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BA (Hons) Criminal Justice and Social Policy

Real-world social science with a focus on crime and criminal justice

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

Typical offer

BBB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2023(semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£21,950 per year

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QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022

A BA in Criminal Justice and Social Policy will give you a broad introduction to a range of social sciences as well as an understanding of the development of the criminal justice system and the welfare state.

A fundamental part of the degree is the work placement, offering you a chance to learn from professionals in a crime or criminal justice field.

This degree is ideal if you're interested in how crime is defined and how governments can deal with it, as well as how policies on crime and criminal justice relate to other areas of social policy.

Graduates are well equipped for careers in the police service, probation, the voluntary sector and agencies dealing with youth offending and other forms of crime.

This course replaces Social Policy, Crime and Criminal Justice (BA).

Brilliant social life, awesome staff, great course content. The staff make the experience even better.

Module choice

Our wide range of modules allows you to tailor the degree to your interests.

Course content

You will receive a thorough grounding in social sciences, including sociology, social policy, economics and politics. You'll also study the development of the criminal justice system and the welfare state.

You'll study core modules designed specifically for this course and choose from a wide selection of optional modules developed specially by the School, or choose from a wider range offered by other departments such as Politics or Sociology.

Between Years 2 and 3 you will undertake a placement, shadowing a professional working in a field relating to crime and criminal justice.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

In your first year you'll study a range of core modules that give you a broad introduction to a range of applied social science, with specialist study introduced as part of the modules Introducing Criminal Justice and Crime and Society.

Core modules

  • Policy, Power and Social Progress
  • Contemporary Issues in Social and Public Policy
  • The Criminal Justice System
  • Social Evils in the Chocolate City
  • Criminal Justice and Inequality
  • Social Harm and Injustice

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In your second year you'll study core modules as well as choosing from a selection of second year modules.

Core modules

  • Policy Think Tank
  • Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Crime and the Life Course
  • Researching Policy and Society
  • Victimology and Victimisation
  • Social Inequalities

Year 3

Core modules

  • Independent Study Module

Option modules

You will also study four option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

In the summer holiday before the third year starts, you may undertake a work-shadowing placement that lasts around 80 hours. This will allow you to learn from professionals in a field related to crime and criminal justice. Examples of previous placements include: shadowing a criminal barrister, a youth offending team and workers in a drug rehabilitation unit. Watching professionals at work is a completely different learning experience which many students find useful in developing their dissertation and follow in the development of their own careers.

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Analyse and evaluate social and criminal justice policy to develop informed judgements through a critical understanding of the ways in which social, political, economic and institutional interests shape social problems and societal responses.
  • Identify and investigate real world social and crime-related problems and apply problem-solving skills and critical thinking to those issues in order to contribute to imaginative, flexible and effective policy and practice solutions.
  • Retrieve, generate, interpret and critically assess qualitative and quantitative data using innovative research methods, digital resources and policy-relevant analytical techniques to investigate social and crime-related questions, assess evidence and produce reasoned written accounts of social and criminal justice policy enquiry.
  • Engage in social and criminal justice policy debate at local, national and global level, synthesising complex material and communicating ideas effectively to peers, policy actors, practitioners and client groups across a range of professional settings, both in writing and verbally, using up-to-date visual presentation techniques.
  • Work effectively in multidisciplinary teams by acknowledging competing interpretations of social and crime-related issues, and by recognising the value of collaborative and participatory approaches to problem-solving and the shaping of policy solutions while being sensitive to the values and perspectives of others.
  • Reflect in depth on the relationship between the key stages in life - namely childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age - and the bearing they have on criminality over the life course.
  • Appreciate the drivers of social inequalities taking into account factors such as class, race, gender, sexuality and the impact of social and criminal justice policy and practice on disadvantaged groups and thus directly contribute to social progress and justice for all members of society.
  • Critically reflect upon the enactment of criminal justice policies on practice within the criminal justice system and how such practice can impact on the lives of people subject to them.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £21,950

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

This course gave me skills to analyse and further understand social issues as well as different perspective and ideologies. The placement helps you to choose what career path you would want later on.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

We emphasise small-group working: you'll mainly be taught in lectures of 50-100 students and take part in seminars of 12-15 people. In the second and third years the lecture groups will be smaller as you begin to specialise. 

You'll also take part in group-based workshops and hear from external speakers about the latest issues in policy and practice.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

Teaching location

You will be based in the School of Business & Society which is on Campus West. Teaching will take place at various locations across Campus West, including Derwent and Alcuin.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed in a variety of ways, with emphasis on continuous assessment. The most common form of assessment is by essay, and you'll be supported with seminar sessions on writing academic essays. You may also be assessed by presentation, group workshop reports, data analysis exercises and portfolios of work. There is minimal use of closed examinations. 

Your dissertation will be 10,000 words long and you'll be supported by a supervisor who specialises in the subject you're interested in. 


Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams13%0%0%
Practical exams5%13%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17. Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Careers and skills

A high proportion of our graduates are employed within six months. The nature of our degree means you can pursue career-related interests throughout your study and the work-based placement is a useful opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to future employers.

Career opportunities

Typical career paths in crime and criminal justice systems include:

  • Police
  • Solicitor or barrister (via Law conversion courses)
  • Probation officer
  • Prison service
  • Courts service
  • Government departments and agencies
  • Youth offending teams.

Transferable skills

  • Communications skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Independent study and research
  • Teamwork skills.

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels


Access to Higher Education Diploma 21 credits at Distinction and 24 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDM
Cambridge Pre-U M2, M2, M2
European Baccalaureate 75% overall
International Baccalaureate 31 points overall
T levels We will consider a range of T Level qualifications for entry. Please visit our dedicated T Levels page for a full list of accepted T Levels.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve C or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
Core Maths If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

All applications must be made through UCAS.

We pay particular attention to your personal statement and we look for students who have an academic interest in society. This could come through family circumstances, employment or other contribution to society such as school clubs or volunteering.

You will not be invited to interview, but we invite you to attend a visit day in Spring term to give you an opportunity to learn more about us.

Next steps

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