Return to homepage Skip to navigation Skip to site search Skip to main content Skip to footer


Criminology asks important questions about crime and society. How do we define crime? What are the causes of crime? What makes someone commit a criminal act and, by knowing this, can we prevent future crimes?

Next Start Date: September

Degree type: BA (Hons)

UCAS Code: M9M9

Duration: 4 years (full-time)


Why choose this course?  

The course will help you to ask questions about crime and society, and about why certain crimes become prioritised over others.  What do we mean by crime?  How do we 'talk' about crime?  How do we define criminal behaviour?  Who are the victims of crime?  And why do these things appear to change over time?  When answering these questions, different approaches are taken in order to help shape your understanding of the relationship between crime, society, politics, the media and criminal justice policy.  This will help provide a strong foundation for a range of careers, for example, in policing, the prison service, social and criminal justice policy and practice, probation and through care.

Our teaching is informed by our research practice.  This means students receive state-of-the-art knowledge about cutting-edge developments in the discipline. This knowledge is delivered by leading experts in a variety of fields, from youth crime, community safety, the media and crime, digital crime, and race and crime.  Students regularly commend us for the excellence of our teaching and for the support we give our students.  More than anything, students find the criminology degree both interesting and challenging. 

Criminology BA

What you study

What you study

In Years 1 and 2, students study an array of core criminology, law and sociology modules. These look at themes including criminological theory, crime and criminal justice, criminal law, contemporary social issues, the media, social change and sociological theory.  There is also the opportunity to study theme-based interdisciplinary elective modules.

The course will challenge and develop your understanding of crime, deviance and the criminal justice process through studying sociological and criminological explanations for crime, and exploring the ways in which crime is controlled and regulated in modern societies.  The different approaches taken in answering questions about crime will help you to evaluate the strategies and interventions used to deal with it in modern societies.

In years 3 and 4, students have the opportunity to engage with an array of core and specialist option modules in criminology and sociology. These include modules that explore contemporary criminological theory, gender and crime, policing and police work, penal institutions, human rights and cybercrime.  In your final year, students also design and produce a research project under the dedicated supervision of a member of academic staff.

An optional work placement is available in Year 4, and will require attendance at a relevant work setting outside the University. 

For more information on the course content, download the Programme information - BA with Honours in CriminologyBA with Honours in Criminology

How you learn and are assessed

Students learn through an array of teaching modes including lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, online discussion forums, video screenings, guest speaker presentations, directed and private study, and student-focussed group work.

Students will be assessed through a number of methods including supervised examinations, essays, reports, portfolios, presentations, project work, class and online tests, trust-and-honour examinations and reflective analyses.

Examination techniques

A wide variety of assessments will be used throughout the duration of the degree, including essays, reports, critical reviews, case studies, examinations, presentations and a final year dissertation.  

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

Entry routes

Minimum Entrance Requirements

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

Higher ABBB  Essential subjectsliterate subject   In addition, all applicants must have National 4 Maths or Lifeskills Maths (Pass) or National 5 Numerate subject such as Science, Biology, Chemistry or Physics at C
A Level BCC  Essential subjectsliterate subject   In addition, all applicants must have GCSE Maths or Numerate subject such as Science, Biology, Chemistry at grade C/4
Irish Highers H2H3H3H3 Essential subjectsliterate subject   
BTEC Extended Diploma DMM Health & Social Care/Public Services/Travel & Tourism
International Baccalaureate 29 Points with literate subject at S5 or H4
AHEAD - successful completion of the relevant stream of our AHEAD programme
SWAP - our Coming from College pages list approved SWAP courses
HNC - our Coming from College pages list approved HNC courses 

Advanced Higher: ABB (to include Sociology or Modern Studies)
A Level: ABB (to include Sociology)
HNC/HND - our Coming from College pages list approved HNC/HND courses

Not sure if you are 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 know that some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university and that 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 3 Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have:

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

We encourage you to submit an application.

International Applicants

You must provide certified proof of your English language level (minimum requirements are listed here).  Our British Council accredited International English Foundation Course can help you reach that level or, if you would like further develop your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your full potential.

EU applicants:  Entry requirements can be found on our Europe pages.  Overseas (non-EU) applicants:  We're currently developing your country pages, so please email us details of your entry requirements.

Alternative Entrance Requirements
Please email us if you have other qualifications/experience not listed here.

Fees and scholarships

Fee Category Tuition Fees
Scholarships & Bursaries
Scottish and other EU students

Current fees

Other forms of support
English, Welsh and Northern Irish

Current fees

Bursaries & Scholarships
Overseas (non EU) students

Current fees

Overseas Scholarships

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

Further info

Career prospects

A Criminology degree at Abertay provides you with the knowledge and skills required for a variety of careers, particularly those characterised by working with, and managing, people and groups.  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.

Graduates from this course 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 demand, particularly in Scotland.  Finally, there is an opportunity at Abertay to carry on your studies by doing a Masters by Research.

Industry links

Teaching staff incorporate a number of external speakers within their modules.  These speakers are drawn from such areas as 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. 

Want to know more?
Student Recruitment Office
T:  +44 (0) 1382 308080
F:  +44 (0) 1382 308081


"I would definitely encourage other prospective students to study at Abertay, as the university opens up a vast amount of opportunities and allows people to further their education."

Brenda Clunie

Information for New Students

New to Abertay then find out about being a new student.

Supporting our Students

Support for students at the University is provided by Student Services - find out more.

Student Life