Skip to main content

Unit information: Criminological Theory: An Introduction in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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. Mike McBeth
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. key concepts such as crime, social harm, deviance, victimisation and criminalisation
  2. criminological theories explaining the production of crime and social harm
  3. the wider social, political, and economic context in which theories emerge and come to be influential
  4. 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. understand and apply key criminological concepts such as crime, social harm, deviance, victimisation and criminalisation
  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

20 Lectures and 10 seminars (plus 1 reading week and 1 revision week)

Assessment Details

The assessments have been developed in order to meet the intended learning outcomes of the unit:

Formative assessment is by:

  • a seminar presentation of a small group project which has been jointly researched, and
  • an essay of 2000 words (maximum)

Summative assessment is by:

  • an essay of 2500 words (maximum)

All assessment is marked against the published marking criteria for that level, as stated in the Programme handbook

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