Criminology BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)





Look beyond traditional viewpoints, challenge your opinions and address complex social problems on our full-time Criminology degree in Cambridge. Choose to study abroad for a semester and go on field trips in the UK or Europe. Learn to evaluate evidence, think critically and craft arguments, to prepare for a career in criminal justice and crime prevention.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and our bespoke BA (Hons) Criminology degree will allow you to choose a criminal justice-related area to work towards.

Many of our previous students have chosen careers in the probation service; the prison service (officers and governers); the police (crime scene and victim liaison officers); the Home Office (researchers and policy analysts); the Crown Prosecution Service; the Court Service; Youth Offending Teams; and Crime Reduction Partnerships.

But the multidisciplinary nature of the course, with its focus on employability and transferable skills, will ensure you can also keep your options open, if you later decide you want a change of focus.

You might also decide to continue on to a postgraduate degree, such as our MA Criminology, MA Contemporary Policing or MA International Relations.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Law and Policing
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to Law, Policing and Criminology. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. Students will also be introduced to specific concepts related to their degree programmes including an introduction to the English legal system, business law, criminal law and the criminal justice system and ethics. Real-world examples of the law in action will be highlighted, and students will practice applying the law to case studies. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Composition and Style; Ethics; Fundamentals of Law; Business Law; Criminal Law.

Year one, core modules

  • Crime News and Criminology
    Crime is a major area of public policy and political debate. We are both fascinated by crime while afraid of it and eager to prevent it. Criminals can be portrayed as heroes, anti-heroes, victims or villains. Nevertheless, they are represented and understood as somehow 'other'. Despite these contrasting and confusing ideas, crime is an everyday experience, about which many of us have strong opinions. You will be encouraged to question how crime and deviance have shaped our thoughts, drawing upon its portrayal in the news, as well as fears of crime, political responses and crime prevention initiatives. You will be introduced to concepts that contribute to the social construction of crime, such as 'newsworthiness', 'criminogenic media' and moral panics, as well as some basic building blocks of Criminology itself. You will examine and discuss the types of crimes that are prevalent in the media news and consider current criminal justice issues and cases. In addition, you will decipher official statistics, such as those emerging from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, Police recorded crimes and conviction data, in order to establish a balanced view of the extent of crime in England and Wales. You will examine crime data (statistics, case studies, crime rates etc) and the sources from which they are gathered. Such data analysis will provide a framework for contextualising material that is often (partially and mis-) represented in the media, within an academic and realistic context. Each week, in a separate timetabled workshop following the lecture, you will research various current crime news media (radio, TV, newspapers, internet, blogs, wikis, journals etc) and analyse the construction of the news, the sources of information, the writing style of the genre and the public debate which often follows news. The aim of this section is to provide you with the key skills necessary to study at undergraduate level. You will carry out structured tasks each week, and develop a writing style through a variety of weekly exercises and diagnostic essays. The assessments will allow you to demonstrate understanding and begin to develop critical thinking skills (through the diagnostic essay), as well as understanding and application skills.
  • The Evolution of Crime and Criminology
    The twentieth century was a period of rapid and confusing change and adjustment, and already historical accounts of events that took place in it are debated and challenged. Events of preceding centuries are even less familiar to us, yet the roots of many of our customs, institutions, thinking about crime and policies could be traced to these times. Historical awareness guards against the impression that modern features of law-breaking, deviance, policing or punishment are either entirely new, or remain relatively unchanged. Instances of 'hooliganism', 'crime waves' and threats to public order in historical literature can be placed alongside frequent journalistic panics about moral degeneration today. You will trace and explore the origins of laws and attitudes, sanctions and control mechanisms that have emerged over time. You will look at the role of religion and the state in the shaping of society and geographically trace the origins and developments of the principal institutions of the criminal justice system, including the ways that governments and societies have responded to certain forms of deviance through reformulations of criminal justice policy. You will evaluate the development of criminology as a discipline and interrogate the foundational theories and their underlying philosophies, and explicitly relate the course content to historic crimes in your hometown. You will attend two hour combined lectures/workshops and you are required to be thoroughly prepared for these weekly discussions.
  • Criminal Justice in England and Wales
    Criminal Justice in England and Wales will introduce you to the criminal justice system in this country, taking you through the key elements of the justice system: Police, Courts, Prisons, Probation, and the Youth Justice System. Each week, you will be introduced to a different stage of the system and unpack some of the critical issues that are discussed in this area. For example you will learn about the role of police, and the benefits that a policing system provides, while also looking at the controversial aspects of policing, such as racism and the ongoing debate about how much force the police should use. You will also discuss the statement ‘prison works’ and examine the shifting landscape of the prison system in the context of overcrowding and privatization. During the research skills workshops, you will learn how to critically assess research on the criminal justice system, developing evaluation skills and knowledge of research methods in the process. You will learn how research is undertaken and have the chance to do this yourself in relation to issues of criminal justice, such as public attitudes to various elements of the criminal justice system. By the end of Criminal Justice in England and Wales, you will be able to demonstrate an appreciation of the complicated position of victims and offenders in England and Wales. You will be taught in weekly two hour lecture/workshops and one hour ‘research evaluation skills’ workshop. Your assessment will comprise a portfolio of work discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the criminal justice system.
  • Media, Society and Crime
    Media representations of crime are a matter of public interest as well as political debate. The way the media treats crime has important implications for public perceptions of crime, criminals and the processes of the criminal justice system. Should crime always be newsworthy? How objective is the presentation of crime in the media? With the use of specific examples, you will examine key issues in traditional and new media, to provide you with an understanding of changing social norms and expectations in relation to crime and the media formats through which it is discussed and portrayed. You will explore the ways in which media shapes our perception of crime and critically examine the theoretical perspectives on media and propaganda. In addition, you will explore the construction of crime news and the role of politics and ideology in this context. You will explore the fictional and factual representation of youths and sex in the media; the fear of crime; contemporary surveillance culture; the analysis of relevant statistics, and the use of propaganda techniques. You will examine these issues through the use of case studies, reports, and theory. You will be expected to select one or more case studies in order to develop analytical skills as well as presentation skills during the seminars. The selected case study will build a foundation for the essay. In the essay you will develop techniques to evaluate debates about the relations between media, society and crime, as well as public perceptions. This module is taught by lectures and seminars and will be assessed by a pass-fail seminar presentation equivalent to 1000 words, a media review of 2000 words, and an essay of 2000 words.
  • Skills for Criminal Justice
    This module will introduce you to the complex network of agencies that provide victims and offenders with punishment, training, guidance, protection, care and advice, as part of the Criminal Justice Sector. You’ll look at potential roles and employment in this sector and examine it from a historical perspective, also looking at recent policy initiatives that have resulted in the creation of particular roles, with a view to developing a particular focus for your degree. You’ll participate in a range of events, including an employment fair, gaining insight into the current workings of many organisations, including local initiatives. You assessment will consist of two tasks: a historical synopsis that maps the development of a particular institution and a portfolio.

Year two, core modules

  • Trials and Errors: Justice in Court
    Trials and Errors will introduce you to the concept of miscarriages of justice and wrongful conviction. Each week, you will learn about some of the key barriers to ‘justice’ and critically examine controversial aspects of the criminal justice system; for example the mass production of guilty pleas, jury trials, expert witnesses and ‘trial by media’. You will draw upon a range of case studies to examine these issues, developing a theoretical understanding that is rooted in real-world examples. By the end of Trials and Errors, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the court process and how it can go wrong, as well as the strength and weaknesses of key aspects of the English and Welsh system. Trials and Errors will be delivered in weekly two hour lecture/workshops and one hour seminars. You will have the opportunity to present your ideas in class. Your assessment will comprise an essay and an in-class test.
  • Revolving Doors: Punishment and Rehabilitation
    Revolving Doors: Punishment and Rehabilitation will introduce you to the key debates surrounding penology, prisons and alternatives to imprisonment. Each week, you will learn about a different issue relating to the justification of punishment, the prison system, rehabilitation, and alternatives, such as community service, probation and parole. You will examine different theories of justice that inform contested debates about issues such as culpability, sentence lengths and the penal environment. You will also hear about a range of contemporary issues affecting prisons, in particular the growing number of ageing prisoners, how mental health issues are dealt with, and the rise in prisoner violence and radicalisation. The module will enable you to be able to demonstrate knowledge of the theories underlying punishment, prisons and rehabilitation. It will be delivered in weekly one hour lectures and one hour seminars. The assessment will comprise an essay that gives you the opportunity to explore what an ‘effective’ sanction looks like, and a chance to review and appraise a current rehabilitative programme.

Year two, optional modules

  • Violence: Theories and Causes of Crime
    You are a member of the Home Office Research Group who has been asked to write a briefing for the Minister. Identify one form of violence and write a report to explain a) the nature of the problem, b) the potential causes, and c) the implications of these causes. To do this, you will need to define your chosen form of violence, assess the evidence of its prevalence and how it tends to occur, as well as drawing on the contrasting theories as to the causes. Finally, you should introduce some of the potential implications of these causes, which may be that a current policy should be stopped or that a new one should be started. You will be assessed through a 2,500 word case study.
  • Violence: Realities and Impact of Crime
    Each week in the seminars, you will be given a case study scenario in which you are a practitioner or policymaker who is seeking to respond to a specific violent crime. You will receive an abridged outline of the relevant policy guidance and must identify the best practice response in the scenario, including a consideration of the barriers and complexities in fulfilling the guidelines. You will then choose three of the five case study scenarios to write up into your portfolio. In each one, you will outline the specifics of the case, the best practice guidance, and the potential challenges to implementing the guidance. You will then identify the actions you would take in each case, and reflect upon why these actions would show that you are a good practitioner.
  • Cybercrime and Policing
    Cybercrimes are becoming increasingly prevalent in western society, and their policing and control progressively problematic. You will have the opportunity to explore the risks that modern cybercrimes pose to individuals, organisations and the nation state, and examine how authorities both locally and transnationally have attempted to police new digital patterns of criminality. The module is taught in two, discreet halves, with the first exploring the development of new ‘cyber-dependent’ crimes that exist solely as a product of new internet technologies. The second half will examine the emergence of ‘cyber-enabled crimes’ involving the reconstitution of established and traditional crimes such as human trafficking, organised crime, terrorism and hate crime that been irrevocably changed by virtue of their online ‘digitisation’. Within each of the topics covered in the module, you will have the chance to explore cutting edge cyber-crime case studies against a backdrop of the challenges that authorities have faced when attempting to police these crimes both locally and transnationally. In addition, you will examine the impact of the Dark Web and Tor Network, and how these continue to evade traditional policing styles. You will learn about the facilitation of radicalisation and terrorism, othering and stigmatisation, transnational crime, migration and human trafficking and the policing and security strategies that have been developed to combat and prevent them. You will examine the topics within online digital settings, which will provide you with insights that will deepen and complement other taught modules that adopt an ‘offline’ approach when investigating crime and policing. You will achieve an understanding of a wide range of cybercrimes, their sociological and criminological conceptualisation and the key modes of policing, punishment and control designed to reduce and contain their risk. The module is taught by lecture/seminar format using computer-based work for seminars. You will be assessed via a formative and summative assessment using an essay-based format.
  • Intoxicants and Intoxication
    This module will introduce you to the sociological and historical analysis of the place of intoxicants, and the role of intoxication, in society. It incorporates a broad range of themes: production and distribution; regulation, control and the law; substance use, misuse and addiction; gender and intoxication; and socio-economic changes in the place of intoxicants in societies (e.g. work, time and alcohol use). You will gain an understanding of the broad historical and cultural differences in the meanings ascribed to intoxicants and intoxication and engage in problem-based learning scenarios. You will develop analytical skills in identifying how substances, who consumes them, and the place/time they are consumed change, and that they are shifting targets of problematisation in society. Theoretical approaches to understanding the role of intoxicants and intoxication in society will be explored, including moral regulation theory, governmentality, and gender performativity; focusing for example on alcohol, cannabis, New Psychoactive Substances, and heroin. You will gain an insight into how one phenomenon, that of intoxicants and intoxication, can act as an observational lens through which a wide range of sociological issues can be examined, including gender, age, social class, disorder, offending and regulation. Intoxicants and intoxication will be delivered in weekly one-hour lectures and one-hour seminars. The assessments will combine academic skills (an essay), through which you can develop your critical analytical skills, and real-life writing contexts (a policy analysis blog), which will be useful for you in determining how to write and critique existing policy for a diverse audience.
  • Globalisation and Security
    Globalisation and Security is your opportunity to explore, analyse, and critique issues of crime and criminology as they impact on a global, national, and human scale. Over the course of the module we will use a wide range of recent real-world scenarios, policies, and the relevant academic literature to encourage and develop your understanding of the effects of globalisation on perpetrators of crime, victims of crime and the cultural context in which they live. You will also have the opportunity to hypothesise on the potential future issues brought forth by the process of globalisation. On completion of the module, you will have the skills to interpret the diverse and complex causes of, and responses to, the perpetration of crime on a global basis. You will also be able to creatively consider potential future issues and innovative solutions to problems inherent to our world. The assessments for Globalisation and Security will include a peer-assessed formative case study, and a summative problem-solving critique of current responses to global, national and human issues of crime and security.
  • Sociology of Religion
    Historically sociologists have examined religious beliefs, practices and institutions in order to understand more about the implications of faith for individuals, societies and communities. Contemporary sociologists continue to explore the cultural and political significance of religion in the context of globalisation, and the development of new forms of religious practice and faith in the modern world. In this module you will explore traditional sociological perspectives on organised religion, as well as contemporary debates about spirituality, and political aspects of faith communities and multiculturalism. You will also examine issues related to religious fundamentalism. You will look at original sociological views on religion in the work of thinkers such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim, but will also examine contemporary spiritual practices such as roadside memorials, atheist church services and new age beliefs. You will debate the impact of globalisation on religious beliefs including topics such as secularism and the politics of fundamentalist movements. You will have the opportunity to undertake structured skill development in presentation and debate, and written analysis and exposition. These skills are necessary for future employability skills and relate to other outcomes on your degree. This module is taught by interactive sessions and may include visits to e.g. Cambridge places of worship such as mosques, churches and prayer communities. You will be assessed informally throughout the module through discussion and presentation. The module will also include opportunities for formative feedback. Formal graded assessment will be through one 3,000 word portfolio submission.
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
    In this module you will examine the interaction between health and society and, more specifically, the relationship between health and illness and social institutions. The vulnerabilities, strengths and differences between human bodies are not only experienced by all of us in our daily lives but are increasingly at the forefront of political and social media debate and controversy as well as the targets of national and international trade, aid and inequality. You will look at how disability and ideas of the “healthy body” relate to neoliberal notions of individual agency and personal responsibility, often serving to legitimise forms of social stigma, marginalisation and inequality. You will also examine the ways in which medicine has been racialised, how an epidemiological/public health approach has used to address certain forms of Crime. Teaching will be lecture and seminar based. You will be required to read for weekly seminars. Within these seminar discussions, you will assume collective responsibility for applying course material to a specific area of the sociology of health and illness in order to elucidate sociological understandings of bodies in context. Your assessment includes evaluation of the public health campaign (1500 words) and a public health campaign information task (1500 words).
  • Learning from Work Experience (incorporates work placements)
    This module will prepare you for the transition from education to work by helping you apply skills gained through your studies in a practical way, and by investigating possible careers for which your degree would be relevant. Through 70 hours of work experience, you'll explore how work and learning interact, increasing your employability by improving your sector knowledge, self-reliance and confidence. Appropriate work placements will give you the relevant experience in sectors and roles in which social science students are likely to find future employment, such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau. Your work placement will be accompanied by an agreement between you, your employer and the module leader. You'll then apply your sociological knowledge, skills and concepts to the analysis of your work experience. You'll also produce a reflective workplace diary, logging activity and supporting an analysis of the learning achieved in the report. You'll also attend a series of workshops to support your work, and receive supervision from the Module Leader or Tutor.

Year three, core modules

  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The individual final Major Project module allows you to engage in a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific discipline. Normally the topic will be agreed in consultation with academic staff and an appropriate supervisor will be appointed to supervise you in your chosen topic. The topic may also be drawn from a variety of sources including: Anglia Ruskin research groups, previous or current work experience, the company in which you are currently employed, or a professional subject of specific interest (if suitable supervision is available). The project topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The chosen topic will require you to identify and formulate problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop software and/or media artefacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your findings. Regular meetings with the project supervisor and or/group workshops should take place, so that the project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction. The assessment will normally include a substantial written report, including a bibliography.
  • Youth Crime and Aggression
    Youth, Crime and Aggression has been designed to allow you to build on your previous two years of work to think critically about the Youth Justice System and its place in the wider context of the criminal justice system. In this module, you will critically evaluate the youth justice system in England and Wales. You will identify areas of tensions and contradictions within the youth justice system. You will compare and contrast theories explaining youth crime and youth culture. You will also analyse competing strategies in youth justice and their outcomes, discussing recent developments in youth justice legislation, policy and practice, which will teach you to evaluate current practices in youth justice issues. Within this module, you will explore recent developments and key innovations in the youth justice system and their implications for the rights of young offenders and their victims. This module will run weekly two-hour lectures and a one-hour seminar. You are required to have a good understanding of criminological theories and their histories and be thoroughly prepared for weekly discussions by completing the essential reading ahead of lecture/seminar. You will be assessed by way of a theoretical essay of 2500 words.
  • Criminology in Policy and Practice
    The objects of the Criminological enquiry – crime, policing, justice, punishment, fear, victims, control, order, security – have come to occupy a prominent and disputed place in the lives and consciousness of citizens and governing authorities. Your career may be determined upon how well you understand the system that you seek to work in. In this module, you will consider how criminological theory has informed the landscape of crime, order and control and impacted legislation, policy and practice. You will examine the political, economic and social contexts in which criminological research is shaped and carried out in order to usefully inform criminal justice policy. For example, you will consider complex issues such as balancing policing in the age of austerity against the growth of punitive populism, or allocating resources effectively between the prevention of terrorism or violence against women and girls. Scrutinising institutions such as the police, county councils and victim-focused charities, you will examine some of the tensions that exist within them such as decision-making, agenda-setting and resource allocation. You will think critically about the processes that are involved in turning ideas into action, building ‘joint working’ initiatives and managing policy implementation. Furthermore, you will consider some of the wider criminological issues you have studied in relation to the criminal justice work setting – how do cultural, political and patriarchal attitudes affect the shape of agenda-setting, and what could be the impact of vicarious trauma upon the agents whom we put so much trust? Criminology in policy and practice will provide you with the skills necessary to connect your degree with the criminal justice sector, its policies and practices. The module will be delivered by lectures and workshops, and your assessment will consist of a report and an essay.

