Explore crime and criminal justice – from causes to controls to consequences – with our new BSc Criminology degree.
Offered by the School of Law, this three-year degree is ideal if you have an interest in law, sociology, politics and social policy. You’ll study sociological, criminological and legal concepts, approaches and methodologies, gaining a critical understanding of crime, criminal justice, and their relationship with the law. You’ll also develop a solid understanding of social science research methodologies and ethics. In the National Student Survey 2023, 90% of our students said that teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (90% of respondents studying in the School of Law).
At the end of your degree, you’ll possess a strong grounding in both the legal framework and the challenges in which matters of crime and justice play out.
Uncover key concepts of criminology
Explore the critical questions that criminology addresses. What is crime? What is justice? To what extent is rule breaking governed by human nature versus wider social context? Whose account of crime and justice “counts” most and why?
Topics covered include:
- processes of criminalisation and victimisation
- causes and organisation of crime
- crime management and prevention
- interrelationship between crime, social inequalities and rights
- official and unofficial responses to crime
- punishment and media representations of crime
- politics of criminal justice policy.
Where criminology meets law and policy
Our BSc Criminology degree provides you with an education in criminology that is interwoven with the study of law.
You’ll acquire the foundational knowledge needed to produce and understand socio-legal and criminological research, yet the degree is designed with maximum flexibility to allow you to follow your interests. You have the opportunity to undertake optional modules on matters pertinent to law, studying alongside LLB Law students.
You’ll learn via lectures, seminar discussions, prescribed and recommended reading, and the writing of essays and a dissertation.
Join a vibrant research environment
Our BSc Criminology degree strongly aligns with the research and teaching expertise of the School of Law, where 99% of our research is of international standing (Research Excellence Framework 2021, combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions – Law).
Our research reflects the breadth of our academic expertise, spanning human rights, security, global law, financial regulation and law in society, with a strong concern for social justice matters.
Take full advantage of the School of Law’s research seminars and guest speakers, which offer a different perspective and keep you in touch with the latest global developments.
Previous speakers have visited from:
- Birkbeck, University of London
- London School of Economics and Political Science
- the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.
Your degree your way
Whether you have a particular passion or want to explore a broad range of socio-legal topics, you can create your own pathway with our extensive range of optional modules, both within the School of Law and from other relevant disciplines.
Possible pathways may include:
- Sex, Gender and the Law
- International Law and Security
- Human Rights
- Children, Families and Youth Justice.
Develop your skills in criminological research and practice
Throughout your studies, you’ll receive training to conduct research effectively – beginning with interpreting primary sources and understanding research methodologies.
Your second and third years will see you inducted into the criminological community of practice as you research matters of crime and justice and ethical practice in social science research.
Also in your third year, a dissertation research project will enable you to work with archives and other secondary data sources. As well as first-hand analysis of empirical datasets about crime and justice under the guidance of your supervisor, you may have the opportunity to analyse data and questions connected with live research projects being undertaken by our staff.
Learn from leaders in the field
Our academics regularly feature in academic literature and the media, offering their expertise on current issues. As such, our teaching is research-led and relevant.
- Learn how research by Dr Beatrice Krebs helped abolish the doctrine of 'joint enterprise' in murder cases.
- Professor Jo Phoenix researches sex, gender, sexualities and justice, youth justice and punishment, the production of criminological knowledge and research ethics. She has started research centres and networks including the Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities, and the Open University Gender Critical Research Network.
- Professor Marko Milanovic has served as one of three high-level experts assisting the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on the examination of alleged human rights violations committed in Belarus. He is currently advising a taskforce supporting the Prosecutor General of Ukraine regarding accountability for crimes committed during the Ukrainian conflict.
- Professor Rosa Freedman is a member of the UN Secretary-General's Civil Society Advisory Board on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse. She works closely with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office as a member of the Steering Committee on Women, Peace and Security.
- Dr Alexander Gilder, one of the few international lawyers working on UN peace operations, is at the cutting-edge of research on stabilisation, the protection of civilians, and security sector reform.