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Course summary

Criminology is concerned with understanding crime, deviance and institutions of criminal justice. Criminologists seek to answer questions like: why are some people more likely to commit or be victims of crime than others; how can crime be effectively prevented or controlled; and from a more critical perspective, how do particular activities become defined as “criminal” in the first place and what does this tells us about the nature of power and authority in society? Overall, the course progressively develops your critical understanding of Criminology through the examination of key concepts and theories as well as substantive issues related to crime and criminal justice. Alongside this, the course teaches critical analytical and methodological skills to equip students with the practical expertise required to engage with and carry out Criminological research. As such, by the end of the course, graduates will be able to draw upon conceptual and empirical material to critically analyse complex Criminological issues in a scholarly fashion. The degree is based on a modular structure, with students required to take the equivalent of six modules (some of which may be ‘double modules’) within each year of study. Over the course of the degree, modules become increasingly focused on specialist topics and issues, with the chance to undertake a Sociological research project on a specific topic of substantive interest in the final year of study.


Year 1 Students will develop knowledge and understanding of foundational concepts and issues related to crime, criminal justice and Criminological research, as a platform for study in years 2 and 3. Compulsory modules: Criminal Justice Landscape Critical Scholarship in the Social Sciences Introduction to Criminological Theory Social Research Methods Optional module: Any open module to the value of 40 credits offered elsewhere in the Department (e.g. Classical Sociological Theory or Societies in Transition) or by another Board of Studies, including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the Centre for Foreign Language Study. Year 2 Students will develop their understanding of key issues in Criminological theory and research building on work completed during the first year of study. Students will also begin to study in detail various topics of substantive Criminological relevance that relate to the Department’s major research themes. Compulsory modules: Contemporary Criminological Theory Research Methods in Action Examples of optional modules: Communities and Social Justice Crime, Power and Social Inequalities Modern and Contemporary Sociological Theory Police and Policing Self, Identity and Society Sociology of Education and Social Inequalities Sociology of Health and Medicine Violence and Abuse in Society Any open module to the value of 20 credits offered elsewhere by another Board of Studies, including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the Centre for Foreign Language Study. Year 3 In the final year of study, students focus on detailed critical analysis and evaluation of salient social issues drawing upon conceptual knowledge and understanding developed over the previous two years of study. Students will also undertake an independent research project related to a specific area of Sociological interest through their dissertation thesis. Compulsory module: Dissertation Examples of optional modules: Community Placement Crime, Justice and the Sex Industry Cyberculture and Cybercrime Inside Out: Issues in Criminal Justice Social Policy Sociology of Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation Sociology of Work and Professions Feminist Anti-Violence Activism (short module) Justice, Violence and Abuse (short module) Youth in Crisis (short module) Sociology of Mental Health (short module) Sociology of Reproduction and Parenthood (short module) Any open module to the value of 20 credits offered by another Board of Studies, including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the Centre for Foreign Language Study.

How to apply

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Durham City
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Our contextual offer for this programme is A level BBC (or equivalent). To find out if you’re eligible, please visit:

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

Unistats information

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £9250* Year 1
Channel Islands £9250* Year 1
EU £23500* Year 1
England £9250* Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250* Year 1
Scotland £9250* Year 1
Wales £9250* Year 1
International £23500* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.
Criminology at Durham University - UCAS