Applied Criminology

BA or BSc single honours or in combination with another subject Applied Criminology 2019/20

Year of entry

Crime dominates the news and is a constant feature in the entertainment media. Applied Criminology is a popular choice either as a single honours degree or in combination with another subject such as sociology or forensic investigation.

The course examines the nature, extent and causes of crime and the methods used to manage criminal behaviour.

You will explore areas including:

  • criminological theory
  • youth crime and the youth justice system
  • crime and social control
  • the media representation of crime
  • different forms of crime such as hate crime and violent crime. 

We have strong links with criminal justice agencies and you will be encouraged to make the most of the volunteering and networking opportunities available throughout your course in order to give you the best possible start to your career. We place our students at the centre of everything we do. You will always be assured of high quality research informed teaching.


Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction with the quality of the course.

The Guardian University League Tables 2019

Crime dominates the news and is a constant feature in entertainment media. You will learn to cast a critical eye over the processes of criminalisation and crime control and set these processes within wider social, economic and political contexts.

We place students at the centre of everything we do. Not only can you be assured of high quality, research-informed teaching, but you will also be provided with high-quality support, both in your studies and pastorally. Indeed, in the 2018 Guardian League Table, the Applied Criminology programme was ranked joint first for helping students to improve their academic performance or results.

We have developed close links with local, national and international criminal justice agencies to enhance our distinctive ‘applied’ focus to learning about crime. Through our ‘insights from practice’ initiative, you will experience a range of guest speakers who are professionals and practitioners working within the justice system.

Flexibility and choice are built into our Applied Criminology programmes. At the end of the first year, if you are a combined honours student you can choose to change the balance of your course so that criminology can be studied as a joint honours degree or as a minor or major subject. You are also able to continue into your second and third years as an Applied Criminology single honours student.

Choice is also provided through the range of exciting optional modules available.

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all your help and support in my endeavours to do well in Criminology. I have just received a job offer to train as a Probation Service Officer, which I have accepted.”

Adrian Hukin, graduate in Applied Criminology, 2015

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info

The three-year full-time course moves from a thorough grounding in criminological issues and perspectives to an in-depth critical understanding and application of these ideas to contemporary crime problems. Applied Criminology can be studied as a single honours degree or in combination with other courses from across the University. This allows considerable flexibility in what exactly to study, and emphasises the multidisciplinary nature of the degree. The course is built around a number of core modules which engage you in key criminological themes, concepts and debates, and a range of optional modules which explore crime topics in more depth and breadth.

You will be strongly encouraged and assisted to engage in relevant volunteering activity during your degree. Criminology students have gained work experience in a number of areas, including in prisons, the probation service, the police, victim support, and in a variety of charities. We have developed a second year optional module in which volunteering is part of the assessment process, and have a new third year core module in which employability plays a vital part, including in its assessment.

As a Single Honours student you will have the chance to study modules across the three years which allow you to build up competence in two distinct areas: Criminal psychology and Policing. The aim of having these two pathways is also to enhance your employment prospects in these areas. Students who complete the Policing pathway will also have the chance to attain the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing (CKP). The CKP is a nationally recognised qualification located within the Qualifications Curriculum Framework (QCF) and accredits learning for pre-service for the purposes of supporting flexible entry into the police service.

Guest lecturers are an important part of our course, particularly during the third year. These are experts and professionals in the field who contribute to the applied nature of the course.

We have optional visits, such as prison visits, which are popular and provide additional insight into the workings of the justice system.

You will also have the opportunity to engage in the development of the course through our Criminology Student Forum and can play a full part in making sure that this is a course that listens to students.

“Studying at Canterbury Christ Church University has opened my eyes to a whole new field of learning. Not only are the modules well-structured and thought out, they also simulate the working conditions for everyday life as a CSI. The lecturers themselves are approachable and kind mannered, which makes the whole experience enjoyable and rewarding."

