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Criminal Psychology Level 3 Certificate Course


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Criminal Psychology Level 3 Certificate Course

Price: £325.00Course Code: BPS309 CLD
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Criminal Psychology Level 3 Certificate Course

Criminal Psychology course online. Learn to understand Criminal Behaviour and why people commit crimes.

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

  • Learn criminal psychology in this unique course
  • Understand your clients with issues with crime and behaviour
  • Understand aggression
  • Build your understanding of people
  • Save money and time, study at home

ACCPH Accrfedited course logo

 This course is accredited by ACCPH and allows you to join as a professional member after completion. Membership allows you to add the letters MACCPH after your name (post-nominals).


CMA accredited course logo

This course has been accredited by the CMA - The Complimentary Medical Association. On completion of any qualifying module, you can join as a "Fully Qualified Practitioner" and be entitled to use the post-nominal latters "MCMA" after your name. CMA Full Membership is a privileged position and the fact that you have been accepted for CMA Membership demonstrates that you have a clear commitment to standards and professionalism. CMA Members in all categories are recognised as the elite in their field.

This accredited Level 3 course is ideal for:

  • Welfare officers
  • Youth workers
  • Counsellors
  • Psychologists
  • Support workers
  • Advocates
  • Legal employees

Or anyone who wants to pursue a career in the above professions. It is also ideal for those who would like to understand criminal psychology better and budding detective story writers.



Learning Goals:   Criminal Psychology BPS309


  • 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.



Lesson Structure: Criminal Psychology BPS309

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Criminal Psychology
    • Definitions of Crime
    • Consensus View of what Crime is
    • Conflict View of Crime
    • Interactionist View of Crime
    • Scope of Criminal Psychology
    • What Criminal Psychologists do
    • Case Study
    • Profiling
    • Courts
    • Correctional System
  2. Psychological approaches to understanding crime
    • Biological explanations of Crime
    • Phrenology
    • Eugenics
    • XYY Chromosome Model
    • Genetics
    • Twin Studies
    • Adoption Studies
    • Nature, Nurture
    • Environmental Explanations of Crime
    • Family Influence
    • Agency Explanations
    • Rational Choice Theory
  3. Psychology and understanding serious crimes
    • Aggression
    • Types of Aggression
    • Terminology
    • Drive Theories
    • Freudian Theories
    • Social Learning Theories
    • Biological and Evolutionary Theories
    • Types of Aggression
    • Aggression an against Outsiders
    • Aggression in Species
    • Aggression in Humans
    • Environmental Influences on Human Aggression
    • Imitation or Modelling
    • Familiarity
    • Reinforcement
    • Aggression and Culture
    • Other Factors in Aggression: Alcohol, Pain, Frustration
    • Murder
    • Sexual Assault
    • Stalking
    • Pursuit Behaviour
    • False Stalking Syndrome
  4. Mental disorder and crime 1 ...Learning disabilities and crime
    • Meaning of Learning Disabilities
    • IQ Testing
    • Crime and Intelligence
    • Modern Intelligence Testing
    • Learning Disabilities and Crime
    • Sex Offences and People with Learning Disabilities
    • Courts
  5. Mental Disorder and Crime 2 (Psychopathy)
    • Scope and Nature of Psychopathology
    • Personality Disorder
    • Psychopath
    • Heartlessness
    • Emotionless
    • How do People become Psychopaths
    • Treatment
  6. Gender and Crime
    • Scope and Nature of Gender and Crime studies
    • Rates of Crime
    • Murder and Violence
    • Prostitution
    • Case Study ... Women Offenders
    • Victims
    • Murder
    • Domestic Violence
    • Sexual Abuse
  7. Youth and Crime
    • Age of Criminal Responsibility
    • Risk Factors
    • Mental Health Risk
    • Conduct Disorders
    • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
    • Cumulative Affect of Risk Factors
    • Prevalence and Offending
    • Case Studies
    • Young People as Victims
  8. Psychology and the Police
    • Social Construction of Reported Crime
    • Eyewitness Testimony
    • Early Research
    • Schemas and EWT
    • Police Line Ups
    • Every day Uses of Psychology by Police
  9. Psychology in the Courtroom
    • Social Cognition
    • Behaviour
    • Appearance
    • Expectations
    • The Primacy Effect
    • Attribution
    • Schemas and Social Perception
    • Central Traits
    • Stereotypes
    • Social Inference and Decision Making
    • Psychology and the Law
    • Guilt Bias
    • Media Effect
    • Defendant Attributes
    • Attorney Attributes
  10. Psychology and Crime Prevention
    • Punishment
    • Types of Punishment
    • History of Punishment
    • Reasons for Punishment
    • Deterrents
    • Punishment and Impartiality

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.



Your learning experience with ADL will not only depend on the quality of the course, but also the quality of the person teaching it. This course is taught by Iona Lister and your course fee includes unlimited tutorial support throughout. Here are Iona's credentials:

Iona Lister course tutorIona Lister
Licentiate, Speech and Language Therapy, UK, Diploma in Advanced Counselling Skills.

Iona has been a clinician and manager of health services for fifteen years, and a trainer for UK-based medical charities, focusing on psychosocial issues, mental health disorders, and also the promotion of communication skills for people in helping roles. She tutors and facilitates groups via workshops and teleconferences, and now specialises in Sight Loss. As a freelance writer, she contributes regular feature articles for magazines, has written five published books, as well as published courses relating to personal development and counselling skills.


Iona has also written published books, courses and articles across a wide range of subjects, mostly in the areas of health, counselling, psychology, crafts and wildlife.

She has drawn experience from clinical and managerial experience within the NHS as well as medical and humanitarian subjects. She has been a regular feature writer and expert panel member of a national magazine for six years.

Books include: A Guide to Living with Alzheimer's Disease (and associated dementias), The Psychology of Facial Disfigurement; a Guide for Health and Social Care Professionals, When a Medical Skin Condition Affects the Way you Look; A Guide to Managing Your Future, Facing Disfigurement with Confidence, Cross Stitch: A Guide to Creativity and Success for Beginners.
Courses written include: Mental Health and Social Work, Counselling Skills, Understanding and Responding to Substance Misuse, Journalling for Personal Development, Guided Imagery, Stress Management.


Current work includes: Tutor: Courses associated with Creative Writing, Counselling Skills, Psychology, Holistic Therapy, Certified Hypnotherapist and Hypnotension Practitioner. 

Facilitator of Teleconference Groups: Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) 

Trainer (Skills for Seeing): Macular Society 

Reviewer of Books/Information: Macmillan Cancer Support 


Fundraiser: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Embroidery/Art Groups Facilitator, Board Member

Website Manager: The Strathcarron Project, Coordinator (Delaware & Tennessee) Human Writes



Excerpt from the Course


Different Types of Aggression

Aggression is complex, as it is composed of a number of different types of behaviour.

In 1968, Moyer presented a classification of seven forms of aggression from a evolutionary and biological point of view.

Predatory aggression: attack on prey by a predator.

Inter-male aggression: competition between males of the same species over access to resources such as females, dominance, status, etc.

Fear-induced aggression: aggression associated with attempts to flee from a threat.

Irritable aggression: aggression induced by frustration and directed against an available target.  For example, we are irritated that someone pulls out in front of us in the car, but go home and shout at our partner.

Territorial aggression: defence of a fixed area against intruders, typically co specifics.

Maternal aggression: a female's aggression to protect her offspring from a threat.  Paternal aggression also exists.

Instrumental aggression: aggression directed towards obtaining some goal, considered to be a learnedresponse to a situation.

Currently, researchers have identified two broad categories of aggression:

  • Hostile/Affective/Retaliatory aggression
  • Instrumental/Predatory/Goal Orientated aggression.

Research has indicated that people who tend towards affective aggression tend to have lower IQs than those with a tendency towards predatory aggression.


Freudian Theories

In his early theory, Freud asserts that human behaviours are motivated by sexual and instinctive drives known as the libido, which is energy derived from the Eros, or life instinct.  Beginning in early childhood, individuals learn that some libidinous behaviours are disapproved of and cause unpleasant consequences such as punishment or withdrawal of affection. As the growing person learns to suppress undesirable libidinous behaviours, they are displaced into other behaviours such as aggression. Thus, the repression of such libidinal urges is displayed as aggression.

Drive Theories

Another means of categorising aggression is through drive theories, which attribute aggression to an impulse created by an innate need. The most well known drive theory of aggression is the frustration-aggression hypothesis proposed by a group of researchers at Yale led by Dollard. In this theory, frustration and aggression are linked in a cause and effect relationship. Frustration is the cause of aggression and aggression is the result of frustration

Social Learning Theories

Unlike the other models, social learning theory does not attribute aggression to an internal mechanism. There are two important principles underlying this theory: one is that aggression is initially learned from social behaviour, and the other, that once learned, aggression is maintained by other conditions.

There are a variety of proposed methods through which aggression is learned and maintained. One method of learning aggressive behaviour is through simple operant conditioning. If after performing an aggressive act an animal or human receives a positive reinforcement (such as approval or a toy), they are likely to repeat the behaviour in order to gain more rewards. This has been demonstrated in countless research articles. One of the most famous studies of aggression in social learning was by Alfred Bandura who showed that social modelling of aggression led to increases in aggressive response rates by children.

Biological and Evolutionary Theories

These theories see aggressiveness as beneficial. It allows for the survival and success of populations of aggressive species. As such, the strongest animals eliminate weaker ones and over the course of evolution the result is an ultimately stronger, healthier population. This evolutionary theory of aggression is one of many biological theories where aggression is understood to be instinctual. Common to some of the other biological theories is the proposition that aggression is the manifestation of a genetic or chemical influence.

Aggression is often directed towards and originates from outside stimuli, but has an internal character. So, someone annoys us (outside stimuli) and this makes us angry and aggressive (internal reaction). Scientists have been able to look at the relationships between various parts of the body and aggression.

Brain and Aggression

Some researchers have looked at the brain to explain aggression. They have found at least two areas of the brain that affect or regulate aggression. 

  • The hypothalamus is believed to serve the role of regulating aggression.  If the hypothalamus is electrically stimulated, it can cause aggression. It also has receptors that determine aggression levels, based on interactions with neurotransmitters, serotonin and vasopressin.
  • The amygdala has also been shown to be an area that can cause aggression. Stimulation of the area can cause aggressive behaviour, whilst damage or lesions to the area can reduce a person’s aggression and competitiveness (Bauman et al, 2006).

Hormones and Neurotransmitters

Testosterone is a hormone commonly linked with aggression. Testosterone has been shown to correlate with aggressive behaviour in mice and some humans, but in other research there has been little evidence supporting a relationship between aggression in humans and their testosterone levels.

Serotonin has also been linked to aggression by actually reducing it. Vasopressin, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), cortisol and other neurotransmitters are also being researched to in an attempt to understand their links with aggression.

Genetics and Aggression

Is aggression inherited? It is hard to determine how much of aggression is due to nature and how much to nurture. Some studies on animals have shown that it is partly inherited at least.  Some researchers suggest that some humans may have an ‘aggression gene’ (to put it simply).  This gene is then ‘switched on’, when the person is in the wrong environment. For example, if a child is born into an aggressive environment, their gene may be ‘switched on’ and the child becomes aggressive. This is obviously very simplistic, but further research is being carried out.

Other research involving fruit flies has found that a gene called the ‘fruitless’ can be mutated to cause male flies to fight more like females and vice versa.

Evolution and Aggression

Most researchers argue that aggression should be considered in relation to how it helps the animal to survive and reproduce. Animals use aggression to gain new territories, to protect the territories and secure them. They will also use aggression to protect other resources, such as food, water, mating opportunities and so on.  It is theorised that the ability of animals and humans to kill and be aggressive is a product of our evolutionary need for survival. 



EBook to compliment this Course

Psychological Profiling EBook

This engaging text explains how psychological profiling is used to assess others – from new staff and school children to criminals and killers. 

Link to eBook on Psychological ProfilingPsychological Profiling

by John Mason and the Staff of ACS

Psychological Profiling eBook course online. Psychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someones personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of psychological profiling techniques and pitfalls.

profile of an individual at its most basic is an outline of what a person is really like in terms of their personality traits and characteristics. The most widely known form of profiling is that which is used to assess criminal behaviour. This is largely due to the popularity of TV shows and books which include criminal profiling.

When we hear the term "psychological profiling", we often assume it is in relation to criminal behaviour, however profilingcan be used for a wide range of reasons, such as:

■Assessing a person’s suitability for a specific role or profession.
■Determining a specific characteristic in a person, such as intelligence or neuroses.
■Determining someone’s personality.
■Determining a person’s mental health state.
■Diagnosing clinical conditions.

We often also see tests online and in magazines that are termed "psychological tests", purporting to tell you the type of person you are by answering a few questions. Whilst these may be based upon some known pattern of traits, determining an individual’s profile is much more involved than this, and such tests only provide an indication at best. 

In light of its media and television popularity, psychological profiling has become well-known and accepted over recent years.

Profiling is essentially building up a picture of an individual’s characteristics such as likely behaviours, attitudes, personal traits, unique skills or capabilities, and so forth in relation to norms of the general population. It is an assessment carried out by a skilled psychologist, using techniques and tools from psychology to learn general and specific facts about a person. In other words, a profile is a comparison of one person’s traits and behaviours to those of everyone else. It is a picture of how similar or different someone is, how well or poorly they perform, on a range of characteristics in relation to the average scores and performances of the general population.


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How Do Our Tuition Fees Compare?Full time classroom based Further Education Courses - Approx. £5,000 per year - Part-time classroom based Adult Education Courses - Approx. £7.00 per hour - N.B. classroom tuition means you learn at the pace of the class. One-to-one private tuition - from £15.00 per hour - ADL one-to-one tution fees - From £340 per 100 Hour Course = Average of £3.40 per hour - N.B. one-to-one tuition is tailored to your own individual learning availability and pace.
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CMA Professional AccreditationAccredited by the CMA - The Complimentary Medical Association. On completion of any qualifying module, you can join as a Fully Qualified Practitioner and be entitled to use the post-nominal latters MCMA after your name. ​CMA Full Membership is a privileged position and the fact that you have been accepted for CMA Membership demonstrates that you have a clear commitment to standards and professionalism. CMA Members in all categories are recognised as the elite in their field.

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