Criminology studies crimes and their causes, effects, and social impact. Learn how to ‘think like a criminologist’ and apply Criminology to the context of modern life, social diversity and inequalities in society. Criminologists are interested in how activities are defined as criminal, explanations for crime and social reactions to crime.

The University of Stirling is ranked 1st in Scotland and top 10 the UK for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022). Our Criminology courses explore fascinating questions surrounding the criminal justice system, the social contexts of crime, and the relationship between behaviour and punishment:

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

Criminology courses

Courses labelled are available for online study only.

Undergraduate courses
CourseStart date
BA (Hons) Criminology and Social PolicySeptember 2022, January 2023 (We are no longer accepting applications from Scottish applicants for September 2022 entry)
BA (Hons) Criminology and SociologySeptember 2022, January 2023 (We are no longer accepting applications from Scottish applicants for September 2022 entry)
Postgraduate courses
CourseStart date
MSc Criminological ResearchSeptember 2022
MSc CriminologySeptember 2022

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infographic: 1st in Scotland

1st in Scotland

for Criminology

Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Graduate careers in Criminology

Our Criminology 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.

Criminology can give you a career in areas such as:

  • the police
  • social work
  • prison service
  • the civil service
  • human rights agencies
  • regulatory fields
  • criminal justice
  • marketing or lobby groups
  • central and local government
  • court services
  • security services
  • non-profit-making organisations, including the NHS, educational institutions and charities that work with young offenders or victims of crime

Partnerships and industry

We have strong links with 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.

We are involved in the Drugs Research Network for Scotland. The network aims to develop collaborative research across disciplines, organisations and countries to generate high-quality evidence that will inform developments in police and practice.


True Crime Society – a society for students who are interested in True Crime. It's a chance to discuss the most interesting cases, as well as going more in depth into aspects surrounding how crimes are solved.

Criminology research

Criminology research is carried out in the  Faculty of Social Scienc. It's  world-leading research environment has been recognised in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), with 100% of our research submissions being judged as world leading or internationally excellent in terms of the quality of the research environment and their impact.

The Crime and Justice Research Group

Research activities are focused thematically around four key areas:

  • contested concepts and identities
  • criminal justice - systems and processes
  • critical social and criminological theory
  • organised crime

Our research findings have been shared widely, making significant contributions to knowledge and informing policy and practice development within Scotland and internationally.

We work with policymakers, practitioners, communities and the public to collaboratively build just societies.

Our research group and the Faculty of Social Sciences co-host the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), a partnership between the Universities of Glasgow, Stirling, Edinburgh, and Strathclyde.

We also host the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research (SACASR) and are a member of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) consortium.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Our world-class teaching is underpinned by leading-edge empirical and theoretical research in a vibrant, multi-disciplinary environment which welcomes and supports PhD researchers in achieving their goals. See our PhD opportunities in: