Criminology is a fascinating academic discipline, opening up pathways into a wide range of careers where you can have a real impact on society. On this course, you’ll debate major philosophical ideas about retribution, rehabilitation and punishment, exploring 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.
Bringing together disciplines such as sociology, law, psychology and philosophy, our BSc (Hons) Criminology encourages you to think creatively, challenge established beliefs and develop your own research interests. Our emphasis on problem-based learning means you will be well equipped to meet the real-world challenges of the justice and penal system in practice.
Throughout the degree, you’ll develop your investigative, management and communication skills with activities such as interviewing, negotiation, decision-making, research and argument.
You’ll be able to make direct 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, there are exciting opportunities for you to apply your skills and knowledge to ‘real-world’ situations.
An extensive programme of study visits and fieldtrips will give you intriguing insights. These could include visits to courts, prisons, police forces and youth offender training centres. In the first year, you will also tour the National Justice Museum to give your learning a historical context.
There is endless variety and scope for practical projects: in the past our students have taken part in mock murder hunts, 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.
If you have a particular interest in youth justice, our BSc (Hons) Criminology gives you the chance to achieve an additional professional qualification – the Youth Justice in Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC) – alongside your degree studies.
The YJEPC is the most widely held qualification in youth justice: since it was launched in 2012, it has been adopted by over half of the Youth Offending Teams countrywide to improve the skills of their staff. Bringing together current theory, practice and evidence, it will not only boost your employability but also help you to make more effective judgements in your future career.
The opportunity to gain the YJEPC is available if you take two specific modules – Working with Young Offenders and Youth Justice.
International perspectives are an integral part of the BSc (Hons) Criminology – and we offer you the chance to witness how other countries approach criminal justice at first hand. We have previously hosted international debates with Criminology students from across the globe, and such experiences enrich your learning and help shape your future career.
A highlight of the course is the opportunity to visit America in your second year arranged with the help of US police departments and police academies. Past trips have seen our students investigate gang projects in Los Angeles, go on marine patrol with the City of Miami Police and contribute to arts projects at the San Quentin Prison in San Francisco.
In your third year, there is also the chance to go on a three-day study trip to The Hague, the legal capital of the world, where you could visit prisons, police academies and the International Criminal Court.
You’ll learn from an award-winning teaching team which includes criminal psychologists, sociologists, experienced police officers and lawyers. Many are still actively engaged with practice, which helps you keep up to date with contemporary issues.
We pride ourselves on innovative and challenging teaching methods which are directly relevant to today’s graduate employment market. Our track record in delivering an outstanding learning experience was underlined when we won the 2017 National Award for Teaching Excellence from the British Society of Criminology (BSC) Learning and Teaching Network.
The degree is also closely aligned to the research activities of our staff, who have a growing international profile for shaping understanding and practice in the criminal justice sector. Research projects cover everything from drug use, hate crime and human trafficking to psychopathy, organised crime and witness reliability.
You’ll also have the chance to meet influential leaders in the profession. Our regular programme of guest speakers keeps you in tune with latest developments in policy and practice. Previous guest speakers include crown court judges, police investigators and professionals from the youth justice practice.
Equipment and resources
As a BSc (Hons) Criminology student, you’ll be based on the Derby Campus at One Friar Gate Square. Offering the perfect environment for innovative and engaging teaching, it includes well-resourced lecture theatres, seminar rooms and social learning spaces.
You’ll be able to gain practical experience of investigative processes using our first-rate facilities such as a replica crown court and police interview suites.
Because you’ll be working alongside students taking courses in subjects such as law, sociology and policing, there are many opportunities to share knowledge, expertise and experience.
Spending time studying in another country is a great way to broaden your academic experience, enhance your personal development, boost your confidence and expand your career opportunities.
A highlight of the Criminology course is the opportunity for all second year students to go on a week long visit to the United States to examine how the justice systems differs from the UK. Flights and accommodation all paid for by the department. The week is planned with the academics and visiting students to ensure the trip is both insightful as well as enjoyable.
In addition to our optional field trips to the USA and The Hague, you could choose to study part of your degree 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
You can also choose to study Criminology through the Joint Honours scheme where you can combine it with another subject.
One of the advantages of the BSc (Hons) Criminology is the huge career scope it delivers. We’re aware of the rapid pace of change in the dynamic criminology sector and are committed to helping you develop a valuable set of skills which are attractive to a wide range of employers nationally and internationally.
Our graduates have gone on to diverse roles in the police, Crown Prosecution Service, courts, probation and prison services, youth offending teams and other law enforcement agencies. Some have also progressed to rewarding careers in the voluntary sector, working with offenders or victims.
Because this degree also equips you with broader skills – from research and analysis to entrepreneurial thinking – you will have the versatility to pursue other career paths in areas such as social research, public sector management or third sector roles such as victim services. Some graduates use their qualification as a springboard into teaching or academic research too.
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.
You can go on to pursue postgraduate study at Derby, with our acclaimed MSc qualifications in subjects such as Forensic and Criminal Psychology, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Justice and Criminology and PG Cert Understanding Radicalisation.
These will expand your knowledge into more specialist areas and help accelerate your progress to senior and leadership roles.
“I was immediately drawn to this particular course as I felt it coincided with both my professional and research interests. As someone who already works in practice, I was impressed to see that the course could be tailored for someone who is employed, allowing me a flexible approach to my studies.” Alan Harrop, MSc Criminal Justice and Criminology.
As a graduate of the University of Derby, you may benefit from an alumni discount on your postgraduate course fees if you continue to study with us. Further information can be found here.
† Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
Included in your fees
- DBS check if required for research purposes.
- International study trip to the Hague if applicable and appopriate. Local trips to visit criminal justice organisations (eg courts, police stations)
- Youth Justice Effective Practitioner Certifcate (YJEPC)
- Access to online learning materials
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.