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Unit information: Criminology in 2015/16

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Unit name Criminology
Unit code LAWD30100
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Naughton
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

In contrast to Criminal Law, which is concerned with the rules which determine whether a person has committed a criminal offence, Criminology considers what factors may have led to the offender's breaking the law in the first place. The explanations of criminality which comprise the bulk of this unit can be roughly divided into (a) sociological, (b) physiological, and (c) psychological. The wide range of sociological accounts considered includes the importance of the neighbourhood where the offender grows up, the type of friends the offender makes, the formation of delinquent groups or gangs and the effect of poverty.

The Criminology unit has three principal aims, which are to explain:

i) the origins and development of criminology

ii) the data and methods employed in criminological inquiry

iii) the principal theoretical perspectives advanced by criminologists regarding the epidemiology and aetiology of crime

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the principal theoretical perspectives on the causes of crime
  • Discuss these theories critically
  • Evaluate critically the way in which our knowledge of the extent of crime is obtained
  • Express their knowledge and views clearly
  • Demonstrate their ability to form their own views on the basis of primary sources, as well as written and other materials drawn from the selected reading and from independent library research

Teaching Information

Ten one-hour lectures and 10 two-hour seminars.

Assessment Information

Two summative pieces of coursework of 2,000 words, each contributing 50% to the final mark.

Students will also be required to submit one formative essay.

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

There are no formal set texts for this unit. However, there the following text books usefully cover much of the ground:

  • Maguire, M. Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (2012) (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (5th Edition) Oxford: Clarendon Press. (KB300 OXF)
  • Newburn, T. (2013) Criminology Cullompton: Willan. (KB300 NEW)
  • Hale, C., Hayward, K., Wahidin, A. and Wincup, E. (2013) Criminology Oxford: OUP. (KB300 CRI)
  • Muncie, J. McLaughlin, E and Langan, M. (2013) (eds) Criminological Perspectives: a reader London: Sage. (KB300 CRI)