You are here

BSc (Hons) Criminology

Open Days

The best way to find the right university for you. Meet your lecturers, discover more about your course and take a look around the campus. 

RS2725 Open Day (5) (2)
UCAS code: 
Institution code: 


Three years full-time.

Course Options: 
Professional Placement
Study Abroad
Typical Offer: 

2023-24 and 2024-25 entry; 112 UCAS tariff points (or above), BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC), Merit (T Level). 


  • Excellent links with Suffolk Constabulary, local magistrates, the Crown Prosecution Service and the probation service. 
  • Regular guest speakers who are practitioners that work in the field with either victims or offenders.
  • As a Criminology graduate, you will be well equipped with advanced skills and the confidence to thrive in a variety of roles.
  • Benefit from small class sizes, helping you strengthen your learning and employability.


Criminology is an academic discipline with strong roots in Sociology, Psychology, Law, Social Policy and Philosophy, and offers a number of robust theoretical and empirical debates. Through engaging in these debates students will gain the very important undergraduate skill of critical and will be challenged to seek answers to fundamental questions such as:

  • What is crime? 
  • Why do people commit crime? 
  • Why and how do we punish offenders? 
  • Are we all equal before the law? 
  • How does the Criminal Justice System, and institutions such as prisons, work? 
  • How do we prevent crime? 

Criminology is an inherently reflexive discipline as it deals with public issues that have a contested value basis. To this end, students will be introduced to a variety of research methods and ethical considerations, so that they can challenge and understand the limitations and ambiguities of research.

Course modules

Typical course content will follow the below format, with some optional modules being available subject to appropriate student numbers and specialist staff availability

Level 4 All Mandatory Criminology Modules and 4 from the Optional level 4 (Year 1) modules below 

Level 5 All Mandatory Criminology Modules and 4 from the Optional level 5 (Year 2) modules below

Level 6 All Mandatory Criminology Modules and 4 from the Optional level 6 (Year 3) modules below

For this course all modules are assessed and a range of assessment methods are used, including essays, reports, case studies, critiques, reviews and formal examinations.

For a preparatory reading list please click here

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Social Science Skills (Mandatory)

This module seeks to introduce students to academic study at university level. Its purpose is to enable students to reflect on and develop their skills as they progress through their first year of study. This is achieved by introducing students to the key study and academic skills required to succeed at university level study and supporting students as they develop their competencies in these skills. Students are also introduced to the principles and core concepts underpinning their field of study, and social science research more generally. A developmental approach is emphasised throughout the module, and, as part of the module’s approach to learning and teaching, students regularly meet in small groups with their personal tutors.  

Introduction to Criminology (Mandatory)

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the subject specialism that is criminology using a topic-based approach. Students examine how we can make sense of crime and criminality by exploring some key areas of debate and controversy within the discipline of criminology. Crime has come to dominate both the political and social stage and there are many social, cultural and criminological explanations made as to the extent, cause and nature of crime and criminality. The task of the students is to explore and make some sense of this debate. 

Principles of Psychology for Criminology (Optional)

This module will introduce students to key approaches and perspectives within the discipline of psychology and provide an understanding of how human behaviour is influenced by biological, behavioural, cognitive and psychoanalytical processes. The module will explore some of the basic principles and debates within psychology and will outline key concepts, theories and research studies that have informed psychology as a whole as well as those of the different approaches, perspectives and branches of psychology covered within the module. The focus of the module is on providing students with a grounding in the fundamentals of psychology in order to complement their understanding of criminology and offending behaviour; to highlight a number of areas in which psychology has contributed to criminological knowledge; and to elucidate the links between psychology and criminology by discussing the implications and applications of different approaches within criminology and in explanations of, and responses to, criminal and deviant behaviour. 

Policy & Politics (Optional)

This module will introduce students to political concepts, principles and theories that shape the operation of politics in the UK, and how this affects policy responses to various social issues and problems with a particular emphasis placed upon crime and deviance. As well as introducing students to the political institutions of the UK, the module examines the different ways that political choices are framed and made in the UK and the process of debate and dialogue is a key part of the content of the module.

Sociological Imagination (Optional)

Sociology is a subject that provides an analysis of the modern social world. It is also a subject that came into being with that modern world. This module aims to introduce you to key features of the sociological perspective and what many call the sociological imagination. It is concerned with making the everyday strange and the far away near to gain a better grasp on key aspects of social life. This leads into a key concern of sociology with questions of power and inequality. Students will be able to engage with key debates about the nature of inequality and power using contemporary examples and analysis. 

