Our flexible course encourages you to pursue your own areas of interest within Criminology while also providing you with a solid foundation in the discipline. You’ll also gain a range of personal and professional skills which will serve as a springboard for your future career development.
The course is carefully designed to enable you to gradually develop your knowledge and skills throughout your degree and enable you to acquire a ‘criminological imagination’ as well as gaining a good knowledge of the criminal justice system and crime and crime control in historical and comparative perspectives.
You can study Criminology as a single honours degree or in combination with another subject, as an equal partner, as a major component or as a minor component of your degree. See below for the list of subjects that can be studied together with Criminology.
In Year 1 we provide you with a sound understanding of the key concerns of the discipline and offer opportunities to develop essential skills for years 2 and 3. These modules introduce you to a range of topics, and to the different theoretical and methodological approaches criminologists use to make sense of the phenomenon of crime.
In Year 2 you will take a range of advanced modules, including a compulsory research methods module (Researching Crime: Methods, Approaches and Ethics) and two core content modules (Crime, Capitalism and Markets and Intersectionality and Crime). In these modules you’ll develop practical research skills, analysis and interpretation, and consider the ethical implications of researching crime and related phenomena.
In Year 3, you’ll have the opportunity to take specialised honours modules in topics such as policing in historical and comparative perspective, advanced studies in specific aspects and manifestations of crime, drugs and crime, the criminal justice system and crime control and management. These modules are developed around the research interests and expertise of Faculty and staff members. You will also be encouraged to undertake your own small research projects as part of the dissertation and independent study modules.
As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you choose from may vary from the ones shown here.
Crime and Criminology in Context
This module introduces you to some of the key concerns, questions and conceptual and theoretical frameworks of criminology. It will challenge conventional notions of who and what is viewed as ‘criminal’ and ask why do some ‘acts’ become understood as crimes and other not? It will also ask fundamental questions and frames the various ways to investigate and explain crime, victimisation and crime control.
Crime in Theory and Practice
This module investigates contemporary criminological concerns, central problems and current policies in the administration of criminal justice, law enforcement and punishment. It will address debates on crime control and management, and examine the interface between the theory of crime and criminal behaviour and the practical workings of the criminal justice system.
Years 2 and 3
Crime, Capitalism and Markets
This module explores the critical relationship between economic organisation – in this case capitalism and its contemporary manifestations (for example, global, neo-liberal) and crime. The module adopts a broadly political economy approach that conceptualises the economy and its organisation as a complex set of interdependencies at the individual, moral, cultural and other social dimensions.
Intersectionality and Crime
In recent years there has been an increasing focus on intersectionality theory in the social sciences. This module explores and analyses this approach and its implications for the wider discipline of criminology. This module invites you to critically engage and apply intersectionality and to explore how key social identities – for example gender, race, and socioeconomic class – affect all of us and how we experience crime and the criminal justice system.
Researching Crime: Methods, Approaches and Ethics
This module will introduce you to the development, application and realities of research methods in Criminology. It has been specifically designed to equip you with both the understanding and skills required to analyse research methods, design, processes and research outcomes. The module will also consider key ethical considerations, issues of access and appropriateness of research.
Applied Criminology (includes work placment opportunities)
This module gives you the opportunity to explore crime, interpretations of crime and approaches to dealing with this phenomena in a range of institutional and organisational settings. In this module you will undertake a short placement or work-based learning activity within a selected public sector organisation, NGO or voluntary organisation that engages in managing crime in some form.
Globalisation and Crime
This module explores areas of crime and criminal justice beyond the nation state. The module adopts a comparative criminology approach and locates the discussion of specific topics and themes within theories of modernity, theories of crime, deviance and social response, and global theories of crime and criminal justice in relation to socio-demographic and geopolitical data.
Acceptable Modules from other Programmes
Crime and Punishment through the Ages (History)
This module focuses on the long-running historical debate on the nature, incidence and causes of crime since the medieval period. It will investigate the forms of punishment adopted by the authorities and how and why they altered so dramatically over the course of history. You will also be introduced to the theoretical background important for the study of crime, criminality and punishment.
Crime and Society (Law)
Examines how crime is defined and measured, together with theories as to the causes of crime. It looks at the reasoning behind sentencing and examines the effectiveness of some sentencing options.
Criminal Evidence (Law)
An examination of some important rules of evidence, including corroboration, identification evidence, hearsay, confessions, the right to silence, improperly obtained evidence, similar fact evidence, evidence of character, expert opinion evidence and the rules relating to the examination and cross-examination of witnesses.
