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Criminology BA Honours

Join one of the longest-established university criminology departments in the world with a team that supports policy development at national and international level
September 2024
3 years full-time
4 years full-time with placement
4 years part-time
£9,250 (UK)*
£16,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Naomi Graham

To study criminology is to embark on a fascinating journey exploring the problem of crime. Learn about its causes and consequences, and investigating how society does and should respond to criminal behaviour in all its forms.

Develop your understanding of criminology in action

This course is ideal if you're interested in how society responds to criminal behaviour and the challenges that this provides. Blending theory with practice, you’ll develop your knowledge by exploring key issues related to crime and justice before testing that knowledge through placements (when possible) within criminology-focused organisations and projects.

This blended programme gives you the opportunity to pick from a wide range of options, enabling you to choose the areas you are particularly interested in or align with your career goals.

Your degree will focus on key elements of criminology and sociology including crime and control, social sciences, justice and punishment, and forensic skills. The course offers visits (when possible) 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.

Get skills that are suited to a range of criminology careers

By studying this Criminology degree, you'll extend your understanding of why individuals and organisations break the law. You'll be well prepared for a career in developing solutions to a range of problems associated with crime and criminality in a diverse set of industries.

We've been at the forefront of criminological teaching and research since the 1970s and have played a significant role in shaping criminology in the UK and internationally. We were one of the first universities in the UK to develop criminology as an independent area of study, making us a consistent leader of the industry.

Studying with us will provide you with links to several areas of professional employment. You’ll have options both nationally and internationally, in the criminal justice sector and regulatory bodies, with voluntary and community organisations and in the allied fields of health, education and housing.

How is the BA Criminology taught?

This degree is taught through a combination of teaching methods designed to both impart and facilitate the development of knowledge and skills. Whether offered face-to-face or online, these methods include lectures, workshops and seminars, guided reading and independent study, group work, computer-assisted data analysis, case studies, and online and in-class exercises.

The programme also includes fieldwork, community-based and work-based learning opportunities.

Course highlights

  • You’ll learn through a blend of theory and practice, focusing on key elements of criminology and sociology including crime and control, social sciences, justice and punishment, and forensic skills.
  • A specialist employment module in the 2nd year, which helps students to explore their future employment options.
  • The course also offers placements in the 2nd or 3rd year providing you with an opportunity to gain course credit while getting direct real-world experience and visits at criminal justice organisations, along with fieldwork, community and work-based learning opportunities
  • Students have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in one of our partnership universities in America or Europe.
  • We’ll help you build your network using our links to the industry, helping you develop the skills and experience you need to succeed in a wide range of fields

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What will you study on the BA Criminology?

This degree provides an in-depth exploration of crime, criminals, victims and interaction with the Criminal Justice System. It's been designed for those who have an interest in how society responds to deviant behaviour and challenges the concept of social deviancy.

You'll focus on the theoretical concepts and approaches in criminology and their application to contemporary life through studying the impact of social divisions in minorities based on their experiences, interpretations, and representations of crime and criminal justice.

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

What will you gain?

At the end of this course, you'll have developed a suite of professional skills to equip you for success in your career. You'll be able to research a given topic, analyse the data and prepare a critical summary of your findings supported by empirical evidence.

You’ll learn to think reflexively about your own values, strengths and weakness, and responsibility while learning to give and receive feedback in professional environments. As a graduate, you’ll be prepared for a range of criminal justice roles like policing, research, and government. The skills and personal development you’ll experience through modules and practical learning will prepare you for any professional career.


  • Year 1

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Crime, Media and 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.

    • 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.

    • 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: Core modules

    • 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.

    • Contemporary Criminological Theory (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will allow you to engage with recent theoretical developments and trends influencing criminological discussion, debate and research. These developments and trends are assessed in relation to emerging social, political and cultural patterns. Building on prior learning in Year 1, you'll be able to apply theoretical knowledge to a range of contemporary issues and trends of prominent criminological interest and concern.

    • Criminology and Practice: Working in Criminology (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces the areas of employment that can be considered for criminology career pathways. You'll engage with various forms of crime control, offending and support services and be able to explore the knowledge and skills required to perform in various positions.

    • Transforming Justice: Human Rights and Power in Contemporary 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.

  • Year 2: Choose one optional module

    • Policing (15 credits) - Optional

      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.

    • Prisons and Penology (15 credits) - Optional

      This module introduces the prison system in England and Wales, with a particular focus on the aims of imprisonment and key developments in penal policy and practice. You'll build on your ability to apply theoretical perspectives to prison issues and analyse the impact of policy on the experiences of those who are imprisoned as well as the work of the key professionals and practitioners working in the prison system.

    • Sociology of Intimate and Personal Lives: Family, Friendship and Self (15 credits) - Optional

      This module introduces the changing ways family, intimate and personal lives have been understood by sociology. You'll explore changing ideas of family structures and practices, and look at ‘family’ as a social institution, considering how it's shaped by government policy, social attitudes, religious practice, social spaces and institutions. You'll gain a broader understanding of intimate and personal life that include our relationships with friends, animals, colleagues, and ourselves.

    • Digital Media and the Social World (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will develop your understanding of the ways in which digital media touches on many aspects of social life, leaving our online and offline lives interrelated. The ongoing digitalisation of society presents important topics of investigation that range from everyday social to personal and political life. You'll develop a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which digital media is embedded in everyday life, for networking, political action and forming identities.

    • Volunteering for Engagement and Professional Development (15 credits) - Optional

      This module supports your personal and professional development by providing opportunities to gain practical experience within a community-based setting. You'll explore the links between academic study and community engagement in order to integrate and apply theoretical knowledge to real world issues. You'll understand the processes for structured reflection and gain an understanding of community concerns, cultural competence and ethical and social responsibilities. You'll gain a range of skills and knowledge useful for further studies and employment.

