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BA Criminology

with Year Abroad

Start date
4 years
UCAS code
Course Type

For 2024/25:
£9,250 (UK students) 
£22,380 (International Students) 
More detail on Fees and Funding.

Criminology at the University of Birmingham is about understanding the social implications of crime – and its impact on local and global communities.

Criminology as a discipline helps us to make sense of crime and related issues of punishment and victimisation. A unique aspect of the University of Birmingham’s Criminology Degree programme is the focus given on social harm to the study of crime. This will provide you with the opportunity to think more broadly and critically beyond the confines of ‘crime’ that criminology traditionally offers.

Our BA Criminology degree has been carefully constructed to provide you with a unique opportunity to develop your skills in explaining complex social problems in terms of criminological theory and to be able to apply conceptions of human rights in order to evaluate efforts to prevent harm and ensure personal safety. 

By studying a Criminology degree at the University of Birmingham you will be confident in both applying and understanding:

  • the traditional criminological questions from various standpoints. You will be able to contextualise the causes of crime within their societal context and re-evaluate criminal justice responses on the basis of the harms caused.
  • contemporary debates around harm and crime and be challenged to consider how our societies should respond to pressing problems, such as domestic violence, knife crime, or drug related crime, as well as supra national issues like genocide and transnational crime.
  • the development of criminal justice institutions (police, prisons and courts) in the UK and a comparative context, as well as the relationships between these systems, as mechanisms to respond to crimes and social harms
  • the construction and representation of crimes and social harms, and of responses to these in policy making, mass media, social media and public opinion
  • the understanding and appropriate use of research strategies and methods in criminological research

Your degree will follow the same programme as the standard BA in terms of Years 1 and 2. However, your third year will be spent abroad at a university in the EU or elsewhere in the world. After completing your year abroad, you will return for your fourth and final year to the same BA degree programme.


The first year will provide an introduction to Criminology and within your second and final years you will have more options to tailor your degree. By your final year, you will be prepared to conduct your own research project. You will have the opportunity to explore knowledge and policy in an area of your choice and particular interests. Additionally, module options at this level draw upon the research expertise of the Department and its research centres, which brings contemporary policy debates and research directly into the programme and further enables you to benefit from excellent, world-leading, contemporary research.

Throughout your degree, you will have the flexibility to tailor your options towards your career choice. During your second year you will have the opportunity to undertake an optional placement with a criminal justice agency/voluntary sector organisation.*

First year modules


  • Criminological Theory I
  • Violence in a Global Context
  • Crime and Society
  • Contemporary Criminological Issues 
  • Social Research I (Part 1)
  • Social Research I (Part 2)
  • Social Problems and Social Policy: Social Science in Action Part 1
  • Social Problems and Social Policy: Social Science in Action Part 2

To be able to take a year abroad you must have an average weighting of 60% by the end of this academic year.

Second year modules


  • Social Research II
  • Criminological Theory II

You will choose your remaining credits from a range of optional modules, such as:

  • Terror, Threat and Security
  • Media and Society
  • Doing Justice
  • Histories of Criminal Justice and Empire 
  • Enterprising Solutions to Social Problems 
  • Youth, Crime and Justice
  • Punishment in a Global Context
  • Contemporary Issues in Policing

During your second year you must also apply for a place at an overseas institution. Full information will be provided during your study and you are supported in making this application. Allocation of places for international exchanges is done by the international office (university-wide competition), alongside this there are a number of Erasmus exchange schemes you can consider. The Year Abroad tutor will assist you and be able to offer advice during your studies.

Year abroad

Your third year will be spent abroad at a university in the EU or elsewhere in the world. After completing your year abroad, you will return for your fourth and final year to the same BA degree programme. There are a wide range of countries and universities from which you can choose.

As well as a range of European universities, you may also choose from a range of current institutional partners worldwide. These include countries in which a variety of languages are spoken, including universities at which courses are taught in English. In recent years, students in the department have taken their year abroad in Australia, Canada, Denmark and the United States, among others.

Final year


  • Dissertation
  • Harmful Societies: Crime, Social Harm, Social Justice

You will choose your remaining credits from a range of optional modules, such as:

  • Crime and the City
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • From Beveridge to May: The Political History of the Welfare State From the Second World War to the Present Day
  • Divided Publics?
  • Prospects for Social Policy in the UK
  • Your Money and Your Life: From Welfare State to Personal Finance
  • Technology and Society
  • Power, Control and Resistance
  • Genocide and Mass Atrocities
  • New Migration and Superdiversity 

Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024.

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


For UK students beginning their studies in September 2024, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Learn more about fees and funding.

UK students

Full-time: £9,250

International students

Full-time Band 1 (Classroom): £22,380


At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.

The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of bursaries, grants and scholarships.

Learn more about our Scholarships and Bursaries.

Living costs

When you apply for this course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and should ensure that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Our Social Work programmes include a significant amount of time spent on placements in a variety of settings, and so when budgeting to study you should also allow for travel to and from placements, as well as textbooks, printing, photocopying and stationery that you may need.

How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at using code: M902.

University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.

Learn more about applying, including information on how to write a great Personal Statement and how to make your application stand out.

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:
Not accepted

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered.

Learn more about entry requirements

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

International Students

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall.

Standard English language requirements apply 
Learn more about international entry requirements (IELTs : 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band).

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

We advocate an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that we encourage you to become an independent and self-motivated learner. Through the programme of study we offer, we will develop the qualities that employers value in today's university graduates - qualities that will set you apart in your future career.

How will I be taught?

During your time as a Criminology student at Birmingham, your learning will be facilitated through a blend of teaching, learning and assessment methods, and you will experience teaching through a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, and tutorials.

Learning settings

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

Personal tutors

You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.


We have dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions to workshops on a range of topics including note-taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Contact hours

For all undergraduate modules students attend 1 lecture and 1 seminar per week. In total, this will comprise 20 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars for each module during the course of the year. 

Internships and work experience

We have developed a range of internships and funded work experience placements that will enhance both your professional and personal skills whilst giving you the practical experience that is required by almost all graduate employers. In addition to funding and support, we offer unique opportunities to help you to rise above the competition, with global internships and placements available.

A degree in Criminology prepares you perfectly for a career in the criminal justice system, policy or the third sector:

  • Neighbourhood Police Constable – West Midlands Police
  • Policy Advisor – Ministry of Justice

We are recognised for our commitment to supporting you throughout your studies and beyond. This has been possible with a multi-million-pound investment into our student employability services and national award-winning internships and placements both in the UK and overseas.

In the latest Complete University Guide league table for 2025, Birmingham is ranked 12th out of 130 institutions surveyed;  we are the first choice for leading graduate employers searching for graduate recruits (High Fliers Research 2024).

Our Careers Network works with a range of partners to ensure that professional and skilled roles are advertised to our students and graduates, with links to the world’s top graduate recruiters. We host over 200 major events each year, which include industry specific careers fairs and individual employer presentations.

You can also take part in our skills series programme, giving you the opportunity to enhance your skills through workshops with key employers. We have the unique Birmingham Skills Award, which is the University of Birmingham’s recognised employability programme for undergraduate students. It enables you to develop, recognise and articulate your professional skills in preparation for real-world recruitment processes. We have developed a range of internships and funded work experience placements that will enhance both your professional and personal skills while giving you the practical experience that is required by almost all graduate employers.

In addition to funding and support, we offer unique opportunities to help you to rise above the competition, with global internships and placements available. Mentoring is a unique opportunity that allows students to receive one-to-one advice from a professional working in an area they are interested in. This can be a great way to understand how to succeed in this area and be better prepared for the workplace as well as receive practical advice on employability.