Journalism and Criminology (Including Placement Year)

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Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Journalism and Criminology (Including Placement Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies
BA P551

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

IB: 30 points, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5. 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.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component.

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.

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

Mr Richard Evans

Programme Director, UG Journalism

City, 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.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 27 January 2020 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 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT135-4-FY  Basic Practical Journalism (Joint Honours)  Core  30 
02  LT138-4-AU  History of Journalism  Compulsory  15 
03  LT144-4-SP  Journalism Now  Compulsory  15 
04  SC101-4-FY  Researching Social Life I  Compulsory  30 
05  SC104-4-FY  Introduction to Crime, Law and Society  Core  30 

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT231-5-FY  Intermediate Practical Journalism: Audio/Video (Joint honours)  Compulsory  30 
02  LT232-5-FY  Intermediate Practical Journalism: Print/Online (Joint honours)  Compulsory  30 
03  SC224-5-FY  Digital Society  Compulsory  30 
04  SC204-5-FY  Sociology of Crime and Control  Compulsory  30 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT702-6-FY  Placement Year  Compulsory  120 

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT431-6-SP  Comparative Media Law and Regulation  Compulsory  15 
02  LT396-6-AU  Journalism and Storytelling  Compulsory  15 
03  LT312-6-FY  Advanced Practical Journalism  Compulsory  30 
04  SC304-6-FY  Globalisation and Crime  Compulsory  30 
05    SC382-6-FY or SC382-6-AU and spring option from list  Optional  30 

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

JOURNALISM: To create graduates who are thoroughly grounded in the theory and practice of journalism, able to make sound editorial judgements and behave in a professional manner; to help students develop their writing and broadcasting skills to a high level; to encourage students to develop their critical faculties, in particular to adopt an inquiring, sceptical and whole-hearted approach to their work; to encourage students to work effectively on their own and in teams to produce the best journalism.

CRIMINOLOGY: To provide students with some understanding of the distinctive character of criminological thinking (B). To provide students with some knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of criminology (B). To provide students with some 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.

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: Theoretical and practical approaches to journalism

A2: The history and evolution of journalism, the current state of the industry and its future prospects

A3: The role of publishing and broadcasting in a modern society

A4: The UK legal system, and the law, regulatory framework and codes of practice relating to journalism

A5: The characteristics and needs of a range of print, broadcast and web-based journalism, production processes and professional practice in relation to newspapers, magazines, online content and broadcast journalism

A6: Some knowledge of the social, political and mediatised processes of victimisation and criminalisation (B)

A7: Some understanding of the relationship of social divisions and diversity in relation to crime, deviance, victimisation and responses to crime. (B)

A8: Some understanding of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection in crime and social problems (B)

A9: Some understanding of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues in criminology and some knowledge of key criminological concepts and theories and some understanding of the changing values, policies, practices and institutions involved in different forms of punishment, community safety, security and criminal justice and an understanding of the value of comparative analysis (B)

A10: To develop intercultural skills (Study/Year Abroad variant only)

A11: To provide the opportunity to apply academic learning outcomes in a work-related context (Placement year variant)

A12: To develop essential work-based skills throughout the placement. (Placement variant only)

Learning methods

Lectures, workshops, group discussion and reflection, work experience, practical exercises, formative feedback.

CRIMINOLOGY: 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/SC204/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. SC104 also specifically introduces students to examples of ongoing research in the Department. In the third-year modules SC304 and SC382, there is a particular focus on comparative analysis and on criminal justice practitioners in action through international case studies and guest sessions.

Assessment methods

A1-A5 Range of in-class tests, portfolio of work, reflective journals, group work, project work, essays and other coursework
A1: examination

Outcomes A6 to A9 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations. Coursework includes assessed oral presentations, essays, assignments and criminological journals.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: Able to absorb and organise large amounts of informati on in a short time, applying critical techniques to assess evidence on the basis of relevance, reliability and newsworthiness

B2: Turn raw data and information into clear, accurate and engaging journalism with impact

B3: Make good decisions and present clear, well-reasoned and coherent arguments, in writing or orally, often against a deadline

B4: Exercise judgement in designing, planning and delivering journalistic output

B5: Evaluate, interpret and demonstrate critical judgement in the understanding of developments in the news, of issues and concepts, and be able dispassionately to assess one's own work and the work of others

B6: Produce independent and imaginative treatments conforming to a clear framework of values

B7: An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess criminological work (B)

B8: An ability to compare competing theories and explanations and develop a reasoned argument (B)

B9: An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret evidence (B)

B10: An understanding of the epistemological and ethical dimensions of research (B)

Learning methods

Lectures, workshops, group discussion and reflection, work experience, practical exercises, formative feedback.

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.

Assessment methods

Assessment is by coursework, practical assignments, portfolios, group projects, peer assessment, critical commentaries, and written examinations and, in some cases, oral presentations.

Outcomes B7 to B10 are assessed by coursework and exam. B8 and B9 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 (B10) though many do. On all modules students are required to marshal material in order to expound an argument.

C: Practical skills

C1: An ability to find, research and write news stories and features for various print, online and broadcast media

C2: An ability to conduct interviews, record information accurately and analyse it to a professional standard

C3: An ability to work in production for various media, using industry-standard software and hardware

C4: An ability to work independently, cooperatively and in editorial teams to produce finished work to agreed deadlines for various media

C5: An ability to operate in professional manner, observing ethical and legal constraints

C6: An ability to retrieve relevant sociological evidence using bibliographic and web searches and to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings.

C7: An ability to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings in the field of criminology. (B)

C8: An ability to frame a research proposal and to identify and apply the appropriate research methods and to apply introductory statistical techniques to sociological data

C9: An ability to undertake scholarly work. (B)

C10: An ability to conduct and present a small scale piece of research

Learning methods

Lectures, workshops, group discussion and reflection, work experience, practical exercises, formative feedback.

CRIMINOLOGY: 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. 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

Assessment is by coursework, practical assignments, portfolios, group projects, peer assessment, critical commentaries, written examinations and, in some cases, oral presentations.

Skill C8 is specifically assessed in the first year SC104 assignments, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed coursework. Skills C8 and C10 are assessed in the majority of pieces of assessed coursework and written examinations.

D: Key skills

D1: Ability to express oneself in a clear, focused, relevant and effective way, both orally and in writing

D2: Ability to use appropriate software and hardware to produce and present high quality editorial content

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

D4: Finding, understanding, organising and processing information. Applying knowledge and understanding to make judgements. Ability to question conventional wisdom and find innovative methods of research. Working to deadlines. Management of projects and timetables.

D5: Ability to plan, manage time, and advance and argue for proposals in editorial meetings, ability to respond constructively to criticism, ability to engage in collaborative writing and programme-making activities; ability to work co-operatively in a variety of group contexts, including practical production, taking on a number of different roles.

D6: Ability to take responsibility for own work and actions in individual and collective contexts, and to reflect on performance and make constructive use of written and oral feedback.

Learning methods

Lectures, workshops, group discussion and reflection, work experience, practical exercises, formative feedback.

Assessment methods

Assessment is by coursework, practical assignments, portfolios, group projects, peer assessment, critical commentaries, and written examinations and, in some cases, oral presentations.

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.

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


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