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Introduction to criminology LA2010

This module aims to provide students with an introduction to criminology as a field of inquiry.

It explores the different ways in which crime is measured, studied and understood, the various disciplinary schools of thought that have contributed to this endeavour, some of the key contemporary issues in criminological scholarship and debate.

Topics covered

  • Understanding crime & criminology: Explore some of the foundational concepts and ideas that frame our understanding of crime and criminology. 
  • Theories and concepts of crime and criminal behaviour: Learn about some of the key theories and concepts in criminological scholarship from different disciplinary perspectives
  • Contemporary trends in crime and criminology: Focus on some of the key contemporary trends in crime and criminal behaviour including terrorism and other forms of political violence (including riots), serious and organised crime, white-collar and corporate crime, and violent and property crime. 
  • Critical issues in criminology: Learn about some of the key cross-cutting issues in contemporary criminological scholarship including the role of race and gender in crime and criminal justice processes, the increasing focus on criminal and forensic psychology, and the emergence of ‘Green Criminology’.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • Contrast and compare different conceptual and disciplinary approaches, specifically in relation to how crime is understood and studied; 
  • Draw upon available empirical evidence to critically evaluate different arguments, concepts, and common assumptions/perceptions about crime;
  • Apply knowledge acquired to take an evidenced position in relation to current debates about crime and criminality; 
  • Develop and refine the skills necessary for further criminological study.


3hr 15 mins unseen examination

Essential reading

In addition to the study pack on the VLE, students should refer to the following two core texts:

  • Newburn, T. (2017) Criminology. 3rd Edition. London: Taylor and Francis.
  • Liebling, A., Maruna, S. and McAra, L. (2017) (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.