At Derby, you don’t just study criminology - you do it. This degree 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.
Studying Criminology with a Foundation Year is for you if you have the ability to study for a degree, but don’t have the necessary formal qualifications to enter directly on to the Honours degree programme.
It provides you with a firm grounding in the skills and knowledge you need and introduces you to the subject of criminology, enabling you to achieve your full honours degree in four years.
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.
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.
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.
An experienced team to inspire you
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.
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 time 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.
You can also choose to study Criminology through the Joint Honours scheme where you can combine it with another subject.
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.
- If you have the ability to study for a degree, but don’t have the necessary formal qualifications to enter directly on to the Honours degree programme, you can choose to start at Foundation Year stage
- 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
- Achieve additional qualification 'Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate' as part of your degree
- Learn from experienced practitioners and influential academic researchers
- 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.
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.
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.
† 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.
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.