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Undergraduate course

Criminology BA (Hons)

Crimes are committed every day. Explore the motives behind them, the justice system that deals with them and the victims they affect.

Student in the library

When you study Criminology, you don't just study crime: you learn about prevention, punishment, rehabilitation and how our criminal justice system facilitates these. You look at victimology and social responses to crime. You think about how crime can be shaped by society, and represented by the media. When you study Criminology, you are studying the impact of crime on the world.

  • Available in Clearing

91% of Criminology students were satisfied with their course. (National Student Survey 2019)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L6L1
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2020, September 2021
  • School – Psychological & Social Sciences

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year

    International 2020-21 £12,750 per year

Discover why York St John is The One

Course Overview

As society evolves, so do the crimes we commit. From your first day on our course you will consider how criminological theory, and crime itself, changes. Starting with a look at the history of criminological thought, you will gain awareness of the emerging forms of deviance and how they are shaped by developments in society. As you progress through the degree you can let your interests and ambitions shape your route through the course by selecting modules that appeal to you.

On specialist modules you will learn the qualitative and quantitative research methods used by criminologists and start applying them to your own research. We will introduce you to different theoretical perspectives and, together with your peers, you will discuss how these can be used to analyse topics such as victimology, deviance, terrorism, youth and murder. We care about your ambitions so we give you the chance to engage with professionals working in different sectors so you can prepare for the future. 

Our goal is to help you to develop your critical thinking skills, to back up your ideas with evidence and reason and to learn to design, plan and execute research that supports your interests. You will be supported throughout your degree by our team of academics, who are all active in social research. This means the material you cover is the most relevant it can possibly be. Engage with them in seminars, workshops and 1 to 1 tutorials and let their expertise become yours.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are studying full time or part time. 

In your first year, if you are studying full time, you will take:

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 2.

If you are studying part time, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Gain the knowledge and skills you need for successful study at university. We will introduce you to different approaches in social science research and support you to develop an awareness of the philosophical, practical and ethical debates that inform it. You will gain key skills in academic reading, researching, writing and presenting. By learning these skills now, you will be equipped to make the most of your course and succeed in the field of social science.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to theories of crime, deviance and transgression. You will study the history of criminological thought from the Enlightenment to the present day and consider how it has developed. Start by looking at classicism and move on to study positivistic theories and later critical forms of criminological theory. All theories will be considered alongside the social contexts in which crime and deviance occur today giving you the chance to think about the nature, cause and treatment of crime.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Develop your understanding of contemporary social, cultural, technological, ecological and economic issues that have an impact on the occurrence of crime and deviance. You will become familiar with the emerging forms of deviance and how developments in contemporary societies facilitate these.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module explores the idea that criminal behaviour can be prevented and, where it can't be, it can be justifiably punished. You will study the social construction of punishment, the purpose of punishment and to what extent it is successful. You will also consider different approaches to crime prevention, paying attention to both formal and societal approaches to policing. As part of your exploration of prevention, you will also consider rehabilitation techniques and how this can prevent re-offending.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will consider how some people are socially and culturally constructed as more vulnerable. You will also consider how society and the justice system interacts with these victims. This will allow you to recognise and evaluate the factors, such as age and gender, that can contribute to experiencing crime. Through this module you will identify how attempts to deal with crime are weakened if the victim is not considered.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Explore the delivery of justice in England and Wales. You will examine the main agencies and processes involved, such as the police, prisons, probation, courts and community justice. As you explore these institutions you will be introduced to key issues, questions and debates surrounding their operation and success. We will encourage you to think critically about criminal justice and injustice and to identify problems and controversies in these key institutions.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are studying full time, you will take:

  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules in semester 2.

If you are studying part time, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. Not all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will build on the skills gaining in your first year module, Research and Presenting. You will develop your knowledge, skills and techniques in qualitative research. You will examine and evaluate a range of qualitative methods, considering their strengths and weaknesses as you do. Throughout the module we will encourage you to reflect on the ethical issues involved in qualitative research.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will study quantitative research. You will look at the different sources relevant to criminological study, the quantitative research process and the most common methods used. You will gain proficiency in obtaining primary data through surveys and in accessing secondary data. You will also take the data you have obtained and perform basic descriptive and inferential statistics and write up your results.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module focuses on your employability. You will consider career opportunities that interest you and plan how to gain the experience you need to help you secure employment after graduation. Not only will you consider your future in the workplace, you will apply your knowledge to discuss the changing nature of work and employment and how inequalities and the role of power affect it. Guest lectures from experts in a range of professions make up part of this module, giving you the chance to learn from the experience of others and explore careers you may not have previously considered.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Build on your knowledge of the criminal justice system as you study the key ethical issues and controversies facing the justice system. You will discuss claims that suspects' rights have been gradually eroded and examine victimisation and how victims are handled by the criminal justice system. Discuss competing theories of punishment and social control with your peers and consider how crime is becoming increasingly political.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Explore the relationship between crime and the economy. We will introduce you to the key themes in economic thought and the practices that are frequently used to explain crime. Topics covered in the module include:

