Criminology and Security Studies - BA (Hons) *
Interested in security sector jobs in Birmingham? Our BA Criminology and Security Studies course covers a range of topics, from war and conflict to counter-terrorism. Our degree will equip you with a wide range of knowledge about both national and international politics and intelligence. It will also show how politics can impact both security and insecurity in Birmingham and the United Kingdom.
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Interested in security sector jobs in Birmingham? Our BA Criminology and Security Studies course covers a range of topics, from war and conflict to counter-terrorism.
Our degree will equip you with a wide range of knowledge about both national and international politics and intelligence. It will also show how politics can impact both security and insecurity in Birmingham and the United Kingdom.
What's covered in this course?
In your second and third years, this wide knowledge base will be built upon as you specialise in your learning. Your knowledge of the core ideas in Criminology will be re-enforced throughout these two years, and you will learn more about topics such as the role of MI5 and MI6, extremism, terrorism and counter-terrorism, the Middle East and conflict in the modern world, and International Relations.
Together these two years will provide you with a well-rounded knowledge of the political and historical issues which are leading to continued conflict and instability in the world today. This is an exciting and dynamic course whose modules directly reflect what is happening around the world and which is at the cutting edge of current scholarship.
Why Choose Us?
- On all of our courses you will gain a professional focus and real world experience, ensuring you are equipped to make an immediate impact in your career. You have the opportunity to embark on a year-long professional placement as part of your degree course.
- We have a strong relationship with the British Society of Criminology. We hosted the 2018 British Society of Criminology Conference at our City Centre Campus.
- The course’s professional relevance is supported by our close links with local criminal justice organisations, including West Midlands Police Force and Birmingham Community Safety Partnership.
- Regular guest lectures by members of organisations such like the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Military Intelligence and counter-terrorism units.
- All our courses have an international focus. This is embedded throughout the curriculum, giving you the opportunity to transform your experience with us into a global one. There are a variety of exciting possibilities open to you, including our many overseas study exchange programmes.
- As a student on one of our undergraduate degrees, you will be able to benefit from our Graduate+ initiative. This three-year award course enables you to gain award levels for all the extra-curricular activities you undertake so that you can stand out from the crowd on graduation.
- You’ll be taught by academics who are established in the field and who regularly work with both the public and private sectors to provide expert advice on these topics.
- Our staff have written or contributed to numerous influential textbooks and research papers, many of which form part of the curriculum.
- We were the first UK University to offer the joint Criminology and Security Studies degree.
- Our Criminology degrees share a common first year, so if you want to specialise, you have the option to switch to another pathway in your second year.
- You’ll be actively encouraged to take part in debates and visits, such as the unique debate with high-security prisoners at HMP Grendon. You’ll also have the option of taking on voluntary work throughout your course.
- Our practice based approach means you’ll get to learn the inner workings of the Criminal Justice System, whilst also studying the theories behind the profession.
- The department has a heavy focus on Birmingham, working within the ever-growing multicultural community on various projects.
- You will study in our state-of-the-art City Centre Campus, ideally located for you to take advantage of our links to industry in the UK’s second city.
- Birmingham City University has just launched the UK's first Centre for Brexit Studies, researching all aspects of the UK's vote to leave the EU, including the impact it has on hate crime and national security in the UK.
Find out more
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
BBC or 112 UCAS tariff points from a maximum of 3 subjects.
|Level 2 Qualifications|
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2022/23|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||
|Scottish National 5||
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2022/23|
|A level and Advanced VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)
NCFE CACHE Level 3 Applied General Certificate in Health and Social Care
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma
OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma
Scottish Advanced Higher
Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate - Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)
Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma – Core (awarded until 2016)
ESW/KS Combined component
WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology (QCF)
|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.
Additional information for EU/International students
Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications to 112 points are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|English language requirements 2020/21|
6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|Other accepted qualifications||Visit our English language page|
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 Years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
- Study Year £9,250
- Placement Year £1,650
Professional Placement Fees
Full-Time courses with a Professional Placement incur a fee during the placement year. The costs for those years when you attend the university for study, and the cost for the placement year are shown here.
