Undergraduate study
Criminology and Sociology

BSc (Hons) Criminology and Sociology

UCAS code: LM39 BSc/CrSo

Who and what constitutes crime and how do we react to it? Why do people offend? Why the preoccupation with crimes of the powerless? How does the news and other media representations such as film, fiction and computer games shape our understanding and experiences of crime? How do race, gender and class shape individuals’ experiences of crime and victimisation? How does our more globalised world shape localised crime experiences? These are some of the themes you explore on a criminology degree.

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Up to 5 years

More part-time details

  • Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342308

Contact details

Further information

  • Facilities

    School of Social Sciences, Business & Law facilities

    The School of Social Sciences, Business & Law has fantastic state-of-the-art facilities that reflect the broad range of courses it offers. From a hydrotherapy pool and environmental chamber to a replica courtroom and crime scene house, students have access to the kind of equipment they will go on to use throughout their careers.

  • Student profile
 

You also frame your study of criminology in a wider analysis of contemporary societies, exploring a range of theoretical perspectives and going beyond common sense explanations.

You gain insight into key sociological debates and concepts alongside thinking through the motivations for crime, its wider social context and gaining an in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system. You also get the opportunity to think about crime and other social problems at the local and global level. This programme's combination of subjects allows you to focus on and think critically about the social world in which you live.

Your dissertation and module options give you the opportunity to specialise in areas as diverse as globalisation, criminal justice and the media society. Many graduates go on to a career with the police or probation services, or into community development roles.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Crime and Justice

This module introduces the criminal justice process, theoretically and in practice, from a criminological viewpoint. It offers an analysis of the process of criminal justice from the point of arrest to the outcome of a court hearing.

You examine the agencies and institutions of the law, as well as the criminological theories that produce knowledge for these institutions. The module allows you to participate in an inclusive environment for learning the foundational principles that have informed criminal justice debates to date.

Crime and Society

This introduction to criminological theories, media representations of crime and the way in which we understand crime and deviance in contemporary society serves as a foundation to further criminological theory modules at levels 5 and 6.

You gain the solid basis of knowledge needed to explore debates about who commits crime, why crime is committed and why crime is seen as a social problem. You are introduced to a range of classic and traditional theoretical perspectives which provide the foundations for more complex and contemporary theoretical perspectives later in the programme.

Making Sense of Society 1

An introduction to major sociological concepts and theories, key theorists and the development of the subject. Lectures and seminars demonstrate the application of theory to contemporary concerns such as issues relating to:
• inequality
• social class
• consumption
• education
• gender and sexuality
• race and ethnicity
• globalisation
• urbanisation.

You learn how sociological knowledge is constructed, and how popular theoretical models have been applied to the study of everyday life.

You begin to understand how to synthesise, evaluate and compare competing theoretical approaches in sociology and learn about the relationships between sociological theory, empirical research and applied policy and practice.

Sociology of Teesside 1: Sociology in Context

Sociology offers a lens through which to see the workings of the world, and the world on our doorstep is Teesside, an area of the UK whose history and circumstance is intimately tied in to global processes of industrialisation and deindustrialisation.

This module introduces a spatial context to sociology by setting the discipline's theories, evidence and debates onto a temporal narrative of Teesside and the wider north east region. You develop an understanding of how the political economy of national and global society plays out in, and/or is influenced by, particular places at particular times.

This is the opening module of a three year stream (linking to modules at levels 5 and 6) that gives you the opportunity to consider real issues in real places in real time.

Study Skills for Social Scientists

Develop and strengthen the skills needed to study social sciences in a higher education learning environment.

Skills include operating effectively within the University’s formal framework, time management, organisation of academic work, analytical thinking, writing, referencing and the use of basic research and data presentation techniques.

You also develop employability skills such as CV building and learn how best to seek work experience through volunteering and placements.

 

Year 2 core modules

Criminal Justice

This module examines the development of the criminal justice system. It covers courts, sentencing, legislation, the police, the National Offender Management Service 2003 (combining probation and prisons), the creation of the Ministry of Justice in 2007 and the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda of 2010-2015.

