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BA (Hons) Criminology and Social Policy

UCAS Code LL64 Part-time study available Fast-track your degree Study abroad opportunities

Take this criminology degree to learn about the issues surrounding crime and social policy. Find out why we’re rated 1st in Scotland for criminology (The Guardian University Guide 2020).

Criminology and Social Policy

Key facts

  • Award BA (Hons)
  • Start date September or January
  • Duration 36 months or 48 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based

We’re ranked 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019). Taught by experts in their field, our course is informed by the latest developments in social research.

You’ll discover how to assess the issues surrounding crime and social problems. We’ll help you answer questions such as: how does society work, how are crime and other social problems situated in society, and how do different cultures understand these problems? What can we learn from the success of social policies in other countries?

Our BA (Hons) Criminology and Social Policy degree provides an international approach to help you understand a wide range of social issues, including crime and criminal justice, inequality and welfare, race, immigration, disability, addictions, youth and ageing. We’ll give you the skills to research, analyse and assess the key issues for yourself. You’ll also benefit from our strong research links with on-campus organisations such as the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research, and the Dementia Centre.

  • Top reasons to study with us

Entry requirements for your country/region

  • Year 1 entry – Four-year honours

    SQA Higher
    ABBB - by the end of S5
    AABB - by the end of S6

    GCE A-level

    IB Diploma
    32 points

    BTEC (Level 3)

    Widening access students
    Widening access students may be eligible for an adjusted offer of entry. To find out if this applies to you go to our widening access pages.

  • Year 2 entry – Three-year honours

    SQA Advanced Highers

    GCE A-levels

    IB Diploma
    35 points

    Essential subjects

  • Other Scottish qualifications

    Scottish HNC/HND
    Year one minimum entry - Bs in graded units.

    Access courses
    University of Stirling access course - for mature students only. You must pass the course with 50% or above.

    SWAP access course - for mature students only. Please check the SWAP progression routes document for details.

    Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

    Foundation Apprenticeships
    Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

  • Other qualifications

    English, Welsh and Northern Irish HNC/HND
    Merits and Distinctions

    English, Welsh and Northern Irish access courses
    Access to Higher Education - 60 credits, minimum 45 at QCF Level 3, pass at 60% or above.

    Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

  • Advanced entry

    Year 2 and Year 3 entry
    Entry into Year 2 or Year 2 may be possible depending on your HNC/HND course. To find out more go to our articulation pages.

    Other qualifications
    Advanced entry may by possible depending on your qualifications. To find out more go to our advanced entry pages.

  • Additional information

    General entrance requirements apply

    If you’ve taken exams over two sittings, repeated an exam, or been upgraded, the entrance requirements may be higher.

  • Other routes of entry

    If you’re an international student and don’t meet the academic and English-language requirements for entry onto this degree, there are other options to prepare you. You could take our International Foundation programme. Delivered by INTO University of Stirling on our campus, you can benefit from excellent teaching and supportive English language training. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences provides guaranteed progression to Year 2 of this degree.

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS - 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
    • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54, with 51 in each component
    • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

    More information on our English language requirements

    Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses

In Semesters 1-4, you’re required to take the following core modules:

  • Social Differentiation - the effects that gender, age, ethnicity and status have on the way people are treated in different societies.
  • Social Problems - contemporary social issues and policy responses, including crime, white collar crime and immigration crime.
  • Understanding Social Policy - historical and theoretical perspectives on social policy analysis, including crime policy.
  • The Development of Social Theory – an introduction to a range of social, particularly sociological, theoretical perspectives.
  • Crime and Criminal Justice - the architecture of the criminal justice system, and evidence and explanations for crime and offending.

You’ll also be able to choose three additional modules in any subject in semesters 1-4.

In Semesters 5-8, you’ll take two core modules:

  • Research Process is split into two modules.
    The first is an introduction to a range of research methods and a number of issues relating to the exploration of the social world. The second will give you a deeper understanding of research methods in sociology and social policy.

You’ll also choose four advanced option modules, which could include: Crimes of the Powerful; Ageing; the Sociology of Childhood; Global Markets and Crime; Race and Ethnicity; and Gender, Crime and Justice. Final-year Honours students will undertake a research dissertation.


The module details given below are subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes. The modules outlined below represent those offered in 2019/20 on this course of study.

Course details

  • Teaching

    Teaching is delivered through lectures, workshops and small discussion groups.

