Course Overview

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.

Please click here for copy of the  Criminology Brochure

‌For Course specific  information please also visit the Criminology course pages:

LLB Law & Criminology

BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice

BSc Criminology & Social Policy

BSc Criminology and Psychology


All criminology undergraduates at Swansea are members of a thriving and multicultural academic community where the interests of students (both pastoral and academic) are given the highest priority. All teaching is conducted within a relaxed and supportive environment with a clear emphasis on the skills necessary to succeed in the world of employment. The quality of teaching within the Department of Criminology has been recognised by the achievement of an overall student satisfaction rate of 90% in the National Student Survey 2012 (NSS). 

Our students and staff work closely together to develop effective learning processes and to enhance the student experience. We were both proud and delighted when the Criminology department was awarded the 2012 British Society of Criminology National Award for Teaching Excellence in Criminology, in recognition of our work on the undergraduate programme.

The Department of Criminology offers its students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding across a range of key criminological and criminal justice topics. To keep pace with and reflect such a developing and ever-changing area of policy and thought, degree scheme content is kept under regular review; last year, for example, we introduced a new module for our third year students, Serious Crime & Social Harm, which considers issues such as terrorism and human trafficking.

With student employability in mind, we have also introduced a Careers-focused module at level one, Careers for Criminologists, and have developed a work placements scheme involving a range of different agencies (e.g. courts; police; youth justice teams) for students at the end of level two.

There is also an emphasis on providing personal development opportunities for students across the programme, including group working, formal presentations and seminar discussions, which develop skills such as team working, peer learning, formalized presentation abilities, report writing, independent research, critical evaluation and use of ICT.

Course structure & modules

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

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)

  • Students on the BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice degree study all seven of these modules.
  • For students on the LLB Law & Criminology degree, modules ASC111, ASC108 and ASD101 are compulsory.  You will also study 80 credits of compulsory Law modules.
  • For students on the BSc Criminology & Social Policy degree, modules ASC102, ASC111, ASC110 and ASD101 are compulsory.  You will also study 50 credits of compulsory Social Policy modules, which leaves 10 credits of optional modules from the list above.
  • For students on the BSc Criminology & Psychology degree, modules ASC102, ASC110 and ASC111 are compulsory. You will also study 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

  • For students on the BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice degree, modules ASC204, ASC208, ASC212 and ASC213 are compulsory, which leaves 40 credits of optional modules to be chosen from the list above.
  • For students on the LLB Law & Criminology degree, modules ASC204 and ASC217 are compulsory. You will also study 70 credits of compulsory Law modules, which leaves one 20 credit optional module from the list above.
  • For students on the BSc Criminology & Social Policy degree, modules ASC204 and ASC208 are compulsory.  You will also study 40 credits of compulsory and 20 credits of optional Social Policy modules, which leaves one 20 credit optional criminology module from the list above.
  • For students on the BSc Criminology & Psychology degree, modules ASC204 and ASC208 are compulsory. You will also study 60 credits of compulsory Psychology modules, which leaves 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)

  • For students on the BSc Criminology & Criminal Justice degree, modules ASC311 and ASC322 are compulsory, leaving 80 credits of optional modules from the list above.
  • Students on the LLB Law & Criminology degree study 60 credits of optional Law modules and 60 credits of optional modules from the list above.
  • Students on the BSc Criminology & Social Policy degree study 40 credits of compulsory and 20 credits of optional Social Policy modules and 60 credits of optional criminology modules from the list above.
  • Students on the BSc Criminology & Psychology degree study 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.  Some of the distinctive features of Criminology teaching at Swansea are:

Our personal tutoring system

Every student is allocated a personal tutor who is a full time member of staff within the department. The personal tutor provides pastoral and academic support throughout the student’s stay at Swansea University. Other services provided by the personal tutor include careers advice and relevant referrals to specialist provision where relevant.

The Study Skills module

The Criminology Department offers a study skills module which introduces students to the basic research and essay writing skills required when studying Criminology and Social Policy in Higher Education. A mixture of lecturer-led and independent learning methods will address topics such as efficient use of library and information & careers services, active reading and note-taking, accurate referencing, understanding and benefiting from assessment, effective group working and presentation skills, developing skills in critical evaluation and higher-order learning, and maximising the learning benefits of reflection and self-evaluation. The module aims to assist students in acquiring the skills necessary to study Criminology and Social Policy at University level.  Students can acquire several transferable skills required for the workplace including skills in the following areas:

  • Making good use of information technology
  • Obtaining information from various sources of data
  • Extracting useful/appropriate information from various documents and texts and demonstrate an understanding of how such information can be correctly incorporated into academic work using appropriate referencing as required by the Department of Criminology
  • Assessing and evaluating sources of information/devise, sustain and develop arguments
  • Planning and presenting arguments in a written form
  • Working independently and in a group

The Dissertation module

The Criminology Department also offers a Dissertation module, which gives our final year students the chance to choose a topic which interests them and to study it in depth. Every student undertaking the dissertation is allocated a dissertation supervisor, who will guide them through the processes of preparing dissertation questions, designing a dissertation plan and structuring the dissertation. The dissertation supervisors are all full time academic staff members within the Criminology Department. The Dissertation Preparation module also offers further guidance and study skills enhancement, as students commence the planning and researching of their work.

