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Case Study

Kirsten McGillivray

Durham, UK

BSc (Hons) Criminology


After realising her course at a different university wasn’t meeting her needs, Kirsten McGillivray made the decision to return closer to home and join our BSc (Hons) Criminology at the University of Sunderland. She now works as a guard in the prison service.

During my time as a student at Durham Sixth Form, I realised that Criminology was my favourite subject that I was studying, and I was keen to learn more about it and how to put it into practice in real life.

I spent my first year at a different university, however, the course didn’t live up to my expectations, so I made the decision to move closer to home and transferred to the University of Sunderland. Their Criminology course really appealed to me as it was clear I’d be given a lot of academic support where needed and have the opportunity to interact with other students. My favourite part of the course was my dissertation. I received so much guidance and choosing my own topic to focus on was exciting, allowing me to write in depth about what interested me.

Once I graduated, I was lucky enough to get the job I’d always wanted – I now work in the prison service as a prison guard and I love every second of it. During my course, I learnt all about the theory of prisons in my lectures and seminars, so getting to experience it all in person is really interesting. My degree also enhances my prospects when it comes to promotions or if I decide to move into a policing job later in my career.

Studying at Sunderland was a lot of fun. I loved my classes – my lecturers had so much knowledge and it was obvious that they were passionate about teaching their own subject, so it felt easy to talk to them about it. This made learning easier as they were always happy to elaborate on anything and provide support if people were struggling when it came to essays or exams. It was such a positive experience and my advice to anyone thinking of coming to study here would be to make the most of it, as the three years go by much faster than you’d expect!”

Published 6 April 2022

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