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Crime & Society - SPY00023C

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Lisa O'Malley
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module summary

This module addresses critical questions such 'who commits crime' and 'why do people commit crime' through an exploration of criminological theory and key data sources relevant to the study of criminology. The module uses a case study approach to examine particular crimes in detail - such as drug use; violent crime; cybercrime; sex crimes and property crime.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19 to Summer Term 2018-19

Module aims

In the first term students will examine theoretical perspectives in the study of criminology to explore questions about 'who commits crime and why'. In doing so, we will explore the different sources of data that are available about different types of offences as well as data that describes the characterstics of offenders. We will also problematise the concept of 'crime' by examining the social and historically situated nature of crime. This introductory term will provide you with practical skills in locating sources and reading theory that form the basis of subsequent teaching. In the second term the module will use a case study approach to examine different types in detail, drawing on definitions, measurement and theory to explore common sense assumptions about crime and criminality. The case studies will be wide ranging covering topics such as property crime; violent crime; drug-related crime; sexual offences and cybercrime.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Critically examine definitions of crime, appreciating the socially constructed nature of official definitions
  • Know how to find official data about offences and offenders and how to present this in an assessment
  • Be able to compare and contrast different perspectives and theories about criminal behaviour
  • Develop in-depth understanding of at least one type of crime and undertake investigation about this

Module content

Term one explores issues relating to definition, measurement and theories of crime through lectures and small group seminars.

Term two uses 2 hour workshops to explore different types of crime in more detail, giving students the chance to reflect on skills for their assessment.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative work at the end of the autumn and spring terms is designed to help students identify the area of crime they wish to focus on for the final piece. The first formative assessment will give students the chance to describe the type of crime they are interested in studying and identify data sources. The second formative assessment will focus on theoretical perspectives to understand the crime.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written feedback on formative work in week 1 of the term following submission.

For summative assessments students will receive feedback within 4 weeks of the submission date using a standard marking matrix. Students also receive verbal feedback on their summative work in personal supervision sessions.

Indicative reading

Carrabine, E et al 'Criminology: A sociological introduction' Routledge

Hopkins Burke, R 'An introduction to criminological theory', Willan

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students