The scientific study of crime and its causes.

What is criminology?

Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminals, including the motivations and consequences of crime and its perpetrators, as well as preventative measures. 

Studying criminology can be seen as multi-disciplinary, as it contains elements of psychology, biology, statistics, law, and sociology. Criminology deals with both theoretical and practical work, seeking to understand and tackle crime and criminals, as well as the legal and criminal justice system, and its wider social ramifications. 

Criminology entry requirements

Universities and colleges will be aware that most students will not have studied criminology prior to applying for their degree, and as such, most courses don't ask for specific qualifications.

Related subjects such as law, psychology, sociology, statistics or sciences would be beneficial, but the real chance for you to impress will be in your personal statement. Use it to show your chosen uni or college just how and why you're so enthusiastic to take this next step.

A levels – Entry requirements range from EE to A*AA, with universities and colleges most commonly asking for BBB.

Vocational courses – Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma, or an SCQF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels/Highers by some providers. It’s essential that you check alternative entry requirements with universities or colleges.

Other qualifications – Entry requirements for criminology range from 32 to 152 UCAS Tariff points, with the most common being 120. Check out our Tariff calculator to see how your qualifications score. 

What you will need to do
  • Apply by the January deadline
  • Personal statement
What you won't need to do
  • Submit a portfolio
  • Audition for a place
  • Attend an interview
  • Pass an entry test
  • Show work experience

Why study criminology at university?

Are your favourite true crime podcasts and documentaries just not in-depth enough for you? Do you tend to think past the good vs. evil dichotomy that can frame an average discussion around crime?

If you want a career that will make a direct impact on peoples lives, you can combine your passion and interests in a number of ways, as well as digging deep into a rich subject along the way. 

Modules you can study on a criminology degree include: 

  • Introduction to fieldwork and research 
  • Criminal justice
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Youth justice
  • Race and society
  • Crime science
  • Forensics
  • Policing
  • Homicide
  • Restorative justice
  • Prisons, punishment, and rehabilitation 
  • Organised crime
  • Green criminology
  • Criminological theory 

Did you know...

... that criminology could be argued to reach as far back as ancient Greece? Classical philosphers even weighed in on the debate, with Plato arguing that crime and criminals can stem from environmental factors, and Aristotle discussing the merits of punishment as discouragement for the general public.

What can you do with a criminology degree?

Studying criminology at degree level will most often lead to a job as a:

The skills you’ll gain studying criminology can help prepare you for a career in:

  • law enforcement 
  • social work
  • education 
  • crime prevention
  • victim support
  • prison service
  • research and academia 

You'll be in the company of actors, politicians, and novelists...

That's right, criminology grads have gone on to do a lot of different things – including starring in Ghostbusters, as Dan Ackroyd did.

What's it like to study criminology?

On a criminology degree, you’ll spend an average of 14-16 hours per week attending lectures and seminars, which will leave you with a lot of time for independent research and completing your assignments. And you can expect to demonstrate your learning by writing essays, giving presentations, doing case studies, making reports and videos, and possibly an exam or two as well. 

Aside from the practical aspects of studying, you'll be sharpening your critical thinking and analytical skills, and you will find that what you learn influences how you read the news and interperet current events. 

Studying a criminology degree is likely to involve:

  • writing reports and essays
  • conducting research projects
  • attending lectures and seminars
  • project, presentation, and group work
  • studying for, and taking exams
  • independent study

Are you considering an accelerated degree? Find out more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course in two years rather than three. 


If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.

Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.

Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.

Where can I look for a criminology-related apprenticeship?

Aside from using our apprenticeships search tool, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Intelligence service (MI5/MI6)
  • Police 
  • Local councils 

Higher apprenticeships (level 4)

Degree apprenticeships (levels 5-7)

Start your search now

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