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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LAW2091 Criminology: Theories and Concepts

20 creditsClass Size: 42

Module manager: Dr Matt Tidmarsh

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

SLSP2020Crime, Law and Regulation

Module replaces

LAW2090 Criminology

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Criminology is the study of the theoretical explanations for offending behaviour. Are offenders free-willed rational actors, or are they driven by external (e.g. biological, psychological or sociological) forces beyond their control? Are some individuals and acts more likely to be criminalised than others? This module explores traditional (Western) explanations for crime and offending behaviour, charting their development from the medieval period to contemporary times. It also considers recent calls to decolonize criminology and why the decolonization of the discipline matters.


LAW2091 is designed to provide students with the chance to gain a critical understanding of key theoretical perspectives within the canon of Western criminological thought. The module will also raise awareness of the historical and contemporary dominance of the discipline of criminology by white male scholars from the global north and the implications for criminological theory, and criminal justice policy and practice.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module students will:
- be able to outline the development of criminological thought from the eighteenth century to the present day;
- have a clear and critical understanding of the main theoretical explanations for crime and deviance, and know who the key exponents of these theories are;
- draw out the implications for crime control of theoretical explanations;
- be able to articulate ongoing debates within the development of criminological thought;
- be familiar with new developments and directions in criminological theory.

Skills outcomes
In addition to the generic skills listed here, students will have the opportunity to learn how to apply theories to contemporary crime events


The syllabus will comprise: introduction to the module; classical / neoclassical approaches; biological / psychological explanations; sociological theories; symbolic interactionism and the labelling perspective; Marxism and critical criminology; gender and crime / feminist perspectives; realist accounts; and the call for decolonisation (including key theories, key proponents and the implications for Western criminology).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning51.005.00
Private study hours176.50
Total Contact hours23.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

The online learning element is broken down into 15 minute tasks, there will be 20 x 15 minute tasks overall.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

A formative assessment opportunity will be provided.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 18/07/2023 14:06:33


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