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Criminology (Policing and Investigations) BA Honours

You’ll get to grips with policing’s important role within the criminal justice system and understand the effect of crime on society.
Clearing is now open!
This course is available through Clearing

Apply now:

October 2023
3 years full-time
4 years full-time with placement
Between 4, 5 or 7 years part-time
£9,250 (UK) *
£15,100 (INT) *
Course Leader
Anthony Goodman

This course is now available in Clearing.
To find out the latest entry requirements, give us a call 0208 411 6565 or Live chat.

Criminology in action

Our criminology degree is one of the first in the world and we offer one of the most innovative programmes in the UK. The BA Criminology (Policing and Investigations) shares its core with the BA Criminology, while offering a series of modules with a focus on contemporary policing and investigations, together with options for relevant practice-based placements (online or face-to-face).

This new programme is aimed at this wider context of policing. It not only equips you with key skills that allow you to understand the causes of crime in the 21st century, it also equips you with key skills to build a career responding to crime.

The BA 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.

Studying the intersection of criminology and policing

BA Criminology (Policing and Investigations) offers an extensive knowledge of the discipline of criminology and practices of policing and investigation. You will be able to apply this knowledge for creative, critical, ethical thinking and action.

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

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.

Join a collaborative and international community

Middlesex University has played a significant role in shaping criminology in the UK and internationally and has an extensive experience in policing education. One of the key strengths of our programmes is that we “team-teach” a number of our core and optional modules. This mode of teaching allows you to experience a diverse range of knowledge, experiences and pedagogical styles, assisting in the development of your knowledge and skills at all levels of the programmes.

We encourage work between students through projects, workshops, and labs (either face-to-face or online). You’ll be able to work with a team(either face-to-face or online) and build on communication, organisation and analysis skills. You will gain industry experience though field trips and an optional volunteering module (either face-to-face or virtual presence in the organisation) that enables you to integrate your learning and development from that experience into your degree.

This focus on industry engagement means in your final year you can choose whether to undertake a dissertation or a work-based project.

You will have the ability to choose a specialist module in Year 2. Additionally, in your final year, you will have the opportunity to undertake either term or year-long placement modules (involving either a virtual placement or being physically present in the organisation you are working with).

Get the support you need to succeed

Our personalised approach gives you the support you need to succeed as a student. You will have the freedom to tailor your degree to a specialist area to suit your personal and career interests. There are also opportunities to undertake a volunteering module and a placement option in your third year.

We have links and engagement with the breadth of law enforcement agencies in the 21st century. Previous students have worked in organisations like the Barnet Youth Offending Team, Prisoners Abroad and Belmarsh Prison.

Course highlights

  • You’ll build extensive knowledge of criminology and practices of policing and investigation in a new programme designed to equip you with the skills to understand the causes of crime in the 21st century.
  • Our course is one of the most innovative in the UK and combines modules with a focus on contemporary policing and investigations, with options for relevant practice-based placements where possible.
  • You’ll work individually and as a team and gain industry experience through field trips and optional volunteering modules, if possible.
  • You’ll have the option of selecting a specialist module in year two and, in your final year, to take on term or year-long placement modules to put your skills into practice

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What will you study on the BA Criminology (Policing and Investigations)?

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; and examine the function of the police at a local, national and international level.

You will learn to understand the intricacies of the criminal justice system 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 homicide, cybercrime, gangs, organised crime, mental health will also be explored.

What will you gain?

You will develop research skills that will enable you to analyse a range of publications in both print and digital from within government criminal justice agencies and other informed organisations. You will be able to analyse quantitative research, skills and debate to produce, and act on an action plan for improvement.

We also ensure that you’ll come out of your degree with an understanding of key concepts and perspectives which you’ll be able to demonstrate through a variety of writing tasks, engaging with online learning materials, acting on guidance and feedback and participation in debates.

Finally, you will also 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.


  • 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.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:

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. Standard entry requirements
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Mr Paul Hooks
Lecturer in Policing

Mr Paul Hooks  is a retired Police Officer with over twenty years’ operational experience who leads on the integration between higher education and police training.

Dr Andre Clarke
Programme Leader

Dr Andre Clarke is an ex-officer with extensive operational experience and academic skills set who specialises in diversity and inclusion initiatives, police culture and social networks.

Dr Angus Nurse
Associate Professor in Criminology and Sociology

Dr Angus Nurse comes from an investigative background and focusses on the link between wild life and criminal offences of that nature.

  • 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.

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