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BA|Undergraduate

Criminology and Social Policy

Entry year
Academic Year 2025/26
Entry requirements
ABB
Duration
3 years (Full-time)
UCAS code
ML94

Criminology focuses on the causes and consequences of crime, as well as how the criminal justice system responds to crime. Criminologists are interested in how activities come to be defined as criminal, and why definitions of crime vary across countries and over time. The subject includes a wide range of social and psychological theories that attempt to explain criminal behaviour and the effective operation of the criminal justice system.

Social Policy students learn how to tackle major policy problems. They do this by applying core concepts from social science to intractable social problems such as gender inequality, eldercare, children's rights and climate change. There is strong crossover between criminology and social policy as many of the people who end up within the criminal justice system have experienced poverty, inequality or discrimination. As an applied and critical social science, you will gain knowledge and understanding of contemporary government policies, their impacts, and consider how we can achieve improvements.

Criminology at Queen’s is ranked 18th in the UK in the complete University Guide 2023 and the Guardian University Guide 2022. Social Policy is ranked 16th in the UK (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020).

Criminology and Social Policy highlights

Global Opportunities

There is also the opportunity to study or work abroad, supported by schemes such as Study USA and growing opportunities to study globally. Additionally, students benefit for visiting international students who take criminology modules, as it increases their exposure to international criminal justice policy and practice, enhancing their understanding of criminology as an international discipline.

Career Development

Students are offered opportunities to develop substantive knowledge and research skills through collaboration with Northern Ireland’s vibrant civil and community sector, through field trips, guest lectures, workshops, placements, research collaborations and volunteering opportunities.

Students are offered opportunities to develop substantive knowledge and research skills through collaboration with Northern Ireland’s vibrant civil and community sector, through field trips, guest lectures, workshops, placements, research collaborations and volunteering opportunities.

World Class Facilities

The programme is taught on Queen’s historic campus in the heart of Belfast, which has been ranked one of the most affordable Universities in the UK.

Internationally Renowned Experts

Criminology and Social Policy is taught by a group of internationally recognised researchers who specialise in areas such as criminal justice policy, prisons, desistance from crime, reintegration, drug use, youth justice, conflict, social justice, gender inequality, population ageing, disability and human rights.

Student Experience

Students in the School are educated in a dynamic academic environment by award-winning teaching staff, and in a recent government-sponsored review of research, staff in the School achieved 'world-leading' and 'international excellence' status for the high quality of their research work.

Students can expect personal attention as classes can be smaller when they take joint honours Social Policy with Criminology or Sociology.

Student Testimonials

Course Structure

Introduction

Modules often draw on international comparisons with a strong Irish (North and South) emphasis.

All of the optional modules are taught by experts in the area, who have published textbooks and research articles on the topic at hand.

The Optional to Graduate with Quantitative Methods

Students who wish to benefit from specialist training in quantitative research can undertake a series of dedicated social science research modules over the course of their degree. Successful completion of 80 CATS credits of advanced quantitative research training (four modules) in level 2 and level 3 will receive the enhancement of BSc “with Quantitative Methods” added to the name of the degree awarded.

Value Added to your Degree

Students will receive detailed instructions on assignments in tutorials or in one-to-one meetings with tutors and lecturers.

People teaching you

Programme Director Social Policy, Lecturer

SSESW

Programme Director Criminology, Professor

SSESW
Michelle’s research interests are in identity, violence, imprisonment, shame, masculinity, penal reform, reintegration, desistance, criminological psychology and restorative justice.

Contact Teaching Hours

Personal Study

24 (hours maximum)
22–24 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using class materials, online activities, etc

Medium Group Teaching

3 (hours maximum)
Hours of practical classes, tutorials or seminars per week during term time

Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial

10 (hours maximum)
Small group and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor during the year, as well as meetings with staff to discuss assignments.

Large Group Teaching

6 (hours maximum)
Hours of lectures per week during term time.

Teaching Times

Teaching is scheduled across the working week, normally not before 10am to facilitate work/life balance. However, specific timings vary yearly due to timetabling availability.

Learning and Teaching

We aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential.

On the Criminology and Social Policy joint honours course we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life, and work in a global society to make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.

Criminology and Social Policy students at Queen's are taught in a dynamic academic environment by an award-winning teaching staff, in a School that was rated as one of the leading departments in the United Kingdom.

  • E-Learning technologies

    Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via our Canvas Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree programme through the use of, for example, online discussion forums, research methods modules involving statistics, additional learning resources, online readings, and opportunities to use IT programmes in project- based work.

  • Guest speakers

    We work with service users and criminal justice agencies, and people from external organisations regularly provide guest lectures on the course. As well as studying the academic and theoretical aspects of social policy and criminology, students have opportunities to hear from people who have run campaigning groups that have altered policy and from senior practitioners within the criminal justice system and community and voluntary sector .

  • Lectures

    These introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. As the module progresses this information becomes more complex. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).

  • Peer Mentoring

    We offer a peer mentoring scheme for our BA students, which sees specially- trained second and third year students, under the guidance of staff and the Centre for Educational Development, help first year students settle into life at Queen’s through social events, small group or one-to-one informal support and learning skills workshops.

  • Personal Tutor

    Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor from their first day at the university. The Personal Tutor is available to meet with them and to give advice throughout their time at Queen’s, in support of their academic development and to act as an important point of contact with the School.

  • Self-directed study

    This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s University student and involves private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback on the quality of work submitted, as well as assignment research and preparation work.

  • Seminars/tutorials

    A significant amount of teaching is carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students). These provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.

  • Study abroad opportunities

    Students have the opportunity to spend some time studying in one of our linked universities. For example, this can take the form of a semester’s study in Sweden (Lünd) (for which credits are transferred back to your degree here in Queen’s) or an intensive two week international study school in Spain (Barcelona).

  • Supervised research

    In final year, you will be expected to carry out a significant piece of research for a voluntary organisation on a topic selected through liaison with the Northern Ireland Science Shop. You will receive support to guide you in terms of how to carry out your research and will be provided with feedback in person and via email.

  • Work-Related learning/Field Trips/Study Tours

    Study visits and field trips are integrated into several of our option modules. The purpose of these tours are to help students apply their learning to the real-work context and to exercise critical thinking and interpretation. Back in the classroom, students undertake a number of group-based tasks in workshops focused on the field trip and present their findings to classmates.

Assessment

Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

  • The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are available via the Virtual Learning Environment Canvas which is accessible to all students once enrolment is complete. Following each element of assessed coursework, students are provided with detailed feedback on the quality of their written work and how they can improve future assignments.

Feedback

As students’ progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. As a University student, students will be expected to take a greater role in reflecting on their work and taking the initiative in continuously improving the quality of your work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:

  • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
  • Face-to-face face feedback including requested one-to-one meetings with staff to discuss assessments and/or to address a specific query.
  • Online or emailed feedback.
  • General feedback or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial
  • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards students should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review
  • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services, such as the Careers, Employability and Skills Service or the Learning Development Service.
  • Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.

Facilities

The School is located within a recently renovated building, with state of the art teaching and learning facilities, together with dedicated student space including a large student common room. The teaching facilities enable an interactive learning environment.

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Modules

Modules

The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Crime and Society (20 credits)

    Optional Modules

    Digital Society (20 credits)
    Rethinking Society (20 credits)
  • Year 2

    Core Modules

    Optional Modules

    Theory Counts (20 credits)
  • Year 3

    Core Modules

    Optional Modules

Entrance requirements

A level requirements

ABB

A maximum of one BTEC/OCR Single Award or AQA Extended Certificate will be accepted as part of an applicant's portfolio of qualifications with a Distinction* being equated to grade A at A-Level and a Distinction being equated to a grade B at A-level.

Irish leaving certificate requirements

H3H3H3H3H3H3/H2H3H3H3H3

Access Course

Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 70%.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

33 points overall, including 6,5,5 at Higher Level.

BTEC Level 3 Extended/National Extended Diploma

QCF BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits at Level 3) with overall grades of D*DD


RQF BTEC National Extended Diploma (1080 GLH at Level 3) with overall grades of D*DD

Graduate

A minimum of a 2:2 Honours Degree

Note

All applicants must have GCSE English Language grade C/4 or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.


There are no specific Level 3 subject requirements to study Criminology and Social Policy.

How we choose our students

Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.

Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.

