How do we understand crime? How can it be prevented? Why should crime be punished, and how should we go about it? Criminologists engage with some of the most pressing issues, decisions and dilemmas facing societies today. On our course you explore the nature of crime, criminal justice and punishment within wider social contexts.
As a student of criminology, you experience a lively, informal environment with many possibilities to pursue your own interests. Our flexible course means that you can study an exciting range of topics, from the impact of computer games on crime, to terrorism and illegal migration, to policing and controlling society.
We are a large and friendly department, offering a range and diversity of research interests, with staff members who are committed to teaching, research and publication. We have leading international experts in the areas of:
- Organised crime, surveillance and counter-terrorism
- Environmental harm
- Visual criminology
- Social history and crime
You’ll receive training in criminological methods – how to design a survey, conduct an interview, and use quantitative analysis from basic statistic to big data – in order to ask the difficult questions, and will also have the opportunity to complete a supervised dissertation on a topic that inspires you.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
You can also undertake a placement year in which you gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and the placements team.
Training social scientists of the future
Through our Q-Step Affiliate Status, we offer you the opportunity to follow a specialised pathway that embeds quantitative methods in your degree. Successful completion of specified modules entitles you to receive the qualifier ‘(Applied Quantitative Methods)’ at the end of your degree title, for example BA Sociology (Applied Quantitative Methods) and this will appear on your transcript. You can also receive student bursaries to go on work placements, helping you stand out when applying for jobs.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
Criminology at Essex is led by Professor Nigel South, Professor Eamonn Carrabine, Professor Pamela Cox, Professor Pete Fussey, Dr Darren Thiel, Dr Jackie Turton and Dr Isabel Crowhurst.
Our lecturing staff are actively researching at the cutting edge of their respective disciplines and wherever possible bring the very latest research findings into the classroom. All are prominent writers and the criminology team collectively authored the best-selling criminology textbook, ‘Criminology: A Sociological Introduction’, used on undergraduate courses across the country.
Our staff have worked at local, national and international level with bodies like local councils, the Home Office, Amnesty International and the United Nations.
- Our Centre for Criminology hosts expert speakers and practitioners
- A unique Student Study Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
- The common room is open all day Monday-Friday, has a hot drinks vending machine, water cooler and microwave as well as a small number of lockers available
- Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
- Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates
Careers linked to criminology are varied. Our courses provide an excellent training for work within the criminal justice system, for example as community safety officers, risk assessors, court managers, researchers, paralegals, police officers, probation officers and youth workers.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- The Institute of Public Finance
- Guardian Professional
- Synergy Healthcare Research
- National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
- Home Office
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We’re ranked 6th in the UK for criminology (Guardian University Guide 2021).
- You are taught by the staff who conduct the research and write the books.
- 16th for criminology (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021)
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree. Our Programme Specification gives more detail on modules in your year abroad.
- Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience, with a focus on discussion and problem-solving
- Lab sessions to improve technical research skills
- Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
- Weighting is 50% coursework and 50% examinations
- Complete a supervised dissertation on the topic that most inspires you