Criminology BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

Cambridge

September 2018

Overview

Study criminology issues both in and outside the lecture room, and improve your understanding of current criminological debates. You’ll graduate with key employment skills in areas as diverse as policing, probation, youth offending and government.

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Full description

Careers

Our graduates go far in many fulfilling job roles, such as probation officers and prison-based probation service officers with the National Probation Service; various roles with the police, including crime scene and victim liaison officers; prison officers and governors with the Prison Service; researchers and policy analysts with the Home Office; and other employers including the Crown Prosecution Service; the Court Service; youth offending teams/youth work and Crime Reduction Partnerships.

During your degree course, you’ll have many opportunities to engage with potential employers, and find out what it is really like to work for them, thanks to our excellent links with agencies such as Cambridgeshire Police, National Crime Agency and the Probation Service.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • History of Crime and Criminology
    The twentieth century was a period of rapid and confusing change and adjustment, and already historical accounts of events that took place in it are debated and challenged. Events of preceding centuries are even less familiar to us, yet the roots of many of our customs, institutions, thinking about crime and policies could be traced to these times. Historical awareness guards against the impression that modern features of law-breaking, deviance, policing or punishment are either entirely new, or remain relatively unchanged. Instances of 'hooliganism', 'crime waves' and threats to public order in historical literature can be placed alongside frequent journalistic panics about moral degeneration today. You will trace and explore the origins of laws and attitudes, sanctions and control mechanisms that have emerged from ancient, medieval and modern historical eras. You will look at the role of religion and the state in the shaping of society and geographically trace the origins and developments of the principal institutions of the criminal justice system, including the ways that governments and societies have responded to certain forms of deviance through reformulations of criminal justice policy. You will evaluate the development of criminology as a discipline and interrogate the foundational theories and their underlying philosophies. You will attend two hour combined lectures/workshops and you are required to be thoroughly prepared for these weekly discussions. Your assessment on this module comprises two one-hour class tests, each worth 50% of the total mark.
  • Crime News and Criminology
    Crime is a major area of public policy and political debate. We are both fascinated by crime while afraid of it and eager to prevent it. Criminals can be portrayed as heroes, anti-heroes, victims or villains. Nevertheless, they are represented and understood as somehow 'other'. Despite these contrasting and confusing ideas, crime is an everyday experience, about which many of us have strong opinions. You will be encouraged to question how crime and deviance have shaped our thoughts, drawing upon its portrayal in the news, as well as fears of crime, political responses and crime prevention initiatives. You will be introduced to concepts that contribute to the social construction of crime, such as 'newsworthiness', 'criminogenic media' and moral panics, as well as some basic building blocks of Criminology itself. You will examine and discuss the types of crimes that are prevalent in the media news and consider current criminal justice issues and cases. In addition, you will decipher official statistics, such as those emerging from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, Police recorded crimes and conviction data, in order to establish a balanced view of the extent of crime in England and Wales. You will examine crime data (statistics, case studies, crime rates etc) and the sources from which they are gathered. Such data analysis will provide a framework for contextualising material that is often (partially and mis-) represented in the media, within an academic and realistic context. Each week, in a separate timetabled workshop following the lecture, you will research various current crime news media (radio, TV, newspapers, internet, blogs, wikis, journals etc) and analyse the construction of the news, the sources of information, the writing style of the genre and the public debate which often follows news. The aim of this section is to provide you with the key skills necessary to study at undergraduate level. You will carry out structured tasks each week, and develop a writing style through a variety of weekly exercises and diagnostic essays. The assessments will allow you to demonstrate understanding and begin to develop critical thinking skills (through the diagnostic essay), as well as understanding and application skills.
  • Political Ideologies and Social Controversies
    This module will give you a grounding in major political ideologies and key political concepts for your future study in practical and theoretical aspects of social science. By studying the core elements of ideologies, you'll have the opportunity to engage in basic comparative study and some degree of historical analysis. You'll then use this understanding of key political ideologies to explore different political environments. You'll reflect on forms of classical political thought and locate these in contemporary political settings. Your assessment will be in the form of a 1,000 word critical analysis and a 2000-word essay.
  • Skills for Criminal Justice
    This module will introduce you to the complex network of agencies that provide victims and offenders with punishment, training, guidance, protection, care and advice, as part of the Criminal Justice Sector. You’ll look at potential roles and employment in this sector and examine it from a historical perspective, also looking at recent policy initiatives that have resulted in the creation of particular roles, with a view to developing a particular focus for your degree. You’ll participate in a range of events, including an employment fair, gaining insight into the current workings of many organisations, including local initiatives. You assessment will consist of two tasks: a historical synopsis that maps the development of a particular institution and a portfolio.
  • Criminal Justice in England and Wales
    Criminal Justice in England and Wales will introduce you to the criminal justice system in this country, taking you through the key elements of the justice system: Police, Courts, Prisons, Probation, and the Youth Justice System. Each week, you will be introduced to a different stage of the system and unpack some of the critical issues that are discussed in this area. For example you will learn about the role of police, and the benefits that a policing system provides, while also looking at the controversial aspects of policing, such as racism and the ongoing debate about how much force the police should use. You will also discuss the statement ‘prison works’ and examine the shifting landscape of the prison system in the context of overcrowding and privatization. During the research skills workshops, you will learn how to critically assess research on the criminal justice system, developing evaluation skills and knowledge of research methods in the process. You will learn how research is undertaken and have the chance to do this yourself in relation to issues of criminal justice, such as public attitudes to various elements of the criminal justice system. By the end of Criminal Justice in England and Wales, you will be able to demonstrate an appreciation of the complicated position of victims and offenders in England and Wales. You will be taught in weekly two hour lecture/workshops and one hour ‘research evaluation skills’ workshop. Your assessment will comprise a portfolio of work discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the criminal justice system.

Year one, optional modules

  • Media and Crime
    Media representations of crime, law and order have always been a matter of public interest, as well as debate amongst people involved in the criminal justice system. You'll explore the ways in which media shapes our perception of crime, and form an overview of the theoretical perspectives on media within criminology. You'll also examine the construction of crime news and the role of politics and ideology, and learn about the concept of "moral panics. Throughout the module, you'll use case studies, reports, and theory, selecting one or more case studies to develop your analytical skills, as well as your presentation skills. You can use case studies to build a foundation for your essay, in which you'll evaluate the debates about the relationship between media and crime, as well as public perceptions of crime.

Year two, core modules

  • Trials and Errors: Justice in Court
    Trials and Errors will introduce you to the concept of miscarriages of justice and wrongful conviction. Each week, you will learn about some of the key barriers to ‘justice’ and critically examine controversial aspects of the criminal justice system; for example the mass production of guilty pleas, jury trials, expert witnesses and ‘trial by media’. You will draw upon a range of case studies to examine these issues, developing a theoretical understanding that is rooted in real-world examples. By the end of Trials and Errors, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the court process and how it can go wrong, as well as the strength and weaknesses of key aspects of the English and Welsh system. Trials and Errors will be delivered in weekly two hour lecture/workshops and one hour seminars. You will have the opportunity to present your ideas in class. Your assessment will comprise an essay and an in-class test.
  • Contemporary Issues in Prisons and Penology
    On this module, you'll examine the proper aims and objectives of punishment and the role of rehabilitation in correcting criminal behaviour, focusing on the three core ideas of retribution, rehabilitation and restoration. You'll discover how, by taking a specific theoretical line, certain public policy measures are implied, and explore the roots of the sanctions we take for granted, such as the birth of the prison and the demise (in some countries) of the death penalty. You'll consider the impact of penal direction-changes, the emergence of rehabilitation as a 'model' and the growth of the 'penal industry' throughout the western world. You'll also examine some of the theories that have been generated to understand and direct various responses to unruly behaviour: the utilitarian tradition, the retributive tradition, just deserts, proportionality, rehabilitation, deterrence, restoration and reparation. You'll be assessed through an essay and a report in an agreed area.
  • Project Preparation
    This module will provide you with the guidance, support and information to prepare for the major project (or part thereof) in your final year. The topics you cover will largely be built around your own academic needs and interests, and may vary from year to year. However, you'll also attend weekly sessions, which will include guidance on the following: appropriate use of supervisor; selecting a suitable topic and researching research problems; literature surveys and reviews on chosen topics; how to develop research aims and objectives; ethics and writing a research proposal.
  • Violent Crime
    On this module, you'll approach the study of violence from a range of perspectives, including criminal and legal, psychological, medical and biological. You'll explore a range of expressions of violence, and the sanctions that are employed through the criminal justice system, as well as examining the concept of evil and how rehabilitation or punishments relate to such an idea. You'll debate 'ordinary' and criminal aggression - from everyday assaults to serial murder - and examine these behaviours through a variety of theoretical explanations, such as vengeance, mass media, drugs, social context and biological impairment. In addition, you'll have the chance to evaluate the impact of research into the unplanned effects of aggression or 'legitimate force' in situations such as war and sport, as well as 'illegitimately', such as the aftermath of accidental injuries or deaths. Your assessment will take the form of an essay and a portfolio, including a structured classroom debate.

Year two, optional modules

  • Theories of Deviance, Crime and Social Control
    On this module, you'll explore explanations of deviant behaviour throughout the 20th century and theories of crime that are of both historical interest and contemporary relevance, identifying and policing the parameters of 'normality' in late modern, Western society. You'll also look at specific questions relating to the transgression of social norms and whether it is the result of specific environments. You'll not only gain a historical understanding of social explanations, but also learn to demonstrate the relevance of these theories to contemporary understandings of deviance and social control. You'll also explore Labelling Theory and Radical or Marxist Criminological theories, as well as more practical or policy oriented views of both Right and Left Realism, before going on to look at two recent and very influential approaches to understanding crime. You’ll then focus on the role of "power" and social control, and the role of "culture" and the recent work of cultural criminologists. Your assessment will comprise of a test and an essay.
  • Policing and Crime Control
    Laws don't have an impact unless they're enforced, or unless there is an anticipation of enforcement. The Police is the most visible of enforcement agencies and organisations, and debates and controversies about their role in society are never far from legal, political and public attention. On this module, you'll reflect on some of the key sociological and political issues surrounding the maintenance of social order. You'll consider the development of the police and their contemporary role, and examine continuities and changes in public attitudes and expectations of the police, as well as the impact of technological and organisational changes in styles of policing and maintaining social order. You'll consider the growth of paramilitary-style policing, as well as community policing initiatives. You may take part in a local field trip to see an element of police training that will form the basis of one of your assessment tasks. Your assessment will take the form of a patchwork submission comprising five elements: a review of a key text; a critical analysis of policing styles; a summary of a documentary; an observation/reflection on an element of police learning and development; and an in-class test.
  • Social Research Methods
    This hands-on module will help you develop the practical skills to carry out research in the social sciences. You'll focus on developing evaluative skills and practical competence in both qualitative and quantitative methods. You'll further your ability to critically assess the published research findings encountered in your reading for other modules, and to select and apply appropriate methods in dissertations or projects as well as future employment. The assignment will allow you to generate and analyse data that addresses the same issue using different methodologies. For the qualitative part of the research report, you'll devise and carry out a semi-structured interview, then analyse the interview transcripts using manual methods. You'll choose data-generation methods, put these methods into practice in a small pilot study, analyse the results, reflect on the experience and draw conclusions. The second part will introduce you to key quantitative techniques commonly used by social researchers. You'll discover the processes involved in the structured questionnaire method, which is needed to generate a relatively large dataset. You'll learn the methodology required to translate research questions into a questionnaire format, then carry out a pilot questionnaire survey and critically analyse the practical experience.
  • Crime and Place: Geographic Criminology and Crime mapping
    Criminologists have long been interested in the role that place plays in the distribution and nature of crime. Over the last 200 years, scholars have been producing crime maps to explore the important relationship between the environment and criminal behaviour. Such crime and place studies now fall under the academic umbrella of Environmental (or geographic) Criminology. On this module, you’ll look at the issues and concepts central to an understanding of geographic or environmental criminology. In the first part, you'll consider key definitions, issues and concepts associated with the field, before going on to look at the history of crime mapping and its evolution to the present day. From there, you'll examine crime patterns at various spatial scales, and how offenders use the environment, exploring various theories and models that have been put forward to explain the processes involved in offence location selection. Finally, you'll look at the role that spatial approaches can play in crime prevention, operational policing and geographic profiling. You'll need to contribute each week, primarily through the completion of practical tasks and exercises. These exercises will use actual case studies designed to familiarise you with the principles and theories central to an understanding of this field.
  • Cultures of War
    The media is saturated with reports of war, ethnic and political conflict. Whilst there are rules of engagement for war, crimes are still committed during conflicts. On this module, you'll consider and evaluate the concept of 'war', through the conduct of governments and international bodies as well as combatants and non-combatants. You'll examine the causes of war and crimes committed in conflict-torn environments. Is war a natural consequence of human interaction? Is there a difference between a 'terrorist' and a 'freedom fighter'? Are there effective methods for resolving global conflicts? You'll explore some historical, political, legal and sociological explanations of combat, conflict and political unrest, agendas as well as the impact of patriotism, nationalism and fanaticism. You'll examine theories of war, rules of armed conflict and the roles of international courts and tribunals, as well as representations of war in the media (including the 'war on drugs' and 'war on terror'), conflict prevention and effective peace processes. You'll be encouraged to draw upon contemporary materials, and to keep up with recent media coverage of events. You'll be assessed through essays, one of them time constrained.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.
  • Youth Justice Controversies
    The Criminal Justice System incorporates a range of functions and agencies that are required to protect the public, uphold justice and the law, maintain public order, exact punishments and censures, recognise and accommodate victims and sustain public confidence. The system is guided by important principles, of which a central aspect is that every individual has rights, whether as suspect, defendant, convict, enforcer, employee, victim, witness or ordinary citizen. On this module, you'll uncover the complexities of the criminal justice system, notably around the issue of youth justice, and discuss theories explaining youth crime and youth culture. You'll analyse competing strategies in youth justice and their outcomes, discussing recent developments in youth justice legislation, policy and practice. You'll reflect on the issue of race, gender and drug abuse, and explore the recent youth justice innovations that have arguably changed the face of young offenders and issues of accountability. Your assessment will comprise a group presentation and a portfolio of patchwork texts.
  • Criminology in Policy and Practice
    The objects of the Criminological enquiry – crime, policing, justice, punishment, fear, victims, control, order, security – have come to occupy a prominent and disputed place in the lives and consciousness of citizens and governing authorities. Your career may be determined upon how well you understand the system that you seek to work in. In this module, you will consider how criminological theory has informed the landscape of crime, order and control and impacted legislation, policy and practice. You will examine the political, economic and social contexts in which criminological research is shaped and carried out in order to usefully inform criminal justice policy. For example, you will consider complex issues such as balancing policing in the age of austerity against the growth of punitive populism, or allocating resources effectively between the prevention of terrorism or violence against women and girls. Scrutinising institutions such as the police, county councils and victim-focused charities, you will examine some of the tensions that exist within them such as decision-making, agenda-setting and resource allocation. You will think critically about the processes that are involved in turning ideas into action, building ‘joint working’ initiatives and managing policy implementation. Furthermore, you will consider some of the wider criminological issues you have studied in relation to the criminal justice work setting – how do cultural, political and patriarchal attitudes affect the shape of agenda-setting, and what could be the impact of vicarious trauma upon the agents whom we put so much trust? Criminology in policy and practice will provide you with the skills necessary to connect your degree with the criminal justice sector, its policies and practices. The module will be delivered by lectures and workshops, and your assessment will consist of a report and an essay.

Year three, optional modules

  • Sex, Sex Offending and Society
    Sexual offences occupy a unique position in contemporary society and are a major concern for governments, academics, policy analysts and pressure groups around the world, yet the problem remains little understood and inadequately addressed. On this module, you'll examine the way certain activities have come to be defined and regulated as sex crimes and how particular definitions generate specific legal responses and treatments. You'll explore legal, policy and practice responses and you’ll look at sexual offending from the perspectives of offenders themselves, victims, society and the law. You'll also explore the prostitution has been criminalised; the potential of the internet and how technologies contribute to the increasingly problematic policing of sexually explicit materials; and aspects of the international sex trade, in particular the problem of human trafficking. Your assessment will comprise a portfolio, including either an analysis of current policy or an analysis of the portrayal of sex-related crimes through the media.
  • Investigative Psychology
    The psychological study of crime, criminals and victims within a legal framework is known as criminal or forensic psychology. On this module, you'll examine the role that psychology and psychological perspectives can play in the criminal justice process, paying particular attention to the application of psychology to police investigations including the collection, examination and use of investigative information and evidence, as well as to the role of the psychologist in the court room. You'll explore the different ways criminal psychologists contribute to police training, investigations and interviewing as well as their contribution to understanding evidence in the courtroom and how juries process that evidence. You'll also examine and evaluate the challenges and pitfalls of giving such advice. You’ll look at actual case studies designed to familiarise you with the types of criminal cases and associated outputs produced by criminal psychologists in a real world setting. You'll be assessed by way of a poster presentation on an aspect of offender profiling and through a profiling method evaluation.
  • Race, Racism and Cultural Identity
    On this module, you'll explore the sociology of 'race', racism and ethnic divisions. You'll consider three related themes: the social origins and significance of racial and ethnic divisions, the varied causes, contexts and consequences of racism and antiracism, and the cultural consequences of migration. Although your primary substantive focus will be on race relations in contemporary Britain, you will also draw insights from historical and international comparisons. You'll also attend a series of student-led workshops, in which you'll apply sociological knowledge and understanding to current questions of 'race' politics and policy. The topics of these workshop will relate to key module themes, such as: the collection and use of racialised data in the criminal justice system, debates about the usefulness of the concept of institutional racism, and globalised Islam.
  • Concepts of Good and Evil
    What role, if any, does the concept of evil play in our moral vocabulary? Is it a narrowly theological notion or does it usefully describe certain kinds of act and/or character? On this module, you'll examine contemporary accounts of evil, as well as looking at the concept of evil in the history of philosophy from Leibniz to the present. In addition to considering theoretical discussions of evil, you'll also consider phenomena such as war and terrorism and ask whether the concept of evil helps us to understand them.
  • Invisible Crimes
    The crimes committed by corporate entities, or those individuals within them, often have a more profound economic, physical and social cost on individuals than those associated with 'conventional' criminal behaviour. The way corporate entities experience the process of criminal justice differs from the experience of individuals and despite increasing media interest, it's often difficult to obtain convictions against businesses that break the law. On this module, you'll explore the difficulty in defining corporate, white-collar and organised crime, and how they have been addressed by criminologists. You'll consider the links in the crime-power-media relationship, examining them through case studies, as well as texts and theories to understand the broader context. For your assignment, you'll select a case related to the subject and critically evaluate its development.
  • Preparing for Work
    This module will act as a bridge between your higher education and future employment. Your learning achievements will be evaluated, identifying their strengths, weakness and skills and preparing you for the next step in your career in an orderly and planned fashion. You'll be assessed through submission of a progress file that demonstrates your achievements in Higher Education, either in printed form or as an e-portfolio.

Optional modules available in years two and three

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme allows you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You'll take one language module in the second semester of your first year in order to experience the learning of a new language. You must select a language you've never learnt before from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Assessment

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For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure.

We use a variety of assessment methods that allow you to develop important transferable skills. You’ll show your progress through a mixture of case studies, presentations, essays, patchwork texts (short pieces of writing, or ‘patches’, built up week by week), portfolios, poster presentations, data analysis exercises, examinations and group projects, as well as an individual Major Project.

We know how important helpful feedback is and embed opportunities for formative feedback into our modules so you can make the best progress possible.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is an academic community of nearly 800 students and teaching staff. Our students are supported by leading practitioners, so you'll always have access to the latest theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as invaluable career advice. Subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences lead to work in many roles you might not have considered, maybe as a politician, chief executive – or even an inventor.

We organise many activities to help our students prepare for their future, like work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Study abroad options

During semester 1 of year 2, you’ll have the opportunity to apply to study abroad at Marshall University, West Virginia, USA.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)

£9,250

International students, 2017/18 (per year)

£11,700

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)

£9,250

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Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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