What factors can explain changes in crime rates? How is climate change linked to the crimes of the powerful? Are prisons the appropriate response to criminal acts? Are we all treated equally before the law?
These are some of the issues you will explore in this course, by looking at the complex interactions between the state, the offender, the victim and society. You will think critically about how laws are made and how social structures shape both crime and responses to crime.
As part of our new pathway degree programmes, you will also be able to specialise Criminology with:
Why Criminology at LSBU?
Ranked 1st among London moderns and 2nd in London for Graduate Prospects (Times Good University Guide 2022)
Taught by research-active academics whose work is nationally and internationally recognised, and informs the course curriculum.
Link with the LSBU Crime and Justice Research Group, which organises a series of research seminars and public events throughout the year where you can meet with researchers, practitioners and campaigners.
Enhance your employability by taking part in our employability events and undertaking a social sciences work placement module in Year 2. Criminology courses open pathways to careers in a variety of settings including probation, policing, the prison service, NGOs, local authorities, the voluntary sector, youth offending teams, teaching, social work and administration.
Be part of an academic community dedicated to social justice and global responsibility - with an inspiring schedule of guest speakers, events, volunteering opportunities and exchange of ideas.
If you do not meet the entry criteria above we also review any previous skills, knowledge or experience you have gained outside of your education and are happy to talk through any extenuating circumstances you feel relevant.
Once we have made you an offer, you can apply for accommodation. You can rent from LSBU and you’ll deal directly with the university, not third party providers. That means we can guarantee you options to suit all budgets, with clear tenancy agreements and all-inclusive rents that include insurance for your personal belongings, internet access in each bedroom and on-site laundry facilities.
Or, if you’d rather rent privately, we can give you a list of landlords – just ask our Accommodation Service.
You don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as an undergraduate student.
Prepare to start
Students can prepare themselves for the course by following the news - quality newspapers, good TV news bulletins, Radio 4 news etc - particularly news about crime (politics of crime as well as actual crime stories).
It is valuable to do some preparatory reading before starting the course, we suggest:
Hayward, K., Maruna, S., and Mooney, J. (2009) Fifty Key Thinkers in Criminology, London: Routledge
Lippens, R. (2009) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Criminology. London: Sage.
Newburn, T. (2017) Criminology, third edition, London: Sage
Treadwell, J. (2013) Criminology: The Essentials, 2nd edition, London: Sage
This course provides you with valuable knowledge and the ability to think critically about a range of topics within criminology. You will also gain transferable skills, which will provide you with a solid background to starting your career in different fields. Topics you will study include criminal justice, prisons, policing, punishment, youth crime and hate crime.
Deconstructing the crime problem What is considered a crime? How and to what extent is the crime problem dispersed throughout contemporary society? What do we know about current levels of crime in the UK and how do these compare historically? These are some of the key questions addressed in this module which aims to introduce students to the basic anatomy of the crime problem. In addition to addressing specific questions concerning trends in different types of crime and social distribution of crime across society, its main aim is to encourage students to think about these issues in terms of broader social trends and relations.
Introduction to the criminal justice system This module introduces students to the different levels, agencies and operation of the criminal justice system. It presents the main institutions and provides an overview of the procedures and policies related to the contemporary criminal justice system and punishment of offenders. The module introduces a number of key issues and debates in relation to the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
Social Sciences in the Contemporary World: Themes, Concepts and Higher Education Skills This module provides students with a grounding in key issues in contemporary society, with a particular emphasis on the societal effects of globalization. These effects are dynamic and global in nature and impact on the key themes addressed in the module. These include: migration and 'race', gender, class, the changing nature of citizenship, sexualities, religion and the mass media. An important focus throughout the module is on how inequalities are reinforced but may be challenged via active citizenship and civic engagement around social justice issues.
Issues in Crime This module presents students with a range of distinct contemporary criminological issues and debates. It includes a range of topics and examines how fears and concerns about crime and the criminal justice system are related to issues such as governance, social exclusion and racial inequality. The module also enables students to explore varying explanations of crimes and crime control strategies.
Understanding crime: criminological theory in context In this module students will learn about the key underlying theories that shape criminology and how society thinks about crime. We will examine the conceptual and practical differences between these schools and show how their differences have resulted in very different definitions of crime, types of research and governmental policy. We will also see how these different theories have shaped the criminal justice system of different societies. We will do all this within the broad historical context of the development of criminology.
Social justice in action This module develops students’ understanding of the concept of social justice (as a goal and a process) and its wider implications. The module also encourages students to focus on their interests, motivations, skills and abilities in employability terms and make connections between their studies and their future careers. Central to the module is a career and networking event. This event will provide students with the opportunity to meet and speak with individuals working in organisations concerned with social justice, particularly individuals who have themselves overcome challenges relating to their gender, race, class, age, sexuality, religion etc. Front line staff such as police officers, probation officers, social workers; activists, campaign work, researchers to voluntary sector representatives will be involved. Alumni will also contribute to the event.
Understanding punishment: Penal Theory and Practice This module examines penal theory and practice in a theoretical, comparative and historical way, and engages critically with the theoretical justifications and policy proposals for punishment. The module presents the juridical perspectives and rationales of punishment, historical and sociological explanations of punishment. The course also reflects on the race, class and gender bias in the penal system and critically discusses the concept of ‘crisis’ of the penal system as well as the issue of the privatisation of punishment.
Social Research Methods This module introduces students to key concepts, methods and techniques used in social research. Students learn how to evaluate the methodological choices of researchers and to conduct their own social research. Students are introduced to both qualitative methods in the first half and quantitative methods in the second half. Within each half the module focuses on evaluative criteria (e.g. ethics and measurement validity) for social research, data collection methods (e.g. qualitative interviews and surveys) and data analytic methods (e.g. grounded theory and statistical methods).
One Optional module for the below:
Behind Bars: Prisons and Society Imprisonment is one of the most common forms of punishment in Western liberal democracies, and it is one of the most controversial, especially as prison populations continue to grow at unprecedented levels. This module introduces students to contemporary issues and debates about imprisonment, such as prison conditions, overcrowding, staffing, prisoners’ rights. The module also explores the broader historical, social, political, and economic context of the modern prison and the ideology of imprisonment, including its representation in popular media.
Decolonisation and Legacies of the British Empire The contested legacies of the British empire shape both Britain and the spaces it formerly colonised. This module allows students to explore the social, cultural, political and economic impact of British imperialism across a range of geographies, as well as their interconnectedness past and present. Post-colonial theory will serve as a basis for understanding how the history of colonialism has shaped ideas about race and nation, and material realities in the colonies and the metropole. Students will consider the impact of empire on the colonised communities that lived through and with it, including the issues relating to religious and ethnic identities, the division of land and the establishment of new nations. Students will also consider how the experience of empire has shaped the politics of whiteness in the present.
Issues in criminal justice history This module provides a framework for examining the development of the criminal justice system and the general construction of the crime problem in the period from 1800s until the 1960s. It blends a discussion of institutional development with a socio-historical analysis of changing problems of crime. By examining criminological issues within a specific political, historical and intellectual context this module provides a valuable underpinning for a range of modules in the Criminology Degree programme in general and on the topics of policing, prisons, gender and crime, and youth crime in particular.
Youth, Crime and Delinquency This module provides an overview of the development of youth crime as a specific area of criminological inquiry and a distinct jurisdiction within the criminal justice system. The Module considers the development of ‘delinquency’ as a specific field of intervention and investigation. It gives particular attention to the evolution of youth justice policies and examines current literature in relation to the strengths and limitations of the contemporary youth justice system.
Working in the Social Sciences This module provides an opportunity for students to work in settings related to their studies and, more generally, gain meaningful workplace experience in which to apply their social scientific learning. It will also reinforce their studies through the application and integration of relevant workplace experience into the academic context. Voluntary and community sector organisations, charities, academic research and most political organisations are particularly suitable for work placements, although much can also be learned from placements in commercial settings. Students who do not secure a formal external placement will form groups to work on an applied project related to LSBUs 9 identified UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Environment Justice, Sustainability and Climate Crisis This module addresses the social and political dimensions of ecology. It examines defining features of the concept of (environmental) sustainability, introducing various political perspectives. We will see how local and global environmental risks demand new forms of urban, national and international governmentality. The module will discuss how societies affect and are affected by changes in the natural environment. Finally, we will engage with how climate change impacts on our understanding of time, including how we imagine the end of the world. Throughout the module, we will research and look at the activities of organisations and movements involved in environmental sustainability.