Luke Spencer, Level 6, Applied Criminology and Forensic Investigation

Core modules

Year 1

Crime in Context (20 Credits)
(Core for both Single Honours and Combined Honours students)

This module develops your ability to analyse and comment upon various issues relevant to an understanding of crime and crime control. The module includes exploration of how crime is experienced through a number of social factors, such as gender, ethnicity, social class and age, together with wider structural issues. The extent to which crime is socially constructed is explored through analysis of crime statistics and the influence of the media.

Introduction to Criminological Thinking (20 Credits)
(Core for both Single Honours and Combined Honours students)

This module introduces you to the ways in which notions of crime and criminality are constructed, explained and understood. You will be introduced to the historical, social and cultural contexts of the development of criminology and the key shifts in criminological thinking about crime and the justice system. The approach is to break down theories into manageable units but also to recognise that theories overlap, develop over time and contradict one another. The focus is on a critical approach to the application of theories which have an impact on criminal justice policy and practice.

Crimes, Punishments and Societies (20 Credits)
(Core for Single Honours and optional for Combined Honours) 

This module is an opportunity for you to explore some of the contextual issues that arise when exploring academic areas of criminology, criminal justice and policing. In particular, this module is concerned with the different societal, historical, cultural, geographical and political contexts in which crime and justice occur.

Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (20 Credits)
(Core for Single Honours and optional for Combined Honours) 

This module is designed to provide you with a grounding in the wider role and function of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in the UK. This will act as a foundation for your further undergraduate study, providing context and background knowledge to your subject areas. The main aim of the module is to introduce you to the various stages of the justice process and the agencies that manage them. You will also develop an understanding of the interactions of the various professionals at all stages of the criminal process, from initial reporting to the reintegration of offenders. Through the use of case studies and alternative theories you will develop a critical understanding that the way things are is not the way they necessarily need to be and that change (both future and historic changes) can be beneficial as well as damaging to the functioning of the CJS.

Law and Criminal Justice (20 credits)
(Core for Single Honours and optional for Combined Honours) 

This module aims to introduce you to the criminal law and the criminal justice system in the UK. It will explore some of the basic legal principles necessary for understanding how the criminal law and criminal justice system operate. This module also aims to enable you to think critically about laws and legal processes. This will be achieved by exploring how social and political factors can influence the interpretation and enforcement of law.

Year 2

Crime and Social Control (20 Credits)
(Core for both Single Honours and Combined Honours) 

This module builds on the theoretical knowledge of the year one module, Introduction to Criminological Thinking. The primary aim of this module is to provide a comprehensive understanding of formal and informal means of control in the historical and social context of crime and responses to crime. An important component of this is studying how the main institutions of the criminal justice system – the police service, the prison service, and the probation service – emerged and have developed over time.

Crime Offenders and Society (20 Credits)
(Core for both Single Honours and Combined Honours) 

This module builds on the issues introduced in Crime in Context in year one, and aims to develop your critical understanding of the nature of crime and the characteristics of specific types of crime. The complexity of crime as a problem is a central theme including addressing relatively under-researched issues such as the criminalisation of certain groups, crimes committed by the state, organised crime and white collar crime.

Research Methods (20 Credits)
(Core for Single Honours and optional for Combined Honours)

This module addresses the purpose of research and highlights the ethical considerations important to high quality research. This is followed by a critical assessment of some of the key methods used, both quantitative and qualitative, for research design, as well as for generating and analysing criminological data.

Year 3

Applications of Criminology (20 Credits)
(Core for both Single Honours and Combined Honours) 

This module draws together knowledge and conceptual understanding from years one and two. It consists of a series of research-informed lectures designed to demonstrate the application of theory and research to our understanding of contemporary crime issues. It aims to enable you to apply a range of criminological theories, methods and perspectives to in-depth examples of crime and criminal activity. It also explores the strengths and limitations of criminological research. An employability component is being built into this module, including in the assessment, which will be ready for 2018-19.

Youth Crime and Justice (20 Credits)
(Core for both Single Honours and Combined Honours) 

Explores the changing concepts and discourses used to address the notion of youth, youth crime and justice. You will investigate contrasting media representations of youth crime and deviance, and explore research into the area of youth offending. You will also explore the link between youth justice policy and legislation and the tension between different ideas about how youth crime should be approached and dealt with.

