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Criminology

BSc (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

LL31

Start dates

September 2020 / September 2021

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview


Are you interested in a criminology degree as a way of exploring critical issues facing our society?

By studying Criminology at Oxford Brookes, you'll be:

• investigating the root causes of criminal behaviour whilst assessing its impact on society
• exploring pressing concerns such as policing, sentencing and the criminal justice system
• considering how race, gender and class shape our perceptions of crime.

Our learning environments facilitate the exploration and exchange ideas. Our teaching practices are delivered through practical modules. This ensures you develop a strong base of criminology knowledge.

As you progress through our Criminology course, you can expect to acquire a host of transferable skills. These skills are in high demand in a wide range of careers.

Our course has a strong focus on Criminology. We also offer opportunities to explore other disciplines. You can develop your interests in topics such as Crime and History, or the Fundamentals of Law.

Combine this course


You can study this course as part of a combined honours degree. This course can be combined with:

How to apply


Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27

BTEC: MMM

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

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English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, September 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Sept 20)

International / EU full time
£14,300

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, September 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Sept 20)

International / EU full time
£14,300

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

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.

Learning and assessment


As a criminology student, you can expect to develop a deep understanding of the biggest crime-related issues facing our society today. For example, your course will cover topics  affecting immigration, knife crime, policing, sentencing, globalisation and much more. 

In Year 1 you will develop a sound understanding of the principal areas of the discipline.  Your modules will introduce you to a range of key topics related to the theoretical and methodological approaches criminologists use to make sense of the phenomenon of crime.

You will take more advanced modules in Year 2, including a compulsory research methods module where you’ll develop practical research skills of analysis and interpretation. 

In Year 3 you’ll be invited to study a range of topics that will allow further subject-specific specialisation. You will also carry out your own small research projects as part of the dissertation and independent study modules.

Students sitting around tables listening

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Crime and Criminology in Context

What is crime? Who commits crimes, and why? And why are some acts criminal, when others aren’t? In this module, you’ll dig into the key concepts and theories of crime. You’ll challenge your own common-sense understanding of crime, through the theories of celebrated criminologists. And you’ll consider:

  • who invents crime and why
  • the role of crime in society
  • how might we study crime today digitally (online) and visually (through images)

Crime in Theory and Practice

In this module, you’ll explore some key concerns around crime. You’ll examine the current problems and policies in:

  • criminal justice
  • law enforcement
  • punishment. 

You’ll gain core critical skills, as you dive into debates on the control and management of crime. You’ll examine the relationship between the theory of crime and criminal behaviour. And you’ll explore the practical workings of the criminal justice system. 

 

Introduction to Punishment and Penology

In this module, you get to grips with key concepts of punishment and penology (the study of punishment).

In Part 1, you’ll examine the ways we justify punishment, and explore these ideas in a historical and international context. You’ll examine different methods of punishment in modern societies, including:

  • punishment in the community
  • prison
  • capital punishment

In Part 2, you’ll explore punishment and its relationship with society. You’ll consider links between punishment and the welfare state, and the increasing support of punishment in current penal policy. You’ll reflect on current issues in punishment and penology, including: 

  • privatisation
  • justice reinvestment
  • restorative justice 

Media and Crime

How does the media police our morals as a society, and define our ideas of acceptable behaviour? In this module, you’ll gain the critical skills to analyse popular representations of crime in the media. You’ll examine news reports and other forms of mass-media. And you’ll develop a knowledge of crime as a cultural construct.

Optional modules

Foundations of Social Theory

In this module, you’ll explore the key themes of social theory. You’ll investigate the works of famous sociological theorists, including Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. And you'll investigate how their work has shaped sociology and its different traditions.

You'll immerse yourself in current debates, developments and approaches to social theory. And you'll explore how these affect our social relations today.

 

Right and Wrong Reasons

What makes an action good or bad? Are morals absolute, or is morality just a matter of social convention? Can we judge members of a different society through our own moral rules?  

