Sociology and Criminology (Including Foundation Year)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2024/25
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Sociology and Criminology (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you:

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer: Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Emily Gray

Assistant Professor of Criminology

University of Warwick

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2024 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 0 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  IA129-3-FY-CO  Analysing the Social and Political World  Core  30  30 
02  IA195-3-FY-CO  Research and Academic Development Skills  Core  30  30 
03  IA180-3-FY-CO  Understanding People and Society  Core  30  30 
04  IA138-3-FY-CO  Knowing Your World from Language to Politics  Core  30  30 

Year 1 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC111-4-FY-CO  The Sociological Imagination  Core  30  30 
02  SC104-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Crime, Law and Society  Core  30  30 
03  SC101-4-SP-CO  Researching Social Life  Core  15  15 
04  SC099-4-AU-CO  Unlocking Your Academic Potential: How to Study at University  Compulsory  15  15 
05    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 

Year 2 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC201-5-FY-CO  Power and Agency in a Global World  Compulsory  30  30 
02  SC204-5-FY-CO  Sociology of Crime and Control  Compulsory  30  30 
03    Option from list  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05    Option from list  Optional  15  15 
06  SC199-5-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year 3 - 2027/28

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC301-6-FY-CO  Rethinking Modernity  Compulsory  30  30 
02  SC304-6-FY-CO  Globalisation and Crime  Compulsory  30  30 
03    Capstone option from list  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
04    Sociology option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05  SC199-6-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • To provide students with an understanding of the distinctive character of sociological thinking (B).
  • To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of sociology (B).
  • To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of criminology.
  • To provide students with an understanding of the main sociological methods (B).
  • To develop students' capacity for critical enquiry, argument and analysis.
  • To develop students' capacity for independent learning.
  • To provide students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to further Study and research.

Reference to the QAA Benchmarks for Sociology are indicated by the letter B.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: A knowledge of the intellectual foundations of sociology

A2: A knowledge of the intellectual foundations of criminology

A3: A knowledge of key sociological concepts and theories (b)

A4: A knowledge of key criminological concepts and theories

A5: An understanding of the relationships between individuals, groups and social institutions (b)

A6: An understanding of social context, culture, social diversity and social change (b)

A7: A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues (b)

A8: A knowledge of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection (b)

A9: An understanding of the analysis and interpretation of empirical data (b)

Learning methods

The Department uses lectures to present material - ideas, data and arguments - in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates.

Lectures are also used to stimulate students' interest in the area under discussion.
In each course the issues and arguments covered in lectures are explored further through weekly classes or workshops for which students have to prepare.

The curriculum is designed to involve clear progression between the foundational work in the first year and the subsequent compulsory courses.

In particular there is a strong emphasis on developing students theoretical understanding of sociological and criminological work through the progressive structuring of the material in SC111/SC201/SC301; in SC104/SC242/SC304; and in SC101/SC203.

Their sociological knowledge and understanding is further enhanced by the work that they do for their options.

Classes, and preparation for classes, provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the courses.

In addition student learning takes place through the work they do preparing essays and assignments.

In the first year students have to produce a glossary of sociological concepts and a sociological journal on a topic of their choice for SC111 and have a required examination question on key concepts.

On SC104 students are required to produce assignments based on selected empirical studies in criminology.

SC111 and SC104 also specifically introduce students to examples of ongoing research in the Department.

Students also do methodological assignments for SC101, including a statistical test and a piece of observational work.

In the second-year course SC201 and third-year course SC304, there is a particular focus on reading key sociological texts and analysing a variety of crime texts (in literature, film and television).

On SC203 students gain knowledge of research methods through workshops and small groups, in the context of preparation for the final year project.

In their third year all students on the degree have to produce an essay on epistemological issues for SC301, and must carry out independent work for a research project (SC831) for which they receive some individual supervision

Assessment methods

Outcomes A1 to A10 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations.

Coursework includes assessed oral presentations, essays, assignments, criminological journals, a sociological journal, the glossary, and a research proposal.

Written examinations not only include standard essay type questions, but SC201 involves a compulsory question interpreting a passage of text from a sociological classic.

