BA in Criminology and Sociology


Program Description


Choose our Criminology and Sociology degree and you’ll benefit from studying two closely related disciplines; with training both in criminology and the theory and methods of applied social science. Learn how to ‘think like a criminologist’ and apply criminology to the context of modern life, social diversity and inequalities in society. Criminologists are interested in how activities are defined as criminal, explanations for crime and social reactions to crime.

You’ll explore fascinating questions surrounding the criminal justice system, the social contexts of crime, and the relationship between behaviour and punishment. Why and how do people break the law? How can the criminal justice system define this, and how do we police, prosecute and punish people?

Our Criminology and Sociology course reflects the latest developments in social research and is taught by experts in their fields. We’re ranked 1st in Scotland for Criminology and 2nd for Sociology (The Guardian University Guide, 2018).

Top reasons to study with us

#1 Ranked 1st in Scotland and 4th in the UK for Criminology (The Guardian University Guide, 2018)

#2 We’re 2nd in Scotland and top 15 in the UK for Sociology (The Guardian University Guide, 2018)

#3 Our course reflects the latest developments in social research

Course details

In Semesters 1-4, you’ll take the following core modules:

  • Social Differentiation - the effects that differences in gender, age, ethnicity and status have on the way in which people are treated in different societies.
  • Social Problems - contemporary social issues and policy responses including crime, white-collar crime and immigration crime.
  • Understanding Social Policy - historical and theoretical perspectives on social policy analysis including crime policy.
  • The Development of Social Theory: An Introduction to Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
  • Crime and Criminal Justice - the architecture of the criminal justice system, and evidence on, and explanations for, crime and offending.

You’ll also take two additional modules in any subject in semesters 1-4.

In Semesters 5-8, you’ll take two core modules:

  • The Research Process is split into two modules.
    The first is an introduction to a range of research methods and a number of issues relating to the exploration of the social world. In the second, you’ll gain a deeper practical and theoretical understanding of research methods in sociology and social policy.

You’ll also choose four advanced option modules, which could include: Global Markets and Crime; Crimes of the Powerful; Punishment and Society; Criminological Theories in Context; or Gender, Crime and Justice. When you reach your final year of the Honours degree, you’ll undertake a research dissertation.


Teaching is delivered through lectures, workshops and small discussion groups.

Year 1 modules aim to bridge the gap between school and university study through coursework assessments. You’ll also receive tuition in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, which is invaluable for your Year 4 dissertation.

A mentoring system is also in place for Year 3 students entering Honours.


Assessment for each module is normally based on a combination of coursework and examinations. For example, one essay (30 percent) and an examination (70 percent). The final-year dissertation counts for two modules. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to put research methods you’ve studied into practice and focus on a particular interest.

Classroom hours

Typically, each module involves two lectures plus one workshop per week.

Study abroad

As a University of Stirling student, you’ll have the opportunity to broaden your horizons and study abroad through our well-established connections with several international universities.

Find out more about studying abroad.


Dr Niall Hamilton Smith, Course Director

+44 (0)1786 467046

Fees - 2018/2019

  • Overseas students (non-EU): £12,140
  • Scottish and EU students: £1,820
  • Students from the rest of the UK: £9,250
Last updated Nov 2018

About the School

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society.

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society. Read less