CRJS 360 (The Psychology of Criminal Behaviour) is a three-credit Criminal Justice Studies course that is designed to introduce students to the psychological variables that are believed to justify criminal behavior to the criminals. Students who are intending to work in fields such as law enforcement, institutional or community corrections, and public or private security should find this course helpful in their work. There are no prerequisites for this course, though prior courses in psychology is recommended. CRJS 360 has a Challenge for Credit option if interested.
The Psychology of Criminal Behaviour is made up of four core parts: twelve units, one assignment weighing thirty percent (due after the completion of unit seven), another assignment weighing thirty percent (due after the completion of unit twelve), and a final examination weighing forty percent which covers the entire course and the commentaries in the study guide.
Students should note that the final examination for this course must be taken online with an Athabasca University approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.
CRJS 360 is organized into four parts. The first section provides a contextual foundation for the course by reviewing crime trends in Canada and discussing relevant statistical issues. The second section of the course provides an overview of relevant theoretical models of crime. The third is more concrete in focus: students will be introduced to a variety of factors that have been empirically linked to both nonviolent and violent crime. The forth section focuses on special populations. This section of the course examines the varied needs of mentally disordered offenders, sexual offenders, juvenile offenders, female offenders, and aboriginal offenders. Psychopathic offenders are also discussed in this section.
To obtain credit for CRJS 360 students must complete all assignments, obtain a grade of fifty percent or better on the final exam, and have an overall course grade of at least fifty percent.
Nadine Leduc has been studying at Athabasca University on a near full-time basis for two years. She is entering her last semester in the Criminal Justice program and she hopes to continue her studies in a master’s program at another university. She began CRJS 360 in July 2018 and she completed it in November.
Nadine explains the structure of the course, stating “The structure is logical, and each unit is relatively self-standing, although some concepts and themes run throughout – which is to be expected. The assignments are twelve to fifteen-page essays with pre-determined subject matters, so they do not offer a lot of leeway for creativity. The tutor was very reasonable in her markings and provided excellent feedback, which is unfortunately not always provided by other tutors. She was also supportive, helpful, and accessible.”
She continues by providing insight to the final exam “It was a multiple-choice exam which did reflect the readings, although I felt there were more “trick questions” than were necessary.”
When I asked Nadine if she enjoyed the course, she stated that “it was an excellent course, although the concepts are repeated throughout many CRJS courses, so there is limited learning if you have taken the other courses along these lines. The areas covered are certainly key, the material is current, and each chapter covers an interesting topic!”
She states that she would absolutely recommend CRJS 360 to other students, stating “Even if your area of study is not within this realm, it is an exceedingly interesting course to help you understand people’s motivations, the structural imbalances in our society, and the various types of crimes.”
As for tips for students who are enrolled or about to enroll in this course, she states “As in all courses, the Study Guide offers excellent summaries as well as additional information, so It’s important to read the sections related to each unit. Also, reach out to the tutor if you have any questions, she is always available to help!”
Nadine concludes, stating “If you complete the assigned readings and properly research your essays, you can certainly achieve an “A” in this course.”
Whether CRJS 360 is a degree or program requirement of yours or the topics mentioned above are of interest to you, this course will have you learning interesting material surrounding the topic of criminal justice!