Law for Criminologists (Optional)

This module introduces the key concepts, modes of reasoning, systems and practices that make up the English legal system and aspects of criminal law. It will explore the key elements of common law reasoning and statutory interpretation, the main features of the English legal system with particular reference to criminal law. In practical terms, the module engages with the interpretation and application of cases and statutes, with analytical appreciation of competing interpretations of the law in relation to practical scenarios. Students will be able to respond to problem questions and develop presentation skills appropriate to the study of law. 

History of Crime & Punishment (Optional)

This module provides both context and an introduction to the history of crime, crime control and punishment in England and Wales. It explains the historical background that is essential for an understanding of contemporary criminal justice and examines the historical context for contemporary criminological debates. This module assists in the removal of traditional barriers between disciplines and, specifically, reflects criminology’s interdisciplinary nature and focus.  It will draw together some of the leading scholars working at the intersections of criminology, philosophy, humanities and related subjects. This module will enable students to locate contemporary debates within a wider historical context, thus helping them to develop a critical understanding of today’s ‘crisis’ and to understand the importance of studying criminology within the context of broader debates.

Understanding Research (Mandatory)

This module grounds students in the principles of social science research and methods employed to develop our understanding of the social world. The module covers core aspects of the research process and offers students opportunities to focus on particular methods of interest to them and relevant to their field of study. The module aims to provide students with the knowledge and confidence to undertake independent, ethical and robust research in the social sciences. This module also acts as a precursor to the dissertation module.  

Criminological Theory (Mandatory)

This module builds upon the foundations laid in the module Introduction to Criminology and explores theoretical perspectives that influence criminology and social control. ‘Scientific’ theories of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were crucial to the construction of a new ‘common sense’, in which the solutions of social problems would be found - it was believed - in an applied science and technology of social order and control. Thus, just as the natural sciences had promised to bring the productive power of nature under the control of ‘man’, so an applied technology of social order - premised upon a new ‘science of society’ - was apparently waiting to be found.

This module highlights the importance of political and cultural concerns of the period when considering the search for the ‘causes’ of crime. The module introduces the student to the main theoretical debates occurring within the discipline of criminology. It examines the three broad levels of criminological explanation: the individual, the situational, and the structural. Thus, the different theories within criminology that locate their main explanation for criminal behaviour at one (or more) of these levels are explored.  

Youth Crime and Justice (Optional)

This module facilitates an examination of youth crime from competing criminological perspectives. It evaluates the association between young people and crime from historical, sociological and legal perspectives. Students are exposed to the various ways in which social constructions of youth and crime shape criminal justice policy and systems. Selected substantive themes will be explored, and cover procedures, policies and social challenges. Though the frame of reference will be the United Kingdom, there will significant comparative analysis.  

Policing (Optional)

Arguably, the last 50 years have also seen considerable changes in the governance and perceived legitimacy of the police service; in its accountability; in its relationships with the public whose consent is sought for policing to continue in its current form; in its ever-changing relationship with the government and finally, how it deals with competition from new forms of private policing.

This module seeks to critically evaluate these areas of criminological inquiry and to explore how the development of policing and systems of social control relate to each other and to the historical context of policing. The module commences with a brief study of the key debates and historical events during which policing was introduced and legitimised against considerable opposition. Students will then be encouraged to develop a firm grasp of the key sociological and political debates around policing and how these debates influenced the emergence of modern policing and continues to do so. Finally, students will interrogate how policing has interacted with, complemented or contradicted other institutions of social control in modern society such as welfare, education, health, or even financial agencies.  

Criminal Justice (Optional)

This module examines the institutions, practices and processes that make up the criminal justice system.  Although areas of enquiry will focus on policing, the courts, the penal system and the probation service. The main aim is to analyse the social, economic and political factors that underpins the values, practices and processes of these institutions. There has been much discussion about the nature of criminal justice and the apparent failure of key institutions to deliver justice, protection for the public and the punishment of criminals.  It is essential in this module that these themes are explored in a critical analytical way and wider consideration is given to the role of the media, public opinion and political expedience in these debates. Students are encouraged to evaluate criminal justice practice critically and to make links with issues raised in other criminology module.

Psychology and Crime (Optional)

The relationship between psychology and crime is an important area of study. The purpose of this module is to explore the ways in which psychology can be applied to criminology and to critically discuss the relationship between psychology and crime. The module examines the ways in which key approaches, perspectives, theories and debates in psychology can contribute to understanding criminal and deviant behaviour. Psychology plays a significant role in seeking to explain criminal behaviour and there are a number of notable criminological theories presenting reasons why people commit crime which are founded upon psychological knowledge, theories and research. This module will explore a number of these psychological theories of crime and assess their value and contribution to explanations of criminal behaviour. The role of psychology in responding to crime is also substantial and the module will highlight and discuss key areas within criminal justice where psychological understanding and approaches to human behaviour inform and are incorporated into ways of dealing with and treating offenders in order to help prevent crime.  

Social Theory (Optional)

The development of social theory is one of the key contributions of sociology to the social sciences. Most areas of sociology require a firm grasp of social theory and the range of traditions that provide some of the key sociological research questions. This module provides an overview of the origins of social theory, the development into a classical tradition and the more established, often American influenced social theory of the mid 20th Century. Much of the module will focus upon key thinkers rather than schools of thought. Students will also engage with the ideas of a range of important theorists from the late 20th and early 21st Centuries allowing for an engagement with the insightful, often challenging and sometimes counter-intuitive perspectives that come from a range of contemporary social theorists. Students taking this module will be strongly encouraged to apply social theory to contemporary social life and especially a range of social and political issues.

Contemporary Issues in Criminology (Optional)

The purpose of this module is to allow students to engage with selected contemporary issues, debates and perspectives in criminology. Based primarily on weekly seminar discussion of an identified journal article, book chapter, or report, the module will focus on critical analysis, appreciation and discussion of each issue and facilitate engagement with broader subject areas of criminology.  Students will develop a critical overview of the discipline as it stands and the extent to which it is equipped or willing to engage with certain types of crime. Some topics will allow introductory insights into emerging, specialist fields of enquiry. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate the limitations of criminological theories and evidence as appropriate, as well as explore and critique the influence of current social, economic, political and cultural context on particular policies and practices in criminal justice. To reflect the dynamic, contemporary nature of this module, students are encouraged to appreciate and use various forms of representation through which criminological issues may be channelled and discussed.

Social Justice & Policy (Optional)

This module examines the nature of social justice and the range of policies that have sought to make societies fairer. The module examines different conceptions of social justice, including the conceptions advanced Rawls and Sen. The module also explores the welfare state and some of the major policies used to try and increase social justice across a range of dimensions, including housing, education, health, income transfers, pensions and access to legal rights. The module also seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of social policies in a variety of countries increasing social justice using international data and evidence.

Independent Project (Mandatory)

In this module you will produce a final year project that allows you to exercise your independent judgement and skills in the development and execution of a project or dissertation relevant to your field of study. Under the supervision of an assigned tutor, the module provides you with the opportunity to independently apply the core subject knowledge and skills developed over the course of your degree. Over the course of the year you will undertake independent analysis and research, and communicate and present it to high professional standards. This project can take the form of a traditional research dissertation, but you also have the flexibility to undertake an alternative, such as a reflective report based on an independent project pursued in a practice / work setting.

Penology (Optional)

Penology considers both custodial and non-custodial punishment and various issues and dilemmas that might derive from penal intervention. Issues such as the ‘Americanisation’ of the penal system and the impact of prison privatisation will be discussed, in addition to the assessment of the ethos and effectiveness of incarceration.

Victimology (Optional)

Victims of Crime allows students to recognise the extent, patterns and impact of victimisation which is fundamental to enable informed discussion regarding crime and deviance. Through exploring the concept of victimisation, the experience of crime victims and developments in response to them, students will have the opportunity to broaden their understanding of contemporary crime and criminal justice.

Drugs, Crime and Society (Optional)

The module explores key issues, themes and debates from the field of drugs, crime and society. Students explore established and more recent academic and policy debates surrounding drug use, regulation and criminalisation. It is expected that students will come to the module with a 'taken-for-granted' perspective on the nature of drugs, their links with crime, and their wider social consequences and the module aims to challenge some of these.

Community Safety & Crime Prevention (Optional)

This module will focus on community safety as an approach to crime prevention with its roots in policy innovations at the end of the last century. It will explore the relative merits of both ‘situational’ and ‘social’ measures of crime prevention and community safety taking into consideration wider technological and policy advancements. This module seeks to engage with the current debates regarding current strategies and limitations of this ‘policy and practice’ dimension.

