Criminology (Including Year Abroad)

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Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Criminology (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BA M901

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

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.

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 here.

Course qualifiers


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

Dr Jennifer Fleetwood

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Goldsmiths, University of London

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.


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 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  SC101-4-FY  Researching Social Life I  Core  30 
02  SC104-4-FY  Introduction to Crime, Law and Society  Core  30 
03  SC111-4-FY  The Sociological Imagination  Core  30 
04    Option(s) from list or outside option(s)  Optional  30 

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01    SC203-5-FY or SC208-5-FY  Compulsory with Options  30 
02  SC204-5-FY  Sociology of Crime and Control  Compulsory  30 
03  SC205-5-FY  Policing, Punishment and Society  Compulsory  30 
04    2nd year Criminology or Sociology option(s) from list  Optional  30 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  AW600-6-FY    Compulsory  60 

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  SC831-6-FY  Research Project: Sociology  Compulsory  30 
02  SC304-6-FY  Globalisation and Crime  Compulsory  30 
03  SC382-6-AU  Crime, Policy and Social Justice  Compulsory  15 
04    Final year Criminology or Sociology option from list  Optional  30 
05    Level 6 Sociology Spring Term option  Optional  15 

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 criminological thinking (B).

To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of criminology (B).

To provide students with an understanding of research methods in criminology (B).

To develop students capacity for critical enquiry, argument and analysis (B).

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 Criminology 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 key criminological concepts and theories

A2: A knowledge of the social, political and mediatised processes of victimisation and criminalisation (b)

A3: An understanding of the relationship of social divisions and diversity in relation to crime, deviance, victimisation and responses to crime. (b)

A4: An understanding of changing and divese policing forms, practices, structures and cultures, and the relationships between individuals, groups and public and private police (b)

A5: An understanding of the changing values, policies, practices and institutions involved in different forms of punishment, community safety, security and criminal justice (b)

A6: An understanding of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection in crime and social problems (b)

A7: An understanding of the value of comparative analysis (b)

A8: An understanding of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues in criminology (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 Module 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 Modules.

There is a strong emphasis on developing students theoretical understanding of criminological work through the compulsory criminology modules, especially the progressive structuring of the material in SC104/SC242/SC205/SC304/SC382.

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

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

In the first year on SC104 students are required to produce assignments based on selected empirical studies in criminology.

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.

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

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

In Module SC313, there is a focus on analysing a variety of crime texts (in literature, film and television).

In the third-year Modules SC304, SC382 and SC335, there is a particular focus on comparative analysis and on criminal justice practitioners in action through international case studies and guest sessions.

In their third year all students must carry out independent work for a research project (SC831) for which they receive some individual supervision.

Assessment methods

Outcomes A1 to A8 are assessed through Module work and unseen written examinations.

Module work includes assessed oral presentations, essays, assignments, criminological journals, and a research proposal.

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 criminological work (b)

B2: An ability to compare competing theories and explanations (b)

B3: An ability to develop a reasoned argument

B4: An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret evidence (b)

B5: An understanding of the epistemological and ethical dimensions of research (b)

Learning methods

Learning methods

Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their Modules, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills.

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

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

Similarly the preparation of essays and other assignments also develop 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 Departments learning and teaching strategy for this degree.

Assessment methods

Outcomes B1 to B5 are assessed by Module work and exam.

B1 and B2 are assessed through essays, assignments, journals, oral presentations and unseen written examinations for the criminology Modules.

Not all assignments require the evaluation and interpretation of empirical evidence (B4) though many do, and these skills are specifically assessed in some of the assignments for SC203.

On all Modules 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 criminology. (b)

C3: An ability to frame a research proposal and to identify and apply the appropriate research methods

C4: An ability to undertake scholarly work. (b)

C5: An ability to conduct and present a small scale piece of research

C6: Completion of work experience/volunteering and ability to reflect on in in the context of career decision making

C7: Competence in key elements of the job selection process

Learning methods

In the 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 a sociological journal.

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 SC111 requires students to produce a journal which demonstrates reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material.

The work for SC 201 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key sociological texts and in SC203 students frame a research proposal and select the appropriate research methods.

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

Some of these skills are further developed through the work students do for their optional courses.

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 Module work.

Skills C2 and C4 are assessed in the majority of pieces of assessed Module work and written examinations.

C3 and C4 are assessed in the Module assignments for SC203.

C3, C4 and C5 are assessed in the third year research project (SC831).

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 official statistics; an ability to carry out simple statistical calculations

D4: An ability to identify problems and propose solutions

D5: An ability to plan work, manage time, and to operate in group settings

D6: An ability to plan work and manage time, and an ability to reflect on their own work and respond constructively to the comments of others

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 Module work 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 Module.

Assessment methods

Communication skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed Module work (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 such as the sociological and criminological journals and in the literature review assignment for SC203.

Numeracy skills are assessed in the assignments for SC104, which include interpretation of crime statistics, and in SC203, which includes the computer application of statistical procedures.

Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.

Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, student 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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