Criminology with Criminal Law

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24 - 2024/25
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Criminology with Criminal Law
University of Essex
University of Essex
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: ABB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) 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.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied -advice on acceptability can be provided.

For courses with Counselling skills, please note that a satisfactory enhanced DBS check will be required prior to starting any placement(s) for this course. This will be organised by the University. A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

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 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 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

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).

  • Applied Quantitative Methods: In order to be eligible for the AQM qualifier, you must successfully complete the following modules: Year One: SC101 – (30 credits) Researching Social Life I Year Two: SC202 - (15 credits) Analysing Social Life SC208 – (15 credits) Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course Final Year: SC385 – (30 credits) Modelling Crime and Society SC830 – (30 credits) Quantitative Research Project Recommended modules for the pathway: The following modules are recommended options but are not considered essential in passing the pathway: Year Two: GV205 (15 credits) Measuring Public Opinion (requires GV207) GV207 (15 credits) Quantitative Political Analysis SC213 (30 credits) Social Psychology: Self and Interaction SC207 (30 credits) Social Data Science: Code, Text and Networks Final Year: Please note that the following two modules do not run every year. SC308 (15 credits) Race, Ethnicity and Migration SC338 (15 credits) Religion in Modern and Post Modern Societies

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

Law will be involved in the delivery of approximately 25% of this degree scheme – the component dedicated to Criminal Law. There are no modules delivered on a distance learning basis.

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 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC101-4-FY-CO  Researching Social Life I  Core  30  30 
02  SC104-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Crime, Law and Society  Core  30  30 
03  LW104-4-FY-CO  Criminal Law  Compulsory  30  30 
04  LW103-4-FY-CO  Foundations of Public Law  Compulsory  30  30 
05  SC199-4-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  LW219-5-SP-CO  Law: War and Justice  Compulsory  15  15 
02  SC204-5-FY-CO  Sociology of Crime and Control  Compulsory  30  30 
03  SC205-5-FY-CO  Policing, Punishment and Society  Compulsory  30  30 
04  LW218-5-AU-CO  Public International Law  Compulsory  15  15 
05    Option from list  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
06    Option from list  Optional  15  15 
07  SC199-5-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year 3 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    Capstone option from list  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
02  SC304-6-FY-CO  Globalisation and Crime  Compulsory  30  30 
03    SC382-6-AU or SC306-6-AU or SC311-6-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
04    Option from list  Optional  15  15 
05    Sociology, Law or outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
06  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 criminological and criminal legal thinking (B).
  • To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of criminology and criminal law (B).
  • To provide students with an understanding of research methods in criminology and criminal law (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 (b)

A2: An understanding of some substantive areas of law in depth

A3: A knowledge of the social, political and mediatised processes of victimisation and criminalisation (b)

A4: An understanding of the relationship of social divisions and diversity in relation to crime, deviance, victimisation and responses to crime. (b)

A5: An understanding of changing and diverse policing forms, practices, structures and cultures, and the relationships between individuals, groups and public and private police (b)

A6: An understanding of the changing values, policies, practices and institutions involved in different forms of punishment, community safety, security and criminal justice (b)

A7: An understanding of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection in crime and social problems (b)

A8: An understanding of the value of comparative analysis (b)

A9: An understanding of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues in criminology (b)

A10: An understanding of the fundamental doctrines and principles of the criminal law, and the institutions and procedures of the legal system of England and Wales.

Learning methods

A1-10 are acquired via lectures and classes in Sociology, Criminology and Law to present material - ideas, data and arguments- in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates.

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 and legal thinking through the compulsory criminology modules, especially the progressive structuring of the material in SC104, SC204, SC205, SC304, SC382, LW104, LW105 and specified LW options.

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 SC101 students are required to produce assignments based on selected empirical and methodological studies in sociology/social science.

SC104 and SC101 also specifically introduce students to examples of ongoing research in the criminology within 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 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.

In their third year students can 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 Module work and unseen written examinations.

Module work includes assessed oral presentations, essays, assignments, 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 (b)

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

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

B6: An ability to identify and apply relevant primary and secondary legal sources

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 Department’s learning and teaching strategy for this degree.

Assessment methods

Outcomes B1 to B6 are assessed by module work and exam.

B1 and B2 are assessed through essays, assignments, critical reflections, book reviews, 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: Analyse and evaluate empirical data

C2: Access and retrieve information from primary and secondary sources

C3: Written presentation skills

C4: Undertake independent research

C5: Completion of work experience/volunteering and ability to reflect on in in the context of career decision making

Learning methods

In the first year assignments cover tasks such as producing a a critical reflection and/or an essay on a criminological and/or legal topic.

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.

The work for SC204 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key criminological texts through critical reflections and a book review 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: Communicate ideas and arguments in a coherent and effective manner

D2: Ability to critically approach a text and understand the key arguments presented

D3: Problem solving and analytical skills

D4: Preparing informal presentations and communicating in a group

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 and debating 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 for sc101 and in the literature review assignment for SC203.

Numeracy skills are assessed 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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