  • Social Class, Poverty, and crime
  • Crime and economic recession/depression
  • Economic theory and crime
  • Austerity and crime
  • Environmental crimes
  • International finance and crime.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore the issues of race, ethnicity and structural inequality in society and criminal justice systems. We will introduce you to different theoretical perspectives on ethnicity, crime, victimisation and patterns of punishment so that you can reflect on the policing and social control of minority groups across the world. You will study historical and contemporary accounts of minority groups' exposure to social control practices and experiences of criminal justice systems across Europe, the UK and the USA.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module will give you an introduction to the study of terrorism, including its definition, causes and motivations. You will analyse the cultural representations and reactions to the threat and incidences of terrorism and study a range of topics around the subject. These include:

  • Domestic and international terrorism
  • State and corporate terror
  • Relationship between terrorism and religion
  • Emotive and subcultural motives
  • Tackling terrorism effectively
  • Terrorism and political violence in the information age.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Develop your understanding of how the police protect the public. Consider how the police service has changed its approach to public safety, specifically towards vulnerability and risk. You will examine how the media has affected public perceptions of crime and its impact on policing. Assess statistical data relating to crimes and consider how it shapes policing policy and evaluate different interventions for dealing with offenders.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are studying full time, you will take:

  • 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • 2 optional modules in semester 2
  • Your Criminological Investigation module which runs across semester 1 and 2.

If you are studying part time, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. Not all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This module is your opportunity to apply your knowledge and focus your studies on the topic that interests you the most. You will choose an issue that is of sociological importance and conduct detailed social research as you follow your line of enquiry. Your research will need to be conducted in a systematic and ethical way, drawing on the skills learnt in previous modules. You will have the support of an academic tutor throughout the module who will give 1 to 1 advice and guidance on your research.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the historical, legal, social and cultural elements of the sex industry. You will develop an understanding of the current politics of prostitution reform, both locally and globally and evaluate research studies on crime, justice and the sex industry. We will introduce you to the major criminological approaches to sex work including feminist and queer theories and encourage you to discuss them with your peers.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module, you will gain an understanding of the theoretical foundations of critical criminology. You will examine new understandings of crime, power and control and consider how they can be used to understand local and global forms of criminality. Throughout the module you will analyse power structures, inequalities and surveillance systems including those of feminism, Marxism, abolitionism and more.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module, you will examine professional and organised crime in Britain. You will consider its evolution and history, specifically how organised crime was seen as a craft requiring apprenticeship and specific skills in working class communities. You will examine concepts of entrepreneurship, consumption and overt narcissism as primary features of organised crime. Finally, look at drugs marketing and consider how it has transformed the criminal landscape.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will critically examine the most serious crime: murder. The module will see you discussing different forms of murder and the explanations given for committing it. You will also analyse societies response to murder and those who commit it and consider how this response can differ across cultures. Topics covered include:

  • The historical landscape of murder
  • Domestic murder
  • Infanticide
  • Murderabilia and serial murder
  • Murder at war and sanctioned killing
  • Punishment.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module will equip you will the skills needed to analyse the relationship between the social and the spatial. You will consider different theoretical positions on the value, issues and ideas of space. You will explore how space is connected to other social concerns such as power, culture, the everyday and deviance.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will apply your knowledge of social theory to technology. Electronic devices, social media, data: they are a huge part of everyday life, and on this module you will spend time assessing why they are so important to society. You will examine our digital society by exploring the digital economy, data and surveillance, technology and the environment and digital health. It's technology in a way you haven't experienced before.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module lets you examine the emergence of social problems and explore how social policies attempt to tackle them. You will explore different perspectives on what a social problem is, focusing on contemporary issues such as migration, employment, housing and health in Yorkshire and the North East.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will study crime in the media in a way that goes beyond the traditional topics studied. You will draw on new developments in criminology to explore how crime is presented in video games, wound culture and the aesthetics of crime. You won't stop there though. You will go on to think about the role crime plays in stories, about voyeurism and policy impact. This module is your chance to dissect how crime is represented by a range of medias, and the impact this has.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module focuses on imprisonment and penal policy. You will engage with debates about the value of prison as you critique arguments on prison as punishment, as a deterrent and around rehabilitation. By engaging with the theory, practice and history of imprisonment, you will evaluate the development and use of prisons within the justice system. On the module, you will also examine the philosophy of punishment and explore how social control is fundamental to aspects of social relations.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module looks into the way cities shape social life, influence behaviour in them and shape the operation of the authoritative structures within their borders. You will engage with the ideas that urban criminality is in direct dialogue with the geographical, developmental and political decisions that a city makes. Thinking about how a built environment and space is related to forms of social control will also be part of the module as you explore how they are unequally distributed through a city's population based on factors such as race, income, tourism, history and commerce.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Understanding youth is an essential part of understanding societal vulnerabilities, policies, cultures and inequalities. This module gives you the opportunity to build that understanding. You will engage in discussion about the nature and construction of youth and explore the cultural aspects of young peoples' lives. Focusing on youth justice, you will also analyse aspects of contemporary youth policy and different sociological perspectives regarding young people's resistance.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module will introduce you to the sociological understanding of migration through the ages. By considering migration alongside broader political and economic processes you will gain an understanding of how migration has shaped and challenged the formation of states and concepts of nationhood. You will also consider the complex ways it impacts national and local economies.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module gives you the chance to study the sociology of health and illness, a key area of sociological study. You will study a range of topics within health and illness, applying your knowledge of key sociological concepts to discuss them. Topics you will cover may include:

  • Illness and self identity
  • The body, in illness and in health
  • The doctor-patient relationship
  • Power relations in medical work
  • Therapy cultures
  • Gender, sexuality and health
  • Power, privilege and reproduction
  • The placebo effect
  • Heath inequalities
  • Race, health and medicine
  • Health, illness and social class.

Credits: 20

Optional module

By looking at case studies from services and enterprises that have changed the way we live, this module will introduce you to the key discussions in economic and digital sociology. From health and self-tracking to forming relationships on apps like Tinder and using Bitcoins on cryptomarkets, the rise of digital media and technologies present key sociological questions. You will examine these questions and discuss the impact of technology on society.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore the social context of death by analysing how societies define, interact with and portray death. You will develop an understanding of the role of death in contemporary cultures and societies and examine how attitudes to death are changing. You will cover a range of themes around the topic of death, including:

  • Death tourism and death in museums
  • Consuming death, murder, and murderabilia
  • How death is managed on social media
  • Obituaries and the cultural dissemination of death
  • Corpses, cremation, burial and disposal.

Teaching and assessment

Our modules are delivered via lectures, seminars and workshops.

  • In your lectures, you will be introduced to different criminological themes and issues.
  • In your seminars you will interact with your peers to discuss, debate and analyse the material from your lecture.
  • In your workshops a lecturer will introduce a topic and you will interact with your peers to discuss it straight away.

For each module you will have 3 to 4 hours of contact time each week. If you are full time, you will study 3 modules per semester. This means you will have between 9 and 12 hours of contact time a week. You will be expected to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange academic tutorials with your module tutors throughout the year to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

Assessment methods differ depending on the modules you take. Each module is designed to measure how well you have understood the course material. Some of our assessments include:

  • Annotated bibliography
  • Essay
  • Online portfolio
  • Open exam - where you would be allowed to take in some research material.
  • Podcast
  • Poster presentation
  • Presentation
  • Research proposal.

For each assessment you will have the chance to talk to a tutor about your work before submission. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so that you can continuously improve your academic writing.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language

The minimum entry requirements for full time and part time entry onto this course are:

  • 96 UCAS Tariff points
  • 3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

This course is available with a foundation year.

If you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto this degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education, this is a great option for you. Passing a foundation year guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Social Sciences foundation year

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK & EU 2020 entry

The tuition fee for 2020 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year

    International 2020-21 £12,750 per year

International (non-EU) 2020 entry

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Criminology

Choosing a degree in Criminology can help you achieve your career ambitions. You will gain research, analytical and presentation skills that are in high demand in a range of careers.

With these skills, you could pursue a number of careers or continue to postgraduate level study. 
A degree in Criminology can prepare you for a career as a:

  • Civil service administrator 
  • Community development worker 
  • Crime scene investigator 
  • Prison officer
  • Probation officer 
  • Youth worker.

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Course highlights

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