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Criminology (Policing and Investigations) BA Honours

A criminology degree with a strong focus on the criminal justice system led by academics with extensive experience in policing education with real-life experience and connections
September 2024
3 years full-time
4 years full-time with placement
Between 4, 5 or 7 years part-time
£9,250 (UK)*
£16,600 (INT)*
Course Leader
Susanne Knabe-Nicol

The BA Criminology (Policing and Investigations) BA Honours shares its core with the BA Criminology, while offering a series of modules with a focus on contemporary policing and investigations.

Why choose Criminology (Policing and Investigations) BA at Middlesex?

This course is aimed at the wider context of policing and criminal investigation. It will give you an understanding of the causes of crime in the 21st century and equip you with skills to build a career in responding to crime.

Middlesex University has played a significant role in shaping criminology in the UK and internationally and has an extensive experience in policing education. A criminology degree with such a strong focus on policing and investigations is extremely rare and our practice-based learning approach makes this a very innovative course.

Our North London location means that we have strong links with the police and other criminal justice agencies, so you can gain valuable practical experience.

What you will gain

This course is open to many fields of work and further study. It is ideal if you are interested in policing, but also if you aren't sure if you’d like to go into the field directly or might be interested in exploring other related fields.

You will develop research skills which will help you analyse publications from government criminal justice agencies and other organisations. You will analyse quantitative research and produce action plans for improvement.

You’ll develop an understanding of the main concepts and approaches which you’ll demonstrate through writing tasks, engaging with online learning materials, acting on guidance and feedback and participating in debates.

We will help you build an understanding 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.

This BA in Criminology (Policing and Investigations) is not a pre-join degree for the police service. However, the degree will allow you to apply for the accelerated Degree Holders Entry Programme, if you are interested in joining a UK police service after graduation.

We have over 145 years of experience delivering professional, creative and technical education that prepares students – like you – for success in global careers, so find out more today.

3 great reasons to pick this course

  • Student satisfaction
    95% of students were positive about the resources and facilities on their course
  • Our graduate destinations speak for themselves
    We are proud to see our graduates working to improve society at organisations like the Barnet Youth Offending Team, Belmarsh Prison, Prisoners Abroad and the Police
  • Specialise your learning to follow your passion
    You’ll have the option of selecting a specialist module in year two. In addition to this, you can take either a term-long or year-long placement module to put your skills into practice

What you will learn

This degree shares its core modules with our BA Criminology degree and includes optional modules on contemporary policing issues.

One of the main strengths of our criminology degrees is that we “team-teach” a number of our core and optional modules. Working together, you will learn together and experience different teaching styles throughout the course.

You will gain industry experience through field trips and an optional volunteering module that enables you to integrate your learning and development from that experience into your degree.

This course offers visits to criminal justice organisations, courts and prisons, as well as inviting industry-leading guest speakers to give you a well-rounded and practice-based course that will propel you into your chosen career.

You will build extensive knowledge of the discipline of criminology and practices of policing and investigation. You'll be able to apply this knowledge to creative, critical, ethical thinking and action.

You will develop the knowledge and awareness to be ethically informed and respectful of human rights – particularly in relation to the history and contemporary forms of policing and investigation in complex diverse societies.

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You will study the role of the police as a controlling mechanism and critically examine the models used to:

  • Preserve law and order – detect and reduce crime
  • Engage with the community
  • Examine the function of the police at a local, national and international level.

You'll be taught by staff currently researching key issues related to crime and justice, and the findings of their research will influence your learning and research skills. You'll learn to understand the factors that influence criminological research, policy and practice, and learn the basic skills of research and analysis.

You will learn how the criminal justice system works and discover how different agencies such as the police, probation service, courts and prisons interact. Because our degree offers a theoretical approach to policing, you will develop a strategic understanding of its systems, placing you one step ahead in your career.

Contemporary issues of policing such as investigative psychology, cyber crime, gangs, organised crime, and mental health will also be explored.

Year 1

The first year has six compulsory criminology modules. These modules give you a grounding in criminology, providing essential knowledge and skills, and introducing key areas of study that you will explore throughout your degree.

Year 2

In the second year you will building on the knowledge and skills from year one, and focusing your study on essential areas of theory, knowledge, skills and practice for criminology.

Year 3

In the final year you will undertake either a dissertation in the broad area of policing and investigations or a 30-credit work placement module in an approved field.

The final year of study offers you a wide variety of choice to enable you to shape your degree in relation to your academic interests and employment aspirations. Each of the option modules available to you will build on and complement the knowledge and skills you have already developed during the first two years of study.


  • Year 1

    • Skills and Debates in Criminology (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      Through engagement with key issues in crime, deviance and crime control, this module introduces the core skills required for successful engagement in criminological debates. These are essential for the completion of your degree and your life beyond university – formulating and exploring criminological ideas, how to communicate and engage with evidence, and how to work in academic contexts.

    • Crime in Social Context (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module explores the ways in which crime is defined and constructed in law, politics, society and culture over time and space, highlighting its essentially contested nature. You'll gain a conceptual understanding of crime, challenging common ideas and misconceptions about crime and how it manifests itself.

    • Explaining Crime (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      Through undertaking this module, you will develop a broad understanding of the major theoretical approaches shaping contemporary criminology. You will understand how criminological theory responds to social change, and how theory shapes competing understandings of crime and responses to crime.

    • Researching Crime in the City (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces social research and enquiry as a way of seeing and interpreting the world we live in, and the behaviours and lifestyles in the cities and communities our lives are embedded within. You'll focus on qualitative research in criminology and the different ways qualitative studies are carried out to examine and form understandings of crime and deviance.

    • Institutions of Criminal Justice (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module examines a range of key criminal justice institutions and analyses contemporary issues and debates relating to them. You'll build on your knowledge of current policy and practice issues impacting on the operation of criminal justice institutions, including the police, the courts, prisons and probation, immigration detention, youth justice and the forensic mental health system.

    • Crime, Media, Culture (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module allows you to begin to explore the relationship between crime and culture. You will gain an understanding of how media and popular culture represent and engage with crime, deviancy and justice issues by considering issues such as race and crime, terrorism, suppression of the media, and societal understanding and acceptance of state narratives concerning violence and war.

    • Law for Criminology (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces the English Legal System and aims to create a critical awareness of how the English Legal System provides a framework for the workings of criminal justice and state responses to crime, deviance and public insecurity. You'll examine a selection of criminal offences and the defences relevant to these offences.

    • Quantitative Investigation of Crime (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces the basic components of quantitative social science research for Criminology. You'll focus on experiential approaches to developing key research and academic skills, and adopts a developmental style through individual and small group assessments including a range of skills-based tasks, an excel-based report and a small group or pair presentation.

  • Year 2

    • Research Methods for Studying Contemporary Society (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module gives you the knowledge and skills to use SPSS for data analysis and thematic analysis to analyse qualitative data. You'll have the opportunity to propose a methodological research project on a topic of interest and produce a mixed method project. Part of the project involves forming a conversational guide, collecting and analysing data, and writing a report. You'll be prepared to undertake qualitative and quantitative research for your dissertation and study advanced research methods during your studies.

    • Transforming Justice: Human Rights and Power in Contemporary Criminological Policy and Practice (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      Starting from the point that human rights are more than just a legal framework but also a powerful moral discourse, this module applies a human rights lens to contemporary criminological policy. This will allow you to reflect on what putting issues such as power and rights at the centre of criminological practice might mean for social justice.

    • Race and Social Justice (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module will allow you to develop an understanding of theoretical perspectives on race and social justice in relation to lived realities. You'll explore race, power and privilege along with detailed discussions of white power and privilege across different spaces, racism and intersectional oppression. You'll then focus on the power of the state and legislation, providing a critical reflection through interdisciplinary scholarship. This module will prepare you for engagement with race and social justice topics for your dissertation and/or if you want to pursue a career in a related field.

    • Law Enforcement: Partnerships, Agencies, and Communities (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The module allows you to reflect on a wide conception of law enforcement effectiveness through critical understanding of how contemporary deviance, wrongdoing and non-compliance are policed by a range of agencies.

    • Policing: Diversity and Inclusion (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This modules seeks to explore and critique the occupational culture within UK policing establishments to understand how this impacts on diversity and inclusion issues.

    • Policing (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module will enable you to examine the historical context of policing. You'll develop an understanding of how the modern police service and wider policing family have evolved. Using current theories, knowledge and practice, you'll explore, assess and analyse the contemporary issues faced in policing.

  • Year 2: Choose one optional module

    • Criminal Law and Legal Processes (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module develops your understanding of the complex function of criminal law and legal processes within contemporary criminal justice as well as state responses to crime, deviance and public insecurity. You'll gain an appreciation of the legal and human rights issues arising from different punishment measures and criminal justice responses can give rise to.

    • Victimology (15 Credits) - Optional

      The module will expand your thinking around victimisation and consider this topic from a broader perspective, assessing societal responses to victimisation and who we consider to be a victim. You'll explore multiple crime types such as sexual and domestic violence, homicide, sex work, hate crime, financial crime and state crime, and you'll compare and contrast different theories and perspectives in relation to the concept of victimisation.

    • Gender and Crime (15 Credits) - Optional

      One of the key challenges to mainstream criminology is that it often fails to consider gender as a factor of criminal and deviant behaviour. Gender impacts all aspects of crime and criminal justice as well as the regulation of people’s actions. This module develops your knowledge and skills to assess the gendered nature of crime and deviance.

    • Youth, Crime, and Justice (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module will allow you to analyse the relationship between youth, crime and justice by situating contemporary debates about youth offending and victimisation within historical and comparative perspective. You'll explore the different settings in which young people are involved in or affected by crime, including the home, the school, the street and online spaces.

    • Cybercrime in Contemporary Criminology (15 Credits) - Optional

      Cybercrime is becoming more sophisticated and widespread, as an increasing number of crimes are carried out online or have a link to cyber-space, the internet or social media. This module will create a foundation for understanding different cybercrime areas. The students will be introduced to criminological theories, legal and methodological issues around various types of cybercrime.

    • Cities and Communities (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module introduces key questions in urban sociology and criminology and covers the main approaches which have developed in these fields. You'll be able to engage with the evolution of cities and what it implies for those who live in the communities, exploring questions of intra-urban inequalities, crime, disorder and social harm. At a time of planetary urbanisation, it's essential to engage with the complexity of the social institutions and the physical infrastructures that make up their fabric, considering questions around urban insecurity, gentrification and social housing in these debates.

  • Year 3

    • Dissertation (30 Credits) - Compulsory Option

      This module aims to synthesise learning from previous criminology modules and gives you the opportunity to study independently and investigate a topic in depth. 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 can choose to study this module OR Learning at Work

    • Learning at Work (30 Credits) - Compulsory Option

      This module uses the workplace as a site of learning and inquiry. It supports the integration of theory and practice and provides opportunities to apply methods of inquiry to practice related problems in order to recommend solutions and improve work practice. You'll also be immersed in a process of reflection, cultivates knowledge of ethical and professional behaviours and builds some of the key understandings associated with the worker-researcher.

      You can choose to study this module OR Dissertation

    • Understanding Corruption (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides you with a critical overview of corruption from a theoretical and practical perspective. You’ll critically examine existing and evolving legislation, policies, processes and developments aimed at addressing corruption in policing as well as examining how corruption is policed.

    • Investigations in Theory and Practice (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides an overview of models of investigation from a theoretical and practical perspective. You'll critically examine existing and evolving legislation, policies, processes and developments in investigative practice. You'll explore the role of investigations as a fact-finding exercise and the search for ‘truth’ within criminal, civil and administrative justice contexts.

    • Complex and Serious Crime Investigation (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      Undertaking this module will help you gain insight into serious and complex crime investigations.  You will critically examine existing and evolving legislation, policies, processes and technological developments of investigations.

  • Year 3: Choose one optional module

    • Comparative Criminal Justice: Criminal Courts, Sentencing and Prisons (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module will enable you to undertake comparative criminal justice analysis across jurisdictions. You'll learn how to justify the relevance and importance of the data used in a country (case) study approach. The module takes a comparative approach to understand the similarities and differences in criminal justice systems, penal policy, sentencing approaches and ‘cultures of punishment’ across jurisdictions.

    • Rehabilitation and Community Support (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module enables you to evaluate the various interventions used to reform or rehabilitate offenders. You'll critically assess key agencies involved in rehabilitation and punishment, analysing the experiences of those subject to community justice. You'll also learn to critically analyse the various barriers to successful re-entry, desistance and rehabilitation of lawbreakers and the role risk plays in assessing offenders.

    • Investigations in Theory and Practice (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module provides an overview of models of investigation from a theoretical and practical perspective. You'll critically examine existing and evolving legislation, policies, processes and developments in investigative practice. You'll explore the role of investigations as a fact-finding exercise and the search for ‘truth’ within criminal, civil and administrative justice contexts.

    • Violent Crime (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to discuss the dynamics of violence from a gender-informed perspective, how it is used by perpetrators, controlled, and used to control. The module highlights the interconnections between violence, gender, sexuality and crime, and illustrates the blurred boundaries between interpersonal, self-inflicted, community and structural violence.

    • Crimes of the Powerful (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module will facilitate your critical engagement with crimes of the powerful, defined as illegal conducts perpetrated by offenders who hold an exorbitant degree of resources (both material and symbolic) as well as power when compared to those they victimise. The module follows the tradition of study established by Edwin Sutherland. However, the focus moves from the generic interest in white collar crime onto the crimes of the powerful (or power crimes).

    • ‘Learning Together’ Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module gives you the unique experience of studying alongside people accommodated in prison. You'll use the criminal justice system as a point of reference to examine contemporary issues and debates relating to crime control and theories of punishment, in which ideas of rehabilitation, system reform, and social justice are embedded.

  • Year 3: Choose two optional modules

    • Environmental Justice and Green Criminology (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module explores a green perspective on crime and criminal justice as well as the implications of crime and criminal behaviour involving the environment and non-human animals. You'll explore perspectives on green criminology as a sub-discipline of criminology and examine crimes against the environment, crimes against animals, corporate environmental harm and ecological justice and species justice.

    • Forensic Mental Health and Offending (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module introduces the key theoretical perspectives surrounding mental health and offending. You'll gain a familiarity with the key legislation, policy and practice in this area. You'll also develop a practical understanding of the current legal framework and service provision in England for ‘mentally disordered offenders’, and be able to critically evaluate the key debates and controversies in the field.

    • Drugs, Crime and Criminal Justice (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module introduces the key debates in drugs policy, particularly focusing on the interface with the criminal justice system. You'll develop your abilities to critically analyse and evaluate the laws, policies and institutions of drugs control and their social, political and economic contexts.

    • Cyber-Security (15 Credits) - Optional

      The module will give you an in-depth approach to cybercrime challenges from a criminological cyber-security perspective. You'll be introduced to specific cybercrime methods, pathways and platforms as well as cyber-security responses in relation to financial, personal and political cybercrime.

    • Children as Victims and the Child Protection System (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module will allow you to examine the relevant theories, literature and public discourses surrounding the concept of children as victims and the child protection system. You'll learn about the range of challenges surrounding child protection, including situations leading to failures in multi-agency approaches, child safety and protection strategies.

    • Gangs, Group Offending and Joint Enterprise (15 Credits) - Optional

      Gangs and youth violence are a ‘hot’ topic in the media and a major concern of government and police, and joint enterprise has emerged as a significant issue of justice. Drawing on a rich history of gang research and theory, you'll explore debates over how these social problems should be understood and addressed.

    • Transnational Crime (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module explores and critiques the globalisation of crime and the extent to which a ‘globalised’ response to transnational crime exists. You'll discuss, evaluate, engage and critically analyse various topics including corruption (corporate and public), democracy, legitimacy, the drugs trade, arms trade, and smuggling and trafficking in humans and body parts.

    • Learning at Work (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module uses the workplace as a site of learning and professional development. It fosters the growth of key employability skills and a critical understanding of work place policies and practices. A central theme of this module is reflective practice and you'll be encouraged to engage in a process of action and reflection. You'll be supported in the meaningful integration of theoretical knowledge and placement practice as well as a critical awareness of ethical and professional behaviours. You'll gain a range of skills and knowledge useful for further studies and employment.

To find out more about this course, please download the Criminology (Policing and Investigations) BA specification (PDF).

We review our courses regularly to improve your experience and graduate prospects so modules may be subject to change.

  1. Teaching and independent learning
  2. Coursework and assessment

We offer lots of support to help you while you're studying including financial advice, wellbeing, mental health, and disability support.

Additional needs

We'll support you if you have additional needs such as sensory impairment or dyslexia. And if you want to find out whether Middlesex is the right place for you before you apply, get in touch with our Disability and Dyslexia team.


Our specialist teams will support your mental health. We have free individual counselling sessions, workshops, support groups and useful guides.

Work while you study

Our Middlesex Unitemps branch will help you find work that fits around uni and your other commitments. We have hundreds of student jobs on campus that pay the London Living Wage and above. Visit the Middlesex Unitemps page.

Financial support

You can apply for scholarships and bursaries and our MDX Student Starter Kit to help with up to £1,000 of goods, including a new laptop or iPad.

We have also reduced the costs of studying with free laptop loans, free learning resources and discounts to save money on everyday things. Check out our guide to student life on a budget.

How can the Criminology (Policing and Investigations) BA support your career?

Our degree is an excellent foundation for a career within the police force or the wider criminal justice system.

Although BA Criminology (Policing and Investigations) is not a pre-join degree, this degree will help you in your applications to the Police post-graduation, should you choose that field.

Graduate job roles

Recent graduates from across our criminology courses have gained successful employment with youth offender teams, the police service, the probation service, social work, local authority crime analyst departments, victim support schemes and drug mentoring. Other career paths include working as a lawyer, consultant and detective.

Graduate employers

Previous students have worked in organisations like the Barnet Youth Offending Team, Prisoners Abroad and Belmarsh Prison.

Transferable skills

While a degree in criminology will ordinarily lead to employment within the general field of criminal justice, the skills of data research, critical analysis, oral, written and visual communication, reasoned debate, understanding theoretical concepts, and policy analysis can be transferred to many other areas of employment.


Our employability service, MDXworks will launch you into the world of work from the beginning of your course, with placements, projects and networking opportunities through our 1000+ links with industry and big-name employers in London and globally.

Our dedicated lifetime career support, like our business start-up support programme and funding for entrepreneurs, has put us in the top 10 UK universities for students who want to be CEOs and entrepreneurs (Hitachi, 2021).

Global network

You’ll study with students from 122 countries who’ll hopefully become part of your global network. And after you graduate, we'll still support you through our alumni network to help you progress in your chosen career.

  1. UK entry
  2. International entry
  3. How to apply

These fees are for 2024/25:

UK students1

Full-time: £9,250

Part-time: £77 per taught credit

International students2

Full-time students: £16,600

Part-time students: £138 per taught credit

Additional costs

The following study tools are included in your fees:

  • Free access to the resources, learning materials and software you need to succeed on your course
  • Free laptop loans for up to 24 hours
  • Free printing for academic paperwork
  • Free online training with LinkedIn Learning.

The following course-related costs are not included in the fees, and you will need to budget for these:

Field Trips – Your course may include embedded field trips or museum visits on some modules (usually no more than once a term). All local field trips related to your study will be funded or expenses will be kept to a minimum to enable your participation, but you may be expected to cover travel expenses within London if public transport is required. If a London-based field visit is a module requirement, assistance with public transport costs can be considered

The course may include one international field trip. International field trips are optional and when available on the course may be partially funded. The department makes every effort to enable your participation in out-of-class activities and field trips.

Scholarships and bursaries

To help make uni affordable, we do everything we can to support you including our:

  • MDX Excellence Scholarship offers grants of up to £2,000 per year for UK students
  • Regional or International Merit Awards which reward International students with up to £2,000 towards course fees
  • Our MDX Student Starter Kit to help with up to £1,000 of goods, including a new laptop or iPad.

Find out more about undergraduate funding and all of our scholarships and bursaries.

Fees disclaimers

1. UK fees: The university reserves the right to increase undergraduate tuition fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions. The tuition fees for part-time UK study are subject to annual review and we reserve the right to increase the fees each academic year by no more than the level of inflation.

2. International fees: Tuition fees are subject to annual review and we reserve the right to increase the fees each academic year by no more than the level of inflation.

Any annual increase in tuition fees as provided for above will be notified to students at the earliest opportunity in advance of the academic year to which any applicable inflationary rise may apply.

Dr Susanne Knabe-Nicol

Dr Susanne Knabe-Nicol has a BSc in Psychology from the University of East London, an MSc in Interactive Multimedia from the University of Westminster, and an MSc and PhD in Investigative Psychology from the University of Liverpool.

She worked in UK policing for over a decade in the roles of regional intelligence analyst, major crime researcher, custody investigator, improvement and evaluations officer, improvement and evaluations coordinator, and change and improvement officer.

She's the creator of www.PoliceScienceDr.com, a website that makes research and best practice accessible to the law enforcement community around the world.

Prof Kevin McDonald
Professor and Head of Department of Criminology & Sociology

Kevin McDonald joined Middlesex University as Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Criminology and Sociology in July 2013.

He is active in international research networks around engagement and disengagement from violence, social and religious movements and the construction of civil societies, and the empowering role of digital technologies. He is a facilitator with the UK-based Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), where he is active in the Syria Programme.

He has held senior academic positions at the University of Melbourne in Australia, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, together with a Marie Curie International Fellowship at Goldsmiths College in London. He is a research associate at the Centre d'Analyse et d'Intervention Sociologiques at the EHESS, Paris.

  • Jack Bourne

    Criminology (Policing) BA (was Policing BA) graduate

    Not only does the course explore the subjects of policing, criminal justice and punishment, but it also explores the broader concept of sociology and the sociological aspects of crime and deviance. Although I personally found the Policing modules the most enjoyable, it was the broader subjects, such as sociology, that provided me with a real contemporary understanding.

    I particularly enjoyed working closely with the academics who have an extraordinary knowledge and previous applied experiences that allow you to gain a great insight into the areas of criminology that they have personally explored.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

Other courses

Criminology BA Honours

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Duration: 3 years full-time, 4 years full-time with placement, 4 years part-time

Code: L350

Foundation Year in Law and Social Sciences

Start: September 2024

Duration: 1 year full-time, + 3 years full-time

Code: See How to apply tab

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