BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice - University of Portsmouth
A Gold rating in teaching excellence Read more
BSc (Hons)

Criminology and Criminal Justice

UCAS codeM930

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Learn from some of the UK’s top crime experts

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course offers you an exciting opportunity to combine the study of criminology with key issues and debates in criminal justice and the multi-agency approach to crime and the changing nature of offences.  You will have the opportunity to study a range of topics which include, new approaches to policing, contemporary terrorism, offending behaviour, victimology and wildlife crime.  Our modern curriculum is delivered by a range of experts in criminology, sociology, probation and policing and you will also have the chance to interact with practitioners drawn from a range of criminal justice agencies, businesses and charitable organisations.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Engage in depth with the full range of critical debates and issues in criminology and criminal justice
  • Evaluate the multi-agency approach to crime and its impact on society
  • Choose specialist study options according to your particular interests.
  • Discuss career options with our panel of recent graduates working in the criminal justice sector
  • Include languages or work experience placements alongside your degree study
  • Spend a year abroad studying with an international partner university

What opportunities might it lead to?

Upon graduating you will be well equipped to embark upon a diverse range of career choices within policing, criminal justice agencies, crime analysis, probation, the courts and prison service, research, charitable organisations and private industry.  You will also be able to undertake postgraduate study in a range of subjects depending on your specialist interests.


Aysha Coker, BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice student

The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies has provided me with amazing opportunities that I would never have had, including studying in Norway and working directly with offenders. It offers a wide range of specialist topics within the field, and staff have nurtured my ambitions and inspired me to pursue the areas that I am most passionate about. The course as a whole is fascinating, and I would recommend it to anybody with an interest in crime or criminal justice.

Aysha Coker, BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice student


Law and Criminology

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Putting their knowledge into practice in real and mock situations
  • Practical hands-on opportunities to extend experience and practical skills
  • Lecturers with practical experience in the subjects

Browse all courses in Law and Criminology

Back to top

Structure & Teaching

Year one

Core units currently include:

  • Understanding Criminology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Crime and Society
  • Introduction to Psychology for Criminologists
  • Skills for Criminologists
  • Researching Criminology 1

Study of Languages (0 credits) - which if combined with Year 2 Languages Study, leads to a Certificate.

Year two

Core units currently include:

  • Questioning Criminology
  • Key Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Researching Criminology 2

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Crime, Media and Culture
  • Victims of Crime: Key Players in Criminal Justice
  • Crimes of the Powerful
  • Policing a Diverse Society
  • Wildlife Crime: Threats and Response
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Penology and Prison
  • Community Justice
  • Global, State and Corporate Security
  • Youth Crime, Youth Justice
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Investigation
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Learning from Experience (Faculty Wide Option)

Year-long language option for credit which, if combined with Year 1 Languages Study, leads to a Certificate.

Year three

Core units currently include:

  • Dissertation
  • Contemporary Criminologies

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Crime, Exclusion and Mental Health
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Dangerous Offenders and Public Protection
  • Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders
  • Miscarriages of Justice
  • Hate Crime
  • Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders
  • Cybercrime: Deviance, Crime and Terror
  • Contemporary Terrorism and the Global Response
  • Gender and Crime
  • Professional Skills in Criminal Justice
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Criminal Justice Clinic
  • Introduction to Teaching

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Full-time undergraduate student Study Abroad opportunities.

During your time at the Institute of Criminal Justice Justice studies, you will be actively encouraged to develop your language skills, to develop your international and comparative subject expertise, and to consider Study Abroad at one of our partner universities in Europe, South Asia or North America.

We currently have 3 European Union partnerships, plus 2 outside of Europe in Canada and South Korea. All our Study Abroad opportunities are for a full academic year – operating as a "sandwich year" at year three of a four year degree. 


Our teaching approach involves lectures, seminars, tutorials, group discussions, practical workshops and forensic crime scene examinations. We'll teach you the skills necessary for degree-level work through study skills tutorials in year one and two, and focus on dissertation supervision in year three. You will have access to software and web-based learning materials, which will enhance your educational experience.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 21% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 79% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 21% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 79% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 11% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 89% studying independently and 0% on work placement


Assessment is through a combination of coursework and examinations. These include open, pre-seen papers and closed traditional examinations. Coursework involves seminar papers, presentations, group projects and a 10,000-word dissertation. Full support is given to help you develop the necessary techniques.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 18% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 75% by coursework
  • Year two students: 0% by written exams, 10% by practical exams and 90% by coursework
  • Year three students: 8% by written exams, 13% by practical exams and 79% by coursework

Professional accreditation

Through their studies students can also gain professional accreditation that will directly assist them in the development of their employability prospects. For example:

  • Students can additionally gain professional accreditation from the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board as an Accredited Counter Fraud Technician (ACFTech) or as an Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (ACFS) by opting in to a short course, subject to additional requirements set down by the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board. (A fee may apply)

Tutor's view


Dr Nick Pamment
Criminology and Criminal Justice

This is a fascinating course enabling you to study all aspects of criminology and criminal justice. Supported by highly-experienced academic staff and innovative teaching methods, this degree has a strong record of student satisfaction, achievement and employability.

Back to top

Facilities & Features


The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies was founded in 1992 and has since grown to comprise 50 academic staff and more than 1,800 students. Now an internationally-renowned focal point for the multidisciplinary study of crime and criminal justice processes, it draws together expertise in criminological analysis, applied psychology, police governance and management, victimology, penology, risk and security.

Professional Links

Our extensive experience and close professional relationships with the police service and criminal justice agencies ensure that our courses reflect the changing needs of the profession. You may benefit from these links by hearing guest speakers, listening to leading-edge research and being helped to find professional work placements.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

For placements abroad, you will be required to pay for additional costs. These will vary depending on the placement and length of stay, ranging from £50 - £1,000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence.

Back to top

Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

You can expect to work within the police, probation and prison services, in the fields of community safety, crime prevention and criminological research, or the forensic science services.

Our graduates have gone on to jobs as:

  • paralegal executive
  • investigative data analyst
  • police officer
  • probation officer
  • youth offending support officer
  • emergency planning officer
  • offender case administrator

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work/research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies. This gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, reflect on the ways in which you've done so, as well as learn to express this to potential employers.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Back to top

Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
University House
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484