Criminology with Integrated Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BSc (Hons) Criminology course, with an integrated foundation year. Understand the reasons for, and society's responses to, crime. Develop a speciality in the strand of criminology which most interests you. Graduate with the knowledge and skills you need for a fulfilling career in an essential field.

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Course overview

This course provides you with an understanding of the causes of crime and victimisation. You will make sense of how society responds to crime and criminal behaviour by studying the criminal justice system and punishment. You will begin to understand how characteristics such as race, gender, age and social class relate to individuals' experiences of crime, victimisation and justice.

This course allows you to tailor your study to suit your interests and graduate with the knowledge and skills you need for a fulfilling career. You can explore specialist pathways including: policing, surveillance and crime prevention; inequality, diversity and gender-based violence; psychology, mental health and offending; race, racism, and criminal justice; and young people, crime and justice. The additional pathway of 'applied criminology’ allows you to undertake a placement in a criminology setting. From this, you will gain valuable work experience. As part of the ‘applied’ pathway, you will also have the opportunity to visit the criminal courts and prisons, as well as hear from practitioners. You can also take advantage of a number of volunteering opportunities in relevant work organisations.

This course provides an excellent foundation for a career in a number of criminal justice agencies, including the police, probation or prison services.

Why us?

  • Applied research methods – we offer training in computer-assisted data analysis software
  • Variety of specialist optional pathways in the programme
  • Applied route in criminology and criminal justice – we offer an optional 84-hour work placement, visits to courts and prisons, talks from practitioners, and links into practice through volunteering opportunities
  • Many teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy
  • Teaching staff are research-active, which enhances the curriculum and student experience
  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience

Course structure

This course is taught via lectures, seminars, group work, computer-based learning, and independent study.

Your progress will be assessed with written coursework, research projects, presentations, and exams. throughout the degree you'll have one-to-one support from academic staff.

Foundation year 

The Social Sciences and Law Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:

  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Maths (20 credits)
  • Foundation module (40 credits)
  • Project (20 credits)
  • Subject Specialism (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

Core modules:

  • Introduction to Criminology (20 credits)
  • Social Problems (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice (20 credits)
  • Applied Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences (20 credits)
  • Developing Independent Learning and Professionalism in the Social Sciences (20 credits)

Optional modules (choose one):

  • Crime, Surveillance and Social Control (20 credits)
  • Inequality, Diversity and Society (20 credits)
  • Exploring Psycho-Social Theory (20 credits)

Year 2 (national level 5):

Core modules:

  • Theoretical Issues in Criminology (20 credits)
  • Applied Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences (20 credits)
  • Offender Management in Criminal Justice (20 credits)
  • Policing Past Present and Future(s) (20 credits)

Optional modules (choose two):

  • Gender, Diversity and Society (20 credits)
  • Youth, Crime and Criminology (20 credits)
  • Practical Application in Criminology (20 credits)
  • Counselling Approaches in Practice Settings (20 credits)
  • Working together to Safeguard Vulnerable children, Young People and Adults (20 credits)
  • Medicalisation, Normality and the Body (20 credits)

Final year (national level 6):

Core modules:

  • Criminology dissertation (40 credits)
  • Re-imagining crime and criminology (20 credits)
  • Punishment and society (20 credits)

Optional modules (choose two):

  • Violence, Gender and Society (20 credits)
  • 'Race', Racialisation and the Criminal Justice System (20 credits)
  • Justice for Young People (20 credits)
  • Substance use and Society (20 credits)
  • The Clinical Gaze: Medicine, Disability and Confinement (20 credits)
  • You'll have access to specialist software packages for social science. These include NVivo, which allows deep levels of analysis of large volumes of data, and SPSS, for surveys and data mining.

    You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

  • We’ve got thousands of  books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Library resources which you might find particularly useful include:

    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Project Muse, which provides over 180 full-text humanities and social sciences journals
    • SocINDEX with full-text articles, which is probably the world's most comprehensive and highest-quality sociology research database
    • Archival Sound Recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings
    • Lexis, which provides access to legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles
    • Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Database, which includes full-text journal articles on topics spanning emotional and behavioural sciences, psychiatry and psychology
    Library Services - social sciences
  • Map and directions


You'll be based at The Reg Vardy Centre, situated on the award-winning St Peter's riverside campus. The location benefits from dedicated library services and has superb transport links with the city centre and City Campus.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2019, the foundation year will be £4,500.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

Abbie Wallace BSc Criminology case study
Abbie Wallace, BSc (Hons) Criminology graduate, Ede Ravenscroft Prize winner


Many Criminology graduates develop careers in the police, probation and prison services, youth justice agencies, and crime and disorder reduction partnerships.

Graduates have also gone on to work at the civil service, local and central government, voluntary sector, and policy/research institutions.

From 2020, all new police officers in England and Wales will have to be educated to degree level.

Voluntary work and placements

You can choose to incorporate an 84-hour work placement in your degree. This is an excellent way to gain real-world experience, and can help you decide which career path to take.

We have links with a number of organisations which offer placements and voluntary work opportunities, including Northumbria Police, the Probation Service, HM Prison Service, youth offender teams, community rehabilitation companies, criminal courts, and victim support agencies. 

Meet the students

  • The modules were really interesting, made more so by excellent staff who couldn't do enough to help.
    Abbie Wallace BSc Criminology case study

    Abbie Wallace

Meet the team

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