    • 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.

  • Year 2: Choose one optional module

    • 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.

    • Our Social World: Welfare, Care, Education and Housing in Contemporary Britain (15 credits) - Optional

      This module introduces the contemporary issues in housing, welfare, education and care. You'll be able to analyse policy making and implementation and consider how people respond to policy and challenge policy decisions that impact their lives. You'll cover the history and development of the welfare state in the UK and the changes that have since taken place in government ideology, provision, and economics. You can develop your interest in the module themes in third year options that explore education, work and health in-depth.

    • 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

    • Contemporary Issues in Criminology and Policy Processes (15 credits) - Compulsory

      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

    • 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.

    • ‘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.

    • Digital and Visual Methods (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will develop your understanding in a range of digital and visual methods for conducting research and analysing data primarily through digital ethnography, semiotics and content analysis. You'll begin to look at innovative digital methodologies that are being developed in order to study digital media problems from a methodological and ethical position. You'll gain the practical skills needed to undertake visual and digital research and the knowledge to do this in an ethical way; useful for work and study environments in the future.

    • Gender, Sexuality and Society (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will allow you to critically review sociological perspectives on gender and sexuality. Drawing upon a range of theoretical frameworks, you'll critically review the ways in which gender and sexuality have been positioned within sociology. You'll be encouraged to critically analyse everyday experiences using theoretical material. You'll explore the ways in which gender and sexuality are intertwined with race, religion, age, dis/ability, class as well as other categories, and enables you to draw on sociological theory to evaluate the social world.

    • Organised Violence: War, Genocide and Terrorism (15 credits) - Optional

      This module provides a critical understanding of violence as an organised form of action involving both state and non-state actors. From the work of the likes of Marx, Tilly, Mann, Arendt and Fanon, organised violence emerged as a key element in modern state-building, in Western countries and the global South. You'll look at how, in today’s world, organised violence is equally central, not only to the forging of political entities but also to their reproduction. You should choose to study this module if you want to work in human rights, conflict and peace, and terrorism areas.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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).

  • Year 3: Choose three optional modules

    • Home, Housing the Society (15 credits) - Optional

      The module introduces several questions concerning home and housing in contemporary society as well as the way sociologists should confront these issues as they occupy a central place in the political, public and mediatic debate. It offers a sociology of housing and of the home, looking at the relationship between self, society and state. You'll focus on the UK context with the aim to consolidate a knowledge base in terms of theory, social policy and politics, but will also explore home in a global context. You'll have the opportunity to complete a capstone project or a dissertation in that field.

    • Life Course, Health and Disability (15 credits) - Optional

      This module introduces a range of topics and theoretical and empirical debates within the field of health and disability studies from a sociological life course perspective. You'll reflect on everyday social situations and challenges people with disabilities experience. You'll explore how they are shaped and framed by social, economic and political explanations of health and disability. You'll be able to apply sociological insights developed in this module to health and disability studies and to health care professions you may choose to enter after graduation.

    • Radicalisation and Violent Extremism (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will give you the Sociological and Criminological concepts necessary to explore personal and collective experiences of radicalisation and extremism, to critically assess current policy and practice responses to this development, and to propose future policy directions. You'll also engage with urgent societal questions around security and insecurity. This module will give you the relevant skills and knowledge if you're looking to undertake research or employment in areas relating to community support and prevention of violent extremism.

    • Social Movements and Protest (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will give you the knowledge and understanding of the interaction of politics and society with a particular focus on social movements, collective action, and contention. This module adopts a global approach and you'll gain an overview of major ideas in political sociology and an explanation of the processes involving power relations between the state and civil society actors. You'll also begin to understand a number of political-sociological themes and locate their development within a variety of social and national contexts.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

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 support your career?

A wide variety of careers across the public, private and voluntary sectors are open to graduates of Criminology. Our previous graduates have been successful at gaining employment in a wide range of organisations, including:

  • Central and local government
  • The police
  • Court services
  • Youth justice
  • Victim support services
  • Voluntary and community-based sector

Roles in these organisations are diverse but include research, crime analysis, policy and campaigning, court work, offender and victim casework work, and investigative and legal work.

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 Keir Sothcott
Senior Lecturer in Criminology & Sociology

Dr Sothcott specialises in Contemporary Criminological Theory, the History of Crime and Punishment and Interpersonal Violence. His academic credentials include MA degrees in Sociology and Criminology, and his current work revolves predominantly around violent crime.

Dr Myrna Papadouka

Dr Papadouka has previously worked as a Research Support Advisor at the University of Cambridge and as a Research Analyst in Organised Crime at the National Security and Resilience Studies group at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Her research interests include organised crime, human trafficking, drugs in the Dark Net and conventional markets, big data and text analysis methodologies.

  • Andrew Serghides

    Criminology BA student

    I have always been interested in understanding criminal behaviour, and wanted to gain a theoretical understanding to add to, and improve on, my previous policing perception. I particularly enjoyed the 'Institutions of Criminal Justice' module which required court visits to both Magistrates' and Crown Courts. However, on the whole, the knowledge, experience, and skill that I have gained throughout the course are collectively the most enjoyable aspect of my undergraduate degree at Middlesex.

    Prior to studying Criminology, I was sure that I wanted to join the Metropolitan Police. While this remains an option for the future, my current priority lies in further education and I am presently looking at applying for a GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law).

  • Abigail Akoto

    Criminology BA (Youth Justice) student

    Studying at Middlesex was a challenge but became one of my greatest achievements to date. I was supported by amazing lecturers along the way and was able to do a placement in my final year because of this. The course is right for anyone who wants to work within the criminal justice system and gain a deeper understanding of criminality.

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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