Formative Debates in Criminology

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
14 September 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA M90012 Criminology,
MSC L30812 Criminology and Socio-Legal Research,
MA MF9112 Organised Crime, Terrorism and Security,
MA L31812 Sociology and Criminology,
MPHDML9048 Criminology,
PHD ML9048 Criminology,
MSOCM999 Criminology,
MSOCMX98 Criminology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCMX99 Criminology (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This course examines historical and contemporary debates around theoretical criminology, criminalisation, globalisation, social deviance, social control, and punishment. We will address and consider key texts and research studies that have made a significant contribution to challenging our conventional understanding of the problem of crime, what we know about it, how, and what to do about it. In particular, we look at the emerging horizons for criminology, at both long-established and more recently developing contestations in the field, and at the ways in which criminology has been evolving for better or worse over the past decades.

Module aims

To engage in in-depth analysis of foundational texts and discuss their contemporary relevance;

To enable students to make links between formative texts, theories and debates and current issues and developments in the field.

Module learning outcomes

Having completed the module, students will have a solid understanding of formative criminological debates and an ability to discuss them and their contemporary relevance.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Most modules at postgraduate level in Sociology are taught as a 2hr seminar. Most classes, labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face (assuming social distancing allows this). There may also be some online activities – either timetabled as a live online session or available on Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be expected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities before your seminar/class each week. Please note that you should be spending up to ten hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 30 hours in total for three 20--credit modules). This module, SC555 will include a range of activities to help you and your teachers to check your understanding and progress. These include: forum discussions, small group exercises, reading based targeted questions, reflexive exercises, and more. You are strongly encouraged to attend the classes/seminars as they provide an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The classes/seminars will be captured and available via Listen Again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these seminars/classes it is very important that you attend and engage. Please note that the recording of seminars/classes is at the discretion of the teacher.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Reading-based reflexive exercise, 800 words  01/11/2023  20% 
Coursework   Critical Review  29/11/2023  30% 
Coursework   Essay  17/01/2024  50% 

Additional coursework information

There are two assignments for this module: i) One critical review (see end of the outline for more guidelines on this assignment) of 1000 words maximum ii) An essay from the list provided (last page of this guide) of 3,000 words maximum.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Timothy Head, email:
Dr Samuel Singler, email:
Timothy Head & Dr Samuel Singler



External examiner

Prof Benjamin Bradford
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 21 hours, 21 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.