BSc (Hons) Criminology and Cybercrime - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Criminology and Cybercrime

UCAS codeL311

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Combine traditional criminology with the study of cybercrime and digital investigation

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This is a unique course that combines traditional criminology theory with the study of cybercrime, allowing you to explore contemporary areas such as the Dark Web, illegal file sharing and hacking. This exciting curriculum examines the challenges faced by criminal justice agencies, businesses and governments in conducting digital investigations and the far reaching impact of these crimes.

With a range of both theoretical and practical units; delivered by expert practitioners and researchers, you will be able to balance your core study with specialised options including cyber bullying, terrorism and digital forensics.  You will also have the chance to benefit from practical experience working with the local community in our Cybercrime Awareness Clinic delivered in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary.  This will allow you to prepare for an increasingly popular and demanding job market or further study.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Engage with and evaluate current critical debates surrounding the causes of crime, digital investigations and the methods and motivations of cyber criminals.
  • Choose specialist study options according to your particular interests
  • Have the opportunity to complete a work placement year with a relevant organisation including the Digital Forensic Group at Hampshire Constabulary.
  • Discuss career options with our panel of recent graduates working in the criminal justice sector

What opportunities might it lead to?

Upon graduation you can expect to be qualified for a broad range of careers where your criminological knowledge and cybercrime awareness will be imperative.  You will be able to pursue a variety of employment opportunities within criminal justice agencies, local government, businesses and charities as well as an increasing number of private and public industries.  You will also be able to undertake postgraduate study in cybercrime from a legal, technical or investigatory perspective. 



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

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

Core units in this year include:

  • Skills for Criminologists
  • Understanding Criminology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cyberspace, Subcultures and Online Deviance
  • Researching Criminology 1
  • Either:
    • Introduction to Digital Forensic Investigation
    • Cyber Security and Digital Forensics (requires prior knowledge of programming / technology)

Year two

Core units in this year include:

  • Questioning Criminology
  • Researching Criminology 2
  • Cyberlaw, Governance and Human Rights

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Cybercrime Clinic (practice-based unit)
  • Penology and Prison
  • Police, Law and Community
  • Learning from Experience
  • The Dark Web: Threats and Responses
  • Crime and the Media
  • Victims of Crime
  • Wildlife Crime: Threats and Response

If you have studied 'Cyber Security and Digital Forensics' in year 1, you may also select options from:

  • Forensics Fundamentals
  • Forensics Investigations

Year three*

Core units in this year include:

  • Dissertation/Major Project
  • Crime and New Technologies: theory and practice

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Dangerous Offenders and Public Protection
  • Cultural Criminology
  • Hate Crime
  • Management of Forensic Investigations
  • Contemporary Terrorism and the Global Response
  • Gender and Crime
  • Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders

*You will have the chance to do a sandwich year as a study or placement year.

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.


Our teaching approach involves lectures, seminars, tutorials, groups discussion and practical workshops.  We’ll teach you the skills necessary for degree-level work through study skills tutorials in year one and two, and focus on dissertations supervision in year three. (This may involve primary research, practical or lab based projects in any element of criminal justice, investigation and cybercrime).

The teaching will employ new technologies in order to make the experience more interactive and relevant.  You will also have access to software, web based learning materials and virtual learning environments, 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, practical crime scene assessments 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.

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)

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

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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.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

This course combines criminology and cybercrime so can offer multiple opportunities for employment, both in terms of traditional criminology routes and in jobs that relate to the specialised knowledge acquired during the study of the course.

Roles you could take as a graduate include working:

  • for the police in specialised cybercrime/digital forensics related units
  • for public organisations as policy advisors
  • in the prison system
  • for private security firms and consultancies
  • for private auditing/digital investigations companies

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

The course provides opportunities for a work placement with a relevant organisation.

Multiple opportunities will be sought for such placements This will include the High Tech Crime Unit of Hampshire Constabulary, which has agreed to provide such an opportunity for students of this course due to the ongoing collaboration with the Institute and the University.

These opportunities can carry credit as part of the Learning From Experience unit or via additional placement year as part of the four year sandwich degree option.

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.

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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.

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