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BA (Hons) Criminal Justice and Criminology

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.

Explore contemporary issues in criminology and criminal justice
Explore contemporary issues in criminology and criminal justice
Learn from guest speakers, including the police and probation service
Learn from guest speakers, including the police and probation service
Try out forensic psychology, becoming a detective and more
Try out forensic psychology, becoming a detective and more

This course includes the sandwich year options of:

Work Placement*

Study abroad*

*No fees are charged for this year

Why choose this course?

You want to debate crime and its causes. What is your opinion on targeted policing? Do offenders have an innate criminal mind? Is restorative justice enough to repair community relations? Whatever your stance, we want to hear it. Hear the opinions of other aspiring criminologists. Dare to challenge your own beliefs. Uncover the realities of the underworld. Learn to connect the environmental and sociological trends of crime throughout history. Learn how you could influence positive social change. Together, let's explore potential solutions to reduce the crimes of today.  

You’ll understand crime at a deep level. Be inspired by internationally recognised researchers. You’ll be taught by experts with first-hand public servant experience, from the police to prisons, the probation service and victim support. We even have staff from the military! Take advantage of our contacts. Network with departments like the Hertfordshire Constabulary, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and established resettlement teams. Thinking of become a prison officer? A fraud investigator? Or what about a crime journalist? Whatever your career goals are, choose the University of Hertfordshire. A TEF Gold rated university that will give you the best possible start to your career.  

What are the facilities like? 

Outstanding. Our bright, modern Law School Building opened its doors in 2011. It brings you a mixture of fantastic technology, well-equipped study spaces and realistic criminal justice settings. Inside you’ll find our incredible replica Crown Court, complete with judge’s bench and viewing gallery. Experience how the criminal justice system really works. 

What's the course about?

You’ll study criminal justice as well as criminology. But what is the difference between the two? Criminal justice refers to established systems for dealing with crime. You’ll learn how the police and Crown Prosecution Service come together to investigate crime. You’ll explore limits of the magistrates’ courts. How a jury and judge prosecute in the crown court. The powers of the high courts to overturn a guilty verdict. It’s also about punishment - detention centres, prisons, probation, and community sentencing. Are they all needed? Is one more effective that the other? 

In criminology, you’ll look at the social, economic, and psychological side of crime. How does offending behaviour affect society? Learn victim psychology, and attitudes towards anti-social behaviour. Compare cultural perspectives on what is seen as crime or just considered deviance. You will gain a solid understanding in both fields and how they come together to thwart crime. 

At one time in history, theft was considered to be in your genes. It was in your blood to steal! In your first year, you will learn how attitudes towards crime and punishment have evolved. You’ll explore the stages of the justice system, from arrest to release. You’ll explore the schemes in place to reintegrate ex-offenders back into society. You’ll recognise its strengths. Challenge its weaknesses. We have moved on from the brutalities of hanging. But are prison sentences harsh enough?  

In your second year, you’ll specialise in an area that fascinates you. Want to know more about the psychology of crime?  Question if psychology can be used to shape how the public see criminality. Or what about the race and crime debate? Look at the evidence on media stereotyping. Explore how this could lead to an increase in criminalising minority ethnic people. There are 117 prisons in England and only 12 of those are female. Explore feminist theories on gender, victimisation, and offending.  

Work placement / study abroad option  

Between your second and final year, you’ll have the possibility to study abroad or do a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about but will also give your CV a boost. If you’d rather go straight to your final year, that’s absolutely fine too.  

Shape your entire third year. Choose all your modules. You could explore how the media report crime events. Compare social moral panics to the official statistics. What about the ‘war on drugs’? Is there an increasing social acceptance of recreational drug use? Does this justify harsher governing? Gangs. War crimes. Rehabilitating offenders. Your discussions will be endless. Your detailed research will inform your opinions. And we want you to debate them. Choose a topic. Gather your research. Analyse your readings. Use your final year project to produce a thought-provoking study. Challenge the system. Tell us how you believe we could make a fairer society.  

Your main campus is de Havilland  

You’ll share this campus with students from business, law, education, and humanities subjects. The student housing is close to our Sports Village which includes a gym, swimming pool and climbing wall. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the restaurant on days you don’t feel like cooking. You can also use the common room to play pool, video games or just to hang out with friends.  You can take the free shuttle bus to our other campus or walk there in just 15 minutes.

What will I study?

Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6.  These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study.  Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.      

Experiences I've had from my first year have been nothing but fantastic. The seminars and lectures are beyond engaging and really allow me to broaden my understanding and elevate my passion for the subject. Particularly the module on Understanding Crime and Deviance allows me to further my insights into questions such as how and why crime is committed.

Lisa Malinowski

BA (Hons) Criminal Justice and Criminology

Student Blogs

Leah - Week at a glance

My week at a glance

I cannot really describe my week at a glance since every week is so different and exciting. I go to seminars three times a week and have two days off not including the weekend. I say every week is different because the University of Hertfordshire is always doing some sort of event that I want to try out; BBQs on the opposite campus, society events or even the forum which is the club on the College Lane Campus.

However, I did make a habit out of going to the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) with friends every day to either catchup on work or do simple revision. Every Wednesday I went to my society event and sometimes on Thursday’s which is where I made some of my favourite memories. However, other than my weekly society events and going to the LRC every day, those are the only things that stayed consistent during my week. Even some of my seminars were unpredictable with some turning into debates about serious topics related to my course.

Student Blogs

Leah - Things you should know

Things to know before coming to Herts

I cannot speak on behalf of other courses but when it came to criminology and criminal justice, I had what felt like a lot of free time. Having said that, I would heavily recommend timetabling your week. At first, I felt a little overwhelmed with the jump from A-levels and the new feeling of fending for myself completely. It was hard to handle it all but once I started to plan out my week it helped so much, and I had such an enjoyable time at university. This obviously does not mean you should plan your week or month to a tee, but it was so helpful to have an idea of what I should be doing. Of course, things come up especially when it comes to the events that are held all the time, but it helped immensely.

Student Blogs

Leah - Why I love criminology

What I love most about Criminology

If I am speaking honestly the course itself is what I love most. I have a large interest in criminology which is why I chose to study it. I love getting into debates during my seminars about race or whether the death penalty is good or not. The University of Hertfordshire certainly allows me to enjoy my course a lot more as they give us criminology students a lot of co-curricular opportunities to explore which helps narrow down what I like about criminology and criminal justice specifically. I did not know Herts offered so many opportunities for criminology students as they did before I joined; I am grateful for them. For example, an email about volunteering at a prison was sent out to the Law school which I jumped at. There was also a detective co-curricular activity which I was keen to attend. The spaces fill so quickly which shows that people really like these opportunities that are given to us.

There many more opportunities too but those are the ones that caught my eye and the ones I appreciated most. Looking back on my first year, there were nonstop opportunities given to us which I really loved. I recommend trying as many things as possible if it interests you, especially in your first year. If you end up not liking it, the upside is that you always end up meeting new people which is always fun.

Student Blogs

Lisa - Unibuddy

Alumni Stories

Anwar 'Ash' Khan

Meet Anwar 'Ash' Khan who since graduating in 2010 has taken all of the opportunities presented to him. Anwar currently works as In-House Counsel at British American Tobacco.

Current job roleLawyer
Year of graduation2010
Course of studyLLB (Hons) Law

Anwar Khan

Opportunities and experiences

Anwar credits his professional success to having had the opportunity to gain experience in both private practice and in-house legal counsel roles. He recognises the role the University of Hertfordshire has played in getting him to where he is today having studied Law at the University.

Throughout his degree, he learnt the importance of independent study but also the value of the group study exercises. These practical elements enabled him to learn and hone his research and communication skills in public as well as in a client advisory role.

Anwar speaks highly of the resources on offer and the academic staff who he says were always available to offer support. 'My lecturers supported me to tackle tricky subjects or areas which I had difficulty in improving on. I was never too great at coursework, but with their expertise and guidance, I was able to tailor my writing style to address key points in my coursework.'

Anwar's experience at the University was enhanced by the strong student community present on campus. He says, 'I stay in contact with many of my friends from university. Some have even offered me guidance and have helped with interview advice and roles following my degree. Some of my friends also went on to study the LPC as well.'

Aspirations for the future

He has been successful in achieving his career aspirations, capitalising on the support and opportunities his degree offered. He advises new and prospective students to do the same: 'Try your best. Don't have a fixed idea on what happens after graduation. Your opportunities are limitless. The skills you learn are made for the professional world. Take every professional opportunity available and make the best of the great staff there to advise you.'

Looking ahead, Anwar is excited for the next stage of his career but remains committed to doing more charity work. He recently carried out philanthropic work in Bangladesh and hopes to do more to help third world countries in the future.

'Your opportunities are limitless. The skills you learn are made for the professional world. Take every professional opportunity available and make the best of the great staff there to advise you.'

Alumni Stories

Natalie Pringle

Meet Natalie Pringle who has excelled in her career since graduating. She currently runs her own real estate firm in Asia and is the CMO for Asia's leading financial literacy platform for women.

Current job roleCo-Founder and Director, CMO and Programme Manager
Year of graduation2009
Course of studyLLB(Hons) Law

Natalie Pringle

University life and experience

Originally from Oxfordshire, Natalie decided to study at the University of Hertfordshire as it was within a two-hour radius from her hometown – making visiting friends and family easy. Not only was the University conveniently located, she was blown away by our Law programme. From our expert tutors and lecturers to our facilities, Natalie felt at home immediately at the University.

Natalie took full advantage of the opportunities on offer within Hertfordshire Law School including extra-curricular activities like mooting, debating, trips to Inns of Court as well as guest speakers who were regularly invited onto campus to lead debates. Not only did Natalie find these incredibly fun, but she says, these opportunities helped her gain confidence and have ‘really shaped the person I am now and has shown me that if you are willing to put your time and show commitment, then many other doors will open for you.’

Her favourite extra-curricular activity was being involved in the mooting team as she got to travel throughout the country, bound with her peers and receive extra support from lecturers. She describes the skills she learnt while on the team as ‘invaluable’ and the overall experience ‘fantastic.’

These experiences have been extremely beneficial throughout Natalie’s career. She says, ‘It was a great experience which gave me the confidence to speak in public, how to research and shape an argument, analytical skills and gave me a basic knowledge of contract and employment Law which have been useful in the operational side of running a business.’

Future aspirations

Natalie is currently running her own company in Hong Kong as well as other ventures in Fintech and charitable organisations. She envisages her future will continue on this path enabling her to continue to learn, innovate and network.

It was a great experience which gave me the confidence to speak in public, how to research and shape an argument, analytical skills and gave me a basic knowledge of contract and employment Law which have been useful in the operational side of running a business.

Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.