The BA (Hons) Criminology is an undergraduate degree that will be of interest to those of you who are passionate and curious to learn about crime, criminal behaviour and punishment and would like the opportunity to become knowledgeable, critical and confident criminologists of the future.
Mode of study
Bishop Grosseteste University
About this course
Each of the modules on this course are designed to inform, challenge and inspire you. To do this successfully, you will engage in enlightening, current and relevant subjects that are delivered by enthusiastic, experienced and supportive lecturers.
Each subject focus is varied, yet linked, and draws attention to the complexities of the criminal debate. Over the course of the degree, you will be deliberating on the effects of media on crime, addressing the political and social responses to crime and examining crime from a victim’s perspective. You will also be exploring the influence of gender on crime, questioning the role and purpose of punishment and reflecting on transnational crimes such as body, arms and human trafficking, money laundering and cyber-crime.
Knowledge and understanding is paramount to gaining employment however to ensure you are in a better position, a practical skills element is embedded within the degree. A work-experience placement within a local crime-related environment will provide you with the practical skills necessary for that final step toward securing your career in criminology.
What you will study
Students on this course currently study some or all of the following modules:
The study of crime includes the study of criminals and criminal justice. There are many different approaches to criminology and the subject itself has been shaped by many different academic disciplines. This module explores crime from a sociological perspective. It outlines the distinctiveness of a sociological approach to crime and suggests how this differs from other approaches. Specifically, in this module, we consider how sociologists have studied crime, and we raise some of the methodological issues involved in using criminological data.
To approach criminology through a sociology lens enables you to maintain a broad vision of forms of order and disorder and the power relations that uphold these. In particular, we will examine the ‘criminological imagination’, which means understanding that:
1. Crime is a truly sociological concept and what is regarded as crime varies across time, place, and people.
2. The criminal is also socially constructed, defined as such by the same social processes that define certain acts as crimes and others not.
3. Crime control and punishment are also shaped by social influences that determine the seriousness of acts defined as criminal, and the priority with which they are to be addressed.
The module is designed provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills of basic academic principles, such as effective communication, essay planning, problem solving and writing skills to support you through your studies.
The module will also begin your research journey by introducing you to the basics of empirical criminological research with a focus on qualitative approaches
The module is designed to provide you with a foundational and holistic approach to understanding children, young people and their links to crime, criminal and deviant behaviour. To do this effectively, it examines a wide range of connected themes around children and young people and considers them from a criminological, sociological, legal and political position.
You will be exposed to ideas around the social construction of childhood and adolescence and the influence these have on expectations of children and young people. A focus on social backgrounds of children and young people, where issues of intersectionality will be discussed and you will be asked to question whether, or to what extent does class, gender, special educational needs, ethnicity and race impact on children and young people’s offending behaviour.
This module is intended to introduce you to the issues of crime, culture, and social change, otherwise known as cultural criminology. It does this by engaging with questions such as Why do people commit crime? What causes crime rates to rise or fall? How do societies promote the welfare of individuals and families? Why are people given different (sometimes vastly) sentences for the same crimes? What impact does austerity, Brexit, climate change and changes to the welfare system have on society and its relationship with crime?
Cultural criminology is an approach based on cultural studies and critical theories of criminality, that understand deviance and phenomena of crime control as an interactionist, symbol-mediated process and analyses them with recourse to primarily ethnological research methods.
This module will provide a theoretically informed, and critical understanding of sociological and contemporary cultural perspectives on crime, deviance, disorder, and harm. It will enable you to develop an awareness and understanding of the links between social changes and crime (including connections between individual and society and shifting nature of global capitalism). It will provide you with the opportunity to explore the diverse range of social, economic and political forces that affect patterns and experiences of crime, disorder and harm.
As the police are the gatekeepers of the criminal justice system it is paramount that a new student of criminology is introduced to the roles and practices of the police force with a focus on understanding the complexities involved in modern-day day policing.
Topics and themes to be covered within the module include:
Development of modern policing – aims and methods.
Public and Private policing.
Use of the community in policing.
The role of the PCSO.
Surveillance, technological advancements and policing.
The significance of the police culture.
Ethics, discipline and behaviour of the police.
Discretion within policing
Challenges of policing
The emphasis of this module is to provide you with an overview of the processes and procedures involved in the delivery of criminal justice, from law-making to arrest and punishment. The module will invite you to evaluate each step of the process in assessing its strengths and weaknesses, its values and relationships.
In conjunction with Crime, Culture and Social Change module, you will begin to be alert to issues of class, age, gender, race and ethnicity and examine how these intersect during interactions with various organisations within the criminal justice system.
Typical agencies, their rationale, and procedural practices examined within the module include:
• Alternative agents of law enforcement such as the Transport Police, HM Revenue and Customs and the Health and Safety Executive.
• The Crime Prosecution Service.
• The Courts.
• HM Prison and Probation Service.
The module offers a holistic picture of criminality and encourages you to begin to think wider than what is reported in the media and to inform and challenge your current understanding of the crime problem.
You will examine a range of traditional and contemporary criminal offences that are often reported and debated in the media: drug-related crimes, sex working, terrorism, hate crime, domestic abuse and modern slavery.
Using the knowledge and understanding you have gained in the Sociological Introduction to Crime and Society module, you will be in a better position from which to apply, evaluate and analyse these offences and those who commit them, and in considering the impact these crimes have on the victim, the community and public perception of these offences and offenders.
The aim of this module is to advance your basic knowledge of ‘crime’ established within the sociological and criminological modules at level 4. This module will expose you to traditional theories of crime causation and will address concerns that indicate the crime problem is simply about maintaining appropriate levels. Contemporary perspectives will also be introduced that must be considered in a postmodern society. The application of theory to real life situations, practice and politics is paramount to this module.
Understanding criminological theoretical underpinnings provides you with the essential frameworks to confidently address wider criminological inquiries such as law creation, the role of political ideologies, the influence of postmodernism and the impact of social background on criminal behaviour.
This module will provide you with a critical introduction to the relationship between gender, criminal behaviour and criminal justice. The module outlines the developments and contributions that feminist criminological theory has made in challenging the traditional gender-blind perspectives.
Criminal statistics clearly illustrate the gendered nature of perpetrators and offences, such as male perpetrators of domestic violence and child sexual abuse. The module will examine these in detail in addition to considering the statistically lower levels of female perpetrators of domestic violence and child sexual abuse. Gender has a significant role to play in recognising, reporting and effects of such offences, therefore this module will examine perceptions of gender and their associated behaviours and investigate their links to control, violence and abuse.
The module will also offer you a critical appreciation of the influence of gender within the process of justice, for example in the courtroom and in punishment terms.
The module concentrates on two specific areas: employment skills and practical application.
To ensure you are fully prepared to confidently enter the practical application (placement) element of this module, it is essential you acquire the transferable skills, or ‘soft skills’ necessary for you to become an effective and valuable employee and colleague. You will learn how to be successful in communicating and working in/as part of a team and understand the importance of confidentiality and ethics in the workplace. Additionally, you will recognise how and why it is necessary to develop resilience. Becoming a critically reflective practitioner is another key aspect in any workplace environment and is core to personal development therefore this is an area that is studied within the module.
The second element of the module allows you to put your classroom-based knowledge and skills into practice in the field. Having previously been interviewed and secured the voluntary position, and researched the organisation, you are fully prepared to gain first-hand valuable work experience relevant and aligned with your interest, post-graduation, rather than simply as a part-time job whilst you are a student. Practical application has the additional benefit of allowing you to engage and apply your criminological knowledge as well as demonstrate your transferable skills.
The module provides you with an understanding of the contested cultural meanings underpinning crime. Too often study of crime is satisfied by adopting definitions of criminality at face value, when really it means very different things to different people and in different contexts. The module examines how media representations propagate particular perceptions of crime, criminality and justice. It goes on to consider the manner in which those who 'offend' experience and interpret their own behaviour which may be focused on the attainment of excitement or indeed on attaining their own conception of justice.
The module explores these contradictions in a world where crime, control and the media saturate everyday life. In doing so it considers a diverse range of concepts; youth culture, hedonism, hate crime, risk taking, moral panics, the image, emotionality and consumerism. We examine the nature of a late-modern society where criminality inspires great fear and resentment, whilst at the same time it provides imagery which is harnessed to produce entertainment and sell a range of consumer goods.
