Criminology BA (Hons)Study level: Undergraduate
The course introduces you to crime as a dynamic process in a rapidly changing world linking foundational principles and emerging trends to explore its impact on daily life.
Year of entry
Coventry University (Coventry)
3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
After a grounding in first year, you will specialise in a range of areas of crime, victimology, criminal justice, and crime prevention emphasising key transferable skills in preparation for graduate level employment in a global market.
You will have the opportunity to:
- Link major theoretical perspectives to contemporary issues and debates – putting theory into practice.
- Reflect analytically and critically on a wide range of issues and emerging trends relating to crime, control, and criminal justice in local and global contexts.
- Apply creative solutions to crime problems, and to systemic failures in dealing with crime.
Joint Top Modern University for Career ProspectsGuardian University Guide 2021 and 2022
5 QS Stars for Teaching and FacilitiesQS Stars University Ratings
Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)QS Best Student Cities Index 2023
Why you should study this course
- Applied approach designed to develop the skills required for graduate employment in various criminal justice roles
- Expert speakers2 from agencies involved in criminal justice complement and contextualise your understanding (subject to availability)
- International perspective on crime
- Have opportunities to participate in international field trips2 – previous criminology trips have included South Africa, USA, Finland, Estonia, and Poland2.
- Joint 3rd for career prospects in Criminology (Guardian University Guide 2022).
Our criminology courses are ranked joint third for career prospects.
Guardian University Guide 2022
My experience of studying Criminology at Coventry University has been exceptional. Even during the unprecedented pandemic in which we had to switch to online learning, my course was able to efficiently improvise to continue to deliver remarkable and fascinating content.
What you'll study
This course has a common first year.
The common first year enables you to work alongside students doing similar courses to you, to widen your knowledge and exposure to other subject areas and professions. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other students, so you can share your insights and experience which will help you to develop and learn.
If you discover an interest in a specific subject you have studied, upon successful completion of your first year, you could swap degrees with another course in your common first year (subject to meeting progression requirements).
Common first year courses
- Criminology BA (Hons)
- Criminology and Law BA (Hons)
- Criminology and Psychology BA (Hons)
Year one aims to give you a thorough grounding in the study of crime, criminal behaviour, justice, and the law in a global context. Working alongside students from Criminology and Law and Criminology and Psychology, you will not only seek to develop the knowledge you need to progress in your degree, but also be encouraged to think critically about the issues, see crime from legal and moral viewpoints, and be creative in finding solutions to problems.
Crime and Society - 20 credits
This module introduces you to a broad range of historical and contemporary ideas in understanding crime and social harm moving from traditional interpretations based on 19th and 20th Century thought to a critical perspective on the impact of social change in the 21st Century. A key focus will be on the way crime is socially constructed according to a range of factors, including media and culture, and the vested interests of different individuals and social groups. The module also aims to explore the relationship between legality and morality in the way crime is perceived and defined, and how this re-defines what crime is perceived to be.
Criminal Behaviour - 20 credits
This module explores criminal behaviour in the context of a range of criminal activities and events drawing on key criminological and psychological theoretical perspectives. You will aim to develop the ability to distinguish between perspectives in terms of similarity and difference across disciplines. Theories will be examined that consider how the concepts of structure and agency influence human and criminal behaviour, for example social identity, cognitive development, self-regulation and free will. You will be expected to develop a critical awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of the different theories and perspectives in terms of their power to explain criminal behaviour.
Criminal Justice - 20 credits
This module introduces and evaluates criminal justice systems and the roles of legal personnel. It will provide you with an insight into the sources, institutions, and structures of the English legal system in comparative perspective. You will be able to develop a critical awareness of the wider political and social context in which the law operates, and the principles and values underpinning legal systems. Concepts of truth, justice and jurisdiction will be discussed. The module also highlights increasing challenges to national and international criminal justice systems in defining, preventing, and prosecuting criminal acts that increasingly occur at a transnational level.
Crime Typologies - 20 credits
This module aims to equip you with a grounded knowledge of different types of criminal activity, with a particular focus on the relationship between types of crimes, criminals, and representations in the media. It will examine patterns and trends of violence, acquisitive crimes, public order offences, and organised crime and consider the impact of globalisation and technological development on the nature of these types of offences. It will also encourage you to think critically regarding methods of measuring crime.