Criminal Law (Law)
An examination of the general principles underlying criminal liability, together with a study of individual offences and defences - in particular fatal and non-fatal offences against the person and against property.
Jack the Ripper and the Victorian Underworld (History)
Examines the moral and cultural climate associated with the nineteenth century underworld. Using the phenomenon of Jack the Ripper as a prism through which to view the differing dynamics of Victorian society, the module will analyse attitudes towards prostitution, the criminal class, the development of the penitentiary system and the regulation of policing, in an age when public perceptions of crime and punishment challenged those of the establishment.
For year 3 only the dissertation is compulsory, you are then free to choose your final modules from the list below. (*Indicates compulsory module)
Year 3 Modules
Advanced Study in the History of Crime (History)
This module offers you the opportunity to make a concentrated study of a specialised topic in the history of crime. The topic or topics offered change each year but are closely related to staff research interests, and will foster a familiarity with current research and a critical awareness of recent scholarship in the area under study.
Advanced Study in The History of Ideas (History)
This module offers you the opportunity to make a concentrated study of a specialised topic in the history of ideas. The topic or topics offered change each year but are closely related to staff research interests, and will foster a familiarity with current research and a critical awareness of recent scholarship in the area under study.
Advanced Study in Modern Political History (History)
This module offers you the opportunity to make a concentrated study of a specialised topic in modern political history. The topic or topics offered change each year but are closely related to staff research interests, and will foster a familiarity with current research and a critical awareness of recent scholarship in the area under study.
Dealing with Drugs: Strategy, Policy and Practice
This module takes the format of a national case study by examining a set of responses to the actual and perceived problems associated with illicit drug use in the United Kingdom.
Dissertation in Criminology*
This module provides the opportunity for independent research under supervision. You choose a dissertation topic under advice from staff in Criminology. For interdisciplinary dissertations, you choose a topic combining the knowledge and disciplinary skills of two subjects of study.
From Swallow-Tails to Robo-Cop: Policing in Historical and
This module explores and analyses the concept, role and nature of organised and formal policing in both historical and comparative perspective. It will trace the origins of modern policing, consider major trends in the development of policing, and the relationship between globalisation, neo-liberal economics and transnational policing.
Independent Study in Criminology
This module gives you the opportunity to undertake independent study and research under supervision. You can submit a proposal for independent study, and provided that supervision is available, an agreed programme of work and assessment schedule is constructed for the following semester.
Making People Behave: Crime Management, Anti-Social Behaviour and Society
This module looks at how the management of crime, anti-social behaviour and more generally public behaviour has developed over the last three decades. It looks at the development of the focus on ‘anti-social’ behaviour by policy makers and criminal justice agencies along with other approaches to managing the behaviour of the public.
The Carnival and Pleasures of Crime
This module explores the ways in which individuals and groups participate in certain forms of crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour. It explores the role of pleasures, performance, identity and meaning in criminal acts and explores the multiple actions and meanings that crime may have for different actors across time and space.
Understanding Criminal Justice
This module will examine some of the main issues in Criminal Justice. It will provide an overview of the Criminal Justice system, and will consider in detail topics such as punishment, sentencing, crime prevention and community safety, policing, youth crime, prisons and the criminal court system.
You will have the opportunity to undertake a work-based module called Applied Criminology; this will place you in setting where a criminologist might work. This could be a placement with the police, in a legal setting or a healthcare department linked with alcohol or drug misuse.
This module is optional and if students choose to undertake a placement then it is facilitated by the University. However students are responsible for their own travel and associated costs. Most travel costs are minimal as placements are organised to be within easy reach of the campus or in local Oxford. Placements in the surrounding area will require bus travel which can amount to between £3-8 for a return ticket.
You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange
while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year. We
have more than 100 partner universities around the world.
Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your
- increasing your employability within an international market
- boosting your language skills
- building your confidence in adapting
to new situations
- improving your knowledge of different
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.
Tuition fees are paid as they would
be if you remained in the UK, either to Oxford Brookes via your Student Loan or
directly to Oxford Brookes according to your preference.
You will be responsible for all other costs such as accommodation,
purchasing your airfares, travel and health insurance and visas. Funding
is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international
programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.
For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
Most modules included a recommended reading list. All recommended texts are available from the library. We recommend our students purchase The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (Oxford University Press, fifth edition) as a core course textbook. It retails for under £50 if bought new, and considerably less if bought second-hand.