Why study Criminal Psychology at university?
Criminal Psychology is the study of criminal behaviour and the psychological factors that influence it. It is an excellent subject choice for students interested in the criminal justice system and human behaviour. Studying Criminal Psychology at university will equip you with analytical and critical thinking skills, which are highly valued in law enforcement and social services industries.
For undergraduate studies:
Undergraduate students should graduate within three or four years with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) depending on the university and the specific course contents. Whether BA or BSc, it is usually with honours.
For postgraduate studies:
If you complete a Masters in Criminal Psychology, you will graduate within one or two years with a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MSc). You can also embark on a three to four-year journey to earn a PhD.
If you’re interested in studying Criminal Psychology at university but need some help meeting the entry requirements for degree-level Criminal Psychology, then have no fear. Our dedicated and friendly team at The Profs can match you with expert Criminology tutors. We are experienced and happy to help. After all, 95% of our clients get into their first or second choice university!
What career can I use a Criminal Psychology degree for?
Criminal Psychology is a highly respected degree and can open up a wide range of career opportunities. Criminal Psychology students are sought after in industries such as law enforcement, social services, academia, the legal sector, and the private sector. A Social Science like Criminal Psychology equips students with many valuable transferable skills. Some popular career choices for Physics graduates include:
- Forensic Psychologist
- Law Enforcement Officer
- Criminal Profiler
- Victim Advocate
- Corrections Officer
- Juvenile Delinquency Counsellor
- Jury Consultant
- Private Investigator
- Academic Researcher/Lecturer
What are the most popular Criminal Psychology programmes?
Criminal Psychology covers Psychological, Criminological and Sociological fields. Within your degree, you might be able to select modules in focussed areas that interest you. If you pursue a postgraduate in Criminal Psychology, you might be able to select a more specialised degree title. Some of the most popular subjects within Criminal Psychology include:
- Forensic Psychology
- Criminal Justice and Criminology
- Investigative Psychology
- Developmental Psychology and Crime
- Psychology and Law
- Abnormal Psychology
- Mental Health and Crime
- Criminal Behavior and Addiction
- Policing and Society
- Victimology and Victim Support
What are the best universities in the UK for Criminal Psychology?
The UK offers a wide range of prestigious universities with impressive academic rankings and excellent Criminology and/or Psychology departments.
Below is a list of the top UK universities for courses relating to Criminal Psychology. These universities ranked highly on league tables and have top Criminology and/or Psychology departments. All of them have outstanding reputations for academic excellence and research, and their graduates are highly sought after by employers.
However, most of these universities do not actually offer Criminal Psychology as an undergraduate programme. Instead, they offer similar courses, or umbrella courses with the chance to explore this facet of Psychology. Therefore, if you are set on studying Criminal Psychology as a standalone subject, it might be best to take this as a postgraduate course, after the completion of an undergraduate course in something relevant e.g. a degree in Psychology.
If you’re considering pursuing a Master’s or PhD degree in criminal psychology in the UK, all the universities mentioned in this article are excellent choices. Some of the following universities stand out especially. The University of Cambridge is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading institutions for psychology, offering a range of programmes that cover various aspects of criminal psychology. The University of Oxford is also highly regarded for its Master’s programme in forensic psychology. Another top institution to consider is University College London (UCL), which offers a prestigious Master’s programme that covers topics such as criminal profiling and the psychology of terrorism. The University of Manchester is another fantastic choice, known for its strong research focus and wide range of research opportunities in criminal psychology.
If you’re interested in studying Criminology at any of these universities but feel intimidated by the high entry requirements and competitive application process, reach out to our helpful admissions team at The Profs.
Also, make sure that you look beyond league tables. You should also choose your university based on what’s suited to you and makes you happy. Consider location, societies, activities, and learning style to ensure you choose an institution that can accommodate your needs and interests.