In this module, you’ll explore the views of the great thinkers of the past, such as Aristotle, Kant and Mill. You’ll reflect on what their theories mean for questions such as whether we should give to beggars on the streets of Oxford, or if we should do more for refugees.

 

Legal Method

In this module, you’ll gain invaluable legal skills, advancing your knowledge of Criminology. You’ll learn to think like a lawyer, and understand:

  • the sources of English law
  • the structures and functions of the UK Courts

You’ll also learn: 

  • how to critically read and assess statute and case-law
  • how to evaluate legal arguments
  • how to find and use online legal information.

You’ll dive into the world of UK law. You’ll learn to find and understand legal information. And you’ll gain key skills in legal thought and argumentation.

 

Bloody Histories: Crime and Violence in the West

How did crime play out in the West, from 1400 to 2000? In this module, you’ll gain a specialist knowledge of criminal justice history. You’ll explore the links between crime and punishment, and the societies of Britain, Europe and America. You’ll develop core critical skills as you dig into pressing debates about the history of crime. And you’ll get to know the key sources used by crime historians, and the challenges in using them.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Crime, Capitalism and Markets (compulsory)

In this module, you’ll dive into capitalism, and its key relationship with crime. You’ll use a political economy approach, meaning you’ll look at the economy and its relationship with law and government. You’ll explore free-market capitalism, as well as capitalism on a global scale. And you’ll gain critical skills, as you consider the:

  • individual
  • moral
  • cultural
  • social 
  • elements of the economy, and how these relate to crime.

 

Crime and Intersectionality

In this module, you’ll get to grips with intersectionality - a way of understanding someone’s identity as made of characteristics such as race, gender and class. Intersectionality offers you a unique way to study crime. You’ll discover how criminal justice institutions, such as the police and criminal courts, respond to and discriminate against different social groups.

Researching Crime: Methods, Approaches and Ethics (compulsory)

In this module, you’ll explore the key research methods of Criminology. You’ll gain invaluable critical skills, as you look at:

  • research methods
  • design 
  • processes
  • outcomes

You’ll also understand the ethics of research, including:

  • the requirements of conducting research with vulnerable populations.
  • how your identity can help or hinder research relationships.

 

Globalisation and Crime

In this module, you’ll use comparative data (where you compare multiple sets of data) to understand criminal behaviour across nations. You’ll explore criminological issues and global harms.

You’ll also explore human rights violations, which result from:

  • human trafficking
  • organised crime
  • cybercrime
  • terrorism
  • eco crime.

You’ll also analyse crime patterns, and responses to criminal activities in different parts of the world. You’ll also look at how ideas and ways of regulating crime occur within different environments, and our now increasingly connected global society. 

 

Optional modules

Applied Criminology l

In this module, you’ll dive into real world problems of crime and criminal justice. You’ll apply your criminology knowledge to:

  • find solutions to key questions of crime and justice
  • find solutions to problems in current practice
  • explore how these solutions can inform future research. 

You’ll examine case studies from current policy and practice. You’ll apply the insights of:

  • practitioners
  • policy-makers
  • politicians 

currently working in criminal justice. You’ll gain a strong understanding of how criminology works in real life. And you’ll explore why there is a disconnect between the classroom, and criminology in practice. 

 

Applied Criminology ll

In this module, you’ll kick-start your career, and gain key work experience in organisations related to crime. You’ll do a placement, or work-based learning activity in:

  • a public sector organisation
  • a non-governmental organisation (NGO)
  • a voluntary organisation

Whether working with the police, prison services, schools or charities, you’ll gain invaluable skills for your future career. You won’t engage directly with clients or service users, but you’ll gain a strong knowledge of how organisations identify and fight crime.

 

Crime and Punishment through the Ages

Why do we commit crimes? In this module, you’ll follow the causes and circumstances of crimes since the medieval period. You’ll explore the punishments carried out by authorities, and why these have changed so dramatically over history. You’ll understand the history of crime. And you’ll gain the knowledge to study:

  • crime
  • criminality
  • punishment 

ensuring you succeed in your degree.

 

Criminal Law

You’ve committed a crime. But what makes you responsible for it? In this module, you’ll get to grips with the key principles of criminal responsibility. You’ll look at individual defences and offences. As well as fatal and non-fatal offences against people and property.

Evidence

How do we deal with the evidence of children and the vulnerable? In this module, you’ll get to grips with the key rules of evidence. You’ll examine:

  • sexual history evidence
  • corroboration and identification evidence
  • expert opinion evidence
  • hearsay evidence
  • confession evidence
  • silence as evidence
  • improperly obtained evidence
  • covert surveillance and entrapment
  • evidence of character
  • evidence of children, and vulnerable witnesses. 

You’ll dive into the significance of evidence, and its rules in criminal trials. And you’ll understand the need to avoid miscarriages of justice.

 

Jack the Ripper and the Victorian Underworld

How did Jack the Ripper - mass murderer of prostitutes - shape crime in Victorian culture? In this module, you’ll dive into the criminal underworld of the nineteenth century. You’ll explore: 

  • attitudes towards prostitution
  • the criminal class
  • the development of prisons
  • the regulation of policing

You’ll use Jack the Ripper to shed light on the dynamics of Victorian society. And you’ll investigate a time where public ideas of crime and punishment clashed with those of the authorities.

 

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Dissertation in Criminology

This module gives you the chance to do independent research on a topic that fascinates you. With the support of expert tutors, you’ll choose a dissertation topic based on your interests. 

For your dissertation, you may choose to combine the knowledge and skills of two subjects. In this case, you can have one supervisor from each subject. 

 

Optional modules

Advanced Study in the History of Crime

In this module, you’ll gain specialist insight into the history of crime. You’ll choose a topic based on staff research interests, meaning you’ll always be taught by an expert. You’ll gain invaluable critical skills, as you dig into the current research around your topic. And you’ll develop excellent research skills, including how to analyse primary sources.

Border Criminology

In this module, you’ll examine border criminology, which is the study of the intersection of border control and criminal justice.  You’ll get to grips with key issues around:

  • migration
  • punishment
  • citizenship and belonging 

You’ll investigate core developments of border criminology, including:

  • immigration removal centres
  • foreign national prisons
  • policing of borders

You’ll gain key critical skills, as you explore debates surrounding immigration, punishment and national identity. You’ll examine the institutions concerned with border control, and the increasing use of punishment and force around immigration control in the UK and abroad.

Dealing with Drugs: Control and Intoxication

In this module, you’ll bust some key assumptions around psychoactive drugs. You’ll look at why we use them and how we control them in society. You’ll investigate:

  • criminological
  • sociological
  • historical 

and policy insights, to explore the relationship between drug use, individuals and public morality. You’ll gain key critical skills as you debate drug policies, and how we can lessen the harm of substance abuse. You’ll look at alternative ways to regulate drugs than our current ‘war on drugs’ mentality. And you’ll explore the future of synthetic drugs. 

 

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.

Interdisciplinary Dissertation in Criminology

For your dissertation, you’ll carry out research on a topic that fascinates you. The topic will be interdisciplinary, meaning that it will be relevant both to Criminology and your other subject. This allows you to be creative in your thinking, making original or unusual connections between your different subject areas. 

Whatever the topic, you’ll gain in-depth knowledge of it. You’ll develop excellent project management skills as you define your research area, plan your research and manage your own schedule. You’ll also acquire great research skills to take forward into your career.

Picturing the Criminal: From Mugshot to Fine Art

In this module, you’ll study images of crime, including:

  • the world’s most troubling mugshots
  • early crime-scene photographs
  • bloody and brutal paintings
  • criminal courtroom artworks.

Seeing and picturing is a key way of understanding crime. You’ll get to grips with the fast-growing field of visual criminology. You’ll discover the importance of images at the birth of criminology, and how they perpetuate stereotypes about race and gender. You’ll also consider why, because of this, criminologists have been sceptical about working with images. 