You gain an understanding of the impact of social change and shifting attitudes to crime and disorder. The module also explores some of the major transformations taking place in various parts of the system. The issues covered are critical for understanding criminal justice in a broader historical, political, social, and economic context.

You are introduced to the historical foundations of criminal justice in the 19th century, the role of the state, material and ideological conditions of Victorian penality. After the historical foundations have been established (lectures one to ten), you explore specific themes including probation, police, prisons, restorative justice, victims, media, race and gender.

Links are made throughout the module to theory, the perception of who commits crime, why we punish and how we develop crime prevention strategies. You are encouraged to engage with comparative and contemporary issues relating to crime, justice and punishment and the relationship between the changing nature of society in the context of social and economic change and de-industrialisation.

Policing and Security

Explore developments in the function, organisation and practice of the police in modern society. Examine key concepts, theories and debates in the sociology of the police. You consider policing within the wider institutional configuration of security and social control and you gain an understanding of how economic, political and ideological factors shape these areas.

A range of historical and comparative issues in police organisation, deployment and practice are approached from a British and comparative perspective, encouraging you to reflect on the implications for democratic government, civil liberties and human rights.

Power, Globalisation and Consumer Theory

This module focusses on social theory and its relevance for understanding, analysing and acting in contemporary societies on a western and global level.

Traditional and contemporary sociological theories are outlined, analysed and evaluated, particularly in terms of their usefulness for understanding and responding to prominent world issues. The nature and context of globalisation is a theme which runs throughout the module. The implications of social theory and globalisation for contemporary social and political policy is also considered.

Research Skills for Social Scientists

Develop a more advanced understanding of research methods and build on the foundations you gained through Study Skills for Social Scientists in Year 1.

You learn why researchers use particular research methods to investigate specific social issues and how to evaluate methodological decisions. You also develop a sound understanding of ethical and practical issues in research. And you take part in practical activities to develop your skills in designing, conducting and analysing research.

Sociology of Teesside 2: Research and Policy in Context

Building on Sociology of Teesside 1, this module investigates topical issues in relation to research and policy with a specific focus on Teesside.

You contextualise research and policy on Teesside within a wider global, political and economic perspective. You also consider issues such as the relationship between research and policy, the role of universities and other education providers in an area like Teesside, and look at how we seek to examine and sociologically understand, an area such as Teesside.

This module has a firm research focus and draws on research being conducted in Teesside and the wider region. Research techniques are critically examined allowing you to develop an understanding of the relationship between research and policy in practice. This module has a strong employability focus and engages with local agencies and services.

 

and one optional module

Gender, Crime and Justice

An introduction to how gender shapes male and female experiences of crime and the criminal justice system, highlighting gendered identity, victimisation, justice and the way men and women are portrayed as victims and offenders.

You explore theoretical perspectives and conceptual questions, considering the place of women in criminological analysis. You also question gender in the understanding of crime, focusing on the feminist contribution to criminology and theories of masculinity.

As the module progresses, you consider how gender shapes legal outcomes, punishment, fear of crime and experiences of victimisation and criminalisation.

Gender, Sex and Sexuality

This module is divided into four core elements, each delivered in a block of six lectures.

The first block gives you a comprehensive overview of key theorists’ explanations about how we become gendered.

Block two investigates alternative explanations and a critical reading of these explanations through the lens of queer theory.

Block three examines how we make sense of gender through contemporary sociological theories.

Block four applies the different elements of the previous three blocks to various practice settings.

Identities of Work and Leisure

Explore work, leisure and identities in sociological contexts. Analyse the changing nature of working life, including paid work, unpaid work - such as volunteering and domestic labour - and unemployment.

This module charts changes in society that have affected the types of employment available, the ways we think about work and how these factors may contribute to the construction of identity. We consider for example, the decline of industrial manufacturing, the rise of service sector jobs and globalised markets and the impact this may have on working class identity.

You also also examine types of leisure and the significance of leisure on social lives, with a particular focus on identities. Do we identify more with the work we do or the things we do outside of work? And does the type of work we do have an impact on this? In an economic climate of consumerism do we put more energy into our leisure than our work – and if so, why?

Media, Social Media and Society

In an information age we are surrounded by news, information, advertising and social media. In this context, how do we begin to explain the importance of the media? And how do we begin to identify the impact of the media on our everyday lives?

By investigating the construction of news, the development of the mass media, advertising, ideology, hegemony, manipulation, media cultures, globalisation, commercialisation and social networks, this module encourages you to question where information comes from and how it shapes opinion, policy and behaviour.

We question the media in our everyday lives and consider for example if social media is a potential tool for grassroots organisations and political protest or if it is a commercial tool for advertising revenue which serves to break down actual social bonds.

Volunteering

You gain an understanding of the different ways volunteering is conceptualised in contemporary society. and critically examine the voluntary and community sector and the landscape of volunteering through policy, practice and research.

You have the opportunity to enhance your employability and gain academic credit by volunteering and you develop and strengthen your personal, professional and transferable skills. By contributing to the development of a chosen organisation you develop knowledge and understanding of volunteering in various sectors.

Youth, Cultures and Transitions

This module provides an up-to-date, in-depth, research-based understanding of youth culture and transitions in Britain. It brings together the two major traditions of youth research in the UK: the study of youth culture, sub-culture and identity; and the study of the transition to adulthood.

The first half of the module is concerned with the key trends, debates and studies of youth culture and how studies of working-class sub-cultures have been theorised, youth (sub) culture and post-modernity.

The module then addresses youth transition, describing and analysing the various social, cultural, economic and psychological factors that affect the transition from school to work. Studies from North East England are used to combine cultural studies of young people with a focus on youth transitions.

 

Final-year core modules

Contemporary Social Theory

An introduction to cutting edge contemporary theory and research from sociology, psychology, political-economy, philosophy and economics.

The content of this module is organised into key themes to illuminate the ways that social theory and research can aid our understanding of society’s biggest questions. These include: what impact has the financial crisis and austerity had on our faith in capitalism? To what extent is freedom of choice liberating in a culture and economy built on consumption? Can we prevent climate change? Is there a place for faith and religion in a postmodern society built on the rejection of universal truths?

By trying to move beyond traditional interpretations and explanations, you investigate contemporary issues with contemporary ideas.

Explaining Punishment

This module explores the emergence and development of modern institutions of punishment with specific reference to wider currents of sociological thought, and explanations of formal social control and punishment.

Areas covered include the transition from pre-modern corporal and brutal punishment to more rationalised and intensive modes of punishment under capitalism as well as theoretical interrogations of the economic, political and ideological processes that shape institutions of punishment in contemporary society.

The module involves a thorough discussion of Marxist, functionalist, institutionalist and postmodernist approaches towards the subject matter, offering ample opportunity for the application and critical evaluation of the explanatory potential of such approaches on specific characteristics and functions of the penal system today.

Research Project

Following a clear academic structure, you produce a research proposal and a written dissertation of no more than 10,000 words.

This project allows you to define your own research design, methods and questions and to focus on a particular area of study over an extended period. You may choose a library based dissertation, an empirical study or a piece of active research in collaboration with a public or third party organisation.

Youth and Social Exclusion: the Sociology of Teesside

Through this module, you consolidate your understanding of some of the principal issues in current youth research with an emphasis on social exclusion and inclusion.

You interrogate theoretical debates about social exclusion and the so called underclass, drawing on original research from Teesside. You focus on the central claims behind underclass theories and consider the social exclusion and youth policy concerns that have emerged as a result (e.g. youth crime, youth unemployment and young parenthood).

You also examine a range of social issues related to youth transition and social exclusion/inclusion in the UK, drawing on local research where possible (e.g. NEETs, youth homelessness, young people and health/ill-health, child poverty, graduate un- and under-employment, and cultures of worklessness).

The final part of the module broadens your learning by extending discussion and analysis from Teesside and the UK through an explicitly comparative approach to theorising youth and social exclusion in a panoramic, global context.

