Criminology BSc PhD Scholarship

This programme has been developed in response to the need of statutory, voluntary and private organisations involved in developing crime reduction strategies. It creates and examines research-based evidence of which strategies work.

You develop expertise in theory, method and research as well as a broad understanding of the criminal justice system and an in-depth knowledge of current issues in criminology. You explore contemporary crime, victimization and crime reduction.

Course structure

Core modules

Contemporary Criminological Theory

You explore explanations of crime suited to the current times. You build on the criticisms levelled at 20th-century theoretical frameworks and move forward to the latest 21st-century frameworks currently in use and/or under development. You look at placing these emerging frameworks in the contexts of today’s mutating crime and criminal markets alongside current transformations in contemporary political economy, culture, social theory, psychoanalysis and philosophy.

Criminal Justice


You gain awareness and skills in research and evaluation, and your ability to integrate, synthesise and critique criminological content, concepts and research methodologies in the production of a research-based dissertation. You complete a piece of empirical or theoretical research and write a dissertation on a criminological topic of your choice.

Social Research Methods

You develop an advanced understanding of the processes and issues of social research. Drawing upon the philosophical underpinnings which are central to research methodologies, you consider the relationship between theory, methods and data. You also critically consider the need to balance theory with conducting research on real issues in the real world. This ensures you have a coherent understanding of the decisions researchers make when deciding which research methods to use and to develop practical skills in using a variety of research methods. You also develop a sound understanding of ethical and practical issues in designing, conducting and analysing research.

Optional modules

Criminological Theory

If you are unfamiliar with criminology, you can explore the historical ideas to explain crime and deviance. You take a socio-historical perspective, charting the development of criminological science from pre-modern assumptions based on religious ideas, through the first real attempts to produce rational explanations for criminal offending, into the 20th-century and through to the rise of postmodernism. You use a political-economic framework that examines the different theories with the defining ideas of their respective time periods.

Policing and Security

You examine policing within the wider issue of security in modern society. You look at extant sociology of the police and on other theoretical bodies of knowledge from fields such as political economy, political sociology, state theory and organisational theory to interrogate the development, role and practices of the public police and its relationship with private policing. You should have some knowledge of extant police sociology. You investigate UK and national themes such as the position of the police within the contemporary security industrial complex, militarisation, surveillance and dataveillance, transnationalisation. You develop a robust theoretical understanding of police and policing and engage extensively and intensively with a diverse body of literature, concepts and theories.

Social Inequalities

You study complementary blocks of teaching. In the first block, you gain a theoretical overview of sociological context and explanation for myriad issues relating to the topic of social inequality. You explore economic sociology and political economy, with explanatory frameworks for inequality of income. You look at cultural inequalities in gender, sexuality, race and age, focusing on factors of identity. You also cover social relations, looking at the relationship between people in contemporary society, defined by consumerism, ideology, sociality and belonging, community, competition, status and other concepts.
In the second block, you contextualise the theoretical overview of social inequalities and social harms with case studies and guest speakers who outline specific examples of social inequality. Case studies and speakers cover things such as focused discussion on poverty, employment, leisure, politics, crime, debt, identity, social integration and interpersonal relations. You explore the factors relating to inequality and apply theory as explanatory frameworks for each case study. You combine social theory with the problems facing society in the early 21st-century.

Studies in Criminology and Social Policy

You examine methodological and empirically innovative or significant research methods and studies in criminology and social policy. You explore a broad range of research design and methods to expand your understanding and awareness of approaches to social research. You contextualise theory and method to research studies in criminology and social policy.

Victims and Offenders

You explore a variety of crimes from the perspective of victims and offenders, including violence against women in international, national and local policy agendas. You cover domestic violence, honor crimes, sexual violence, sexual harassment, trafficking in women and exploitation in the sex industry, female genital mutilation, stalking and homicide. You also explore crimes against older people, critically analyzing perceptions of older people and their involvement in crime, as offenders and victims. You focus on violent and serious crime, developing discussions around the debates focused on victims and offenders. You focus on criminal justice and policy initiatives, crime prevention strategies and community responses to the ‘problem of crime’ to develop an understanding of theoretical perspectives, implications for policy and the influence of community responses to arrange of crimes.

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a second-class honours degree in a relevant field. However, those who have relevant professional qualifications and/or relevant experience will also be considered.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


Career opportunities

Opportunities exist in the criminal justice system (including the police, prison, probation and youth offending services). This programme is also ideal if you’re interested in working (or already work) in social services and related voluntary agencies. Some of our MSc students continue to doctoral studies and/or work at colleges and universities.

Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser

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