Durham University


L370 Criminology BA Undergraduate  2019


UCAS code L370
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications
Contextual Offers You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.
More information Still have questions?
Department(s) Website www.durham.ac.uk/sociology

Course Summary


The course overall progressively develops your critical understanding of criminology through the examination of key concepts and theory. This is enhanced further through development of core methodological skills so that students advance key analytical skills and expertise. In essence in taking the course you will be able to confidently analyse complex criminological questions and present them in a highly academic and scholarly fashion.

Year 1

Modules provide you with a core grounding in criminological theory and concepts, social research methods, as well as specific topics on crime, deviance and criminal justice. Please note all modules are subject to change.

Compulsory modules:

In previous years modules have included:

Candidates shall also study and be assessed in modules to the value of 20 credits from Level 1 open modules offered by The Board of Studies of the School of Applied Social Sciences or another Board of Studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the Centre for Foreign Language Study).


Year 2

You will build on and extend your criminological knowledge further developing core skills in research. Modules now become more specialised and the questions surrounding criminological enquiry become more focused and intense. The theoretical detail of criminological enquiry is expanded in both the core theory and methods modules.

You will study:

  • Contemporary Criminological Theory
  • Social Research Methods.

Depending on module choice, you may also study topics such as:

  • Sociology of Social Exclusion
  • Crime, Power and Social Inequalities
  • Self, Identity and Society
  • Modules to the value of 20 credits from open modules offered by another Board of Studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the Centre for Foreign Language Study).


Year 3

You will concentrate on more complex criminological issues and themes and will also take a double module Dissertation, which provides an opportunity to explore a criminological topic in greater depth.

Depending on module choice, specific study can include:

  • Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Cybercrime: Crime in the Information Age
  • Sociology of Punishment
  • Sociology of Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation 
  • Drugs, Crime and Society
  • Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
  • Rural Studies and Social Policy
  • Social Policy
  • Sociology of Work and Professions
  • Crime, Justice and the Sex Industry
  • Sociology of Health and Medicine
  • Sports Policy in Action
  • Modules to the value of 20 credits offered within the School or from another Board of Studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the Centre for Foreign Language Study).

You can find out more about this course by watching our film.

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2019 entry from September 2018.

Study Abroad

We are part of the SOCRATES/ERASMUS programme which encourages students to study for part of their course in a university of another EU country.

We currently have links with the universities of Helsinki in Finland and Duisburg-Essen in Germany. Students can also apply to the university-wide international exchange programme with universities in North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Placement Year

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

The BA Sociology, BA Criminology programmes are delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, research-based workshops, individual supervision of research based assignment and guided individual work through learning technologies such as DUO.

Lectures provide key information on the key conceptual tools, methodologies, research and scholarship in the subject area. They also expose students to the skills of research synthesis and note taking.

Seminars are intended as guided, small group discussions of the subject area. They rely on independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours to be effective. They provide key learning scaffolding opportunities for students’ development of skills of conceptualisation and contextualisation, which are key for these programmes. Students also develop public speaking skills and research synthesis abilities.

Research based workshops allow the students to gain hands-on experience of research in the subject area and to develop practical skills in the method of social research in the context of small group discussion and team working. They are also useful for developing team working skill and information gathering and analysis skills.

In this final year of the programme, the dissertation module provides an opportunity to put into practice research skills developed in earlier years. While this project is a largely independent piece of study, students receive four hours of one-to-one supervision with an academic member of staff in addition to workshops and group sessions designed to address common themes and allow students to share ideas and experiences of undertaking independent research.

The balance of these learning contexts changes over the course of the programme, as students develop their knowledge and understanding of the subject area, and increase their confidence and abilities as independent, autonomous and critical learners. This is crucial not only for their integration in the community of social scientists but also for success in diverse professional and working environments, or further study.

In the first year students will establish a fundamental knowledge and understanding of key concepts and issues relating to core disciplines within the sociology or criminology. At level one, students are expected to attend an average of 6 hours of lectures per week, and around 6 hrs of small group-based teaching fortnightly in terms 1 and 2 (e.g. seminars, practical workshops). Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare for their classes and broaden their subject knowledge.