- Part Time
- 5 Years
- Register interest
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites and available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
If you choose to undertake a placement, and the organisation requires you to pay for an Enhanced DBS check, we will cover this cost for you.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience.
You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.
You may wish to join a society or association related to this course, such as the BCUSU Criminology Society, the British Society of Criminology or the British International Studies Association.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Guidance for UK students
UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
Applying through UCAS
Register with UCAS
Login to UCAS
Complete your details
Select your course
Write a personal statement
Get a reference
Pay your application fee
Send UCAS your application
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
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.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement 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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
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.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
If you study this course part-time or via distance learning, you will be charged on a pro-rata basis. This means your fee will be calculated per module.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
This module explores and examines the origins of criminology, some of its historical debates, concepts, literature and research. It will outline what are often considered the core perspectives and theories related to crime and criminality. It introduces students to the history and development of criminology as an academic discipline.
This module introduces students to both qualitative and quantitative criminological research methods and students will develop a basic understanding of how to design research appropriately in relation to a specific topic. This module will equip students to: develop an understanding of the relationship between theories and methods; understand a range of research methods and methods of analysis and develop the critical analyses and practical skills that are required to carry out research.
This module is important in setting a foundation for students in understanding the political and historical contexts of crime and the response of the State to it.
It will provide an understanding of contemporary institutions and policies within the structure of criminal justice/criminology and show their development in historical practice and experience and that they exist within a political framework in which resources are limited and ideas contested. A significant section of the module will cover the essentials of the political structures and institutions of Britain and the manner in which policy, particularly criminal justice policy, is made set against the background of historical practice, party ideology and economic constraints.
This module introduces students to the discipline of Security Studies. The module provides an overview of different theoretical approaches to the study of security, the historical development of the discipline and a range of relevant and contemporary topics such as terrorism and cybersecurity.
Security is an area of tremendous contemporary and international significance and this module aims to provide students with the requisite knowledge and understanding to fully appreciate the international and contested nature of the concept, key areas of debate in the field and the manner in which “security” physically manifests itself in the world.
This module will examine the ways in which criminological and sociological theorising help us to challenge common sense in order to widen our understanding of a) ‘deviant’ identities and b) the operation of social control.
This module will explore the ways in which crime and deviance are socially constructed through varying contexts and how differing ‘deviant’ identities and subcultures are socially controlled and represented. Furthermore, the module explores the relations of power through which ‘deviant’ labels are ascribed (focusing on social stratifications such as gender, class, race/ethnicity, sexuality and age in order to reveal the fluidity of so-called ‘deviant’ identities).
This module allows students the opportunity to develop a key understanding of policing and criminological concepts and theoretical approaches which have been developed in relation to models of policing.
It will allow students an opportunity to examine and conceptualise some of the key debates around crime, policy, human rights, crime prevention, security, and policing. Students will be able to conceptualise and explain the subject matter and develop an understanding which informs debate about crime prevention, justice and security.
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits).
This module provides an in-depth and critical look at a range of topics relating to security and strategy in the contemporary era. The module deals with the theoretical, ethical and practical elements of topics such as inter-state violence, asymmetric conflict and the role that high-technology has had on different forms of political violence.
This module provides learners with the opportunity to develop a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the different procedures used for qualitative data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation. Students will particularly be encouraged to think critically about the diverse assumptions that underpin criminological research enabling the wider focus of the programme concerned with the historical and political framework within which
Criminology is situated to be explored. More specifically, the module aims to develop an awareness of the partiality of all social research (focusing in particular on key stratifications such as ‘race’, gender and sexuality, and class).
