“It led me to believe in myself and my abilities, increasing my confidence”
– Julie Bradley
Having always regretted not taking a degree when she was younger, Julie Bradley seized the chance to enrol at the University of Derby as a mature student after being made redundant in 2009.
“I decided to take it as an opportunity to improve my qualifications,” she explains. “I chose Derby because it was local but also because I was so impressed and inspired by the enthusiasm of everyone that I met on an open day.
“There also appeared to be a real diversity of ages and nationalities among the students – something that appealed to me as a mature learner.”
Julie’s first step was to take a year-long Foundation Course which guaranteed her a place on a Joint Honours degree combining Applied Criminology and Psychology. On modules such as Youth Culture and Crime, Applied Victimology, and Hate, Ethnicity and Crime, she found it fascinating to analyse why people commit crimes; the relationship between crime and social problems; and the impact of crime on victims.
For her final-year dissertation, she pursued the Gendered Violence theme, researching filicide and the stereotypical representation of men and women as parents within the global media. “Although the prospect of conducting my own research for this project – and producing a piece of work extending to 12,000 words – was incredibly daunting, the constant guidance, reassurance and support offered by my tutors kept me on track,” she comments.
Overall, Julie describes her entire University of Derby experience as very positive, praising the interesting, well-delivered lectures, the availability of resources, and the encouragement and help offered by staff.
“It led me to believe in myself and my abilities, increasing my confidence,” she explains. “At times the work could be stressful, particularly when it came close to deadlines, but the rewards are worth all the hard work and effort. I was overwhelmed to find out that I had been awarded a first class honours degree – something I could only have dreamed about when I first enrolled.”
For Julie, the icing on the cake was hearing that she had also won the Routledge Award as the Outstanding Applied Criminology student. “I had to read the letter a couple of times before the news sank in and I felt very proud and honoured that I had been chosen for this award,” she concludes. “Although I am now in full-time employment, winning the award has inspired me to further my studies and I am currently exploring my options for the future.”
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An international perspective
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.