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Are you fascinated by the human mind and criminal behavior? Crime affects all of us, do you want a career that protects the victims of crime? Our BA in Criminal Psychology was designed to help you solve issues facing today’s criminal justice system, while giving you the tools to understand the people within it.
Criminal Psychology goes beyond what’s seen on TV or heard on podcasts. It's exciting, it's mysterious, and is challenging but rewarding. At Nichols, you’ll learn skills that can be used in a number of roles across the criminal justice system. You can protect the innocent, fix the system, and earn a real emotional return on your educational investment.
Our Criminal Psychology program is more than an education. Our faculty and students are connected to local, state and federal law enforcement groups, including the Worcester Attorney General’s office, Massachusetts State Police, and the FBI.
Criminal Psychology professions touch every aspect of our lives, including:
Criminal Psychology students must complete the Liberal Arts Core and earn 3 credits of Experiential Learning, as well as:
This course will introduce the student to the field of criminal justice and security by presenting an overview of federal and state enforcement agencies. This course will discuss the role of the state in protecting business enterprises and furnish the student with a broad understanding of the developing relationships between a business enterprise and its security function.
The United States Constitution is the operating manual of our government. This course examines how the criminal justice system is underpinned by that great document. Since the United States Constitution determines the processes and definitions of Criminal and Social Justice in our society, it is necessary to study the history and origins of applicable legal doctrines as they relate to the practices of today’s criminal justice system. We will utilize court cases involving the constitutionality of the administration of justice. We will examine these topics in a layered approach incorporating legal, empirical, and policy implementations. Ethical, procedural, and political issues will also be examined and debated.
This course will focus on the development of the skills necessary to elicit information from victims, potential witnesses and/or offenders. Topics include the art of interviewing, deception detection, and the use of legal and ethical interrogation techniques to obtain factual information regarding a crime. You will learn critical listening and questioning skills and sharpen their application through practical exercises in class and field assignments.
Within the field of criminal justice, it is necessary to understand why some people commit crimes and others do not. Crime rates throughout the world are continuously monitored and everyone wants to know the profile of the typical offender; yet it’s relevant that we explore the principles and theories that correlate with crime rates and its offenders. This course will explore historical and contemporary theories of the causes of crime; including theories derived from biological, psychological, sociological, geographic, economic, and political perspectives.
Forensic psychology offers fascinating insights into the origins and motives of criminal behaviors and the practical applications of psychological principles. Perhaps you want to be a forensic psychologist, or maybe you are just curious about how people behave in criminal and legal settings, and why they behave in these ways. Either way this course is designed to meet your need for information. It provides a comprehensive overview of forensic psychology, bridges the gap between research and application, and explores the ‘mystique’ that surrounds the topics of the field. Through a focus on global research, examples and real-life cases studies, you will learn about fascinating topics such as the reliability of eyewitness testimony, indicators of deception and methods of lie detection, the willingness of innocent people to confess to crimes, and our ability to profile and capture offenders.
This course examines the fundamentals of cybersecurity and various measures to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime. Students will look at the current challenges of combating cybercrime and ways to avoid becoming a victim through real-world case studies and discussions of cybersecurity best practices. Students will learn key terms, concepts, and techniques to apply cybersecurity both at home and in work environments. Finally, the course delves into understanding the current cybercrime trends and threats posed to individuals and organizations in and through cyberspace.
Specialty Courts are defined as those courts whom provide custom treatment to specific challenges; such as drug, veterans, mental health, homeless, domestic abuse, etc. This course examines how specialty courts operate within the criminal justice system. Emphasis is placed on the definitions and processes of specialty courts within both the Commonwealth of MA and the United States. We will utilize court cases to explore specialty courts in depth and will provide experiential learning opportunities for students to immerse themselves within specialty courts.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the American Correctional system and to cover the history of corrections, punishment of offenders, the prison experience, incarceration of women, and institutional management. Formerly SOC 145.
This course will cover investigative methodologies, financial and quantitative data analysis, investigative plans, multi-disciplinary teams, and best practices. Students will also examine legal and ethical duties and issues, use case study analysis to emphasize background verifications, employee misconduct, employee and external fraud, and joint investigations with law enforcement. Overall, students will understand how properly conducted investigations may be used as a risk management tool.
This course will explore females that chose to marry foreign fighters tied to terrorism, specifically ISIS. Focus will be placed around Shannon Conley, the typical “girl next door”, who fell under the influence of Internet jihadi ideologies and decided to become an ISIS bride. The amount of female terrorists continues to rise in our society both domestically and internationally; therefore, this course will also examine the radicalization process of females and potential ways to combat this radicalization process.
This course will explore the application of science to criminal investigations. Emphasis will be placed on the recovery of evidence from the crime scene through the analysis at the crime lab, and its interpretation in the courts. Specific topics will include: the collection of evidence, death investigations, and the use of fingerprint, firearms, tool marks, and bloodstain pattern analysis. Analysis of drug tests and trace evidence (hair and fibers) will also be covered. Multiple case studies will be used to relate classroom principles to real world examples.
This course introduces students to scientific methodology as it relates to criminal justice in order for students to become researchers and understand the field of research as it relates to criminal justice. This course provides students with an understanding of the methods of research available to criminologists and the police. It also connects theory to data, and emphasizes the ability to comprehend the logic behind statistical tests of significance. Understanding the development and testing of hypotheses, data collection, data analysis, and presentation of findings is the underlying theme of the course.
Physical security includes an assembly (combination) of security related equipment, devices, and technologies, designated and arranged to signal (alert) personnel to negative (loss causing) event or circumstances. Topics to be covered in this course include controlling and monitoring the access of persons and vehicles, prevention and detection of unauthorized intrusions and surveillance, safeguarding negotiable documents, proprietary information, merchandise, and buildings. Students will learn that critical to effective physical security is identifying and assessing the security (asset protection) requirements related to (anticipated) risks and threats to a given facility’s perimeter, interior, and contents.
The course reviews human development from pregnancy and prenatal development through old age with a unique balance and depth of coverage across all age groups. We will examine the physical and intellectual changes humans undergo from conception through death. With an emphasis on modern cultural and societal issues ranging from homophobia to family violence, this course builds on the basic themes of life-span development.
Prerequisite: PSY 151
Associate Dean for the Graduate School of Liberal Arts / Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Program Chair of Criminal Justice & Criminal Psychology
Professor of Psychology / Psychology Program Chair
Professor of Psychology
Intelligence Analyst - FBI