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

Discovering the relationship between youth and crime, you’ll explore the fundamentals of criminological theory and social issues facing young people.
October 2020
3 years full-time
4 years full-time with placement
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£13,400 (INT) *
Course leader
David Porteous

Exploring the issues of youth justice

Strongly focused on usable skills, this degree gives you a grounding in criminology. You’ll concentrate on the core subjects related to criminology including crime theory and criminal justice institutions, so you’ll be able to analyse issues in a clear and concise way.

While studying criminology, you’ll also explore youth justice studies, discovering the history of youth justice and policy, and investigate the role and issues of children and young people in the justice system.

Our criminology department is a leading centre of criminology and social science research, so you’ll be studying at the heart of the latest policy and practice developments. We also have strong links with the Metropolitan and Hertfordshire police which enables us to fast-track your application into the Special Constabulary.

Developing your criminology skills in a live environment

During the course you’ll take field trips within a criminal justice setting like court visits and prisons, which you’ll use to develop your understanding of criminology in context.

You’ll also take part in a paid work placement and our links with employers in the criminal justice system means that prestigious placement opportunities are available. Here you’ll build your professional experience within the live criminal justice settings, building practical skills and knowledge. Our students have undertaken placements at TSS London, St Giles Trust and Silver Birch Care, among others.

Supporting your career goals

When it comes to support, you’ll be matched with a Personal Tutor to get the backing you need. You’ll also get support from our Student Learning and Graduate Academic Assistants who have personal experience in your subject.

When you graduate, you’ll have a wide range of jobs available to you. Previously, our graduates have gone on to work as youth workers, police officers, data analysts, and more. They have been employed in organisations like the Metropolitan Police, the Probation Service, and the Home Office among others.

This a versatile and challenging degree with a wide range of career options available. The skills you’ll build are highly valued by employers across all sorts of sectors, so if you’re interested in criminology, then this is the course for you.

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

You will be introduced to crime in its social context, to the history of criminological thought and to the principal methods used in the study of crime and criminal justice. You will then go on to examine contemporary ideas about the nature and causes of crime and offending, paying attention to the global context, critically examines institutions such as the police, courts and prisons. You will be equipped with the skills you need to undertake criminological research. The final year dissertation allows you to complete your own research on a subject of your choosing.

What will you gain?

Core transferable skills gained by studying this programme include verbal and written communication skills, analytical skills, research methodologies and techniques, skills in constructing and defending arguments. Practical experience is available via the option of doing an accredited placement as 3rd year optional module. 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 develop advanced analytical skills that will enable you to critically evaluate a wide range of materials including theories, 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.


  • 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.

    • Youth Crime and Youth Justice (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      Why do children and young people break the law and what should we do about this? How much of a problem is youth crime? How is the Youth Justice System organised and is it effective? Should we send children to prison? These are the kinds of questions considered in this module which is core for those on the BA Criminology (Youth Justice) pathway. It examines different explanations for youthful offending and related issues such as school bullying and exclusion and substance misuse as well as critical perspectives which emphasise children's rights and highlight the dangers of labelling and stigmatisation which may follow from criminalising young people's behaviour. As these different topics are contested and inherently complex, the module encourages discussion and debate. At the same time, as students on this degree are typically seeking to work in the area of youth justice, attention is focused on the workings of Youth Offending Teams and related organisations. It includes talks from practitioners in the field and case studies which bring the issues to life. You  are encouraged to relate and reflect on your own knowledge and experiences and to identify areas and skills that you wish to develop. The benefits of volunteering and of internships are highlighted and there is a clear focus on helping you to pursue these opportunities at the same time as developing a critical understanding of youth justice policy and practice.

  • Year 3

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

      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.

    • 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) - Optional

      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.

    • 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.

    • 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

      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 (Youth Justice) support your career?

While a degree in Criminology (Youth Justice) will ordinarily lead to employment within the general fields of youth or criminal justice, many of the skills that you will learn; data research; critical analysis; oral, written and visual communication; reasoned debate; understanding theoretical concepts; and policy analysis, are highly valued by employers across all sectors.

Over recent years, our students have gone on to a wide range of graduate jobs including the following: youth workers, police officers, social workers, probation officers, drug and alcohol workers, data analysts, civil servants and trainee outreach workers.

Our graduates have been employed by a wide range of organisations including the following: The Metropolitan Police and County police services across the UK, The Probation Service, The Home Office, local authorities in London and across the UK, and the Border Agency.

In addition, many have gone on to develop careers in a wide range of third sector organisations including those that deal with services for youth people, victim support, offender and drug and alcohol rehabilitation organisations.

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.

Dr David Porteous
Course Leader

Dr Porteous has taught in the field for over twenty years. He has a particular interest in the overlap between offending and victimisation and is currently undertaking research into trauma and youth crime.

Professor Anthony Goodman

Professor Goodman began his working life as a Probation Officer before moving into academia where he has written about the history of probation, social work with substance users and working with children who offend.

Dr Elena Martellozzo

Dr Martellozzo is an international expert in the field of online sexual abuse whose work has informed governments and policing bodies across Europe.

  • Danny McLaughlin

    Criminology (Youth Justice) BA graduate

    The BA Criminology (Youth Justice) was a diverse and challenging course. Since finishing my degree, my career has gone from strength to strength. The support and guidance from David Porteous (Programme Leader) and the Criminology and Sociology department enabled me to secure a First Class Honours Degree and gain employment within the Youth Offending Service.

  • Iritza Sheikh

    Criminology BA student

    The interesting theories and case studies which are relevant to both past and current world scenarios stood out most for me. The course has so far wonderfully summed up the crime and crime patterns that we see in everyday life. This is in no small part down to the highly qualified faculty members who offer superior knowledge and expertise.

    Following on from this course it is my aim to eventually join the Metropolitan Police Service or work as a probation officer. I would highly recommend Middlesex University to anybody considering this degree. If I were to ever study again, Middlesex would be my first choice.

    The highly qualified staff offer knowledge and expertise and the case studies which are relevant to both past and current world scenarios stood out.

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Code: L350

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

Code: L437

Criminology (Policing) BA Honours

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

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