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Criminology and Criminal Justice BSc (Hons)

Study criminology on this degree and prepare for a career in the police, probation or prison services.

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University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

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Typical offer:

112-120 UCAS points from 3 A levels, or equivalent

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Why do people commit crimes? And what should we do about it? From offender to victim, punishment to rehabilitation, this BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice degree asks questions about the causes and consequences of crime. The answers may surprise you. They’ll certainly help you choose the right career path.

As you become an expert on criminology and the criminal justice system in England and Wales, you’ll develop skills for a range of careers – from policing and prisons, to probation and rehabilitation, as well as roles fighting fraud in the private sector or influencing Government policy. And because crime doesn’t respect borders, this course also gives you a uniquely international perspective.

From September 2025, this course will have a new name

It will become BSc (Hons) Criminology. You can still apply as normal.

Course highlights

  • Explore the latest national and international criminology debates and research in topics as varied as hate crime, state crime, terrorism, gang crime and victimology
  • Get career-ready with an emphasis on skills and employability, including volunteering opportunities with organisations such as Hampshire Constabulary and local charities like Aurora New Dawn (supporting victims of crime) and Read and Grow Society (helping ex-offenders learn to read)
  • Learn from an international criminology team whose experience spans law and criminal justice, policing, probation and more – including a former private detective doing important research into missing persons and an expert in European responses to domestic violence
  • Join lively debates in one of the country’s largest criminology departments and contribute your own ideas on how we should respond to crime as a society
  • Study alongside operational police units and learn directly from operational policing staff
  • Have the opportunity to do a criminology work placement year after your second or third year on this Connected Degree - we're the only UK university to offer flexible sandwich placements for undergraduates
  • Build a professional network by meeting practitioners from criminal justice agencies, businesses and charities
  • Customise your degree to match your ambitions: some modules reduce the amount to time you’d need to train for a policing career or as a probation officer
  • Choose to learn a foreign language for free as part of your degree, from a selection of Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish


of graduates in work or further study

(HESA graduate outcomes survey 2020/21)

Recognised by:

The module Economic Crime and Fraud Examination is recognised by ACFE (a global professional body for counter fraud professionals) and undertaking it provides opportunities for full-time students to complete the Certified Fraud Examiner qualification at a subsidised rate.

Why study Criminology and Criminal Justice?

Hear students and lecturers from our Criminology and Criminal Justice degree explain what they love about the course and what future students can expect from it.

Laura Haggar: The Criminology and Criminal Justice course draws on various disciplines, really. So thinking about criminology, psychology and sociology.

Michela Scalpello: The next part of the course takes us into the more practical side - the criminal justice area, where we look at how the courts operate policing and prisons. So it really gives a nice mix of both theory and practice.

Laura Haggar: This course offers individuals really the opportunity to start to specialise and develop kind of their own of interest in their areas of expertise, which of course is really useful for them then thinking about their employment prospects, what they might want to do.

Nicola: The career I'm looking to go into would be something along wildlife crime. We hear the issues of wildlife, but then there's so much more to it and my teachers were so passionate and suddenly it just blew out of proportion. I loved it so much. I mean, I'm just so passionate about it now.

Laura Haggar: We've got a number of staff here who have experiences within the criminal justice system. So what that also means is that we're really able to put into practice and apply those kind of theoretical underpinnings.

Michela Scalpello: I've come from a prison setting. We've got staff from policing and probation. It's fascinating, really.

Anwar: 'Policing in society' was one of my favourite topics. It's how it impacts people in different ways. As a black criminologist myself, I love the social aspects of criminology.

Laura Haggar: Students have the opportunity to undertake study abroad placements in Europe and in Australia.

Michela Scalpello: This gives them a really broad sense of how it works internationally to bring good practice back to the UK as well.

Laura Haggar: In much the same way with our placements, we do have a dedicated team that will support students who are interested. Those sorts of extra skills are kind of important for employment and what an opportunity? When I'm speaking to students, one of the things that they noticed is how friendly staff are, how passionate we are about supporting their learning journeys.

Nicola: How they respect us and we respect them and it's just amazing.

Anwar: If you have a problem in your assignment, you can talk to them and they'll help you solve it. I feel very, very supported by the lecturers.

Nicola: I feel like within criminology, I want to leave a lasting impact within our world. Even if it's not seeing some sort of legacy or something that's impacted people in a positive way or making change and help where I can.


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Clearing 2024 opens on 5 July and closes on 21 October

Every year thousands of students find their ideal undergraduate course through Clearing. Clearing matches students who are looking for a different course or university from their original choice, or who are applying for the very first time after 30 June, to courses that universities still have places on.

The majority of people apply through Clearing once they receive their exam results on A level / T level results day (15 August 2024).

You can apply through Clearing if:

  • You don't meet the conditions of your offer for your firm (first) or insurance (second) choice courses
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  • You don't hold any offers
  • You've accepted an offer but changed your mind about the course you want to do
  • You're applying for the first time after 30 June 2024 

Find out more on UCAS

Yes, we welcome Clearing applications from international students and you can apply in exactly the same way as UK students do. 

The majority of UK students apply through Clearing once they receive their A level / T level results in August 2024, so as an international student if you already have your exam results you can apply when Clearing opens. 

Make sure that you have time to get your visa, funding, and English language certification sorted out before the beginning of term.

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The entry requirements for courses can change in Clearing but if you want an idea of what grades we usually accept, take a look at our undergraduate course pages.

Even if you don't quite meet the entry requirements, we'd still encourage you to apply as you could still get a place.

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Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBB-BBC
  • UCAS points - 112-120 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 29

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBB-BBC
  • UCAS points - 112-120 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 29

You may need to have studied specific subjects or GCSEs - see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Useful subjects for this course

You don't need to study specific subjects at school or college to do this criminology degree. But you may find it useful to have covered some of these subjects:

  • criminology
  • law
  • sociology
  • psychology
  • geography
  • religious studies
  • economics
  • history
  • biology
  • computing
Humanities; Graduation; July 2019

It was amazing to be taught by the authors of the books I was referencing – it fills you with confidence knowing your lecturers are experts in their fields and so passionate about their work.

Hanna Taha, BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice

Careers and opportunities

Crime is a fact of life, which means there will always be career opportunities around preventing it and dealing with the fallout. As our graduates’ career paths show, you’ll complete this criminology course with a range of different professional routes open to you in the public, private and charitable sectors.

There is good demand for jobs in the criminal justice and penal sector. For example, Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has developed a Probation Workforce Strategy to recruit skilled people to probation officer roles and invest in ongoing professional development.

You'll graduate with the skills and knowledge you need to work in the police, probation and prison services in areas such as:

  • community safety
  • crime prevention
  • fraud investigation
  • youth offending teams

You'll also have relevant skills or knowledge to progress into other areas such as:

  • counter fraud roles in banking, the NHS or the DWP
  • economic crime investigation
  • policy analysis and formulation for councils or the Government
  • community rehabilitation
  • postgraduate study and research

We are one of a select few universities in the UK recognised by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) - a global professional body for counter fraud professionals.

If you take the optional module Economic Crime and Fraud Examination on this course, you'll have the chance to complete the ACFE's Certified Fraud Examiner qualification at a subsidised rate.

What's it like to study Criminology and how does it apply to a career?

University of Portsmouth Criminology graduate Matt Hockley

Matt graduated in 2018 with a Criminology and Criminal Justice degree from the University of Portsmouth. He is now a Probation Practice Research Assistant. Find out what Matt’s role entails and how he’s applying the skills he learned during his time at Portsmouth

Matt: My name is Matt. I'm currently working as a probation practice research assistant.

I wanted to study criminology at the University of Portsmouth because of its reputation. I just found that the staff were supportive. I loved my cohort, they were absolutely fantastic and I love the approach that they took whilst I was there. So supportive, so willing to let me adapt and evolve as a criminologist. I started off as very shy and not a lot of confidence, and I feel like I definitely flourished during my time there.

My four week placement at the Portsmouth City Council was about crime and anti-social behaviour research, and I feel that experience really gave me that edge when I went for my first job outside of university.

I found there was an internship at the Royal Courts of Justice, despite there being quite a few applications, I was very lucky to get the role. I chose to apply for the Royal Courts of Justice here because it was in my chosen field, I've done work beforehand in probation and in prison. It just gave you a really good insight into how the court system is run.

My first week of properly working in the Royal Courts of Justice, I remember there were people cheering and people shouting and I was a bit confused. I thought, this is a very grand gesture for someone's first week, but I looked behind me and Johnny Depp is coming in for his court case, which was certainly a very interesting experience for someone's first week of work!

I love criminology. I would say my motivation is definitely to help people. My particular interest is about looking at gender and sexuality and how that is understood and how that is dealt with by the criminal justice system. I feel like the stuff that I am producing and the stuff that I'm researching has got wide implications and will benefit people. Without the University of Portsmouth, I would definitely not be the person I am today. 

Graduate destinations

Our criminology graduates have worked for organisations including:

  • Hampshire Constabulary, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Metropolitan Police, Thames Valley Police, South Wales Police, Kent Police
  • National Probation Service
  • G4S and other community rehabilitation providers
  • Financial service companies

Roles our previous graduates have gone onto include:

  • investigative data analyst
  • police officer
  • probation service officer
  • youth offending support officer
  • offender case administrator
  • detective
  • personnel security analyst
  • private investigator
  • witness service team leader

Placement year (optional)

After your second or third year of study, you can choose to do a relevant, paid work placement year in the UK or overseas. This lets you put your new skills to work while developing valuable links with employers.

It’s fantastic for your CV and will really help you stand out when applying for jobs.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. Mentoring and support throughout your placement will help you to get the most from the experience.

Previous criminology placements have included:

  • Aurora New Dawn – a charity offering support to survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking
  • Hampshire Constabulary
  • HMRC
  • the Office for National Statistics
  • Catch 22 – a social business building resilience and aspiration in communities

You can also spend this year studying overseas at one of our partner universities in Europe, South Asia, Australia or North America. You could also choose to set up your own business, or take a voluntary placement.

A global survey of 1000 business leaders by the Harvard Business Review [...] found that the skills most in-demand by employers are those in which Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts graduates specialise – from communication, problem solving and creativity, to research and analysis. 

Ian Diamond, The British Academy

Ongoing careers support

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules

You'll analyse crime as a social problem, learning how to define crime within society and examining its impact.

You'll also think about social justice issues in relation to inequality and crime, and review the way society responds to criminal acts.

You'll look at the historical development of criminal justice, as well as the duties of the criminal justice agencies that exist today, and how they work together.

You'll also explore the ideas behind the different types of punishment used within the criminal justice system.

You'll get familiar with social science research concepts, and build your academic reading, writing, presenting, reflecting and critical thinking skills.

You’ll learn how to differentiate quality sources, understand research elements, reflect on your development needs, and recognise and explain the relationships between subjects.

You'll be introduced to major theoretical approaches in psychology, looking at how these are applied in the real world in like investigation, offender treatment, risk assessment, policing and crime research.

You’ll learn how to engage across disciplines, access relevant information, appreciate ethical practice and communicate your written ideas effectively.

You'll examine the origins of criminology, considering the rise of the scientific study of crime and criminality.

You'll also think about the social, cultural, political and economic factors that led to the development of the study of criminology that we know today.

Core modules

You'll examine the criticisms and challenges of criminology as a social science, thinking about the part it plays in creating social order.

You'll also explore theories of social control and cultural resistance through debate and published ideas on the subject, which will help you develop an understanding of justice and dissent.

You'll analyse the benefits and practicalities of comparing criminal justice systems using case studies that compare the UK against a range of other countries, from France, the USA and the Nordic countries, to Japan, Malta and Turkey.

Engaging with different stages of legal processes, you’ll challenge assumptions by unpacking how social norms and values shape prosecutions, sentencing and victim support worldwide.

You’ll work independently and in groups with your classmates on research projects, identifying and responding to inherent ethical issues involved in your projects and considering their societal impact.

Finally, you'll develop and produce the results of your research projects in a variety of forms.

Optional modules

You'll explore the topic of illicit substances and their legal categories, while thinking about the historical and contemporary developments of the illegal drug trade and its impact on communities within a global context.

You'll consider drug use within prisons, festivals and within the LGBTQ+ community, analysing and debating prohibition, activism and harm reduction within a criminological context. 

Combining law, language analysis and psychology, you’ll look at the different tools and methods used for analysing texts.

You’ll investigate grammar, orthography, metaphor, punctuation, capitalisation, layout and text management, salutations, spelling and distinctive markers, style of printing, and the use of upper-case letters.

You’ll also explore the different methods used for detecting lies and deception, and apply forensic linguistics tools in written and verbal case reports.

Moving from the street gangs of London to Chinese Triads and the international drug cartels of Mexico, you'll analyse what motivates illegal gang activities.

Through case studies, you'll discover the factors driving recruitment, initiation rites, codes of conduct, use of violence, and responses from law enforcement agencies globally.

You'll examine these complex issues from multiple sides to build a nuanced understanding.

In this module, you'll dive deep into real cases of environmental injustice and inequality across the globe, looking at the nature, scale and range of environmental crimes and harms.

Through interactive lessons, you'll debate thorny issues like: Who should be held accountable for climate change impacts? How can we balance economic growth with sustainability? Is environmental activism ever justified in breaking the law?

You'll ask and investigate what hate crime is, how much of it there is, who is involved and affected, where, when and why it is occurring, and what can be done about it.

You’ll be encouraged to develop your own independent, analytical and creative thinking as you explore this important subject.

You’ll get familiar with the big issues and contemporary debates in education studies as well as the role and expectations of a teacher.

You’ll develops fundamental knowledge and skills that teachers require, as well as your capability to structure and critique a lesson plan.

You'll look at the psychological factors behind the measures that the police, the government and security personnel take in ensuring public security.

You’ll also explore a security issue in-depth through an essay and devise a research project proposal aimed at creatively addressing a real-world security problem, alongside defending ethical positions.

You’ll evaluate sources such as legal records, cheap print, newspapers and novels, to discover what was considered a crime during this period and explore changing approaches towards ‘deviant’ behaviour.

You’ll see how behaviours we now consider private were publicly policed, and how this involved religion and the community. You’ll analyse changes from corporal punishment and torture towards modern ideas of policing.

You’ll also consider debates about the impact of urbanisation on patterns of crime, and the use of criminal prosecution as a means of social control, for example in relation to enforcing gender roles and controlling the poor.

You'll examine reforms, rights and roles of victims, and think critically about how effective existing professional practices are.

You'll look at published literature and debate with your classmates to develop your intellectual curiosity and knowledge of social justice when it comes to the experiences of victims of crime.

You'll think critically about youth justice systems, victims' experiences, and different approaches to rehabilitation, hearing from expert guest speakers who will provide real-world insights.

By evaluating new research and debates, you'll learn key skills in ways to support young people and strengthen their communities.

In this module, you’ll explore European colonisation of Africa, asking questions like - how did they justify colonial rule, and how did African peoples respond to these colonisers?

You’ll learn how, after World War II, colonial rule was increasingly challenged from both within the empire, by growing African demands for political rights, and in the international arena, with the global trend towards trusteeship, development and self-determination.

You’ll also explore European relations with Africa in the post-colonial era, looking at themes which may include ideas about civilisation, universalism and race, modern attempts to 'rehabilitate' empire in the media, and the legacies of colonialism in Britain, Europe and Africa.

You’ll collaborate with students on other courses to explore and address societal and environmental challenges faced by local and global communities. You’ll choose projects from a range of topic areas aligned with the university's Civic Strategy.

With input from local organisations, you’ll think about your topic from multiple perspectives, developing your interdisciplinary thinking and ability to work with others.

You’ll analyse the essence of security, exploring how security needs are addressed around the world and on a national level, down to a community and even an individual basis.

You’ll explore different forms of societal risk and insecurity, and approaches to dealing with security threats, taking into account the nature and impact of economic and political developments.

You'll learn how to think critically about the key concepts that link language, culture and communication, considering the benefits and limitations of these ideas.

You'll explore the different ways in which communication intersects with culture across themes such as identity, education, gender, and the media.

Alongside what you learn, you'll improve your skills in analysis, research and intercultural awareness.

You'll learn about consumer behaviour and brand strategy, and spend time examining real-world marketing campaigns. You'll also think about how social, political and technological forces can affect the way businesses approach marketing their products and services.

Skills you'll develop include carrying out market research and learning how to use what you learn, crafting targeted messaging across different marketing channels, and presenting your ideas verbally and in writing.

You'll learn about major economic, political and cultural changes in Western Europe over the nineteenth century, and how these affected the rest of the world as time went on.

You'll explore the big ideas that have shaped the modern world, and weigh up the benefits and perils of globalisation. Skills you'll develop on this module include independent research, critical thinking and effective communication.

You'll also learn to understand the opportunities and challenges of today's world from an informed, global perspective.

You’ll look critically ideas of nationalism historically and today with a focus on the everyday, intimate and embodied boundaries of nation-states and how these shape our lives, including those of us living in the most privileged parts of the world.

You’ll explore real-world cases to understand the individual and societal impacts on human lives, developing your analytical skills and imagining more compassionate alternatives.

You’ll unpack the language of tabloids, broadsheets and online news, analysing how journalists shape public understanding of current events.

Develop your critical thinking by confronting moral panics and polarised politics in reporting.

Create your own news stories and gain real insight into mass communication in a rapidly changing landscape.

You'll analyse major cases of economic crime and weigh up their wider societal implications.

You'll also learn how to recognise disciplinary perspectives, become familiar with the key investigating organisations, identify investigative techniques, and gather and analyse real case information.

You’ll analyse American texts against the backdrop of intellectual, social and political change, evaluating how writers grappled with emerging ideas around national identity, race, gender and more.

By honing skills for contextual analysis and independent thought, you’ll form your own interpretations of iconic works that reflect the American experience.

You’ll analyse diverse transitional justice approaches balancing community healing and judicial accountability after mass atrocities.

Comparing mechanisms like war crimes tribunals, truth commissions and reparations programmes, you’ll evaluate effectiveness in restoring dignity and preventing recurrence.

With case studies from Europe to Africa, from Latin America to Asia, you'll examine tensions between western models and local cultural perspectives, assessing what ‘justice’ means to vulnerable peoples.

Throughout, you'll trace incremental human rights legislation advances, assessing global institutions’ roles protecting civilians from authoritarian regimes and wartime abuses.

Through interactive lectures with academics, speakers and professionals, you'll discuss, debate and complete practical exercises exploring wildlife crime alongside your classmates.

You'll spend time examining wildlife crimes and the factors behind them, as well as environmental justice and sustainability.

You'll explore radicalisation, and sociological and psychological theories of individual and social motivation, and consider the role of gender identity and women within terrorist groups.

Critically evaluate various types of terrorist groups, including religious terrorism, far-right terrorism, far-left terrorism, ethno-nationalist/separatist terrorism, and single-issue terrorism.

You'll also learn about the strategies employed by states to combat terrorism and evaluate their effectiveness.

You'll learn about crimes against humanity (such as war crimes and genocide), state crimes against democracy, state-corporate crime, contemporary slavery and human trafficking - shining a light on oppression and injustice.

By examining the responses to these crimes, you'll think about the ways international judicial, state and inter-governmental, and global civil society actors tackle state crime.

You'll develop your ability to think critically about complex global issues, taking many different perspectives into account.

As you're guided through how different forensic techniques are used in our crime scene simulations, you'll weigh up the value of physical evidence found at crime scenes and learn how to communicate your investigative findings.

You'll also consider how forensic science fits into criminal investigations and the wider criminal justice system.

By the end of the module, you'll know which scene processing methods to use in which cases, as well as how to compare analysis techniques and evaluate evidence.

You'll use what you’ve learned so far about criminology and psychology to analyse examples of missing persons cases, from the perspectives of the missing people, their families, responders in the criminal justice system, and offenders.

This will help you suggest your own meaningful reforms to the theories, laws and policies that govern missing persons cases, as well as how these cases are viewed by society and the media.

You'll explore the complex relationships between ethics, laws and imprisonment policies.

Alongside your classmates, you'll focus on pressing issues like mental health, violence and gender while arguing for a more humane, effective prison system.

You'll examine the history, role and organisational structures of the police in the UK, including the wider policing `family' and agencies that are involved in governance and oversight of the police.

You’ll tackle the changing nature of crime and the associated challenges for the police, alongside associated governance, trust and legitimacy issues.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you’ll apply what you’ve learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You’ll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

Core modules

It's up to you what your dissertation or project is about – this will be your chance to showcase your passion for criminology and associated disciplines by choosing a subject area or topic that most interests you.

You'll draw on everything you’ve learned so far to investigate, analyse, craft and refine your dissertation or project, using existing texts, sources and artefacts to support your arguments and give them context.

You'll have the support of a dedicated dissertation tutor to guide you throughout this module.

You’ll cover a wide range of human rights such as the right to fair trial, the right to be free from torture, and the right to life, evaluating how states incorporate (or fail to incorporate) these rights into their criminal justice systems.

You’ll analyse the primary instruments of human rights and the case-law of different international and regional human rights bodies.

This module puts crime into a social context and develops a critical approach in addressing how global issues impact the dynamics of the relationship between human rights and criminal justice.

You'll compare the latest modern and contemporary theories, analysing how crime and social control are managed today.

By thinking critically about the work of leading theorists, you'll evaluate shifts in state power, punishment, and the expanding boundaries of criminology.

This module will help you to confidently engage with current debates and new perspectives in criminology.

Optional modules

You'll explore this question on this module, examining the impact of new technologies on modern criminality, and hearing from specialist lecturers and guest speakers, all experts in cybercrime and its related fields.

You'll explore topics like 3D printing and crime, body-worn cameras, electronic monitoring tech, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, the use of the internet in prisons, and more, depending on the latest tech advancements.

You'll consider concepts like risk, dangerousness and risk management and how they vary and affect the way criminals are managed in different countries, including the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia.

By analysing historical and modern-day debates around dangerousness and public protection, you'll develop your own informed perspectives on legislation, policies and key criminal behaviour profiles.

Taking inspiration from financial crime experts, you’ll learn to “think like a fraudster” to unravel economic conspiracies.

Working in groups with your fellow classmates, you’ll start to develop the skills needed to identify dirty money trails hidden in financial systems around the world.

This module is accredited by the Associate of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) as part of the Anti-Fraud Education Partnership.

Environmental problems are a serious national and international concern, regularly dominating media headlines.

As scientific research has shown, these issues are increasingly urgent and include climate change, pollution, habitat loss, species decline and the destruction of our natural resources.

Through interactive lectures, discussion, debate and practical exercises, you'll critically analyse perpetrators and victims of green criminology, examine national and international policing and risk regulation roles, and reflect on justice issues.


You’ll get familiar with the big issues and contemporary debates in education studies as well as the role and expectations of a teacher.

You’ll develops fundamental knowledge and skills that teachers require, as well as your capability to structure and critique a lesson plan.

You'll explore how investigating serious and organised crime works, learning key strategies and procedures used by police and others within the criminal justice system.

Sharpen your analytical skills by weighing up investigative approaches, major incident procedures and forensic techniques, as well as their legal and ethical parameters.

You'll examine the powers afforded to police constables as they carry out their duties, alongside professional standards, accountability and key issues around diversity, ethics, values and wellbeing.

You'll discuss the purpose of the police force, demonstrate critical understanding of consent principles, evaluate equality policies, summarise resilience strategies, and critically examine the application of law within policing.

You'll take a detailed view of the historical and modern-day right-wing extremist parties, pressure groups and street movements in Britain, including the British Union of Fascists, the National Front, the British National Party, the ‘counter-jihad’ English Defence League and Britain First.

You'll also evaluate arguments from contemporary criminological accounts on the extreme right, such as Realist Criminology and Cultural Criminology.

You'll learn about the job application process from the perspective of both candidates and recruiters, thinking about what employers look for in graduates and how you can optimise your own professional profile.

Through mock interviews and assessments, you'll hone your skills and learn how to communicate your achievements and career goals, ready to take the next step after you graduate.

Through an interactive mix of debates and research projects, you'll take an in-depth look at diverse perspectives on racial bias in policing, sentencing and incarceration rates.

By engaging with cross-cultural theories and data, you'll build informed views on how we can continue to reform these systemic issues.

We'll consider terrorist appeals, ideologies and operations while evaluating theories on radicalisation and motivation, looking at groups like religious, far-right, far-left and ethno-nationalist terrorists.

We'll examine gender identity's role in terrorism. You'll also learn about different counterterrorism tactics and strategies used by countries and states around the world, weighing up their effectiveness.

You’ll develop your knowledge of core linguistic frameworks in order to investigate a range of communication issues, such as language and control, the role of interpreters, the veracity of witness statements, and the interviewing of vulnerable witnesses, such as children.

You'll consider psychological theories related to criminal justice issues.

Forensic techniques you'll cover include deception detection and the cognitive interview, thinking about the role of psychology within these methods.

Skills you'll strengthen include locating key information, critically applying theory to problems, and effectively communicating your ideas in writing.

You'll explore this question on this module, examining how gender affects pathways into offending, victimisation, punishment, treatment, rehabilitation and more.

You'll think critically about crime, criminology and criminal justice from the perspective of gender, with a focus on the experiences of women and those who identify as women.

You’ll focus on risk analysis, information security policy design and implementation, assessing different security solutions for different types of organisations.

You’ll also design your own security policies based on what you learn, create and evaluate disaster recovery plans, and assess the human, legal and ethical factors in play when developing vital security policies.

You'll look at high-profile examples of miscarriages of justice and what led them to occur, from poor police work to 'junk science'.

You'll also discover how advances in forensic science can help prevent injustices, and explore research that will give you an international perspective on the rights of suspects and appeals processes.

You'll discover how criminals laundering dirty money make their finances look clean, and examine the internal prevention systems organisations have in place against money laundering.

You'll get to grips with the key concepts and frameworks, and learn how to apply legal and regulatory knowledge to case studies.

You'll also spend time looking into serious offences such as organised crime and terrorism, and evaluate the role of the police in countering these threats.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you'll apply what you've learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You'll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

You'll think critically about the theoretical concepts behind existing approaches to offender rehabilitation, comparing and evaluating how they work in the real world.

Through independent research and reflection, you'll gain crucial skills you can use to examine and find ways to improve rehabilitation practices across the criminal justice system.

On this module, you’ll dissect the media phenomenon of true crime, looking at public perceptions of crime and justice.