In addition, the assessed work for all third-year students includes a research project.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess sociological work

B2: An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess criminological work (b)

B3: An ability to compare competing theories and explanations (b)

B4: An ability to develop a reasoned argument

B5: An ability to formulate sociological questions

B6: An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret evidence (b)

Learning methods

Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their courses, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example, and in the first year staff give specific presentations on their ongoing sociological and criminological research.

Preparation for classes and class presentations involve the reading, interpretation and evaluation of sociological and criminological texts and the collection and evaluation of empirical data.

Class tutors provide feedback on class presentations and contributions to classes through comment and discussion.

Similarly the preparation of essays and other assignments also develops the listed intellectual skills.

Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development.

Their work for the first, second and third-year journals and the third-year research project is also vital to the Department's learning and teaching strategy for this degree.

Assessment methods

Outcomes B1 toB6 are assessed by course work and exam.

B1 is also specifically assessed through a compulsory question for SC201 requiring the interpretation of a passage of a classic text.

B2 is assessed through essays, assignments, journals, oral presentations and unseen written examinations for SC104, SC242 and SC304.

Not all assignments require the evaluation and interpretation of empirical evidence (B6) though many do, but these skills are specifically assessed in some of the assignments for SC101.

On all courses students are required to marshal material in order to expound an argument.

C: Practical skills

C1: An ability to retrieve relevant evidence using bibliographic and web searches (b)

C2: An ability to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings in the field of sociology

C3: An ability to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings in the field of criminology

C4: An ability to frame a research proposal and to identify and apply the appropriate research methods

C5: An ability to demonstrate reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material

C6: An ability to conduct and present a small scale piece of research

C7: An ability to apply introductory statistical techniques to sociological data

C8: Completion of work experience/volunteering and ability to reflect on in in the context of career decision making

C9: Competence in key elements of the job selection process

Learning methods

Throughout the three years of the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, giving presentations and doing written examinations.

In SC101 students carry out an observational study and other first year assignments cover tasks such as producing a bibliography on a sociological topic, producing a glossary, describing and evaluating a sociological text, and producing sociological and criminological journals which require reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological and criminological material.

Students have to carry out criminal justice web searches as one of their class assignments for SC104.

In the second year and third year, the work for SC201/SC301 and SC242/SC304 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key sociological and criminological texts.

In addition, the third year project for SC831 is particularly valuable in developing students practical sociological skills.

Some of these skills are also further developed through the work students do for their optional courses and students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations.

Study skills advice and training is available from the Student Support Officer in the Resource Room, which is dedicated to this purpose.

Assessment methods

Skill C1 is specifically assessed in the first-year SC111 and SC104 assignments, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed coursework.

Skills C2 and C3 are assessed in the majority of pieces of assessed coursework and written examinations.

C4 and C5 are assessed in the course assignments for SC203.

C4 is assessed in SC203 and in the research project (SC831), C5 in the journal for SC111, in observational work in SC101 and in course assignments for SC203.

C6 is assessed in SC203 and in the research project (SC831), and C7 in a statistics test for SC101.

D: Key skills

D1: An ability to present ideas and evidence to others both orally and in writing in a clear and concise manner

D2: An ability to collect and present materials using information technology

D3: An ability to read, interpret and draw inferences from statistics and an ability to carry out simple statistical calculations

D4: An ability to identify problems and propose solutions


Learning methods

Generic skills are taught and learned throughout the degree through a range of strategies, for example, requiring students to give oral presentations, through giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, through specific assignments requiring numerical skills, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation.

Students have the opportunity to discuss essay plans with staff and are given clear deadlines for their work which they must meet.

They are given feedback on all their coursework and are encouraged to reflect and improve upon their work.

Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every course.

Assessment methods

Communication skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework (including oral presentation) and examinations.

IT skills are a component in the evaluation of most assessed work which require bibliographic and web searches, but there is a particular focus on them in assessments in SC101 and in the literature review assignment for SC203.

Numeracy skills are assessed in SC101.

Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.

Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, students' skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.

Numeracy skills are assessed in the assignments for SC104, which include interpretation of crime statistics, and in SC101, which includes a statistics test.

Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.

Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, students' skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, 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 courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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