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Unit information: Criminological Theory: An Introduction in 2021/22

Unit name Criminological Theory: An Introduction
Unit code SPOL10029
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Mike McBeth
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit will provide students with an introduction to key criminological concepts and theories. Specifically, it will introduce students to:

  1. Criminological theories explaining the production of crime and social harm;
  2. the wider social, political, and economic context in which theories emerge and come to be influential
  3. How criminological theory has impacted on criminal justice and wider social policies

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Use criminological theory to understand the role of power in defining crime and social harm
  2. Critically evaluate a range of different criminological theories and explain their social, economic and political origins
  3. Critically assess what impact, if any, criminological theory has had on criminal justice and wider social policies

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through blended learning involving a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by study-group sessions and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment is by:

  • Engagement and Collaboration Portfolio based on structured exercises (50%)
  • Essay of 1500 words (50%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOL10029).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.