Criminology BSc (Hons) - 2024/5

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 6

Final award and programme/pathway title

BSc (Hons) Criminology

Subsidiary award(s)

Award Title
Ord Criminology
DipHE Criminology
CertHE Criminology

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Full-time ULE10010 360 credits and 180 ECTS credits
Full-time with PTY ULE10010 480 credits and 240 ECTS credits

QAA Subject benchmark statement (if applicable)

Criminology (Bachelor)

Other internal and / or external reference points


Faculty and Department / School

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Sociology

Programme Leader

SETTY Emily (Sociology)

Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

  • To develop critical, inquisitive and independent thought when examining criminological issues.
  • To be able to use a range of analytical tools in order to evaluate and conduct research on contemporary problems relating to crime, deviance and social control.
  • To develop an applied and theoretical understanding of crime, crime control and criminal justice.
  • To acquire a critical understanding of the various formal and informal responses to crime including policing and penal systems.
  • To acquire a broad range of communicative, analytical and organisational skills and the confidence and knowledge to apply these skills in their careers after graduation.
  • To develop skills in using quantitative and qualitative means of investigating trends in crime and criminal justice.
  • To develop familiarity with the principles and intellectual traditions of Criminology and their relevance across a range of relevant substantive areas.

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.
Familiarity with and critical appreciation of the key elements of Criminology necessary for understanding of the contemporary social world. K CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Familiarity with and critical appreciation of the main theoretical perspectives and debates in Criminology and their application to the study of substantive crime and criminal justice related phenomena. K DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Familiarity with and understanding of the range and application of qualitative and quantitative methods used to produce data in criminological research. K BSc (Hons)
A critical understanding of the most recent developments in criminological theory, methodology and methods. K CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
The ability to produce an extended piece of work that incorporates the above knowledge, understanding and appreciation. K DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Have acquired sufficient knowledge of criminological concepts and theory to be able to challenge received opinion, evaluate their own work and report effectively. K CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Have acquired basic knowledge of criminological concepts and theories. K BSc (Hons)
To be able to understand standard criminological text books. K DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Identify, critically assess and apply key concepts in Criminology to a range of relevant substantive areas. C CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Distinguish between and evaluate different methodological approaches to the study of crime and other related issues. C DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Critically evaluate, contrast and challenge different theoretical approaches within the discipline of Criminology. C CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
To be able to apply these skills to an extended piece of work. C DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Synthesise and evaluate data from a variety of primary and secondary sources. C CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Evaluate the relationship between criminological theories and concepts and empirical evidence. C DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Have acquired further social research skills to enable them, with autonomy, to perform straightforward research tasks. C Ord, BSc (Hons)
Have acquired a basic foundation of social research skills to enable them to perform simple research tasks with guidance. C DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Design and execute independent research using a variety of methods. P Ord, BSc (Hons)
Produce, manage and analyse quantitative and qualitative data. P Ord, BSc (Hons)
Identify, collect and apply relevant primary and secondary sources to inform and resolve criminological issues. P Ord, BSc (Hons)
Work individually and as part of a group to critically reflect upon key debates in Criminology and substantive crime and criminal justice related matters. P Ord, BSc (Hons)
To be able to apply these skills to an extended piece of work. P Ord, BSc (Hons)
Locate, evaluate and apply appropriate criminological theories and concepts to inform both data production and analysis. P Ord, BSc (Hons)
Have demonstrated an ability to utilise library and electronic learning material in self-directed learning. P Ord, BSc (Hons)

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure


This Bachelor's Degree (Honours) programme is studied full-time over three academic years, consisting of 360 credits (120 credits at FHEQ levels 4, 5 and 6). All modules are semester based and worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Bachelor's Degree (Ordinary) (300 credits)
- Diploma of Higher Education (240 credits)
- Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits)

Full-time with PTY

This Bachelor's Degree (Honours) programme is studied full-time over four academic years, consisting of 480 credits (120 credits at FHEQ levels 4, 5, 6 and the optional professional training year). All modules are semester based and worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Bachelor's Degree (Ordinary) (300 credits)
- Diploma of Higher Education (240 credits)
- Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits)

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Professional Training Year (PTY) -

Module Selection for Professional Training Year (PTY) -

Students taking the PTY Year must choose one of the following modules; SOCP010, SOCP011 or SOCP012

Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics Y
Professional Training Year (PTY) Y
Placement(s) (study or work that are not part of PTY) N
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) N
Study exchange (Level 5) Y
Dual degree N

Other information

Students may transfer from the BSc in Criminology to the BSc in Criminology and Sociology, the BSc in Sociology, or the BSc in Media, Culture and Society during semester 1 of FHEQ Level 4, subject to the approval of the relevant programme leader.

