Criminology BA

2024-25 entry
School of Law

Using real-world examples, you’ll discover the most recent advancements in areas such as crime trends, restorative justice, policing and punishment.

Key details

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    Course description

    Student on computer

    Explore patterns in crime, punishment and policing, and learn how to think, analyse and research as a criminologist.

    Over 35 years, criminology at Sheffield has built a reputation for excellence in teaching and research in this multidisciplinary field.

    Drawing on real-world examples, we begin with modules that give you a critical introduction to crime and criminology. You’ll then learn how to become a criminological researcher, developing critical thinking, academic writing and library research skills through the Skills for Criminologists module in year one.

    You’ll have so much choice when it comes to modules, choosing from subjects such as justice, prison, drugs, and youth criminality; assessing the influence of gender and race on crime and punishment.

    In your third year, you will have the option to complete a year abroad at one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to tailor your degree through optional modules to suit your interests and also access relevant module choices from the Department of Sociological Studies.

    You’ll graduate with theoretical understanding and practical skills – including the use of a range of qualitative research methods and quantitative data analysis software – supporting your next step into any of a diverse range of careers that call for critical analysis and problem-solving.

    Why study this course?

    • Research culture - we’ll prepare you for practical studies, show you how to understand the value of research, its methods and applications, expose you to our own world-leading projects and inspire new interests and career pathways.

    • Real-world experience - you’ll get the chance to do real client work that will have a positive impact in the community. You can get involved in the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre for an opportunity to investigate cases of people convicted of serious crimes who are maintaining their innocence.

    • Academic tutor - you're supported by a dedicated academic tutor who meets you regularly through your studies to offer academic, pastoral and career support. They’ll act as a key point of contact to help you navigate your degree, discuss your progress and signpost you towards the relevant personal, study and employability services.

    Law students


    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

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

    Title: Criminology BA course structure
    UCAS code: M900
    Years: 2022, 2023
    First year

    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.

    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'll receive a research-led teaching experience, in which you'll benefit from the latest thinking and teaching by experts.

    We're proud that 91 percent of our research is rated in the highest two categories in the Research Excellence Framework 2021, meaning it is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.


    • 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

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:

    A Levels + Extended Project Qualification
    ABB + B in a relevant EPQ
    International Baccalaureate
    BTEC Extended Diploma
    DDD in a relevant subject
    BTEC Diploma
    DD in a relevant subject + A at A Level in an acceptable subject
    Scottish Highers
    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels
    B + AA
    Access to HE Diploma
    Award of Access to HE Diploma in either Law, Business Management, Humanities or Social Sciences, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 at Distinction and 9 at Merit
    Access Sheffield offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:

    A Levels + Extended Project Qualification
    ABB + B in a relevant EPQ
    International Baccalaureate
    BTEC Extended Diploma
    DDD in a relevant subject
    BTEC Diploma
    DD in a relevant subject + B at A Level in an acceptable subject
    Scottish Highers
    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels
    B + AB
    Access to HE Diploma
    Award of Access to HE Diploma in either Law, Business Management, Humanities or Social Sciences, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit
    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

    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.

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

    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.

    School of Law

    Bartolome house
    1. Tailor your degree - choose from a wide range of optional modules to shape your degree to your interests and career aspirations.
    2. Study abroad - have an unforgettable experience by choosing to study abroad in your third year at one of our partner universities.
    3. Learn from experts - our academic staff are researching at the forefront of criminology. Their discoveries become yours, as their research filters into teaching.
    4. Gain real world experience - apply to join our Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre, giving you a unique opportunity to investigate cases of people convicted of serious crimes who maintain their innocence.
    5. Become career ready - we provide you with the skills that employers value, ensuring that when you graduate you are prepared for the global workplace.

    School of Law students are based in Bartolomé House which is in close proximity to the whole University campus. Teaching takes place in Bartolomé 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

    University rankings

      Number one in the Russell Group
    National Student Survey 2023 (based on aggregate responses)

      University of the Year and best for Student Life 
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2024

      92 per cent of our research is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023

      Number one Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2024, 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

      Number one for teaching quality, Students' Union and clubs/societies
    StudentCrowd 2023 University Awards

      A top 20 university targeted by employers
    The Graduate Market in 2023, High Fliers report

    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.

    Placements and study abroad


    You may have the opportunity to add an optional placement year as part of your course, converting the three year course to a four-year Degree with Placement Year. 

    A placement year will help you to:

    • gain an insight into possible careers
    • develop a range of transferable skills
    • build a professional network
    • get a feel for what you do and don’t like doing
    • add valuable work experience to your CV
    • gain experience of applying for jobs and interview practice
    • apply elements of academic learning in the workplace

    Study abroad

    Spending time abroad during your degree is a great way to explore different cultures, gain a new perspective and experience a life-changing opportunity that you will never forget. 

    You can apply to extend this course with a year abroad, usually between the second and third year. We have over 250 University partners worldwide. Popular destinations include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

    Find out more on the Global Opportunities website.


    University open days

    We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Subject tasters

    If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Offer holder days

    If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our offer holder days, which take place between February and April. These open 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

    Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.

    Campus tour: book your place


    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:

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    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.

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer


    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:

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    Using real-world examples, you’ll discover the most recent advancements in areas such as crime trends, restorative justice, policing and punishment.