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Criminology - BSc (Hons)

Why study this course?

London has played a leading role in shaping the modern world's understanding of the origins of and responses to criminal behaviour. Our criminology degree will allow you to gain a wider understanding of this hotly debated political issue. Specialist areas include youth violence and gangs, organised crime, and terrorism and security. In the most recent (2014-15) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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The Criminology BSc (Hons) course will delve into the causes and effects of crime and criminal behaviour. It covers specialist areas including youth violence and gangs, organised crime, and terrorism and security, as well as developing your understanding of criminological theories including the assumptions that underlie intervention and control. You’ll look in-depth at the Criminal Justice System, including the police, judiciary and prisons, examining the concept of justice and sentencing.

The degree will give you a strong grasp of research methods used in criminal investigations and expose you to social, political, ethical and historical aspects of criminology. Through optional modules in your second and third year, you'll begin to specialise in areas in criminology including technology and media, victims of crime, terrorism and counterterrorism, and gender and sexuality. There's also the opportunity to undertake a placement module that will give you the opportunity to enhance your learning experience and apply knowledge learned throughout the degree to real-life situations.

You’ll be taught by leading researchers and practitioners in the fields of policing and probation, receive the most up-to-date advice on careers and gain the qualification needed to take on roles in policing, probation, the prison service, or academic research or policy development.

We offer the following joint honours programmes:

Visit our criminology subject hub for news and events from the University.

Assessment

You're assessed via essays, seen and unseen examinations, research projects and a final dissertation.

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • for entry in the 2016-17 academic year: 280 UCAS points from A levels in academic subjects
  • for entry in the 2017-18 academic year: a minimum of grades of BBC in A levels (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification eg Advanced Diploma)
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above (or equivalent)

Applications are welcome from mature students who have passed appropriate Access or other preparatory courses or have appropriate work experience.

If you don’t have traditional qualifications or can’t meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Criminology and Policing Extended Degree BSc (Hons).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

If you're studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2016/17 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    This module examines the changing pattern of households and family life, work and employment, with a particular emphasis on differences in cultures and how this interlinks with social divisions. It addresses causes and patterns of inequality, and the opportunities and challenges of living in a multi-cultural society. There is an introduction to anthropological perspectives to these issues, and to the different approaches to communities and cultures.
    It includes significant elements of skills development, orientation to the university and the expectations of the university and course. It will also introduce issues around the use of IT, and provide subject-specific IT and web skills training. It is taught over 30 weeks and is assessed by two essays, each 200 words long.

    SS4000

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (January start) - Friday morning

    The module provides a study of crime and its control through considering the history of criminological thought from the Enlightenment to the present day. The module begins by exploring classicism and traces the shift towards positivistic theories and later critical forms of criminological theory. Students are introduced to these theories through relating them to the social context in which issues to do with crime and deviance now occur.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    The module gives a broad introductory overview of policing in terms of law enforcement and combating crime. It traces historically the evolutionary process of policing as a distinct function of the state. The module introduces the development of policing traditions in England and Wales in some detail and also offers a grounding for comparison with policing systems in some other jurisdictions.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    This module introduces students to the scope and functions of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in England and Wales. It provides a broad overview of the mechanisms and aims of the CJS upon which students can build a more detailed knowledge of criminal justice policies, crime control, punishment and social control by the state, at levels 5 and 6. The module also specifically provides students with an introductory picture of the extent of officially recorded crime.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    This module introduces students to methods of criminological investigation and develops their competence in the use of a range of common subject-specific IT (internet and software) resources and applications.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    This module will provide students with an introduction to the discipline of Sociology and some of the basic skills of identifying, applying and evaluating sociological approaches, concepts and debates to everyday situations. It will also provide you with an introduction to constructing sociological arguments, thinking critically and assessing sociological evidence.

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Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    The module builds on level 4 introductory modules to provide an overview of the study of crime, criminality and criminals with reference to particular categories of ‘crime’. It begins by looking at how crime developed and changed in the transition from premodern to modern industrial societies. It then examines contemporary forms of crime by looking respectively at those associated with and predominantly perpetrated by the socially marginalised (the criminal ‘underworld’) and those associated with the economically and socially powerful (the ‘overworld’).