The module aims to develop an understanding of the role of intelligence agencies in combating insecurity with particular reference to Britain. The module fulfils this through an examination on key aspects in the field of security studies. It aims to provide an understanding of the role of the British Security Service [MI5] since the end of the Second World War. The focus will be on the manner in which the Service has dealt with changing security threats from Soviet spies, through to internal subversives, the Irish Republican Army and the more recent emergence of Islamic Jihadis within a more accountable and democratic political framework.
This module is designed to develop learners’ understanding of the emergence and development of key theories of punishment through an exploration of the history of penal theory and its contemporary challenges and controversies. Furthermore, this module seeks to refine and expand upon traditional theoretical perspectives of punishment and the current reliance upon imprisonment as a dominant form of punishment in England and Wales. In doing so, it requires students to critically engage with some of the limitations of such an approach.
This module will provide you with an in-depth and critical look at a range of issues, theories and major discussions that surround terrorism and will chart their development by engaging with a range of far-reaching discussions and case studies across the concept’s history.
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module is designed to introduce students to some of the contemporary debates surrounding policing and the police in England and Wales. Leaving aside considerations about the origins, development and function of the police, which is covered by Introduction to Policing, this module explores recent events with have challenged popular ideas of the police and policing. By exploring contemporary examples, such as the riots of 2011, students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the social, economic and political issues, which currently surround policing, and the police.
This module considers the different forms of forensic evidence and the variety of methods and practices of forensic science. It explores the theories and academic debates surrounding current practice and examines the value of forensic evidence in criminal investigations.
The Working in Criminal Justice module is intended to provide a structured opportunity for students -who choose to take-up work experience broadly related to the criminal justice system - to gain academic recognition by undertaking a programme of academic activity and assessment that enables them to reflect upon the practice of criminal justice, within the context of theoretical insights gained elsewhere on the course.
The module will encourage personal development and employability through the use of reflection and encouragement of self-awareness within the context of professional practice.
All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits).
The module examines a range of terrorist threats from some anti-colonial groups the British encountered in the final days of the Empire, through to the conflict in Northern Ireland and finally those driven by Islamic extremism. The module pays particular attention to the different methods employed in the battle against terrorism from negotiation through to overt and covert military operation.
Traditional security theories focuses on the security of states, inter-state conflict, power politics and global alliances. Critical and human security has more recently attempted to shift the security discourse to issues and geographical areas, where the central position of state security and power politics have been contested both theoretically and through the spread of internal resistance from the disempowered or marginalised part of the population. Using case studies from Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America this module will introduce the students to the debates in critical and human security through exploring post-colonial politics and state-building, intrastate conflict, human displacement and development issues.
The aim of the ‘Live project’ module is to provide a framework for you to undertake a substantial piece of disciplinary-relevant project work combined with academic reflexion and knowledge and skills which will give you both experience undertaking project work (working on a specified and approved project rather than undertaking a pure research project) that links your learning with employability skills and a practice context in a socially beneficial manner.
It is founded upon Birmingham City University’s teaching and learning philosophy which integrates theory and practice, and the BCU aims for graduates of building Skills awareness, employability and personal development which is embedded in the curriculum and its strong emphasis on building a professional portfolio of work and experience to ensure easy work transition for students.
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This single module provides students with an opportunity to critically engage with some of the key aims of their programme by examining some of the contemporary debates that surround the phenomenon of homicide and multiple homicide- and how various perspectives have generated their own arguments in an attempt to understand this unique form of offending. In doing so, students will be given various case studies of serial murderers, focusing on more historical cases before moving to more contemporary examples, whilst also providing how academic understanding and society has developed during this time.
By presenting both a theoretical discussion and real life cases of serial murder, students will be provided an opportunity to develop knowledge and critical understanding of criminology and related disciplines both in theory and in practice.
This module aims to familiarise students with the process required when applying to join the police. The module will achieve this by providing students with a practical and theoretical understanding of the skills required to successfully pass both the assessment centre exercises and written application all English and Welsh police forces ask applicants to undertake. This optional module is specifically designed to improve the employability of those students who wish to join the police after their degrees and would be advised that this is the case when making their decision about whether to take this module or not.