Demand for places differs from course to course and for the Criminology degree courses, past performance at GCSE is taken into account when deciding whether or not to make conditional offers. For entry last year, we started making offers to applicants offering A-Level/BTEC Level 3 qualifications (or equivalent), who have achieved 6 grade B/6 at GCSE. This threshold may be lowered as the cycle progresses depending upon the number and quality of applications. The final threshold is not usually determined until late in the admissions cycle, so there may be a delay in processing applicants who do not meet the initial threshold.

Offers are normally made on the basis of 3 A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat applicants is set in terms of 3 A-levels and may be one grade higher than that asked from first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.

Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.

For applicants offering Irish Leaving Certificate, please note that performance at Junior Certificate is taken into account. Last year the initial Junior Certificate profile to qualify to be made an offer was 6 B/6 Higher Merit grades. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of Leaving Certificate subjects can be satisfied. This threshold may be lowered as the cycle progresses depending upon the number and quality of applications. The final threshold is not usually determined until late in the admissions cycle, so there may be a delay in processing applicants who do not meet the initial threshold.

For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits. For those offering a Higher National Diploma, to be eligible for an offer, at least half of the units completed in the first year of the HND must be at Merit level and remainder Passes. Applicants must successfully complete the HND with 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits in all units assessed in the final year. Any consideration would be for stage 1 entry only. Some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.

The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of BA degrees, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.

A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking 4 A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.

Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview, though there are some exceptions and specific information is provided with the relevant subject areas.

If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Open Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.

If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service (admissions@qub.ac.uk), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes

INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.

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Careers

Career Prospects

Introduction

Criminology and Social Policy graduates are ideally placed for work in a range of occupations, including the civil service, public services, policy analysis, media, research, teaching, business, the voluntary sector, commerce, marketing and management. Some graduates build on the degree by undertaking postgraduate training in fields such as social work, law, social science research and teaching. Tailored careers advice and study guidance is available to all students throughout their time at Queen’s.

Studying for a Social Policy/Criminology degree at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline.

The diversity of interests and topics covered in the discipline, plus the wide range of skills it equips you with, means that our students enter a wide range of careers on graduation. These include the public sector (e.g. social services, education, criminal justice, social work), private sector (e.g. market research, policy analysis, human resources), and third sector (e.g. policy analyst, researcher, youth support worker, charity fundraiser). A number of our students also go on to postgraduate study, on a full or part-time basis.
http://www.prospects.ac.uk

Employment after the Course

Typical career destinations of graduates include:

Researcher
Civil Servant
Policy Analyst
Charity Fundraiser
Market Researcher
Youth and Community Worker

Social policy students have gone on to work for Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, the civil service, charities such as the Peter McVerry Trust and Age NI. Many go on to further study in social policy at masters and PhD level.

Employment Links

Graduate employers include:

NIACRO
Extern
Victim Support
Political Parties
Commission for Victims and Survivors NI
Police Service of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Prison Service
Community and voluntary sector groups
Northern Ireland Civil Service
Northern Ireland Housing Executive
National Health Service
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
PWC
Ulster Bank
Santander
Belfast City Council
Ipsos Mori

Prizes and Awards

The highest achieving students in the school are awarded the annual Lockheed Prize.

Degree Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,750
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,750
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £20,800
International £20,800

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

The tuition fees quoted above are for the 2024/25 academic year and are a guide only. In addition, all tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase in each year of the course. Fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

Additional course costs

Students undertaking project SPY3002 (Policy Briefing) in year 3 will incur travel costs visiting partner organisations, the cost of which will vary depending on location.

Students undertaking project SPY3002 (Policy Briefing) in year 3 will incur travel costs visiting partner organisations, the cost of which will vary depending on location.

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.

Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.

Scholarships

Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/Study/international-students/international-scholarships.

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Apply

How to Apply

Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/students.

When to Apply

UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2025 from early September 2024.

The advisory closing date for the receipt of applications for entry in 2025 is still to be confirmed by UCAS but is normally in late January (18:00). This is the 'equal consideration' deadline for this course.

Applications from UK and EU (Republic of Ireland) students after this date are, in practice, considered by Queen’s for entry to this course throughout the remainder of the application cycle (30 June 2025) subject to the availability of places. If you apply for 2025 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.

Applications from International and EU (Other) students are normally considered by Queen's for entry to this course until 30 June 2025. If you apply for 2025 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.

Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/

Apply via UCAS

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study. Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students

  1. Applying through UCAS
    Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2025.
  2. Applying direct
    The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
  3. Applying through agents and partners
    The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.

Download Undergraduate Prospectus