You'll think critically about how emotive true crime narratives frame key players, from villains to victims. Exploring ideas of prejudice, you’ll investigate whether sensationalised serial killer stories simply reinforce stereotypes of class and gender.

Alternatively, could advocacy-focused wrongful conviction cases challenge assumptions and drive social change?

By applying criminology theory, you'll uncover complex biases shaping everything from podcasts to primetime prison documentaries.

You’ll delve into the various types of sexual offending, gain an understanding of the consequences, examine the role of media in shaping public perception, and discuss alternative methods for addressing offending.

There’s a strong emphasis on fostering respectful and informed discussions of sensitive topics.

Optional modules

Work Placement Year or Study Year Abroad

Boost your employability by taking an industry-based work placement year or immerse yourself in another culture by studying for a year at one of our partner universities worldwide.

This is an amazing opportunity to either put everything you’ve learned so far into action in a real workplace in the UK or overseas, or to expand your horizons and set yourself up for your future career by studying abroad.

If you choose a work placement year, we’ll help you find and secure an exciting placement opportunity within an appropriate company or organisation. You’ll have the chance to try out skills and gain experience that’ll help you clarify your next career steps, while building capabilities employers seek. 

If you choose to study abroad, you’ll expand your global perspective and develop additional skills to boost your future career, as well as making memories, new friends and career contacts.

This is a Connected Degree

We're the only university that gives you the flexibility to choose when to take a work placement. Take it after your second year, before returning to finish your studies. Or after your final year, connecting you into the workplace.

If you're not sure if or when to take your placement, don't worry. You'll have plenty of time to settle into your studies and explore your options before making your choice. 

Find out more about Connected Degrees

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

I love studying Criminology at Portsmouth because it’s so up to date with current research.

Abbey Campbell, BSc Hons Criminology and Criminal Justice student

How you're assessed

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 1 students: 5% by exams and 95% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework

Your coursework may include:

  • Presentations
  • Group projects
  • A dissertation or major project

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Group discussions
  • Practical workshops

Teaching staff include current and former practitioners who have worked in roles such as police officer, probation officer, private investigator and search and rescue worker.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Criminology and Criminal Justice degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities, such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 9 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Since graduating from this course, I've worked for Surrey Police, the Metropolitan Police and Hampshire Police, and now I'm training as a detective. Having visited a number of other universities, it's clear that Portsmouth is committed to leading the way in Criminology.

Paul Sammons, BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies student

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,200 a year (subject to annual increase)

You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,200 a year (subject to annual increase)

You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

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


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.

You'll need to pay additional costs anywhere between £50–£1,000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence if you take a placement abroad.

The amount you'll pay will vary, depending on the location and length of your stay. It will also depend on additional funding the UK Government makes available after Brexit and if the UK remains part of the Erasmus+ student mobility programme or not.

During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, tuition fees for that year are:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)

The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – M930
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

To start this course in 2025, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – M930
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

Preparing for this degree

When you start the course, you'll have access to the latest journal articles and research. Texts you might want to explore beforehand include: 


  • Carrabine, E. et al (2020). Criminology: A Sociological Introduction. Routledge.
  • Jones, S. (2017). Criminology. Oxford University Press.
  • Newburn, T. (2017). Criminology. Routledge.
  • Tierney, J. (2009). Criminology: Theory and Context. Routledge
  • Walklate, S. (2016). Criminology: The Basics. Routledge.

Criminal Justice

  • Joyce, P. (2017). Criminal Justice: An Introduction. Routledge.
  • Joyce, P. (2018). Criminology and Criminal Justice: A Study Guide. Routledge.
  • Harding, J., Davies, P., and Mair, G. (2017). An Introduction to Criminal Justice. SAGE.
  • O’Brien, F., Collie, C., & Giles, S. (2021, January 20). Lockdown 3: stricter rules could lead to more vulnerable people going missing. The Conversation.