Explore a fascinating blend of social science, sociology and law while studying one of Scotland’s top Criminology degrees. Be taught by leading experts and gain valuable professional experience work placements.

Course detail

Start Date



4 years (full-time)

Award Title

BA (Hons)



Why study Abertay's BA (Hons) in 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.

Missed the 15 January UCAS deadline or changed your mind about where you want to apply? Don't panic, we are still taking applications through UCAS for September 2019 study.

Start a Degree in September 2019

Entry Requirements

Please note: All applicants must have passes in English - National 5 grade C and GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent.  National 5 ESOL is accepted in lieu of National 5 English.

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
  • ESOL
  • 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

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.

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.

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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.

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Entry Requirements by Country

Discover whether you're eligible for entry and learn more about the country-specific qualifications you need to study at Abertay.

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English Language Requirements

Explore English language requirements for entry to Abertay University.

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English Language Courses

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

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Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

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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 University degree programme.

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

Key Modules (2018/19)

Crime and Punishment (CRM101)

An exploration of key concepts regarding crime and punishment, how they are understood and represented in society and what impact this understanding of crime can have. Module content includes: the meaning of crime, deviance and punishment; the extent of crime and deviance; inequality and crime.

Classical Social Theory (SOC201)

An introduction to the work of three key social theorists, Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, which is used to critically illustrate the nature of capitalist modernity and the foundations of contemporary sociological theory and practice.

Criminal Justice Processes (CRM201)

An introduction to the criminal justice system and processes in Britain. How the criminal justice system operates, its key agencies and processes as well as their relationship with the wider institutions, structures and issues in modern society. Also, a critical look at how theories and debates concerning crime and criminal justice have influenced the history and development of the criminal justice system.

Theories of Crime and Deviance (CRM202)

An introduction to a range of theoretical approaches that explain crime, deviance and criminal behaviour. Provides students with the ability to develop an understanding for and enhance critical awareness of classical and contemporary perspectives on crime and deviance.

Contemporary Criminological Theory (CRM301)

Provides an understanding of key modern theories associated with a theoretical understanding of developments in crime and society. Module content includes: fear and control of crime; gender and crime; cultural criminology; crime, discipline and governmentality.

Police, Policing and Policework (CRM302)

An introduction to key issues and debates in the history and development of contemporary policing in the UK. Module content includes: the history of the police; policing structures and systems; police operations; key debates in contemporary policing.

Researching Society (SOC305)

Provides an understanding of the importance of empirical research to the social sciences. It will provide students with the skills and capabilities to identify and use appropriate data collection tools, apply analysis techniques to data generated and reflect upon their meaning, relevance and ethical implications.

Penal Institutions (CRM305)

Provides an understanding of the prison system, the experience of imprisonment and penal policy and practice in the UK. Module content includes: contemporary developments in penal theory, policy and practice; the reality of prison life; alternatives to imprisonment ; attitudes to imprisonment; foreign nationals.

Honours Project (SOC400)

Offers students the opportunity to conduct and present a simple investigation into a sociological topic of their choice, the result of which is a 10,000 word dissertation.

Contemporary Issues in Criminological Research (CRM401)

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

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

Programme Fees for 2019

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. 


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.


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.


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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.

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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

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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)).

Get inspired

Meet some of our Criminology graduates and find out what they've gone on to do.

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Stephen Annis

Stephen is a Paralegal at Blackadders and he’ll soon be a Trainee Solicitor.

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Beata Kozłowska

Beata is a Legal Executive at Maguire McClafferty Solicitors in Dublin.

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Laura Scofield

Laura provides in-depth family support to both children and young people in families who have a loved one imprisoned.

Find out more

Programme Leader - Criminology

Dr Stuart Waiton

Dr Stuart Waiton

School of Social and Health Sciences | Senior Lecturer

View profile

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