Criminology

Join our world-class research environment and study across disciplines. You'll gain an understanding of crime and the related public policy interventions that contribute towards a safer and harm-free society.

Social harm specialists

We specialise in the study of social harm (zemiology) to understand how power, inequality and discrimination lead to injustices and harm.

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Learn from our engaging staff, experts in criminal and social justice, policymaking, and research and evaluation.

World-leading research

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Criminology at Bristol

Studying criminology will provide you with an understanding of crime, criminal and social justice and social harm and the analysis of public policy interventions. You will be introduced to a range of topics, including gender-based violence, youth justice, segregation and inequality, migration, drugs polices, globalisation and harm, 'terrorism', as well as corporate and state harm.

A unique feature of our course is that it offers students the opportunity to study criminology within the broader framework of policy studies. You will study across disciplines including sociology, law, psychology, philosophy, history and social and public policy.

You will be taught by a team of internationally renowned academics who are passionate about their subjects and who use their research to inform their teaching, meaning your study is relevant and up-to-date. Additional opportunities on the course may include lectures from criminology-related professionals and visits to courts and prisons. These experiences will further enhance your understanding and add practical knowledge.

Our Criminology Work Placement unit offers the opportunity to gain real-life experience in criminal justice agencies and a range of organisations, working with offenders or victims.

You can choose to study criminology as a three-year degree, a four-year degree with a study abroad year or alongside quantitative research methods.

The course encompasses such a variety of topics from gender-based violence to corporate crimes. You don’t just learn about crime but also about deep-rooted societal and political issues.

Abi, BSc Criminology

Career prospects

Our criminology courses provide an ideal platform for anyone wishing to pursue a career in criminal justice or the legal system.

There are a wide variety of career options for criminology graduates. You may choose a vocational career, entering into law, the prison service, youth work or social work.

Alternatively, you may use the skills you have developed in business, human resources or the finance sector.

You may also progress to further study.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

Our courses are structured around the study and development of understanding in three interlocking areas:

  • criminal justice and social justice
  • crime and social harm
  • local, national and global issues in crime and social harm.

In your first year, you will take mandatory units that introduce you to the study of criminology. You will also develop research skills and can choose from a range of optional units.

In year two, you will develop a deeper understanding of criminological theory and take at least three units from a list of criminology-related options such as: Criminalising Welfare; Globalisation, Crime and Harm; Harms of the Powerful; or Punishment in Society. You may also undertake a work placement, depending on your particular interest.

In your final year, you will undertake a dissertation along with a mandatory unit focusing on the role of public policy and harm reduction, and you will select from a range of criminology-related specialist units, from Drugs in Society to Understanding Terrorism.

You can choose to take a four-year Study Abroad degree, with a year studying at one of our prestigious partner universities overseas. Partner locations have included Australia, Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands, or the US. Find out more about where you can study abroad.

Q-Step programme

Criminology is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in the social sciences.

We offer the option of three- and four-year degree programmes that combine core disciplinary learning with enhanced quantitative skills training in applied data analysis relevant to research in the social sciences.

Find out more about our 'with Quantitative Research Methods' course offerings.

Criminology

BSc Criminology provides students with an understanding of crime, criminal and social justice and social harm and the analysis of public policy interventions that contribute towards a safer society.

You will be introduced to a range of topics, including gender-based violence, youth justice, segregation and inequality, migration, drugs polices, globalisation and harm, 'terrorism', as well as corporate and state harm.

You can choose to study criminology as a three-year degree, a four-year degree with a study abroad year or alongside quantitative research methods.

Why study Criminology at Bristol?

Criminology at the University of Bristol is located in the School for Policy Studies, a leading centre for research and scholarship.

Units are delivered by a team of internationally renowned academics who share their collective expertise in policy making, the policy process and policy evaluation relating to crime and social harm.

Global and comparative perspectives inform many of our units to ensure that you receive a broad appreciation of the international dimensions to criminology. Where possible we make links between academic enquiry and practice, for example by organising visits to the criminal courts and inviting practitioners to visit the University to speak.

You will be joining a friendly department that provides a supportive environment in which you are encouraged to flourish as an independent, active learner. You will be taught by lecturers who are passionate about their subjects and who use their research to inform their teaching, meaning your study is relevant and up-to-date.

What kind of student would this course suit?

The inter- and multi-disciplinary nature of our criminology degrees makes them ideal for students who want to develop a broad and holistic understanding of crime, justice and related social harms. They would suit anyone who has interest in understanding these social phenomena and how public policies and other interventions can make society safer.

Our criminology courses provide an ideal platform for anyone wishing to pursue a career in criminal justice or the legal system.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, tutorials and clinics. You will develop transferable skills through small-group work and giving presentations.

Our Criminology Work Placement unit offers the opportunity to gain real-life experience in criminal justice agencies and a range of organisations, working with offenders or victims.

We emphasise the role of assessment and feedback in helping you develop in your studies. We use a wide range of assessments to enable you to perform at your very best.

Methods of assessment include seen and unseen examinations, extended essays and other structured written assignments such as reports, briefing documents, annotated bibliographies and literature reviews; presentations, video-making and poster presentation assignments are also available. The 10,000-word dissertation requires you to conduct a piece of research independently with the support of an academic supervisor.

What are my career prospects?

There are a wide variety of career options for criminology graduates. You may choose a vocational career, entering careers in law, the prison service, youth work or social work. Alternatively, you may use the skills you have developed in business, human resources or the finance sector. You may also progress to further study.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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