The balance starts to shift in the second year, as students further develop their abilities as ‘independent learners’. Students are exposed to more advanced conceptual, theoretical models and to key methodological knowledge of the subject area, and develop their skills to critically assess theories and methods in relation to substantive areas of knowledge. Lectures still play an important role in supporting students in developing their knowledge and skills, with an average of 6 hours a week, while the frequency of seminars remains the same; students participate in eight one hour seminars or research-based workshops per 20 credit module across the academic year. This amounts to an average of 3-4 hrs of small group contact hours per week for a level two student.

This move towards developing conceptualisation and contextualisation skills and to evaluate more complex issues in relation to selected disciplines is finalised in the third year. Lectures and small group teaching retain the same typical format of weekly lecture and fortnightly seminar but students are invited to engage with academic issues at the forefront of sociology or criminology in a learning environment that is very much focused on discussion and debate of these issues. In this regard the dissertation represents the cap stone of the undergraduate degree providing an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their skills as an autonomous learner and researcher, albeit with routine expert supervision discussed above.

In addition to one-to-one supervision which students receive as part of their dissertation, throughout the programme students are assigned to an academic advisor who will normally meet with students 2-3 times per year to discuss progress and advise on programme choices. All staff maintain a regular office hour where students are welcome to meet on a drop-in basis but staff are available at other times by appointment to support and advise students.

In addition, the School is linked to the work of four Research Centres who regularly run seminars on relevant research interests to which current students are invited.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • Our normal GCE A level requirement is AAB
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements, such as BTECs (normally DDD), International Baccalaureate (on its own or combined with other qualifications – Required Grades: 36 points) and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors
  • One essay-based subject at A level, or equivalent, is desirable
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • Typical IB score 36 to include 665 in higher level subjects
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multidisciplinary programmes degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree programmes courses.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

We endeavour to make offers as quickly as possible, however, we are committed to the principle of equal consideration, which means that any application made to us through UCAS by the deadline of the 15th January has a chance of being considered for an offer. Because of this we cannot make all our decisions straight away when they reach us, so we may not inform some applicants who applied as early as September of our decision until March. However, we do this because each application really matters to us and we want to make offers to those applicants who show the strongest merit and potential in their application.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply


Information relevant to your country


Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £19,250.00 per year

The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding


Career Opportunities

Sociology and Criminology

Further details on career opportunities can be found here: https://www.durham.ac.uk/study/ug/employability

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place: www.durham.ac.uk/opendays

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.


Overseas Visit Schedule


Department Information

Sociology and Criminology



Criminology involves considering urgent and important questions such as ‘What should count as a crime?’, and ‘How should those convicted of crimes be punished?’. You will study crime, deviance and criminal justice in relation to wider society and focus on both national and international topics. There is a strong emphasis on contemporary issues, such as the modern criminal justice system, crimes of the powerful and cyber crime, as well as on providing you with an understanding of theories of crime and justice.

Studying at Durham University enables you to work with recognised national and international experts within specific fields of criminology. You will acquire a wide range of transferable skills that are crucial for broader personal and professional development, including the capacity to assemble and evaluate evidence, to think quickly, to write efficiently and to construct persuasive arguments. Criminology is strongly engaged with the real world. Criminologists contribute to shaping the knowledge and practice of criminal justice agencies and relevant voluntary organisations, as well as influencing criminal justice policy.


  • 6th in The Complete University Guide 2018.
  • 10th in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2018.


Develop an in-depth understanding of society and social issues. Sociology contributes to transformative social change, highlighting salient social trends, advising on social policy and tackling forms of social exclusion. Our Sociology degrees focus on the application of theory and method to real-life social problems in areas such as health, gender and work.

The student experience at Durham includes teaching delivered by internationally recognised experts in sociology and social policy. You will acquire a range of transferable skills in critical analysis, data collection and its dissemination. This includes a practical focus on personal development and employability.


  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2017.


For a current list of staff, please see the School of Applied Social Sciences web pages.


The library’s resources for the study of criminology are among the best in northern Britain, and college libraries also hold copies of some of the main textbooks. We make extensive use of duo (Durham’s online teaching resource), and undergraduates can enjoy the use of the resources room within the Department, which has additional published material and networked computer access.