BA (Hons) Criminology and Social Policy

Study this Criminology degree to learn about the issues surrounding crime and social policy. Find out why we’re rated 1st in Scotland and Top 5 in the UK for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023).

Criminology and Social Policy

Key facts

  • Award BA (Hons)
  • Start date September 2024, January 2025
  • Application notes For students who need a visa: we are closed for January 2024 entry.
  • Duration 36 months or 48 months
  • Mode of study full time
  • Delivery on campus
  • UCAS Code LL64
  • Study abroad opportunities

Overview

Taught by experts in their field, our course is informed by the latest developments in social research.

You’ll discover how to assess the issues surrounding crime and social problems. We’ll help you answer questions such as: how does society work, how are crime and other social problems situated in society, and how do different cultures understand these problems? What can we learn from the success of social policies in other countries?

Our BA (Hons) Criminology and Social Policy degree provides an international approach to help you understand a wide range of social issues, including crime and criminal justice, inequality and welfare, race, immigration, disability, addictions, youth and ageing. We’ll give you the skills to research, analyse and assess the key issues for yourself. You’ll also benefit from our strong research links with on-campus organisations such as the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research, and the Dementia Centre.

Top reasons to study with us

Entry requirements

Year 1 entry – Four-year honours

SQA Higher
AABB - by the end of S5
AABBB - by the end of S6

GCE A-level
BBB

IB Diploma
30 points

BTEC (Level 3)
DDM

Widening access students
Widening access students may be eligible for an adjusted offer of entry. To find out if this applies to you go to our widening access pages.

Care-experienced applicants will be guaranteed an offer of a place if they meet the minimum entry requirements.

Year 2 entry – Three-year honours

SQA Advanced Highers
ABB

GCE A-levels
ABB

IB Diploma
35 points

Essential subjects
Sociology

Other Scottish qualifications

Scottish HNC/HND
Year one minimum entry - Bs in graded units.

Access courses
University of Stirling access course - for mature students only. You must pass the course with 50% or above.

SWAP access course - for mature students only.

Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

Foundation Apprenticeships
Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

Other qualifications

English, Welsh and Northern Irish HNC/HND
Merits and Distinctions

English, Welsh and Northern Irish access courses
Access to Higher Education - 60 credits, minimum 45 at QCF Level 3, pass at 60% or above.

Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

International entry requirements

Advanced entry

Year 2 and Year 3 entry
Entry into Year 2 or Year 2 may be possible depending on your HNC/HND course. To find out more go to our articulation pages.

Other qualifications
Advanced entry may be possible depending on your qualifications. For more information, contact our Admissions Team at admissions@stir.ac.uk.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses

Course details

In Semesters 1-4, you’re required to take the following core modules:

  • Applying a Sociological Lens - showing the power of thinking sociologically about the social order and a range of contemporary social issues. 
  • Applying a Social Policy Lens - introduces students to an understanding of social policy as a subject of study with a focus on contemporary Britain.
  • Understanding Social Policy - historical and theoretical perspectives on social policy analysis, including crime policy.
  • The Development of Social Theory - an introduction to a range of social, particularly sociological, theoretical perspectives.
  • Crime and Criminal Justice - the architecture of the criminal justice system, and evidence and explanations for crime and offending.

You’ll also be able to choose additional modules in any subject in semesters 1-4.

In Semesters 5-8, you’ll take two core modules:

  • Research Process is split into two modules.
    • The first is an introduction to a range of research methods and a number of issues relating to the exploration of the social world.
    • The second will give you a deeper understanding of research methods in sociology and social policy.

You'll also choose seven advanced option modules, which could include: Ageing, Social Policy and Society; Crimes of the Powerful; Alcohol and Society; Surveillence, Technology and Society; Social Policy on the Ground; Punishment and Society; Race, Ethnicity and Migration; and Gender, Crime and Justice. Final-year Honours students will undertake a research based dissertation.

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2023). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course details

Teaching

Teaching is delivered through lectures, workshops and small discussion groups. These may be a mix of campus based and online.

Year 1 modules aim to bridge the gap between school and university study through coursework assessments. You’ll also receive tuition in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, which is invaluable for your Year 4 dissertation.

All students in our Faculty have a named personal tutor to provide general and academic support throughout the four years of their degree.

Assessment

Assessment for each module is normally based on a combination of coursework and examinations, for example, one essay (30 percent) and an examination (70 percent). The final-year dissertation counts for three modules. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to put research methods you’ve studied into practice and focus on a particular interest.

Classroom hours

Typically, each module consists of two lectures plus one workshop per week.

Study abroad

As a University of Stirling student you’ll have the opportunity to broaden your horizons and study abroad through our well-established connections with several international universities.

Find out more about studying abroad.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

Academic year: 2023/24 2024/25
Scottish students £1,820 £1,820
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
International students (including EU) £16,400 £17,200

Scottish students

This fee is set by the Scottish Government and is subject to change.

Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, if you are domiciled in Scotland you can apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government on your behalf.

You will be charged the annual tuition fee each year when you enrol.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

This tuition fee may be subject to change depending on guidance provided by the UK Government.

You can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, from your relevant funding body. Students from the Republic of Ireland are eligible for a tuition fee loan of up to £9,250 from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

We also offer additional funding – such as our Honours Year Scholarship – for students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. See our funding opportunities section below for more information.

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

International students (including EU)

Eligible students will automatically receive a scholarship worth between £8,000-£30,000 over the duration of your course. See our range of generous scholarships for international undergraduate students.

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Funding

See what funding opportunities and loans are available to help you with tuition and living costs.

Students from Scotland

Find funding opportunities for Scottish students.

Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Eligible students will automatically receive our Undergraduate Welcome Scholarship, Undergraduate Merit Scholarship, and our Honours Year Scholarship, which are worth between £1,000 and £9,250.

International students

Eligible international students will automatically receive a scholarship worth between £8,000-£30,000 over the duration of your course. Find funding opportunities for international students.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling.

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay.

After you graduate

What can you do with a Criminology and Social Policy degree?

Our Criminology and Social Policy degree provides you with an excellent academic base if you’re considering careers in areas such as:

  • the police
  • social work
  • prison service
  • the civil service
  • human rights agencies
  • regulatory fields
  • charitable foundations
  • marketing or lobby groups

This course covers a diverse range of topics and will equip you with a wide range of skills. Our graduates have gone on to work in the public, private and third sectors, including careers in:

  • social services
  • education
  • market research
  • policy analysis
  • human resources charity fundraising

Tailored careers advice is available throughout your time at the University of Stirling.

Our Criminology and Social Policy graduates are in demand for a wide range of roles throughout the private, public and voluntary sectors. The skills you’ll learn in critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving are highly valued by employers and will give you the edge in the job market.

Employability skills

As well as specific, subject-based knowledge, you’ll graduate with a wide range of experience and skills that employers look for, including communication, self-management and interpersonal skills. You’ll also learn how to become a critical thinker with analytical and problem-solving abilities.

Companies we work with

You’ll benefit from our strong links with other organisations situated on the University of Stirling campus. These include the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, The Scottish Institute for Policing Research, and the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research.

Discover Uni

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Flexible study

Are you interested in more than one of our courses? You might not have to choose between them. Here at Stirling, we believe in choice and offer more than 170 course combinations.

Criminology and Social Policy can be combined with any of the following courses:
Course nameUCAS code
Law UCAS code for this combination: MM91
Philosophy UCAS code for this combination: MV95
Politics UCAS code for this combination: ML92

For a combined honours degree where the two subjects have different entry requirements, you will usually be asked to meet the higher entry requirement.

Find out more about degree flexibility and how you can take combined courses.