London: Crime and Social Exclusion This module uses London as a case study for a discussion of the cultural, social, and spatial effects of crime and social exclusion. Using both historical and contemporary examples the course will discuss the following themes: poverty & crime, spatial stigma, race & policing, gender, sexuality & crime, security and urban design, the city at night, cultural representations of criminal London. Through these themes the course will explore how social difference and criminalisation interact to produce the city. Students will develop the capacity to relate debates surrounding crime and criminology to the spatial & social politics of urban space.
Policing and Society This module will seek to create a critical understanding of historical, social and contemporary problems and debates in the development of modern policing, with specific reference to England and Wales. Within this framework a range of theoretical and practical topics will be addressed, including, legitimacy, accountability and representation, in relation to significant policies and programs. An analysis of police culture and ideology, in the context of human rights, democracy, and governance, will be undertaken as part of this. Also discussed will be the impact upon police strategies and practices of globalisation, consumerism, politicisation, and the New Public Management.
Research project (double module running across two semesters 40 credits) This level six double module covers two semesters and consists of the research for and completion of an academic project with a 9000-word limit. Each student chooses a subject relevant to the study of Sociology or Criminology in which they wish to specialize, and then uses the skills and knowledge that they have accumulated and developed through modules studied at previous levels to undertake and complete the project. During the whole process, from a choice of subject to final submission, each student will have the support and guidance of a supervisor allocated for this purpose.
Gender, crime and justice The relationship between men, masculinity and crime; and women, femininity and crime has assumed increasing visibility and political significance within both criminology and the public arena. An understanding of both masculinities and femininities is central to this module. Drawing on feminist perspectives in criminological theory as well as more mainstream theoretical accounts, this module evaluates the evidence, which indicates that patterns of offending, victimisation and the workings of the main criminal justice agencies are gendered. The module also transgresses traditional debates in this area by considering a human rights perspective for the study of gender and crime.
Hate crime This module provides students with a grounding in key concepts and debates surrounding the problem of hate crime. Students will explore the nature and extent of different forms of hate crime including racist, religious, homophobic and disablist hate crime. The motivations of perpetrators of hate crime will be considered as well as the impact that hate crime has on victims. This module will also explore the policing of hate crime and the development of key legislation in the United Kingdom.
International Security This module introduces students to the study of international security at Level 6, covering a wide spectrum of security issues, including the causes and consequences of civil wars for IR, the impact of terrorism and counter-terrorism, and the idea of ‘culture wars’. The second part of this module offers a detailed grounding in the theory and practice of international security by exploring conceptual matters in (critical) security studies such as the debate between ‘narrowing’ or ‘widening’ the scope of security. One of the central aims of the module is to encourage students to historicise and think critically about contemporary constructions of ‘security’, somehow against the narrower field of ‘strategic studies’, concerned with particular weapons systems and their use in particular wars.
Social Justice and Social Policy This module will take an in depth look at some of the most significant issues in contemporary British Social Policy in recent times. It will use in-depth case studies, which chart the development of and previous attempts to solve policy issues, before looking at the current state of the field and future needs. Students will be able to develop detailed knowledge of areas of interest to them, and use this to deepen their knowledge of policy processes. Throughout the module students will be encouraged to place the case studies within the context of social justice and British society.
Research project (continued)
Contemporary criminology This module allows students to examine, in depth, contemporary and specific areas of criminological debate and theory. The module adopts a flexible design in response to current developments in the field of criminology and in the context of current social and political problems. Students will be encouraged to critically explore topics within the area and apply them to wider criminological debate and theory.
Crimes of the powerful: States, Corporations and Human Rights This module explores the phenomena of state crime, corporate crime and the involvement of powerful social forces in human rights abuses. It examines the problems involved in conceptualising state crimes and human rights and looks at contemporary crimes against humanity, including in the area of environmental rights. The module also explores the problems involved in regulating and controlling state crime and human rights atrocities in which states and state officials play a key role. The critical engagement with globalization provides a framework within which students explore significant contemporary debates and developments.
Politics and Protest This module will examine forms of social and political conflict characteristic of contemporary western societies. The main focus will be on understanding social movements and forms of political contention in the changing social structure of these societies. Although it has a contemporary western focus the course will situate discussion also in the context of historical and comparative material on social movements. The emphasis throughout however will be on examining the ability of social and political theory to understand the nature of political identity and its expression in social movements.
Race, Culture and Identity This module addresses the centrality of race and ethnicity (including whiteness) to social relations. It provides an analysis of race and ethnicity within a changing scholarship and within their historical, cultural, political and theoretical contexts. Theoretical understandings of the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality will also be explored, highlighting their impact on all aspects of people’s lives. The complexities of analysing race, gender and sexuality are applied to representations in cultural forms, such as media and film. The module also demonstrates how the concepts covered have been influential in shaping public policy.
At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:
An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.
Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.
Our students volunteer and find jobs in a range of setting, including the police service, the prison service, legal advice, victim support, domestic violence and child abuse agencies and charities, youth offending and youth mentoring schemes.
A social science degree also has the real advantage of opening up careers in a number of professions such as teaching, social work, administration and higher level education. Other graduates have forged exciting careers in research, public relations, advertising, retail, management and media-related work.
One popular role is as a probation officer working with offenders before, during and after they are sentenced. Possessing a great deal of patience, strong oral communication skills and a non-judgemental attitude, working in probation can be very rewarding work. A qualified probation officer can earn between £28,000-£35,000. (National Careers Service)
The police service also offers a wide variety of long-term opportunities providing a two-year probationary period is completed. Salaries after 5 years can be up to £30,000. (BBC News)
There are a number of career opportunities within the criminal justice system or agencies and charities working with victims of crime, ex-offenders, and witnesses.
The academic strength of our programmes has allowed many graduates to continue onto postgraduate degrees and academic research.
Criminology staff have links with practitioners working in the criminal justice system and utilise the expertise of these contacts to organise guest speakers so students are able to hear from industry experts.
For example: Harry Potter, a criminal defence barrister, and a former fellow of Selwyn College Cambridge, says his famous name has been a distinct advantage. He has represented clients in all areas of crime, including court-martials. He is a published author of several books on legal and Scottish history and his latest book on the history of prisons will shortly be published. He has worked for the BBC presenting a TV series on our legal system and a documentary on capital punishment. He is also a qualified Church of England priest and for eight years was a prison chaplain attending many lifer review hearings. He believes that too many people are jailed and for too long. He regularly lectures at LSBU on the death penalty, criminal justice and prisons.
Optional Work Placement
Students will complete a work-based learning module as part of their second year where they will complete an optional work placement or take part in other forms of work-based learning. In the past, our students have volunteered with charities and criminal justice agencies, with local authorities, on programmes ranging from rehabilitation of offenders to victim support and campaigner groups. Through these, students contribute to real world situations linked to their subject of interest. In many cases, students maintain a relationship with the organisation they volunteer for. Placements ground a student's experience, provide confidence and bolster a CV immeasurably.
Our students have taken up work placements at:
Chance UK – a unique early intervention mentoring organisation who provide adult volunteer mentors to work with children aged 5-11 years at risk of developing anti-social behaviour in later life.
Kairos in Soho – a pan-London LGBT Community Development Organisation.
The Naz project London – a sexual health organisation that works to mobilise Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in relation to HIV and other sexual health concerns.
Richmond Advice and Information on Disability (RAID)
Women's Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS)
Teaching and Assessment
Year 1 class contact time is typically 9 hours per week plus individual tutorial and independent study.
Brief assessment outline
All modules are assessed by a combination of coursework, essays, exams, presentations, reports, case-studies, reviews and final year dissertation.
Research active academics
You will be taught by research-active academics whose work is internationally recognised and informs the course curriculum. You'll be encouraged to attend and participate in the research seminars and events organized by the Crime and Justice Research Group, that will strengthen your learning experience as well as your network.
Percentage of time spent in different learning activities
Lectures and seminars
Criminology conference and events at LSBU
At LSBU,Criminology staff are actively engaged in research and organize research events, conferences and seminars at LSBU and other universities throughout the year. The Crime and Justice Research Group organizes a monthly research seminar and at least two larger events open to the public. Over the past two years we have welcomed Prof. Alex Vitale from New York as a visiting professor, held a public event with Prof. Alex Vitale and Gary Younge, as well as two round table events focusing on Youth and (In)justice and more recently on Policing dissent.