Working broadly from the perspective of cultural and visual criminology this module engages with theories and debates about the media and its relationship with crime, examining representations of crime and justice in the news media and in popular culture. It considers the role of power and perception through of crime through the media and formation of a mediated crime oriented culture.
Research and ethics are closely tied and are essential features of criminology. Ethically sound research has far-reaching effects. Research is at the core of criminal and victim theory, shaping policy and informing criminal justice practices. Given the impact and value of research, it is imperative that you are knowledgeable on the processes, debates and ethical challenges involved in gathering robust and valid research.
The module’s aim is to ensure that you are aware of and understand the major philosophical debates, methodological concepts, principles and methods that underpin sound quantitative criminological research. Comprehension of these concepts will have a direct impact on your choice of research question, research design, analysis and interpretation of the research you will conduct within the Performing Research (Capstone Project) module at Level 6.
This module will take an opposing approach to modules previously delivered in that it will focus on the victim solely opposed to the offender.
The victim has moved from the historical periphery of the criminological debate to commanding a central position in contemporary society. Considering the victim plays a pivotal role within the criminal justice process, understanding victim theory, policy and practice and the impact of victimisation is paramount for any student of criminology.
This module will provide you with understanding and critical awareness of the theories and practices relating to crime prevention and community safety, the aim of which is to create safer communities.
More specifically, the module will address general approaches to preventing crime, introduce prevention strategies and methods and consider preventions in practice with a focus on specific categories of crime such as organised, violent, sexual and cybercrime.
Often overlooked in traditional crime prevention discussions is that of rural crime. Rural crime prevention theory and strategies recognise the unique challenges that apply to rural settings, and these will be examined in the module.
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply the research skills you have gained over the course of the research-orientated pathway modules. The knowledge and skills you have gained in the Academic Skills module at Level 4 and the Understanding Ethics and Advancing Research module at Level 5 is pivotal in enabling you to develop a coherent research question/s and facilitating you to formulate an appropriate research framework, suitable methods and fitting data analytic tools to conduct your research.
The module will involve group workshop sessions which will reacquaint you with ethics and research methods. This reinforcement of knowledge will support you in planning for your research project i.e. in formulating a suitable research question, choosing appropriate methods and selecting suitable participants and data analysis methods and considering ethical challenges.
The module introduces the principles around zemiology, drawing on the stance taken by Hillyard, Pantazis, Tombs and Gordon in their seminal book Beyond Criminology: Taking Harm Seriously (2004) and considers their, and others’, viewpoints in contemporary society.
Originating from a critical criminological background, zemiology (Greek word for harm ‘zemia’ and ‘ology’ meaning the study of) aims to develop as a ‘separate discipline that focusses on endemic and systematic harms, not least those completely unrelated to the process of criminalisation’ (Canning and Tombs 2021: 33). Moving beyond the law/crime/harm perspective allows a more accurate analysis of the vicissitudes of life, with serious harms that are often overlooked and normalised.
By looking at the relationship between justice, social control and punishment, this module seeks to critically explore how societies respond to crime. We will explore key concepts in criminology and criminal justice, and attempt to understand what punishment is, whether it works, how and what consequences it has for those who experience it and for societies. We will focus on key debates in prison sociology and criminology to question whether imprisonment—both as a crime control measure and as an institution of rehabilitation—is successful.
We will investigate why the prison is a core feature of liberal democracies, while it is also a source of much controversy and debate. Particularly as prison populations in England and elsewhere remain unprecedentedly high, and as technologies of punishment, regulation and control extend well beyond the physical boundaries of prison walls and are consistently affecting those who are most disadvantaged in society, the stakes of these debates are high.
This module will introduce you to the sociological analysis of prisons and penal policy within a contemporary setting. It will examine and focus on:
•An investigation of the growing 'crisis' of imprisonment.
•An examination of the reasons for the growth of imprisonment in both the UK and America.
•The imprisonment of women and ethnic minority groups/ asylum seekers and refugees / economic migrants.
•An exploration of issues impacting on the experience of imprisonment.
•A consideration on the future of imprisonment.
Each of these areas will be examined through key case studies in the field of prison sociology, enabling you to conceptually, theoretically and empirically challenge, question or critique the rationales of punishment in a global context and explores its consequences. The module aims to situate the modern prison within its broader social, historical, political and economic context, and it will end by exploring key social and legal issues arising from punishment by evaluating challenges of prison reform; and exploring alternatives to incarceration but also alternative perspectives in ‘doing justice’.
This module introduces you to the study of surveillance society. The module draws on key sociological concepts such as crime, inequality, social class, gender, race, ethnicity, the body, and globalisation, to offer an analysis of the ways in which forms of surveillance pervade individuals' everyday lives and how they are utilised by agents of control. This includes: a) various forms of contemporary surveillance in a globalised world; b) the relationship between surveillance and power; c) the ways in which surveillance functions as a form of 'social sorting', and d) the ways in which public and private organisations 'watch' certain populations and/or individuals. The module will build on introductory modules at Level 4 and intermediary modules at Level 5.
The aim of this module is for you, supported with supervision meetings, to undertake a small-scale but in-depth and original piece of criminological/penological research on a topic of your own choice.
By doing so, you will demonstrate problem solving; project planning and organisational skills; reasoning and the development of an argument through familiarity with the literature; the ability to present data and information; use of analysis, synthesis and evaluation skills; and the ability to apply theory to practice.
This module concentrates on the philosophical underpinnings of punishment. By doing so it connects you to perspectives such as deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation and desert as essential underpinnings of punishment in a fair and just system. Legally prescribed punishment is delivered in the community and through incapacitation. Both these environments are addressed to greater or lesser degrees according to the philosophy under discussion.
This module delves deeper in addressing the abolitionist argument and concerns over the privatisation of prison and is designed to broaden critical appreciation through the recognition underlying political beliefs and examines the impact these have on penal policy and sentencing.
Recognising that punishment is often ineffective for the offender, the victim and the community, the rhetoric of restorative justice (RJ) concentrates on harm reduction. RJ seeks to help the offender to recognise the harm caused to the victim/s and the community through their actions and supports them in repairing that harm.
The traditional punishment philosophies encountered in the Punishment, Policy and Sentencing module focus on retribution and Just Desert (assigning blame and suitable punishment) as aims of punishment, however RJ offers an alternative position: peace-making and peacebuilding. Essentially this approach prioritises reconciliation and community healing over punishment. RJ has been gaining support in various criminal justice sectors, most notably within Youth Offending.
How you will be taught
There is no one-size-fits-all method of teaching at BGU – we shape our methods to suit each subject and each group, combining the best aspects of traditional university teaching with innovative techniques to promote student participation and interactivity.
You will be taught in a variety of ways, from lectures, tutorials and seminars, to practical workshops, coursework and work-based placements. Small group seminars and workshops will provide you with an opportunity to review issues raised in lectures, and you will be expected to carry out independent study.
Placements are a key part of degree study within many courses at BGU. They provide an enriching learning experience for you to apply the skills and knowledge you will gain from your course and, in doing so, give valuable real-world experience to boost your career.
In Criminology, we see assessment as a powerful driver of student learning and a means for demonstrating what students have learnt. We believe it’s a great way to develop the employability skills that employers demand from graduates. As a result, the course incorporates a range of assessment methods which will allow you to demonstrate a wide range of skills whilst providing a selection of post-degree career paths. These assessment methods include coursework, case studies, oral presentations, multi-modal presentations (posters, videos, print) and individual dissertation projects.
Careers & Further study
Our Criminology degree will provide a firm basis from which you can pursue a wide range of employment opportunities in the community and with statutory-based services. Possible future career paths include:
•Support in the Community for example, support with homelessness, health, WoMen’s aid, reintegration or working with young people
•Youth Justice worker
•Police officer (Degree Holder and Detective Entry Programme(DHEP) required)
•Prison officer or supporting role
•Probation officer (Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) required) or supporting role
•Social worker (further specific training required) or supporting role
Should you wish to pursue further study, the design of the programme is varied yet detailed enough to inspire and enthuse you in extending your learning.
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