Theories of Criminal Behavior

Theories of Criminal Behavior


This course provides students with an introduction to the theories surrounding Criminal Behavior. The topics covered will focus on social constructs, developmental lifespan, victimization, and understand the behaviors, actions, and patterns of criminals. Topics covered in the class include: repeat offenders (numerous offense-types will be covered; the differences between organized and disorganized crimes; antisocial personality disorder and its impact on the criminal mind; the differences between mass murder, spree murder, and serial murder; violent criminals; sex offenders; and substance abuse.


Learning Outcomes:

LO1: Demonstrate an understanding of the major theories of criminal behavior. 1.1 Understanding the major concepts and theories that are of interest to criminal offending.
1.2 Examining how individual differences in social, cultural and historical context may influence criminal behaviour.
LO2: Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical application of criminal behavior 2.1 Demonstrate an ability to utilise critical-thinking that includes open-mindedness and the scientific process
2.2 Understand how theory aids in the practical application in real-world situations.
LO3: Analyse social impact on offending behavior and victimization. 3.1 Understand the psychological dynamics of violent offenders, and the different types of victims.
LO4: Critically explore the psychology behind sex and substance abuse offenders. 4.1 Demonstrate an understanding on the psychological dynamics of sexual offending and substance abuse.


Course Outline

  • Crime and Criminology
  • The Nature and Extent of Crime
  • Victims and Victimization
  • Rational Choice Theory
  • Trait Theories
  • Social Structure Theories
  • Socialization and Society
  • Social Conflict, Critical Criminology, and Restorative Justice
  • Life Course, Latent Trait, and Trajectory
  • Interpersonal Violence
  • Terrorism
  • Sex and Substance Abuse


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