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ZUG3052 - Profiling: A forensic model of victims and offenders

Undergraduate – Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Faculty of Social and Health Sciences


South Africa

  • First Semester 2021 (Day)

15 Credits


The objective of this module is to introduce students to a range of general, theoretical and historical issues underlying the discipline of forensic Criminology. This module aims to provide students with a sound and critical knowledge of legal aspects associated with forensic Criminology as well as various models used to classify serial offenders. Furthermore, this module aims to allow students to engage with relevant literature and research in order to facilitate the understanding of the key theoretical premises and arguments to highlight the value of theory in compiling profiles. This module will examine the role of the expert witness in court proceedings, the fallacy of human memory, the major analytic techniques employed by forensic Criminologists specific to certain serial offences, and the types of evidence that may be presented in court among others. Specific applications of criminal profiling will also be presented, such as identification systems, geographic profiling and crime scene linkage. Lastly, practical skills for compiling victim impact statements and pre-sentencing reports will be outlined.


  • Explain the discipline of forensic Criminology.
  • Describe the value of theory in compiling criminal profiles.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of court procedures, protocols, structures and relevant legislation for the presentation of forensic evidence.
  • Critique the theories and their applicability to criminal profiling in contemporary society.
  • Provide an in-depth examination of forensic Criminology to the Criminal Justice System.
  • Critically assess the various identification models applied to serial offenders.
  • Compile a pre-sentence report and victim impact statement.
  • Write a critical assignment based on a rational argument.


Within semester/Formative assessment: 65%
Examination/Summative assessment: 35%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this module is 150 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. Independent study may include associated readings, assessment and preparation for scheduled activities. The module requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.