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Unit information: Criminological Theory: An Introduction in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Criminological Theory: An Introduction
Unit code SPOL10029
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Natasha Carver
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit will provide students with an introduction to key criminological concepts and theories. Specifically, it will introduce students to:

  1. Criminological theories explaining the production of crime and social harm;
  2. the wider social, political, and economic context in which theories emerge and come to be influential
  3. How criminological theory has impacted on criminal justice and wider social policies

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Use criminological theory to understand the role of power in defining crime and social harm
  2. Critically evaluate a range of different criminological theories and explain their social, economic and political origins
  3. Critically assess what impact, if any, criminological theory has had on criminal justice and wider social policies

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through blended learning involving a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by study-group sessions and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment is by:

  • Engagement and Collaboration Portfolio based on structured exercises (50%)
  • Essay of 1500 words (50%)

Reading and References

Hale, C., Hayward, K., Wahidin, A., & Wincup, E. (2013, 3rd Ed.) Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Lilly, R., Cullen, F., Ball, R. (2015, 6th Ed.) Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences, London: Sage

McLaughlin, E. & Muncie, J. (2013, 3rd Ed.) The SAGE Dictionary of Criminology, London: Sage

Newburn, T. (2013, 2nd Ed.) Criminology, London: Routledge

White, R., Haines, F., & Asquith (2012, 5th Ed.) Crime and Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press