Criminology and Security Studies - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Part-time: apply direct to the University
Full Time (3 years), Part Time (5 years)
September 2016, September 2017

This course is now full for September 2016.

View other Social Sciences courses or our full list of Clearing courses.

From organised crime, terrorism and corporate crime through to local incidents, crime is constantly in the public eye. Concerns for public safety, increases in identity theft, fraud and a need for national and international co-operation in tackling crime have made the study of criminology a popular choice. We’re the only university in the UK to offer a joint honours degree in Criminology and Security Studies.

You’ll develop an understanding of the relationship between the individual and social aspects of crime and victimisation. We’ll offer you a choice of routes and the opportunity to gain invaluable experience through regular voluntary work and joint projects with organisations such as the West Midlands Police Force and The Department for Communities and Local Government.

New for 2017/18

Criminology and Security Studies - BA (Hons)*

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

*This course is subject to approval.

Summary of our new course

The roots of this degree are in criminology and its quest to develop knowledge and understanding of the core schools of criminological thought along with their historical and political foundations and practical application.

Combined with criminology is the study of security which allow you to examine, in your introductory first year, a range of subjects such as terrorism, nationalism, modern day conflict, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the role of the United Nations in modern day international security. 

In the second and third years, you are able to develop your understanding of these subject areas through more specific modules examining, amongst other areas, Britain and terrorism, terrorism theory, the intelligence services, American security policy after 9/11, and war and conflict. 

You will have an opportunity to produce a dissertation in your final year. Previous field trips have included the wartime code and cypher school at Bletchley Park, and Dublin (as part of the events commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising)

Sign up for course updatesBenefits of our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

Criminology and Security Studies offers an in-depth look at crime, punishment and security studies. You’ll examine the relationship between law breaking and the social conditions within which laws are constructed and crime takes place.

Based in the new City Centre Campus, at the purpose-built Curzon building, your first year will be an introduction to criminology, security studies, policing and investigation. This will allow you to explore criminological theory, penal theory and other introductory modules of the subject before deciding on a career/further study route. By choosing this degree you’re giving yourself the freedom to choose your own modules based on personal interest.

The second and third years look at areas such as crime prevention; gender and crime; and transnational, corporate and organised crime. There is also a Working in Criminal Justice module which brings real-life situations to your study, giving you the chance to undertake regular voluntary work with organisations such as the Probation Service, Youth Offending Teams and local solicitors. This is invaluable as it will help develop your skills in a real-life working situation.

“What attracted me to the BA (Hons) Criminology and Security Studies course was its relevance to current affairs, both domestically and internationally, and additionally the opportunities to take part in practical elements such as a trip to Chicago, a Counter-Terrorism workshop and a visit to HMP Grendon.” Ruth Sim Mutch

Why Choose Us?

  • Industry leading experts teach on this course, including Imran Awan, whose work focuses on the impact of Islamophobia and the effects of counter-terrorism.
  • Our Centre for Applied Criminology is led by Dr Elizabeth Yardley , who has experience as a consultant, project managing a wide range of commissioned research for national and local clients including the British Red Cross, Birmingham City Council, Wolverhampton City Council and Sandwell MBC.
  • The course’s professional relevance is supported by our close links with local criminal justice agencies, including West Midlands Police Force and Birmingham Community Safety Partnership.
  • Students get the opportunity to benefit from the focus on employability; you’ll be actively encouraged to take part in debates and visits, such as a unique debate with high security prisoners at HMP Grendon, along with the option of taking on voluntary work in your final year.
  • The University has a pioneering reputation for education in policing, criminal justice and criminology, with over two decades’ experience of offering rigorous, academic and applied courses.
  • School of Social Sciences - Our research in prisons has helped rehabilitate prisoners, improving their employability and reducing re-offending.
  • School of Social Sciences - Our research is leading the way on how we understand and respond to diverse offenders and prisoners.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 8 October 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 8 October 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.

This course is open to International students

School of Social Sciences

Discover the School of Social Sciences

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Capita
  • Home Office
  • Procurement People

And in jobs such as:

  • Graduate Case Handler
  • Immigration officer
  • Recruitment consultant

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
At the point of enrolment you must have GCSE English Language at Grade C or above. Equivalent qualification will be considered, however Adult Literacy is not accepted.

280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
GCE A Level/ AS Level 280 UCAS Tariff points from a maximum of 4 subjects (minimum of 2 at A2 Level or equivalent), excluding General Studies. Remaining points can be made up with a maximum of 2 AS Levels in different subjects. Preference will be given to students who have taken humanities or social science based A Levels. This includes at least one of the following subjects at A2: English, Government and Politics, History, Humanities, Law, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies and Sociology. Citizenship and Critical Thinking will be considered
Access to Higher Education Diploma 60 credits including 45 at Level 3, of which 18 Level 3 credits are at merit / distinction on a Social Sciences/Humanities pathway (Criminology / Politics / Sociology / Psychology / Social Policy). If you do not hold GCSE English at grade C or above, then credits must also include English at Level 2
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including Early Years or Children’s Care, Learning and Development) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including Early Years or Children’s Care, Learning and Development) DMM - 280 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including Early Years or Children’s Care, Learning and Development) Accepted in combination with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points.
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma 28 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 UCAS points from a maximum of four subjects
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 28 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Unconditional Offers

Unconditional Offers

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for 2016/17, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.

