Sociology and Criminology - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
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.

This course will enable you to develop an understanding of society and social factors and how this affects crime and criminals, giving you a solid human understanding that will put you in a good position for range of careers or further study.

Combining sociology with the study of criminology gives you a chance to benefit from the cutting-edge thinking of the University’s Centre for Applied Criminology, a research Centre of Excellence.

New for 2017/18

Sociology and Criminology - 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

This course will enable you to develop a deep understanding of society and a vast range of social issues, while gaining insight into how the workings of society affect crime and criminal behaviour.

Combining sociology with the study of criminology gives you a chance to benefit from the cutting-edge thinking of the University’s Centre for Critical Social Research as well as the Centre for Applied Criminology, while our professional relevance is supported by our close links with the likes of West Midlands Police Force and Birmingham Community Safety Partnership.

You’ll gain the opportunity to take part in debates and visits at HMP Grendon and have the chance to enjoy field trips, study abroad, or undertake a work placement through one of our many local links with voluntary, statutory and commercial organisations.

The course ensures that you develop a wide range of transferable skills to help you succeed in your chosen career whether it lies within criminal justice agencies or the broader public, private or voluntary sectors.

Sign up for course updatesBenefits of our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

This course is taught with an equal number of sociology and criminology modules.

You’ll share a common first year with the Sociology BA, giving you a wide range of understanding and letting you see what your options are before advancing. The course introduces you to sociological theories about crime, criminals and the operation of criminal justice agencies.

The criminology modules cover topics such as: Crime, Media and Culture, Core Issues in Crime and Punishment, Criminal and Forensic Psychology, Terrorism Theory, Applied Criminology, Crime Prevention, and Transnational Corporate and Organised Crime.

Your sociology modules may include: Understanding Society, Social Construction of Deviance, Understanding Popular Culture, Social Policy and Social Problems, Social Identities, Sociology of the Media, Music and Society, Sociology of the Internet and Globalisation, Empire and Development.

“I left the University with a deep understanding of social problems and social policy. I believe that the course transformed my world view. The course improved my research, campaign and advocacy skills. It further expanded my taste for activism and desire to change society for the better.” Lamin Jassey

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.
  • Dr Kehinde Andrews, who completed his PhD in Sociology and Cultural Studies entitled 'Back to Black: Black radicalism and the Black supplementary school movement', lectures on this course.
  • 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 HMP Grendon, along with the option of taking on voluntary work in your final year. 
  • We have strong links with local voluntary, statutory and commercial organisations such as SIFA Fireside and NACRO, giving you the chance to undertake a placement and develop your practical skills.
  • School of Social Sciences’ research into decency, respect, equality and diversity has impacted on UK prison policy and practice
  • School of Social Sciences’ research in prisons has helped rehabilitate prisoners, improving their employability and reducing re-offending.
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:

  • S2R - Support to Recovery
  • The West Midlands Police Force

And in jobs such as:

  • Voluntary Support Worker
  • Special Constable

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.
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. 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
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.
International Baccalaureate Diploma 28 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 points including 4 Higher Level passes. Points will be taken from a maximum of 4 subjects.
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 points from a maximum of 4 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). 26 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).

Advanced Diplomas and Progression Diplomas are accepted as all or part of the required tariff points.

Entry at an advanced stage of the course with credit to prior learning or experience may be considered on an individual basis.

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 £1,125 per 15-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.


Crime, Community and Culture

You’ll be introduced to a range of sociological ideas and themes in relation to Birmingham as a city, including the socio-spatial aspects of the city, inequalities in the city (for example, class and gender) and its diversity.

Sociology of the Media

There is increasing recognition that the way we view society locally, globally and nationally is to some extent determined by how it is presented in the media.  This module will consider some of those factors that help decide how the media are structured, what material is broadcast on them and how audiences perceive this material. 

Music and Society

You’ll learn a range of social theories concerning music, along with social histories of music, students will also develop their critical thinking, listening and communication skills.

Understanding Popular Culture

In this module you’ll start by looking at theory relevant to the study of culture and especially popular culture. This theory will then be used to look in depth at a number of topics including ‘The Body’, Sport and Music.

Social Identities

This module provides an opportunity for you to develop an appreciation of the ways that identities are fluid, socially shaped and performatively produced. You’ll consider the ways that inequalities are socially produced and how wider cultural, political, social and economic contexts provide possibilities and limits as to how one can realise their identity.

