Criminology - Crime & Society



1st in Scotland for Criminology

Guardian's University League Tables 2017

Why and how do people break the law? How can the criminal justice system define this and how do we police, prosecute and punish people?

This course looks at the motivations and careers of law-breakers and also broader questions of process and policy in criminal justice.

You will attain a strong training in criminology and the theory and methods of applied social science. If you are considering a career in the police, prison service or human rights agencies, it will provide a strong academic base.

Criminology is based in the Faculty of Social Sciences and can be studied as a joint degree only. It can be combined with: Law (MM91); Philosophy (MV95); Politics (ML92); Sociology (LM39).

Key information

EU Applicants
EU students who have applied or who have been made an offer to study at the University of Stirling in 2016 (or 2017 deferred entry) are unaffected by the outcome of the EU Referendum on 23 June 2016.

Those who are considering applying to the University for 2017 entry are encouraged to do so in the usual way, and we will keep all applicants informed as relevant details emerge.

  • UCAS: L390
  • Degree type: BA
  • Study methods: Full-time, Campus based
  • Duration: Three years
  • Start date: September
  • Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

William Munro

University of Stirling
Scotland, UK

View fees and finance

What makes us different?

There is a very strong practical/applied focus at Stirling. There are strong links between research (notably through research centres such as the Dementia Centre, the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, Scottish Addiction Studies) and teaching.  Lecturers involved in applied social science work on, for example, police practice, dementia, children affected by parental substance use, substance use, development or economic cooperation draw on this research in their teaching.  

Students receive tuition in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. This learning is applied in the Year 4 dissertation module.

Year 1 modules aim to bridge the gap between school and university study through coursework assessments which provide students with a trial run before attempting coursework essays.

A personal tutoring system is also in place for all students.

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
ABBB - one sitting.
AABB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:
IB Diploma:
32 points.

BTEC (Level 3):

Three-year degree

SQA Adv. Higher:
GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points.

Essential subjects:
To include Sociology

Other qualifications

Year one entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.

Advanced entry
Advanced entry is possible with an HNC / HND in Social Science. Please consult our Advanced Entry pages for more information.

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply
Mathematics Standard Grade (3), National 5 (C), Intermediate 2 (C), GCSE (C) or equivalent.

If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those international students who do not meet the required academic and English-language criteria. This course offers a route to study at University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences to the required standard provides guaranteed progression to this degree.

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: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

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.

Fees and costs

Fees 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,555.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees 2017/8

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,845.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

You will take Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology modules plus two other modules in Year 1.

Semesters 1 - 4

You are required to take the following core modules:

  • Social Differentiation: The effects that differences in gender, age, ethnicity, status and disability have on the way in which people are valued and treated in different societies
  • Social Problems: Contemporary social issues and policy responses
  • Understanding Social Policy: Historical and theoretical perspectives on welfare; comparative social policy analysis
  • The Development of Social Theory: An introduction to classical and contemporary social theory

You will also take Crime and Criminal Justice; Scottish Society and two additional modules in any subject.

Semesters 5 - 8

  • Research Process I: Introduction to a range of research methods   and a number of issues relating to the exploration of the social world
  • Research Process II: You will continue Year 3 core course on the research process and gain a deeper practical and theoretical understanding of research methods in sociology and social policy

You will also select four advanced option modules.

Criminology options currently include:

  • Crime, Risk and Modernity
  • Crimes of the Powerful
  • Punishment and Society
  • Criminological Theories in Context
  • Gender, Crime and Justice

Sociology and Social Policy options currently include:

  • Drugs, Crime and Society
  • Poverty, Income and Wealth
  • Work, Class and Society
  • Urban Society
  • Honours Seminar: Doing Social Research: This module develops your ability to synthesise theoretical, methodological and empirical work in Criminology and centres on the process of research. Honours students are required to produce a 10,000 word dissertation in Criminology and take two further advanced modules.

Delivery and assessment

Teaching is conducted in a wide variety of contexts, from the large lecture through to small group work. Assessment is carried out via examinations, essay writing, presentations, workshop reports and other forms, such as the final-year dissertation. Final Honours classification is based on work done in Year 3 and Year 4.

Combined degrees

Criminology can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
Law MM91
Philosophy MV95
Politics ML92
Sociology LM39

(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.)

Learn more about studying these subjects

Related degrees

LawPhilosophy; Politics; Sociology and Social Policy.

Recommended reading

  • Carrabine, E., Iganski, P., Lee, M., Plummer, K and South, N. (2004) Criminology: A sociological introduction. Routledge
  • Croall, H. Mooney, G. and Munro, M. (2010)  Criminal Justice in Scotland London: Routledge
  • Hale, C., Hayward, K., Wahidin, A. and Wincup, E. (2009) Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Maguire, M., Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (2007) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • McLaughlin, E. and Muncie, J. (2001) Controlling Crime London: Sage
  • Muncie, J. and McLaughlin, E. (2001) The Problem of Crime London: Sage
  • Newburn, T (2013) Criminology Devon: Routledge

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).

Find out more

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


1st in Scotland and 9th in the UK for Criminology - Guardian's University League Tables 2017

Teaching provision in Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology has been assessed by the Scottish Funding Council and rated as ‘excellent’.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.

Study abroad opportunities

You have the opportunity to study abroad through Stirling's well-established connections with several international universities.


Our modules are taught by experts in their various academic fields and are informed by the latest developments in social research. This ensures that our teaching engages with real world issues in a critical and informed manner.

Our students

I have been very fortunate in that I loved my course and it turned out to be everything I hoped for and more, due in part, to the staff. There are a number of teaching staff who are at the forefront of research in their respective fields and who offer a wide range of expertise; they are helpful, approachable and enthusiastic about each student’s learning and I always found it easy to find support.

As a mature student beginning university I was nervous about beginning my course. I needn’t have worried at all as I have made some great new friends. The mix of mature and younger students together with the many international students at Stirling engenders a real sense of community on campus.

When I graduated from Stirling I felt a huge sense of achievement, I had a First Class Honours degree and as an added bonus have made lifelong friends.’

Yvonne Hail BA (Hons) Criminology graduate. Yvonne is currently studying MSc Applied Social Research at Stirling.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Criminology provides a good academic base if you are considering careers in the police, the prison service, probation, social work, community care and law, regulatory fields such as the factory and tax inspectorates, human rights agencies, charitable foundations and lobby groups.

As well as specific subject-based knowledge, you will graduate with a wide range of experience and skills; in particular, communication skills, self management skills and interpersonal skills. These give graduates a competitive edge with employers across the private, public and voluntary sectors.

The study of criminology also equips our students with knowledge and a range of skills to support personal and professional development and employability and career management expertise. Lifelong benefits from such a course of study include the nurturing of intellectual curiosity and a broad and engaged perspective on social and global issues.

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