Criminology BA

criminology-500pxCriminology 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 provides you with the opportunity to think more broadly and critically beyond the confines of ‘crime’ that criminology traditionally offers.

Download our course brochure (PDF - 1.93MB)

As part of studying our BA Criminology degree, you will be asked to interrogate the traditional criminological questions from various standpoints. This contextualises the causes of crime within their societal context and to re-evaluate criminal justice responses on the basis of the harms caused. You will also engage in 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.

Why study this course

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 key concepts and theories that explain the causes and societal responses to crime
  • The development of the criminal justice institutions (police, prisons and courts) in the UK and a comparative context, as well as the inter-relationships between these systems, as mechanisms to respond to crimes and social harms
  • Supranational policy and policing responses to crime and social harm
  • How different social groups and individuals experience crimes and social harms, as well as the policies and regulatory responses that are purported to alleviate or ameliorate these issues
  • The construction and representation of crimes and social harms, and of responses to these in policy making, mass/socialmedia and public opinion
  • The understanding and appropriate use of research strategies and methods in criminological research


The first year provides an introduction to Criminology, 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.*

Year 1

Core modules

  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Violence in a Global Context
  • Crime and Society
  • Social Research I

Optional modules

  • Widening Horizon Module
  • Introduction to Social Policy
  • Introduction to Social Divisions
  • Social Problems and Social Policy: Social Science in Action

Year 2

Core modules

  • Social Research II
  • Contemporary Issues in Policing
  • Punishment in a Global Context
  • Criminological Theory II

Optional modules

  • Terror, Threat and Security
  • Doing Justice*
  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Contemporary Issues in Housing Policy
  • Managing Health and Social Care
  • Self and Society
  • Media and Society
  • Global Societies

Final Year

Core modules

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

Optional modules

  • Youth, Crime and Justice
  • Crime and the City
  • Genocide and Mass Atrocities
  • From Beveridge to May
  • Prospects for British Social Policy
  • Quantitative Data Analysis I and Quantitative Data Analysis II
  • New Migration and Super Diversity
  • Sociology of Personal Life
  • Divided Publics
  • Your Money and Your Life
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Political Sociology
  • Technology and Society
  • ‘Freedom’, Control and Critique

* This module is limited to eight placements and requires students to apply. Applicants must have secured 55% overall for their first year and successfully complete a pre-placement interview. Other placement opportunities are available via the Careers Service and Volunteering through the Guild of Students.

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. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. 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.

Fees and funding

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, 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.

Home/EU students

Undergraduate Home/EU student fees 2019-20
Fee Band Full-time
Undergraduate £9,250

Overseas students

Overseas students entering in 2019-20
Fee Band (Undergraduate) Full-time
Band 1 (Classroom) £17,040


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 awards .

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.

Entry requirements

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

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma accepted - grades required DDM-DDD
Typical offers when offered in combination with A Levels:

•BTEC Diploma DM-DD plus B in A level

•BTEC Subsidiary Diploma D plus BB-AB in A levels

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

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.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at  
Learn more about applying 


The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

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

The University of Birmingham is ranked 5th in the country for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2019. 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 Personal 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.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Shape your academic experience

Choose to study here and you will have a Student Representative, who works with the University and Students' Union on issues that directly affect students. You could even become one yourself. Not only would you be making a difference to the academic student experience, but you would also be developing transferable skills for the future. Find out more on the Guild of Students website


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.