 

and one optional module

Crime and Consumer Culture

This module introduces you to the rich vein of criminological research and theory on the relationship between crime and global consumer culture.

After a period of perceived injustice, the 2011 urban riots in England saw ‘aggravated shopping’ committed by people who seemed to have little else on their minds. Is Britain a nation of consumer addicts, and if so does this combine with other factors to drive some people to crime? How can politics and policy respond to the problem?

You investigate the rise of acquisitive crime that occurred alongside the rise of consumer culture in the late 20th and early 21st century. You also cover the history of consumerism, critiques of consumer culture, the global consumer marketing industry, the empirical relationship between consumer culture and crime, identity and social exclusion, the social psychology of consumer culture, and criminality and the politics of regulation.

Employability and Work Experience

Gain academic credit for participating in work experience related to criminology, criminal justice and sociology. You may find your own work experience (subject to approval from your module tutor) or you can take advantage of work experience opportunities offered as part of the module.

Work experience must be performed to an agreed job description and person specification for a minimum of 60 working hours. To take part you must complete a DBS check, along with any other security checks required by your work experience provider. You must also agree to and sign a legal agreement outlining the obligations of yourself, the University and the work experience provider. Alongside your work experience you explore employability issues and skills through a number of interactive workshops led by professionals from within and outside the University.

This module has limited places and participation is subject to a selection process involving an application, shortlisting and interview.

Independent Studies

This module allows you to study a theorist or a social scientific debate in depth throughout the academic year. It encourages independent learning and assumes a high degree of autonomy.

You choose two topics and produce a piece of assessed work on each (see your options below). After initial group sessions, the module runs through individual tutorials. You’re expected to spend a considerable amount of time reading materials appropriate to your area of study.

Inside Out

Leisure, Pleasure and Harm

Explore new developments in sociology and criminology and consider the notion of deviant leisure. We study activities considered as leisure pursuits which consumers engage in with the ultimate aim of gaining pleasure.

Through study of a range of topics and issues, you learn to critically analyse our leisure, pleasure and consumption choices with reference to criminological and sociological analyses of harm, crime and identity. Consider how – in our quest for pleasure, through leisure and consumption – we negotiate realities of harm.

Mentoring

This module gives you the chance to mentor someone on a one-to-one basis for one hour a week for 12 - 15 weeks. Placements are varied and may include mentoring pupils from Years 10 and 11 in secondary schools, mentoring international students, or working in third sector organisations.

Alternatively, you can arrange your own mentoring placement in an alternative setting, subject to the module leader’s approval. In addition to exploring practical aspects of mentoring, you consider different theoretical and practice models, and use research evidence to determine best practice. There is strong tutor support and supervision throughout the module.

Migration and Development

This module examines the historical and contemporary processes of transnational migration and international development that have occurred in the context of capitalist globalisation.

The module is broadly divided into two parts. The first part focuses on development and covers: the meaning of development; theories of development; poverty; war and development; the role and place of Islam; and globalisation.

The second part of the module examines migration and considers: the concept of transnationalism; forced migration; the economics of migration; migration and cultural issues; and, migration and recent political debates.

Moral Economy of Criminal Justice

Explore the moral economy of criminal justice, and gain an original, analytical perspective on the discipline.

The first part of the module introduces intellectual and moral resources which draw on western philosophical heritage, theology, personalism, symbolic ethics, and moral conditions before and after the Industrial Age.

The second part of the module puts these intellectual and moral resources to work to analyse developments in criminal justice, including penal policy and probation, from 1979 into the present.

Particular reference is made to the conservative period of criminal justice between 1979 and 1997; New Labour between 1997 and 2010; and the coalition government from 2010 to 2015 and beyond.

Prison and the Prisoner Experience

This module explores the relationship between philosophies of punishment and applied methods and strategies of penal intervention, paying particular attention to the ethical conflicts and dilemmas that emerge.

Retaining a focus on the key principles of security, control, and justice, you explore issues of differential treatment, the response and adaptation of prison populations to penal practices and regimes, the internal culture of the prison, and role of the prison officer.

The impact of social and economic change and the influence of neo-liberalism on penal policy and practice are examined in depth to allow for a critical understanding of contemporary penal systems. The module also includes critical analysis of the impact of human rights law on the treatment of prisoners.

Race, Crime and Social Exclusion

An exploration of the ways the categories of race, ethnicity and social class are constructed and represented by the various forms and institutions that constitute the criminal justice system and wider systems of social control.

You examine the ideological, historical, economic and socio-political context of how race and class came to be associated with crime and criminal justice. We discuss how this association has been generated in part through early criminological discourse and through contemporary academic assessment of evidence and explanations about whether, and to what extent, minority ethnic criminality and victimisation is constructed through racism.

Case studies of criminality and victimisation, policing, stop and search, the courts, penality, genocide, and racial violence are used. You are asked to acquaint yourself with relevant theoretical and policy perspectives and debates about minority ethnic groups in relation to the criminal justice system, and to ask yourself whether theories of racism can enhance a criminological understanding of this area.

Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence

Critically examine the nature, extent and impact of sexual and domestic violence from a range of academic, theoretical, research, policy and practitioner perspectives. Explore the links between the various aspects of domestic and sexual violence, including rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, honour based violence and sexual exploitation.

You engage with the conceptual, methodological and ethical issues which characterise historically hidden problems – and we focus on the continued need for sensitivity in exploring and addressing these issues. The module traces the emergence of sexual and domestic violence as criminological problems, and critically examines the changing legal, policing, criminal justice and community responses.

Understanding Drugs in Society

The study of drugs and drug use is at an important stage and views of drug use are changing. This module introduces key issues and debates in the field of drug use and misuse. It critically examines the changing status of drug use and the way drug use is conceived as problematic for individuals and societies. The module also highlights how changing attitudes and policy towards drug use reflect broader socio-economic and cultural changes.

You examine how drug policies have attempted to control and regulate intoxication in society by different health and crime prevention strategies. You consider: changing patterns of drug use and the implications of this change for drug users; the representation of drugs and drug use in popular culture; the nature of care provision for ‘problem’ drug users; the conflicting nature of drugs education and the dichotomy between harm reduction and ‘just say no’ strategies and crime prevention strategy as it relates to the ‘war on drugs’.

You also explore possible future policy alternatives such as legalisation and de-criminalisation and examine nations that have taken a more lenient approach to drug use. The module draws on current local, national and international research into social aspects of drug use. You are encouraged to draw on numerous resources including the media and popular culture, the internet, social networking and your own experiences.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

All modules are taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. In lectures specific information is delivered to larger groups while, in the smaller seminar groups, you can explore issues in more depth supported by independent study. Examples of seminar activities include case study work, media analysis, poster presentations, discussions and debates. You learn how to use all our extensive facilities such as electronic journals, virtual learning environments and computer programs.

How you are assessed

Assessment is varied and includes essays, presentations, projects, case studies, examinations and a dissertation. Some modules have several pieces of assessed work to help you to develop your skills throughout the academic year.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
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Career opportunities

Your skills will equip you well for the police force, probation service, prison service, youth work and community development. There are also opportunities for employment within the public sector and for postgraduate study.

All programmes are designed to incorporate employability skills development alongside your degree course. Our staff utilise their extensive connections to provide many and varied opportunities to engage with potential employers through fairs, guest lecture sessions, live projects and site visits. In addition we offer a series of workshops and events in the first, second and third year that ensure all students are equipped with both degree level subject knowledge PLUS the practical skills that employers are looking for in new graduate recruits. We also offer extensive support for students to find and secure sandwich year placements which have been shown to make have significant positive impact on a student’s career prospects on graduation.

Our award winning careers service works with regional and national employers to advertise graduate positions, in addition to providing post-graduation support for all Teesside University alumni.

Entry requirements

A typical offer 80-96 tariff points from at least two A levels (or equivalent). You must have GCSE English Language at grade C (or equivalent). We recommend an Access course if you're a mature student.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

Part-time

What is KIS?

How to understand the Key Information Set

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Up to 5 years

More part-time details

  • Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342308

Contact details

Further information