Last Updated on January 17, 2023
Criminology focuses on the causes and consequences of crime, as well as how the criminal justice system responds to crime. Criminologists are interested in how activities come to be defined as criminal, and why definitions of crime vary across countries and over time. The subject includes a wide range of social and psychological theories that attempt to explain criminal behaviour and the effective operation of the criminal justice system.
Sociology is a scientific discipline concerned with the explanation of social life and human behaviour of all kinds. It equips students with the skills to understand the breadth of social practice, ranging from the global (including power and politics, conflict and peace processes, security, the digital world, climate change, racism and social justice) to individual experiences (such as the body, intimacy, emotions, identity, beliefs and mental health).
Criminology And Sociology Degree Highlights
Criminology at Queen’s is ranked 9th in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2020.
- Students can spend time studying in one of our linked Universities in Europe. There is also the opportunity to study or work abroad, supported by schemes, such as Erasmus and Study USA. Additionally, students benefit for visiting international students who take criminology modules, as it increases their exposure to international criminal justice policy and practice, enhancing their understanding of criminology as an international discipline.
- Students are offered opportunities to develop substantive knowledge and research skills through collaboration with Northern Ireland’s vibrant civil and community sector, through field trips, guest lectures, workshops, placements, research collaborations and volunteering opportunities.
World Class Facilities
- The programme is taught on Queen’s historic campus in the heart of Belfast, which has been ranked one of the most affordable Universities in the UK.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Criminology is taught by a group of internationally-recognised criminological researchers who specialise in areas, such as criminal justice policy, prisons, policing, desistance from crime, offender reintegration, drug use, youth justice, conflict and transitional justice.
- We offer a high quality, supportive, student-centred learning experience in a top Russell Group University, as evidenced by our excellent National Student Survey student satisfaction rates.
- Queen’s University is one of only 17 Universities within the UK being funded by the Nuffield Foundation to provide specialist, advanced quantitative research skills training to undergraduate social science students. This training enhances students’ employment prospects as these skills are highly desired by many employers
“The course offers a wide range of interesting and diverse modules covering a wide range of topics and interests. The support and guidance from the department and the expertise of staff has provided me with an invaluable experience that has furthered my knowledge and understanding of both criminological and sociological theory and has motivated me to further my learning by undertaking a Master’s degree at Queen’s.”
Rachel Stanley (Joint Honours Graduate 2016)
|Introduction||Courses often draw on international comparisons with a strong Irish (North and South) emphasis. All of the optional modules are taught by experts in the area, who have published textbooks and research articles on the topic at hand.|
|Stage 1 Core Modules||– Introducing Criminology|
– Digital Society
– Crime and Society
– Rethinking Society
– The Sociological Imagination
|Stage 1 Optional Modules||– Introducing Social Policy|
– Visualising the Social World
|Stage 2 Core Modules||– Qualitative Research Skills|
– Quantitative Research Skills
– Crime and the Media
– Policing and Society
|Stage 2 Optional Modules||– Justice and Conflict|
– Environmental Crime and Justice
– Social Inequalities and Diversity
– Theory Counts
– Sociology of Conflict and Peace Processes
– Criminological Theory
– The Power of Social Theory
|Stage 3 Core Modules||– Punishment, Penal Policy and Prison|
|Stage 3 Optional Modules||– Contemporary Irish Society|
– Religion: Death or Revival
– Youth, Crime and Criminal Justice
– Global Risk Society
– Criminology Beyond Borders
– Norms and Social Change
– Reintegration After Prison
– Psychological Perspectives on Crime
– Emotion, Power and Politics
– Modelling the Social World
– Social Identity: Difference and Inequalities
|The Optional Quantitative Methods Exit Pathway||Students who wish to benefit from specialist training in advanced quantitative research skills can undertake a series of dedicated social science research modules over the course of their degree studies. Students who successfully complete four advanced quantitative research skills modules (80 CATS credits)in level 2 and level 3 of their degree will be eligible to graduate with a BSc in Criminology or Sociology with Quantitative Methods.|
People teaching you
Dr Jonathan Heaney
Sociology Programme Director, Lecturer in Sociology
Jonathan teaches social theory and undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well a new final year option course on the political sociology of emotion. His primary research interests lie at the intersection of political sociology and the sociology of emotions, and he is currently working on emotion and power dynamics in relation to nationalism, the state, populism, and party politics more generally.Dr Michelle Butler
Criminology Programme Director, Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Michelle’s research interests are in identity, violence, imprisonment, shame, masculinity, penal reform, reintegration, desistance, criminological psychology and restorative justice.
Contact Teaching Times
|Large Group Teaching||6 (hours maximum)|
Hours of lectures per week during term time.
|Medium Group Teaching||3 (hours maximum)|
Hours of practical classes, tutorials or seminars per week during term time.
|Personal Study||24 (hours maximum)|
22–24 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study, using handouts, online activities, etc.
|Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial||10 (hours maximum)|
Small group and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor during the year, as well as one-to-one supervision during the final year dissertation project.
Learning and Teaching
We aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential.
On the Criminology and Sociology joint honors course we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society, and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.
Criminology and Sociology students at Queen’s are taught in a dynamic academic environment by an award-winning teaching staff, in a School which was rated as one of the leading departments in the United Kingdom.
Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via our Canvas Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree programme through the use of, for example, online discussion forums; interactive media workshops in a flexible learning space; statistics and data analysis modules; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with project- based work etc.
- Field Trips/Study Tours
Study visits and field trips are integrated into a number of core modules. These present opportunities to apply theoretical ideas and concepts within real world settings. Back in the classroom students present and discuss observations and ideas developed during the field trip.
- Guest speakers
We work regularly with criminal justice agencies and people from these agencies regularly lecture on the course. As well as studying the academic and theoretical aspects of criminology, students have opportunities to hear from senior practitioners within the Police, Courts Custodial and Community Services.
Introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
- Peer Mentors
We offer a peer mentoring scheme for our BA students, which sees specially-trained second and third year students, under the guidance of staff and the Centre for Educational Development, help first year students settle into life at Queen’s University through social events, small group or one-to-one informal support, and learning skills workshops.
- Personal Tutor
Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor from their first day at the University. The Personal Tutor is available to them to give advice and support throughout their time at Queen’s. The Personal Tutor will meet with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.
In research method modules you will have opportunities to develop research design and technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life research contexts.
The highest achieving students in the school are awarded the annual Lockheed Prize. We also support our students entering essays to the annual Undergraduate Awards.
- Self-directed study
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s University student and involves private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback on the quality of work submitted, as well as assignment research and preparation work.
A significant amount of teaching is carried out in medium sized groups (typically 10-20 students). These provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. You should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
Details of the assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
- The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction. Following each element of assessed coursework, students are provided with detailed feedback on the quality of their written work and how they can improve future assignments.
As you progress through your course you will receive both specific and general feedback on your work and the factors that can affect students’ marks from a variety of sources, including lecturers, module co-ordinators, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers. As a university student, you will be expected to take a greater role in reflecting on the quality of your work, as well as to take the initiative to continuously seek to improve your work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comment and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face-to-face feedback including requested one-to-one meetings with staff to discuss assessments and/or to address a specific query.
- Online or email feedback.
- General feedback or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards students should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services, such as the Careers, Employability and Skills Service or the Learning Development Service.
- Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
The School is located within a recently renovated building, with state of the art teaching and learning facilities, together with dedicated student space including a large student common room. The teaching facilities enable an interactive learning environment.
|A level requirements|
|Irish leaving certificate requirements|
Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 70%.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma|
33 points overall, including 6,5,5 at Higher Level. If not offered at Higher Level/GCSE then Standard Level grade 4 in English would be accepted.
|BTEC Level 3 Extended/National Extended Diploma|
QCF Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits), with 120 credits at Distinction grade and 60 credits at Merit grade.
RQF Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma (1080 Guided Learning Hours (GLH)), with at least 660 GLH at Distinction grade (minimum 240 GLH to be externally assessed) and 420 GLH at Merit grade.
A minimum of a 2:2 Honours Degree
There are no specific subject requirements to study Criminology and Sociology.
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on ‘How we choose our students’ prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen’s, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
Demand for places differs from course to course and for this degree, past performance at GCSE is taken into account when deciding whether or not to make conditional offers. For entry last year, we started making offers to applicants offering A-Level/BTEC Level 3 qualifications, who have achieved 6 grade B/6 (or averaged to 6 grade B/6) at GCSE. This threshold may be lowered as the cycle progresses depending upon the number and quality of applications. The final threshold is not usually determined until late in the admissions cycle, so there may be a delay in processing applicants who do not meet the initial threshold. GCSE English Language grade C is also required
Offers are normally made on the basis of 3 A-levels. The offer for repeat applicants is set in terms of 3 A-Levels only and is normally the same as that asked from the first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits.
For those offering a HND, to be eligible for an offer, a minimum of 4 Merits and remainder of units at pass grade is necessary in the year 1 performance. Applicants must successfully complete the HND with 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits in all units assessed in the final year. Any consideration would be for stage 1 entry only.
For those offering an HNC or HND , some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.
For applicants offering the Irish Leaving Certificate, please note that performance at Junior Certificate is taken into account and at the end of last year’s application cycle, the Junior Cert profile was a minimum of 6 B grades.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted however, these are not the final deciding factors as to whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking 4 A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview, though there are some exceptions and specific information is provided with the relevant subject areas.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Open Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen’s.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service ([email protected]), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen’s University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen’s University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
International Students – Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen’s offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen’s University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University’s world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
The INTO progression course suited to this programme is