Criminology (Criminal Justice) BA Honours | Middlesex University London
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Criminology (Criminal Justice) BA Honours

Study criminology through the perspective of criminal justice with our research-informed, practice-based, and theoretical approach.
October 2020
3 years full-time
4 years full-time with placement
Full time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£13,400 (INT) *
Course leader
Angus Nurse

Why study criminology* with us

Our criminal justice degree approaches the subject from a theoretical, research-informed, and practice-based perspective. This means that during your time studying you’ll gain an understanding of the criminal justice system and the different career paths you might want to pursue after graduation. This might mean joining the police or opting to work for support services and charities that work on policy and reform.

During your studies, you’ll investigate law and policy to learn about criminal behaviour and the ways it’s shaped by society. The course will expand your thoughts around class, race, and gender, alongside globalisation, so that you’re able to see how these can affect crime. You’ll be taught by leading academics with professional experience within the criminal justice field, like the Home Office and HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

We have close links with key criminal justice agencies. This means that you’ll have the chance to take part in real life projects that can support and inform your thinking while you study.

Gain the skills you need to start your career

Our course will help you to develop your analytical and communication skills while you research and understand policy. You’ll do so through a series of presentations on criminology and its practices within the UK and internationally, building confidence. Your classes will combine criminal theory and detailed examination of real-life case studies from criminal justice settings so you can always see how theory can be applied practically.

The course is shaped by leading criminology research, ensuring that you graduate with knowledge of the latest policy developments in criminology and criminal justice. You'll focus on how the policies are created and implemented, evaluating its influence on society.

We frequently host guest lectures from academics, activists, and criminal justice practitioners who bring their specialist knowledge and passion to help inform and inspire you.

Previous graduates from this course have gone on to work for the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime, the National Offender Management Service and victim support services.

Networking and support

We know that sometimes you’ll need assistance and support when it comes to your studies. During your time with us you'll get assistance from a Personal Tutor. If you require a little extra help then we have Student Learning Assistants and Graduate Academic Assistants on hand to help.

*Please note this course is subject to review.

Find out more

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What will you study on the BA Criminology (Criminal Justice)?

Criminological theory lie at the heart of this course and you will study the ways of understanding crime and criminalisation, criminal justice responses and crime control perspectives and practices. You will critically explore the current criminal justice landscape – law, policy, practice and institutions – through a range of established and cutting edge theoretical approaches. You will critically examine specific areas of criminal justice such as prisons and the courts, the relationship between the public and the police, online and globalised crime, and violence and victimisation by engaging with contemporary debates and current issues. You will explore how issues of crime and criminalisation are shaped by social forces such as globalisation, race, social class and gender

You will learn to understand the factors that influence criminological research, policy and practice. Throughout the course you will take part in active debates affecting policy, in areas such as the relationship between the police and public, reform of the prison and probation services, and the working of the criminal courts. We also use current events in the media to stimulate theoretical, philosophical and political debates, which will help to sharpen your critical thinking skills.

Our close links with key criminal justice agencies such as the police, the probation service, and youth offending teams means you take part in real life projects from within the system, which can support and inform your thinking and help you to produce original and progressive academic work.

What will you gain?

You will gain an in-depth knowledge of criminal justice policy and the institutions of criminal justice as well as the ability to critically and theoretically analyse current issues facing criminal justice institutions and practice. Your research, communication and numerical and software skills will be developed across modules and in your final year dissertation. You will also develop advanced analytical skills that will enable you to critically evaluate a wide range of materials including theory and policies, strategies, and operational plans.

You will develop excellent awareness of how policy is created, interpreted and implemented, and how this informs society. You will also be able to draw on a wide range of criminological theories and concepts in order to develop a debate or discussion and to justify your conclusions.

Furthermore, you will experience professional life through placement options and engagement with practitioners and reformers.


  • Year 1

    • Crime and Control in Social Context (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      The objective of this module is to introduce a number of key criminological concepts and issues. More specifically, the key factors that influence official definitions and societal perceptions of crime and deviance, and the differing involvement of identifiable social groups in crime and deviance. You will explore the differing levels of victimisation amongst such groups, and the main reasons behind these differences. Also, it will introduce the sources of information on crime, deviance and victimisation and to a number of specific types of crimes

    • Explaining Crime (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module is designed to introduce the major theoretical perspectives that have emerged in the discipline of Criminology over the past 200 - 300 years and enable you to apply these theories to concrete examples of crime. It considers how historical context, political influence and basic philosophical differences on such questions as what it is to be human have influenced the development of criminological perspectives. It will introduce the academic research that underpins different theories and help you to understand the key arguments and reflect upon the relative merits of each theory through engagement with relevant literature.

    • Researching the City: Skills and Methods in Criminology and Sociology (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to instruct you on the skills required for undertaking an undergraduate degree in either sociology or criminology, and the basic components of social science research through researching the city. This module provides an engaging opportunity to be introduced to different research methods and approaches as well as more generally study skills while exploring from an academic point of view the city where you study in and live in. Many of these skills will have relevance beyond your degree, and will be attractive to future employers. You will also be introduced to a range of critical writing skills that link to other modules across the year. Many of these skills will have relevance beyond your degree, and will be attractive to future employers.

    • Introduction to Criminal Legal Processes (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to provide criminology students with a basic understanding of the legal framework and operation of the English legal system and the essential legal principles of key areas of law applicable to your future criminological study. The course also provides criminology students with an overview of basic criminal procedure and a selection of criminal offences and the defences relevant to these offences. The course will enable you to gain knowledge and experience of criminal procedure from a practical perspective through case study analysis.

  • Year 2

    • Approaches to Research in the Social Sciences (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to develop your evaluative abilities regarding quantitative and qualitative research methodologies as well as to introduce you to the underlying philosophical and ethical principles of social research. It aims to make clear the links between theory, method and data, to define what data is within different research paradigms and the various ways of generating and analysing it, and to understand and critique published research. Emphasis is placed on developing awareness and critique of secondary sources. The module also aims to prepare you for the development of a proposal for the final year dissertation project. Throughout the module, you will apply the various components of research methods to the specific subject of the programme you are studying.

    • Criminology in Late Modernity (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces the recent developments in criminological theory and research. As well as familiarising you with a substantial range of contemporary theoretical perspectives in criminology, it will introduce the central themes and substantive concerns central to current criminological research. In particular, you will focus on the consequences of globalisation and neoliberal politics on patterns of crime and social control in the Global North, looking at issues such as terrorism, state crime, cybercrime, and environmental crime.

    • Institutions of Criminal Justice (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides an introduction to key criminal justice institutions and agencies and an understanding of contemporary criminal justice issues. The main focus of the module is on the criminal justice system in England and Wales, though other material is drawn upon for European and international comparative purposes. At the end of the module, you should be familiar with recent and current policy issues and debates relating to the different criminal justice institutions, such as pluralised policing and the extended police family, contemporary crime investigation, sentencing in the criminal courts, and reform of the prison and probation systems.

    • Criminal Courts and Prisons (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module has two distinct blocks of study - the criminal courts and prisons. You will study the higher and lower criminal courts and detail the powers, procedures and personnel of each court, considering notions of justice and investigating the role of the courts in the administration of justice. You will also study the prison system in England and Wales, examining the dynamics that influence it, its characteristics, the challenges that it faces, and its contribution to criminal and social justice in today's society.

  • Year 3

    • Dissertation (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to synthesise learning from the criminology programmes of study, providing an opportunity for you to study independently and investigate a topic in depth, in accordance with the Criminology Benchmark Statement. It fosters academic curiosity, an inquiry based approach, and the employment and application of research skills thus facilitating the development of a higher level of theorising. You will select a topic of personal interest on which you wish to undertake an in-depth study and manage your own learning with the support of an allocated supervisor for this period of independent study. Furthermore, those studying criminology will have criminology specific dissertation workshops to support the independent study and formative assessments during the dissertation year to assist with the development and completion of the dissertation.

    • Gangs and Group Offending (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module critically examines the concepts of serious group offending and in particular the growing phenomenon of gangs. The existence and prevalence of gangs is contested academically and by practitioners. The module will consider classic and contemporary theories as to why gangs form and thrive in places; the challenges of defining gangs as opposed to street cultures and peer groups will be considered. Issues such as risks and motivations for joining, membership, behaviours, territoriality, recruitment, levels of violence, criminal activity, gender, links to organised crime, deprivation and globalisation are all pertinent topics addressed in the module. Key issues are identified and critically reviewed such as divergent experiences between the USA and the UK, race, gender, and partner/agency involvement. The module takes a left realist approach notably in consideration of recent police and practitioner strategies and initiatives under development regarding desistance, prevention and intervention models.

    • Violent Crime (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to discuss the dynamics of interpersonal violence and its control, with an additional focus on the links between sex and violence. You will learn about the social and spatial parameters of violent crime, the possible causes and explanations for why violent crime happens (are we born violent or do we learn how to be violent?), theoretical and layperson perspectives on violence,  the forms that violence can take, and how violence can be gendered. Current prison forensic psychologists will also help you to understand how violent, and sexually violent, offenders are managed within the prison environment.

    • Justice, Punishment and Human Rights (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module will equip you with an understanding of the complex function of punishment as a practice and institution. More specifically, it aims to create a critical awareness of the influence of country specific values and circumstances as well as of global developments on the formulation of criminal justice, its responses to crime, deviance and public insecurity, and on its modes of punishment and their utility. It will also foster an appreciation of the human rights issues that different punishment measures and criminal justice responses can give rise to.

    • Drugs, Crime and Criminal Justice (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to introduce the contemporary debates surrounding drugs, drug use and its control. It will develop your knowledge and understanding of the processes involved in social definitions of drugs and drug users and your skills in applying criminological theories to drug issues. It aims to facilitate critical analysis and evaluation of the laws, policies and institutions of drugs control and their social, economic and political contexts. The module also aims to foster and develop your critical interest in the reform of drugs control policy.

    • Organised and White Collar Crime (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module will introduce the critical debates on Organised Crime and Corporate Offenders. You will also become acquainted with the issues of defining these areas of criminality and the problems of conducting meaningful research. The module will begin with explanations of how social, political and economic conditions allowed organised crime to develop and discuss the links with White Collar and Corporate Crime.

    • Environmental Justice and Green Criminology (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module investigates perspectives on green criminology, and crimes against the environment and animals. It considers environmental and green offending, the regulation of environmental problems, and global perspectives on green crimes and crimes affecting ecosystems. It introduces the key ideas in green criminology, particularly theoretical debates on animal rights, the legal personhood of animals, and the prosecution of environmental crime. The module also examines the link between violence towards animals and violence towards humans and the extent to which animal abuse might be seen as an indicator of future violent offending or anti-social behaviour. You will develop an understanding of theoretical concepts and practical considerations in environmental justice, the enforcement of environmental and species legislation and the application of a green perspective to criminal justice.

    • Children as Victims and Offenders (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module examines and critically appraises the issue of children as victims and offenders. It explores the functions, roles and responsibilities of a variety of agencies whose task is to protect children and to work with those in trouble with the law, and enables you to develop a critical understanding of the issues underpinning policy and practice in these fields with particular attention to the importance of and problems associated with multi-agency working. The first part of the module focuses on children as victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse noting the relatively recent discovery of these crimes, examining the high profile cases and enquiries which have accompanied this process and explaining current legislation relating to and the organisation of child protection in England and Wales. The second part of the module turns to how the criminal justice system regards and deals with young people if they break the law. It provides you with a detailed knowledge of how Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) are structured and operate, and contains a strong practice focus. You may wish to move on to working with young people in the criminal justice system upon graduation and this module is designed to acquaint you with the knowledge and skills required in this field.

    • Forensic Mental Health and Offending (30 Credits) - Optional

      Are mentally disordered offenders "mad" or "bad"? Should they be "treated" or "punished"? What is the relationship between "mental health" and offending? These are just some of the questions that this exciting new third year module will introduce you to aswe explore the key debates, theoretical perspectives and differing responses that surround forensic mental health. The module begins by introducing students to the variety of different ways in which mental health has been classified, understood and responded to. We start by tracing the history of the asylums and psychiatry through to the deinstitutionalisation of the mentally ill and move towards ?care in the community?. Subsequent political and public responses to a small number of high profile offences by the mentally ill in the 1990s are considered before the current framework of services for mentally disordered offenders is outlined. This will enable students to critically engage with the development of criminal justice and health responses to mentally disordered offenders and consider the theoretical and practical challenges that are raised by our attempts to identify and target so called ?dangerous? people. The problems surrounding treatment and making accurate predictions of risk will also be explored. Key themes of the module will be drawn out through the use of key case studies including severe personality disorder and drug misuse.

    • Special Constabulary and Cadet Leadership (30 Credits) - Optional
      The aim of this module is to link academic learning to the PSC training and to the leadership role for the cadet element of policing with an opportunity to apply, consolidate and develop skills and knowledge for future employment. This is a practical experience module that provides the means for students to link academic work with the 'real world' situation in order to conceptualise the
      meaning of theory in the wider context. This module facilitates the embedding of transferable and graduate skills necessary for future career paths and employment.
    • Integrated Learning and Work Placement (30 credits) - Optional (30 Credits) - Optional
      This practical experience module provides the means for students to link academic work with the 'real world' situation in order to conceptualise the meaning of theory in the wider world context. This module facilitates the embedding of transferable and graduate skills necessary for future career paths and employment. It is envisaged the student will reflect upon areas of knowledge relevant to the placement learning experience and develop personal knowledge through a review of their learning. The placement learning experience provides for two types of placement; standard placements and project based placements. The placement experience provides students with the opportunity to enhance their skills of self-expression, communication, self reliance and co-operation. Students will also engage in risk assessment.
    • Cybercrime (30 credits) - Optional

      Cybercrime is a booming area of criminology as most crimes are now carried out online, through a variety of different devices and social media platforms. This module commences with some key lectures focusing on the definition of cybercrime, its victims and offenders and on the legal and methodological challenges related to it. Moreover, it presents case studies on online child sexual abuse, hacking, the Dark Web, identify theft, wildlife trafficking, gangs cyber terrorism, and online extremism.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BA Criminology (Criminal Justice) support your career?

While a degree in criminology will ordinarily lead to employment within the general field of criminal justice, many of the skills that you will learn are highly valued by employers across all sectors.

Previous graduates have gone on to a wide range of graduate jobs such as victim support workers, data analysts, researchers, junior civil servants, criminal justice advocacy and reform workers, police officers, and probation officers in a range of criminal justice institutions including:

  • local authorities
  • victim support services
  • the National Offender Management Service
  • the Home Office
  • the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
  • the Howard League for Penal Reform
  • the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime
  • the Prison’s Inspectorate
  • academic positions in universities

In addition, you could also develop a career in third sector organisations including those that deal with victim support, offender and drug rehabilitation.

What support is available?

Our Employability Service will help you to develop skills desired by top employers and gain valuable work experience. We provide workshops, events and one-to-one support with job hunting, writing your CV and cover letters, interview coaching and advice on how to network effectively. We also support you in securing part-time work, placements, internships, and volunteering opportunities, and offer an enterprise support service for those looking to start their own business.

  • Afua Agyeman

    Criminology (Criminal Justice) BA graduate

    My experience at Middlesex has been unforgettable. I have loved every aspect of my course and have found the lecturers and staff to be helpful and supportive. I have also gained lifetime memories and made wonderful friends that I will stay in touch with. Middlesex has opened doors to many opportunities for me, and I know for certain that it will continue to do the same for future students.

    I have found the lectures really useful as they have helped further my knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of various criminology-based topics. I also thoroughly enjoyed the seminars as they are more interactive and therefore push me to input in class.

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