To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

280 points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
predicted DMM at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

More about unconditional offers

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £9,000 per year
PT 5 years £2,250 per 30-credit module
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 5 years TBC

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £12,000 per year
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year Apply via UCAS

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

This course is now full for September 2016.

You will be able to apply for 2017/18 via UCAS from 6 September 2016.

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements).

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

Your first year provides a brief introduction to all subject areas: criminal justice, security studies, introduction to psychology and social control. This gives you the chance to explore the area that best fits your interests and skills. With each subject area you study, you’ll develop a broader understanding of criminology.

Throughout the year you’ll also explore theories and real-life case studies, explaining and discussing your ideas with your fellow students.

Introduction to Policing and Investigation

You’ll get a broad introduction to policing; including its history, organisation and structure, powers, models and diversity. It allows you to examine some of the key debates around crime and policy such as the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s crime plan – How will it impact on communities? Can it prevent crime?

Introduction to Criminology and Criminal Justice

You’ll explore the origin of criminology, some of the historical debates such as, “Are offenders born or made, and what impact does punishment have on changing the level of crime in society”. It will outline what are considered to be core perspectives and theories related to crime and criminality.

Introduction to Security Studies

This module contributes to your study of criminology by introducing you to areas of common concern such as global politics, research on genocide, state crime, terrorism and human rights abuse.

Psychology for Criminologists

You’ll gain an insight into the key areas of psychology: biological, cognitive, social, developmental and individual differences, which will then be discussed in relation to criminality, investigative and legal processes.

Social Construction of 'Deviance' and Social Control

This module encourages you to reflect on the understanding of the social, historical, cultural and political contexts of which ‘deviant’ individuals are socially controlled, ‘labelled’, criminalised and excluded from mainstream society.

Year two

After your first year you’ll focus on security and many of the issues we face in the modern world.

The security studies aspect of the degree aims to examine these key elements of insecurity in the contemporary world, be it from visible, radical, religious groups and terrorist campaigns through to longer term issues of insecurity created by declining resources or a changing environment.

The focus is not solely on Britain and the security threats it faces but includes wider study of the underlying causes of insecurity and various governmental and group responses to it.

With questions in security so prevalent – from radical religious groups and terrorist campaigns, or created by declining resources or a changing environment – this route investigates their underlying causes and governmental/group responses to it.

Prisons and Punishment

This module will focus on exploring areas such as justifying and explaining punishment as well as giving an insight into how young people and women in particular have had varying experiences of prison. You’ll also look at areas such as mental health and treating sex offenders in prison.

Advanced Criminological Research

You’ll gain a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the different procedures used for data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation. Building on previous research modules, you’ll be presented with a much deeper examination of the processes behind criminological research.

Terrorism Theory

This module will debate the definition of terrorism and then consider its causes and changing nature. It engages with debates over the justification and condemnation of terrorism.

Intelligence and Security since 1945

You’ll examine the structure and methods of the Intelligence and Security Services, recruitment and roles. It traces the nature of changing threats and the manner in which the Services have adjusted to them. In doing so, the module will cover the key concepts of: secrecy and openness in a democratic society, accountability, threat assessment, surveillance and security.

War and Conflict in the Modern World

This module aims to examine the changing nature of power in global politics since the end of the Cold War by examining the phenomenon of ‘war’ and conflict.

Year three

Crime Prevention

You’ll study the contemporary debates that surround the practice of crime prevention, with a particular focus on England and Wales. It explores the way in which crime prevention has advanced in the wake of advances in technology and explores both the practical application of these developments.

Transnational Corporate and Organised Crime

You’ll explore issues including drug trade, arms trade and trafficking in human body parts. The module will also examine issues of corporate fraud, corruption, health and safety violations on a global scale. You’ll be asked to challenge official narratives that imply the separation of organised crime and criminals from legitimate markets and corporations.

Gender and Crime

You’ll study the gendered nature of crime and criminal justice. You’ll consider the gendered perspective of victims, perpetrators and those working within the Criminal Justice System. This module will also consider both the traditional and contemporary knowledge of the gendered nature of crime.

Terrorism and Extremism in the UK

This module examines the range of terrorist threats from those associated with the conflict in Northern Ireland to those driven by Islamic extremism. Paying particular attention to the different methods employed in the battle against terrorism from negotiation through to overt and covert military operations.

The War on Terror

You’ll look at the 9/11 attacks and the role of al-Qaida, the US response in Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Taleban; the war in Iraq and the effect on the ‘Axis of Evil’ and the broad campaign against global terrorism; political, economic and ideological factors in the American response; the campaign against the Iranian and North Korean nuclear weapons programmes.

If you have a prior interest in politics, the Criminology and Security Studies route is a unique course, currently not offered by any other UK higher education institution.