Take a look at the best UK universities for Criminal Psychology:
The University of Cambridge
Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology is a leading centre for research and policy in criminology and criminal justice, strongly emphasising interdisciplinary approaches. Cambridge does not actually offer a ‘Criminal Psychology’ degree in exact terms. However, undergraduate Law or Psychology students can choose a course in Criminology, and Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) students can study for a joint Sociology and Criminology degree.
The University of Cambridge offers a highly regarded Master of Studies (MSt) in Applied Criminology and Police Management, which combines research-led teaching with practical skills development. Cambridge’s School of Criminology offers students opportunities to engage with leading scholars in the field, participate in pioneering research projects, and develop practical skills through its strong partnerships with criminal justice agencies.
Psychology courses at Cambridge are currently ranked (2023):
- 1st in the UK by Times Higher Education.
- 1st in the UK by The Complete University Guide.
- 1st in the UK by The Guardian.
- 3rd in the world by QS World University Rankings.
The entry requirements for the aforementioned undergraduate courses at Cambridge that offer Criminology range from A*A*A to A*AA A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here on Cambridge’s Law page, here on their Psychology page, and here on their HSPS page.
University College London (UCL)
University College London conducts a high calibre of criminological research. UCL offers a highly-respected MSc in Forensic Psychology, which prepares students for careers in criminal justice, forensic services, and related fields. UCL offers an esteemed BSc in Crime and Security Science which delves into Criminal Psychology as well as Politics and Sociology. UCL’s Centre for Forensic Neuroscience is a unique research centre that explores the neural mechanisms of criminal behaviour, offering students unrivalled opportunities to engage in trailblazing research.
Psychology courses at UCL are currently ranked (2023):
- 2nd in the UK by Times Higher Education.
- 3rd in the UK by The Complete University Guide.
- 6th in the UK by The Guardian.
- 5th in the world by QS World University Rankings.
The entry requirements for studying the Crime and Security Science course at UCL are AAB A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.
Oxford’s Centre for Criminology is a world-renowned research centre, with a strong focus on interdisciplinary approaches and innovative research methods. As an undergraduate at Oxford, you have the opportunity to sign up for interesting and challenging programmes hosted by the Criminology department.
If you pursue a Law or Psychology degree this may involve elements of Criminology, however, Oxford does not offer an undergraduate in Criminal Psychology or Criminology. Oxford does offer a highly competitive MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice, which provides students with a broad understanding of key issues in criminal justice policy and practice.
Psychology courses at Oxford are currently ranked (2023):
The entry requirements for studying Law or Psychology at Oxford range from A*AA to AAA A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here on Oxford’s Law page or here on their Psychology page.
King’s College University (KCL)
King’s Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice is a leading research centre, with a strong focus on crime and deviance, as well as the intersections between crime, justice, and social inequality. King’s College London offers a highly regarded MSc in Forensic Mental Health which investigates how psychological factors can influence committing crimes as well as offender profiling, preparing students for crime scene analysis. Unfortunately, King’s College does not offer an undergraduate in Criminal Psychology, but they do offer Law and Psychology courses with room for exploration. Students also benefit from the university’s close proximity to London’s legal and criminal justice institutions.
Psychology courses at King’s College are currently ranked (2023):
- 3rd in the UK by Times Higher Education.
- 5th in the UK by The Complete University Guide.
- 7th in the UK by The Guardian.
- 13th in the world by QS World University Rankings.
The entry requirements for studying Law or Psychology at King’s College are A*AA A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information on the Law LLB can be found here and on the Psychology BSc here.
The University of Bath offers multiple highly-respected undergraduate degrees pertaining to Criminal Psychology, such as a BSc in Criminology and Psychology, a BSc in Forensic Psychology, and a BSc in Criminology. These courses provide students with a broad understanding of criminal behaviour, the justice system and its social, economic, and political contexts. Bath’s Centre for Analysis of Social Policy is a reputable research centre that explores issues related to crime, social inequality, and public policy. The Sunday Times even ranked the University of Bath first for Criminology (2023).
Psychology courses at Bath University are currently ranked (2023):
The entry requirements for studying Criminology at Bath are AAB A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.
St Andrews University
St Andrews’ Institute for Analytic and Experiential Studies is a unique research centre that focuses on the intersection of psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience, offering students unparalleled opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary research. The University of St Andrews offers a highly regarded MA in Psychology and Criminology, which combines the study of criminal behaviour with the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Unfortunately, St Andrews does not offer an undergraduate in Criminal Psychology, but they do offer a Psychology course with room for exploration.
Psychology courses at St Andrews are currently ranked (2023):
The entry requirements for studying Psychology or Law at St Andrews are AAB to A*A*A A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh offers a highly respected MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice, which provides students with a critical understanding of key issues in criminal justice policy and practice. Unfortunately, Edinburgh University does not offer an Undergraduate in Criminal Psychology, but they do offer Law and Psychology courses with room for exploration. Edinburgh’s Centre for Law and Society is a leading interdisciplinary research centre that explores the relationship between law, society, and culture, offering students a broad range of research opportunities.
Psychology courses at Edinburgh are currently ranked (2023):
- 4th in the UK by Times Higher Education.
- 13th in the UK by The Complete University Guide.
- 12th in the UK by The Guardian.
- 26th in the world by QS World University Rankings.
The entry requirements for studying Psychology or Law at Edinburgh are A*AA A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here on Edinburgh’s Psychology page or here on their Law page.
Other excellent universities in the United Kingdom for Criminal Psychology include Cardiff University, Bristol University, Glasgow University, the University of York, and the University of Exeter. These also place among the top league tables for related subjects.
How do I get into one of these top universities for Criminal Psychology?
Getting into one of the top universities for Criminal Psychology is competitive, but there are things you can do to improve your chances. Here are some tips:
- Study hard and achieve high grades. Consider taking related subjects like Psychology, Sociology or Law.
- Get involved in extracurricular activities that are subject-specific. This could mean joining a society invested in social issues, or a night watch or debate team.
- Put time and effort into your university application, tasks, and interviews.
- Consider seeking advice from The Profs.
If you are interested in studying Criminal Psychology at one of the top universities in the UK, The Profs are here to help. We offer excellent Criminology and Psychology tutors, as well as expert guidance on university applications, including personal statement writing and interview preparation. That is why 95% of our students get into their first or second-choice university. Reach out to our friendly team today!
What are the top universities in the UK for studying Criminal Psychology?
Some of the best universities in the UK for studying Criminal Psychology are listed in this article. Cambridge, UCL, and Bath could be the ‘top’ universities explored in this article for students seeking to take an undergraduate degree because they offer a wide range of BA and/or BSc course options that actively delve into Criminal Psychology. However, all of the universities offer postgraduate degrees.
How long is a Criminal Psychology degree?
If you wish to take Criminal Psychology as an undergraduate degree, it should take three to four years if studied full-time. If you’re embarking on a standard Masters, this should take one year. However, other postgraduate degrees might be longer e.g. a PhD is usually three or four years if studied full-time. Any degree you take part time is usually double the standard length.
Who do criminal psychologists work for?
Criminal psychologists work for a variety of employers, including law enforcement agencies, courts, prisons, and social services. They may also work in private practice or in academia, conducting research and teaching courses related to criminal behaviour and psychology.
Is criminal psychology a good career?
Yes, criminal psychology can be a rewarding and fulfilling career for those with a passion for understanding the causes and consequences of criminal behaviour. However, it is important to note that the field is highly competitive, and entry-level positions may be limited. Also, salaries can vary depending on the specific job and employer.
What are criminal psychologists?
Criminal psychologists are professionals who use their knowledge of psychology to understand criminal behaviour and help prevent and solve crimes. They may work with law enforcement agencies to develop criminal profiles, assess the mental state of suspects, and provide expert testimony in court. They may also work with victims to help them cope with the emotional and psychological effects of crime.