BA in Criminology Queen's University Belfast
The BA (Hons) in Criminology provides a unique vantage point to study crime and justice in a society transitioning from conflict. Criminologists are interested in how activities come to be defined as ‘criminal’, and why definitions and responses to crime vary over time and place. The subject includes a broad range of perspectives on understanding crime and criminal behaviour, and examines various methods in the prevention, policing and punishment of crime. The course also considers how and why people move away from crime, ways in which this might be facilitated and offender reintegration.
Criminology Degree Highlights
For 2020, Criminology at Queen’s has been ranked in the top ten criminology degrees in the Guardian League Tables, having also been the number one ranked criminology degree in UK in 2018.
- Students can spend time studying in one of our linked Universities in Europe. There is also the opportunity to study or work abroad, supported by schemes, such as Erasmus and Study USA. Additionally, students benefit for visiting international students who take criminology modules, as it increases their exposure to international criminal justice policy and practice, enhancing their understanding of criminology as an international discipline.
- Students are offered opportunities to develop substantive knowledge and research skills through collaboration with Northern Ireland’s vibrant civil and community sector, through field trips, guest lectures, workshops, placements, research collaborations and volunteering opportunities.
World Class Facilities
- The programme is taught on Queen’s historic campus in the heart of Belfast, which has been ranked one of the most affordable Universities in the UK.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Criminology is taught by a group of internationally-recognised criminological researchers who specialise in areas, such as criminal justice policy, prisons, policing, desistance from crime, offender reintegration, drug use, youth justice, conflict and transitional justice.
- We offer a high quality, supportive, student-centred learning experience in a top Russell Group University, as evidenced by our excellent National Student Survey student satisfaction rates.
Modules often draw on international comparisons with a strong Irish (North and South) emphasis. All of the optional modules are taught by experts in the area, who have published textbooks and research articles on the topic at hand.
Stage 1 Core Modules
These core modules aim to introduce students to the discipline of criminology, provide you with a range of intellectual and practical skills to develop your understanding of crime, criminal justice and criminalisation. These modules are delivered by our core criminology team - as experts in their respective fields - and who have published widely on the topics you will be learning. These core criminology will be taught alongside complementary optional modules in stage 1 (below) which develop student understandings of wider societal, government policy and sociological dynamics which inform understandings of, and responses to, crime.
- Introducing Criminology
- Crime and Society
- Rethinking Society
Stage 1 Optional Modules
- Visualising the Social World
- Introducing Social Policy
- Themes and Issues in Social Policy
- The Sociological Imagination
- Comparative Politics
- Issues in Contemporary Politics
- Digital Society
Stage 2 Core Modules
Year two, the criminology degree builds upon the foundational skills and knowledge developed at stage one, and begins to specialise down into specific fields of criminological interest. This includes applied theoretical considerations, considering important criminological issues in society, along with examining policing and security in society. In particular, level two focuses on providing students with key research skills - to develop applied quantitative and qualitative research approaches to criminological and societal issues. There are additional optional modules (below) which allow students to further develop areas of interest and expertise delivered by our research-active team.
- Criminological Theory
- Qualitative Research Skills
- Quantitative Research Skills
- Crime and the Media
- Policing and Society
Stage 2 Optional Modules
- Justice and Conflict
- Theory Counts
Stage 3 Core Modules
In the final year of your degree, students will further extend and deepen their criminological knowledge into specialist, research-led modules, developing analytical and critical skills, across a range of areas including border criminology, prisons and desistance, youth justice and psychology. For single BA Criminology students, you will also undertake your own research in the form of a dissertation project (on a topic of your choice), which will draw on the research and intellectual skills accrued across the various stages of the degree programme.
- Punishment, Penal Policy and Prison
- Research Project and Dissertation
- Youth, Crime and Criminal Justice
- Criminology Beyond Borders
Stage 3 Optional Modules
- Psychological Perspectives on Crime
- Reintegration after Prison
- Modelling the Social World
- The Sociology of Protest and Revolution
- The cultural politics of memory from a global perspective
The Optional Quantitative Methods Exit Pathway
Students who wish to benefit from specialist training in advanced quantitative research skills can undertake a series of dedicated social science research modules over the course of their degree studies. Students who successfully complete four advanced quantitative research skills modules (80 CATS credits) in level 2 and level 3 of their degree will be eligible to graduate with a BSc in Criminology with Quantitative Methods.
Value Added to Your Degree
- As part of international expertise and profile of the criminology academics at Queen’s University Belfast, you will get a range of opportunities to engage with ‘real-world’ stakeholders in the criminal justice and voluntary/community sector world. These will include expert inputs, field trips and engagements with a range of actors and organisations with whom many of our academics work with as part of their wider research. In addition, students will also become part of the vibrant research community at Queen’s University Belfast, with opportunities throughout their time at Queen’s to attend criminology talks, events and guest speaker sessions to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the criminological field.
- A range of modules throughout second and third year invite guest speakers from criminal justice organisations and non-government organisations to discuss various issues, such as policing, offender management, supporting victims and the policies and practices used to manage crime. For example, guest speakers have included representatives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Prison Service, the Youth Justice System and a range of local non-government organisations who work with victims, young people, refugees, asylum seekers and those involved in offender reintegration.
- Students can also avail of Degree Plus, which is an opportunity for student to obtain official recognition and accreditation from their work in extra-curricular activities that may enhance their employability while completing their degree. Over 2000 students successfully complete Degree Plus each year and in doing so, they build up valuable experience and practice in articulating their development/ achievements to others (e.g. employers or activity providers via application, presentation or interview). They also receive a certificate at graduation.
Program Tuition Fee
The diversity of interests and topics covered in the discipline, plus the wide range of skills it equips you with, means that our students enter a wide range of careers on graduation. Public and private sector organisations involved in the criminal justice system continue to expand and the demand for criminology graduates is strong. The number and variety of career opportunities related to the criminal justice system has increased in recent years.
As well as the traditional criminal justice agencies such as the police, crime prevention and early intervention programmes, as well as the prison service. Criminology graduates work in a range of occupations, including the media, civil service, research, teaching, business, voluntary organisations and management. Criminology graduates also work in victim support organisations and in other social care agencies. Some graduates build on the degree by undertaking further post-graduate training in fields, such as policing, probation work, social work, law, human rights, social science research and teaching. The School has a strong post-graduate programme, offering both Master's and PhD degrees.
Studying for a Criminology degree at Queen’s University will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from this degree at Queen’s University are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline.
You should also take a look at www.prospects.ac.uk for further information concerning the types of jobs that attract Criminology graduates.
Further study is also an option open to Criminology graduates. You can choose from a wide range of Master's programmes as well as a comprehensive list of research topics
Employment after the Course
Typical career destinations of graduates include:
- Victim Support Worker
- Crime Analyst
- Working with people in conflict with the law (e.g. offender management, rehabilitation, etc.)
- Civil Servant (e.g. Police Officer, Prison Officer, etc.)
- Policy Analyst (e.g. working to shape criminal justice policy and practice)
- Charity Worker (e.g. working with the families of victims and/or offenders)
- Youth and Community Worker
Graduate employers include:
- Victim Support
- Political Parties
- Commission for Victims and Survivors NI
- Police Service of Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland Prison Service
- Community and voluntary sector groups
- Northern Ireland Civil Service
- Northern Ireland Housing Executive
- National Health Service
- Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
- Ulster Bank
- Belfast City Council
- Ipsos Mori
English Language Requirements
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