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Criminology and International Relations BSc(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time ML92 2018
2019
4 years full time including sandwich year ML29 2018
2019
4 years full time including foundation year M9L2 2018
2019

Why choose this course?

In the 21st century it's easier than ever for people and goods to cross borders, but it's also easier for criminals and contraband to make the same movements.

Although both our economies and daily lives depend on the ability of people and goods to circulate around the world at speed, these processes are also accompanied by division, inequality and conflict.

This criminology and international relations degree investigates today's contemporary, globalised world and the challenges it presents to order, social justice and human rights. The combination of both perspectives enables you to explore ways in which the local and the global intersect on an daily level.

You'll gain a thorough understanding of the theoretical foundations of criminology and international relations, in research methods and ethics, and academic writing and communication.

In the final year you can take an applied criminology placement for credit, and you'll be encouraged to volunteer in organisations aligned to the course, like victim support helplines, advocacy groups, justice campaign organisations, international charities and NGOs. 

Foundation year - Social Sciences

If you are thinking of returning to education after a break you could apply for our foundation year course. This course will provide you with the academic and transferable skills you need to study an undergraduate degree in any of the social sciences. At Kingston these include criminology, sociology, psychology, economics and politics.

Throughout the year-long course, you can study a range of these subjects, allowing you to get a better idea of which ones you prefer. It'll guide you in the direction of a social sciences degree that you're particularly interested in. The foundation year will develop your independent study skills and help you to better understand your academic ability, a potential career path and how to develop the skills that employers look for in graduates.

Watch this video to find out what our students have to say about studying this course at Kingston University:

What you will study

In the first year, you'll develop a foundation disciplinary and theoretical knowledge of both criminology and international relations, as well as covering modules on the drivers of political change and the structure of the criminal justice system in England and Wales.

In Year 2 you'll deepen your understanding of relevant theory and its application to real world problems through modules on policing and punishment, international relations and global governance. In addition, you'll complete a research methods project, demonstrating your knowledge of data collection and analysis.

In the final year you'll take an advanced module on global terrorism and transnational crime, and an advanced research project. You'll also take two options from a wide range of specialist modules, and can also opt to undertake a placement in a work environment, which will give you valuable work experience and look good on your CV.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Foundation year

  • The module introduces you to a wide spectrum of disciplines and approaches in social and behavioural sciences. It'll look at common features of any social sciences degree, like the study of collective and individual human behaviour, and defining features of the individual disciplines.

    A key focus will be on the overlapping boundaries between different disciplines in the social and behavioural sciences. You'll learn how to use qualitative research methods to understand collective and individual human behaviour.

    By the end of the module, you'll have a better understanding of the differences and commonalities of the individual fields of study within the social and behavioural sciences and the key features of each.

     
  • Practical Research Skills gives you the opportunity to carry out a research project on a topic agreed with a supervisor, who will guide you in conducting a literature review, formulate a research question, design a research study, collect data and present findings.

     
  • Using Quantitative Methods enables you to apply mathematical knowledge to solve a range of problems within social and behavioural scientific contexts. You'll learn how to use calculators and computer software to analyse and present mathematical data in a variety of formats, and develop your competence in algebraic, graphical, numerical and statistical techniques, as well as elementary formal logic.

     
  • This module aims to prepare you for undergraduate study and gives you the skills and knowledge related to the study of social and behavioural science subjects. You'll cover research skills (like using a library and electronic resources), planning, note taking, building a bibliography, and avoiding plagiarism. You will also develop your communication skills, especially focusing on essay and report writing, delivering presentations and being an active participant in debates and discussions. It'll give you helpful strategies for time management and stress management, particularly focusing on recognising points at which stress needs to be dealt with.

    The module will encourage you to develop the independent learning, critical analysis, and reflective skills crucial to succeeding in a degree.

     

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This module will introduce students to a range of theoretical perspectives and debates that inform criminology, and which underpin their learning throughout the criminology programme. Theories will be evaluated in relation to academic scholarship, empirical evidence, popularity and application in crime policy and practice, and in relation to their geographical, social, cultural, historical locations.

    Students will learn about a changing and dynamic field of study, which has encompassed both positivistic and social analyses of crime and criminalisation. They will learn to evaluate criminological theory in relation to a range of intellectual movements. They will be encouraged to understand criminological theory in relation to shifts across allied subjects like sociology, gender studies, critical race studies, social policy, politics and psychology.

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  • This module will provide students with an introduction to the institutions, processes and legal foundations of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. The module is core to the undergraduate degree. The module familiarises students with the language and reasoning of the criminal law and the structure and chronology of the criminal justice process. There is an emphasis on the development and practice of key academic skills especially information retrieval.

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  • This module provides students with an introduction to foundational concepts in the study of international relations and significant issues in contemporary international politics through which these concepts can be understood and interpreted.  The module is designed to help students to reconcile the more abstract concepts that frame the academic study of international relations, with the empirical issues they may more familiar with from news media and their day-to-day engagement with international politics.  The module is designed to provide a foundation for the study of international relations theory at Level 5 and to help students develop skills in academic writing, researching and writing a report for a non-specialist audience.

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  • This module provides an introduction to some of the major strands in radical political thought, in both their historical and contemporary contexts. We will be looking at some of those ideas and ideologies which have emerged throughout recent history, and which have sought to bring about widespread political, social and economic reform. We will be examining the ideas themselves, and the ways in which they were seeking a fundamental change in the existing system. We will also be placing the ideas in the particular political and social contexts of their time, and will study some of the people and movements who have been key in developing these radical arguments. However, we will also focus on the contemporary relevance of radical thought, and consider whether these ideas have purchase in today's world. As such, this module is well-suited to both Politics and History students, and forms a core module for all those taking Politics, International Relations and Human Rights.

    This module is also aimed at preparing new students for their time at university, and will provide advice and training regarding academic skills and personal development.

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Year 2 (Level 5)

Core modules

  • This module provides students with a critical insight into key issues and controversies in the delivery of justice, social control and punishment.  It encourages students to think critically about the role of the state in the regulation of behaviour and provides an overview of key changes that have occurred in the field of crime control and criminal justice. The first part of the module is dedicated to developing understanding of the concepts of ‘policing' and the ‘police'. Key issues confronting contemporary policing are explored together with an enhanced awareness of the historical context within which contemporary policing has developed.

    Debates about policing are situated within broader debates of social control and governance, with a critical appreciation of the police function and role. It also considers the implications of globalisation for policing both at an organisational and conceptual level. The second part of the module provides students with the opportunity to undertake a critical examination of contemporary debates on the purpose of punishment. Students will be introduced to a range of theoretical perspectives and debates on the use of punishment to address criminality and will consider the purpose of punishment in modern societies. This will be accompanied by an examination of different forms of punishment including an in-depth exploration of the use of imprisonment and comparative penal systems.

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  • What kind of criminologist are you? How does this relate to the kind of research that you want to conduct? This module will focus on exploring different ways of approaching criminology, ranging from ‘interventionist' criminology to critical criminology, left realism and theoretical research. We will assess how these different approaches relate to different kinds of criminological method. We will build on your existing research skills, developed at level 4, by extending your academic engagement with methods and particularly the distinct kinds of data that they produce. You will be asked to reflect critically on a particular criminological theme, then you will be guided through producing a short piece of empirical research that tests one of the methods you have studied in an area of your own interest. Finally, this module will act as a bridge to level 6 by helping you to produce a research proposal for your final year dissertation. This will enable you to start thinking about and reading for your dissertation over the summer. Ultimately, on completion of this module you will have developed core research and employability skills around research methods, their implications and application, and will have demonstrated the ability to plan, design and conduct a piece of independent research.

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  • Contemporary international politics involves a plethora of global actors, institutions and processes that provide governance at an international level.  They help to regulate the behaviour of states, maintain stability in global politics and encourage cooperation between.  Moreover, in an increasingly inter-connected world, global governance mechanisms provide the starting point for a fuller sense of international community – a platform for the peaceful resolution of disputes and an environment in which human rights and international development goals might be realised. 

    At the same time, contemporary global governance mechanisms are also affected by important limitations, with states demonstrating the frequent tendency to pursue their own narrow national interests, rather than working towards a global common good.  Students taking this module examine these themes by exploring different theory perspectives and by learning about the characteristics of the existing global governance structures. 

    The module begins by introducing students to some of the key tools for understanding and analysing international politics. International relations theory has played valuable role in helping us to understand the nuances and underlying processes that influence state behaviour and the development of foreign policy.  It follows on by introducing students to the study of the organisation and processes of international relations in a wider sense, examining the ways in which international development policy is formulated and the systems of global governance are organised.

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Option modules (choose one)

  • Through TV, newspapers, and other forms of media we are continually told that we live in a fast-moving globalised world. Yet whilst ‘globalisation' is now a common term, what it entails and how it affects our lives is often more difficult to discern.

    Focusing on the social, cultural, political and economic aspects of globalisation, this module exposes the different dimensions and implications of global social change. Opening with a critical examination of the meaning and competing definitions of globalisation, it moves on to examine: processes and theories of uneven global development, international inequality, the evolution and changing face of global capital, the significance of global environmental risk, the creation of global cultures and the transformation of local culture, migration and transculturalism, the rise of global cities and the urban experience, and the significance of global networks.

    Although not a pre-requisite, this module is also a good preparation for students wishing to study Migration and Social Transformation (SO6022) in level 6. The module will help to prepare students for a variety of professions in which knowledge and understanding of international and global social processes is relevant.

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  • This module is a core module for Full-Field Politics & International Relations students and Half-Field Politics students. It can be taken as an option by Half-Field International Relations and Human Rights students.

    The module offers a critical introduction to the foundations of modern political thought. It is organised around an examination of the work of several major political philosophers and the concepts associated with their writings. Beginning with an exploration the origins of modern political theory in Machiavelli, it goes on to look at debates about of human nature, the state, and property within social contract theory, and the development of political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by thinkers such as Mill, Marx, and Rawls. The module will examine a number of core political concepts, including freedom, justice, gender, equality, democracy, and tolerance, and address the central questions of moral and political philosophy: How should we act? How can we live together? Why should we obey the state? Throughout the module students will be encouraged both to challenge the arguments and assumptions of the thinkers that they study and to consider their contemporary relevance.

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  • This module begins with a survey of the main sweep of historical, political and economic developments, social actors and movements that gave shape to Latin American politics from its colonial beginnings to the early modern era.  The over-arching theme in the first teaching block is the contentious development of the nation-state and national economy in the global system, the legacy of which continues to shape the political landscape of the region.  In the second teaching block, students will engage with substantive themes in contemporary Latin American politics, and examine current flashpoints in regional politics through the eyes of a range of actors.  We explore and evaluate the range of new forms of participation that have emerged since the 1990s to contest the limitations of formal democracy under neoliberal globalization: from the barrio to factories, communities taking root on occupied land and urban spaces, constituent assemblies, popular assemblies and UN summits – or if all else fails, the streets.  We end by examining national and regional development strategies that emerged at the beginning of the 21st century as a response to the perceived failure of neoliberalism, and ask, is there a new politics emerging in the region?

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  • This module will introduce students to the controversies and debates over slavery and other forms of violence committed against groups of people in the modern world and their responses seeking emancipation. Beginning in 1492 with the development of a modern racism, it looks at the destruction of indigenous peoples in the Americas, the subsequent development of US Slavery, and the struggles of African Americans into the twentieth century. These cases will be revisited from the perspective of gender, and compared to other forms of structural oppression of colonised peoples and workers.

    The module will consider the challenges in identifying the standpoint of the oppressed and study examples of how ‘subaltern' oppressed groups enter politics.   There are case studies of different historical and contemporary movements for emancipation, exploring some of their key debates and the challenges of constructing unity whilst respecting diversity. The module as a whole will encourage the critical analysis and assessment of the various interpretations that have been put forward and facilitate the development of students' research skills, ability to work together and communicate their ideas.

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  • This is a core module for History single-honour students at L5 but it may also be of interest to students in a variety of other subjects. This module introduces students to world history in the twentieth century. It is taught through lectures and seminars, and there is a strong element of student participation through seminar presentations. We examine wars and their  consequences from a variety of geographical perspectives: Africa, China, Japan, India, Russia, the US and the Middle East, with special focus on the First World War. No other event so significantly altered political boundaries around the world, or stimulated such nationalist sentiment. We will also look at several themes that underscore the war's worldwide impact: the radicalisation of warfare; the use of propaganda; advances in medical care and psychiatry; the mobilisation of women; economic change; the emergence of new artistic movements; the stimulus given to revolution and movements for independence; and efforts to establish global governance. The module therefore provides a world history emphasising political developments but shedding light on social and economic issues as well.

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Year 3 (Level 6)

Core modules (Level 6)

  • The aim of the module is to introduce students to relevant issues within the realm of globalisation, terrorism and international crime: eg. terrorism, environmental crime, piracy, human trafficking, criminal networks, cybercrime. It will enable students to develop a detailed comprehension of the complexity of these criminogenic experiences.

    In the first part of the course, the module focuses on terrorism. It will be introducing students to a range of complex historical, political and social factors that have contributed to the articulation of terrorist practices. Students will have a chance to engage in the understanding of the reasons why certain practices emerge, the interaction between terrorist discourses and the media and how international law enforcement bodies work and interact.

    The second part of the module will present a critical overview of different organised and transnational crimes. Students will be offered a chance to explore the articulation, social control and impact of organised criminal behaviour at an international level. Students will understand the links between terrorist practices and other organised crime (eg. cybercrime or trafficking of humans).

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  • This module is the 'capstone' module for all half-field Politics, International Relations or Human Rights students. Working in small groups, students will be provided with the skills and support necessary to embark upon, complete and present a final year research project. The initial focus of the module will be on small groups of students working to familiarise themselves with an area of staff research expertise, under close supervision of that subject matter expert. This will be made possible through the establishment of a range of staff-led, research-orientated 'reading groups', to which students will sign up. During the first half of the module, students will also receive training in project design and implementation, to complement and consolidate the research methods training received at Levels 4 and 5. The research skills and foundational subject knowledge acquired in the first part of the module will allow students to embark upon their own research project as the year progresses. Individual projects will reflect student interests and desired focus, but will remain embedded within one of the areas of Politics, International Relations and/or Human Rights offered by staff as an initial 'reading group'. The student-led research projects will be presented at the end of the year in an undergraduate academic conference: Themes and Issues in Politics, International Relations and Human Rights.

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Option modules (choose two)

  • The module studies the role played by race in all aspects of the criminal justice systems in the United States and United Kingdom. It takes as its point of departure Professor Paul Gilroy's 1993 concept of the ‘Black Atlantic' as a cultural-political ‘space of hybridity' involving Africa, America, Britain and the Caribbean, and we use that concept to examine the extent to which crime and the criminal justice system have been politicised.

    The module concerns itself with the shifting politics of race within the criminal justice system. Among other topics, it explores historical representations of race and crime; press and media depictions of black male offenders; racial profiling and the ‘othering' of female offenders; and the commodification of prison that has led to the United States having the highest incarceration rates in the world.

    Other focal areas include racial disparities within the criminal justice system, the politics of punishment and sentencing, and empirical, theoretical, practical and policy issues. The module addresses issues of representation, the production of knowledge, the historical contexualisation of minority experiences in theoretical perspectives, and the ethical duties of criminologists working within minority experiences.

    The module includes a field trip to Bristol to explore the history of immigration and emigration as it relates to crime. 

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  • This is a level 6 optional module that draws upon both criminological and sociological debates and knowledges.

    Students will learn by observing and undertaking work-based practice. The principle underlying this module is that worksites are important contexts for students to test, validate, expand upon, supplement and enrich their academic learning.

    The module requires students to undertake a minimum of 40 hours of fieldwork in an organisational setting. The form that the fieldwork will take will depend upon the type of placement secured, but, typically it may involve interning, shadowing or volunteering in subject relevant placements (for example across social justice, criminal justice/crime prevention, welfare and support fields).

    Whilst in their placements students are encouraged to think about the social aspects of organisations and working life, including their structural forms, interpersonal relationships and their practices. Students will be supported in securing their placement at level 5 in preparation for the commencement of the module at level 6.

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  • This module will be examining some deeply troubling events in recent history and politics and the various ethical, legal and political responses that they have generated. It has been argued that the Holocaust was a critical turning point, a catastrophe which required a fundamental ethical, legal and political rethinking of how the rights of human beings could be protected when states in the modern world engage in the systematic attempt to murder large numbers of people, including many of their own citizens. The module begins with reflections on the Nazi attempt to eliminate a whole group of people (the Jews) and to murder and enslave millions of others. It then considers a range of responses, including the Nuremberg trials, the Genocide Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It examines a number of cases of genocide and crimes against humanity that have nevertheless occurred subsequently. It evaluates the repeated failure for decades to halt or prevent these crimes and then considers the rethinking caused by the genocides in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the setting up of ad hoc tribunals and an International Criminal Court to prosecute perpetrators and provide justice to victims. It concludes with reflections on how much progress has been made in protecting citizens in a world of sovereign nation states and what forms of justice can work after such crimes have been committed. These are highly contested questions and the module is designed to encourage the critical analysis and evaluation of a wide range of arguments that have been put forward from a variety of perspectives.

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  • Conceptions of self and other are deeply embedded in violent conflict, an activity which typically results in the most egregious violations of human rights.  Highly polarised identities often sit uneasily with a universal humanity.  Based on the broad theme of the universal versus the particular, this module explores the interaction between identity, violent conflict and the abuse of human rights.  It provides students with the opportunity to consider how protracted conflicts may be better resolved more effectively and human rights better protected.  The module blends theoretical discussion of political violence with an analysis of recent conflicts and the legal and institutional mechanisms which have emerged to reduce their detrimental impact on human rights.

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  • This module takes a critical look at the concepts of crime, power and class in the contemporary world, and the impact of ‘crimes of the powerful' on the struggle for human rights and social justice.

    The gaze of many political scientists and criminologists tends to be focused firmly ‘downwards', towards analysing the misdemeanours of the poor, the dispossessed, the underclass

    This module, in contrast, will focus ‘upwards', in an attempt to understand and explain deviant actions by states, corporations, and the ruling class more broadly. Through the use of case studies, presented by the teaching team but also generated by students, we will examine issues such as war crimes, torture, corruption, global supply chains, police abuses, and state terrorism. 

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  • Cold War, Hot War examines various events in the Middle East from past to present and will provide a comprehensive outlook on a troubled area.

    It begins by studying the historical foundations in the region and then explores the impact of the Cold War on the region through case studies such as the Eisenhower Doctrine; the Baghdad Pact, the Suez Crisis and the 1973 war. All this would be assessed against the wider framework of nationalism and regional politics from the early 1950s to the collapse of the USSR in 1990s. Using primary documents we will then assess the consequences of the end of the Cold War on the current crisis and the rise of religiopolitics. The theme of nationalism and leadership will be further explored during the second half of the module, focusing on a number of case studies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Israel) their ‘hot wars', foreign policy and current upheavals and challenges.

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  • This module explores the social intersections between gender, race and class. It begins by examining historical conceptualisations of these terms and intersections, and the social and civil movements that challenged how these terms were considered in both women's and men's lives.

    From the beginning, the module will introduce you to a wide range of feminist approaches in order to make sense of various intersections of gender, race and class. In this module you will consider how such categories and intersections contribute to identity constructions and contestations. You will reflect on these elements within contemporary examples of everyday life – for example, consumption, families and intimacies, education and sport. Upon completion of this module you will have expanded your skills in critical reflection and analysis of social intersections and inequalities.

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  • This research-led module explores the rise and impact of the Extreme Right in the 20th and early 21st centuries in Britain and in three other countries in Western Europe (namely France, Germany and Italy). It adopts a historical and comparative approach, and focuses on fascist, populist and authoritarian ideas, parties and movements in Britain and across Europe, and the challenges these posed for the liberal democratic state and its main institutions. The relationship between democracy and dictatorship proved to be a major source of controversy and change in the 20th century, and the question of how the liberal state 'managed' (or mis-managed and succumbed to) the threat from the Extreme Right has been a major theme in the historiography in recent years. In fact, such issues remain very prominent today. The first half of the course thus describes and analyses the historical developments, main patterns and key controversies engendered by these events and challenges in the interwar period. The second half of the course explores the extent to which these historical developments and the associated challenges were possibly replicated in the post-1945 period, especially with the more recent resurgence of the extreme Right across Britain and Europe in the early 21st century. 

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

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