Crimes of the powerful (Optional)

Criminology as a discipline has predominately focused on crimes against the person that have tended to have been committed by other individuals, traditionally referred to as ‘street-crimes’. The aim of this module is to rebalance this bias by exploring key themes that fall under the ‘umbrella term’ Crimes of the Powerful and to apply these themes in analysing cases of hidden crime that arguably produces more harm than traditional deviant behaviour. These themes include discussions of power, privilege, information control and the construction of harm.

Forensic Psychology (Optional)

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the branch of psychology known as forensic psychology and to explore its application in legal and criminal justice settings. It will involve discussions of the theory and practice of contemporary forensic psychology and an exploration of the role it plays in prisons, probation, policing and the courtroom. In studying this module students will appreciate the interaction between psychology and the investigation and detection of crime, legal and trial processes and in dealing with offenders. The module will also examine relevant psychological research and key issues involved in the practice of forensic psychology such as the efficacy of methods concerning the prediction and classification of offenders, interviewing techniques and of different approaches to prevention and rehabilitation.  

Rehabilitation of Offenders (Optional)

This module aims to develop critical understandings of the concepts of ‘offender’ rehabilitation and the changing nature of rehabilitative enterprises over time; the role of risk in the organisation of the criminal justice system and responses to offending and research about desistance from crime. We will explore the purposes of sentencing in criminal courts, and how rehabilitation as an aim of sentencing is achieved. The module also provides an in-depth look at the role of key agencies involved in the delivery of rehabilitation, for example the Probation Services, and the approaches used to encourage desistance and prevent further offending. We will also look at the journey through the criminal justice system from the perspective of its subjects (i.e. those sentenced by the courts and made the subject of a community or prison sentence).

Data Analysis and Visualisation for Social Scientists (Optional)

This module seeks to develop your skills in processing large and complex datasets in the social sciences and visualise analysis to distil and convey findings to wide audiences. The module explores the key principles which make for effective data visualisation and communication, and the core workflows involved in processing, analysing and visualising data using appropriate software tools. In addition to developing your skills and competencies in analysing and presenting quantitative data, the module critically examines how quantitative data is used in the social sciences and how its use and presentation affects the development and evaluation of public policy.

Career opportunities

•    The most recent figures available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reveal that 91.3% of Psychology, Sociology and Criminology graduates in 2014/15 found employment within six months of graduation or were in Education/Further Study.

•    Around 60% of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any discipline and Criminology graduates are well equipped with the advanced skills and confidence to thrive in a variety of occupations.

•    Criminology graduates are good at problem solving, have good analytical and research skills, and have excellent information and data management skills

•    Employability is taken very seriously at University of Suffolk and employers are directly involved in a number of taught and additional sessions over the course of the degree.

•    Excellent links with Suffolk Constabulary, local magistrates, the Crown Prosecution Service and the probation service. 

•    Important links to careers in Psychology are made for Level  5 and 6 students 

•    Online and face to face resources and advice are available from the University Careers and Employability Service for all University of Suffolk students.

What our students say

Have a read about Helena Bliss and what she loves most about studying Criminology. Helena is one of our second year students. Criminology student Tara McCartney has also told us what she loves about studying at Suffolk.

Student profiles

I have successfully completed my Criminology degree at the University of Suffolk. I chose to study Criminology because I was, and I am still interested in the criminal behaviour. During my degree, I discovered various perspectives and areas which explains the criminal behaviour. It ...

Fees and finance


  • UK full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a
  • UK part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (please contact the Student Centre for further information)
  • International full-time tuition fee:  £13,992 p.a

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. 

Entry requirements

Course options

This course also offers a professional placement and a study abroad. 


Course Leader, Politics, Sociology and Criminology

Director, The Centre for Academic & International Partners

Senior Lecturer in MSc Leadership and Custodial Environments (LaCE)

Associate Professor in Criminology

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Lecturer in Criminology

Lecturer in Criminology

Lecturer in Criminology

Facilities and Resources

Your Criminology studies will be mainly based in our modern, well-equipped Waterfront Building situated on the Ipswich Waterfront, which was our first dedicated teaching and learning space after opening in 2008. 

The Criminology team has extensive links with all local agencies that operate within the criminal justice system, and as such they are able to embed contemporary research into their teaching demonstrating the applied nature of criminology at the University of Suffolk.

In addition, many modules regularly have guest speakers who are practitioners that work either with victims or offenders. Some recent examples are senior police officers, criminal defence solicitors, senior magistrates, witness services personnel and youth justice practitioners.

Waterfront Building Question Mark

Waterfront Building Question Mark

The Waterfront Building provides the perfect base for your studies, being close to the town centre and overlooking the marina.