    Year 1 modules aim to bridge the gap between school and university study through coursework assessments. You’ll also receive tuition in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, which is invaluable for your Year 4 dissertation.

    A mentoring system is also in place for Year 3 students entering Honours.

  • Assessment

    Assessment for each module is normally based on a combination of coursework and examinations. For example, one essay (30 percent) and an examination (70 percent). The final-year dissertation counts for two modules. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to put research methods you’ve studied into practice and focus on a particular interest.

  • Classroom hours

    Typically, each module consists of two lectures plus one workshop per week.

  • Study abroad

    As a University of Stirling student you’ll have the opportunity to broaden your horizons and study abroad through our well-established connections with several international universities.

    Find out more about studying abroad.

  • Contact
  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (Fees are different for each course)


    Scottish/EU Students

    Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, students domiciled in Scotland or the EU will be able to apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government on their behalf. If you’re unsure of your fee status, you can check your eligibility online.

    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    Important note for EU students

    The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2019 and 2020 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree. The future fee status of EU students enrolling in UK universities will depend on the timing and terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union. The University will make decisions on fee levels for EU students enrolling in 2021 when further guidance is available from the Scottish and UK governments, and will publicise information about fee levels and financial support available on the 美洲杯投注.

    While students should be aware this may mean a change from the current position where EU students are treated with equivalence to Scottish students, it is also important to note that any changes would also require changes to existing UK and Scottish legislation. Current indications are that the UK would leave the EU at the earliest in 2020, so any changes would not take effect before the academic year 2020/21.


    *This tuition fee is set by the Scottish Government, and may be subject to change.

    Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland

    If you’re domiciled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you’ll be able to apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, from your relevant funding body.

    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    If you successfully complete Years 1-3 of your course, you will also be eligible to receive an Honours Year Scholarship valued at £9,250 to cover the tuition fee costs of your fourth and final year of study. Learn more about the Honours Year Scholarship.

    There is additional funding available for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland – please see Funding opportunities below.


    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    You will be liable to pay fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.


    You should expect to pay fees for every year you attend. Fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

  • Funding opportunities

    See what funding opportunities and loans are available to help you with tuition and living costs.

    Students domiciled in Scotland and the EU

    The University of Stirling offers undergraduate funding opportunities for students domiciled in Scotland or the EU. To find out if you’re eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

    Students domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (RUK)

    The Undergraduate Choice Scholarship provides a £1,000 cash award to all students from England, Wales or Northern Ireland who meet the conditions of their offer and select the University of Stirling as their Firm or Insurance choice on UCAS.

    The University also offers the Undergraduate Merit Scholarship, which is awarded to selected students and provides a £1,000 cash award per year for years 1-3 of study. To be considered for the Merit Scholarship, students require a minimum of AAB at A-level or equivalent.

    In addition, students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland who enter in year 1 and progress successfully through years 2 and 3 will receive our Honours Year Scholarship, which covers the cost of undergraduate tuition fees in the Honours year of study.

    You don’t need to apply for the awards listed above - we'll automatically identify your eligibility as part of the admissions process.

    To explore other scholarships and learn more about funding opportunities, use our scholarship finder.

    Students domiciled overseas

    The University of Stirling offers generous undergraduate funding opportunities for overseas students. To find out if you're eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling.

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay.

What can you do with a Criminology and Social Policy degree?

Our Criminology and Social Policy degree provides you with an excellent academic base if you’re considering careers in areas such as:

  • the police
  • social work
  • prison service
  • the civil service
  • human rights agencies
  • regulatory fields
  • charitable foundations
  • marketing or lobby groups

This course covers a diverse range of topics and will equip you with a wide range of skills. Our graduates have gone on to work in the public, private and third sectors, including careers in:

  • social services
  • education
  • market research
  • policy analysis
  • human resources charity fundraising

Tailored careers advice is available throughout your time at the University of Stirling.

Our Criminology and Social Policy graduates are in demand for a wide range of roles throughout the private, public and voluntary sectors. The skills you’ll learn in critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving are highly valued by employers and will give you the edge in the job market.

  • Employability skills

    As well as specific, subject-based knowledge, you’ll graduate with a wide range of experience and skills that employers look for, including communication, self-management and interpersonal skills. You’ll also learn how to become a critical thinker with analytical and problem-solving abilities.

  • Companies we work with

    You’ll benefit from our strong links with other organisations situated on the University of Stirling campus. These include the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, The Scottish Institute for Policing Research, and the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research.

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