Develop an Understanding of the Criminal Mind

Profiling - when a crime has been committed a criminal psychologist may be called in to act as a criminal profiler. Many of us have an idea of what a profiler does through TV, cinema and crime novels. Criminal profiling involves a psychologist using his/her understanding of human behaviour, pathology and motivation to try to create a psychological profile of the offender. Profiles can be very accurate. The profiler can use information from the scene of the crime to infer behavioural characteristics of the person who committed the crime. The profiler will also use their knowledge of the "typical offender" who commits this sort of crime and predict how the offender is likely to behave in the future and what their physical appearance may be. Profiling can be very exciting, but there are not a lot of serial offenders around fortunately, so there are limited job prospects and training prospects. Once an offender has been apprehended, there are more opportunities for psychological intervention. It has been used in investigative police work, interrogation and police line up.

Develop your understanding of criminal psychology and how psychology is used in law enforcement and crime prevention.


Suitable for anyone who works within criminal justice, such as police, social workers, court workers, solicitors, lawyers, probation workers or anyone with an interest in the psychology of crime.


  • Learn to Understand the Criminal Mind?
  • Study from home, at your own pace, guided by our team of professional psychologists from both Australia and the UK
  • Self paced, flexible learning
  • ACS is internationally recognised through IARC, part of a group of colleges spanning five countries -with over 30 years experience teaching distance education

Develop your understanding of criminal psychology and how psychology is used in law enforcement and crime prevention.

Course Structure and Contents

There are ten lessons consisting of -

  1. Introduction to Criminal Psychology
  2. Psychological approaches to understanding crime
  3. Psychology and understanding serious crimes
  4. Mental disorder and crime 1 – Learning disabilities and crime
  5. Mental Disorder and Crime 2 - Psychopathy
  6. Gender and Crime
  7. Youth and Crime
  8. Psychology and the Police
  9. Psychology in the Courtroom
  10. Psychology and Crime Prevention


Duration:  100 hours


  • define crime and criminal psychology.
  • discuss psychological theories and approaches to understanding crime.
  • define serious crimes and explain the involvement of psychology.
  • discuss the relationship between a person having a learning disability and committing crime.
  • define psychopathy and discuss psychological theories relating to psychopathy.
  • discuss gender differences associated with crime.
  • discuss the psychological theories relating to youth and crime.
  • discuss how psychology is used by the police.
  • discuss how psychology is used in the court room.
  • discuss the use of psychology in crime prevention.


  • Why is crime thought to be socially constructed?
  • Define reconstructive memory.
  • What are the differences in offending between male and female young people?
  • What factors are thought to influence whether a young person becomes an offender?
  • Define a young offender.


What is a criminal psychologist?

Criminal psychologists may be known by a variety of names –

  • Criminal psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Investigative psychologist
  • Profiler
  • Criminologist


In this course we will use the term criminal psychologist. A criminal psychologist deals with the psychologist aspects of the legal processes. This includes –

  • Understanding the psychological problems associated with criminal behaviour.
  • Treatment of criminals.
  • Applying theory to criminal investigations.


What do Criminal Psychologists do?

Criminal psychologists will cover a range of roles, such as –

  • Research evidence to support practice
  • Implementing treatment programs
  • Modifying offender behaviour
  • Advising parole boards
  • Responding to changing needs of prisoners and staff
  • Stress management techniques for staff and prisoners
  • Statistical analysis used for prisoner profiling.
  • Crime analysis
  • Mental health tribunals.


In psychology, there are three theories that are the most widespread approaches to defining crime. There are other approaches, but as these are the most widely accepted, we will consider those here.


The Consensus View

This view stems from the sociological theories of J Shepherd (1981). This school of thought holds that society functions as an integrated structure, the stability of which is dependent on consensus or agreement by its members, so that the rules, values and norms are respected by all. Therefore, the legal system of the society is a reflection of what is considered tolerable and intolerable behaviour within that particular society i.e. intolerable behaviour is disapproved of by the majority.

Before a crime can be said to have occurred, it has to be committed. So without an action, there can be no crime.


The Conflict View

The Conflict View is the direct opposite of the Consensus View.


The Interactionist View

The Interactionist View falls between the Consensus and Conflict View. It began as a field of thought within sociology called symbolic interactionism.


Learn more about these theories and a lot more through this course!



Just go to the top of this page for pricing and enrolment options. If you have any questions you can contact us now, by:
Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected]