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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Criminology (BA)

Overview Take a fresh look at crime and disorder

UCAS code


Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

Explore what crime means in our culture and society and how it affects our lives. Look beyond traditional views and develop new ways of thinking about the effects of crime, how it impacts individuals and societies and how we respond to it.

Challenge your own opinions about the nature of crime and disorder and learn to evaluate evidence, think critically and craft arguments – attributes valued by employers. After a core introduction to Criminology you can tailor your degree to your developing specialist interests.

You'll be taught across two world-class departments, and learn from leading academics whose expertise spans the social sciences



"I have gained real-world experience on the course - during my second year we visited the York Crown Court where we investigated the varying roles within a legal court case. We've also got to meet inspirational guest speakers, such as prison directors and forensic psychologists – they have broadened my knowledge of the career paths available to me and given me aspirations for the future."

Mark, BA Criminology
Year 3

More student views

Course content What you’ll study


The course progresses from broad to specialised topics. Core modules in the first year introduce you to the breadth of Criminology. You'll study the social, economic and cultural aspects of crime and criminal justice, developing preferences and expertise in the following years, leading up to your 10,000-word dissertation.

Our teaching is led by our research, covering real-world issues, and there are also opportunities to study abroad as part of your course.

Year 1

You'll be introduced to the core aspects of criminology, policy, crime and criminal justice.

You'll take four core modules:

  • Introducing Social Policy
  • Introduction to Social Theory
  • Sociology of Crime and Deviance
  • Understanding Criminal Justice

These modules are the ones currently running and are indicative of what will run in future years. We do update our modules to reflect the latest research. 

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Year 2

You'll learn how social, cultural and policy changes shape criminal activities and you'll develop social research skills. You can also choose an area of interest from a range of options.

You'll take three core modules:

  • Crime, Culture and Social Change
  • Social Research Methods
  • Debates in Criminal Justice

You'll also select one optional module:

  • Popular Culture, Media and Society
  • Citizenship, Difference and Inequality
  • Victimisation and Social Harm
  • Policy Process
  • Contemporary Political Sociology
  • Gender, Sexuality and Diversity
  • Sociology of Illness and Health
  • Division and Inequalities: Race and Ethnicity, Class and Religion

These modules are the ones currently running and are indicative of what will run in future years. We do update our modules to reflect the latest research. 

Year 3

You'll complete a criminological dissertation under the guidance of an academic supervisor.

  • Dissertation

Choice of four modules: 

At least one of your choices should be from Sociology and one should be from Social Policy. You'll also need to take at least two of the Criminology modules marked with a *. 


  • Crime, Gender & Sexuality*
  • Theoretical Criminology*
  • Advanced Social Theory
  • Birth, Marriage & Death
  • Morbidity, Cultures & Corpses
  • The Racial State*
  • Paranormal in Society
  • Migration & Tourism
  • Analysing Dr-Patient Interaction
  • Emotions in The Social World
  • The Global Transformation of Health
  • Humans & Other Animals

Social Policy: 

  • Criminal Justice & Policing*
  • Illicit Drug Use*
  • Vulnerability, Deviance & Social Control*
  • Youth Justice*
  • Welfare States in Crisis
  • Death & Policy
  • Housing Policy
  • Gender, Citizenship & The Welfare State
  • Understanding Families & Family Life
  • Sustainable Development & Social Inclusion
  • Poverty & Inequality
  • Wellbeing of Children & Young People
  • Prisons & Penal Policy*
  • Philosophy of Criminal Law*

These modules are the ones currently running and are indicative of what will run in future years. We do update our modules to reflect the latest research. 

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad as part of your course. You can study in Europe as part of our Erasmus programme for a semester in your third year at:

  • Lund University, Sweden
  • University of Bergen, Norway
  • Maastricht University, Netherlands
  • University of Helsinki, Finland
  • University of Konstanz, Germany
  • University of Trento, Italy

Criminology at York is ranked 1st in the UK by the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017, and 2nd by the Guardian University Guide 2018.

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

You'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and one-to-ones. We offer a personal approach to learning with much of our teaching conducted in small groups (typically under 15 students in a seminar group). Our staff are very approachable and our doors are always open. Your personal supervisor provides support and guidance throughout your studies, offering weekly feedback and guidance hours.

Research-led teaching

You'll be taught by academics at the forefront of research across a number of diverse areas - such as, crime, language and interaction, culture and new media, gender and sexuality, health and social care, medicine and the body, urban studies, welfare and poverty and criminology. As world-leading experts in their field, our staff are internationally recognised  thought-leaders, and their expertise and experience feeds directly into our teaching.




Your first-year work doesn't contribute towards your final marks. We recognise that students are beginning to develop over the course of their degree.

From Year Two onward, formal assessments contribute toward your degree. Assessments range from essays to portfolios and group presentations to examinations.

In Year Three your 10,000-word dissertation focuses on a specific topic of your choice and is supported by an academic supervisor.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

You'll have the skills to enter a broad range of careers including the probation and prison service, the police force, voluntary organisations, the public sector and postgraduate training or study. Increasingly opportunities exist within private security, crime prevention and offender management.

The course includes employability skills development, giving you the practical skills that employers are looking for in graduate recruits.

Career opportunities

Our graduates are highly sought after in sectors including:

  • Policing
  • Probation and criminal justice
  • Law
  • Accountacy
  • Public administration
  • Social and community work
  • Education
  • Health work
  • Media ands creative industries

Transferable skills

As a criminology student, you'll learn about the world around you and the challenges faced by people in society. As well as developing your subject-specific knowledge, you'll develop skills in:

  • Problem solving
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Forming reasoned arguments
  • Thinking creatively
  • Working as a team
  • Intellectual independence
  • Communication skills.



Many of our students organise work placements out of term time in an area that interests them. We encourage you to do this so you can gain workplace experience and a deeper insight into issues that interest you. Previously, students have taken part in work experience projects at North Yorkshire Youth Commision, York Crown Court and Refugee Action York. 

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

All applications must be made through UCAS. We also consider applications for deferred entry and requests, after taking up an offer, to take a gap year.

We encourage mature students to email the Admissions Tutor for consultation and advice.

A-levels and GCSEs


A level General Studies and Critical Thinking are accepted.

Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAAAB at Higher level


BTEC National Diploma: DDD

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: DDD

Cambridge Pre-U:

D3, D3, M2

Access to HE:

Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 30 credits achieved from units awarded Distinction and 9 credits achieved from units awarded Merit or higher

Other qualifications are accepted by the University: please contact Undergraduate Admissions for more information.

International options

Irish Leaving Certificate


European Baccalaureate

An overall average of 80%

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally asked to provide evidence of English language ability. Exceptions may be made where an applicant's other qualifications provide sufficient evidence of ability to use English in an academic setting at degree level.

IELTS: 6.5 with at least 5.5 in all units or equivalent

Other accepted tests and qualifications

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions