Criminology (Joint Honours)

What is Joint Honours?

A Joint Honours degree gives you the opportunity to study two subjects as one degree. This type of degree will broaden your skill set and enhance your career prospects.

You can combine any two subjects as long as they’re in different zones, find out what you can combine this subject with.

Why choose this course?

Go behind the news headlines and explore some of the most pressing issues confronting society today. This is a distinctive and intellectually stimulating course which delivers all the skills, knowledge and practical insights you need to become a highly effective professional in the criminal justice system.

  • Examine the causes and consequences of crime, how crime is measured and defined, and how criminals are managed and controlled
  • Explore intriguing real-life case studies - from the psychological profiling of offenders to hostage negotiations 
  • Visit courts, prisons, police custody suites and youth offender training centres to learn more about working life in the criminal justice system
  • Tailor your course to match your personal interests and career ambitions - with our choice of specialist pathways in your final year
  • Learn from experienced practitioners and influential academic researchers 
  • Study part of your degree abroad through the Erasmus exchange scheme or at one of our partner institutions in the USA
  • Broaden your skills and knowledge by combining Criminology with another subject, opening up a wider range of career paths
  • From Alcatraz to Hollywood - our current students recently visited the USA where they gained first-hand experience about the realities of life behind bars at correction facilities, city jails and the infamous Alcatraz. They also learnt about reintegration programs, gang prevention and intervention services at Los Angeles City Hall and the secrets of loss prevention from a leading expert in Hollywood
  • Shape your future at a university ranked in the top twelve in England for employability.

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Fact file

UCAS code: Y002

Start date: September

Course length: Full time: three years

Campus: 1 Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus

College: College of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences

About this course

At Derby, you don’t just study criminology - you do it! This course gives you an in-depth understanding of the challenges and dilemmas facing criminal justice professionals today - in the police, courts, prison and probation services, youth offending teams and victim support groups.

A broad perspective

As a Criminology student you’ll embrace disciplines such as sociology, law, psychology and philosophy which endeavour to offer explanations for crime and criminal behaviour.

This is a fascinating and socially necessary academic discipline. You’ll debate major philosophical ideas about retribution, rehabilitation and punishment, exploring fundamental questions surrounding why people commit crime, why laws are created and broken, the effectiveness of sentencing and punishment, and the impact of crime on victims, communities and wider society.

Throughout your degree, you’ll be encouraged to think creatively, challenge established beliefs and develop your own research interests.

Choice and flexibility

We take flexible, innovative approaches to ensure we deliver a course which responds to your aspirations. You can construct your own bespoke final year, tailored to reflect the areas in which you’re most interested. You can specialise in:

  • Working with Offenders
  • Criminal Investigations
  • International Criminology 
  • Criminology: Theory and Practice

As well as selecting your specialism, you will be offered a diverse range of optional modules taught by our experts. These span everything from murder, psychopathy and hate crime to cybercrime, substance misuse and representations of crime in the media.

Put your skills into practice

You’ll make links between complex theories of criminology and the day-to-day demands of working practice. Thanks to our strong professional partnerships with the police, probation service, prisons and other criminal justice agencies, we offer exciting opportunities for you to apply your skills and knowledge to ‘real-world’ situations. This could include formulating practical solutions to genuine problems facing criminal justice agencies.

Our students have taken part in mock murder hunts, gained an insight into offender management in prisons, contributed to hate crime scrutiny panels, investigated miscarriages of justice, joined riot training with the constabulary, and observed how cases are taken from crime scene to courtroom.

Enhance your CV

If you choose certain specialisms, this course offers you the opportunity to gain additional professional qualifications alongside your degree, giving you a head start in your career.

The Applied Policing Studies module, designed specifically for students considering a career as a police officer, is a route towards the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing (CKP). Many forces now require this nationally recognised qualification before you can join, so gaining the CKP will accelerate your career plans.

For those students selecting the Working with Young Offenders and Youth Justice modules, there is the chance to gain the Youth Justice in Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC). Since it was launched in 2012, the YJEPC has been adopted by over half of Youth Offending Teams across the country to improve the skills of their staff.

Outstanding facilities

We’ve invested heavily so you can train in a realistic environment. We boast some of the country’s most up-to-date facilities, described as ‘exceptional’ by Skills for Justice. They include full-sized courtrooms, police interview suites, a crime scene house and forensic crime labs.

Expertise and inspiration

Our teaching team includes criminal psychologists, sociologists, experienced police officers and lawyers. Several are still actively engaged with practice, which helps you keep up to date with contemporary criminological issues.

You’ll also have the chance to meet influential leaders in the profession. Our regular programme of guest speakers will keep you abreast of latest developments in policy and practice. We’ve also hosted events for The British Society of Criminology.

Pioneering research

The course is aligned to the research activities of our staff, who have a growing international profile for shaping understanding and practice in the criminal justice sector. Our projects cover everything from drug use, hate crime and human trafficking to psychopathy, organised crime and witness reliability.

As part of your studies, we will prepare you to become a competent researcher yourself, equipped with the skills to analyse data and policies critically. You will also be encouraged to pursue independent research.

Broaden your horizons

Your learning will be enriched by regular fieldtrips to courts, prisons and youth offender training centres, meeting professionals who have pursued a career in the criminal justice sector.

We are committed to studying in the field. One group of students recently visited criminal justice agencies in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with highlights including visits to San Quentin State Prison and gang projects in LA, a day spent with San Francisco Police Department and the chance to meet students from California State University.

You will also have the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad as part of our Erasmus exchange programme or at one of our partner universities in America:

  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Keene State College in New Hampshire
  • Longwood University in Virginia
  • Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

This is a great way to improve your academic experience, enhance your personal development, boost your confidence and expand your career opportunities.

Popular Joint Honours combinations

Joint Honours gives you the flexibility to cover two subjects in one degree. Popular combinations with Criminology include:

  • Criminology and Psychology
  • Criminology and Sociology

You can also consider taking Criminology as a single honours subject or studying the LLB (Hons) with Criminology.

What you will cover

You can study Criminology as a major, joint or minor subject. You will take 120 credits per year drawn from modules in Criminology and your other subject.

Stage one

You will study these core modules:

The Criminal Justice System
This module explores how justice is delivered via a series of stages which include detection, arrest, charge, trial, sentence and punishment and/or rehabilitation. You’ll look at the processes which led to the formation of criminal justice institutions and policies, including policing, prosecution, sentencing, and rehabilitative and penal agencies and institutions. You’ll also examine the range of historical and contemporary issues which have shaped policing, imprisonment and probation today.

Introduction to Theoretical Criminology
You’ll deepen your understanding of the key schools of thought on criminology, including seminal works and influential theorists spanning the early origins of criminology up to the present day. This includes feminist perspectives, radical theories, and integrated theories of criminology. By the end of the module, you will have a sound understanding of the core attempts to explain criminal behaviour, and will be able to critique these theoretical accounts. You’ll also assess the strengths and weaknesses of the variety of official statistics relating to crime.

Optional modules are:

Offending and Offenders - considering fundamental questions about how much crime there is, why and how people offend, how our society responds and whether treatment works

Study Skills and Criminological Research - helping you adapt to the higher education learning culture by developing a more independent, reflective and self-managed approach to study and time management

Crime, Justice and Society - exploring the impact of social inequalities and socio-economic status on experiences of crime, including issues of gender, race, ethnicity, class and social exclusion

Undertaking Criminological Research - an introduction toqualitative and quantitative approaches to researching crime, with the chance to undertake a small-scale piece of criminological research with your fellow students

Stage two

You will study these core modules:

Social Research Methods
You will be supported in designing and undertaking an applied criminology research project - including conducting literature reviews, applying relevant theory, planning your project, selecting appropriate methods for data collection and analysis, addressing ethical and quality issues, and reflecting upon your experience. This combination of academic and real world experience will help you test your skills and career goals, enhancing your prospects for employment and postgraduate study.

Real World Criminology
You’ll conduct an applied criminology research project, which may be undertaken through field work and/or in the context of a work placement. You’ll build on your academic research skills, engage in critical analysis of data and take personal responsibility for networking and negotiating with stakeholders. You are also expected to develop the resilience necessary to deal with the kind of problems and obstacles frequently encountered when conducting real-world research.

Optional modules are:

Themes in Criminal Psychology - evaluating differing international approaches to offender profiling and exploring the psychology of police investigations, including police interviewing and eyewitness testimonies

Policing and Society - a look at the role and function of the police in a modern democracy using case studies and real-world scenarios

Penology: Punishment and Rehabilitation - assessing the effectiveness of penal policy in communities and in prisons, and exploring latest developments in probation and offender management

Victimology - considering how the rights of victims are now viewed as integral to our criminal and community justice system, leading to revisions in sentencing and the advent of restorative justice.

Stage three

If you are taking Criminology as a major or joint combination in your joint honours scheme you will choose one of the following pathways: 

Working with Offenders
You’ll explore the effectiveness of offender management practices as well as the measures designed - and theories proposed - to help offenders desist from crime. This pathway includes practical activities such as prison visits and talks with offenders, offender managers and prison guards. The core module is assessed through an independent study element: you can choose your own topic and, with supervision and guidance, produce a piece of either primary or secondary research.

Investigation of Crime
In light of high-profile miscarriages of justice arising from defects in the investigative process, you’ll gain an introduction to criminal investigation, evidence gathering and criminal justice processes. Drawing on fascinating case studies, you’ll explore issues such as the dynamics of the interview room; factors that can affect eyewitness testimony; circumstances which may trigger false confessions; whether deception can be detected through verbal and physical clues; and the demands placed on professional negotiators in hostage situations.

International Criminology
Considering how and why justice and penal systems differ across national boundaries, you’ll explore and analyse theoretically-informed comparisons of crime and crime control. Alongside a key focus on criminological theory, policy and practice in the USA, you’ll consider systems in China, Japan, Scandinavia and Russia. This pathway also highlights transnational organised and corporate crime within the context of global and local economic, political and social conditions.

Criminology: Theory and Practice
You’ll focus on the effectiveness of criminological theory - as well as competing and complementary theoretical debates - in the context of contemporary practice in the justice sector. For this pathway, you’ll further develop your research skills to undertake and evaluate a major project under the supervision of staff. You’ll be expected to defend your chosen research strategies, analyse data, produce conclusions and make recommendations, all while observing the British Society of Criminology code of ethics.

If you are taking Criminology as a minor pathway you will choose two options from the list below:

Applied Policing Studies (CKP) - an opportunity for aspiring police officers to gain the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing, which is now a mandatory requirement for all applicants to various police services in England and Wales

Crime, Media and Culture - examining the representation of crimes, criminality and deviance in the mass media, from news reporting to cinema and video games, and the impact of these representations on wider culture and society

Cybercrime - exploring the transformation of criminal activity in the information age, including the automation of offender-victim engagement, how to police online deviance, and the challenges involved in detecting, investigating and prosecuting cybercrime

Domestic Abuse - considering the nature and prevalence of domestic violence, examining the legal and medical responses to victims and perpetrators, and adopting a psychological approach to the dynamics of abuse

Hate, Ethnicity and Crime - discussing prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination, intolerance, hate crimes and violent acts in the context of our dramatically changing social, cultural, political and religious landscapes

Mentally Disordered Offenders - examining the treatment and imprisonment of offenders with a disability or disorder of the mind and considering the balance to be struck between diverting these defendants from the justice system and the imperative to safeguard the public.

Murder: Dynamics, Pathologies and Investigation - going beyond the newspaper headlines to explore the complex chronology of murder, from the development of a killer’s psychology to the commission of the offence, the investigation and the sentencing

Psychopathy - building an understanding of how to measure psychopathic traits, their relationship to criminality and their role in sentencing, probation and treatment decisions

Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Abuse - focusing in particular on the impact on victims and the responses of voluntary and state services, including competing theories about the most effective support for those who have suffered sexual crimes

Substance Misuse - providing an overview of the illegal and legal drugs which are used and misused in contemporary society, their effects on the individual, their impact on public health and social policy, and the treatment options available

Working with Young Offenders* - developing both practical skills and underpinning theory to help you make more informed decisions about interventions which support young people at risk of offending

Youth Justice* - bringing together current theory, practice and evidence surrounding the youth justice system, including political and social attitudes to young people and their impact on responses to youth crime

*By taking these two modules - Working with Young Offenders and Youth Justice - you also have the opportunity to gain the Youth Justice in Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC).

Entry requirements

September 2015 entry
UCAS Points 220-300* (up to 60 from level 3 qualifications)
Specific Subjects Required? N/A
September 2016 entry
UCAS Points 220-300* (up to 60 from level 3 qualifications)
Specific Subjects Required? N/A

The UCAS point requirements above will be made up primarily from your core A2s (full A Levels) or equivalent qualifications such as BTEC Diploma, International Baccalaureate, Scottish Highers etc.

We will accept a certain value of points (detailed above) from level 3 qualifications such as AS Levels (where those AS Levels are not taken on to A2 Level), the Extended project, or Music qualifications.

We don't accept points from Key Skills Level 3. If you have any questions about what is or isn't accepted, please contact our Admissions team.

We also accept the Access to HE Diploma.

Your points at level 3 will be in addition to 5 GCSEs at grade C or equivalent level 2 qualifications.

*This will depend on which programme you're combining this one with, for example most Joint Honours programmes require 260 points, but anything combined with Law will require 300 points.

The UCAS tariff points are a guide - we'll also consider all the information that you've included in your application. We'll also want to see that you're enthusiastic and motivated to take this course and that you have the potential to benefit from coming to university.

General undergraduate entry requirements

How to apply

UK/EU students

International students

Information for international applicants

Applying for an undergraduate degree

Fees and finance

2015/16 Fees

This is a classroom based course.

UK/EU students

  • Full time: £8,500 (each year)
  • £1,060 per module (you usually take the equivalent of 18 single modules)

International students

  • Full time: £10,900

These fees apply if you're starting this course between September 2015 and August 2016. We recommend you check fee details with us though, as they can change. Costs can increase each year.

How you will learn

Teaching and learning

We pride ourselves on our innovative and challenging teaching methods, delivered both by lecturers and by visiting criminal justice professionals. You’ll enjoy a combination of lectures, tutorials, group work and independent learning.

There is a strong practical element running throughout the degree. You’ll develop your investigative, management and communication skills through activities such as interviewing, negotiation, decision-making, research and argument. Our focus on problem-based learning will ensure you achieve a wide-ranging understanding of systems of criminal and community justice.

Inspirational fieldtrips

You’ll gain fascinating insights through our extensive programme of study visits and fieldtrips. These include visits to courts, prisons, youth offender training centres and other relevant institutions such as the Galleries of Justice Museum and The Holocaust Centre. These opportunities are constantly expanding, including our 2015 fieldtrip to gain insights into criminal justice in Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Assessment is via a stimulating mix of coursework, portfolios, individual and group projects/presentations and examinations.

Supporting you all the way

We offer a high level of support to students, including a unique personal tutor system to help steer your academic and professional development.

Who you will meet

You’ll be taught by our team of engaging, passionate and inspiring subject experts:

  • Programme Leader Charlotte Hargreaves is a youth justice expert with research interests in young people in the youth justice system, social exclusion, drug and alcohol misuse, mental ill health, school exclusion and disaffection.
  • Head of Criminology Dr Philip Hodgson  has over 30 years’ experience of research and practice in the criminal justice sector. He has worked for the police, probation, the youth court and the voluntary sector and his research interests include policing, drugs, young people, partnership working, and probation. 
  • Head of the School's Research Group and Reader in Criminal Investigation, Dr David Walsh, is Editor of Investigative Interviewing: Research and Practice and on the editorial board for the Journal of Forensic Psychology. His research interests include the interviewing of victims, witnesses, and suspects. 
  • Dr Helen Clarke has an interest in men’s and women's experiences of crime, with a particular focus on the areas of equality and diversity. Her doctoral research explored women's experiences of sexual violence.
  • Dr David Hicks has research and teaching specialisms in the areas of serious and organised crime, financial crime, white-collar or corporate crime, and crime prevention. 
  • Nick Howe was formerly a Police Chief Superintendent and is currently undertaking doctoral studies in policing and partnerships but has a research interest in all aspects of policing, investigation and criminal justice. 
  • Dr Kassim Noor Mohamed is an expert in topics such as organised and corporate crime, abduction, piracy, kidnap for ransom, smuggling, counterfeiting, fraud, intelligence, surveillance, informant handling and criminal careers. 
  • Jayne Noor Mohammed specialises in themes of cybercrime, hi-tech crime, international criminology and research methods. Her particular research interests include e-fencing, counterfeiting and copyright infringement. 
  • Angie Neville is a former Police Officer who specialises in teaching criminal investigations and policing studies. Her current research centres on the quality of evidence gathered during rape investigations. 
  • Dr Mark Pettigrew was recently awarded his doctorate for research into the incarceration of condemned prisoners in the USA. His current research areas include the experiences of long-term prisoners, uses of the death penalty, and sex offender management.
  • Michael Teague is a qualified Probation Officer and Social Worker. His research interests centre on probation, imprisonment, and the politics of criminal and community justice. 
  • Professor Ray Bull is one of the world’s leading authorities on criminal investigation and his research centres on investigative interviewing and the detection of deception.

Careers and employability

Rewarding career options

We’re aware of the rapid pace of change in the dynamic criminology sector and our teaching is directly relevant to today’s graduate employment market. You’ll develop a valuable set of skills which are attractive to employers nationally and internationally. Our emphasis on addressing the real-world challenges of the justice and penal system in practice will help set you apart.

Our graduates have gone on to wide-ranging roles in the police, Crown Prosecution Service, courts, probation and prison services, youth offending teams and other law enforcement agencies. Some students have progressed to rewarding careers in the voluntary sector, working with offenders or victims.

Because this degree equips you with broader skills - from research and analysis to entrepreneurial thinking - you will also have the versatility to pursue other career paths in areas such as social research or public sector management. Studying Criminology as a Joint Honours subject also marks you out as a flexible, adaptable and highly organised graduate.

Postgraduate study opportunities

You can go on to pursue postgraduate study at Derby, with MSc qualifications in subjects such as Criminal Investigation and Police Leadership, Strategy and Organisation. These expand your knowledge into specialist areas and accelerate your progression to more senior and leadership roles. Some of our students also use their degree as a springboard into teaching or academic research.

Ensuring you’re ‘work-ready’

Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with support from day one of your course to ensure you leave Derby as a ‘work-ready’ graduate - industry aware, motivated and enterprising. Throughout your studies, you’ll also benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and develop your career ambitions. The support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.

What our students say

“The course provided plenty of opportunities to talk to practitioners, visit courts and prisons, and to participate in a mock-up murder inquiry looking at crime scene work. We looked at real cases, interviewed offenders, and carried out our own research projects. This opportunity was vital to our understanding of criminal behaviours and rehabilitation issues.” Emily Ferry, Criminology graduate now working with the Derby Probation Trust

Read more about Emily’s experience

“Most of the lecturers have had careers in the criminal justice system and I feel this had a positive effect on our learning as it made you more driven to participate in best practice in the field. You were given real life stories of how the system actually worked and how it should work, which gave you motivation to improve it to ensure the clients you work with receive the best service.” Hannah Smith, Criminology graduate now working for the National Offender Management Service

Read more about Hannah’s experience

This course is available in Clearing

Contact details

Course leader: Charlotte Hargreaves
T: +44 (0)1332 592189

College of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences
T: +44 (0)1332 591896

Joint Honours at Derby logo

Where will I study?

1 Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus