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Criminology BA

School of Law

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You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry.

Key details

Course description

Undergraduate lecture

Criminology has been taught within the School of Law for over 35 years and has an outstanding reputation for both teaching quality and world-leading research in areas such as: policing, victims and restorative justice and the reasons why people stop offending.

As part of this three-year course, you'll examine real-world examples of crime and punishment and get to grips with the history of how different societies have understood and responded to crime. You'll learn how criminological research is undertaken and develop the skills required to conduct research of your own.


The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

Title: Criminology BA course structure
UCAS code: M900
Years: 2021

Core modules:

Comprehending Criminology

This module introduces students to key areas of criminological definitions, empirical study, theory and the development of criminal justice systems. The module looks at case studies of crime and deviance from contemporary life to help students understand how some of the history and theory of criminology can be brought to bear on social and legal issues. Topics may feature, for example, youth crime, spouse murder, football hooliganism and credit card crime but also other areas if and when interesting cases arise.

20 credits
Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice

This module examines current debates and emerging trends in research on crime and criminal justice. It focuses on specific case studies of recent or ongoing research on the institutions of criminal justice - such as the police, prisons and probation services - being undertaken by staff in the School of Law. In doing so, students are provided with an introduction to the criminal justice system and first-hand insights into original research projects in the field of criminology. The case studies will involve an exploration of the research design, process, findings, implications and impact. Students will also consider how research agendas are shaped by the unfolding dynamics of society.

20 credits
Criminal Law and Justice

This module will introduce students to the concepts, theories and institutions of criminal law and justice, and its place in society. It will develop an understanding of the essential concepts of criminal liability. It will focus on the main institutional and procedural features of the criminal justice system, with the aim of stimulating an enquiring attitude towards the practice of criminal process. Students will have the opportunity to practise applying these processes to factual scenarios. The module provides a firm foundation for the more advanced study of criminal law and also of criminal evidence, criminal justice and criminal process.

20 credits
Introducing Criminological Research

This module focuses on how crucial criminological topics have been investigated. The module is taught by lectures and seminars/classes and assessed by two 'take-home' exercises. In the seminars/classes students will work in small groups to examine real research studies, and work out how to tackle research problems.

20 credits
Representations of Deviance and Social Control

This module examines representations of crime, criminalisation and criminal justice in cultural forms such as journalism, film, television, literature, music, theatre, art and games. Its concerns are the nature of representations of topics such as crimes, crime data, offenders, deviants, gangs, criminal justice systems, police and victims. It critically analyses the role of cultural forms in constructing and/or reproducing ideas about crimes which inform subjective identity, public and political perceptions, prejudices and practices. The module considers the ways in which certain groups or behaviours acquire labels, values and meanings which place them outside of legitimacy and normality justifying monitoring, suspicion, control or incarceration.

20 credits
Situating Crime

The module looks at what crime occurs, how, where and to whom. It provides an introduction to the social factors linked to offending and victimisation, including the geography of crime and social deprivation (and wealth). As well as considering traditional forms of crime against individuals and businesses (and people's fear of such crime), it will also explore the nature of and effects on the victims of internet crime, fraud, organised crime and human trafficking, as well as crime in war zones. It will examine whether there has been a drop in crime rates and if so, what might explain this.

20 credits
Skills for Criminologists (S4C)

The module provides students with a critical introduction to criminological studies, encouraging them to approach their degree with careful attention to what they want to achieve out of the course, and what their course can do within (and for) modern society. It also provides a vector for the teaching of core skills and values required by the study of criminology, including critical thinking, academic writing and oral presentation skills, and independent research.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Learning and assessment


You'll learn through lectures, tutorials, seminars, group work and small group teaching. Independent study is the key to academic success, including research and reading.

We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

Learning support facilities and library opening hours

Study with us and you will be taught by international experts. We’re a top 10 law school that’s helping to shape the law and global society. We provide world class learning and teaching, and carry out research of global relevance.

Our teaching is research-led, meaning you benefit from the latest thinking, keeping your learning at the forefront of your subject.


  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Dissertation

Programme specification

This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

Find programme specification for this course

Entry requirements

With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

Standard offer
Access Sheffield offer

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:

A Levels + Extended Project Qualification | ABB + B in a relevant EPQ ABB + B in a relevant EPQ

International Baccalaureate | 34 33

BTEC | DDD in a relevant subject DDD in a relevant subject

Scottish Highers | AAAAB AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AA B + AB

Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in Law, Business/Management, Humanities or Social Science with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit 60 credits overall in Law, Business/Management, Humanities or Social Science with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit

Mature students - explore other routes for mature students

English language requirements

You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

Equivalent English language qualifications

Visa and immigration requirements

Other requirements
  • Two acceptable A Level subjects are required

    Guidance on acceptable A Level subjects
  • Relevant BTEC subjects are Criminal and Forensic Investigations, Applied Law, Applied Science, Business, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship or Personal and Business Finance

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for an International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

School of Law

Bartolome house, students walking

All of our courses prepare you for the challenges of professional life. Learning to identify and address the complex legal, moral, ethical or social questions that underpin the law is key to your success here. Your teachers will be researching the very latest aspects of law and criminology and amongst them are practising legal professionals. Their discoveries become yours, as their research filters into teaching.

Top law firms regularly visit us to meet our students and take a hands-on approach by contributing to your wider education. They also interview our high-achieving students for jobs.

We have over 200 places for voluntary work experience, which gives you the chance to do real client work that has a positive impact in the community. You can get involved in our free legal clinic and the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre, an opportunity to work on cases of wrongful imprisonment. You can work on our commercial pro bono project, on our criminal justice initiative or at the courts, providing help and support to individual litigants. You can also work with several local charities as a trained adviser, helping individuals with their legal problems.

Our degrees have a strong international focus to prepare you for a career that could take you anywhere. Our study abroad scheme is one of the largest of its kind in the UK and includes destinations in Europe, Australia, China, the US and Canada.

School of Law students are based in Bartolomé House which is in close proximity to the whole University campus. Teaching takes place in Bartolome House and across the University campus, all within walking distance.


You'll have access to our very own Moot Court where you'll have the opportunity to argue a fictional case as if representing a client and can also take part in national and international mooting competitions.

School of Law

Why choose Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield

  A top 100 university 2022
QS World University Rankings

  Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014

  No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

School of Law

A world top 100 law department

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

83% overall satisfaction

National Student Survey 2020

UK top 10 for research excellence

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Graduate careers

Our Criminology graduates have worked in careers such as:

  • Police Officer
  • Prison officer
  • Police data analyst
  • Researcher
  • Social worker
  • Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Charity organisations
  • Private Sector
  • Civil Service

Criminology is a multi-disciplinary subject which means that students can apply their learning far beyond these jobs, and to anything that requires critical analysis and problem-solving. These skills are widely applicable to all sorts of professions and are sought after skills.

Fees and funding


Additional costs

The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

Examples of what’s included and excluded

Funding your study

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

Visit us

University open days

There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

Open days: book your place

Taster days

At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

Upcoming taster sessions

Applicant days

If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

Campus tours

Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Book your place on a campus tour

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:

The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

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