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Criminology and Sociology BSc

Please note that information shown below may be subject to change.

UCAS code
Year of entry
View 2018 entry »
Course length
3 years full time
Law »

Our School of Law has an intellectually challenging approach to research and education. Studying Criminology and Sociology at Royal Holloway means that you will learn from internationally renowned experts who will share their research and experience so that you gain invaluable skills, such as research and data analysis, which are highly sought after by employers. 

How does crime arise, and how does society deal with it? On this course you will explore issues of criminal behaviour, punishment and rehabilitation strategies while also examining the social forces that affect individuals and impact on their behaviour. Throughout the course you will be encouraged to focus on the causes of crime and the workings of the criminal justice system, and to understand a range of social problems and policy issues. 

Our balanced approach to research and teaching guarantees high quality teaching from subject leaders, cutting edge materials and intellectually challenging debates. You will receive individual attention and flexibility to acquire expertise within a specialist field, such as: youth and crime, war and terrorism, restorative justice and forensic psychology. In the final year you will complete a dissertation on a related topic of your choice.

  • An established international reputation for excellence in research on issues associated with crime, law and justice, children, young people and families, risk, security and technology, social identity and divisions and health, medicine and regulation.  
  • Excellent position through the broad portfolio of skills gained, for careers in many diverse areas, including: journalism, criminal justice and the voluntary sector.
  • Flexibility to specialise in areas of interest, including: violent crime, sociology of health and illness, crime and the media, race and ethnicity in contemporary society, risk insecurity and terrorism and drugs, crime and society.
  • The very latest developments in law, criminology, psychology, sociology and social policy are reflected in the programme. 

Core modules

Year 1

Criminology: Introduction to Criminology

This module provides you with a general introduction to criminology and forensic psychology. You will explore official, populist, sociological and psychological meanings of crime through study of the development of criminology as a distinctive field of research and scholarship. You will develop sociological understandings of crime and the history of punishment, before turning to forensic psychology and its contribution to understanding offending behaviours, punishment and rehabilitation. 

Criminology: Criminal Justice System

This module introduces you to the development, role, function and operation of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. You will examine the stages of the criminal justice process, and in doing so develop an understanding of the key debates around the punishment of offenders, the process of achieving justice for victims and the theoretical positions on the purpose of punishment. You will also be encouraged to think critically about the treatment of different social groups within the criminal justice process, such as youth offenders, those with mental disorders and white collar criminals. The module comprises of weekly lectures and seminars, where you will have the opportunity to discuss key debates and apply your knowledge of the criminal justice process to case studies.

Sociology: Introduction to Sociology

This module introduces you to key classical and contemporary social theories, including the ‘founding fathers’ of continental European sociology (Durkheim, Marx, and Weber) and the originators of US sociology (including Parsons, Goffman, and Garfunkel).

Sociology: Social Problems and Social Policy

This module explores contemporary social issues, including poverty, inequality, unemployment and discrimination. You will learn about the foundations of the welfare state as well as social policies in areas such as education, housing, health and family life. Key questions to be discussed include: What are the most important social problems in contemporary society? Is the welfare state in crisis? Why are young people more vulnerable to unemployment? How does the media influence our perceptions of social problems?

Year 2

Criminology: Research Methods for Social Scientists

This module provides you with an introduction to the philosophical issues in social research. You will look at ethics in social research and theory, quantitative versus qualitative methods, sampling, observation, interviewing, media analysis, and questionnaire design. You will be given the opportunity to work through the research process on a topic of independent study of your choosing.

Criminology: Data Analysis

This module introduces you to techniques of quantitative and qualitative data analysis and will equip you with the skills to design and carry out your own analyses.

Criminology: Key Perspectives and Debates in Criminology

This module will enable you to develop detailed and more critical understandings of core criminological theory and key issues within the discipline. Drawing on sociological, biological and psychological perspectives as a way of understanding criminal behaviour, you will consider key issues such as drug use, organised crime, white collar crime and terrorism. Lectures and seminars promote the application of these theoretical perspectives through case studies and empirical research.

Sociology: Sociology of Contemporary Society

This module provides you with a sociological analysis of contemporary society, helping you to understand major social and economic changes in the contemporary world through key sociological debates concerning, amongst others, the changing nature of the organisation of production and the changing nature of class. You will also examine the transformation of cultural forms in contemporary society and apply these theories to contemporary social issues.

Year 3

All modules are optional

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules are taken

Year 2

Criminology: Violent Crime - Sociological and Psychological Perspectives


Criminology: Crime and the Law


Criminology: Youth and Crime


Sociology: Sociology of the Family


Sociology: Youth in Society - the Sociology of Youth and Youth Culture


Year 3

Criminology: Crime, Media and Culture


Criminology: Crime and Literature


Criminology: Critical Readings in Criminology


Criminology: Race, Crime and Justice


Criminology: Risk, Insecurity and Terrorism Part 1

In this module you will develop an understanding of the different criminological, sociological and psychological appraoches to the study of terrorism. You will gain an oversight of terrorism within the content of current policy and global governance, with specific reference to international law and human rights. You will examine debates on the threats posed by terrorism, considering the emergence of the new terrorism in Britain.

Criminology: Risk, Insecurity and Terrorism Part 2

In this module you will develop an understanding of terrorism on the global stage, examining different perspectives on its history and development, starting with the emergence of new terrorism in the post 9/11 era. You will analyse global repsonses to terrorism, considering the differentiated impact of terrorism on a global scale, and the way in which fear of terrorism can be used as an instrument of political power by various state agencies. 

Criminology: Prisons

In this module you will develop an understanding of the role, function and operation of prisons in England and Wales. You will think critically about the nature of imprisonment and the effectiveness of the prison system, using research, government reports, prisoners' account and other relevant sources to analyse recent policy initiatives.

Criminology: Drugs, Crime and Society

In this module you will develop a knowledge of illicit drugs, their effects and how they have been used cross-culturally through time. You will gain an insight into the sociological and psychological theories that seeks to explain addiction and problem drug use, with practical knowledge of how drug users and drug markets have been controlled through policy, enforcement and legislation.

Criminology: Gender, Sexuality and Crime

In this module you will develop an understanding of key sociological, psychological and criminal-legal approaches to gender and sexuality. You will think critically about how theories of gender and sexuality have informed the study of crime and shaped our understanding of sexual offences, and the relationship between gender, sexuality and criminal justice, from the 19th century to the present day. You will look at case studies that have shaped the study of gender, sexuality, and crime hisotrically and in the present day, such as the violations perpetrated against women through the diagnosis of 'hysteria', the development of the law of rape, sociological and psychological appraoches to sex offenders, and debates about the crimialisation of pornography.

Criminology: Sentencing and Penal Policy

This module will introduce you to sentencing, its key principes, and current issues, such as the need for a defensible penal policy, the effects of expansionism, the need for reductionism and the desire to abolish. You gain an overview of the different types of sentences currently available, considering the potential for discrimination in sentencing, and the role of victims in the sentencing process. You will look at penal
policy and the current penal crisis, critically evaluating a particular area of sentencing and developing a policy paper to propose reform to the current penal policy.

Criminology: Victims and Witnesses

This module explores the current procedures in the UK surrounding the treatment of witnesses and victims of crime. You will examine issues surrounding vulnerable people, children, adults, and older people with respect to the different professional responses required. You will look at victims and witnesses in a historical context, identifying milestones that highlight key development. You will consider the long term consequences of involvement in the legal system, and look at research on victims and witnesses from a wide range of disciplines.

Sociology: Sociology of Health and Illness 1

In this module you will develop an understanding of different sociological approaches to the study of health and illness, with an awareness of the social patterning and causes of ill health. You will critically examine debates in the sociology of health and illness, considering factors such as social class, gender and ethnicity.

Sociology: Sociology of Health and Illness 2

In this module you will develop an understanding of the changing role and status of the medical profession, with an awareness of the consequences of an ageing society. You will critically examine the sociological perspectives of the study of health, medicine and illness and relate these issues to contemporary health policy concerns.

Sociology: Youth in Society - Deviance and Delinquency

In this module uou will develop an awareness of the changing position of the young in society, considering changing ideas about adolescence, youth and the transition to adulthood. You will gain an insight into the significance of delinquency and the representation of delinquent and deviant youth in the media, including gangs in Biritish society and youth riots in Britain.

Sociology: Youth in Society - Culture, Subculture and Transgression

In this module you will develop an understanding of youth culture and consider the key theoretical debates concerning youth subcultures. You will gain an insight into the interplay between gender and ethnicity in the formation of youth cultures and subcultures, including their representation in the media.

Sociology: Critical Readings in Sociology


Sociology: Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary Society

In this module you will develop a historical and sociological understanding of the study of race, racism and ethnicity, with an awareness of the way in which these interact with other social divisions and inequalities. You will anylse the extent to which race and ethnicity are central to how society is organised and structured, with knowledge of the models of race relations and the relevance of geography and politics.

Sociology: Children, Society and Risk

In this module you will develop an understanding of key debates in relation to children, society and risk, childhood, children's rights, citizenship and social harm. You will look at empirical and theoretical studies in these areas and understand the ways in which social policy, and criminal justics agencies, are adapting their responses to deal with crimes commited against children.

Sociology: Lost in Music - the Sociology of Popular Music

In this module you will develop an understanding of the sociological analysis of popular music concentrating on, but not only covering, recorded popular music since the mid-1950s. You will gain an insight into the historical development of popular music within a social context, considering the relationships between music and mass society, music and youth culture, and the usage of popular music as a form of expression by the socially and economically marginalised, and as a from of protest.

The course is taught mainly through lectures, seminars and small group tutorials. Lectures provide a broad introduction to the subject matter and seminar groups allow an active exchange of ideas with your tutor and other students. Outside of scheduled teaching sessions, students work independently and collaboratively on researching topics in preparation for seminar discussions.

Course units are assessed by a combination of essays; oral presentations, end of year exams and, in the third year, an independent dissertation.

Typical offers

Typical offers

How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.

  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant's education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.

Required/preferred subjects

At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

5,5,5 at Higher Level subjects with a minimum of 32 points overall

BTEC National Extended Diploma

Distinction Distinction Distinction in a relevant subject area

Distinction Distinction in a relevant subject area plus an A-level grade B

BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus A-level grades BB
Welsh Baccalaureate

Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate

Scottish Advanced Highers


Scottish Highers


Irish Leaving Certificate


Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass in a relevant subject with at least 24 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education 

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
IELTS 6.5 overall including a minimum of 5.5 in each subscore.

For equivalencies please see here.


For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

A Criminology and Sociology degree at Royal Holloway, University of London can lead into a variety of career paths. Your will become equipped with the knowledge, skills and experiences essential to advance your future career or move onto further study.

  • Full time employment or further study achieved by 95% of graduates within six months of graduation (Unistats 2015).
  • Graduates in recent years, have entered many different fields including work with criminal justice agencies such as the Crown Prosecution Service, the police, probation service, youth custody and the prison service. 
  • The course also equips graduates for careers in the media, the voluntary sector, local government, the civil service and the private sector.  Graduates who do particularly well can go on to further study at postgraduate level and pursue careers in research and evaluation in academic and policy contexts.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year**: £16,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates has not yet been confirmed for students starting a degree in the academic year 2019/20.

**Fees for international students starting a degree at Royal Holloway in the academic year 2019/20 have not yet been set, and those for 2018/19 are shown for reference purposes only. Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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