Level 4 provides students with a firm foundation in the discipline, developing their understanding of theoretical and conceptual explanations for and responses to crime and deviance. They consider a range of substantive topics and issues, including as pertain to the nature and functioning of the criminal justice system and relevant apparatus of the state. They are also introduced to research methods and will develop their methodological and applied understandings and skills in a range of quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis techniques.

Level 5 enables students to further deepen their understanding of criminology through a set of 4 compulsory modules, including more advanced concepts and theories of punishment, psychology of criminal behaviour, alongside advanced research methods training. They will also select 4 optional modules (
global challenges and more advanced concepts, theories and methods, as well as a selection of 4 optional modules (from a choice of 10), designed to allow students to develop their knowledge in areas of specific interest and relevance for their future aspirations.

The optional Level P offers the chance to spend a full academic year undertaking a work or study-abroad placement (or a mixture of the two), enhancing students¿ professional development and employability skills and enriching their curriculum vitae in preparation for further career pathways.

Level 6 facilitates a more flexible approach where students can specialise in areas of criminology that most align with their individual passions and career plans. This includes a year-long dissertation or independent project module, providing students with the opportunity to research a criminological theme of particular interest, as well as a selection of 5 optional modules (from a choice of 10), enabling students to focus in a more in-depth way on topics of their choosing spanning different substantive topics in crime, victimisation and criminal justice alongside options to expand their interdisciplinary knowledge through modules delivered by Law and Politics..

Students achieving 360 credits will graduate with a BSc (Hons), 300 credits with a BSc (Ord), 240 credits with a Dip HE, and 120 credits with a Cert HE.

Vision and Philosophy

The Criminology BSc degree at University of Surrey aims to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of causes and consequences of and responses to crime, offending and victimisation. It addresses these causes, consequences and responses in terms of the social contexts in which crime, offending and victimisation unfolds. Students will develop their understanding of the concepts, theories and principles of criminology and their application across a range of case studies and examples. The programme will link theory to practice through studying the cause and effect of criminal actions; forms and outcomes of social disorders; policing and regulation of public order; procedures and techniques of the criminal justice system; and the relationship between behaviours and punishments.

At the heart of the programme is enabling students to develop and apply a critical lens of inquiry and analysis to the individual, group, social and institutional dimensions of crime and justice. Students explore the nature of crime and offending, how victimisation affects individuals, groups and society, and how different parts of the criminal justice system operate and to what effect. They will focus their thinking on how crime and justice has unfolded and developed over time and will explore how changes and developments have occurred within wider socio-cultural and political contexts. They will examine narratives and discourses around crime and offending and the bases for different criminal justice responses. The programme also provides opportunities for students to reflect on how a critical approach to understanding crime, victimisation and justice can help them to address contemporary problems in society, to facilitate and enact positive, sustainable improvements and be the change-makers of tomorrow.

Students will develop both substantive and transferable skills through the programme. They will understand how to systemically gather and assess data on criminological issues and interpret data to identify academic, practice and policy implications. They will be supported to act as researchers, both generating and collecting new data in response to research problems and gaps they identify, as well as analyse secondary/existing data sources. They will also be invited to critically assess the work of academic and other researchers. They will develop and apply skills in both quantitative and qualitative skills. They will learn how to produce clear and coherent arguments and explanations and will develop their written, oral and visual communication skills when constructing critical and persuasive arguments. They will learn how to work effectively both as an individual and within groups. They will be encouraged to pursue their own areas of interest and to engage in self-directed learning, thus supporting their resilience and resourcefulness. Engaging successfully with the programme will require and help support their organisation and time management skills.

The Criminology programme at the University of Surrey is designed to enable students to become critical social scientists both regarding the specific matters of crime, victimisation and justice, but also more broadly in terms of their mindset and orientation to social issues. They will be free to explore areas of interest and can develop their knowledge and skills with respect to criminological issues but also broader areas of interest for which their transferable skill set will apply. They will participate in different types of learning and assessment and teaching will involve active and participatory learning methods. They will examine the subject within a wider global context and will be encouraged to make links with other contexts, both comparable and distinct. They will be part of the Sociology department and will study alongside students from Sociology and Media and Communications, as well as having the opportunity to select modules from other disciplines (politics, law) and to study alongside students from other disciplines in their Criminology modules. They will, therefore, study and learn in a rich environment and will be encouraged to practice perspective taking and reflection throughout the course as they are exposed to new and diverse perspectives on the topics and the issues.

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience, embedded into the Criminology programme as follows:

i. Global and cultural capabilities

Locating crime, victimisation and criminal justice processes and impacts within local and global contexts is central to the Criminology programme. Students will develop a critical appreciation of the global, cultural, social, political, historical and comparative contexts within which these processes and impacts take place. They will be introduced to contemporary local and global developments and challenges in Criminology and will develop their awareness and skills in comparative analysis across jurisdictions. This is achieved through coverage of international, transnational and comparative topics and themes across compulsory and optional modules, as well as through skill development in comparative analysis. They are supported to develop their critical application of comparative techniques in explaining and responding to crime and deviance. Students are encouraged to identify, share and reflect upon their own and one another¿s diverse perspectives and experiences pertaining to programme content and are supported to develop their global awareness and critical thinking in these regards.

The curriculum is designed to encompass diverse perspectives on theorising, conceptualising and researching crime and justice, situating learning within global contexts and enabling students to develop theoretically informed and evidence-based understandings and application of knowledge, drawing upon local and global literature. Teaching and learning is designed to enable open and critical discussion with and between students.

Finally, students will also have the option to study abroad as part of their PTY year, with all of the active and engaging global and cultural experiences that this inevitably brings to the student experience.

ii. Digital capabilities

Developing digital skills is embedded across the teaching and learning process, as well as substantively within modules. Students will primarily engage with teaching and learning independently through the University¿s Virtual Learning Environment, and a range of other digital resources and online databases. Their digital skills will be developed through engaging with the content and learning materials, assessments, and online library catalogues. All teaching materials and key content will be made available in multimedia forms through Surrey Learn.

Across modules, students have further opportunities to develop and apply their digital capabilities. This includes through assessment methods, use of digital platforms, software and techniques for research and data analysis, digital communication (email, MS Teams, etc.) and teaching and learning methods and substantive content. Students are supported across these domains to develop, reflect upon and apply their digital capabilities and to situate these within substantive and theoretical terrains of knowledge regarding digital technologies as apply to criminology topics and research, data collection and data analysis.

iii. Employability

The Criminology programme is designed to support students to develop their goals and skills for a range of career and further study areas, pertaining both to specific fields of crime, victimisation and criminal justice and wider areas of work and study that draw upon their transferable skills. Specifically, the programme involves:

¿ Engagement with experts from relevant policy and practice areas in teaching and learning and supplementary activities (e.g., talks and workshops);
¿ Development of professional skills, e.g., team-working, communication.
¿ Development of up-to-date research and data evaluation and analysis skills, including through software and platforms used by employers.
¿ Development of transferable skills, e.g., organisation, numeracy.
¿ Fostering of independent and self-directed learning and requisite innovative and creative thinking.
¿ Development of reflexivity and critical thinking.
¿ Ability to link theory and practice across domains of crime, victimisation and criminal justice.
¿ Authentic assessments that apply learning to relevant policy and practice areas and develop experience and skills in tasks relevant to employment.
¿ Development of self-knowledge, interests and goals for career and further study.
¿ Opportunities to shape degree programme and learn about specialist topics areas.
¿ Development of understanding of key areas and functions of criminal justice, relevant to employment options.
¿ Dissertation specialisation in topics and themes linking directly to possible career pathways.
¿ Professional partner engagement, for example through guest speakers or careers/employability events.
¿ Professional Training Year and placements, offering opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience of the workplace.

iv. Resourcefulness and resilience

The programme designed to enable students to progressively develop their independence, perseverance and self-efficacy and, therefore, their resourcefulness and resilience. While they are supported throughout their learning journey, the teaching is designed to provide a framework for them to develop their own understandings and directions based on independent and self-directed learning. Teaching and learning takes diverse formats, organised around the learning objectives for each module, and students are introduced and expected to engage with different styles of teaching and different tasks and activities to support their learning. They learn and are assessed through both individual and group work, with independent study and innovative and creative thinking key aspects of the learning outcomes and assessment criteria. Students are encouraged to reflect upon, develop and practice time management and organisational skills and to display personal motivation as they undertake the teaching, learning and assessments. This will include active and participatory teaching and learning whereby students will be invited to share their ideas and perspectives, apply theory to practice, and problem solve in groups and individually.

Through developing their knowledge and skills in research methods and data collection, analysis and evaluation, students will learn how to independently generate, assess and disseminate evidence across a range of substantive areas of crime, victimisation and criminal justice. They will apply these skills throughout modules as they read, absorb and synthesise theory and evidence, and then when they come to complete their dissertation as an extended piece of independent work under the guidance of a supervisor.

Students receive formative and summative feedback through the programme, both in response to assessments and their contributions to teaching and learning activities and discussions. The feedback is given on both individual and group levels and is designed to identify areas of strong performance and areas for improvement. Feedback is intended to enable students to develop awareness and understandings of their strengths and areas for improvement and to develop and practice self-improvement. The newly introduced Becoming a Criminologist L4 skills module will provide students with a foundation for the development of their skills and abilities.

Further opportunities to develop resourcefulness and resilience skills are also available through PTY and other, shorter, placement provision, both in terms of the supported process of acquiring a position, and ensuring successful completion of the PTY, with the support of a personal tutor.

Upon completion of the programme, students will have benefited from a network of support, and will have become independent and resourceful learners who are able to appropriately apply confidence, reflection, critical thinking and analysis, and problem-solving skills.

v. Sustainability

The programme has benefited from incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations ( The 17 goals have different degrees of relevance for the delivery of this programme, but central to our thinking has been Goal 10 ¿ Reduced Inequalities, along with aspects of Goal 1 - No Poverty, Goal 3 ¿ Good Health and Wellbeing, Goal 4 ¿ Quality Education, Goal 5 ¿ Gender Equality, Goal 8 ¿ Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 11 ¿ Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 12 ¿ Responsible Consumption and Production, Goal 13 ¿ Climate Action, and Goal 16 ¿ Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. As the UN state, at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ¿are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth in environmentally sustainable ways.

Throughout the programme, therefore, students¿ awareness of these issues will be enhanced through their learning experiences and, in particular, through the authentic aspects of their activities and assessments. Sustainability issues are vital to understanding the processes and impacts of crime, victimisation and criminal justice. The operations of the criminal justice system come with implications for social, economic and environmental sustainability and students are introduced to these issues. The impacts unfold on a micro and macro level for individuals, families, social groups and institutions and across modules, students will develop their ability to identify and make arguments for addressing these impacts.

Students are invited to explore and critically engage with the intersecting social and political factors that shape these processes and impacts at the local, global, historical and contemporary level. They are taught to identify how inequalities, oppressions and disadvantages impact and are impacted by crime, victimisation and criminal justice and, in turn, are encouraged to think critically about policy and practice responses to addressing the issues driven by theory and evidence.

The Dissertation or independent project also provides a significant opportunity for students to consider ethics in depth, as they individually engage with the respective ethical considerations of their independent research projects. In doing so, they are not only able to demonstrate their own abilities as a future leader but can use such skills and thinking across other areas (for example, to enhance their employability). By the end of the programme, it is expected that students will have developed confidence in their own ability to tackle societal inequalities and promote inclusive and sustainable practice in the future.

Quality assurance

The Regulations and Codes of Practice for taught programmes can be found at:

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.