Year three, optional modules

  • Negotiating Sex and Gender: accounts & accountability
    We are taught how to develop skills in communicating transactions in most life-situations, and when we fail to negotiate them satisfactorily we inevitably feel disappointed, betrayed or deceived. However, we are arguably less skilled at understanding the continuum of sexuality, unwanted sex, casual sex and sexual relationships. In this module you will examine the way certain sexual activities have come to be defined and regulated as sex crimes and how particular definitions generate specific legal responses and treatments. You will consider the notion that sex can be understood through a continuum of negotiations from casual sex, marriage, prostitution, through to rape. Through in depth analysis of case studies, you will learn to recognise sexual misconduct, its underlying theories and its consequences from the perspectives of offenders, victims, society and the law, and design a rape prevention scheme or public awareness campaign. Rape ‘stereotypes’ will be juxtaposed against attrition throughout the criminal justice process. You will examine the potential of the media and how internet technologies contribute to the increasingly problematic policing of sexually explicit materials and protection of children. Aspects of the international sex trade will be examined, in particular the problem of sexual exploitation. Whilst tying together the themes of the module, you will consider legal barriers to justice alongside the growing body of evidence that calls for action to recognise all forms of violence against women in order to prioritise the prevention of further victimisation. You should be thoroughly prepared for the weekly lectures and seminars. You will be assessed through a 2500 word essay, which will consider a particular dimension of the continuum of violence, public and work harassment and traditional legal ‘justice’ that women’s experiences are compartmentalised and judged.
  • Comparative and Global Criminal Justice
    Comparative and Global Criminal Justice will introduce you to the profound economic, political, social and technological developments in the world since the late 1980s. These developments fuelled by globalisation have had huge implications for international criminal justice. You will examine the constant tension between the local and international notions of justice that these social changes have created. You will also critically analyse the ways comparative criminal justice researchers are studying international crimes and global justice issues such as genocide, gender-based violence, terrorism, human trafficking, capital punishment, and child labour. Importantly, you will develop skills necessary to analyse effectively criminal justice issues from a global perspective and be exposed to global institutions and organisation at the forefront of global justice issues. You will attend a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar each week, and be prepared for weekly discussions on key global justice issues.
  • Investigative Psychology
    The psychological study of crime, criminals and victims within a legal framework is known as criminal or forensic psychology. On this module, you'll examine the role that psychology and psychological perspectives can play in the criminal justice process, paying particular attention to the application of psychology to police investigations including the collection, examination and use of investigative information and evidence, as well as to the role of the psychologist in the court room. You'll explore the different ways criminal psychologists contribute to police training, investigations and interviewing as well as their contribution to understanding evidence in the courtroom and how juries process that evidence. You'll also examine and evaluate the challenges and pitfalls of giving such advice. You’ll look at actual case studies designed to familiarise you with the types of criminal cases and associated outputs produced by criminal psychologists in a real world setting. You'll be assessed by way of a poster presentation on an aspect of offender profiling and through a profiling method evaluation.
  • Organised Crime
    Organised Crime begins with a discussion of the UN 2030 sustainability goals and you will identify policies and practices, justifying why they have to be challenged in these uncertain times. You must be prepared to research and discuss controversial cases relating to organised crime and the far-reaching, and often hidden impact that they can have on society, the economy and policing jurisdictions. You will consider the nature and shape of criminal networks, and the potential immunity that power and influence can wield. You will critically evaluate the potential exploitative opportunities that are available to criminal networks, focusing on particular selected recent examples of white collar crimes, environmental crimes and corporate crimes each week. For the assignment, you will select a relevant theme and explore it within a variety of social, political, media, legal and cultural contexts. You will test your adaptability skills by facilitating discussion of organised crimes from a range of social contexts; and cultivate an understanding of a variety of ‘voices of authority’. You will be assessed by way of 2000 word speech exercise in which you will write three speeches on one selected theme, addressed to three contrasting audiences, and a presentation of one of them.
  • Neighbourhood Policing and Community Safety
    Neighbourhood policing is a British model of community policing that has become deeply embedded in policing practice in the UK. You will examine community and neighbourhood policing and the theoretical and empirical evidence upon which these models are based. You will also explore the nature, theories and research evidence around crime prevention and community safety, including the emergence of anti-social behaviour as a distinct concept with its own set of social and policing responses. You will explore common themes in neighbourhood and community policing, such as visibility and foot patrol, community engagement, problem-solving and partnership working. You will relate the themes to research evidence regarding police legitimacy and public confidence, and evaluate various neighbourhood policing practices in the context of limited resources. You will also engage with theoretical perspectives on crime prevention and social control as well as the research evidence on what works to prevent crime. Your assessment will comprise a 1,000 word report on a given element of community policing and a 2,000 word essay.