Individual Study (40 Credits)
(Core for Single Honours and optional for Combined Honours) 

This module is core if you are a single honours student and optional if you are a Combined Honours student taking 80 credits in Applied Criminology. This module provides you with the opportunity to engage in an in-depth study on a topic of your choice, which is supervised by a member of the criminology team. It also provides an opportunity to apply your developing research skills and develop a critical appreciation of scholarship and methods of enquiry. There may also be an opportunity for you to undertake an empirical study (subject to achieving 60% plus in the second year Research Methods module).

Likely optional modules

A number of modules which are core for Single Honours students are optional for Combined Honours students. In year one, these are Crime, Punishments and Societies; Law and Criminal Justice; and Introduction to the Criminal Justice System.  In year two, this is Research Methods. In year three, this is the Individual Study. Please see descriptions of these modules above.

Year 1

Police Practice, Policy and Procedures 1 (20 Credits)
(Applied Criminology single honours only) 

The aim of this module is to provide you with the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of basic police practice, policies and procedures in England and Wales. It is the first of three modules that embed the components enabling you to attain the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing. The CKP is a nationally recognised qualification located within the Qualifications Curriculum Framework (QCF) and accredits learning for pre-service for the purposes of supporting flexible entry into the police service. The module will focus on legislation and aspects of law such as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE 1984) and more generally legal reasoning and procedure. The module also considers classification of offences, evidence gathering, search, arrest and detention.

Psychology and Crime (20 Credits)
(Applied Criminology single honours only) 

The module aims to introduce you to the discipline of psychology and its applications to the study of crime and offending behaviour. It explores the contribution of psychology to the development of explanations of various types of crime and antisocial behaviour. The module also encourages you to critically evaluate the literature you read, by examining the strengths and limitations of relevant research and literature.

Year 2

Hate Crime (20 Credits)

This module introduces you to the concept of hate crime in its various forms, including race, religious, homophobic and disability hate crimes. The module examines the issues involved in hate crime and aims to develop your ability to identify relevant academic literature and to engage with the core issues in the area. There is particular reference to hate crime victimisation, legislation, and the policing of hate crimes.

Media and Crime (20 Credits)

This module explores the relationship between media, crime and criminal justice. You will explore criminological theories related to media and develop an understanding of the significance of pop cultural representations of crime and criminal justice within the public, political and cultural spheres.

Mental Health and Violence (20 Credits)

This module gives you the opportunity to explore the relationship between mental health and violent crime, and how this is responded to by the criminal justice system and other institutions. You will learn about criminological and psychiatric research into the relationship between mental disorder and violent offending and the ideologies and practices that are central to the management and treatment of mentally disordered and violent offenders.

Crime and Popular Culture (20 Credits)

The module aims to give you the opportunity to examine theories and issues in criminology through the lens of popular culture. The module will explore the key role of popular culture in reflecting and shaping public views on crime and criminal justice. Through close engagement with a wide range of crime-related popular culture products (films, TV shows, music, novels, comic books, video games etc.), you will acquire an in-depth understanding of the cultural processes through which crime is constructed as a social problem.

Psychology and the Criminal Justice System (20 Credits)

This is an optional module only available to students who passed the module Psychology and Crime in Year One, or who are Applied Criminology/Psychology Combined Honours students. This module aims to give you an introductory understanding of forensic psychology and its impact on the criminal justice system. It will explore how psychology has changed criminal justice procedures, impacted on police practice and given a better understanding of people involved in the criminal justice system such as: perpetrators, victims and witnesses. Special attention will be paid to vulnerable people with lectures on addiction and mental health. Additionally, this module will explore the psychology of the court process and the prison system utilising psychology to understand trial proceedings, the impact of psychological processes on sentencing and the application of psychology to the treatment of offenders.