This is a Level 6 optional module which will introduce students to hate crime and issues related to hate crime and how multi-agencies have to deal with such complex issues. It will examine the issue of vulnerable groups such as children, those with a learning disability and people who have suffered anti-Muslim hate and Islamophobia as potential victims of religiously motivated hate crimes.
The module will introduce students to the complex world of cyber-crime and issues related to cyber technology and how the police deal with cyber issues from cyber terrorism, cyber bullying and cyber hate. The module will work well alongside the other modules related to security studies where students will examine the rationale of cyber-crimes.
All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
Student Profile - Elena Horodinca
I decided to take a professional placement year as an opportunity to apply what I have learned from the first two years at university to the real world. As a bonus, I was very lucky to conduct this placement in Romania where I could visit my family.
When applying for placements, I ensured that I applied for organisations that were related to my field of study. I was fortunate to find two organisations willing to collaborate and provide me with the chance to complete a full professional placement year. I didn’t know whether to be apprehensive or extremely proud of my accomplishment!
My placement was split between the two organisations where I acted as a Social Assistant. The first was at the Department of Social and Medical Assistance, in the city of Cluj-Napoca, within the Counselling Centre for Prevention and Control of Domestic Violence, and the second was based at a non-governmental organisation, the Romanian Human Rights Group.
These provided fantastic opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge of the working world that you wouldn’t receive in a classroom. I got so much experience through these placements by evaluating and counselling victims of domestic violence and their children, organising a plan of action alongside the police, and conducting psychological evaluations whilst studying the law.
I believe I’ve developed both professionally and personally during my placement year, learning more about team work and working with other organisations. I now feel more confident to speak up about processes within the workplace too. It has cemented my passion for working within the juridical system and I have made real connections for the future with this opportunity.
Trips and visits
You’ll have the opportunity to gain a practical insight into the ways which security concerns have shaped the history and politics of the United Kingdom through several trips.
The first of these trips will see you visit the birthplace of code breaking in the United Kingdom – Bletchley Park. On this trip you will deepen your knowledge of spies, intelligence and code breaking and will learn how these things contributed to victory in WWII.
The second of these trips will see you spend several days in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. While there, you will explore the turbulent history of UK-Irish relations and will have the opportunity to learn about how Ireland gained its independence from the United Kingdom, as well as the role the British security establishment played in both this period of history and the on-going British-Irish relationship.
Enhancing Employability Skills
This course is suitable if you wish to embark on a criminal justice-related career, including jobs in security services, police, revenue and customs, probation, youth justice, community safety and the prison service, as well as the voluntary sector. It’s also suitable for serving police officers and civilian support staff, customs officers, prison officers, and those working in the Immigration and Nationality Service.
This course has also improved the career prospects of serving military personnel and is suitable to both currently serving and recently retired members of the armed forces.
Part-time study in Criminology is often followed by people who are already employed within the criminal justice system and who are intending to improve their career prospects.
You’ll also develop transferable skills such as analysis and decision making, commercial awareness, accessing information, problem solving, and cultural and political awareness.
These skills are appropriate to a range of careers from teaching to retail management.
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 into 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 how to write effective CVs.
Find out about Criminology and Security Studies student Mishark's placement, where he spent time at the East Birmingham Youth Offending Service.
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.
Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!
All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
- Explore some of the good reasons why you should study here
- Find out how to improve your language skills before starting your studies
- Find all the information relevant to applicants from your country
- Learn where to find financial support for your studies
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Facilities and Staff
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 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) Policing or BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation degrees, 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. You will also benefit from facilities across the wider campus including the Parkside and Millennium Point buildings.
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
Dr Andrew Whiting
Senior Lecturer in Security Studies and Criminology
Dr Andrew Whiting research currently spans two main areas. The first concerns the constitutive effects of various different security discourses and their impact upon wider collective understandings and security practices. This work has included investigating constructions of terrorism and cyber‑security within political, media and expert discourses.More about Andrew