Guide to Studying Criminology

What is Criminology?

  • Criminology (from Latin crīmen, "accusation"; and Greek -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of criminal behaviour, on individual, social and natural levels, and how it can be managed, controlled and prevented.
  • Criminology falls under a range of disciplines, drawing on sociology, psychology, psychiatry and social anthropology, as well as falling under the remit of criminal law. The term was first coined in Italy in 1885.

Why Study Criminology?

  • Offers an in-depth look at modern crime and punishment, and why certain groups may be societally victimised.
  • Heavily connected to law, studying the connection between law breaking and the construction of law – good for those interested in law, but wanting a more specific area of study.
  • Most courses have total freedom of module selection within a range of criminology interests.Fotolia _33244024_S
  • As a niche degree, there is often a high student to staff ratio, so many departments specialise in small group teaching, meaning greater access to knowledge and expertise than on many degree courses.
  • There are opportunities to study abroad, either as a dual degree with a foreign language or by travelling abroad to study how crime is analysed in other countries.

Coursework, Assessment and Exams

  • A range of summative (work which counts toward a final degree classification) and formative (work designed to enhance intended learning outcomes) techniques. Most are essay based with some written exams. Dissertation is either optional or compulsory in most third year courses.

What Degree Can I Get? 

  • BSc Criminology
  • BSc Sociology with Criminology
  • BSc Applied Social Science
  • BSc Criminology with a Modern Foreign Language (e.g. French, German, Spanish)

What Qualifications do I Need?

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  • Entry requirements will depend on the institution and course in question.
  • Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you are interested in.

Use our Course Chooser to search through Criminology courses.

What are the Postgraduate Opportunities

  • What are the Job Opportunities?There is an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.
  • Examples include MSc Forensic Psychology, PgDip Law (Criminal), MA Criminal Justice, MA Criminological Psychology, as well as a straight MA in Criminology.
  • Criminology degrees teach students valuable transferable skills, such as presentation, research and communication. Particular job areas include the police, prison and probation systems, community and charity organisations, government agencies, and in further academic research.
  • Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Criminology graduates, such as the British Society of Criminology.