Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Understanding and Investigating Serious Crime
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Group Seminar Facilitation  45 Minutes  30%
Semester Assessment Timed Essay  3000 Words  70%
Supplementary Assessment Report  (Note: 2,000 word Wiki to be completed individually) 4000 Words  30%
Supplementary Assessment Timed Essay  3000 Words  70%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Outline and critically evaluate the key theories and principles of criminal psychology and indicate how it can can contribute to the understanding of serious criminal behaviour;

2. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the consequences and societal responses to serious crime;

3. Understand and analyse criminal and investigative psychology applications to the policing and detection of serious crime;

4. Critically evaluate and apply psychological and criminological literature relevant to the understanding of crime and the tools used by police in crime analysis and detection;

5. Critically assess the limitations of psychology and criminology in the understanding and investigation of serious crime and propose alternative strategies / frameworks from which to further their understanding of the area;

6. Critically apply the learning in this module to specific case studies.

Brief description

This module critically examines the applications of criminal and investigative psychology to serious crime. It considers the application of psychological principles to various aspects of criminal behaviour and the consequences and responses to it. Students will then be given an insight in to policing and criminal investigation of serious crimes; including homicide, sexual crimes and terrorism. The module then explores how investigative psychology and profiling techniques and models of detection are utliised to support the investigation of serious crime. Finally, the module will consider the input and management of victims, witnesses and suspects throughout the investigation process.


The themes of this module will look at the understanding of criminal behaviour and the application of psychology in the investigation of serious crime.

Explaining Serious Crime and the Responses to it

•Understanding Violent Crime

•Understanding Homicide

•Understanding Terrorism

•Understanding Sexual Crimes

Psychology in the Investigation of Serious Crime

•Policing and detection of serious crime

•Investigative Psychology and Profiling

•Investigative interviewing

•Victim, Witness and Suspect Management

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Oral communication will be encouraged during interactive seminar discussion and group work conducted within the seminar series. Written communication will be developed and assessed within the coursework.
Improving own Learning and Performance Each week, students will have to engage with the topic pre-reading, whilst also preparing for their assignments. They will need to be flexible in how they approach this and demonstrate a strength and resilience to be successful managing this busy workload. The ‘timed essay’ will assess their ability to work to a tight deadline and they will need to demonstrate resilience in managing this task.
Information Technology Students will enhance their digital proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, workshops and assessed tasks. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to standard expectations. Students will work as a group to complete an online ‘wiki’ as part of their assessment.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be given the opportunity to regularly reflect on their progress in the seminars taking place throughout the module. The module convener will provide students with questions on the module topics that will help guide self-reflection. The case study will encourage reflective thinking of psychology in practice in the field of criminal investigation.
Problem solving The learner will be able to identify problems and possible solutions in relation to criminal and investigative psychology.
Research skills The learner will be supported and encouraged to develop their research and critical writing skills in the areas of investigative and forensic psychology.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Understand criminology, criminal and investigative psychology and their application to the understanding and investigation of serious crime. • Evaluate competing perspectives. • Assess the current detection and policing and serious crime.
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 7