Teaching breakdown

37 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
63 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

21 Written exams DarkOrange
79 Coursework FireBrick

Student stories

Ruth Simmuth

I was very indecisive before I came to university and had originally applied to do a different course at Birmingham City University. I had always had an interest in issues surrounding security, crime and punishment and as a result I was drawn to Criminology and Security Studies. I decided to go for it and contacted the University on clearing day, which led me to where I am now.

Overseas opportunities

You can gain international insight and experience a new culture with our Erasmus exchange programme. Students have spent a term at a number of incredible institutions, including the University of San Diego in the USA, as well as destinations in Cyprus and Denmark.

Further Study

If you’re looking to continue your study following the completion of your course some of our students have gone on to complete an MA in Criminology.

Trips and visits

You’ll have the opportunity to gain a practical insight into the processes of the criminal justice system through visits to prisons, courts and police establishments.

We’re the only university in the country to hold an annual debate at high-security prison HMP Grendon. This unique opportunity offers criminology students the chance to gain an exceptional insight into how criminological theory and practice combine, through direct interaction with inmates.

"I took part in a life-changing outing to HMP Grendon, which was an especially memorable experience for me as firstly I took part in the debate itself, and secondly, as a result of my performance, I was then recruited to take part in a prison management scheme, which will officially train me to one day become a prison governor."

Student stories Suleman Amad

He would like to work in a role where he can help people

Suleman Amad is in his third year studying BA (Hons) Criminology and Security Studies. Upon graduation, he would like to work in a role where he can help people, primarily in penal reform within the charity sector.

At BCU it is very diverse and people come from all over the world. I love the fact that tutors and fellow students remember your name; it's like one family.

David Wilson at The Future of Murder

The Future of Murder

Crime is changing and social media is altering how killers operate. Our academics, Professor David Wilson and Dr Elizabeth Yardley, debated what murder looks like in the 21st Century during our free Future of Murder talk. They were joined by columnist Erwin James, a convicted murderer, and prison governor Jamie Bennett.

Watch again

Enhancing Employability Skills

This course is suitable if you wish to embark on a criminal justice-related career, including jobs in the Police, Revenue and Customs, probation, youth justice, community safety and the Prison Service as well as the voluntary sector. Choosing the security studies joint honours may also widen your employment opportunities to include government employment such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, security agencies, international charities such as UNICEF and NGOs.

We have partnered with the national charity New Bridge to offer undergraduate students the unique opportunity to gain experience in a variety of voluntary roles. You’ll be given an insight in to prison systems and the realities of life in prison, while at the same time enhancing your skills and experience ready for future employment.

You’ll also gain valuable experience through our Employability Challenge Weeks, as well as our Leadership Challenge programme. Both give you the chance to apply your skills to innovative and exciting projects, industry talks and workshops. You’ll also receive guidance on how to complete application forms and write effective CVs.

These courses are especially suitable for serving police officers and civilian support staff, customs officers, prison officers and those working in the Immigration and Nationality Service.


You’ll have the opportunity throughout your studies to work with a number of organisations such as Centro Safetravel, Citizens Advice Bureau and Victim Support.

Criminology student Leonie Folan is currently working on The Priority and Prolific Offender (PPO) Scheme, which is available to students who choose to take the third year Working in Criminal Justice module.

“I am gaining valuable experience in multi-agency working which is something the government are increasingly investing in in terms of offender management and rehabilitation,” Leonie says. “Once the employment with the PPO Scheme ends, I hope to continue working in offender rehabilitation, most likely with a third-sector organisation.”

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

The main sectors employing leavers are public administration and defence, and compulsory social security, with employers including Birmingham City Council and Sandwell Homes, in positions such as Family Support Worker and Antisocial Behaviour Officer.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University is a professional university, which provides vocational programmes taught using applied teaching methods.

We welcome international students who wish to enhance their career prospects and provide a full range of support and guidance services to enable you to optimise your potential.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.

The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.

For those studying on the BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation pathway, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.

Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.

Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
  • Shared facilities with the wider campus including the recently opened Parkside Building and Millennium Point

David Wilson

Professor David Wilson

Professor of Criminology

David Wilson is a former prison governor and expert on serial killers through his work with various British police forces, academic publications, books, and media appearances. Most recently he appeared on the Channel 5 documentary, Serial Killers.

Imran Awan profile picture

Dr Imran Awan

Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology

Imran's areas of expertise are based around the impact of Islamophobia and the effects of counter-terrorism. As well as being a regular face in the media, Imran is a government advisor for the Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred.

Dr John Bahadur Lamb

Lecturer in Criminology and Security Studies and Admissions Tutor

John Bahadur Lamb has been a member of staff at Birmingham City University since 2010, first in a part time capacity and then full time from January 2013. In 2014, he was nominated for Extra Mile awards at Birmingham City University for his teaching.

Dr Edward Johnson

Reader in Public Policy

Edward Johnson, a reader in public policy, has written extensively on British foreign policy and on the role of the UN in international affairs. He has taught at Birmingham City University for more than 25 years in the fields of politics and, most recently, security studies.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295