You’ll have the rare chance to go behind the scenes, and visit Western-Europe’s most unique visual arts and social scientific-imaging collections, held in Oxford at:

  • the Pitt Rivers Museum
  • the Ashmolean Museum

Policing in Historical and Comparative Perspectives

This is the most exciting time to study policing. Our response to crime in western societies is changing dramatically, as policing becomes increasingly privatised in the digital age. 

In this module, you’ll analyse modern policing in the west and its former colonies. You’ll examine the history of policing. You’ll compare policing in other countries to policing at home. And you’ll investigate the rise of neo-colonial policing (the use of economic, political and cultural pressures to control other countries) today. 

You’ll explore: 

  • securitization
  • militarization 
  • transnationalism 
  • human trafficking

The Carnival and Pleasures of Crime

Why do people enjoy committing crimes? How might crime offer identity and purpose? In this module, you’ll explore the role of:

  • pleasures
  • performance
  • identity 
  • meaning 

in criminal acts. You’ll think about the multiple meanings and actions that crime holds for different people across time. You’ll consider the social benefits of crimes and resistance to the law. And you’ll explore how different interpretations of crime might affect crime control and criminal justice.

 

The Prison and Imprisonment

Should we punish prisoners, or support them to re-enter society? In this module, you’ll dive into the key issues of prisons. You’ll consider modern prisons, globally and historically. And you’ll examine prisons through:

  • prisoners
  • prison staff
  • wider society. 

You'll trace the evolution of the prison - from the rehabilitative ideal of the post-war period, to the greater focus on punishment today. You’ll look at how political parties use prison policies to win votes, rather than reduce crime. 

You’ll dive into the inner workings of prisons, from governance to administration. You’ll look at the routines of prison life, and how prisoners cope with, and give meaning to them. You’ll consider sentence progression for different types of prisoners. And you’ll explore how well prisons prepare inmates for life after release.

 

Understanding Criminal Justice

In this module, you’ll dive into the criminal justice system, and the main issues of criminal justice. You’ll explore: 

  • punishment
  • sentencing
  • crime prevention
  • community safety
  • policing
  • youth crime
  • prisons
  • the criminal court system

You’ll observe part of the criminal justice system, first hand. And you’ll gain key critical skills, as you put the theory you’ve learned into practice. 

 

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Our Criminology course explores why crimes occur in our society. It is focused while being flexible enough to encourage the pursuit of your own areas of interest. During your studies, you’ll gain a range of personal and professional skills which will be a springboard for your future career development in a number of industries.

You will learn through a variety of teaching and learning methods including: 

  • lectures
  • seminars 
  • workshops
  • tutorials.

Typical contact time is 24 hours per module. You will be expected to undertake 126 hours of independent study per module.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Various assessment methods are used, including: 

  • exams
  • essays
  • individual and group presentations 
  • critical reviews
  • portfolios.

This variety gives you the opportunity to show your abilities across a number of different skill sets. 

You will have access to: 

  • essay clinics
  • assessment workshops
  • preparatory classroom based activities, for example exam workshops.

Study Abroad


You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

After you graduate


Career prospects

A Criminology degree from Oxford Brookes opens up a wide range of career options in the public and private sectors. It provides the ideal foundation to pursue a career in crime consultation, the local authority, policing, NGO voluntary sector, human rights or criminal justice work, advocacy work and community support services.

Further study

Criminology graduates can go on to postgraduate courses in a variety of areas of specialisation, such as law, business or humanities. The University careers centre can provide information and advice as you plan your future career path.

Our Staff


Dr Liviu Alexandrescu

Liviu is leading on, and contributing to, taught modules on the political economy of crime, transnational comparative criminology, crime and the media, cultural criminology, drug cultures and policy, criminological research methods and other subject areas.

Read more about Liviu

Free language courses


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.

Information from Discover Uni


Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.