Prisons and Punishment

This module will focus on exploring areas such as justifying and explaining punishment, as well as giving an insight in to 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.

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.

Addiction and Criminality

You’ll look at the nature of legal/illegal drugs and the changing practices and contexts in which drugs are supplied and consumed. You’ll consider the relationships between drug addiction, deviance and crime.

Psychology for Criminologists

You’ll gain an insight in to 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. 

How you learn

Year 1

Your first year provides a brief introduction to all subject areas across both criminology and sociology.

With each subject area you study, you’ll develop a broader understanding of the topic. It also means going forward that you can diversify across the different areas, choosing relevant modules in your second and third years based on personal interests and skillset.

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

Year 2 and 3

After your first year you’ll study a 50/50 split between Sociology and Criminology modules.

Course Structure

Sociology has been taught in universities in the United Kingdom for over 100 years. The findings and research started then has permeated into knowledge that is now taken for granted. For example, it was sociologists who first recognised the link between certain types of punishment and the increased likelihood of repeat offending. Do you think ASBOs are doing the same thing today?

Sociology explores and questions social norms and discovers the complex issues behind our everyday routines. Sociology is one of the most diverse of the social sciences and covers an array of areas and topics, part of the reason for the many pathways we offer on this degree.

If sociology is right for you, you will have an interest in people, in discovering different ways to look at the world and in forming reasoned arguments about society.

What makes the society we live in? Who are the people in charge? Who controls the media? Who controls the people in control? If you are interested in answering these questions, a sociology degree is a good place to start.

Sociology is concerned with how society works: how people live together and how they may come into conflict with each other. It generates information about what is happening in the world and helps governments and agencies to formulate their policies. Sociology is concerned with real life affairs and current issues of the day and so relates directly to the world we live in.

Sociology is also interested in social changes: in attitudes and beliefs, in social hierarchies, in the world of work, in the ways we spend our leisure time and in political changes generally. Sociologists want to know why and how people set about changing their lives and the discipline of sociology will enable you to explore these issues, and others that directly affect you, at a level above the common sense explanations that surround us.

Teaching breakdown

35 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
65 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

13 Written exams DarkOrange
87 Coursework FireBrick


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Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

Examples of further study opportunities include:

  • MA Criminology
  • PhD research degrees

We are also currently developing a Masters in Sociology which will be undergoing approval in the near future.

Trips and Visits

The School of Social Sciences has relationships with a number of criminal justice agencies and non-government organisations, including the local Community Safety Partnership, HMP Grendon and the Howard League. We also regularly have guest lecturers from the Police Force and various regional charities.

You’ll have the opportunity to gain a practical insight into the processes of the criminal justice system through self-organised 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.

Enhancing employability skills

People who study sociology and criminology progress into a wide variety of jobs depending on personal interest and the voluntary work/placements they undertake. You’ll gain a range of relevant and valuable skills that can be applied to both an organisational or community context.

You’ll learn how to work independently and, through team exercises, in collaboration with others. You’ll also learn how to work effectively without close supervision. You’ll know how to find information, extract what is important from it and turn it into an argument.

These skills and your insights into the workings of society will lead to a degree that a very wide range of employers see as relevant in the modern world.

Beyond this, many people today study sociology and criminology for the personal enjoyment they gain; it broadens minds and enables them to see their world in new and interesting ways.

Recent graduates have entered into education, teaching, the media, social services, the Criminal Justice system, and health administration.

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.


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+

Student stories Ruth Smith

Trainee Probation Officer

Attracted by the flexibility of the course as it catered to her individual needs, studying Sociology and Criminology has given Ruth confidence and knowledge, developing her skills and preparing her for a successful career.

One of the best factors of the course was the lecturers who were fun and enthusiastic. I found the support from the staff to be amazing; the tutors were always willing to make time. I was able to approach them during office hours in a relaxed atmosphere to have a discussion. The tutors were incredibly approachable and always willing to go the extra mile.

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:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

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

Dr Gary Hazeldine

Programme Director and Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Dr Gary Hazeldine has been a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Birmingham City University since 2007. Prior to this he taught at the University of Brighton, the University of Sussex, and Manchester Metropolitan University.

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 Eugene Nulman

Senior Lecturer

Dr Eugene Nulman joined the Sociology division of the School of Social Sciences at Birmingham City University in 2015. He researched the policy outcomes of climate change activism in the UK for his PhD.

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.

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