Criminology courses

Criminology is one of the most diverse, stimulating and challenging subjects offered at university. It draws on several academic disciplines - psychology, sociology, social policy, law and even biology - to investigate some of the most pressing social problems of our time:

  • What are the causes of crime and what should we do about it?
  • Why are some forms of misconduct defined as crime and others not?
  • How best can we support victims of crime?

You can study Criminology in Swansea as the core subject of the single honours BSc (Hons) in Criminology and Criminal Justice, or as a joint honours subject in combination with Social Policy, Psychology or Law. ‌Find out more here:

LLB Law & Criminology

BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice

BSc Criminology & Social Policy

BSc Criminology and Psychology

What we offer

Our criminology undergraduates belong to a thriving and multicultural academic community in which their pastoral and academic interests are given the highest priority.

Teaching is conducted in a relaxed and supportive environment with a clear emphasis on the skills needed in the world of work. Quality of criminology teaching was given an overall student satisfaction rate of 90% in the National Student Survey, 2012. In 2012 the department won the British Society of Criminology National Award for Teaching Excellence in Criminology.

The Department offers students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding across a range of key criminological and criminal justice topics. Topics are reviewed regularly to keep pace with ever-changing policy and thought. For instance one third year module considers issues such as terrorism and human trafficking.

We have also introduced a careers-focused module at level one and have developed a work placements scheme involving agencies including the courts,  police and youth justice teams for students at the end of level two.

Group working, formal presentations and seminar discussions develop skills such as team working, peer learning, presentation, writing reports, independent research, critical evaluation and use of ICT.

Course structure & modules

Each year you study an exciting and diverse range of compulsory and optional modules totalling 120 credits:

Level 1

ASC102: Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (20 credits)

ASC103: Criminology, Crime and Society (20 credits)

ASC104: Criminology Project (20 credits)

ASC108: Careers for Criminologists (10 credits)

ASC110: Law, Criminal Justice & Human Rights (20 credits)

ASC111: The Criminological Imagination (20 credits)

ASD101: Study Skills (10 credits)

  • BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice students study all seven modules.
  • LLB Law & Criminology students must complete modules ASC111, ASC108 and ASD101 along with 80 credits of compulsory Law modules.
  • BSc Criminology & Social Policy students must complete modules ASC102, ASC111, ASC110 and ASD101, 50 credits of compulsory Social Policy modules and another 10 credits of optional modules from the list above.
  • BSc Criminology & Psychology students must complete modules ASC102, ASC110 and ASC111 plus 60 credits of compulsory Psychology modules.

Level 2

ASC204: Penology and Punishment (20 credits)

ASC208: Research Methods in Criminology (20 credits)

ASC212: Critical & Cultural Criminology (20 credits)

ASC213: Applied Research Methods in Criminology (20 credits)

ASC214: Applied Criminal Justice (20 credits)

ASC215: Crime, Drugs and Alcohol (20 credits)

ASC216: Understanding Policing (20 credits)

ASC217: Critical Criminology (10 credits) 

ASC218: Media, Crime & Criminal Justice

  • BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice students must complete modules ASC204, ASC208, ASC212 and ASC213 plus 40 credits of optional modules from the list above.
  • LLB Law & Criminology students must complete modules ASC204 and ASC217 plus 70 credits of compulsory Law modules and one 20-credit optional module from the list above.
  • BSc Criminology & Social Policy students must complete modules ASC204 and ASC208, 40 credits of compulsory and 20 credits of optional Social Policy modules, plus one 20-credit optional criminology module from the list above.
  • BSc Criminology & Psychology students must complete modules ASC204 and ASC208, 60 credits of compulsory Psychology modules, plus one 20-credit optional Criminology module from the list above.

Level 3

ASC303: Young Offenders and Youth Justice (20 credits)

ASC311: Dissertation (30 credits)

ASC316: Criminalisation of Sex (20 credits)

ASC319: Serious Crime & Social Harm (20 credits)

ASC320: Diversity, Crime & Criminal Justice (20 credits)

ASC321: Sexual Crimes (20 credits)

ASC322: Dissertation Preparation (10 credits)

  • BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice students must complete modules ASC311 and ASC322, leaving 80 credits of optional modules from the list above.
  • LLB Law & Criminology students study 60 credits of optional Law modules and 60 credits of optional modules from the list above.
  • BSc Criminology & Social Policy students study 40 credits of compulsory and 20 credits of optional Social Policy modules and 60 credits of optional criminology modules from the list above.
  • BSc Criminology & Psychology students complete 60 credits of optional modules from the list above, and 60 credits of Psychology modules (45 of which are compulsory).

Key features

All modules involve a combination of lectures and seminars; there are also one-day workshops for all 20 credit modules. 

Personal tutoring

Every student is allocated a personal tutor who is a full-time staff member. He or she provides pastoral and academic support throughout the student’s stay at Swansea University, careers advice and referrals to specialist provision where relevant.