  • Police and Counter-terrorism
    Perceptions of rising extremism and growing insecurity have increased the opportunities for tighter and arguably more invidious forms of social control in western societies in the rhetorical 'war on terror'. On this module you will identify and critically examine terror-related issues through criminal justice, criminological and legal perspectives. You will investigate the shift from 'old' terrorism to 'new' terrorism, and apply a range of theoretical perspectives to selected cases of 21st century domestic and international terrorism. You will contrast various typologies of terrorist, such as the 'home-grown', the 'lone-wolf', religious extremist, animal rights activist or neo-Nazi, and consider the various types of media coverage that each category attracts. Counter-terrorist measures will be evaluated in relation to a number of factors, such as prejudice, propaganda, nationalism, xenophobia and religion. You will critically evaluate concepts such as universal human rights, freedom of speech, radicalisation, axis of evil and war on terror, and apply them to examples of strategies that have been utilised and justified in the international 'war against terror'. You will attend a one hour lecture and one hour seminar each week for the whole trimester.
  • Feminist Debates and Activism
    Feminist Debates and Activism will introduce you to the plurality and diversity of feminist thoughts and debates, practices and activism(s). The heterogeneity of feminist action and strategies on a range of issues will be emphasised to enable learning on historic and contemporary feminist movements. An intersectional approach will be adopted to highlight how feminists have engaged with anti-race politics alongside challenging norms around gender and sexuality. You will be exposed to feminist knowledges and scholarship on issues viz. women’s political participation, gender-based violence, trans identities and rights, sex work, etc., as well as learn about different forms and strategies of feminist activism. You will also learn about feminist research methodologies and epistemological approaches to understand what it means to ‘see’, ‘think’ and ‘do’ sociology using a feminist approach. Teaching will comprise a combination of lectures and seminars and will involve guest speakers who are feminist activists and researchers. Assessments will take the form of a formative assessment of 1000 word ‘feminist manifesto’ where you will write your own mission statement for a feminist movement or collective on any of the topics discussed within the module. Summative assessment will be a 2000 word critical analysis of an existing global feminist movement or campaign on a particular issue, drawing on theoretical approaches on the topic. This will enable a ‘real-world’ application of feminist knowledges and pedagogies on contemporary issues of importance in the area of race and gender (in)equality globally. On completion of the module you will develop critical observation and critical thinking skills, knowledge of project evaluation, and essay writing skills. This module enables you to develop a number of graduate capitals, and provides you with an important critical understanding of contemporary feminist debates. You will be introduced to diverse research areas in social and cultural spheres. You will need to adapt your writing style to produce a feminist manifesto, an authentic assessment.
  • Concepts of Good and Evil
    What role, if any, does the concept of evil play in our moral vocabulary? Is it a narrowly theological notion or does it usefully describe certain kinds of act and/or character? On this module, you'll examine contemporary accounts of evil, as well as looking at the concept of evil in the history of philosophy from Leibniz to the present. In addition to considering theoretical discussions of evil, you'll also consider phenomena such as war and terrorism and ask whether the concept of evil helps us to understand them.
  • Politics and Social Media
    New media, and particularly online social media, have become a fixture in today’s socio-political context. The ubiquity of online social media like Twitter and Facebook, among other platforms, have given them not only a social dimension but also one that facilitates political activism, exchange and perhaps control. On this module, you will explore the role of social media in political practices, and the production of political knowledge as well as power. You will be introduced to the many facets of social media in political theory and practice, before considering real world impact areas of social media today in a range of issue areas. You will focus on how social media impacts on activism and protest, and political campaigning, but will also explore the darker side of social media freedom. The module is structured in two parts, beginning with an engagement of theoretical aspects relevant to politics and social media. In this part you will explore and contrast the virtual with the real, examining how they relate to one another in current socio-political contexts. The second part engages with concrete cases in which social media have played an active role for social and political impact. As part of the module, you will be encouraged to participate actively with social media on a political topic of your choice, assessing the value and role of the online social media platform. You will be taught by lectures and seminars, and assessed by an essay and an on-line blog and twitter feed exercise.
  • Sexuality and Social Control
    On this module, you'll explore the range of discursive practices used to explain sex and sexuality in Western culture. You'll examine long-standing claims about the 'naturalness' of heterosexuality as a reproductive drive linked to the survival and reproduction of the human 'species', and the implications of this for the gendered sexual order, various non-conventional sexualities and particular social groups. Drawing on a 'social constructionist' approach, you'll examine religious, biological, psychological and sociological explanations of sexuality. You'll uncover how sex and sexuality are understood, practised and regulated, and in doing so, expose the ideological and discursive foundations of ideas about sex and sexuality in relation to gender, ethnicity, age and disability. You’ll look at how ideas about sex and sexuality are shaped historically, how they vary cross-culturally and how they impact on us as individuals and members of particular social groups. You'll be assessed through a 3,000 word essay.
  • Capitalism, Power and the Discontented
    On this module you will look at theoretical accounts of capitalism and the nature of power and the state in the modern world, and consider how these structures have been contested and critiqued. You are encouraged to critically reflect on how the capitalist economy works, examining both sympathetic and critical accounts of its core functions. You will also develop an understanding of why and how resistance to the system emerges. Capitalism is not just considered as an economic system however, but also as a political, cultural and social phenomenon. As such, while some readings and issues are drawn from political economy, you will engage with a range of theoretical writing on power, race, feminism, hegemony, and alternatives to the status quo, which each offer differing conceptions of how capitalism, power and mass discontent might be understood. You will also engage with a range of intellectual sources from cultural studies, politics and international relations, history, and sociology. Theoretical positions will be contextualised through the modern and contemporary context of neoliberal globalisation. How has the post-financial crisis political landscape been transformed? What debates are emerging over how and if the market economy might be changed? Why does resistance occur? What is the nature of power? What strategies can be effective in building a more humane society? You will be taught through lectures and seminars each week, with your assessment comprising one 3,000-word essay.
  • Sport, Globalisation and International politics
    This module will develop your understanding of the relationship between sport, processes of globalisation, and the sphere of international politics. Broadly speaking, the key themes that you'll consider are ideology, power and control. More specifically, you'll be introduced to a set of key theoretical and conceptual insights relating to globalisation, nationalism and commercialisation early in the module. In later lectures and seminars, you'll apply these insights to particular instances from the sporting world. Specific topics you'll consider include 'race' and racism in sport; the Workers' Sport movement, the role of sport in the colonisation of Africa, the history and politics of FIFA, and a number of national case studies including Catalonia and South Africa. You'll be assessed through a 3,000 word essay.
  • Race, Racism and Cultural Identity
    On this module, you'll explore the sociology of 'race', racism and ethnic divisions. You'll consider three related themes: the social origins and significance of racial and ethnic divisions, the varied causes, contexts and consequences of racism and antiracism, and the cultural consequences of migration. Although your primary substantive focus will be on race relations in contemporary Britain, you will also draw insights from historical and international comparisons. You'll also attend a series of student-led workshops, in which you'll apply sociological knowledge and understanding to current questions of 'race' politics and policy. The topics of these workshop will relate to key module themes, such as: the collection and use of racialised data in the criminal justice system, debates about the usefulness of the concept of institutional racism, and globalised Islam.
  • Politics and Public Service
    On this module, you'll address the ideas that lie behind political approaches to public services and explore the relationship between these ideas and policy. You'll also examine the development of ideological approaches to public services, focusing on some broad approaches, namely, Welfarism, Neoliberalism and 'modernisation', each of which results in the eventual application of political ideology.


Modules are subject to change and availability.

We use a variety of assessment methods that further allow you to develop important transferable skills. These include case studies, presentations, essays, patchwork texts (short pieces of writing, or 'patches', built up week by week), portfolios, poster presentations, data analysis exercises, examinations and group projects, as well as your individual Major Project.

We know how important constructive feedback is to your progress, and make sure every module includes plenty of opportunities for you to receive it.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

At the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, we believe in thinking critically about the past, present and future to challenge perceptions and better understand communities and people.

With expertise from gender issues to literary analysis to exploring how the past has shaped our modern world, all our staff members are active researchers. This is reflected in our teaching, allowing us to support our students with the latest theories and practices, as well as essential employability advice.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Field trips

You'll have the chance to go on field trips to experience real-world areas of criminological interest. Our past trips have included Auschwitz, Poland and Reykjavic, Iceland

Study abroad options

You can apply to study abroad for one semester, and get funding to help you cover the cost.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in September 2020.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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