Forensic Mental Health - 20 credits
This module offers a critical and theoretical exploration of the intersection between mental health, crime, and justice. The module draws on theory from across disciplinary boundaries including criminology, psychology, sociology, and forensic psychiatry to analyse the relationship between serious mental illness, violence, victimization, and (in)justice.
Legal Approaches to Crime - 20 credits
This module introduces you to the practice of researching and formulating structured ideas about criminal law cases. It focuses on legal investigation research in terms of methods, processes, and skills for finding information about crimes, particularly the retrieval and use of primary and secondary legal sources. Emphasis will be placed on the links between theory, policy, and practice and preparing you for assessing their impact on criminal law issues. You will be encouraged to develop a critical and evaluative approach to the issues raised.
In year two you will continue to build on your knowledge and understanding of crime and criminal justice by looking deeper at key institutions, such as youth crime and justice, policing, and systems of punishment. You will also be introduced to the concept of victimology, as well as cybercrime and security, a major feature of our contemporary online world. Finally, you will begin preparing for your final year research project by exploring methods and processes for researching crime.
Researching Crime - 20 credits
The aim of this module is to develop your knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice involved in researching crime. You will be provided with the methodological and practical tools to develop your own thoughts and ideas about criminological matters, review criminological literature, plan and conduct research, and present research outcomes to diverse audiences. In addition, you will acquire digital literacy and transferable skills that will be benefit you in other learning and employment environments.
Victims and Victimology - 20 credits
This module focuses on political, social, cultural, and popular constructions of victims of crime and wider social harms. The module places particular critical focus on the victimisation experiences of marginalised social groups, demonstrating that certain individuals and groups are more readily ascribed victim status than others. You will consider the international context, with technology and global insecurity impacting on contemporary victimisation experiences.
Cybersecurity and Crime Prevention - 20 credits
This module considers motivations, opportunities and solutions for crime involving digital media in the information age. Types of criminal activity will be explored at individual and state levels, from cyber-criminals, such as hackers, to cyber-warfare involving insurgency and terrorism. You will critically evaluate policies and methods of prevention, and areas of debate relating to surveillance and security in tackling cybercrime.
Youth Crime and Justice - 20 credits
The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of a range of perspectives within youth justice work. You will explore sociological concepts of childhood and youth and the criminological issues associated with both life stages and examine the way youth crime is dealt with as a social and criminological problem. Through discussion of recent research, legislation, and policy action, you will critically consider the response of the criminal justice agencies to youth crime as well as the wider debates over the age of criminal responsibility and welfare versus justice approaches.
Policing and Society - 20 credits
This module introduces you to key issues relating to policing democratic societies. This will include a critical evaluation of the relationships between the police, the state, and the citizen. The independence of the police and their interdependence within the wider criminal justice system will be assessed, and concepts such as consensus, legitimacy, and accountability in relation to policing practice will be explored. Topics to be debated range from policing protest and disorder to the role of the media in representing the police.
Punishment and Control - 20 credits
This module focuses on historical developments and contemporary issues surrounding the use of criminal sanctions. It covers the theoretical underpinning of punishments and risk management whilst aiming to equip students with a critical understanding of the effectiveness of custodial and community sentences. You will explore key issues relating to punishment and control, such as the complexities of managing a diverse prison population, privatisation, and reintegration, and will demonstrate your understanding through group exercises in an assessment centre environment.
There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.
If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.
UK Work Placement– 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
International Study/Work Placement – 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
In the final year you will apply the knowledge from your first two years in the more specialised areas of violence and exploitation, organised crime, state crime, and deviant forms of leisure, such as drugs and dark tourism. You will also have the opportunity to develop specific interests and expertise to suit your career plans through your research project in which you will produce a research paper on your own contribution to knowledge.