A student-centred teaching and learning environment

We employ a range of innovative assessment and feedback strategies that are very much focused on enhancing the quality of our students’ skills and their learning experience.

Research-led teaching

Academic staff members within the Criminology Department are all research active and they have research interests in wide ranging areas 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 their wealth of research experience and our students benefit from the insights gained from lectures that draw on sometimes cutting edge research. Research-led teaching can also ensure that the degree we offer is relevant to the real world.

Social activities

The Criminology Department has a Staff/Student Consultative Committee. The Committee has been established to enhance student participation in decision-making. Our student representatives have established a Criminology Society; its membership comprises undergraduate students and staff members in the Criminology Department and it has a presence on Facebook. Students also have the opportunity to participate in dedicated course-related Facebook and Twitter blogs.

A Buddy Scheme has been established as a partnership between the Criminology Society and the Staff/Student Consultative Committee, with the aim of making the transition into university life as easy and stress-free as possible. Immediately upon starting at the university first years will be paired with either a second or third year student who will provide support in academic and social matters. The Scheme seeks to make first years more comfortable in Swansea, strengthen relationships between the year groups and give the buddies meaningful skills that they can apply later in life.

Disability services

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 helping our students pursue their chosen career.  For those interested in working in the criminal justice system, there is a work placements scheme which includes placements at various local agencies such as the Youth Offending Team, the Crown Court, South Wales Police and the local Substance Misuse Action Team.  More information about the placements scheme can be Work Placement Handbook .

The Department periodically invites Criminal Justice practitioners including youth justice officers, prison officers and probation officers to 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.  Our students receive careers advice from personal tutors and the Department has also introduced a first year module that focuses on how to develop a career after obtaining a Criminology Degree.

The students’ views

A FLEXIBLE CHOICE OF MODULES: Rhianna Jones, Level 3 student:

“Studying Criminology at Swansea University has been a fantastic experience; I have made many lasting friendships and have been exposed to so many new opportunities. Every member of staff in the Criminology Department is very approachable and will go out of their way to support you with both academic and personal matters. The course structure is brilliant, encompassing lectures, seminars, presentations and workshops, which give a more varied learning experience. The flexibility of choosing some of your own modules gives you the freedom to develop the course around your interests. I would highly recommend studying Criminology at Swansea University to anyone.”

AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Chris Kroehler, Level 3 student

“I am an international student from America, studying Criminology and Social Policy. 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. Being a member of the Staff/Student Liaison Committee and President of the Criminology Society has given me a great working relationship with the staff and helped me to better my fellow students' experiences as well. I am thrilled to be coordinating the brand new Buddy Scheme, where first years will be paired with an older, more experienced student to aid the transition to university life. Coming to Swansea has paid dividends and I hope others will find it as beneficial as I have.”


“Swansea University is an excellent place to study. Not only is the location superb, there are also a vast amount of activities to enjoy. I chose to study Criminology at Swansea, because after reading the course details felt that it offered various aspects that I found interesting and wanted to explore further. I am extremely pleased with my decision. The course is challenging and pushes you to work to your full potential. The lecturers and members of staff are very friendly and extremely helpful. They 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. I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested in studying Criminology to do so at Swansea University.”

A MATURE STUDENT’S VIEW: Emma Mullins, Level 2 student

“After being out of education for twelve years, I was initially worried about becoming a student and beginning to learn all over again. However, this course has enhanced my research skills, developed my critical appraisal of evidence and enhanced thinking skills. Criminology at Swansea University has given me the chance to train for a job I have great interest. There are an exceptional range of Criminology tutors who each specialise in specific topics and who are all very helpful and inspiring. This course has provided a great advantage for the present as it has equipped me to embrace the challenges of my passion in working with youth offenders in the future.”

Entry Requirements

Three good A2 Levels are expected; Access and other qualifications are considered and reflect the standard expected at A Level.


  • 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.

BTEC Diploma:

- in a related subject (eg Law; Uniformed Public Services).

  • Grades DDM (for all four degree schemes)

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

Find out how to apply as an UK or EU student

The UCAS institution code for Swansea University is: SWAN S93

how to apply as an international student 

Additional costs

The tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying costs.

There are no mandatory additional costs specified for this course.

Contact details  

Tel: +44(0)1792 606056 Dr Anthony Charles (Criminology Admissions Tutor)

+44(0)1792 606341 Samantha Duffy (Administrative Officer)

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For EU/International enquiries please click the following link :

Tel: 00 44 (0) 1792 602600