Criminology BA (Hons)

The course is informed by staff’s own research in the field of criminology and criminal justice


We are the top UK modern university for Criminology (1st of 37) - The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Criminology is the study of crime, explanations for crime and social reactions to crime.

As an interdisciplinary social science subject, criminology draws on a range of perspectives, for example sociology, psychology and law.

Criminology aims to go beyond our common-sense assumptions and explore the complex and contentious nature of crime and criminal justice.

In second year, students do have the option of undertaking 'Volunteering and Employability'. This can include an element of work placement.

We have a 91% satisfaction rate for our BA (Hons) Criminology course (National Student Survey, 2022).

Two students, on placement at Torphicen Street Station, sitting across the desk from a policeman

Mode of Study:



4 years

Start date:


UCAS code:




Study Abroad:


Course details

During the four year course, you will develop a clear understanding of the key disciplines which will inform your criminological studies, such as sociology, psychology and history. You will also develop your skills in research methods, including collecting and analysing both quantitative and qualitative data, and will have an understanding of the ethical issues in criminological research.

As you progress through the course, you will gain theoretical knowledge of key criminological theories, issues in crime control and punishment, as well as specific forms of crime such as violence. You will also have the opportunity to study a number of optional modules including cybercrime, giving you further insight into the interdisciplinary nature of criminology. You will put this knowledge and your understanding of research methodologies into practice in your final year by conducting and writing up your Honours Project.

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    How you’ll be taught

    The BA (Hons) Criminology programme takes an innovative approach to learning and teaching. Your lectures and tutorials will include activities such as debates, group discussions, presentations and case study analysis. Your lecturers will bring topics to life by drawing on their own diverse experiences of conducting research in Criminology and Social Sciences. There is also a high level of independent study in the programme.

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    There is a variety of formative and summative assessments in the BA Criminology (Hons) programme. You will complete assessed coursework such as essays, reports, reflective portfolios and media analyses. Other assessments will include poster and oral presentations and debates, examinations, multiple choice tests, project work and exercises requiring computing proficiency. Your final year honours project will allow you to demonstrate your research skills to the highest level of this award. You will be assessed on activities that require you to show initiative, critical analysis and research skills.

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    Work placement

    In second year, students do have the option of undertaking 'Volunteering and Employability'. This can include an element of work placement.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

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    Study abroad

    Our programme benefits from an International Summer school with institutions in the US. This gives students the opportunity to visit host institutions such as University of West Florida and participate in a programme of activities, including lectures and trips to criminal justice institutions.

    'My ride-along was one of the most amazing experiences of the whole trip. It was great to talk to a sheriff deputy and see their day-to-day life and activities. It is something you just cannot learn at university but it is so important to understand'. (Criminology Summer School student on their trip to the USA)

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Popular modules

Year 1

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Contemporary British History
  • Understanding Social Science Research
  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Understanding Social Change

One option from modules such as:

  • Behavioural Studies
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • Introduction to the Web
  • Intercultural Organisational Management

Year 2

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice Systems in the UK
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Quantitative Research Methods Criminological Theory
  • Youth, Crime & Deviance

 One option from modules such as:

  • Volunteering & Employability
  • Exploring Culture
  • Society, Space and Place

Year 3

  • Crime Control & Policing 
  • Violence & Society
  • Researching the Social Sciences
  • Penology

Two options from modules such as:

  • History of Crime, Correction & Reform
  • Cybercrime
  • Human Rights
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Public Health & Criminal Justice
  • Sexuality & Gender
  • Environment, Politics & Society

Year 4

  • Preparing for the Honours Project
  • Honours Project
  • Comparative & International Criminology

Two options from modules such as:

  • Victimisation & Victimology
  • Cybercrime
  • Surveillance & Society
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Social Identities
  • Sociology of Media & Culture


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Criminology?

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Please note this course is available only for year 1 entry.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the undergraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

Minimum Year 1

SQA Higher

  • Standard Entry Requirement: BBBB including English or Literary subject*
  • Minimum Offer Entry Requirement: BBCC including English or Literary subject* at grade C

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies

A Level

  • BCC including English or a Literary subject*

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • Grades H2, H2, H2, H3 at Higher Level including English or a Literary subject*

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

  • Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in Health & Social Care, Applied Science (Forensic Science) or Public Services.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including English or a Literary subject* at minimum grade 5.


  • Pass HNC in Social Science, Police Studies, Legal Services with A in the graded unit for year 1 entry.
  • Minimum Offer Entry RequirementPass HNC in Social Science, Police Studies, Legal Services with B in the graded unit for year 1 entry.

T Level

  • Grade M
  • T Level must be completed in a Literary subject or A Level Literary subject may be required. Please contact to check if you meet the subject specific requirements.


*Literary subjects accepted: Modern Studies, History, Geography, Psychology, Sociology, Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies, Latin, Theology, Classics and Philosophy, A Level Government and Politics, A Level Classical Civilisation. 

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland £1,820 £1,820
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
Overseas and EU £15,160 £16,680
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland will be invoiced the tuition fees for 3 years of their 4 years of study. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Facial recognition camera in use in a psychology lab in Napier University

What can you do with a criminology degree?

By studying Criminology at Edinburgh Napier University, you will become an expert in crime, with an understanding of complex issues across a broad range of cross functional disciplines such as psychology and sociology, gaining deep theoretical knowledge as well as how to apply contemporary issues practically in the field. You will have excellent written, communication and presentation skills on completion of your degree. Careers you may go into include local or national government, the voluntary sector, policing, offender supervision and youth justice and youth work. If you are interested in crime and the justice sector, then this might be the right course for you.

What does a youth worker do in the justice voluntary sector?

There are numerous charities involved in supporting some of Scotland's most vulnerable young people, including those who come into conflict with the law. Young people who come into conflict with the law are disproportionately likely to be dealing with multiple forms of deprivation, victimisation and trauma. Your role would be to work with these young people to help them to address their needs and realise their rights, and as far as possible avoid (further) contact with the justice system. This is challenging work but vital in helping Scotland's young people to realise their potential.

Daily roles and responsibilities may include:

  • Speaking to young people to assess their needs
  • Developing plans to support young people to realise their potential
  • Supporting young people involved in the justice system


Police officer's sleeve with police Scotland logo as the female officer looks to Edinburgh Napier University's Sighthill Campus