Global Organised Crime - 20 credits
This module aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary global organised crime. It will examine organised crime as a transnational phenomenon and the need for major organised criminal activities, such as drugs, weapons, and human trafficking, to cross borders. A broader analysis will explore how the expansion of global trade and lowering of barriers to free movement that have enabled the world economy to grow have also provided parallel opportunities for illegal trade. A detailed comparative analysis will also be made of traditional criminal organisations, such as the American and Sicilian mafia, Japanese Yakuza, and Chinese Triads, and new organised criminal groups in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Africa, South America, and the United Kingdom as well as terrorist groups. Particular attention will be given to international and domestic organisations involved in fighting organised crime and the impact of globalization on organised criminal groups.
Violence and Exploitation - 20 credits
The aim of this module is to explore forms of violence and exploitation in childhood and adulthood. You will investigate violence and exploitation in relation to incidence, prevalence, and reporting, as well as theoretical and explanatory frameworks. You will be also encouraged to develop an understanding of the concepts, issues, and current debates in the field of violence and exploitation with emphasis on developments in theoretical approaches, policies and procedures. Through discussions of recent research, you will explore the impacts and meaning for victims/survivors, persistence and change with respect to the justice system, support services, and approaches to prevention.
State Crime and Corruption - 20 credits
This module aims to equip you with a critical understanding of the crimes of the powerful, with a focus on criminal actions and corrupt practices carried out by states and state actors in positions of governance. Drawing on theoretical and practical applications of the power-knowledge apparatus, you will explore contemporary case studies to understand the wider implications of harmful state actions.
Deviant Leisure - 20 credits
This module explores a range of contemporary criminological issues related to the intersection between crime, leisure, and harm against a backdrop of global consumer capitalism. The module breaks open disciplinary boundaries, drawing on criminology, sociology, youth studies, tourism industries and cultural geography to explore different forms of deviant leisure in the 21st century.
Research Project in Criminology - 40 credits
This module is designed to enable you to develop, enhance and implement the skills involved in carrying out an in-depth study of a criminological issue in combination with focusing your attention on a specific area of knowledge in the criminological sphere. The aim is for you to accept responsibility for your own independent learning, communicate effectively and appropriately retrieve, and use information from a variety of sources, and develop time management skills.
We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.
How you'll learn
Teaching and learning are delivered in a range of formats as follows:
- Lectures are normally up to one-hour in duration and may be delivered online or face-to-face plenary-style.
- Seminars involve smaller groups and include working with problems or holding discussions and debates about issues arising in the lectures.
- Workshops may involve a combination of content delivery and group working.
- Individual tutorials may also be arranged.
The current teaching team come from a range of specialist backgrounds including mental health, psychology, sociology, and criminal justice to name a few and these feed in to a rich and varied range of teaching and learning approaches. The course also emphasises a global perspective on criminological and criminal justice issues with optional field trips in the UK and abroad to take your learning outside the classroom2.
Teaching contact hours
The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 12 contact hours per week in the first and second year dropping to around 8 contact hours per week in the third and final year as you become a more independent learner.
Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 12-15 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.
The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.
As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the University may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/2024 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.
This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include for example:
- Short writing exercises such as abstracts, opinion pieces, and precis
- Extended writing exercises such as essays, reports and research papers
- Group and individual presentations
- Posters and infographics
- Problem-solving scenarios such as assessment
The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards the achieving the intended learning outcomes.
International experience opportunities
Emphasising inter-cultural awareness in all our students, the course content situates issues in a global context. It offers opportunity for international experience through collaborative international online learning projects where students work on a task jointly with students from an institution abroad (subject to availability). Overseas experience is also offered2 through field trips with typical destinations including New York, and Poland which includes a visit to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, now a Holocaust Museum. Study abroad forms part of the optional sandwich year which students normally take after successful completion of their second year2.
The Criminology degrees at Coventry University really offer students a unique and exciting opportunity to delve into a range of fascinating topics, from criminal behaviour, policing and the prison system to global issues like the corrupt, illicit activities of states and other powerful actors. With an extensive and diverse collective experience in teaching and working in the field, the academic team bring a passion for helping students to achieve their potential from start through to graduation.
My academic journey has been filled with encouragement from the moment it began. From supportive staff members to the structure and insight within the modules, my learning experience has helped me develop new skills and further understanding of not just criminology, but the world around.
Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|A level||BBC. Excludes General Studies|
|GCSE||5 GCSEs at grade 9-4 / A*-C including English and Mathematics, or specified equivalents|
|IB Diploma||27 points|
|Access Diplomas||The Access to HE Diploma in a Science, Social Science or Health subject to include 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction. Plus GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 / C or above.|
We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.
Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?
We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background. Find out more about our Fair Access Scheme.
Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:
You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.
If you do not have the typical entry requirements, you may want to consider studying this course with an international foundation year. Upon successful completion our International Foundation Year - Law will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to progress onto this undergraduate degree.
Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.0 overall, with at least 5.5 in each component area
If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.
Fees and funding
2023/24 tuition fees.
|UK||£9,250 per year||Not available|
|International||£16,800 per year||Not available|
If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.
For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.
We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.
The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:
- Any optional overseas ﬁeld trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
- Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad)
How do you know if you need to pay UK or international tuition fees?
We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.
If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.
Teaching and learning take place in state-of-the art facilities on the main Coventry University campus near to the University Hub, Students Union and library4. Extensive use is made of seminar and workshop rooms for smaller groups to facilitate active group learning.
Our dedicated subject librarian on main campus will provide guidance on searching and retrieving academic sources using the library systems and databases, as well as assistance and support with individual enquiries.
Centre for Academic Writing
The Centre for Academic Writing next to the Library will offer individual advice on developing writing skills or dealing with writing problems.
Two prison cells, one single and one double, are used to give a sense of the real-life experiences of inmates, and for role play learning. Have a look round our mock prison cell on our virtual 360 tour.
Careers and opportunities
With a view to shaping your prospects as a graduate, teaching, learning, and assessment take a problem-based approach which means you get to deal with real-world issues and scenarios combining theory and practice delivered by our current teaching team who have a diverse range of experience including mental health, sexual offending, imprisonment, and probation to name a few. External speakers and visiting lecturer/practitioners also bring expertise to the classroom2.
Assessments are coursework based and varied to test independent and team-working, communication, analytical and critical thinking, and other transferable skills designed to enhance your employment prospects within or outside the criminological sphere. With an emphasis on inter-cultural awareness, the course also offers opportunity for overseas experience through field trips and study abroad with the aim of making you a strong contender for a graduate level career in the global jobs market2.
Criminology not only provides you with the knowledge and skills for working within the criminological sphere – in areas such as the police in uniformed and civilian roles, courts, prison staff and outreach, probation, victim support, security, and community safety – but also develops transferable skills that equip you for a wide range of graduate level careers. For example, some roles recent students have undertaken have included teaching, retail management, and fraud investigation for the financial industry. Many students opt for postgraduate level study.
Where our graduates work
Recent graduates have gone on to pursue postgraduate qualifications and work for a range of organisations, including The National Crime Agency, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, HM Prison Service, Coventry Cyrenians, West Midlands Police and the Metropolitan Police.
Progression routes to courses for further study within Coventry University include:
My year abroad gave me the chance to immerse myself in a completely new culture and lifestyle challenging me to assimilate to different student lifestyles, become fluent in a new language, and enjoy the amazing Spanish weather. Studying in a foreign university has helped me to broaden my knowledge in new subjects which have helped me to find my interest area in the field of criminology. The experiences I have gained, and memories made, throughout the year let me call Spain, and especially Madrid, my other home away from home. In my opinion, doing an exchange year is a must during the years of university!
As a graduate of Criminology, the experience of the lecturers outside of a classroom environment is what I always remember. The support they were able to give and the opportunities they provided were exceptional. The ability to network with different contacts introduced by the lecturers helped me to pursue my dream career within the criminological field.
How to apply
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 can apply for this course through UCAS from 6 September 2022. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.
Part-time students should apply directly to the university.
If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.
Chat with our admissions team
Complete our contact form
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 should apply directly to the university.How to apply
For further support for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree view our International hub.
You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.
Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.
Chat with our admissions team
Complete our contact form
Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.
The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.
2UK and international opportunities
Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.
For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.
Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.
By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2023/24 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.