you to undertake independent research projects.
During your second year, as part of the Qualitative Methods module, you will complete a 30-hour volunteering placement. We also encourage you to take up additional volunteering opportunities throughout the degree to add substance to your CV and to ensure you are ‘workplace-ready’ on graduating.
The BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology also features fieldtrips to courts and prisons (subject to availibility of the facilities).
If you have a particular interest in youth justice, this course gives you the chance to achieve an additional professional qualification – the Youth Justice in Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC) – alongside your degree studies.
The YJEPC is the most widely held qualification in youth justice and brings together current theory, practice and evidence. It will not only boost your employability in the eyes of potential employers but also help you to make more effective judgements in your future career.
The opportunity to gain the YJEPC is available if you take two specific modules – Working with Young Offenders and Youth Justice.
Supporting you all the way is our team of enthusiastic and experienced lecturers who are experts in their fields. They include chartered psychologists as well as sociologists, experienced police officers and lawyers. Several are still actively engaged with practice, which helps you keep up to date with the latest developments.
Your learning will be underpinned by the internationally renowned research activities of our staff who are helping to shape understanding and practice across the criminal justice sector. Their expertise spans thought-provoking topics such as psychopathy, dark triad, sex offenders, domestic violence, personality disorders and evolutionary psychology. It all means your modules will feature latest thinking and contemporary materials.
Guest speakers include professionals who have pursued a career in the criminal justice sector and who will share their own experiences of criminal psychology.
Equipment and resources
As a Criminal Psychology student, you’ll be based on the Derby Campus at One Friar Gate Square. Offering the perfect environment for innovative and engaging teaching, it includes well-resourced lecture theatres, seminar rooms, computer laboratories and social learning spaces.
You’ll be able to gain practical experience of investigative processes using our facilities which include a mock court room and replica police custody suite (expected completion November 2019).
Because you’ll be working alongside students taking courses in subjects such as law, sociology and policing, there are many opportunities to share knowledge, expertise and experience.
We will prepare you to become a competent researcher yourself, equipped with the skills to analyse data and policies critically and to contribute to original criminal psychology knowledge.
As part of the course, you will pursue independent research into themes matching your career ambitions and intellectual interests. You may also have the chance to get involved in staff research projects where feasible and to present your work at relevant conferences.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
You will learn through a compelling combination of:
- role plays
We offer a high level of support to students, including a personal tutor system to help steer your academic and professional development throughout your studies.
How you are assessed
You are assessed via a wide range of methods including:
- case studies
- presentations including research-style posters
- group projects
Who you'll meet
Our teaching team for the BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology is made up of engaging, passionate and inspiring subject experts. They include:
September 2020 typical entry requirements
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|UCAS points||120 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|IELTS||6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)|
|Interview / Audition||N/A|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DDM
- Access to HE Diploma - 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
The skills and tools you gain on the BSc (Hons) Criminal Psychology are valuable for a wide range of careers, including the probation service, the prison service, youth justice and youth offending teams.
You could also consider roles in research and policy-making within the criminal justice system or you could pursue a career in teaching and academia.
Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with support from day one of your course to ensure you leave Derby as a ‘work-ready’ graduate – industry aware, motivated and enterprising. Throughout your studies, you’ll also benefit from working with your personal academic tutor to reflect on your learning and develop your career ambitions.
The support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.
You can go on to postgraduate study at Derby, with MSc qualifications in subjects such as Forensic and Criminal Psychology, Criminal Investigation, and Criminal Justice and Criminology.
These expand your knowledge into specialist areas and accelerate your progress to more senior and leadership roles. Some of our students also use their experiences on the degree as a springboard into academic research.
As a graduate of the University of Derby, you may benefit from an alumni discount on your postgraduate course fees if you continue to study with us. Further information can be found here.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
Included in your fees
- DBS check if required for research purposes.
- International trips if appopriate. Local trips to visit criminal justice organisations (eg courts, police stations).
- Youth Justice Effective Practitioner Certifcate (YJEPC)
- Access to online learning materials
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.