BSc Psychology / Criminology

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

In choosing to study a Psychology and Criminology degree at Aberystwyth University you will be part of the long established and reputable Department of Law and Criminology and taught by talented and dedicated academics. The interrelated subjects of Psychology and Criminology (CM89) are combined so that you can benefit from the theoretical perspectives of crime with sociology, philosophy and psychology in mind. You will study the brain, the mind and behaviour to discover the reasons why people commit crime and the social cultural repercussions of crime. In studying Psychology and Criminology you will acquire a wide range of the skills and knowledge that employers are increasingly seeking. Expand the sections below and find out more...


This BSc in Psychology and Criminology is a joint honours degree designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of criminology along with a firm foundation in psychology. Combining the two subjects together has created an intriguing and very complementary course of study, and you will benefit from a balanced programme which draws equally from the Department of Psychology and the Department of Law and Criminology.

Why study Psychology and Criminology at Aberystwyth?

The Department of Psychology at Aberystwyth was rated joint first in the UK in the latest Student Satisfaction Survey with a 100% satisfaction rate, so you can be sure that you will receive not only the very best training in your chosen subject, delivered by our highly qualified and dynamic staff, but also the very best student learning experience in the country.

The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society, the internationally recognized UK learned society responsible for ensuring standards of quality within the subject, giving you a head start on graduation when you enter the competitive jobs market.

90% of our Psychology graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, a 15 percentage point increase on the previous year (DLHE 2014). This increase reflects our investment in innovative and strategic student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic Institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The Department of Psychology has recently moved into new premises offering state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for teaching and research including eye tracker, sensory isolation chamber and EEG and biological measurements lab, so you will gain hands-on experience using the very latest equipment.

The Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth is the oldest Law School in Wales, founded in 1901, and has an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and the expertise of its staff. Your learning is closely linked to the vigorous research activity carried out in the department, providing you with an outstanding, dynamic and up-to-date learning environment. You will benefit from a mature and well-stocked Law library, supplemented by generous electronic resources.

As well as being active in research and publication, our Law and Criminology lecturers also participate in national and international debate and policy-making in legal, criminological and related fields. The university has a proud tradition of research excellence, as demonstrated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment. It placed the university in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

93% of our 2014 graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, equal to the overall UK sector average (DLHE 2014). This reflects our investment in innovative and strategic, student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results show high levels of satisfaction with the subject, with 83% of students reporting high levels of satisfaction with the quality of the teaching they received and our staff receiving above UK average satisfaction responses for their communication with students.

Both departments offer a number of modules, seminars or tutorials taught entirely or partially through the medium of Welsh. Further details may be obtained from the departments.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) Students must take the following core Modules

Semester 1

Introduction To Core Topics In Social And Individual Behaviour PS11420

Semester 2

Perspectives On Psychobiology And Cognition PS11220

Year 1 Options Students must take the following core Law modules in Year 1 (dependant on language preference):

Semester 1

Elements Of Criminology CR12400

Foundations Of Law LA15710

Elfennau Troseddeg TR12400

Semester 2

Crime Control And Prevention CR10320

Elements Of Criminology CR12430

Rheoli Ac Atal Troseddu TR10320

Elfennau Troseddeg TR12430

Year 1 Options You must take PS11320 or SC11320 (Welsh language alternative)

Semester 1

Introduction To Psychology: Investigation And Communication PS11300

Cyflwyniad I Seicoleg: Ymchwilid A Chyfathrebiad SC11300

Semester 2

Introduction To Psychology: Investigation And Communication PS11320

Cyflwyniad I Seicoleg: Ymchwili A Chyfathrebiad SC11320

Year 2 Core (60 Credits) Students must take the psychology core modules listed below in year two.

Semester 1

Behavioural Neuroscience PS20120

Qualitative Research Methods PS21410

Semester 2

Social Psychology PS20220

Quantitative Research Methods PS21310

Year 2 Options Students must choose 60 credits from the following modules:

Semester 1

Youth Crime & Youth Justice CR31520

Psychological Explanations Of Criminal Behaviour CR31720

Police, Policing And Society CR32820

Cyfraith Troseddol GF33920

Criminal Law LA33920

Criminal Justice And The Penal System LA36320

Semester 2

Victims CR30820

Criminology Of Human Rights Violations CR31120

Contemporary Issues In Criminology CR31620

Psychopathology CR31920

A History Of Crime And Punishment LA33310

Principles Of Evidence LA37410

Final Year Core (40 Credits) Students must take the core psychology modules listed below in year 3.

Semester 1

Cognitive Psychology PS34220

Semester 2

Developmental Psychology And Individual Differences PS34320

Final Year Options You must take PS34120 or SC34120 (Welsh language alternative) In order to be awarded BPS Accreditation with confers Graduate Basis for Chartership students must achieve at least a 2:2 degree and pass the dissertation module.

