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BSc (Hons) Criminology and Sociology

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UCAS code: 
Institution code: 


Three years full-time.

Four and a half to nine years part-time.

Course Options: 
Professional Placement
Study Abroad
Typical Offer: 

2023-24 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.
  • Modern teaching with new topics and modules such as Drugs and Crime - to keep up with a changing world.
  • Graduates can progress in to a range of careers or in to further education.
  • Criminology and Sociology graduates are well equipped with the advanced skills and confidence to thrive in a variety of occupations.


Criminology is a discipline with a number of robust and lively theoretical and empirical debates. Through engaging in these debates students will gain the very important undergraduate skill of critical understanding. Sociology is a subject that developed with the modern world and its key task is to analyse the changing nature of the social world with particular reference to recent developments.

Students will challenge common-sense notions of criminal and deviant behaviours by critically examining academic research and making informed decisions based on available evidence. Sociology at the University of Suffolk aims to equip students with the tools they need to understand the world they live in by developing relevant analytical and research skills.

The aim of the sociology joint programme is to produce well informed sociologists who can develop sociologically informed arguments.

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 and requisite modules Plus 1 criminology and 1 sociology module from the level 4 (Year 1) options below.

Level 5 All mandatory and requisite modules Plus 1 or 2 criminology modules and 1 or 2 sociology modules from the level 5 (Year 2) options below. 

Level 6 All mandatory modules Plus 2 optional criminology modules  Plus 2 optional sociology modules from the level 6 (Year 3) options below.

Preparatory reading list for Criminology
Preparatory reading list for Sociology

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 (Requisite)

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. 

Sociological Imagination (Requisite)

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. 

Social Change (Requisite)

This module will introduce the major aspects of social change that have led to and developed within modern societies. There is a focus upon identifying and explaining some of the major social changes over the past 30-40 years using official statistics and social theory. The emphasis will be upon patterns of change alongside an exploration of the impact on personal biography, life-satisfaction and wellbeing. The module will initially focus upon Europe but also give room for students to explore social change in more rapidly changing parts of the world as well. The module allows students to engage with a range of data that describe social changes in key areas of social life from family to work to wellbeing to migration.  

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. 

Migration and Ethnicity (Optional)

Migration and ethnicity are central areas of interest in sociology and is an everyday experience for most people. Great complexity surrounds human mobility in a contemporary world and many changes have taken place in relation to it over time. The module will examine the history of people’s movement across the world, various causes of migration, and its voluntary and forced forms. The module will also consider theoretical aspects of migration and ethnicity, as well as, it will explore different ways of researching migration and ethnicity. It will also look at individual narratives in order to understand the experiences and challenges people face in the context of migration and ethnicity. Public organizations and institutions related to migration, ethnicity, as well as, media discourse related to these will also be paid attention to. The examples will be taken from Ipswich, Suffolk, and more widely the UK, as well as a global dimension of migration and ethnicity. 

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 (Requisite)

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.  

Social Theory (Requisite)

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.   

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. 

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.

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.

Globalization (Optional)

Globalization is a much-used term and one that is seen by many commentators as the major force behind social, economic, political and cultural change over the past 30 years. It is also a much-misunderstood concept and provokes much heated debate between those who argue free markets are the motor of globalization to the constant benefit of humankind and anti-globalization critics who see many of the world’s ills stemming from the increase in globalization. The module aims to equip students to get behind the ‘woolliness’ of much popular discussion of globalization. This module intends to examine definitions of globalization, the dimensions of globalization and the evidence to evaluate the extent to which globalization is now a key element in important aspects of social life. Recent indications that there may be a reversal in globalization will be critically considered. Students should be able to engage with these debates by evaluating a range of data and arguments about globalization. 

Medical Sociology (Optional)

Medical sociology questions and challenges dominant discourses according to which the topics of health and illness are to be treated as biological phenomena and understood through medical knowledge. Medical research studies the mechanics of the body and provides concrete laws of cause and effect explaining disease symptoms in order to establish courses of treatment aimed at restoring the human organism at a statistically derived equilibrium. In doing so, biomedicine fails to acknowledge the importance of social, political, economic, and cultural forces in understanding health and illness. By claiming that diseases are biological, universal, and transcend social and cultural contexts, biomedicine tends to be blind to the fact that it is itself a social construct that is culture specific. Medical Sociology builds upon sociological theory, knowledge and skills gained through studying level four modules. It investigates, among others, topics related to the social meaning of health and illness, the sociology of the body, the important role of story-telling and the patients’ narratives in the healing process, digital medicine, the unequal physician-patient relationship, phenomena such as the increasing tendency to pathologize and, subsequently, medicalize human expression and behaviour, alternative medicine, psychosomatic theories of illness, sociological perspectives around health policy and practice, health inequalities, mental illness, alternative medicine, and others.

Racialisation, Racism and Resistance: Global Perspectives

This module will encourage students to develop a critical approach to race, racism and resistance from a global perspective, looking not only on conceptions and lived experience in the Western countries but also other parts of the world, including the Global South including Latin American, Africa and Asian contexts, and Central and Eastern Europe. The module will explore key sites of contemporary racism and anti-racist political activism, drawing on examples such as the Black Lives Matter movement and pro- and anti-refugee solidarity activism in Europe and beyond. Attention will also be paid to decolonial and postcolonial approaches, as well as the intersection of gender, race, class and other categories of difference when exploring race, racism and resistance globally.

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.

Mental Health Policy and Practice (Optional)

The aim of this module is to introduce the sociological perspective to the discussion about and the debates on mental illness and the development of the psychiatric treatment and services. Accordingly, the module’s material can be reasonably classified under two wide thematic categories, the sociology of mental health and illness and the sociology of psychiatry and the mental health services. The module includes sessions emphasising the distinction between ‘madness’ and ‘mental illness’ and introduces the sociological approach in a variety of topics such as the role of the media in the construction of the public’s perceptions about insanity, the social distribution of mental illness, as well as gender, race and life stages in relation to mental disorder. It also introduces a number of sessions in which the sociological understanding is employed in explaining the advent and development of psychiatric practice (i.e. development of the asylum treatment or the move towards community care), professions and services. This second part of the module also considers the very topical debate of the expansion of psychiatric boundaries, as well as transcultural psychiatry. The module seeks to broaden the student’s understanding of mental health and illness, as well as psychiatric practice. The sessions include material relevant not only to sociology, psychology, criminology and youth studies students but is also considerably significant to individuals following or are hoping to follow a career in social work, nursing, and mental health nursing. 

Gender and Sexuality (Optional)

Gender and sexuality are central areas of interest in sociology. Gender and sexuality are also an everyday experience for most people and substantially impact on their daily lives. Moreover, great complexity surrounds gender and sexuality in a contemporary society and culture. The module will consider theoretical debates concerning gender and sexuality, as well as, it will deploy the most recent sociological research related to gender and sexuality. It will consider political dimension of gender and sexuality, as well as key gender and sexuality-related policies and laws. Public organizations and institutions related to the area of gender and sexuality as well as media discourse associated with these will also be paid attention to. 

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 85% of Criminology and Sociology graduates in 2014/15 found employment within six months of graduation.
  • Around 60% of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any discipline and Criminology and Sociology graduates are well equipped with the advanced skills and confidence to thrive in a variety of occupations
  • Criminology and Sociology 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.
  • Quite a number of our graduates also go on to pursue further qualifications at masters and doctoral levels
  • Online and face to face resources and advice are available from the University Careers and Employability Service for all University of Suffolk students. 

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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. 

* 2023-24 tuition fees are subject to change in line with inflation, or a government change in the fee cap.

Entry requirements

Course options

This course offers a Professional Placement and Study Abroad option. 


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

Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Politics

Facilities and Resources

Criminology and Sociology teaching takes place at our modern, fully-equipped Waterfront or Atrium buildings at our Ipswich campus. As a University of Suffolk student, you will have full access to our well-stocked library in addition to discounts at our cafés and restaurants. If you are looking for a quiet place to work, our break-out areas on each floor of our Waterfront Building are an excellent choice. 

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