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Criminology 251

The Psychological Explanations of Criminal Behaviour

Credits:  3

Length of Course: 14 weeks

Classroom Hours per Week: 4

Prerequisites: Psychology 110 and 12 credits

Corequisite: English 100

Texts: C.R. Bartol and A.M. Bartol Criminal Behavior: a Psychological Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ., Pearson, 2014

Course Description:

Students will be introduced to and critically examine neurophysiological, bio-genetic, psychiatric, and psychological explanations of deviant and criminal behavior. They will pay special attention to research that explores associations between criminality and genetics, brain chemistry, the endocrine system, mental disorders, personality, moral development, and various forms of social learning.

Course Outline (topics will include but are not limited to):

  • Methodological and philosophical assumptions of psychological approach
  • Biological influences on criminal behaviour
  • Social and emotional development of criminal behaviour
  • Learning theory and criminal behaviour
  • Personality and criminal behaviour
  • Psychopathy and criminal behaviour
  • Substance use and criminal behaviour
  • Mentally disordered offender and criminal responsibility
  • Violence/Homicide
  • Sexual offences
  • Dangerousness and predicting criminal behaviour
  • Youth Crime
  • Property Crime


Quizzes 10%
Project 15%
Midterm Exam 20%
Assignments 20%
Participation 10%
Final Exam 25%



Transferability: see