BSc (Hons) Criminology with Psychology - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Criminology with Psychology

UCAS codeM9C8

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Study the workings of the mind and criminal behaviour

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This degree course is designed to provide you with an opportunity to study the interdisciplinary nature of criminology as a major subject, whilst taking psychology as a minor subject.  This course benefits from two complimentary disciplines that work in parallel to one another.  Whilst there are opportunities during the course to integrate subject themes and disciplines (including law, criminal justice and sociology), there is a distinct differentiation between psychological and criminological study.  This means that you can explore a range of interesting topics and build a full appreciation of the two disciplines.  

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Engage with and evaluate current critical debates surrounding the ways in which social, criminological, psychological and cultural factors affect offending behaviour
  • Discuss career options with our panel of recent graduates working in the criminal justice sector
  • Study languages or gain work experience placements alongside your degree study
  • Spend a year abroad studying with an international partner university

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course will equip you for careers in the police service, probation service, prison service and the legal profession. Other areas you could go into include crime and safety partnerships, criminological research and crime analysis, as well as careers in other public and private industries.


Vanessa Williams, BSc (Hons) Criminology with Psychology student 2013

The lecturers have a wealth of experience and knowledge in both areas of study.

Vanessa Williams, BSc (Hons) Criminology with Psychology student 2013


Law and Criminology

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Putting their knowledge into practice in real and mock situations
  • Practical hands-on opportunities to extend experience and practical skills
  • Lecturers with practical experience in the subjects

Browse all courses in Law and Criminology

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

  • Researching Criminology 1
  • Skills for Criminologists
  • Introduction to Psychological Science
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Psychology for Criminologists
  • Introduction to Criminology

Study of Languages (0 credits) - which if combined with Year 2 Languages Study, leads to a Certificate.

Year two

Core Units

  • Researching Criminology 2
  • Questioning Criminology
  • Approaches to Psychology
  • Contemporary Issues in Psychology

Criminology Options

  • Key Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Police, Law and Community
  • Crime, Media and Culture
  • Learning from Experience (Faculty Wide Option)
  • Policing a Diverse Society
  • Crimes of the Powerful
  • Victims of Crime: Key Players in Criminal Justice
  • The Fraud Problem
  • Anti-Fraud Strategies
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Penology and Prison
  • Wildlife Crime: Threats and Responses
  • Global, State and Corporate Security
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Investigation
  • Community Justice
  • Youth Crime, Youth Justice
  • Introduction to Teaching

Year-long language Option for credit which, if combined with Year 1 Languages Study, leads to a Certificate.

Year three*

  • Dissertation

Psychology Units

  • Psychology of Investigations
  • Psychology of Security
  • Psychology of Offending Behaviour
  • Trauma, Memory and Law

Criminology Units

  • Hate Crime
  • Dangerous Offenders and Public Protection
  • Contemporary Criminologies
  • Cybercrime: Deviance, Crime and Terror
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Gender and Crime
  • Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders
  • Crime, Exclusion and Mental Health
  • Miscarriages of Justice
  • Contemporary Terrorism and the Global Response
  • Professional Skills in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Clinic

*It is important to note that the psychology units included as the minor route in the programme are not intended to meet the British Psychological Society (BPS) criteria for accreditation.

Full-time undergraduate student Study Abroad opportunities

During your time at the Institute of Criminal Justice Justice studies, you will be actively encouraged to develop your language skills, to develop your international and comparative subject expertise, and to consider Study Abroad at one of our partner universities in Europe, South Asia or North America. 

We currently have 3 European Union partnerships, plus 2 outside of Europe in Canada and South Korea. All our Study Abroad opportunities are for a full academic year – operating as a "sandwich year" at year three of a four year degree. 


Our teaching approach involves your participation in lectures, seminars, tutorials, group discussions, practical workshops and forensic crime scene examinations. We support your learning experience by teaching the skills necessary for degree level work through study skills tutorials in year one and two, and focus on dissertation supervision in year three. You will also be introduced to the software and web-based learning materials that will support your educational experience.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 19% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 81% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 13% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 87% studying independently and 0% on work placement


Assessment is through a combination of coursework, practical crime scene assessments and examinations. These include open, pre-seen papers and closed traditional examinations. Coursework involves seminar papers, presentations, group projects and the 10,000-word dissertation. Full support is given to help students develop the techniques necessary for their assessed work.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 18% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 75% by coursework
  • Year two students: 17% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 83% by coursework
  • Year three students: 33% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 59% by coursework

Professional accreditation

Through their studies students can also gain professional accreditation that will directly assist them in the development of their employability prospects. For example:

  • in undertaking the Optional unit Police, Law and Community, students can additionally gain professional accreditation from the College of Policing with the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing (exempting them from parts of police training), subject to any additional requirements set down by the College of Policing.
  • in undertaking the Optional unit The Fraud Problem, students can additionally gain professional accreditation from the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board as an Accredited Counter Fraud Technician (ACFTech), subject to additional requirements set down by the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board
  • in undertaking the Optional unit Anti-Fraud Strategies, students can additionally gain professional accreditation from the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board as an Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (ACFS), subject to additional requirements set down by the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board.

Tutor's view


Dr April Smith, Course Leader
Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

This unique degree programme has been specifically designed and developed by experts, including academics and practitioners, in the field of criminology and psychology. If you want to learn more about the science of psychology and how this can further our understanding of offending behaviour then this is the course for you! You will have the opportunity to shape your degree programme, through a choice of units, to reflect your own interests, with the option of a sandwich year placement to appreciate criminal psychology on an international level.

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Facilities & Features


The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies was founded in 1992 and has since grown to comprise 50 academic staff and more than 1,800 students. Now an internationally-renowned focal point for the study of crime and criminal justice processes, it draws together expertise in criminological analysis, applied psychology, police governance and management, victimology, penology, risk and security.

Professional Links

Our extensive experience and close professional relationships with the police service and criminal justice agencies ensure that our courses reflect the changing needs of the profession. You may benefit from these links by hearing guest speakers, listening to leading-edge research and being helped to find professional work placements.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

For placements abroad, you will be required to pay for additional costs. These will vary depending on the placement and length of stay, ranging from £50 - £1,000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

You can expect to work within the police, probation and prison services, in the fields of community safety, crime prevention and criminological research, or the forensic science services.

Our graduates have gone on to jobs as:

  • paralegal executive
  • investigative data analyst
  • police officer
  • probation officer
  • youth offending support officer
  • emergency planning officer
  • offender case administrator

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work/research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies. This gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, reflect on the ways in which you've done so and learn to express this to potential employers.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Starie Uwins, BSc Criminology and Psychology student 2011

Outside of lectures, I am a student representative and I volunteer as an Appropriate Adult where I sit in on police interviews of vulnerable individuals to ensure their rights are being respected. It is a great opportunity which I gained through applying to another volunteer role which the university helped me find.

Starie Uwins, BSc Criminology and Psychology student 2011

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University of Portsmouth
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Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

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