Criminology | Abertay University

BA (Hons)

Criminology students will explore a fascinating blend of social science, sociology and law, learning from Abertay’s research-active staff.

Course detail

Start Date



4 years (full-time)

Degree Classification

BA (Hons)



Why Study Criminology?

Students of criminology will explore a fascinating blend of social science, sociology and law, learning from Abertay’s research-active staff to examine the nature of law making and the various influences on how society is ‘policed’.

This degree delivers up-to-the-minute knowledge from experts at the leading-edge of their fields. It introduces you to key criminal issues and shapes your understanding of the relationship between crime, society, politics, the media and criminal justice policy.

Get set to have your understanding of crime, deviance and the criminal justice process challenged and developed. This is achieved through the study of sociological and criminological explanations for crime, and by exploring the ways in which crime is controlled and regulated in modern societies.

Later in the programme, you’ll choose from an array of core and specialist option modules in criminology and sociology. These include modules that explore contemporary criminological theory, race and crime, policing and police work, penal institutions, human rights and cybercrime.

An optional work placement is available in fourth year, which will require you to attend a relevant work environment outside of the university.

Your Journey Starts Here

Criminology asks important questions about crime and society: How do we define crime? What are the causes of crime? What makes a person commit a criminal act? What measures can we take to prevent future crimes? This degree prepares you to answer these questions and more.

Students working together

Entry Requirements

Please note: All applicants must have passes in English in any of the following: National 5 grade C and GCSE grade C/4.

Applicants must also have passes in National 4 Maths or Lifeskills Maths (Pass) or GCSE Maths or National 5 numerate subject such as Science, Biology or Chemistry at grade C.

Below are the literate subjects we accept for entry on this course:

  • Business Management
  • Classical Studies
  • Economics
  • English
  • English for speakers of other languages
  • Geography
  • History
  • Media Studies
  • Modern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology

If there is a subject that does not appear, please contact our Admissions Office ( who will be able to confirm whether or not it would be considered for entry.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Higher ABBB Literate subject
A-Level BCC Literate subject
Irish Highers H2H3H3H3 Literate subject
International Baccalaureate 29 Points Literate subject at S5 or H4
BTEC Extended Diploma DMM Health & Social Care/Public Services/Travel & Tourism
AHEAD - Successful completion of the relevant stream of our AHEAD programme
SWAP ABB Access to: Humanities, Arts & Humanities and Primary Education, University Study, Community, Education & Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences and Primary Teaching, Languages, Arts & Social Science, Degree Studies, Celtic Studies
HNC - Our Coming from College pages list approved HNC courses​
Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Advanced Higher ABB Sociology or Modern Studies
A-Level ABB Sociology
HNC - Our Entry from College pages list approved HNC courses

Information for International Applicants

Please provide certified proof of your English language level. Our accredited International English Foundation Course can help. To further enhance your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your potential.

Two females and one male sitting together, smiling and chatting

English Language Requirements

Explore English language requirements for entry to Abertay University.

Find out more

Male and female working together

English Language Courses

Discover the range of English language courses on offer at Abertay University.

Find out more

Office environment - two males smiling and chatting

Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

Find out more

Not sure if you're eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

If you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either ...

  • been in care
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university
  • attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university

... we encourage you to submit an application.

Key Modules (2017/18)

Crime and Punishment (CRM101)

This module will explore key concepts regarding crime and punishment, how they are understood and

Contemporary Social Issues (SOC101)

A sociological examination of key contemporary social issues, challenges and problems.

Law (LAW251)

This module concentrates on the fundamental areas of civil law. The foundation for the study of

Controlling Crime (CRM102)

This module will explore ways of talking and thinking about policies and agencies of social cont

History and Social Change (SOC102)

This module will introduce students to a sociological understanding of the processes of social c

Criminal Law and Evidence (LAW253)

This module allows students to develop, broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of t

Classical Social Theory (SOC201)

This module is intended to introduce the work of three key social theorists of the 19th and early

Criminal Justice Processes (CRM201)

This module will provide students with an introduction to the criminal justice system and proces

News, Truth & Power (SOC202)

This module unpacks the ways in which news stories are put together; focusing in particular on how

Theories of Crime and Deviance (CRM202)

CRM802 introduces a range of theoretical approaches that explain crime, deviance and criminal beha

Contemporary Criminological Theory (CRM301)

This module will look at some key contemporary criminological theories.

Police, Policing and Policework (CRM302)

This module introduces students to key issues and debates in the history and development of cont

Researching Society (SOC305)

Principles and practice of social science research methods.

Penal Institutions (CRM305)

This module provides knowledge and understanding of the prison system, the experience of imprisonm

Honours Project (SOC400)

This modules offers the student with the opportunity to conduct and present a simple research inve

Contemporary Issues in Criminological Research (CRM401)

The module explores contemporary theoretical approaches in criminology and their application t

Policing and Criminal Justice in the 21st Century (CRM404)

This module introduces students to key issues and debates in policing and criminal justice matters

How the Course Works

Learning and Assessment 

You’ll learn through a blend of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, online discussion forums, video screenings, guest speaker presentations, directed and private study, and student-focussed group work.

Around a third of the course is assessed through examination, although the precise proportion will be dependent on your module choices.

Other assessment methods include supervised examinations, essays, reports, portfolios, presentations, project work, class and online tests, and reflective analyses.

In your final year, you’ll design and produce a research project under the dedicated supervision of a member of academic staff.

For more information on the course content, please download the Programme Information - BA (Honours) Criminology

About Your Modules

The module information shown here describes the modules our students are taking this year. The modules do change over time to keep our programmes up-to-date and relevant. This means the exact modules you take could be different. If you receive an offer to study with us, you will receive a Programme Information document that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay degree programme.

Please note: As well as Key Modules outlined above, you may also be required to choose Elective Modules.



Rest of UK Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

International Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from international countries (outside of the EU) to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

In addition, we offer a range of corporate/philanthropic scholarships shown below, which are available to all students to support your studies with us. 

The Lothian Family

A £5,000 award for undergraduate students with financial or social difficulties which may prevent them from studying at Abertay.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £500 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.

Programme Fees for 2018

Scottish & EU students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

International Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 


This criminology degree equips you with the skills you need to enjoy a successful and varied career, especially in areas where working with, and managing, people and groups is crucial.

Whether it's working in collaborative groups, assessing evidence, writing reports, acquiring skills in qualitative and quantitative research or completing project work, your studies will contribute towards your employability. Our work placement module enhances this advantage.

Upon graduation, you can pursue a number of career routes in criminal justice professions, including policing, the prison service, social work and probation, and also in areas like community work and teaching. 

Graduates may also apply for postgraduate study, most typically in social policy and social work, criminology, law and criminal justice policy, for which there is a great demand, particularly in Scotland.


Person wearing white plastic suit and face mask

Industry Links

You’ll find that our teaching staff incorporate a number of external speakers within their modules. These speakers are drawn from the media, business, the criminal justice system, the voluntary sector and local community groups.

The Community Links module offers you the opportunity to participate in a work placement in your final year. In the past, after graduation, some students have progressed to full-time employment with their work placement organisations.

Close up of Police Officers vest - displaying badge number 101

Meet Laura Scofield

Meet Laura Scofield, a Criminology graduate from Abertay, who's gone on to work as a Family Support Coordinator for families affected by imprisonment. 

Find out more

Group of Forensic Students wearing white suits and face masks - gathering up evidence

Programme Leader - Criminology

Dr Stuart Waiton

Dr Stuart Waiton

School of Social and Health Sciences | Senior Lecturer

View profile

Explore our Dundee Campus

Abertay is conveniently located on a city centre campus, with all of its buildings within a quarter of a mile of each other. Shops, recreational facilities and the main bus and train stations are a short walk away.

Our Campus

Male standing in front of Abertay University

Why Abertay?

We're proud of our students and graduates, and we believe there's no better place to study if you're looking for a degree that helps you stand out as an exceptional candidate in an increasingly competitive job market.

Why Abertay?

Female standing outside the Bernard King Library

Come to an Open Day

An Open Day is your chance to get an up close experience of the University and the city. You’ll come away with all the information you need about us and the courses you’re interested in.


Female hanging upside down on hand railing

Living in Dundee

Dundee is a city of contrasts. It's vibrant and cosmopolitan, but also friendly, compact and affordable. The first UK city to be awarded UNESCO City of Design status, Dundee has a rich history of innovation and creativity, and, in recent years, has become a hub for the digital industries.

Living in Dundee & Scotland

Male standing outside Groucho's shop


Unistats collates comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).

Related Courses

Check out the related courses below - there's a degree for everyone at Abertay.

Large group of people watching a parade


This thought-provoking degree covers everything from death and religious belief to social media use and digital surveillance.

Find out more

Two people wering white plastic suits and face masks are gathering evidence from a crime scene

Forensic Sciences

Go beyond the police tape and learn in state-of-the-art facilities with this fascinating and highly-practical Forensic Sciences degree

Find out more


Ready for a career in a prestigious and rewarding profession? A law degree from Abertay awaits.

Find out more

Find a course