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Online · School of Behavioral Sciences · Psychology

Psychology of Criminal Behavior

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/31/2020

Course Description

An examination of the factors that contribute to criminal behavior, including various psychopathological and sociological aspects.



PSYC 341 and (PSYC 101 or PSYC 210) and PSYC 255


This course will assist the student in understanding the thought processes of individuals who break society’s laws. Biological, psychological, educational and situational factors are examined as well as types of crimes committed. Those considering careers in psychology, counseling, law enforcement or related fields, as well as individuals who simply desire a greater understanding of the criminal mind will benefit from the knowledge provided.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate competence in the major concepts of psychology of criminal behavior and tenets of crime theory.
  2. Use critical thinking to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
  3. Weigh evidence while tolerating ambiguity, acting ethically, and reflecting values in his or her personal and professional behavior that are the underpinnings of the multiple perspectives of psychology as a discipline and Christian faith and praxis.
  4. Communicate effectively in written, oral, and technological formats.
  5. Recognize and respect the complexity of socio-cultural and international diversity.

Course Resources

Required resource

The resource(s) below is(are) provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2016). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. ISBN: 9780134163741.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

  1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
  2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
  3. Blackboard recommended browsers
  4. Microsoft Office
  5. APA Formatting information:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (6)

There will be 6 Discussion Board Forums throughout the course. Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the purpose of Discussion Board Forums is to generate interaction among students in regard to relevant course topics. The student is required to submit 1 thread of at least 300 words in response to the provided prompt. In addition to the thread, the student is required to submit substantive replies of at least 150 words each to at least 2 classmates’ threads. The student will cite the textbook and the Bible at least 1 time in each forum, using proper and current APA format.

Research Project

The student will complete and submit the following items in stages:

Research Topic

The student will identify a topic related to the course content to research.

Annotated Bibliography

The student will write an annotated bibliography using 3 journal articles related to the research project topic using proper and current APA format. The Annotated Bibliography must be 2–3 pages with 200–300 words per review of each of the 3 articles selected.

Reference Page

The student must use at least 10 scholarly sources and organize the references using proper and current APA format. The Reference Page will also be included with the entire Research Paper.

Reference Paper

The student will write a research paper in proper and current APA format about a specific type of crime, criminal, mental disorder, or any topic related to the field of psychology and criminal behavior. The paper must be 8-10 pages of text and also include a title page, abstract and the Reference Page. The student must use at least 10 scholarly articles.

Exams (3)

The student will complete 3 exams. Each exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and is open-book/open-notes. The student will have 1 hour to complete each exam.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (6 at 50 pts ea)


Research Project:

Research Topic

Annotated Bibliography

Reference Page

Research Paper






Exam 1 (Chapters 1–4)


Exam 2 (Chapters 5–9)


Exam 3 (Chapters 10, 13, 16)






Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

900-1010 800-899 700-799 600-699 0-599

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


PSYC 475

Textbook: Bartol & Bartol, Criminal Behavior: A Psychological Approach (2016).


Reading & Study




Bartol & Bartol: ch. 1

2 presentations

1 website

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1





Bartol & Bartol: chs. 2–3

2 presentations

1 website

DB Forum 2

RP: Research Topic




Bartol & Bartol: ch. 4

DB Forum 3

Exam 1




Bartol & Bartol: chs. 5, 7

1 presentation

1 website

DB Forum 4

RP: Annotated Bibliography




Bartol & Bartol: ch. 6, 8

2 presentations

1 website

RP: Reference Page



Bartol & Bartol: ch. 9

DB Forum 5

Exam 2




Bartol & Bartol: chs. 10, 13

2 presentations

1 website

RP: Research Paper



Bartol & Bartol: ch. 16

DB Forum 6

Exam 3





DB = Discussion Board

RP = Research Project

NOTE: Each course module/week (except Module/Week 1) begins on Tuesday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Monday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.