Skip to Content
BA|Undergraduate

Criminology and Sociology

Entry year
Academic Year 2025/26
Entry requirements
ABB
Duration
3 years (Full-time)
UCAS code
ML93

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.

Sociology is a discipline concerned with the explanation of social life and human behaviour of all kinds. It equips students with the skills to understand the breadth of social experience, ranging from the global (including power and politics, norms, religion, conflict and peace, the digital world, climate change, racism, sexism and other forms of social inequality) to the personal (including family life, intimacy, emotions, beliefs and mental health).

Criminology at Queen’s is ranked 18th in the UK in the complete University Guide 2023 and the Guardian University Guide 2022.

Criminology and Sociology highlights

Global Opportunities

Students can spend time studying in one of our linked Universities in Europe, North America (Canada and US), and the Asia-Pacific region. There is also the opportunity to study or work abroad, supported by schemes, such as Erasmus and Study USA.

Students can benefit from visiting international students who take criminology and sociology courses, as it increases their exposure to international social patterns and conflicts, as well as criminal justice policy and practice, enhancing their understanding of both criminology and sociology as internationally-oriented disciplines.

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.

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 Sociology are taught by a group of internationally-recognised researchers who specialise in areas, such as criminal justice policy, prisons, policing, desistance from crime, reintegration, drug use, youth justice, conflict and transitional justice, family, religion conflict, social movements and social change.

Student Experience

Students are assigned a Personal Tutor during induction. This member of academic staff will provide one-to-one support and mentoring throughout your studies at Queen’s.

We offer a Peer-Mentoring scheme for Sociology students, with the support of staff and the Centre for Educational Development.

Further Study Opportunities

There is a range of further study options. Within the School, we offer the MRes in Social Science Research, which provides the opportunity to develop and significantly advance skills in research methods, as well as substantive topics and theoretical debates.
http://www.qub.ac.uk/ssesw

Student Testimonials

Course Structure

Introduction

Courses often draw on international comparisons with a strong Ireland (North and South) emphasis. All of the optional modules are taught by experts in the area, who have published textbooks, research papers and monographs on the topic at hand.

The Option to Graduate with Quantitative Methods

Students who wish to benefit from specialist training in advanced quantitative research skills can undertake a series of dedicated social science research modules over the course of their degree. Students who successfully complete four advanced quantitative research skills modules (80 CATS credits)in level 2 and level 3 of their degree will be eligible to graduate with a BSc in Criminology or Sociology with Quantitative Methods.

People teaching you

Sociology Programme Director, Professor in Sociology

SSESW
Lisa specialises in the norms, emotions and social conflicts, focusing specifically on conflicts over various aspects of human reproduction, including abortion and breastfeeding, as well as over social roles such as motherhood.

Criminology Programme Director, Professor in Criminology

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

Contact Teaching Hours

Medium Group Teaching

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

Large Group Teaching

6 (hours maximum)
Hours of lectures 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

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.

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 Sociology joint honors 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, and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.

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

Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

  • 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; interactive media workshops in a flexible learning space; statistics and data analysis modules; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with project- based work etc.

  • Field Trips/Study Tours

    Study visits and field trips are integrated into a number of core modules. These present opportunities to apply theoretical ideas and concepts within real world settings. Back in the classroom students present and discuss observations and ideas developed during the field trip.

  • Guest speakers

    We work regularly with criminal justice agencies and people from these agencies regularly lecture on the course. As well as studying the academic and theoretical aspects of criminology, students have opportunities to hear from senior practitioners within the criminal justice system and the voluntary and community sector.

  • Lectures

    Introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. 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 Mentors

    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 University 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 them to give advice and support throughout their time at Queen’s. The Personal Tutor will meet with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.

  • Practicals

    In research method modules students will have opportunities to develop research design and technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life research contexts.

  • Prizes

    The highest achieving students in the school are awarded the annual Lockheed Prize. We also support our students entering essays to the annual Undergraduate Awards.

  • 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 medium sized groups (typically 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. You should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.

Assessment

Details of the 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 application 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 you progress through your course you will receive both specific and general feedback on your work and the factors that can affect students’ marks from a variety of sources, including lecturers, module co-ordinators, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers. As a University student, you will be expected to take a greater role in reflecting on the quality of your work, as well as to take the initiative to continuously seek to improve your work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:

  • Feedback provided via formal written comment and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
  • Face-to-face feedback including requested one-to-one meetings with staff to discuss assessments and/or to address a specific query.
  • Online or email 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 enhance 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.

PREV
Overview

NEXT
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)
    Digital Society (20 credits)
    Rethinking Society (20 credits)

    Optional Modules

  • Year 2

    Core Modules

    Optional Modules

    Crime and the Media (20 credits)
    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 Sociology.

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.

PREV
Modules

NEXT
Careers

Career Prospects

Introduction

The diversity of interests and topics covered in the disciplines, plus the wide range of skills it equips you with, means that our students enter a wide range of careers on graduation. Public and private sector organisations involved in the criminal justice system continue to expand and the demand for criminology graduates is strong. The number and variety of career opportunities related to the criminal justice system has increased in recent years.

Criminology graduates can work in traditional criminal justice agencies such as the police, crime prevention and early intervention programmes, as well as the prison service. However, criminology graduates can also work in a range of other occupations, including the media, civil service, research, teaching, business, voluntary and community organisations as well as private industry. Additionally, criminology graduates often work in victim support organisations with vulnerable at risk groups and in other social care agencies. Some graduates build on the degree by undertaking further post-graduate training in fields, such as policing, probation work, social work, law, human rights, social science research and teaching. The School has a strong post-graduate programme, offering both Master's and PhD degrees.

Studying Sociology will equip you with a range of transferable skills that are highly sought in a wide variety of fields in the contemporary jobs market. Sociology graduates are found in a range of occupations across the public, private and voluntary sectors, including management, communication, marketing, sales, retail, journalism, media research and publishing, youth and community work, healthcare, housing, social and civil services, and education. Sociology is also a good fit for a variety of careers in business: it develops the ability to gather and evaluate evidence, to engage in critical analysis, and to understand and explain complex problems and situations.

Studying for a Criminology and Sociology degree at Queen’s University will assist students 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 University 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.

You should also take a look at www.prospects.ac.uk for further information concerning the types of jobs that attract Criminology and Sociology graduates.

Further study is also an option open to Criminology and Sociology graduates. You can choose from a wide range of Master's programmes as well as a comprehensive list of research topics.
http://www.prospects.ac.uk

Employment after the Course

Typical career destinations of graduates include:

Victim Support Worker
Crime Analyst
Working with people in conflict with the law (e.g. offender management, rehabilitation, etc.)
Researcher
Civil Servant (e.g. Police Officer, Prison Officer, etc.)
Policy Analyst (e.g. working to shape criminal justice policy and practice)
Charity Worker (e.g. working with the families of victims and/or offenders)
Journalist or media worker
Statistics Analyst
Teacher
Voluntary Sector Worker
Private Sector career, e.g. management, market researcher, etc.
Youth and Community Worker

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 are regularly awarded prizes and scholarships, such as the SWAN prizes for best pieces of work on gender, the Lockheed Prize and the Foundation Scholarships.

Top performing students are regularly awarded prizes and scholarships. One of our BA students was a Global Winner of the Undergraduate Awards (2017), the world’s leading undergraduate awards programme which recognises top undergraduate work.

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

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

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.

PREV
Careers

NEXT
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