Singapore University of Social Sciences

Criminal Psychology

Criminal Psychology (PSY372)


PSY372 Criminal Psychology provides an overview of the application of psychological theories and practices to crime and to criminal offenders. It draws upon the wide field of psychology to address the complexity of crime and offending within the unique socio-political and cultural context of Singapore. The course examines how theories and concepts in psychology are applied in law enforcement, offender change, rehabilitation, and crime prevention in Singapore. The challenges of criminal offending across the lifespan are covered with special attention to mental disorders, drug misuse, sex offending, violent offending, as well as terrorism and extremism. The strengths and limitations of the psychological approach are also discussed together with the need to work across disciplinary boundaries to address crime and offending. The course will also provide basic knowledge and skills that are useful for those working within criminal justice contexts in Singapore.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July


  • Criminal and forensic psychology in Singapore
  • Overview of developmental issues in offending
  • Introduction to the practice of criminal profiling
  • Forensic interviewing
  • The psychology of offender change
  • Offender behaviour change in practice
  • Mental disorders and offending
  • Drug misuse
  • Sex offending behaviours
  • Violent offending behaviours
  • Terrorism and extremism
  • Psychology and crime prevention

Learning Outcome

  • Examine the application of psychological theories to criminal offending.
  • Discuss the use of psychology in obtaining relevant information about criminal behaviour.
  • Analyse the use of psychology in changing offending behaviour.
  • Demonstrate the use of psychological approaches to obtain relevant information about an offender or the offending behaviour.
  • Illustrate how psychological approaches can be used to influence change in offending behaviour.
  • Apply theories and concepts in psychology to crime prevention.
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