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Criminology BSc(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time L311 2017
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017
Joint honours: see course combinations for UCAS codes

Why choose this course?

  • Study contemporary crime issues in London, one of the world's most dynamic cities.
  • Engage in research that has real-life impact for practitioners, offenders and victims with research-led expertise in policing, prisons, gender, transgender, race and ethnicity.
  • Tackle global crime problems like human and organ trafficking, war and terrorism.
  • Making criminology work for change through criminology placement opportunities.

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

What you will study

The Criminology BSc(Hons) thinks about crime using real-life events and theory. It addresses national and global crime issues and contemporary and future policy concerns. Questions of diversity, and inequalities are embedded throughout the programme.

The Criminology BSc(Hons) promotes active skills and employability. Research methods training is central to each year of the programme and students complete independent criminology research. Students apply their learning to real-life crime problems through visits to the Crown Court and recommendations for policing.

The criminology placement ensures that students bring their academic learning to the workplace. Criminal Justice practitioners are regularly invited to alert students to potential job opportunities.

Research-active staff

The Criminology BSc(Hons) is constantly updated to ensure that it covers the latest developments in the subject area. Research-active staff bring their own cutting-edge research to the programme, including:

  • crime, race and ethnicity;
  • crime in popular culture;
  • gender and policing;
  • sexual and interpersonal violence;
  • securitisation;
  • transgender victimisation; and
  • war and terrorism.

Students' learning is also enriched through the involvement of criminal justice practitioners who are invited to give guest lectures and workshops.

Theme week

Students take part in the annual School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology theme week. Regular teaching gives way to a series of workshops, presentations, discussion and reading groups on a contemporary social issue, led by expert speakers.

Our 2015 'War and Peace Week' was a great success and we look forward to next year's 'Race and Ethnicity' Week.

Watch these short videos to find out why some of our students chose this course:

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.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Violence, Transgression and Society explores who is policed and disciplined in societal, popular and political cultures. It thinks about why some people and their behavior are seen as especially violent and transgressive while others are not. It shows that responses to violent and transgressive people are shaped by historical and social context, geographical location and intersections of social identity, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sex, class, faith and age.


    Students will learn about who is policed and disciplined, how, why and by whom across teaching blocks 1 and 2. In teaching block 1 there is emphasis on histories of violence, and in teaching block 2 there is emphasis on contemporary forms of transgression. Examples include: riots and anti-social behaviour, social ‘groups’ like homeless people and ‘problem’ families, and communities such as white working class and Muslim communities.


    Throughout the module, the question of who is policed and disciplined, how and why, is explored through national and global real-world events and case-studies and in relation to criminal, social and racial justice. Students bring academic knowledge to real-world events and issues in weekly interactive workshops and the module assessment.


Year 2 (Level 5)

  • Crime, Media, and Policy is designed to provide second year undergraduate students with a critical introduction to the field of crime and the media.  The module provides a historical foundation to the subject before reviewing key media and criminological debates against twenty-first century concerns about crime and deviance. The syllabus develops to explore criminological theory, crime in media culture and the complex interactions between consumers and producers.  The module is designed to provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to critically engage with debates about crime news reporting, media and moral panic, media constructions of women and children, crime fiction, film and television crime drama, crime and surveillance society, and crime online.  Direction to core factual material and substantive material will be provided via StudySpace, with weekly lectures and seminars used to explain and explore key concepts, and present visual material for dissemination and discussion.   

    On completion of the module you should be able to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the concepts of crime and deviance within the media, and the ability to engage critically with debates and developments within this controversial sphere of criminological theory and public policy. You should also be able to undertake a content analysis and show that you can apply appropriate context and theory to set questions on crime, media and associated policy.

  • In the past, as today, within the legal frameworks laid down by governments and authorities, perceptions of what constitutes criminal or deviant behaviour are both shifting and contested. The function of a protest over food supplies, for example, may be viewed differently by those engaged in the action than by those enforcing the law. Similarly, in many early modern societies, it was deemed acceptable for the man, as head of the household, to exert ‘moderate correction’ on his wife and children to ensure they continued to uphold acceptable standards of behaviour. However, exactly what constituted ‘moderate correction’ meant different things to different groups.

    This module will give students an understanding of the cultural and social history of crime and deviance in Britain and Europe c. 1450 - 1850. Although broadly following the chronology across the 400 years, the approach is primarily thematic. Aspects of criminality covered include historical approaches to the study of homicide and violence; the relationship between gender and crime, for example, in attitudes towards prostitution and infanticide, and in the prevalence of domestic crime; attitudes towards sexual crimes such as rape and sodomy; and notions of ‘social crime’ within acts of riot or protest. Aspects of deviancy considered include women's adultery and effeminacy in men, as well as the behaviours and lifestyles that left many vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft. Within the overall structure there will be two elements of greater focus. Firstly an examination of witchcraft, a crime which combines the aspects of violence, sexuality and gender, and one which was classed as ‘exceptional’ by the authorities in their attempt to demonstrate the reality of the ‘Satanic Pact’. The second focus will look at crime in eighteenth century Britain, a period of unprecedented social change and wealth creation that witnessed an explosion in the number of crimes for which a person could be hanged, and the widespread adoption of transportation overseas as penal policy. The course ends with a look at the works of Enlightenment thinkers such Beccaria and Bentham and the impact of such ideas on a changing penal policy that moved swiftly from maiming and attacking the body, to the rise of new penitentiary systems in the nineteenth century where, arguably, the mind became the focus for punishment.

    Through the use of primary source materials in a variety of formats (imagery, written documentation, statistical data, web-based resources), and through comparison of alternative historiographies this module will enhance student's analytical skills in history.

  • This module will enable students to contextualise criminology’s past and present engagement with diversity and discrimination. The relationship between crime and discriminatory processes will be explored within different contexts such as within the law, prisons and cultural practices (e.g. FGM).  The responses of the criminal justice process to diversity will also be discussed and evaluated with regard to institutional racism and domestic abuse. In addition, students will critique the gendered social construction of the categories of ‘offender’ and ‘victim’, this will be further challenged by the exploration of female membership and affiliation with criminal gangs and their perpetration of crimes, and male victims of sexual violation.


    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.

  • Module Summary

    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.

  • This module considers what is understood by the term youth, as a social category and life stage, and explores young people’s lived experiences. As such, it examines the history of youth culture and subcultures and styles, and critically considers the notion of ‘problem’ youth and societal responses to this including intervention and multi-agency working. Bringing together sociological, criminological and cultural studies theory from Level 4, the module considers youth from both an individual and structural view point. We will also look at how we have come to deal with young offenders in the youth justice system and considers the contradictory messages about welfare, diversionary measures, human rights, punitive justice, managerial and crime prevention discourses and strategies.


Year 3 (Level 6)

  • Module Summary: 

    Through this module you will develop your own criminological specialism by conducting an extended and in-depth study on a topic of your choosing. Students will be tutored in the skills necessary to successfully complete a final year dissertation and will work with a staff supervisor to develop a critical understanding of their research topic. You will gain hands-on experience of research skills that can be applied to future postgraduate study and careers in human resources, marketing, public sector and charitable and non-government organisations.

  • Module Summary:

    This is a level 6 core 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.

  • Module Summary:  

    Through this module you will develop your own criminological specialism by conducting an extended and in-depth study on a topic of your choosing. Students will be tutored in the skills necessary to successfully complete a final year dissertation and will work with a staff supervisor to develop a critical understanding of their research topic. You will work with other students to organize a conference at which you will all present your work, thereby learning the skills of event organization and management as well as having an opportunity to disseminate their dissertation to a wide audience. This module will be an opportunity for you to gain hands-on experience of research skills that can be applied to future postgraduate study and careers in human resources, marketing, public sector and charitable and non-government organisations.

  • Module Summary:

    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).

  • This module will explore various sociological theories of consumer society. It will examine consumption within national and international context and will look at the development of consumerism throughout the twentieth century to the present day with a particular focus on the escalation of global ‘branding’. A range of approaches will be employed to study and understand consumption within a political, cultural and historical setting.  Students will also consider key cultural, social and political processes involved in consumer behaviours and practice and contemporary sociological debates of commodification, commercialisation, capitalism and globalisation. The module also examines deviant and sometimes criminal consumer practices such as looting, shopping ‘addiction’ and international trading laws.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Global migration has intensified rapidly since 1960, with the UNPD estimating an increase from 80 to 210 million by 2009. It has become a contentious political topic with far-reaching consequences for contemporary societies, and arguably for established sociological paradigms (e.g. methodological nationalism). The module will equip students to understand and investigate in depth the social dynamics of migration and its consequences, and enable them to offer informed and critical comment on contemporary debates (e.g. media coverage of migration, on the economics of migration, and on migration’s consequences for social solidarity). It offers students the opportunity to build on interests and skills developed at Level 5 (e.g. in International Perspectives and Sociological Approaches), and broadens the department’s offering at Level 6 to a new area of contemporary social relevance.

  • Module Summary:

    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.

  • 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. 

  • Many social theorists argue that the prospect of ‘endless war’ will be an abiding feature of the 21st century. Terms such as ‘securitisation’ and ‘militarisation’ are increasingly used to describe the condition of contemporary societies, whether or not their armed forces are engaged in combat and/or ‘peacekeeping’ roles in other parts of the world. As the lines between ‘war’ and ‘peace’ become increasingly blurred through the idea of the ‘war on terror’ and so-called ‘hybrid’ wars, the impact of past and present wars on our social imaginaries can often remain hidden or unexamined in the study of key sociological and criminological themes.

    This module aims to encourage students to develop a critical awareness of the ways in which war, militarism and militarisation influence contemporary social relations and culture.  Taking the UK as a primary case study in a variety of comparative contexts, this module will explore the effects of war in shaping nationhood, identity, class, gender, race, culture and citizenship in postcolonial European societies. The focus will be largely on civil societies and noncombatants although the political, social and cultural aspects of military institutions will be a significant component.

    While the module will be based within a sociological and criminological framework, a variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches will be used, including cultural history, social policy, visual analysis, media studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies and citizenship studies.


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.

Study abroad as part if your degreeMost 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.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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