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    A comprehensive grasp of research methodologies and the ability successfully to undertake primary research are key employability skills in social science/services careers such as working in government departments, the police, the voluntary sector and the private sector. This module aims to develop students’ competence in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, critically assessing the ways in which these are utilised and presented and how they can contribute to our understanding of crime. The module first examines quantitative methods,which are predominantly employed by organisations with interests in investigating crime and making evidence-based. The module then goes on to explore qualitative methods, which are deployed as a way of understanding criminals and the phenomenon of crime in more flexible waysthan those permitted by the collation of crime statistics. The utility and justification of both research methodologiesis critically considered and students have the opportunity to developing a variety of practical research skills, from questionnaire design and SPSS analysis to observation and interview techniques.

    A basic understanding of research methodologies and the way that they areused in professional settings is an essential skill for graduates who intend to pursue a career inan area related to criminology, whether as a researcher or a practitioner. This module therefore aims to develop students’ knowledge of research methods and ability to apply them in practice to enhance their future employment opportunities.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    The module develops student knowledge of specialised areas of police operations and professional practice. The module focuses specifically on community policing (policing diverse communities), covert policing (police surveillance methods), specialist policing operations (organised crime, child protection), police analysis and intelligence-gathering, police ethics and culture and police governance (mechanisms for oversight and accountability).

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module looks at the media impact on public perceptions of crime and justice.
    It also looks at the way contemporary media and technologies influence criminal behaviour and influence the operations of the criminal justice system.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday afternoon

    Academic authors have shown that for centuries adults have expressed concerns about the anti-social and criminal behaviour of young people. In recent times, this concern has centred on rising levels of violent crime by young people and the burgeoning ‘gang, gun and knife crime culture’ in the UK. In response to public concerns policy makers and practitioners have designed numerous community and criminal justice initiatives to tackle the anti-social behaviour of young people, reduce their offending rates and encourage desistence from criminal activity.

    This module critically examines young people’s involvement in crime and violence. It examines key theories for understanding violence by the young and explores the connection between violent behaviour and a variety of social issues such as peer pressure, gender, ‘race’ and ethnicity, and alcohol and substance misuse. This highlights the impact of changing economic, political and cultural contexts from the global to local. The module also explores, and critically examines, media and criminal justice responses to youth crime.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    This module looks at young people as social and political actors, and uses applied sociological theory to analyse current issues relating to youth in consumer society, the strategies of adaptation and resistance, violence and gangs, subcultures and political movements, and social control. The focus will be on the UK as well as European and global issues.

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Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon

    The first part of this module examines contemporary approaches to crime control and the way in which the latter is manifest in policy and practice. The module considers and assesses the rhetoric, strategies, practices and evaluation of key Criminal Justice Agencies in relation to both serious and less serious crime and national and international crime control issues. The second part of the module concentrates on penal policy and practice, exploring issues regarding the imprisonment of convicted offenders and how this relates to theoretical criminological concepts. Through comparative penology, the role of imprisonment and impact of penal policy within the context of wider society are explored and examined. Issues such as diversity, gender, ‘race’ and mental disorder in relation to prisoner experiences area highlighted.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    In this module students have the opportunity to define their own academic terrain and produce a structured and original piece of criminological research based on an individual piece of empirical research or offering an original interpretation of a theoretical problematic.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    This module will cover modern theoretical models of social control. It then goes on to interrogate the changing nature of social control in contemporary society, looking both at continuities with and disjunctions from the past It will use drugs and organised crime as examples to support and critique the theories. As this module is to be taught at level 6 it will also include some complex social and criminological theory.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Thursday afternoon

    This module is based on a self-managed work experience within an organisation or agency
    related to the field of criminal justice/criminology. The student spends a period of 15 days with his or her chosen employer, and produces an evidence-based account of his or her experience. In carrying out the work placement, students develop new skills and enhance their generic learning experience.

    Students must find their own work placement. Each student is allocated an individual supervisor whom they may contact for support during the experience.


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  • This module looks at the historical and social contexts for the regulation of pleasurable activities which have been perceived as subversive or deviant.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    The module introduces students to the key concepts and theories relating to the social construction of gender and sexuality and their application to a range of social sectors and issues in the UK and abroad. The ways in which gender and sexuality are both constitutive of the social and are constituted through social structures, institutions and interactions are explored, as are the ways in which theories of gender and sexuality have informed the sociological study of the family, work, health, education, crime, the welfare state and politics, media and the body.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday afternoon

    This module examines the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the career of its most famous director, J Edgar Hoover. Through the use of FBI documents and other primary sources it offers the student an opportunity to study the workings of the agency in government affairs and US society.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday afternoon

    This module explores the definition, characteristics and offending behaviour of serious and serial offenders, with aparticular focus on mass, spree and serial murderers, sexual offenders andarsonists. The module also considers how such offenders are investigated, their behaviour and characteristics analysed. Key explanatory theories used to explain serious and serial offending will be examined and the efficacy of these in relation to methodological concerns critically evaluated. Finally, the module explores the identification and apprehension of serious and serial offenders, including the application of psychological and geographic profiling techniques.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday morning

    This module examines extreme political violence in the form of ‘terrorism’ and the responses of states and international organisations. Students will be encouraged to examine critically the phenomena, reflecting upon how motivation, tactics and strategies of groups employing extreme political violence have changed over time. The module explores the theoretical justifications of political violence, contrasting the presupposition that political violence is ‘rationalist’ with the presupposition that it is ‘pre-rational’. The second half of the module considers the impact of the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and affiliated groups and the UK’s legislative and policing response in the context of the global “war on terror”.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    For much of its history criminology has been concerned with the offender. The victim was largely absent from criminological discourse, research and the criminal justice process. It was not until the early 20th century that criminologists [re] discovered the victim and began to consider the role they played in the commission of crime. From these early investigations the victim became the central focus for many scholars and the discipline ‘victimology’ emerged. The victim is no longer considered to be ‘a bit part player’ in understanding crime. They are considered to be central to crime detection and to the prosecution of criminal acts. This module charts the birth and growth of victimology and considers some of its key theoretical concepts. It will explore the nature and extent of criminal victimisation in society and critically examine it from a number of different perspectives. The module will also explore the changing role of victim within the criminal justice system.

    Read full details.

If you're studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

Year 1 (Level 4) modules include:

  • Introduction to Criminological Theory
  • Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  • Introduction to Policing
  • Researching Crime and Deviance

Year 2 (Level 5) modules include:

  • Crime in Context
  • Measuring and Interpreting Crime
  • Perspectives on Policing
  • Crime, Media and Technology (optional)
  • Youth, Crime and Violence (optional)
  • Extension of Knowledge module (optional)

Year 3 (Level 6) modules include:

  • Criminology Project
  • Crime Control and Penology
  • Social Control, Drugs and Organised Crime
  • Justice, Punishment and Social Control (optional)
  • Serious and Serial Offenders (optional)
  • Victims and Crime (optional)
  • Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism (optional)
  • Criminology Work Placement (optional)

"After I graduate I would like to be a police inspector for the Met. I chose this course because it is specifically related to crime and criminal investigation. I have found it really interesting so far it is giving us a wide perspective on criminology and a good understanding of what I can expect from a career in this field. The lecturers have been friendly, helpful and approachable. In the first year, we visited Marylebone Road Magistrates Court to observe how hearings are presented and what goes on that was a really interesting assignment. I also did some mentoring at HM Prison Holloway (the women's prison), where I was finding ways to help women integrate back into society."

Mafalda Guerra.

Successful completion of this degree offers improved career opportunities within the Criminal Justice System, in particular, the police service, probation service and areas of victim support. Our graduates have become police officers, criminal lawyers and teachers.

The programme is also excellent preparation for further research or study.

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How to apply

UK/EU students wishing to begin this course studying full-time in September 2016 should apply by calling the Clearing hotline on .

Applicants from outside the EU should refer to our guidance for international students during Clearing.

Part-time applicants should apply direct to the University online.

UK/EU applicants for September full-time entry must apply via UCAS unless specified otherwise.

Applicants for September part-time entry should apply direct to the University using the apply online button.

Non-UK and EU applicants for September entry may apply via UCAS, but may also apply directly to the University via the apply online button.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September one year before the start of the course.

Our UCAS institution code is L68.

Visit UCAS for more details.

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