Criminal Investigation (20 Credits)

The main aims of this module are to develop your knowledge and understanding of police investigations in the UK and the law underpinning these investigations.  Key concepts will include ‘discretion’, ‘consent’ and legitimacy’.  The module requires you to become acquainted with the structure and function of UK police forces and the concepts and procedures underpinning police investigations of volume, series and major crimes.  In addition, you will acquire a knowledge and understanding of the current police law that is utilised to determine whether a crime has been committed and develop your investigative skills.

Police Practice Policy and Procedures 2 (20 Credits)

This module will focus on legislation and relevant policing practices and policies related to Volume Crime Investigation, providing an initial response to policing incidents and public protection. The module includes an introduction to the principles of the college of policing professionalism investigation programme (PIP) and further exploration of the police and criminal evidence act 1984(PACE) and Human Rights legislation.

Criminology for a Just Society (20 Credits)

This module aims to develop a broad and nuanced understanding of sustainability and criminology’s potential to further it. It will also enable you to synthesise and consolidate prior learning in criminology and related disciplines and to apply that to address contemporary problems of environmental, social, cultural and economic justice. The module aims to encourage creativity, reflection, initiative and personal responsibility, and provide an opportunity for practical uses of subject-specific and transferrable knowledge and skills. In so doing it aims to enhance your employability.

Year 3

Prisons and Penology (20 Credits)

This module examines the nature of prisons and their role in society. It focuses on the aims and objectives of the prison service set within a historical context. It looks at current debates about security, justice and control as well as the privatisation of prisons and prison performance. Central to these issues are questions about what prison is for and whether prison works.

Victims and Victimology (20 Credits)

This module examines sources of information about victims such as national and local victim surveys, and also important issues within victimology, such as repeat victimisation and vulnerability. It covers theoretical perspectives including positivist, radical, critical and feminist approaches. It also looks at the place of the victim within the criminal justice system and how this has changed over time. It considers victim support initiatives and alternative forms of justice for victims, such as Restorative Justice.

Police Cultures and Societies (20 Credits)

This module explores the challenging notion of police culture and its effectiveness as a means of examining what police officers believe and how they act. It will look at how police culture has evolved through a number of stages and seek to explain the types of behaviour seen within the police, the politicised dimensions of research into this area of study, and the effectiveness of strategies used to transform occupational cultures within law enforcement agencies.

Crime in a Global Context (20 Credits)

The aim of this module is to provide the opportunity to explore global criminological issues. You will be encouraged to consider the implications of globalisation on changing crime patterns. Topics covered in this module include terrorism, war crimes, state crime, organised crime and human trafficking.

Psychology of Serious and Prolific Offending (20 Credits)

The module is open to students who successfully passed Psychology and Crime, or the first year of their Applied Criminology and Psychology programme. It aims to explore specialist areas of research and application within criminal and forensic psychology, particularly in relation to serious and prolific offending behaviours and ways to address them. The module will critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of the featured research and literature and in doing so facilitate your development of both subject specific and transferable skills appropriate to the level of study.

Police Practice Policy and Procedures 3 (20 Credits)

The aim of this module is to provide you with the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of police practices, policies and procedures in England and Wales. Embedded in this module are components that will enable you to attain the certificate in knowledge of policing (CKP). The CKP is a nationally recognised qualification which supports flexible entry routes into the police service.

International Justice and Human Rights (20 Credits)

This module aims to provide a critical understanding of both well-established and emerging principles of International human rights, focusing on their reality, impacts and effects on state practice. The module considers the interplay of law and power in international law and in-depth issues of international human rights such as the evolution of practices and regulating global business and environmental protection.

You will be encouraged to make the most of the volunteering and networking opportunities available throughout your degree course in order to enhance your employability. The course is designed to enable you to seek employment in a range of institutions related to crime and criminal justice, including the police, the prison service, the probation service, youth work, private companies working in security, and third sector organisations working in crime control and victim support. Moreover, the two strands open to our Single Honours students – Psychology and Policing – are designed to facilitate entry into these fields. Further postgraduate study is also an option for Applied Criminology graduates.

“Just thought I'd say thanks! I can distinctly remember being an undergrad criminology student at Christ Church and thinking 'I want to publish something in the British Journal of Criminology someday' and now my first journal article is about to be published. I'll always be grateful for the wonderful teaching and enthusiasm, it really set me on my way.”

