Forensic Psychology and Offender Profiling Certificate
4.2 (35 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
153 students enrolled

Forensic Psychology and Offender Profiling Certificate

A Comprehensive Introduction to the use of Forensic Psychology in the investigation of Serious and Serial Crime
4.2 (35 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
153 students enrolled
Last updated 4/2020
English [Auto]
Current price: $65.99 Original price: $94.99 Discount: 31% off
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This course includes
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 4 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Students will learn all about the history and use of criminal profiling for serious crime such as murder and rape.
  • Profiling and its development in the FBI, through to its current day use.
  • How and why profilers arrive at their description of likely offender characteristics.
  • Geographic profiling and its use
  • A step by step guide through the stages of psychological profiling
  • An interest in offender profiling as applied to serious and serial crime
  • Over the age of 16, as references to serious crime are made in the course

This is a fascinating course which starts with an overview of offender profiling as developed initially by the FBI.  The course moves on to crime scene analysis by the forensic psychologist or forensic mental health expert and what this tells us about the likely characteristics of the offender.  The course looks at the likely characteristics of serial killers and rapists as distinguished from the general offender population, focusing on developmental characteristics from their childhood.  Infamous cases are explored and the student is encouraged to carry out additional work in researching these cases.

Who this course is for:
  • Over 16 years of age as adult material is included in the course.
  • Anybody with an interest in this fascinating area of Forensic Psychology.
Course content
Expand all 26 lectures 01:50:08
+ Introduction
3 lectures 08:46

You are very welcome to the course and thank you for your purchase.

Preview 02:05

Here we look at the nature of Forensic Psychology, but then move on to focus the course on one aspect of Forensic Psychology: Criminal Profiling.

Preview 01:56

Fictionalised accounts of criminal profiling are the stuff of legends, but have great entertainment value.  Here we examine exactly what Criminal Profiling is and how it is of use to the Police.

Preview 04:45
+ History of Criminal Profiling and the Work of the FBI
2 lectures 06:41

Although the use of psychological/behavioural profiles have been used in the past by police forces in their search for serious offenders, in this lecture we look at the pioneering work of the FBI.

Preview 04:29

Here we take a look at the VICAP system that is used by police forces throughout the United States but primarily by the FBI. 

VICAP - The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) and FBI
+ The Criminal Profiling Process - The Questions we Ponder
16 lectures 01:18:57

Devised initially by the FBI, we begin to look at the apparent distinction between the organised and disorganised crime scene, behaviour of the offender who leaves clues as to whether he/she is an organised or disorganised individual.

The Organised versus the Disorganised Crime Scene

Here is where we begin to explore the nature of criminal profiling, with the often cited quote: "if you want to understand the artist, you need to examine his/her painting"

If You Want to Understand the Artist, Examine their Painting - Initial Questions

Perhaps the first and in some ways the most important question for the profiler to consider, exactly what happened at the crime scene/s?

Examining what Happened at the Crime Scene/s

In this lecture we begin to examine how the crime happened? what took place and how?

Examining How the Crime/s Happened

The timeline of what happened in the crime is crucial for the profiler to understand, looking at the timeline, duration and related timings helps the profiler understand a great deal about the offender.

Exploring the Timeline of When the Crime took Place

The million dollar question is examined here, why did the crime happen in the way that it did? and how can answering this question give us a range of useful information about the unsub.

Why Did the Crime Happen the Way That it Did?

Moving towards the main feature of the eventual criminal profile/psychological report; given the evidence that is available to use, who could have committed such a crime (or set of crimes)?

Why Could Have Committed Such a Crime?

Here we look deeper into the characteristics of the organised and disorganised crime scene and what this tells us about the nature, personality and behaviour characteristics of the unsub.

The Organised Crime Scene - An Organised Offender?

Here we look at an official definition of serial killer as opposed to other kinds of killers.  WE also begin to consider some infamous killers from the contemporary period.

Definition of Serial Killer and Some Infamous Cases

Based on evidence gained by the FBI and others who have studied this subject, we look at some of the personality characteristics of serial killers.

Personality Characteristscs of Serial Killers

Central to the science of psychology is the observation of human behaviour in order to understand patterns, which in turn help us to make predictions about likely future behaviour.

Looking Closely at the Patterns of Human Behaviour

Terms often used by the FBI in their hunt for serious criminal, the modus operandi and the signature of the criminal.  Here we look at the definitions of each and the difference between the two.

Modus Operandi and Signature of Serious Criminals

Vital for the criminal profiler (and the FBI) is the reconstruction of the crime scene.  Here we look at how this is done, why it is done and what information this may provide us with about the nature of the unsub.

Reconstructing the Crime Scene/s to Suspect Interrogation

In this lecture, we discuss the kind of information that is usually contained in the criminal profile report.  This is the result of all of the research carried out and evidence examined by the Forensic Psychologist/Profiler and is hopefully, of use to the Police in their search for the offender.

Whats Contained in the Psychological/Criminal Profile Report?

Here we explore a brief history of serial killing and you are encouraged to carry out your own research in order to understand this history more fully.

The History of Serial Killing

An infamous case from Victorian London 'Jack the Ripper' which was never solved.  Here we look at attempts by the FBI and others to reconstruct the crime scenes and to put together a criminal profile of the likely offender, we will never know how accurate it is!

Profiling Jack the Ripper
+ Explanations for Development of Serial Killers
5 lectures 15:44

How and why do some people ( a very very small proportion of the population!) develop into serial killers.  In this lecture we begin to look at some of the evidence around this age old question.

The Development of Serial Killers

The amygdala is an area of the brain which is crucial for our development of emotions and our understanding of the emotions of others.  It is also implicated in expressions of violence in the individual.  How does this help us to understand why serial killers do what they do?

A Neurological Explanation for Serial Killings

Here we explore a model of the human brain and discuss the amygdala and how this is implicated in the development of serial killers.

The Damaged or Malfunctioning Amygdala

Here we explore one potential explanation for why some people develop into serial killers.  Psychoanalytic explanations, provide some insight into this question, but you can decide how valuable this might be in our hunt for serial killers?  Perhaps it will help in the treatment they receive once incarcerated?

Psychoanalytic Explanations for Serial Killing

Thank you so much for taking this course and in your determination to complete it.  I hope you have found it to be interesting and thought provoking.  Why not consider one of my other courses? Why not carry out more research into criminal profiling and perhaps read some of the recommended articles and books listed in this course?  My very best to you!