Study Skills

This module introduces students, through lecturer-led and independent learning sessions, to the basic research and essay writing skills needed to study Criminology and Social Policy in higher education. Topics include:

  • Efficient use of library, information & careers services
  • Active reading, note-taking and accurate referencing
  • Understanding and benefiting from assessment
  • Effective group working and presentation
  • Critical evaluation and higher-order learning
  • Reflection and self-evaluation.

This module helps students acquire several transferable skills, including:

  • Obtaining useful  information from various sources
  • Assessing and evaluating sources of information
  • Developing arguments and presenting them in a written form
  • Working independently and in a group.


Final year students have the chance to choose a topic and study it in depth. A full-time academic staff member acts as dissertation supervisor to guide students through preparing questions, designing a plan and structuring the work. The Dissertation Preparation module offers further guidance and skills.

Student-centred, research-led teaching

Academic staff members in the Criminology Department are all active in research with wide-ranging interests including:

  • Youth Justice policy and practice
  • Community-based supervision, sex offender policy and treatment;
  • Sex work policy
  • Antisocial behaviour policy
  • Substance use, and
  • White-collar crime.

Staff members infuse their lectures with a wealth of research experience and insight. Some lectures draw on cutting edge research that is relevant to the real world. Innovative assessment and feedback strategies enhance students’ skills and their learning experience.

Social activities

A Staff/Student Consultative Committee has been established to allow students to participate in decision-making. Student representatives have established a Criminology Society comprising undergraduate students and staff members. Students also blog and communicate on Facebook and Twitter.

In our Buddy Scheme first years are paired with a second or third year student who provides support in academic and social matters. This makes first years more comfortable, strengthens relationships between the year groups and gives the buddies meaningful skills they can apply later in life.

Disability officer

The Criminology Department has a designated disability officer who liaises with the Disability Services team to promote the wellbeing of our students.

Careers and employability

We are committed to help our students pursue their chosen career. They receive careers advice from personal tutors and a first-year module focuses on how to develop a career with a Criminology degree.

For those interested in the criminal justice system, our work experience scheme includes placements at local agencies including the Youth Offending Team, the Crown Court, South Wales Police and the Substance Misuse Action Team. Find out more in the Work Placement Handbook .

Criminal Justice practitioners including youth justice officers, prison officers and probation officers deliver sessions and to discuss employability issues.

The university also participates in a Summer School at the University of Central Oklahoma, which includes a Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Justice placement.

What our students say

“This has been a fantastic experience. I have made lasting friendships and been exposed to so many new opportunities. Every member of staff is very approachable and will go out of their way to support you in both academic and personal matters. The course structure is brilliant and varied and you have the freedom to develop the course around your interests. I would highly recommend studying Criminology at Swansea University.” Rhianna Jones, Level 3

“I am from America. Swansea has been a wonderful university, providing interesting modules, helpful staff and a brilliant overall student experience. The services available to all students are phenomenal and the department is miles ahead of any other in their focus on employability following graduation. I was thrilled to coordinate the Buddy Scheme. Coming to Swansea has paid dividends and I hope others will find it as beneficial as I have.” Chris Kroehler, Level 3

“Not only is the location superb, there is a vast amount of activities to enjoy. The course is challenging and pushes you to work to your full potential. The lecturers and members of staff are constantly helping you to achieve the best you can, and are there for you on both a professional and personal level. There is a Criminology Society, which organises frequent socials - a great way to integrate with other students on the course and to take a break from your studies.” Jordan Meale, 2012 graduate

“After being out of education for 12 years, I was worried about beginning to learn all over again. However, this course has enhanced my research skills, developed my critical appraisal of evidence and enhanced my thinking skills. Criminology at Swansea University has equipped me to embrace the challenges of my passion in working with youth offenders in the future.”  Emma Mullins, Level 2

Entry Requirements


  • LLB Law & Criminology: grades ABB  
  • BSc Criminology & Psychology: grades ABB-BBB
  • BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice: grades BBB
  • BSc Criminology & Social Policy: grades BBB

Desirable subjects: English Language or Literature; History; Law; Sociology; Psychology; Geography; Philosophy.

Welsh Baccalaureate pass is considered equivalent to grade A at A2 level.

We do not include A-level General Studies in our offers. Access and other qualifications are considered to reflect the standard expected at A-level.

BTEC Diploma:

  • Grades DDM  in a related subject such as Law or Uniformed Public Services.

Access to Higher Education Diploma:

  • LLB Law & Criminology & BSC Criminology & Psychology: pass at level 3, to include 24 Distinctions, 15 Merits, & Merit in the integrated project.
  • BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice & BSc Criminology & Social Policy: pass at level 3, to include 18 Distinctions, 18 Merits, & Merit in the integrated project.

How to apply

The UCAS institution code for Swansea University is: SWAN S93

Find out more here if you are a UK or EU student

Or here if you are an international student 

Additional costs

Tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, binding or photocopying. There are no mandatory additional costs specified for this course.

Contact details  

Criminology Admissions Tutor Dr Anthony Charles

+44(0)1792 606056

Administrative Officer Samantha Duffy

+44(0)1792 606341 

EU/International enquiries 

+44 (0) 1792 602600

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