Semester 1

Psychology Research Project For Joint Honours PS34100

Prosiect Ymchwil Seicoleg Ar Gyfer Cyd-anrhydedd SC34100

Semester 2

Psychology Research Project For Joint Honours PS34120

Prosiect Ymchwil Seicoleg Ar Gyfer Cyd-anrhydedd SC34120


Career Prospects

Your joint honours BSc in Psychology and Criminology opens up a broad range of career paths or options for further training. Your training in psychology will enable you to pursue the goal of becoming a clinical or occupational psychologist, whereas your expertise in criminology points towards the police, the prison service, UK Border Agency, or social and community work.

A recent study by HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) showed that almost 90% of Criminology graduates and 83.7% of Psychology graduates find paid employment or continue with further study upon graduation.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Psychology and Criminology will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• research and data analysis skills

• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills

• the facility to deal with abstract concepts

• enhanced information technology skills

• the ability to work independently

• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines

• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form

• self-motivation and self-reliance

• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

This course will equip you with a breadth of core study skills which can be easily transferred into almost any graduate or professional employment situation. For instance, studying legal and psychological case histories will enable you to conduct research, appraise documents, proposals and papers, and construct coherent and persuasive responses.

You will also have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines. In addition to these skills, you will benefit from the prestige of holding a BSc in Psychology and Criminology from one of the UK's foremost universities.

Year in Employment scheme (YES)
The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales
GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

On this programme, you will broaden your horizons by considering each topic from psychological, sociological, and legal perspectives. You will study the scale and impact of criminology, looking at both the psychology of the individual and at high profile crime and the national debates it can generate. You will also study the impact upon political, media and popular opinion.

In the first year you will take a number of core modules from both disciplines. You will examine: the key concepts of law and become familiar with legal method and argument; the main criminological theories set within in their social and political context; and crime control and prevention. You will explore behaviour and the psychology of individual differences, alongside psychobiology and cognition. You will also be introduced to quantitative and qualitative research methods in psychology.

In the second year you will be able to tailor your criminological studies to suit your own interests. You may prefer to concentrate on the legal aspects of criminology such as criminal law and criminal justice, or explore other options such as the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, or victims and victimology. In Psychology you will be introduced to advanced computer software packages for statistical analysis, and more sophisticated ways of interpreting data. You will also explore the relationship between the brain and behaviour, and investigate typical and atypical behaviours and psychological disorders.

In the third year you will study cognitive psychology, and will evaluate different theories of intelligence and personality and assess the application of psychometric testing in modern society. You will also design and conduct your final year Psychology research project where you will produce a high quality project report and research poster in a subject area of your own choice. You will have a dedicated supervisor to support you throughout this process. In Criminology you will choose optional modules from a broad spectrum to direct your learning in your preferred direction.

Beyond subject-specific knowledge, you will gain skills in: assimilating and processing data; engaging with complex and demanding subject matter; handling sensitive information appropriately; and communicating effectively.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a series of lectures, seminars, and a variety of contemporary learning techniques such as online learning, wikis, and problem-focused learning sessions as well as practical sessions and workshops. You will learn to present arguments, test your own ideas and reflect on your own experiences, all of which will enhance your communication skills and analytical competence. Practical work, conducted both in the laboratory and the field, will enable you to learn additional skills, such as interviewing techniques, survey work, psychometric testing and experimental skills.

Assessment will be through a combination of essays, worksheets, posters, presentations, portfolios, wikis, literature reviews and examinations.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

The lectures, seminars and the Departments' supportive staff will greatly assist you in your Psychology and Criminology training. You will also benefit from the many opportunities within the departments and the university to develop your academic rigour and professionalism so that, upon graduation, you are perfectly positioned for the next stage of your career.

Student Views

The good thing about Psychology and Criminology is that both subjects complement one another; for example, psychology modules broaden your knowledge meaning you can go more in-depth when studying criminology modules, which in my opinion gives you an advantage over straight criminology students. Psychology modules focus more on theories and explanations, while criminology modules help you to use those theories and explanations to focus on the reasons for crime, almost like putting the theories and explanations into practice. Again I believe this gives you an advantage over straight psychology by using what you've learned in another context. Joshua Lyons

Criminology is amazing. All the lecturers are extremely helpful and enthusiastic, which makes the course a lot more interesting for me to want to succeed at it. Criminology sets out guidelines that are straightforward and easy to follow. The criminology lectures are fun and keep you entertained so you are never bored in them and you are constantly wide awake and ready to learn what the lecturer has to offer. Also in Criminology the lecturers seem more keen to get you involved with the university. Leah Rossiter

I'm taking the course for a joint honours degree in Psychology and Criminology. It's a great way to learn both subjects and to receive the attention and possibilities from both departments. It's great that we can always ask our lecturers/tutors about anything and they always help us find the answer or the person who can give it. Our teachers are our friends - students can feel that from the attitudes in the classroom and even out of it! One of the best things is that we are able to access and use articles, books and files on our computers thanks to Primo Central. It is really easy and helpful, and I miss it every time I'm away from the campus. Long live Aberystwyth University! Karina Djokova

Key Information Set

Key Facts

UCAS Code: CM89

Tariff Required: 280

Entry Requirements: Grade B in any A level required. GCSE: Grade C in English or Welsh. Grade C in Mathematics.

Course Length: 3 Years

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