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Criminology (BSc)

  • L370

3 years (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Our Criminology BSc is delivered by renowned social scientific scholars in the world-class research and teaching environment of our School of Social Sciences. You will be introduced to the challenge and excitement of being part of a research-led environment as you develop both subject-specific skills and the ability to apply your knowledge to academic and policy debates within Criminology. Your degree will also allow you to acquire a range of transferable skills that will give you a competitive advantage in the world of work.

Key Facts

UCAS Code L370
Duration 3 years
How to apply
Typical places available The School admits 300 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes of which approximately 100 are studying single or joint honours degrees in Criminology
Typical applications received 1,500
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer AAB
Admissions Tutor Rachel Swann
Tel Number 029 2087 5122
Email address
School website

Criminology is the field of study which focuses on both processes of criminalisation and victimisation and responses to crime and disorder. It investigates how social groups or their behaviour is defined as ‘criminal’ or ‘anti-social’; how different approaches to criminal justice balance protection, rehabilitation and control; and how victims are affected by their experiences.

Our Criminology degrees are delivered by renowned researchers in a world-class research and teaching culture. You will have the opportunity to learn in a research-led environment staffed by leading Criminologists with strong links to local police, probation and criminal justice services.

Criminology at Cardiff

The degree is characterised by its focus on the ‘criminological imagination’ within the social sciences.  It therefore begins by examining how to approach problems of crime, justice and crime control as a social scientist before applying these research-driven disciplinary skills to ‘real world’ issues and debates.

The Criminology foundation modules focus on developing your capacity to think about problems of crime, justice and crime control as a social scientist. This means we place a strong emphasis on introducing students to the research methods involved in gathering criminological data and the relationships between this evidence and the theories developed within criminology. As you progress through the degree these core skills are developed through more specialised modules, increasingly interactive styles of learning and the critical interrogation of theory, method and evidence in specific policy domains.

Over the course, you will have the opportunity to build up a range of skills and substantive knowledge related to criminology. You will have front-line access to leading researchers and the criminological debates in which they are engaged. In addition, you will also take away a sophisticated and a highly specialised appreciation of the criminological research and the operation of criminal justice and crime control processes.

Single or Joint honours?

Whether you are studying for a single or joint honours degree in criminology you will be expected to take a number of core modules in each year. Single honours students then have the option of making up their remaining modules from a selection of those taught elsewhere in the School of Social Sciences. Joint honours students typically split their modules evenly between the two subjects and may have a greater number of core modules to include before choosing any options.
Whatever criminology scheme you choose, we hope to provide you with an apprenticeship in the craft and science of contemporary criminology. You will share in the in-depth specialist knowledge of our academic staff and development as number of important transferable skills.

Course structure:

All degrees schemes within the Cardiff School of Social Sciences put great emphasis on the combination of theory and method that is needed to apply social science work to real world problems. Our degree schemes are developed with this in mind and provide a solid foundation in core concepts and methods before moving on to more independent and critical thinking about their application in specific contexts.
For Criminology degrees, this progression is accomplished as follows. In Year One, all students, except those taking an LLB with Law, take three core modules:

  • Foundations of Contemporary Criminology: this introduces the key features of contemporary criminology as a distinct field of study within the social sciences.
  • Key Ideas in Social Science: this traces the origins of social scientific theories and introduces the work of key thinkers in a range of social science disciplines.
  • Introduction to Social Science Research: an introduction to the principles and skills that underpin social science research.

Single honours students will complete their programme of study with cognate modules from the Education, Social Policy and Sociology schemes. Joint honours students will focus their remaining modules on those required by their partner subject.

In Years Two and Three, students build upon the foundations of their first year and develop more sophisticated understandings of the relationships between offenders and victims and between crime and its control through formal and informal mechanisms. This critical engagement with academic research and policy is enabled by the study of theoretical and empirical work dealing with contemporary issues of crime and disorder in the UK and across the globe. These more specialist modules draw extensively on the research interests and expertise of Cardiff staff and currently include:

  • Offending and Victimisation
  • Crime Control, Regulation and Policing
  • Offender Management
  • Criminological Practice and Theory
  • Diversity, Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Online and Virtual Crime
  • Organised and White Collar Crimes
  • Prisons and Community Sanctions
  • Terrorism and Crime in a Global Era

In addition, final year students have the opportunity to undertake dissertation project in which they will be able to design and conduct a small scale research project under the supervision of a member of academic staff. If you are enrolled on the single honours Criminology scheme, then the dissertation is compulsory.

More information about the modules currently available is available from the Cardiff School of Social Sciences website. Please note, however, that module titles and content can change from year to year.

Teaching in the School of Social Sciences is research-led and reflects the inter-disciplinary nature of the School.  Students are taught about the latest ideas within the social sciences by internationally recognised scholars who are themselves shaping the future of their respective fields.  Students also play an important role in the development of the curriculum, with the Staff-Student Panel being consulted about major changes and all students contributing to module evaluations and an annual student survey.

The teaching programme is designed to support students in the transition into University learning. Each academic year, students take six modules, each of which will be taught via weekly lectures and fortnightly seminars. In between this formal contact time, students will be given guided reading, online exercises or other work designed to consolidate and develop their knowledge. All teaching is directed towards meeting clearly stated learning outcomes, which are then assessed at regular intervals. Assessment methods vary from module to module but, over the course of their degree, each student can expect a mixture of exams, essays, practical work, individual and group projects and presentations.

The style of teaching also changes over the course of the degree. In Year One, all students are expected to meet with personal tutor every two weeks in order to follow a structured programme of study skills and readings through which they will learn how to be social scientists. In Years Two and Three students are increasingly able to study and learn independently and so have the opportunity to read more widely and develop their own interests. For many, this will culminate in their final year dissertation, where they will work with a member of academic staff to design and carry out an independent research project.

Typical A-level Offer  AAB, excluding General Studies
Typical WBQ Offer Grade A in the Core, with grades AA at A-level
Typical Int Bacc Offer  34 points
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

In addition to its substantive content, our degree in Criminology provides skills in critical thinking, analysis of qualitative and quantitative data and report writing. As such, social science graduates are able to find employment in both public and private sectors and their graduate employment rates compare favourably with other subjects. Examples of the careers our graduates have followed include: educational psychology; social care professions; youth and community work; local government; retail and other management; police and probation services; teaching; careers guidance; human resource management; speech therapy; social science, market and policy research.

According to Unistats data available in 2012, 63 per cent of graduates from the Cardiff School of Social Sciences were in employment within six months of graduating, while another 23 per cent were undertaking further study. Both these figures compare very well with other institutions and other degree subjects.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: SOCSI Undergraduate Admissions Office  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5122 

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4175 


School Website:

More information

School of Social Sciences