BA (Hons) Criminology

  • UCAS
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: BBB
    IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655

  • Length
    3 years full-time
  • Department

Course overview

Explore the nature of crime, why people are seen and labelled as criminal, and investigate the subject from a critical and sociological perspective.

We live in a complex, global, mobile and technologically sophisticated world, divided by inequality. How might we best investigate and understand crime and criminality?

Why study BA Criminology at Goldsmiths?

Explore the social and cultural construction of crime and criminality within a stimulating and dynamic sociology department.

You will be encouraged to challenge common sense assumptions about the nature of crime and criminality. You will be faced with questions about the form of crime now in a global context, and you will look at how ideas of crime and punishment - not only in legal texts, but also in novels, art, television police series and films - have changed over the last two hundred years. You will be invited to think about contemporary forms of policing in the context of ideas about human rights, and you will think about how notions of evidence in a criminal justice system have changed over the course of the modern period.

The programme is taught by experts in the social sciences, but also includes sessions with those involved with and who have experience of criminal justice.

Honorary degree for Howie Becker - the piano-playing sociologist who changed how we think about deviance

Professor Howard “Howie” Becker has been a world-renowned figure in the field of sociology for more than five decades. Now in his eighties, he continues to write, lecture, play music, and shape a new generation of scholars. On Thursday 10 September 2015 he received an Honorary Degree from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Read more about this here

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Admissions Tutor, Dr Brett St Louis

Modules & structure

What you study

This programme will allow you to consider the subject of criminology from a sociological perspective. You will study:

  • the history and development of criminology as a discipline
  • how our knowledge of crime and criminality is refracted through culture and how the media represent crime, law and social order
  • forms of government of crime and the policing of individuals, populations and territories
  • technologies of forensic policing, surveillance and security
  • crime as a global phenomenon and its policing in the context of global inequality, the movement of peoples, international trade, human rights and state violence
  • practical cases and stories from people working in and with experience of the criminal justice system
  • research methods for the empirical investigation of sociological and criminological topics

Our intention is that you consider the problem of crime from a critical perspective in the context of modern forms of power. You will develop a practical, but conceptually sophisticated, set of skills that will equip you for a range of careers in the sector and beyond.

Level 4

You take four core modules in the first year:

Core modules Module title Credits
  Policing the Nation State 30 credits
  Criminological Imaginations I 30 credits
  Modern Knowledge, Modern Power 30 credits
  Researching Society and Culture 1 30 credits

Level 5

You take these core modules:

Module title Credits
  The Making of the Modern World 15 credits
  Criminological Imaginations II 30 credits
  Researching Society and Culture 2 30 credits
  Criminal Justice in Context 15 credits
  Crimes Against Humanity 15 credits

You also choose one option module. Those available recently have included:

Module title Credits
  Sex, Drugs & Technology 15 credits
  Leisure, Culture and Society 15 credits
  Space, Place & Power 15 credits
  Art and Society 15 credits
  Organisations and Society 15 credits
  Culture, Representation and Difference 15 credits
  London 15 credits
  Marxism 15 credits
  The Body: Social Theory and Social Practice 15 credits
  Social Change and Political Action 15 credits
  Globalisation, Crime and Justice 15 credits
  Migration in Context 15 credits

Level 6

You take two compulsory modules:

Module title Credits
  Contemporary Issues in Criminology 30 credits
  Dissertation 30 credits

You also choose option modules to the value of 60 credits. Modules recently available have included:

Module title Credits
  Race, Racism and Social Theory 15 credits
  Global Development and Underdevelopment 15 credits
  Sociology of Visuality 15 credits
  Childhood Matters: Society, Theory and Culture 15 credits
  Making Data Matter 15 credits
  Sociologies of Emerging Worlds 15 credits
  Privacy, Surveillance and Security 15 credits
  Philosophy, Politics and Alterity 15 credits
  Medicine, Culture and Critique 15 credits


Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Read more about our general entrance requirements


Sociology at Goldsmiths is ranked:
1st in London* 6th in the UK and 37th in the world**
9th in the UK for the quality of our research**


The Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths is active, contemporary and inventive. We are interested in everything from the ‘global’ issues of poverty and injustice to the ‘micro’ issues of cultural identity and the presentation of self in a digital world.

Our staff are some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – they’re the pioneers who are pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. They’ve played a key role in developing social research methods, setting agendas in social and cultural policy, and linking theory to practice.

Through their world-leading research you’ll be at the forefront of current debates and will be encouraged to see the world differently.

Find out more about the Department of Sociology.

*Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings


Many of the areas you study in this degree are at the forefront of their discipline, and are taught by nationally and internationally recognised experts.

Staff who contribute to this programme include:

Dr Brian Alleyne

Professor Les Back

Dr Michaela Benson

Dr Abby Day

Dr Yasmin Gunaratnam

Dr David Hirsh

Dr Vik Loveday

Dhiraj Murthy

Dr Pam Odih

Dr Nirmal Puwar

Dr Alex Rhys-Taylor

Dr Alison Rooke

Dr Brett St Louis

Learning & teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers. 

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments

Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.

Skills & careers


This degree will help you develop a practical, but conceptually sophisticated, set of skills that will equip you for a range of careers. These skills include: 

  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Awareness of social, political and cultural processes
  • Awareness of 'difference'
  • Communication skills
  • Thinking creatively



Sociologists enter careers that centre on the challenges and demands that members of a society face. This could be jobs in social services, education, criminal justice, welfare services, government, the voluntary sector, management, the creative industries, marketing and policy.

Sociology graduates at Goldsmiths go into a range of fields including:

  • Research in local government and the voluntary sector
  • Community work
  • Teaching
  • Women's rights


Students who achieve the best results during their undergraduate course may also get the chance to go on to postgraduate research for a higher degree with the aim of making a career in higher education either as a lecturer combining teaching with research or as a specialist researcher.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths as well as specific Sociology employability. You can also find out more about the career paths open to you after graduation in our Sociology careers pages.

Fees & funding

Related content links

University statistics for this course