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Unit information: Understanding Crime, Harm and Society in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Understanding Crime, Harm and Society
Unit code SPOL10020
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Joanna Large
Open unit status Not open
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School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

Crime and harms are significant issues in society. This unit introduces students to various forms of crime and harm which are prevalent in contemporary society through a range of topics including for example: youth crime, violence, illicit markets and crimes that impact on the environment. We examine the concept of crime and why critical criminologists and zemiologists argue that we should also study harm. In this unit we examine different factors which impact on crime, and why some crimes are more visible than others in the public and political imagination.

Your learning on this unit

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  1. Describe the nature and prevalence of types of contemporary forms of crime and harm in the UK.
  2. Explain how structural, social, economic and political processes impact on crime and harm.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of why some crimes dominate public and political discussions, whereas others do not.

How you will learn

This unit will draw on a blended learning approach. Students will engage with asynchronous taught content (including, for example, narrated slides and other teaching and research materials) and will be tasked to complete activities in preparation for synchronous sessions to present and discuss ideas and clarify learning. Students will undertake formative assessment to prepare them for their assessed work.

How you will be assessed

The assessment for this unit recognises and rewards consistent engagement over the whole unit. The portfolio therefore draws together selected activities which students are asked to undertake over the unit as evidence for this engagement.

Engagement and Collaboration: portfolio of structured learning activities (3000 words, 100%)

This assesses all learning outcomes.


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. SPOL10020).

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.