Thomas Rayman, graduate in Applied Criminology with Legal Studies, now PhD candidate


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time £9,250 £11,900
Part-time £4,625 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.


Top 20 in the UK for student satisfaction with the quality of teaching.

The Guardian University League Tables 2019


The programme is informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and online activities, while some modules may also include practical workshops. You may also have the opportunity to go on field trips, to add to your experiential learning e.g. a prison visit, subject to availability.

Your actual contact hours will depend on the optional modules you select. However, typically this is 6-10 hours of timetabled sessions per week in addition to which you will have an opportunity to meet with members of staff for one-to-one tutorials.

In year 2, you will have the opportunity to undertake a volunteering placement that allows you learn within workplace context and develop valuable skills for employment.

In year 3, an assessment for a core module is centred on employability, so as to enhance your employment prospects.

Your final year Individual Study project lets you research a particular criminological issue in-depth.

Independent learning

Independent learning, individually and with other students, is key to your success on Applied Criminology. In addition to attending timetabled sessions, you will continue learning through self-study. Typically, this involves engaging with recommended readings, completing tasks in preparation for taught sessions, interacting with other students and staff on the university's Virtual Learning Environment, keeping up with news and events relating to crime, and working on assessments.

Your module leader will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before /  class.

Should you undertake the Individual Study project in year three, you will conduct independent research. You will work under the supervision of a member of the course team. You will meet with your supervisor regularly.

Overall workload

Each 20 credit module requires approximately 200 hours of student, and approximately 50 hours of this is taught class contact time.  You will study 6 modules per year and this is 1200 hours of study per year, which works out as 37.5 hours per week, or approx. 12.5 hours study per module per week.  Many students choose to use holiday periods as intensive study periods, which decreases the amount of work you would do in a week.  There is some flexibility in deciding how to study.

Academic input

All members of staff on Applied Criminology bring with them academic expertise across a range of criminological issues, including mental health, the media and crime, the history of crime, migration and crime, sexual and domestic violence, and the prison, police and probation services. They are also involved in research activities in these and other areas, and bring this research expertise into their teaching. Many have also published in these areas, and have practical experience in them too.

"My degree gave me an advantage due to the knowledge I had accumulated, but I felt that the added advantage was the experience I had gained whilst volunteering that helped secure me the role. My work has offered me experiences that would otherwise not have arisen. An example of this is when I was given the opportunity to appear on BBC Question Time.”

Charlotte Sherratt, graduate in Applied Criminology, 2010

Criminology was ranked in the top 5 in the UK for Feedback.

The Guardian 2018 League Table


The course provides you with opportunities to receive formative feedback on your work before submitting formal assessments that count towards your final mark.

Each module has its 'summative' assessment: the grades from which count toward your module mark. Such assignments may include, for example, essays, presentations, case studies, exams and oral presentations. The variety of assessments is designed to help you learn effectively and develop the skills needed for study and for employment. You will be expected to research assignments using library resources, and each module has a handbook with all the information needed to complete assignments, including recommended readings.

We support your study through study skills sessions and we provide timely, helpful feed forward and feedback, with tutorial support as required, for assignments. This support addresses your individual needs in subject knowledge and understanding, study processes and skills development.

For your final year Individual Study project, you will be assigned a supervisor who will provide feedback on your plans, research and drafts as you progress.


You will receive feedback on all assessments undertaken. This is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module leader. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader.

The Applied Criminology course adheres to and is guided by the Criminology Benchmark Statements, which define expectations as part of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. It also provides Single Honours students with the chance to attain their Certificate of Knowledge in Policing, depending on the module options they choose.

Applied Criminology will have an Industrial Advisory Board up and running for 2018-19. This will be made of leading professionals in the field of crime control and criminal justice, who will offer guidance on the programme’s curriculum development, with a view to enhancing the employment skills of our graduates.

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • M900 Applied Criminology

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time


  • September 2019

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 13/08/2018 09:31:00